Saturday, October 30, 2004

Sunset at 1770

Sunset at 1770
Originally uploaded by mariushendrik.

Just trying out posting pictures from Flickr to this weblog.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Lonely Publishers

In a previous life, I had the opportunity for a period to knock around with a bunch of CEO's of book publishing companies. While they were terrific after-dinner speakers, they (on the whole) were clueless about Interactive Media. With a notable exception: Lonely Planet, an innovative publisher of travel books.

I remember pointing out advertising revenue possibilities for their web site to someone on their web team. But they were way ahead of the game. They feared that advertising on their site or in their books would threaten their position as an source of independent travel information. So they started licensing their content to AOL and Yahoo, receiving royalties rather than earning their own advertising revenue. And they focussed their website on building an ongoing relationship with their readers, while using it to collect real-time feedback on their guides.

Today, they still don't promote anything other than Lonely Planet branded products (of which there are now many more) on their site, but I just noticed that their latest venture now makes it even easier for any company to add Lonely Planet content to their own site. So, if you had a travel agency, you could easily add Lonely Planet travel destination descriptions and recommendations to your own site. In principle the same as what they've been providing to large providers like Yahoo and AOL, but "sliced and diced" to suit another market. They have succeeded admirably in balancing the need to protect their brand while making the most of their valuable content.

As for the other publishers, their web sites still look like hard-to-navigate-brochure-ware and no doubt they still do after-dinner speeches about the evils of parallel importing and