But with questions about the real value of its aggressive traffic growth and with its investors unhappy about the site’s financial returns, Forbes.com is radically reinventing itself.
Last week, the site ran its first ad under AdVoice, a new program that lets advertisers run their own blogs that appear alongside Forbes’ regular editorial contributors. SAP was the first to take up Forbes on the offer.
Emph. added. (Also: "last week" is now actually about three weeks ago.)
And ask yourself when the last time was you heard something this shameless.
As Dvorkin has explained it, the approach recognizes consumers’ desire to be on an equal footing with journalists and marketers’ demand to reach consumers more effectively.
Oh, and about those Forbes journalists:
Meanwhile, editors have been pressured to increasingly rely on nonpaid contributors for the Web, with the goal, as one former editor put it, “of not paying anything for content.”
Michael Learmonth of AdAge.com reminds us further aspects that might not immediately come to mind:
Marketers will try AdVoice, although they'll have to consider whether to invest in hiring bloggers, retraining PR staff or, well, just outsourcing it to Forbes to make it effective, said Chris Perry, CEO of digital at PR giant Weber Shandwick.
Then there's the question of how Forbes AdVoice posts appear in search. While brand websites tend to appear prominently in natural search results, their ads don't. Forbes is nothing if not expert at optimizing content for search, and now advertising or corporate blog posts could benefit from that. Think press releases with as many links and Google juice as a Forbes article. Mr. Gentzel said the labeling for the posts would extend to search.
(Mr. Gentzel is Forbes's Chief Revenue Officer Kevin Gentzel.)
Let's hear from himself again:
"For the last however many decades of traditional media, you're a reader so your stuff can only go here," Mr. DVorkin said, starting to get animated. "You're an advertiser so stuff can only go here. And our stuff? It goes right here. But there's a flow of content that's contextual. Anything can appear in any place as long as it's contextual -- that's the web and we are bringing that sensibility to the magazine."
So, when the above bad goes to even worse, say, when one of those unpaid bloggers is approached by one of the "equal footing" "content" providers and offered a little consideration in return for a little consideration, if you know what I mean and I think you do, who will call attention to that? An ombudsman? Who also just happens to work for the PR division of SAP?
In conclusion, Lewis D'Vorkin continues to bolster his reputation as a truly slanted capitalist tool.
(h/t: a D'Vorkin watcher, via email)