Monthly Archives: July 2009

Did Michael Jackson’s kids make the Daily Mail the most visited UK newspaper site in June?

The Daily Mail surprisingly overtook the Telegraph and Guardian in the June ABCes – with more unique visitors than any other UK newspaper (this is a cross-post of my original June ABCe analysis on my blog).

However it was only 4th in terms of UK visitors. Figures from, which tracks Americans’ internet use, show that, of the 4.7 million unique users the Mail added from May to June, 1.2 million were from the USA. American and other foreign visitors searching for Michael Jackson’s kids – the Mail tops for a search on this – drove this overseas growth.

US traffic to UK newspaper sites

Of the big three UK newspaper sites this is what happened to their US traffic from May to June:

This dramatic increase in traffic, compared to its rivals, from May to June helps explains how the Mail leapfrogged the Guardian and Telegraph.

compete-mail-traffic was the main referrer to the Mail – responsible for 22.7% of its traffic. More on this below. Next up was (a large US news aggregation site), followed by and

What was behind this rise in US traffic?

So what led to this sudden increase for the Mail? Compete also shows you the main search terms that lead US visitors to sites. Continue reading

2 great analyses of the Associated Press’s plans to be the RIAA of news

Pat Thornton writes on AP’s plans to stop people sharing news content…

DRM always works like this: It never stops people who really want to steal or break the law, but it almost always hinders law abiding, paying customers. Will this extra layer of code eat up CPU cycles and RAM, bring computers to a halt and not even work on some machines? My guess is that this negatively impacts law abiding users. User experiences matter.

And Jackie Hai looks at what they should be doing.

It’s time to take news to the next level, to a form that not only informs and educates, but also has strong replay value. Then, and only then, will people be willing to pay for it.

They shoot – they score!

Copying text from a Daily Mail article? You’ll get a URL at the end {updated}

Here’s a curious feature of stories on the Daily Mail website. When you copy text from an article and then paste it elsewhere you get something like the following appended to the end:

Read more: 

I’ve no idea how they do it, and I’m not even sure how I feel about it. On the one hand it feels rather intrusive and annoying in a world where the user experience is pretty important; on the other, in many cases it would save me time.

Here’s the article I was copying from – oh, hold on, I didn’t need to do that did I?

Would love your thoughts.

UPDATE: It seems the technology behind this may be by – see comments. Also see the comments on this follow-up on The Next Web and this write-up of Tynt. Don’t you love the power of blogging?

Who links to the report they’re reporting on?

This week the UK government released a report into social mobility. While mainstream reporting focused mainly on the broad picture, I wanted to read the original government report itself. Which publishers linked to it?

I’ve written and spoken extensively on the importance of linking, but it comes down to 2 core reasons:

Firstly, Google will rank a page more highly if it includes more outgoing links.

Secondly, people will return to your site more often if they know they can expect useful links.

So, get your act together, please what are news organisations doing to address this?

Managing Editor wanted for Bureau of Investigative Journalism

These days any journalist job ad is news, but this one is particularly worth blogging about. The recently formed Investigations Fund has in turn launched the Bureau of Investigative Journalism with a £2million grant from the David and Elaine Potter Foundation, and they’re looking for a Managing Editor.

Here’s the PDF of the job ad. The closing date is actually August 17 and not the 7th as stated in the ad. Although the job ad doesn’t particularly reflect it, the Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism Gavin Macfadyen expresses a desire for the Bureau to experiment with new media: Continue reading

The future of journalism: Will journalists be paying out of their own pockets?

While talking to an editor at a newspaper that had made a splash with a crowdsourced investigative story a couple years ago, I remember the subject of payment coming up, to which she made an interesting point. The citizens who contribute their time and effort have a personal interest in the story and do it because they want to help the paper – this is a citizenry interacting with its hometown newspaper for the betterment of the community and for the good of democracy. It was a valid point. After all, if they paid their citizens, they wouldn’t just be citizens anymore, they’d be employees.

News organizations have long been excused from digital sharecropping, a label that has been attached to crowdsourced businesses that exploit free labor from the public without offering compensation. Perhaps, media entities benefit from the altruistic and democratic nature of information sharing. The millions of Internet users that voluntarily put content out for free are more than a testament to that.

But where should the line be drawn? When should news organizations and media conglomerates begin to have to start paying for utilizing the time and resources of their volunteer contributors while holding complete ownership of the product – or at the very least, making revenue off of an individual’s product? Continue reading

Guardian winning newspaper-URL tweet war

Other people have tweeted (or retweeted) the Guardian’s URLs 328,288 times over the last 4 months – way more than any other UK newspaper, according to my full analysis here.

The FT and Times have more followers on Twitter than the Telegraph and Mail – but they’re not tweeted about as often. The Telegraph is in second place: 120,731 tweets by other people (ie excluding the Telegraph’s own accounts) have included a link to one if its URLs. The Daily Mail is 3rd with 95,851.

How many times each newspaper has had a URL tweeted by someone else

  • Guardian: 328,288
  • Telegraph: 120,731
  • Daily Mail: 95,851
  • The Sun: 33,580
  • Independent: 24,423
  • Times Online: 23,329
  • Mirror: 13,881
  • Express: 2,818
  • 691

Continue reading

As one blog newspaper dies, another one rises: theblogpaper Q&A

Last week The Printed Blog – a US experiment in printing a selection of blog entries as a newspaper – gave up the ghost after 16 issues. Around the same time I was contacted by theblogpaper, a blogging community website which by September aims to… you guessed it: publish a selection of blog entries as a free newspaper (in London). The people behind the project are Anton von Waldburg and Karl Jo Seilern.

In a series of emails I asked co-founder Anton von Waldburg why he thought theblogpaper would succeed where The Printed Blog didn’t. Here are his responses:

The obvious question first: how does theblogpaper differ from The Printed Blog?

I suppose we differ from The Printed Blog in several ways. Most importantly we are trying to build a platform ( which aims to incorporate users not only into the creation of the content but most importantly into the editing process. Continue reading

Review: Search Engine Society by Alexander Halavais

Searching is the most popular activity online after email. It is the prism through which we experience a significant proportion of the world’s information – from news and information about our community, through to health information, commerce, and just about anything that has a presence online.

Search Engine Society takes a critical look at search engines, how they work, the techniques used to manipulate them – from gaining better rankings to censorship, and the implications for privacy and democracy. Continue reading

The Independent’s experiments with debate visualisation tool: Q&A

For several months The Independent has been experimenting with Debategraph – a mindmapping tool that allows you to visualise various perspectives on big issues, and add new ones. From ‘What should the Labour Party do next?‘ to ‘The Future of Newspapers‘, the tool branches out from the initial question to sub-questions and responses.
Continue reading