The Brain Pickings controversy about how its author Maria Popova made money out of Amazon affiliate links, while asking for donations to support her “ad-free” site, is a good opportunity to rethink attitudes about Advertising.
Beyond the issue of whether or not Maria tried to deceive her readers is the issue of how much opposition and reaction against advertising she has demonstrated. Popova is not only clouding the truth but rejecting what she clearly assumes will be a detriment to her blog/brand. Despite the fact that Brain Picks not only approves of advertising but uses it to sustain itself her lack of ownership seems to indicate that she believes that advertising is inherently virtueless.
On the other hand, the fundamental property of advertising is that it advertises, not that it’s intrusive or gratuitous. […] So it’s understandable that many people, including Amazon, consider affiliate links to be advertising (as opposed to, say, some kind of biz-dev relationship). What’s more, many such links — especially when they’re accompanied by photographs of the product in question, and live permanently in the right rail of a website — are unambiguously advertisements.
[…] Will Popova’s readers still donate the same amount of money now that it is more obvious that Popova is running a “clearly commercial site”? Popova’s language — the way that she combines a request for donations with a statement that she doesn’t accept advertising — suggests that she fears they might not
—Maria Popova’s blogonomics, part 2
Ironically, the same new social platforms that grow most rapidly, and therefore are most appealing for advertisers, are also the most challenging for brands to break into. These platforms’ lack of automated tools, multiuser support, etc., create barriers to companies accustomed to centralized hubs to push content around. The brands that best mimic users and try the new experiences manually are getting ahead and have a greater chance of succeeding.
Why is manual better? Well, it forces marketers to confront how others are using the program. That prevents a brand from completely hijacking a platform to communicate some on-brand message sanitized to the point of emptiness. “Brands need to be acting more and more like people,” Tuff said. “What better way to do that than to force them to use the same mobile experience [as regular users].”
—Brands want to experiment on new social platforms, which often means doing it by hand
Refreshing. Advertising, like many human activities, has a better chance of successful evolution given healthy cooperation amongst the tribe members. Less competition, more collaboration.
We need to shift from a competitive stance to a creative mindset. We need to live in the conscious presence of the prefrontal cortex–the part of the mind that doesn’t fear that the other guy will steal our slice of the market share pie, but imagines ways to bake a bigger pie. By quieting the selfish aggressive instincts of the body, you’ll begin to evolve and engage the mind, which is “no body” and “beyond self.” You will create bigger and better outcomes.
So if you really want to beat your competitors, focus on your customers with wonder and curiosity; and as people, not targets. Lead their imagination. And stop trying to hurt everyone. —We’re Marketers, Not Soldiers: How Combative Competition Is Killing Creativity
A detailed analysis of the limitations of the most popular tool for web design today.
It’s easy to forget the constraints of the web while working in Photoshop – and as a result, you can end up with a design that’s too difficult or too expensive to reproduce in CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Photoshop mock-ups have the additional downside of giving clients unrealistic expectations, leaving them disappointed when the final result isn’t exactly the same as the layout they first saw. —Web design: Is this the end of Photoshop?
Building your site from the mobile up.
Some marketers may think that by using responsive design that are delivering a strong mobile user experience when all they are doing is simply extending their desktop content to mobile without any consideration of what the mobile user wants.
Instead, marketers should be focusing on making sure they are delivering a differentiated experience in mobile that truly focuses on what on-the-go consumers are looking for.
“In a ‘mobile first’ approach marketers are forced to undergo a content prioritization exercise, which in the long run achieves consistent brand messaging and optimal user experiences,” Siteworx’s Mr. McLaughlin said. “From here you can progressively add features and content as the device’s screen size increases, ultimately addressing the needs of your users’ and the needs of your business.”
—Marketers at odds over effectiveness of responsive design