The effect of advertising on start up Web Based Magazines.

The effect of advertising on start up Web Based Magazines.

Do you think entrepreneurs starting a web based magazine would be biased in what they print as their income revenue rises from large brands?
 Thought please gents , including you thought on the possibility of good reviews paid for by advertising and should we treat these site as newspapers telling not truths. And only fit to wipe you ethernet arse?


  • Is this a form of bullying by cheque?
    And if the mag decide to bullied does it mean it so called impartiality and good intent in the beginning are now in the trash can ?
    And when and if can you trust them again?
    Or do we get fooled by another entrepreneur starting a web based magazine, or was they just starving and broke?
    I do understand that feeling we all do broke homeless ripped off.
  • I honestly don't see how one could be certain that advertising does not effect magazines.
    The possibility of revenue from an advertiser being removed because of less than optimal opinions being expressed about their products, presumably effects judgement of the magazine to some degree, even if only marginally. Withdrawal of revenue must represent an existensial threat to magazines. Although I would be interested to know if there any examples of advertising contracts ending for publications who have been courageous enough to openly criticise a sponsor. Has it...? I wonder to what extent manufacturers "expect" the sponsorship to effect reviews positively.
    To what degree, or how consciously these effect may exert themselves, I don't know. I suppose it varies from individual to individual.
    I imagine that some / many writers and editor struggle with this conscience v pragmatism tension.
    I don't see there's any easy answer other than avoiding a reliance on advertising, which is presumably difficult to impossible for commercial concerns.
    If chews, or other forums, were financially reliant on various hifi manufacturers, presumably we / they would experience the same tensions and opinions would be, to some degree, be effected.
  • As I've said before, this isn't just about the Web. It applies to all media on- and off-line that depends on advertising.

    From my experience in the magazine world, many years ago, the advertising department were always trying to put their oar into editorial on behalf of their advertisers.

    To me, it's like death and taxes. A fact of life that I have as a reader have to accept. 

    So, no news. The potential downside applies to newspapers, magazines, so-called free sheets, commercial TV and Radio and websites.

    If we don't like the downside of the advertising model, let's all make sure we support the BBC and other media outlets that use other models for their income. 
  • Do we really have to have a mag run like this radio station. Bullies in charge but not owning it?

  • LOL!

    I'd say there are times when outside forces pull the strings. A large financial services advertiser trying to steer the FT (for example - I'm not saying they do, but it's possible), a large FMCG producer trying to shape the editorial content of a TV or radio station and so on.
    edited November 2015
    I agree with Ben.  I started to do less and less for one such webzine (before parting company to concentrate on my own work!) partly because I felt that unfettered honest reviews were no longer possible due to the sensitivities behind the scenes with advertisers or potential advertisers.  Whilst I can't see anything wrong in advertising, the way that reviews are now written is where I have most of an issue.  There are precious few webzines or hard copy magazines come to that which back up subjective opinion with blind testing or lab type tests, or both, which used to be how the more serious and reputable mags used to do it.  You got a balanced review and often it was the subjective element which was least informative.  For the last set of speakers (the RFC Raptors) I had reviewed, I took the trouble of paying an independent testing professional to measure and provide a report on those speakers which was copied warts and all to the reviewer for publication as that I felt was one way to provide unbiased and truthful information to accompany the more subjective element of the review (which it transpired was pretty good anyway :-)  ).

    I do have a problem with some (not all) journalists (no names), because of the drivel spouted.  However, there were and are a few good writers left whose opinion I do value, but even so, their reviews I'm guessing are either edited or influenced by pressures of marking and advertising.  There's no such thing as free reign for journalists, especially since most work sub contract and rely on being asked back to do more work in order to make a living.

    There is always the opportunity as a reviewer to suggest off print that it might be better not to publish a review as the kit might need development (or where it is just plain awful!) but often such occasions, especially where advertising revenue is concerned, may just lead to that being passed to someone else to review.  In general it is a bit of an old chestnut to suggest that kit isn't reviewed to a manufacturer because commercial pressures are too much and there'll be ten people queued up behind one publication or individual ready to offer a different opinion.

    This then is the nub of the issue.  On line and hard copy reviews these days are more a matter of opinion than anything else and should really only ever be read in that spirit, taken with a pinch of salt if you like.  How reliable that opinion is will depend on a number of factors including commericial influences, knowledge, even writing style and mood!  It still makes them to some extent better than nothing when you may wish to compare kit but it wont tell you necessarily how good specific kit is in isolation (only a home audition will do that), so Caveat Emptor as always applies.

    The best reviews imho are the testimonials of the buying customers themselves.
  • "The best reviews imho are the testimonials of the buying customers themselves." From Paul true but not being able to take back things one has bought could prove expensive. And how does Mr/Ms J. Public get to hear about odd ball but good kit. I a Catch XXII situation .
    Maybe a team or group of harden but wise music lover should start one featuring reviews and run by a control editor but still advertise with the money going to charity.

    edited November 2015
    I agree with you Col but IME, folk dissatisfied with any piece of kit fall into 2 camps: One camp wont want to admit that they don't like what they bought but are less inclined to big it up by the same token. The other does like what they bought and are happy to say so.  There's no merit in persuading someone else to buying something you yourself don't get on with.  Of course even positive testimonials need to be viewed in context too.

    I don't think that the charity-type idea would work as there's no incentive for the "editor" or commercial enterprise behind the publication.  Most on line webzines are out for web hits for commercial reasons and most hard copy mags want big circulation for the same reasons, so will do whatever it takes to ensure that circulation. 

    Truth is, that high fidelity is a minority interest and by a huge margin. The real market is in tech and convenience listening targeted to teens and late twentysomething trendy types, so most people don't give a hoot about lab tests or any form of objective testing, nor whether true music lovers are on the listening panel of an impartial review team.  They want to know what something does, whether it's "Kewel", trendy and hip, whether it fits with lifestyle and is lifestyle aspirational.  They're not that interested in hifi or us old codgers who are.

    Hifi is going underground, and the enlightened with it!  We'll remain a dedicated but relatively small market sector and it is getting increasingly hard to compete in such a shrinking sector, so the real effort tends to be a shift from direct sales marketing to indirect sales.  What I mean is more enterprise based on using blogs,social media and whatever to get the interest of a new generation by addressing hifi from the edges (ie engaging blogs, impact grabbing short pitches).  Sales often result from education and engagement down the line.  Most of the larger payers now concentrate hugely on the use of social media especially.  Whilst they're still (obviously) interested in having products reviewed from large circulation resources, they're less bothered I think with objective assessment or independent assessment because they know that no longer accounts for a majority of sales. Their marketing effort does, irrespective of actually how good their products are.
  • The absolute best products I have ever owned are:
    My SECA amps (created by Colin, obviously).
    My RFC modded Goodwoods speakers (recreated by Paul RFC obviously).
    My media PC (created by Jason (figlet) during his brief time with NVA).
    James' (Sov) BMU I also like, but I'm not sure I have much to compare it with of its type. Similarly, the likes of Quickie (Paul Quick) are doing stirling work in expertly maintaining some of the old stuff.
    Except for Jason, they are all independent, single-man operations working with their tallent and integrity. Not sure if that's what Paul RFC meant by "underground",...? I enjoy buying and owning these things. They have a sense of craft and quality and bespokeness about them, as well as a strong personal touch.
    The above products are also the best value products I have purchased. I currently have bo intention of replacing them until they literally fall to bits and cannot be repaired.
    Plenty of others (probably most who hear them) would agree to some degree with me: These products sound good.
    Yet all of these creative and engineering geniuses have, or are, struggling to make the success of their products that their products deserve.
    Why is this?
    Is it that one needs, or at least once needed, a large marketing budget to get one's name into the awareness of potential customers, and possibly as important, create an "aspirational"(?) "corporate ident'" [sic].
    May be, at least histiorically, marketting is a near-necessary component of sustainable success in the hifi industry...? I'm not sure what the current state of play is, as my recent experience of hifi if simply my system and this website. I have no idea what it "looks like" in the magazines or mainstream web-media these days. I hope Paul is right, and that hifi is going underground (ie away from glossy mags and the tyrrany of the "corporate ident'"). If so, perhaps that will give those with great products and very fair prices equity. I hope so. Things would feel more authentic if so.
  • Most of the good cottage industries that I know Ben rarely advertise.  They seem to be constantly busy. Included under that list is Radford  Revival, NorthWest Analogue (NWA), Nick Gorham (Longdog Audio), Glenn Croft, Albarry Music, and many others. The other thing is, some of these little industries do things so differently, it would make marketing men shudder in their boots.  I was discussing this with NWA yesterday and they have a very similar outlook to RFC.  They do things partly for the satisfaction and challenge that some projects present.  Whether something is worthwhile is only judged by two measures: The first (and most important) is whether what we do brings happiness to others (in which case it's worthwhile) and secondly whether it brings happiness to us doing it.  Those measures have no place in mass production.  Lose one of those two things in a more artisan business though and the service provided or end product can suffer.  

    The money is secondary although we all have to earn a crust and pay the bills.  Where the buying public sometimes draw short of committing is where they might be inveterate box swappers and buy partly on the ability to realise a strong price of moving things on.  That's where smaller brands lose out because many are little known and few of the mainstream want to shell out unless on a recognised brand name where the resale potential is a given.  That's one of the positives of brand strengths and one of the negatives to cottage industries.  

    I can only speak as it affects my business, and most people coming to me couldn't give a fig about resale value, as it's the perceived value and quality of the products and services offered plus ticking the box of good sound quality.  As far as I know, none of my speakers commissioned have been sold on to date.  To that end, loudspeaker commissions tend to be where people have decided on their destination products and have no intention of moving things on.  That's quite a commitment, so equally we, as the artisan business must strive to provide products matching those aspirations. At least that's the way I look at it.
  • edited November 2015
    Pleasing words Paul. Lovely to read them. A relief too, to this old cynic.
    Enormously gratifying to be a peripheral part of the community of which you speak, even if I'm only a customer!

    Also, I had no idea that you were on speaking terms with NWA.

    edited November 2015
    Ben, you and others are part of the reason that we do what we do.  There's no such thing as "only a customer".  You and other like minded people are pivotal to our being here to provide you with the products and services that we do.  It's a two way street and more businesses ought to keep that in mind.  Not exactly the NWA I had in mind!
  • Symbiosis... :-)

    (...I'm trying think of a way to combine "Dr Dre" with "Dursley" but can't quiet do it...)
  • I found Paul, that I like customers and when they become friends I love em. And Geoff only saw them as a money tree, what  twat he was, friends add to your life in many complex ways. So my customers and friends teach me new things and I just lap it up. Better than a BBC Docu. and normally more honest and fun.
    Gime more please.
  • Couldn't agree more Colin...talking of which, looking forward to meeting you in a few days!
  • That will be lovely see you soon.
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