Archive for the ‘Moms Like Me’ Category

Naughty nicknames we’ve given to moms sites

December 14, 2008
“Don’t expect Woodward and Bernstein on MomsLickMe.”

Anonymous@6:14 p.m., responding to critics who claim some Gannett employees are secretly manipulating conversations among readers on the company’s network of Moms Like Me websites.

Chatter: On moms, talk ‘leaders’ — or ‘paid shills’?

December 13, 2008

[Ground zero: The Indianapolis Star launched the original moms site]


Chatter is an occasional peek at your comments. In today’s edition, readers are debating the ethics of paying people — including men — to spark provocative discussions on the
Moms Like Me websites.

It all began early yesterday, when Anonymous@12:10 a.m. wrote: “Anybody out there in Gannettoidland hear of any shenanigans with their Moms sites? At the paper I work at, two males in the Information Center were directed by management to pose as females in the Moms forums to start conversations to increase traffic. Also, some moms in the community were getting paid a weekly stipend to go on their sites and start conversations. Is false page view generation an actual strategy for all sites?”

Next, Anonymous@1:06 a.m. piped up: “The mommy site at my paper also has paid shills. Please expose this scam.”

In Phoenix, Anonymous@9:32 a.m. said: “A couple of people who work on the Moms site were told to set up multiple user IDs and make numerous posts to drive traffic. I don’t think *they* were paid (other than their salaries) to post, but I know they paid their friends to set up multiple IDs and post. This was several months ago and management claimed not to be aware of the practice. They said the practice was to stop. Not sure if it actually did.”

Take a chill pill, everyone! wrote Anonymous@3:19 p.m. “There’s nothing ethically wrong with paying community management staff to foster communication within an online forum,” they wrote. “The only gray area here is if they actually have men posing as women — and even that is laughable. Those of you freaking out are grasping at straws — there’s no ‘fake traffic’ or ‘false page view generation’ here; the traffic is real, if people want to take part in the conversations. This kind of thing happens all over the Internet and is considered more than normal — it’s often mandatory to get communities started. Lighten up and concentrate on the fact that you might lose your job next week, next month, or next year. Sheesh . . . stop complaining and start solving problems.”

Related: The exciting 1,674-word Moms Like Me Privacy Policy makes riveting, late-night reading!

Now, it’s your turn. What’s the story at your moms site? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

Commentz Korner: How do you moderate them?

September 21, 2008

[Smell test: Would you delete Cincinnati’s comment, above?]

Readers now leave hundreds of thousands of comments on stories, forums and blogs across Gannett’s growing number of websites — a big challenge to the relatively small number of employees responsible for moderating those comments.

“I’m not sure we’re doing it right, or that we should be doing some of it at all,” one moderator at a Northeast worksite told me in an e-mail. “All of us who moderate also have more than full-time print duties, so our application of Terms of Service is pretty spotty. I’ve encountered quite a few dilemmas in judging what posts sufficiently violate the uniform Gannett TOS to warrant deletion or more serious action. Our options for handling problem posters, as it turns out, are limited by Corporate to the point of a serious disadvantage.”

Do you have full-time or part-time moderators? Or do you leave that important job to readers? Plus: Got a crazy comment that made it past your site’s filters? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: screenshot of a comment I first flagged eight days ago, after finding it on The Cincinnati Enquirer‘s “moms” website]

What women chat about on Cincy’s ‘moms’ site

September 13, 2008
“Never have I heard a man pass on a blow job.”

PureRomance4U@12:07 a.m., commenting on another reader’s sex problems on The Cincinnati Enquirer‘s website for mothers.

Briefs: Burns said out; Indy’s Poortinga to Digital

July 2, 2008

In overnight e-mail, readers say:

  • Mike Burns, named corporate director/advertising early last year, has quit to become sales and marketing vice president at Freedom Newspapers, which owns Southern California’s Orange County Register and other papers.
  • Kevin Poortinga, vice president for product development at The Indianapolis Star, has been promoted to a new position at Gannett Digital. Effective July 28, Poortinga will become general manager/Digital Product Incubator at GCI’s McLean, Va., headquarters. Last year, Poortinga won Gannett’s first Innovator of the Year award for his work on the first mom’s site, launched at Indianapolis. (Question: What’s the Digital Product Incubator — and how’s that different from the DIG?)

As always, I appreciate further confirmation — and any additional details. Post a note in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

Two years after DIG’s launch, innovation crawling

April 23, 2008

Here’s my Internet math: If one year in a dog’s life is equal to seven in a human’s, then a year on Earth equals 10 on the Internet. By that measure, an alarming 20 years have passed since CEO Craig Dubow in 2006 unveiled Gannett’s formal research and development efforts into digital innovation. Even by Dubow’s reckoning, the R&D operation’s output has been weak.

The Center for Design and Innovation — known by its nickname, the DIG — has had two leaders since its formation. Roger Ogden, who also was chief of the company’s broadcast division, lasted barely a year before his abrupt (ahem) retirement. The current leader, Vice President Michael Maness, got the job in June 2007.

Dubow, in his annual letter to shareholders, cited just one new product that’s come out of the DIG: Nimbus, a weather widget. (Dubow also mentioned as an example of innovation Gannett’s moms sites. But I’m pretty sure they were hatched at The Indianapolis Star.) Dubow also referenced Nimbus in an interview with SmartMoney magazine, published today.

In his letter, Dubow told shareholders that the pace of change must quicken: “The word for 2008 in digital: speed.” A faster pace better come under Chief Digital Officer Chris Saridakis, named to that post in January. In comments, Gannett Blog‘s readers have been deriding the R&D center — and Nimbus. “If that is the most innovative thing that Gannett has produced, then we not only have a problem at the top, but we have a lot of stupid, uncreative people working in this company,” one reader wrote on my post, here.

Your thoughts, in the comments section, below. Use this link to e-mail feedback, tips, snarky letters, etc. See Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

Gannett doesn’t have a lock on ‘moms’ sites

April 9, 2008

The San Francisco Chronicle, now under the editing direction of former star Gannett editor Ward Bushee, has just launched Bay Area Moms. Hmmm; sound familiar? These “moms” sites have been rolling out across Gannett ever since The Indianapolis Star started the company’s first one. (Update: Hearst had added these sites earlier at other newspapers, including at the Houston Chronicle, before Bushee’s arrival.) Still, San Franciscans are already pissed.

Coming to a Gannett website near you: pets

March 8, 2008

From the recently released 2007 Annual Report, in a section about the spread of “moms” websites across the company: “Online sites for dads, pets, college students and families are also being evaluated.”

Clark-Johnson: Kudos to Indy’s Barbara Henry

February 11, 2008

I don’t know whether Indianapolis Star Publisher Barbara Henry (left) holds an inside track on replacing retiring Newspaper Division President Sue Clark-Johnson, as I suggested in this post. But it sure doesn’t hurt when Clark-Johnson lavishes praise on Henry — as she reportedly did in an e-mail sent Sunday morning to Gannett publishers, plus top brass that included CEO Craig Dubow. The impetus: Henry’s column in the Star that morning, according to an e-mail obtained by Gannett Blog.

Henry’s column “touted their latest research results, re-enforcing to the reader the value of the Star,” the e-mail says. “She wrote this the day of her research presentation earlier this week. The same day the New York Times had yet another scathing story on the death of newspapers.”

The e-mail continues: “There are a couple of things here: while the column explains the strength of the Indy Star and its brands, the research results clearly shows the strategic direction we have set does work. It works. In just a year and a half Barb and her team initiated the geo strategy with community editions. They targeted specific audiences with non-daily. Indy did the right things on-line (they started the whole moms.com thing among other things). They’re readership in total is UP. And, I like the way she chose to tell people.”

Don’t forget that Henry is more than just the Star‘s publisher. As senior group president over the Interstate Newspaper Group, other publishers report to her as well. Plus, she’s also a member of the Gannett Newspaper Operating Committee.

[Image: this morning’s Star, Newseum]

Why all the sites for moms, but not for dads

January 7, 2008

Anyone who’s visited a Gannett website knows the company has found what may be a goldmine in sites devoted to mothers. (See, for example, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle‘s RocMoms.) I wondered why women got all the extra attention until I ran across some of the latest research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The study was of teenagers, but it offers clues about overall gender differences online.

Pew found that girls continue to dominate most elements of content creation. “Some 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys,” the study says, “and 54% of wired girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys. Boys, however, do dominate one area — posting of video content online. Online teen boys are nearly twice as likely as online girls (19% vs. 10%) to have posted a video online somewhere where someone else could see it.”

I’m not surprised. We’ve known that women tend to be more expressive through words, while men gravitate more toward visuals. How does that translate into content? Look at the Democrat and Chronicle, one of the few Gannett papers to run what amounts to a men’s version of a mom’s site. Researching the idea, the paper found that men wanted lots of pictures on what became RocMen. The paper’s managing editor for multimedia, Traci Bauer, wrote about how RocMen came about in the Aug. 9 issue of News Watch. For good measure, RocMen features video prominently with its way offbeat Mark the Intern YouTube recommendations. His pick at the moment I’m writing this post: Moped Dance! Crank up the volume and watch:

Use this link to e-mail feedback, tips, snarky letters, etc. See Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the sidebar, upper right. Or leave a note in the comments section, below.

[Image: this morning’s Democrat and Chronicle, Newseum]