Archive for April, 2009

Gannett Announces Formation of The Gannett Digital Media Network

Posted by Katie Morse on April 23rd, 2009

Digital Portfolio Offers Advertisers Unprecedented Combination of National Reach and Local Engagement

MCLEAN, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI) announced today the formation of a groundbreaking network that will change the way advertisers reach their target customers. The Gannett Digital Media Network ties together more than 100 digital communities with a combined reach of approximately 25 million people.

Included in the network are Gannett’s best-of-breed news and information sites, led by, the web site for the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper. It also includes the local sites for Gannett’s massive network of newspaper and broadcast properties, representing some of the most recognized brands in their communities, such as and The consumers visiting these sites are incredibly attractive to advertisers. On the whole, they skew higher on metrics such as education and household income and, according to a recent Jupiter Research study, local sites rank highest for trust in advertising and attract consumers who spend more money online. This combination of national reach and true local engagement makes the Gannett Digital Media Network unique.

Beyond news and information, the Gannett Digital Media Network can also help marketers build relationships with influential audiences on a variety of growing niche sites, including:

  • (, an innovative new local social network for moms in 80 markets across the country;
  • (, the largest prep sports site in the country, reaching teens, moms and dads;
  • (, the local entertainment and nightlife guide reaching the young urban market; and
  • (, which operates the leading action sports network online, attracting millennials and extreme sports enthusiasts everywhere.

“The Gannett Digital Media Network gives marketers access to diverse and attractive audience segments through our unparalleled combination of national and local media sites,” said Josh Resnik, vice president and general manager of the Gannett Digital Media Network. “National advertisers will be thrilled with the opportunities presented to them by our Network. We can combine the broad reach of our network with the engagement and affinity found on local sites to help marketers effectively reach their target customers.”

In addition, the newly launched Gannett Digital Media Network leverages the most innovative technologies to help advertisers establish meaningful connections. This includes Gannett’s own top tier digital marketing solutions: PointRoll, the world’s leading provider of rich media advertising, having served more than 85 billion rich media ads in 2008 alone; ShopLocal, which offers a comprehensive suite of solutions used by the country’s largest retailers to reach their customers online; and Ripple6, the only enterprise class social media platform that combines social media tools for users and publishers with social marketing tools and embedded word of mouth analytics.

“We are fortunate to be so closely aligned with leaders in the digital marketing space. PointRoll, ShopLocal and Ripple6 offer marketers innovative ways to connect with their customers. Advertisers are seeking new ways to reach consumers online, and we have integrated those solutions in order to make it easy for marketers to engage with users on the Gannett Digital Media Network,” said Resnik.

About Gannett

Gannett Co., Inc. is an international news and information company operating on multiple platforms including the Internet, mobile, newspapers, magazines and TV stations. Gannett is an Internet leader with hundreds of newspaper and TV Web sites;, the nation’s top employment site;; and more than 80 local sites. Gannett publishes 85 daily U.S. newspapers, including USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper, and more than 850 magazines and other non-dailies including USA WEEKEND. Gannett also operates 23 television stations in 19 U.S. markets. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom’s second largest regional newspaper company with 17 daily paid-for titles, more than 200 weekly newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and a network of Web sites.


Gannett Co., Inc.
Tara Connell
  703-854-6049    703-854-6049


Taking a Leadership Position

Posted by Chris Kieff on April 23rd, 2009

Brands aren’t simply brands anymore. They are the center of a maelstrom of social and political dialogue made possible by digital media, said Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Simon Clift, who warned that marketers who do not recognize that — and adapt their marketing — are in grave peril. AdAge Magazine 04/13/09 by Jack Neff

The above remarks are from from Mr. Clift’s keynote speech at the Ad Age Digital Conference in New York.

So how does a brand a plan to ride out this maelstrom of change in the advertising landscape?  By looking at new technologies and techniques for reaching their prospective customers.  And by investing the time and resources to learn the new rules in the digital landscape.

One aspect that needs particular attention is engaging with customers in the realm  of social media.  People today are not only empowered by digital media and social media technologies, they are feeling that power.  People know that they can talk to brands, and the brands had better listen and respond.  If the brand fails to respond people will have the discussion with others in the digital landscape.  Brands that fail to engage in that discussion are ceding the territory to their competitors.

Forward thinking and acting brands are finding methods, technologies and people to lead the way into real engagement with customers.  An excellent example is Better Homes and Gardens, a Meredith brand.  They were recently named one of the Most Engaged Media Brands by Min Online.  One of the reasons BH&G was honored was their Mixing Bowl (a Ripple6) social community which was given Honorable Mention for Best of the Web in the Social Community category.

The Better Homes & Gardens brand stays ahead of the curve by creating an online community. This kind of adapting your marketing plan to the new realities is what will keep the Better Homes and Gardens brand in the lead in the years to come.  And you can expect some announcements from Ripple6 shortly about other major brand names who are taking leadership positions in social marketing as well.

(For a great perspective on Mixing Bowl check out The Marketing Diva’s interview with Heather Morgan Shott.)

Photo credit: Flickr by pedrosimoes7

Interview with Heather Morgan Shott of Meredith’s Mixing Bowl Social Network Community

Posted by Katie Morse on April 21st, 2009

Apr 21, 2009

New social networking communities seem to be on every virtual corner these days. Marketers understand that social media can be a powerful strategy that supports niche or segmentation marketing. However, when brands build out communities it’s obviously a business decision that has incurred significant resources – including dollars.

I wondered how do they integrate marketing objectives, while ensuring that the “social” aspects,  the heart and soul of the community, are authentically and transparently developed and nurtured? When Chris Kieff     offered the opportunity to interview one of his Ripple6 client’s from Meredith Corporation’s recently launched Mixing Bowl, a food and recipe community – I said yes!

Mixing bowl About Mixing Bowl

Editors touch every piece of content that exists on our branded sites. We post recipes after they’ve been triple-tested in our kitchens, write how-to articles, and so on. We don’t run Mixing Bowl that way because we want it to be a site created by home cooks for home cooks.

I’m (Heather Morgan Shott) very present on Mixing Bowl (my username is CoolCookie), and my profile page states that I’m a Mixing Bowl editor, but I’d never censor conversation or edit content. I’m there to answer questions as well as contribute to the community just like a typical member would by posting my own recipes, sharing my opinions, and joining groups. From a business point of view, Ripple6 offers advertisers access to a very sophisticated and extensive analytics system.

Read the entire article here…

FTC to Regulate Blogger Speech

Posted by Chris Kieff on April 16th, 2009

On April 2nd the Federal Trade Commission announced revised guidelines on endorsements and testimonials which are now under review and expected to be adopted according to The Financial Times 4/2/09.

These new rules, “…would hold companies liable for untruthful statements made by bloggers and users of social networking sites who receive samples of their products…”, according to the FT article, “…If a blogger received a free sample of skin lotion and then incorrectly claimed the product cured eczema, the FTC could sue the company for making false or unsubstantiated statements. The blogger could be sued for making false representations…”

What remains unclear is the impact this could have upon community owners where users make untrue statements. Can a company that owns and operates a community be liable for the actions of bloggers on their community and liable with an advertiser?

What about the case where the community owner works with an advertiser to distribute free samples of a product and then solicits comments from the user community.  Could the advertiser and the community manager be held liable for false advertising if claims were made by users who received free samples in that case?  And the situation can get more muddy, what if a blogger receives the free sample and then makes a simple comment on another blog with a misstatement in it?  Or what if in a general free sample offer a blogger is inadvertently a recipient of a free sample and subsequently makes a misstatement?

It’s impossible to separate a blogger from non-blogger.  Does anyone who writes a comment on a public community site become in effect a “blogger”?  What about people who only write comments on other blogs but do it in large volume and develop followings with technologies such as Discus?

The implications for community managers, and brands that wish to advertise and utilize social media marketing techniques can be very serious.  You should read the FTC notice and pay close attention to this rule change.

This is going to be a sticky wicket that the FTC will have to figure out and they will need to make sure they understand how it will affect the common man before they move forward.

And finally, since the FTC may be listening, these opinions are those of the author and do not reflect the official opinions of Ripple6 or Gannett Company.  Image by Uploaded on August 20, 2005 by dbking on Flickr