We’ve been hard at work improving Newsdesk to bring our clients more of what they need. Here’s a rundown of what’s new in the April 11th update.
Table of Contents Options in Newsletter Templates
You now have a new way to customize your newsletters templates more fully. The Table of Contents is automatically generated and included at the top of email Newsletters.
You may choose from:
Table of contents (default)
No table of contents (new)
Table of Contents with article headlines (new)
To make it easier to scan through the search results, the headline now appears below the source, author, and publish time.
The Twitter and Yammer icons have been updated and extraneous lines have been replaced by whitespace.
For our “Rich Atom” feed format, we will now include a link to an XSD file that you can use to validate the returned XML. This brings us in line with industry standards.
If calls are made too frequently, a 429 “Too many requests” error will be returned. Calls for content should be spaced at least 60 seconds apart.
Enhancements to the “Add Articles” Feature
Articles that you manually add yourself can be translated directly from saved searches and Newsletters using Google Translate.
The language is set after clicking “Add Article” from a saved search’s drop-down menu.
To help manage large source lists, in the Advanced Sources tab, we have made the selection area larger and added sources are sorted alphabetically.
Further improvements to duplicate detection for similar articles.
Wildcards now work with case sensitive searching and Power Searches.
Log in to Newsdesk to see them for yourself and tell us what you think.
April 11, 2013
Last week, a US Federal Court ruled in favor of the Associated Press in their lawsuit against media monitoring company Meltwater. We have written previously about BurrellesLuce filing an amicus brief and reactions around the web.
At stake is the definition of “Fair Use” as it relates to content published online. It has ramifications for the business models and legal strategies of publishers, as well as media monitoring companies and their clients.
Jeff John Roberts at BusinessWeek summarizes how the court arrived at its judgment (links in the original):
To decide if something is fair use, courts apply a four-part test that turns in large part on whether the defendant is using the copyrighted work for something new or unrelated to its original purpose. Famous examples of fair use include a parody rap song of “Pretty Woman” and Google’s display of thumb-size pictures in its image search. In the AP case, however, Meltwater’s fair use defense failed.
Judge Cote rejected the fair use claim in large part because she didn’t buy Meltwater’s claim that it’s a “search engine” that makes transformative use of the AP’s content. Instead, Cote concluded that Meltwater is more like a business rival to the AP: “Instead of driving subscribers to third-party websites, Meltwater News acts as a substitute for news sites operated or licensed by AP.”
Cote’s rejection of Meltwater’s search engine argument was based in part on the “click-through” rate of its stories. Whereas Google News users clicked through to 56 percent of excerpted stories, the equivalent rate for Meltwater was 0.08 percent*, according to figures cited in the judgment. Cote’s point was that Meltwater’s service doesn’t provide people with a means to discover the AP’s stories (like a search engine)—but instead is a way to replace them.
The judgment also points to the amount of content that Meltwater replicated. Whereas fair use allows anyone to reproduce a headline and snippets, Cote suggested Meltwater took “the heart” of the copyrighted work by also reproducing the “lede” and other sentences:
“A lede is a sentence that takes significant journalistic skill to craft. [It shows] the creativity and therefore protected expression involved with writing a lede and the skill required to tweak a reader’s interest.”
How the ruling affects publishers
Publishers and media monitoring companies haven’t always worked together and this is going to change. Newspapers are needing additional revenue streams and the clients of media monitoring outfits have been a neglected source of money.
Publishers are going to have to work together to exploit this income source. To an end user tracking mentions of their company or attempting to do competitive analysis, it is quite a lot of effort to piece together a total national or international catalog of licensed sources. Media monitoring companies are the natural connection between publishers and end users.
This court decision gives content publishers a strong position in this partnership. Companies that try to get around their wishes have this legal precedent working against them.
You’re a Media Monitoring Company (MMC), now what?
As I alluded to above, the key to survival is acquiring licenses to monitor and distribute content from publishers. This will protect you from legal actions like the Associated Press took against Meltwater.
Groups like NewsRight and companies such as BurrellesLuce in cooperation with Moreover Technologies have developed one solution, Metabase Premium. Before the dust settles, others will likely emerge, as well.
Whatever you do, complying with the publishers’ wishes is key. Some are satisfied with the value of MMC’s driving traffic to their sites. Others, like in the Meltwater case, see it as an infringement. Protect yourself and your clients.
You’re a client of a Media Monitoring Company, are you protected?
While this lawsuit has defined some parameters of Fair Use, what’s less clear is what happens if you are distributing content without permission from the publisher. Ask the company that you’re using if they have licenses for the content that they are distributing to you. Make sure that you are protected from lawsuits yourself.
What does the future hold?
I’ll leave you with the words of Corynne McSherry, director of intellectual property at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which opposes the ruling:
“What we’re going to see now is a lot of litigation over what is a legitimate search engine or not,” said McSherry, whose organization filed an amicus brief backing Meltwater. “I think this opinion muddies the water.”
*UPDATE: These click-through stats refer only to the 33 articles being disputed and not to the rates of the services as a whole.
March 29, 2013
Our team has been working on our latest round of improvements to Newsdesk and here is what’s new this week.
Save directly to Shared Content
When collaborating and sharing saved searches with your company or department, you can save them directly to group of your choice. Previously, you’d have to save a copy to your own account and then share it. Now, that extra step has been eliminated to prevent any confusion stemming from multiple copies.
Newsletter styling fix
We fixed a bug where some users would see an incorrect font size in the header and footer text of Newsletters.
We’ll have more information on an all-new set of features allowing users to create, edit, and mark content with custom tagging. Be on the lookout here for details as they become available..
March 19, 2013
Last time, we talked about major newspapers backing the Associated Press against media monitoring company Meltwater. Today, let’s look at some of the responses from around the web:
ArsTechnica has a balanced summary of the dispute:
Last week, the nation’s largest newspapers lined up to tell the New York federal judge considering the case that they support the AP. An amicus brief [PDF] was filed by The New York Times, The McClatchy Company, Advance Publications, and the Newspaper Association of America, which represents 200 newspapers around the country. In the brief, they argue that Meltwater isn’t a search engine—it’s a competitor.
The Brief discusses the suit’s implications:
The outcome of the lawsuit will depend on how convincing Meltwater’s search engine argument is. They use the same pieces of information—a headline, link, and short snippet—and are generally agreed to be covered by fair use provisions, but the legal precedents against them are racking up. And if the AP manages to get a favorable ruling over Meltwater, other search engines could find themselves being asked for licensing fees too.
Meltwater responds to the filing of the amicus brief:
Plaintiff’s claims are barred in whole or in part by the doctrine of copyright misuse. Through this Complaint and through other means, Plaintiff seeks to misuse its limited copyright monopoly to extend its control over the Internet search market more generally, thereby improperly expanding the protections afforded by U.S. copyright law. Among other things, AP has misused its copyright monopoly by demanding that third parties take licenses for search results, which do not require a license under U.S. copyright law, and AP has also formed a consortium (called NewsRight) with the purpose of further misusing its copyright monopoly to extract licensing fees that exceed what the law allows.
BurrellesLuce weighs in with their perspective:
[W]e curate content on behalf of our clients and charge a royalty. Those royalties go back to the publishers. PR professionals are understanding, more and more, why these measures are necessary. They recognize the difference between a genuine media monitoring service and an aggregator. They realize they may be exposing their organization, as well as their clients, to substantial copyright liability by using the latter.
Of course, this ruling will affect more than PR professionals. Anyone that analyzes the news and other media to understand their competitive landscape has an interest in this court case.
How do you think this will play out?
March 15, 2013
New developments are unfolding in the Associated Press lawsuit against monitoring company Meltwater. The suit alleges that Meltwater is copying and selling licensed content without compensating content publishers. This week, several papers have filed amicus briefs on behalf of the AP, saying that their business would be adversely affected if companies are allowed to redistribute content without appropriate licensing fees.
As CBS reports:
The Times and other companies — including USA Today publisher Gannett (GCI), The McClatchy, (MNI) and Advance Publications — said in court papers filed late Monday that their businesses would be jeopardized if Meltwater’s activities were allowed to continue. The publishers argue that their websites and other digital businesses that generate revenue through advertising, subscriptions and licensing fees are threatened if other companies can distribute their content without paying licensing fees.
“None of these revenue streams can be sustained if news organizations are unable to protect their news reports from the wholesale copying and redistribution by free-riders like Meltwater,” the filing said.
Also joining in the friend-of-the-court brief was BurrellesLuce, a Meltwater competitor, that says it is at a disadvantage because it pays to license content that Meltwater takes for free.
Moreover Technologies is developing Metabase Premium in conjunction with publishers, which provides full access to premium content without any legal, compliance, or administrative wrangling.
We will be commenting here as the case progresses.
February 27, 2013
In 2011, The Grey Lady made waves by introducing its paywall. It received its share of praise and criticisms about its long term viability, ability to pay the bills, and potential alienation of its readership. Recently, several major US papers have followed the Times’ example by erecting paywalls of their own. Papers are plugging the gaps in their systems and the leaky paywall itself may become a thing of the past.
The Washington Post is the latest of the big papers to consider going behind a paywall. Rather than following the “charge first and ask questions later” strategy of some other sites, it is actively gathering information from its users beforehand. In preparation for its imminent block, visitors are being polled on:
- How often they read the site.
- What other sites they read,.How much would they pay?
As the Washington BizJournal reports:
There were three options… seven-day delivery and unlimited Web access for $24.95 a month, unlimited Web access without a print subscription for $14.95 a month, and Sunday delivery plus unlimited Web access for $7.95 a month.
The Boston Globe previously allowed visitors from Social Media sites to read 5 articles per month before requiring a subscription. That number has now dropped to 2 articles per month.
This change only affects the BostonGlobe.com site. They still maintain their free Boston.com site, which contains less content.
Globe spokeswoman Ellen Clegg says, “We have been trying to find the right balance between the free-sharing culture of the Internet and paid access to premium Globe content.”
New York Times
The Paper of Record has knocked off one way of getting around its paywall. Visitors can no longer trim the URL to avoid triggering the pay warning. This was the easiest and most common method of avoidance, though several more still remain.
Spokesperson Eileen Murphy says that keeping these venues of free access open is a feature, not a bug:
When we launched our digital subscription plan we knew there were loopholes to access our content beyond the allotted number of articles each month. We have made some adjustments and will continue to make adjustments to optimize the gateway by implementing technical security solutions to prohibit abuse and protect the value of our content.
What Does It Mean?
Paywalls seem to be where the online news industry is heading, at least for now. These three papers have different methods of going about it:
- WashPo: Getting feedback on various payment plans before proceeding.
- Boston Globe: Offering a free option and a superior paid option with few leaks.
- NYT: Making the paywall leaky to get users acclimated before clamping down.
Opinions run strong on which method is best, or if paywalls are a viable long-term solution for monetizing online news. I think that DigitalFirst’s John Paton’s words of caution are appropriate for those of us on the outside. We should be humble in drawing our conclusions:
[E]motional arguments over what something is worth in a market economy is a near worthless waste of time at the expense of finding real solutions to the problem.
What other paywall strategies have you seen?
February 22, 2013
While media marketers might not put themselves into the same camp as internet trolls, they both have similar goals: getting seen and engaging the audience.
Gigaom’s Martin Belam discusses how sites have deployed countermeasures against drones.Some sites use real IDs (e.g. Facebook) or voting mechanisms (e.g. DISQUS) to shape the comment conversations, but these don’t seem to largely affect the tone or engagement of the commenters.
As Mary Hamilton says:
“In the end, it appeared that actually the tone set early on in a comment thread looked like it influenced comments much more than anything intrinsic about the format or identity system used.”
Being one of the first commenters is the most important factor, whether you are seeking to legitimately engage the author and audience or troll them.
I encourage you to read the entire article, especially if you are running a website with user comments enabled.
Tell us what you think in a tone-setting comment below.
February 8, 2013
YouTube has been growing and maturing as a platform for distributing content generated by users and companies alike.
In a recent blog post, Storyful editor and TED speaker Markham Nolan says that YouTube is ”becoming the most important repository of documentary evidence about humankind in existence.”
What makes YouTube so important, and why it it important to monitor it?
It’s a valuable primary source
YouTube is a source of original, unedited videos of events and presentations that aren’t available elsewhere. Media will edit, spin, label, and otherwise attempt to color the raw material.
As Markham Nolan says:
I wanted to watch the [Democratic National Convention] unadulterated, without commentary, without the partisan hackery or faux-objectivity of the networks. YouTube had a page dedicated to the conventions, where I could browse in and out of the live action as it happened, or, when things became a little dull, review videos from speeches I had missed.
Your niche industry is covered
Broadcast media, such as cable news or radio, have a set number of channels or frequencies and can only dedicate limited time to any single event. YouTube, on the other hand, has no such limits. No matter how small a subject is, it can be covered in great depth.
Nolan remarks on the recent Red Bull stunt:
Felix Baumgartner’s edge-of-the-atmosphere parachute jump was the second. Eight million people logged on to watch that little hop live via YouTube. News channels couldn’t devote the adequate time to it and would skip in and out, but Red Bull’s YouTube channel streamed the entire thing.
Get deep coverage
To paraphrase David Bowie, with YouTube we can be journalists, if just for one day. Gain access to raw information not available to journalists or that are too small to have covered in detail.
Nolan gives the Arab Spring as an example of this:
We are now the most chronicled generation in history. There has never been a greater level of unfiltered documentation of humanity (caveats coming) in history. It also gives us a window into countries that old-school news would never have shown.Through YouTube you get to see past media stereotypes to get candid glimpses from Saudi Arabia, central Russia, caucus states, Pacific islands and elsewhere.
What does this mean for you?
There is an ever increasing amount of content to monitor and analyze and YouTube is a space where this is occurring. Your tools should be keeping up with the pace and helping you sift through this potentially overwhelming information.
Although traditional broadcast, print, and online media are still dominant and where most people go to get their news, YouTube is growing. It’s more important than just rounding out your monitoring and competitive analysis. It’s indispensable.
See a TED Talk by Markham Nolan TED Talk here:
(Hat tip to Kate Torovnick at the TED Blog)
January 24, 2013
People want to define the terms of the relationships they have with companies. This includes where, when, and how interactions take place.
Companies that attempt to influence potential purchasers have an interesting dilemma. People researching products utilize publicly available data, but their behavior changes once they’re about to pull the trigger.
Buyers “go dark” once they reach this important step. That is, once they have informed themselves, they turn to personal social media to get confirmation of the choice. These are often in private channels and beyond the reach of monitoring companies.
Even if you have the ability to communicate in some of these channels, potential purchasers may find your influence off-putting.
So what can be done?
David F. Carr, taking inspiration from a presentation given by R2Integrated’s Matt Goddard, covers this issue in a discussion of the purchasing behavior of social media users.
Where Goddard ultimately sees the most potential is the use of social media for product research. The closer people get to making a purchase, the more they tend to turn to those ‘dark social’ networks where they get more private advice from close friends, family or business peers. Still, enough is visible to give businesses a better understanding of how their products are perceived and what new products might be brought into existence to serve unmet needs.
Because social media users listen to each other more than they listen to brands, offering them the right thing is critical. “Companies that have the best products are going to win. Those that don’t have great products are going to lose,” Goddard said.
It may be that your tactics should change from attempts to directly influence consumers to indirectly influencing them through acting on the results of good competitive analysis.
How do you do that?
- Get data about your potential consumers, competitors, and yourself;
- Analyze that data to identify important trends;
- Get it into the hands of people who can make decisions.
Read this article on Competitive Analysis for more information on how to do all of those steps.
January 17, 2013
Happy New Year!
We hope you’ve had a chance to shake off the cobwebs from the holiday season and are ready to get back into the swing of things.
Moreover has some exciting developments coming in 2013. Make sure you don’t miss them.
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January 10, 2013