Why the Mainstream Media is Still Important

Google is willing to give sites like Forbes a top ranking for keywords like SEO just because they published a recent article mentioning the topic. In a world where Google is closing more holes, them opening up the organic results to news sites is a treat to public relations firms.

Digg is similar, they don't think it is spam if it comes from ABC. But, if you have access to a media outlet, you can gather up a couple anonymous sources and publish garbage that would easily make Digg's home page.

You can think of old media as acting like directories for new media. New media is heavily reliant on old media for understanding the structure and importance of ideas. Those who know this are willing to pay a premium for the top channels. That is why Sam Zell bought The Tribune Company, News Corp. wants to buy Dow Jones, and why Thomson is buying Reuters. I recently spoke at a well known PR firm, and on their walls they hung dozens of newspaper articles written for their clients. It is the equivalent of how an SEO might look at the top rankings they have got for their clients and their own sites.

As time passes, marketing will get more expensive, and larger businesses will continue to be able to abuse the flow of information to knock down smaller and newer competitors and competing business models while smaller players have to tell more authentic, better researched, or more emotional stories to get the same level of exposure.

If you haven't thought much about how PR is integrated into the news, consider reading Paul Graham's The Submarine. It will make you realize how much every successful large scale business relies on some form of spam to build their brand, create demand, thicken their margins, and keep newer players out of their business.

I got thinking about that speech I gave at that PR firm. I have no idea if they will use my tips to push good ideas, or if they will use them to push inventions that reduce quality of life or kill people. When you get as much exposure as I have been lucky enough to get you just don't know what will happen with what you do...you can't see the outcome, but will probably see more of what you chose to see. I generally have a strong belief in strength of humanity, but also think capitalism is shortsighted, destructive, and sleazy. So which do I chose to see as benefiting more from my existence?

The biggest reason I do not blindly support capitalism is that I think as governments and countries age their law codes and markets get so complex that it is hard to know what is real or true, especially when people are rushed, live in debt, and the leading information agents are focused on profit, personalization, automation, promoting strong biases, and blending ads into content.

The media, like all businesses, operates with some level of collusion. If you are not in their spotlight you are at a distinct disadvantage to those who are. How do we get media coverage? Well that is another post. :)

Published: May 15, 2007

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Comments

Patrick
May 15, 2007 - 10:05pm

[QUOTE]The Found Agency website virtually disappeared from the search engine's index last week, dropping from a spot in the top 10 for keywords related to its business to a position somewhere in the 50s.

The company had been using a "click counter" to optimise its search rankings. By offering a free counter to other websites, which linked back to the Found Agency site, the company was able to boost the number of in-bound links to its pages. The number of incoming links to a website is a measure used by Google to determine its relevance and quality, thus its ranking in the search engine's index.

To the delight of Found Agency's competitors, Google has punished the company over its use of the counters.[/QUOTE]

Aaron, do you know if Google really 'punished' them for doing this? I read Matt Cuts said link baiting was officially okay.

But giving away counters is blasphemic...I mean unethical ;), now? I guess the difference between giving away SEO software for links and giving away counters is that counters aren't relevant to the topic?

Patrick
May 15, 2007 - 10:10pm

Ah, Im sorry please delete these 2 posts, Ill ask that question over at searchguild, after realizing just how off-topic it is. Sorry.

Jordan
May 16, 2007 - 1:33am

Quite the post! If media and business are such forces (positive or negative) you must also consider the one force which separates winners and losers and typically the spotlight. This one major factor is progress and innovation. In business/economics it is typically called technology. Ultimately whether big or small, in a pure capitalistic or socialist society winners will be determined by the following. The most innovative, the most progressive and the best equipped to continue delivering the best media, products and ideas!

Failure to do so is simply failure to succeed.

May 16, 2007 - 1:41am

Of course the term best might have many sub-sections to it. In some cases being overtly biased or lying might be best.

feedthebot
May 16, 2007 - 3:41am

Nice video,

One of my many opinions is that regardless of the "system" there is still benefit in an individual acting in tune with their morals, in other words, no matter what that firm does with your advice, the only responsibility you have is to is to represent yourself and who/what you are. This might sound like a way to skirt responsibility, but I don't think so. It is much more difficult to be true to yourself than it is to be true to others. I have had times in my life when I had to choose between doing what I knew was right or doing what convention or logic dictated.
I like myself and can live with myself because of the times I acted in accordance with my beliefs. I don't like it when I have gone with logic :)
I think this is actually the formula to inspiring people.
Everyone who has ever inspired me has been, at all odds, true to what they believe is right. This is true in any system it is human.

Jim
May 16, 2007 - 4:46am

Quote:[ I have no idea if they will use my tips to push good ideas, or if they will use them to push inventions that reduce quality of life or kill people...]

Aaron, maybe you should ask before accepting the engagement.

We each have to choose our clients based on the best information and inspiration that we have. One’s motive in accepting a gig, one’s purpose, can be foremost in thought as a potential client moves through the sales process to the closing.

I have turned away and continue to turn away business that is in my view antagonistic to what I hold dear. As I practice listening to my intuition, it becomes clearer, and easier to follow. I also find that even more of the business that is congruent with my beliefs quickly follows.

What was your intuition about this engagement?

May 16, 2007 - 4:57am

That is the thing I note. I can't tell who reads my blog, will buy my ebook, or what comes of it. Hence the curiosity with the effects of what I do.

Same w the public relations stuff. Maybe they create really great stuff and maybe some PR firms push drugs that kill people. You don't know the effect.

MrMike
May 16, 2007 - 4:39pm

Winchester knows guns kill people. Should they stop producing guns because of that?

Kirby
May 16, 2007 - 7:55pm

Of course you blindly support capitalism. You sell 24/7 to others who use your info to do the same. How is that not the epitome of capitalism?

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