Strategy Or Jealousy? A Rant …

Fun fact #1. I used to tell people Apple was all about the art. Now I’m telling people she’s all about business. Leave your Apple Fan Boy comments below but read this first please …

Fun fact #2. Yeah, this is a big rant. If you aren’t into big rants, ignore.

First a quick history lesson. Apple creates this thing called an iPad that the pundits ALL say won’t work. I mean come on, no keyboard, no Flash, no chance.

Am I right?

How did that work out for you? P.s., yes, you haven’t even had yours for a year yet.

First thing people notice about the little tablet that was never gonna make it (it’s just a big iPhone without the phone people) – this might be kinda cool to run magazines on.

Wired, always up to the task, launches the Wired iPad App. Yeah, …, that’s right, … 12 months of the nobody had to kill any trees and nobody had to mail anything to anybody version of Wired is 12 times the price per year as is the dead tree version.

Brilliant.

How’s that working for you?

So then Murdock launches The Daily. Never before in the history of a media app has anything been launched so terribly lame. Sure, the content is as compelling as wet socks but it makes up for it by being slower than Congress for producing anything.

But, for some reason, we all are still deep into this idea that we want to subscribe to stuff on the iPad (remember, this is the same iPad that isn’t ever going to amount to anything).

Apple offers a model that is simple, fair, and, in true Apple form, different.

Simple: One click subscribe, right in the app.

Everyone in this space, whether they want to admit it or not, loses painful amounts of money in the transaction process. From shopping cart abandonment to “how many things to I have to click to get my product?” to merchant accounts and AVS and everything else they throw at us – sometimes I’m surprised there is anything left for me at the end of the game.

One click & Apple sends me a check for 70%. Sign me up.

Guys, this is why the App Economy is what it is.

This is the chance for content creators to get a piece of this.

Fair: This is perhaps one of the fairest arrangements I’ve ever read.

Right now, with the 26 cogs in my wheel, affiliates get 50%, merchant account gets about 5% when all is said and done. Overhead of merchant accounts and shopping carts and admin and chargebacks and fulfillment – another 11%.

Don’t get me wrong. I got a business where I get to keep 34%. I have friends who get 3% in their worlds.

Apple is gonna more than DOUBLE that and give me access to their audience.

70% – and I don’t have to deal with the credit card companies.

Paul likes, Paul takes.

Different: This is a plan that lets me do what I do best.

See, I’m a content creator. I’m a maker. The shopping carts, the merchant accounts, the affiliate programs, all these things are part of how I pay my bills – and I’m grateful for them – but if you tell me I don’t need ’em – no sweat off my brow.

Bubye!

Now, let’s get to the topic of this post. So, what’s the problem? Why did you call this “Strategy or Jealousy?”

Everybody and their mother seems to be complaining about this plan. The big issues they’re all hot over include the take, Apple insistence that they too are able to sell your stuff and the inability to grab your audiences contact info by default.

Take: Get over that part. So fair.

Apple’s ability to sell your stuff in their app: That’s kinda why you put your stuff in the App Store.

Apple won’t hand over your customer’s private info: Good for Apple. Two points here: 1) most of you want their info so you can SELL THEM STUFF. You’re already selling them stuff if they’ve paid to subscribe to your content. 2) If you can’t get an audience of people who are paying for your stuff to drop by your site and trade some information for content, … yeah, Apple is not your problem.

Nuff said.

So, the deal is fine, makes sense, is good for everyone – and is going to make me more money than anything I’ve ever done before.

There are only two reasons why someone would think this way.

Option #1. They haven’t thought it all the way through. If that’s the case, I hardly believe this Blog Post will change any minds but, …

Option #2. They’re jealous. Apple did what they couldn’t. They did it on their own terms and they didn’t listen to the experts. How could something like that possibly work? I mean, come on, all the great business successes followed the pattern of doing things the way they’ve always been done – and they listened to the bloggers, the Podcasters, the Twitterers, the digerati.

What am I missing here? Either way, it has nothing to do with strategy. Apple already did that for us.

It’s now about implementation.

What are you going to do?

Dead In 2010

I tweeted last week that “Acer Chairman says iPad impact not serious … then offers Easter Bunny job as Chief Strategy Director.” Apologies to the Easter Bunny in suggesting he’d take such a demotion but, … let’s face it, with the iPad, the Netbook is dead in 2010.

Today I sit in front of my new MacBook Air typing this in – and I realized something. She’s got no CD/DVD drive, no drives at all. The spinning disk is dead in 2010.

With announcements of “App Store” for Windows, Mac, Windows Phone 7 and more, I felt a bit sad as I put my iLife 11 DVD in my iMac (the Air came with it preloaded (w a USB Restore Key). I’ll never do that again. Shrinkwrap software distribution is dead in 2010.

This morning I sat on the exercise bike and chose from more shows than I could possibly want on my iPad through Hulu Plus and Netflix (delivered over ATT 3G none the less). I love the new show “The Good Guys” but couldn’t even tell you what night it is on (and I remain a TV junkie). Sure, I canceled Cable TV in 2007 but the family simply doesn’t miss it anymore. Yes, Comcast delivers the Webernet to my home but I got Clear and Verizon as options too. No, everybody doesn’t have as many choices, but we do have choices. The Cable Company as monopoly is dead in 2010.

Cali Lewis is at Revision3 and even Adam Curry has taken a “soft exit” from the company formally known as Podshow. Mevio, the company who first sold Podcasters of the dream of quitting the day job, is dead in 2010.

What else is dead in 2010?

What are you going to change in 2011 as a result?

7 Facts New Media Creators Must Face If They Want To Survive This Year

It’s time to face facts. Here are 7:

Niche audience programs can’t survive on mass audience advertising models. This one has GOT TO STOP. The reason American Idol can do well on a few pennies per audience member is because they have a few zillion audience members to pull pennies from. Good for them, they can have them. But, the niche content creator who thinks there are a few zillion pennies in their niche to collect don’t understand the meaning of the word niche.

And the funny thing is, people want to pay more for niche than they want to pay for mainstream stuff. Why won’t we let them? The odds of making good money on pennies per audience member are so small … why do that to yourself when there are better options for everyone?

What are you afraid of?

The “Old Media” guard is doing what they can to block you out.
For me, the big theme at CES wasn’t 3D or eBook readers, or any of the other memes you’ll read about. For me at least, the big theme was that “Old Media” is spending insane amounts of money to get better at what they do.

The only reason any machine of that size “gets better” is because there is competition that might take market share away from them. The “Old Media” guard is aware of what might happen and are doing everything in their power to prevent it.

Real reason for 3DHDTV? Even Kodak won’t be able to produce a $200 camera that pulls that off.

Real reason for IPTV? Cable cutting has become so real, they’re getting ready for when it goes mainstream.

Real reason for embedded widgets in TV sets and Blu-ray players? It’s called futureproofing your tech.

But if you look at the demos, you’ll notice something very important, very important … NEW MEDIA AIN’T PART OF ANY OF IT. We haven’t been invited to that party and they so hope that we continue to bicker about page design changes at YouTube and the size of our checks so we won’t notice what’s going on.

And the thought process has even infected us. Why in the world will Boxee automatically add a new episode of “Two And A Half Men” to my queue but not an episode of Geekbrief or The Totally Rad Show?

If we don’t force ourselves into their playing field, we’re not going to be invited to the games.

Despite all this great tech, it’s still easier to watch TV than to watch you. Yes, “kids” watch stuff on their computers and love it. Yes, the average 17 year old sees no difference in watching on the laptop than on watching on the TV. These funfacts are merely transitionatory tidbits that will mark a few years of our history, not our future.

But, dear friends, the future is Internet on the television and the phone. The future is YOUR content on THEIR terms. Flash players at obscure websites is hardly the totally of terms YOUR AUDIENCE might come to you with or request from you.

First part of having a niche audience, giving them what they want …

With companies like Kunaki in play it is, simply, wrong, not to offer everything you do on disc of some sort.

How easy is it to get your stuff?

What do you have to lose?

You can add “Ask A Ninja” to your DVD queue at Netflix. Why can’t I get your show there?

“New Media” that acts like “Old Media” is missing the point.

What we bring to the game is so much more than cheap cameras and the quest for unlimited hosting for less than the cost of a latte.

More and more of what’s coming out these days looks like an attempt at “beating the studio system” than it is “changing media” as we originally started to do.

Just ask yourself this simple question … what do you really want to be doing? What is your dream here? If it’s a show on Fox or a movie on HBO, I’d say you got a better chance going the “traditional” route at this point.

If your goal is to take a small audience to places they’ve never been before and make a good profit doing it, are you on the right path for such?

We don’t act like we want our audience to act. That’s called hypocrisy.

How much “New Media” have you consumed this week? How much have you produced this week?

Ever notice that the more you eat this dogfood, the more successful you are? Rocketboom, TWiT, and Revision3 anyone?

Yes, our audience is following our lead – it’s just a bad one.

You can’t sell advertisers the same pack of lies they can. Admit it, you’ve been thinking this for years …

Yup, those advertisers pushing their 30 second spots designed for Oprah online aren’t even close to getting their money’s worth. Don’t worry, they might not be getting their money’s worth on Oprah either.

But, you don’t have the cache or the agency behind you to get those kinds of deals for your show – so stop thinking that’s your ticket.

New Media’s success won’t come from successfully lying to advertisers and audience members – it is the complete opposite.

Even if your basement, it’s still business. I’m still surprised how many have mastered Final Cut and purchased thousands of dollars in computer equipment but who haven’t done more than surf a few blogs (written by guys with day jobs) to figure out how they’re going to make money here.

It’s called “Show Business” or “Information Marketing Business” or “Training Business” or “[Insert Term Here] Business” for a reason.

What business are you in?

Are you in business at all?

Could that be why profit ain’t much?

Podcast As The Secret Weapon

And the final piece in the New Media Realities series is below. In this one I examine the Podcast As The Secret Weapon:

Let me give you the 50,000 foot overview: You can create content fast with the New Media Content Creation Model. Leverage Web 2.0 and you can achieve the ISYOT Effect. Let your content escape the computer and the Internet by leveraging the power of Podcasting.

Want more specifics? Join us for the Podcast Secrets 2009 Preview Call on Thursday night.

Would love your thoughts here – or at YouTube.com.

ISYOT Effect – Who Else Wants This?

I love the ISYOT effect.

Forget being at the top of the results, BE THE RESULTS.

Would love your comments below:

On The Launch To Podcast Secrets 2009 – Taking The Show On The Road

Podcast Secrets is going to take no prisoners this year. I’m amazed at the stuff we’re prepping – and you will be too.

You’re save the date moment is here – April 9, 2009. Be available that evening, trust me …

But is there anything between now and then? Why yes there is, thanks for asking.

At the end of this month is the very cool Increase Sales With Social Media event. It’s February 26-28 in Newport Beach. Buy a ticket through my link (and send me the receipt) and I’ll buy you dinner Friday night of the event. You’ll see the first elements of the new Podcast Secrets there and, dear friends, attendees will be able to grab the class before anyone else. Did I mention I’ll be sharing the stage with Mike Koenigs, Dan Hollings, Matt Bacak and more?

March 6 and 7 I’ll be at the Teleseminar Secrets Reunion of my dear friend Alex Mandossian (co-instructor in Podcast Secrets). Alex’s alumni will be able to grab Podcast Secrets 2009 at an amazing alumni price at that event. If you’re in Teleseminar Secrets, you know all about the event by now.

On the night of the 7th, I’m red-eying out to Atlanta to hit the final day of Stomper Live 7. There I’ll be making a presentation on Podcasting’s future and rumor has it, the product might be available there as well – for a very special Stomper price. That’s just a rumor, of course. P.s., not Stomper but want to attend anyway? I can get you in, and at half price via this link (just use code SNL7-M).

March 27-29 is the very cool Internet Marketing Rockstar Event in (can you have an Internet Marketing Rockstar Event in any other place than) Vegas. Grab a “backstage pass” to the event via my link above (again, let me know you did) and I’ll bring a pre-loaded iPod with me for you to take home. Grab a “floor seat” and I’ll buy you breakfast. Other RockStars at the event include Deborah Micek, Anik Singal, Dave Lakhani, Matt Bacak, and more. What a thrill.

And then, April starts, and … Podcast Secrets 2009.

Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.

Devaluing Content Is A Bad Move Right Now

First of all, I have to start off by saying this is a killer deal. Anyone wearing a thinking cap will know that some of the sessions are worth more than others but the little “Vault Sale” over at Podcast Academy is a good deal (for you).

No, this isn’t an affiliate link
.

Now for TNC New Media and Gigavox, let’s talk strategy.

152 sessions (let’s say they’re an hour each) for $99.95 means each session is less than 66 cents a track.

Personally, my three (which I guess are all in the pack) are my finest three hours of content (not available in Podcast Secrets) and I’m a little biffed that they’re cheaper than an Americano at Starbucks but … that’s Tim’s choice.

But, bigger picture.

Some folk in our space are panicking.

Bad move.

We are in more control of our content than we’ve ever been.

“Big Media” is falling apart even quicker in the midst of this corporate chaos.

Keep the faith, own your stuff, don’t devalue what your doing and keep producing content of value.

I know the argument will be “hey, $99 ain’t chump changed and if Tim can get it, more power to him.

I’d agree but, … packaging it as a higher level product (I’d bet good money) marketed correctly would resulted in a bigger net, albeit with less sales.

But then I could at least say my content costs more than an a cup of coffee.

I realized something today that really hit my fancy. It’s kinda on topic – kinda not. Cornelius Fitchner is currently selling his PMPrepcast Product for $49.99 a pop. That’s a FORTY-NINE-THOUSAND-DOLLAR effective CPM.

What’s the CPM on this one?

Should this kinda thing be our goal?

Is “how cheap can we sell this?” really a good idea?

If you want the content, grab it, before Tim wises up.

At least, let’s hope he does.

Thoughts …?

Bad Economy Or Bad Decisions?

What a day, …

Dow is down (again).

Revision3 lets GaryV and Epic Fu go.

I start agreeing with Valleywag.

And then Kent Nichols starts responding to my Tweets.

I’ve had the makings of this post rumbling around in my head for awhile. It is time to post.

If somebody makes a bad business decision, it is their fault, not the economy’s.

If you read the Valleywag piece, they mention a company that “never should have launched at all.” You can argue with their suggestion but I dare anyone reading this to tell me that every company in the New Media space is being 100% smart with their money.

There is a lot of waste in an industry that can’t afford it anymore (let alone should have allowed it back then). It is time to change.

Earlier today, Kent Nichols suggested we “add Revision3 to the ‘Dead Pool.'” I had to argue with him (hence the Tweets mentioned above) – I don’t think it is that bad. But, as we all know, Kent is one smart cookie and, well, when he says something, we need to pay attention.

There are some things that need fixing.

I have to believe there is something in the middle here. I think we can actually respond smart and pull out of this.

I see companies with shows with a few thousand downloads per episode who earnestly hope that one day they’ll be able to pay the bills on this model.

That makes as much sense as lending money to people who don’t have the ability to pay it back – and then giving yourself an obscene bonus for meeting your quota.

And then asking the government to bail you out (at my expense).

So that you can keep you bonuses.

Cause you deserve them.

For bad business decisions.

I applaud Louderback (or anyone else like him) who decides to make the hard decisions. We need to read the spreadsheets, run the numbers, and make the right decisions.

Want to flush this economy down the drain?

Blame it on your bad decisions.

Or, … start taking account for your actions.

And make the hard decisions.

And come out o.k. on the other side.

You can do this.

What do you need stop stop spending money on right now? I know those new Macbooks are as sexy as all get out but, … twenty five hundred bucks growing your audience might be money better spent.

I know it ain’t easy for all of us to build a whole business around our content (like Kent has done) and would love to just produce and let someone else pay but, … maybe the industry ain’t ready for that yet.

Take control.

Make smart decisions.

Don’t blame anything on anybody but yourself.

And then do something about it.

I could care less who you vote for.

I care a lot about what you do the rest of November 4th.

Good decisions will make for a good economy.

Be part of it.

Produce content of value.

I Promised You Some Numbers – Here They Are (And More Questions)

A lot of numbers in this one – but very important. I’d also LOVE your comments on my findings (and even more questions) below:

On July 15, I wrote of a little experiment I was running. You can read the full details (and reasons for the test) here. I also promised to give you some numbers … so here they are:

On the mailing in question, we had a very decent 17% clickthrough rate. I’d be very happy with that every time in email campaigns. I feel this was a nice sampling to pull numbers from.

On terms of affiliate link to non-affiliate link, 1.7 clicks on the affiliate link (2nd click) to every 1 click on the non-affiliate link (1st click).

Yes, some people just click on the first link they see without reading. I understand that.

But, that was almost one out of every 3 clicks. I might run a similar test with my link first but … fascinating none the less.

And, remember I never told that list I was running this test – we might “expect” more on the Blog post numbers but not here …

So, how did the Blog test do? Worse.

It was almost 1.5 clicks to my affiliate link to every 1 click to the non-affiliate link.

I.e., 33% of my clicks lost me money when I let them know the option for me to lose money was there.

Yes, this audience knew what I was doing, so I’m sure there were plenty of clicks to the non-affiliate link just to see what it did, so I won’t pound these numbers into the ground – but they are fascinating none the less.

How did this do with the (commented) predictions posted in the previous post?

Sid suggested 82.5% would click on my affiliate link.

Marc suggested 90% would click on the first link because it was, simply, the first link.

Rory said 64% link #2 (my affiliate link).

Garrett was the other side of Marc with 90% on link 2 – because people “like” me. Thanks for the kind thought, Garrett.

Marcus said 69.3% on the affiliate link.

Richard agreed with Garrett.

Marcus wins the Dr. Horrible purchase on iTunes. I’ll be emailing you soon buddy.

So, what does this all mean … ?

First of all, double-digit losses in any form need to be given serious attention. The idea that a third of my audience might go another way simply because I gave them the option to do so doesn’t set well with me. You?

And remember, this isn’t people choosing not to buy this is (at least appears to be) people saying “yes, I’m interested in your content but I don’t wish for you to profit from the service your providing for me.

Or am I misreading this?

Is there a subconscious element to online users who don’t like people making money from them? Is there some crazy disconnect that makes them willingly go the path of making sure you don’t profit? Would they do it with “big guys” if they felt empowered to do so? Perhaps does the majority of the online user base simply feel used – and this is there way of “using” someone back? Is this the behavior we see in the hatred for Microsoft and the open source movement?

Perhaps we have an audience that doesn’t consume our content the way we want them to? Was Marc right, is it simply we need to give people better directions?

Is “full disclosure” a good thing, or a marketing mistake? Would ANY industry survive with a “I only want to make money from the people who want me to make money” attitude? Harsh question, but it needs to be asked. What’s your answer?

I’ll be chewing on these results for awhile and will be certainly testing some more.

I’d love your thoughts …

Important Future Trend – Video Templates

Enjoy this video embedded from YouTube:

I did the whole thing in less than 15 minutes. Used the painstakingly simple iMovie 08.

I used a template – a template from these guys. Dirt cheap.

Most of you know that I made my first round of money online in the world of Web Templates. This is the next thing – Video Templates. The smart people here have produced a set of templates for all sorts of industries (click through to see the examples) for a dirt cheap price. Just go in, add your info, and you’re good to go.

As the sample above shows.

In terms of application – don’t just think YouTube Videos here …

Think Video Podcast Intros.

Think video intros from a slide show before you come on stage.

Think video intros for live streaming programs over UStream.

The list of possibilities should boggle your mind.

They sure have mine.