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Old Media Reputation vs. New Media Reputations

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When Digg, Techcrunch, Gigaom, or others talk about me or Fon, visits to my website or Fon's go through the roof. But on Sunday the New York Times had me on the cover of the business Sunday Times with a huge picture and long article and the increased visit effect to our websites was negligible. Same was true when Forbes wrote a great article about myself and Fon. Even though the Sunday New York Times has a circulation of 2.3 million papers and is arguably the best newspaper in the world, the cover article only added 200 additional uniques to this website. Instead, when I heard from Michael Dell that he used Ubuntu, I blogged it, my post was picked up by Digg and I got over 50,000 additional unique visitors to my blog!

But, while there is a big disconnect between old media and new media and old media does not send visitors to new media, the impact of an old media paper article far exceeds that of an Internet article. Michael Arrington may send you a lot of visitors, but it is rare that I will go somewhere and people will remember what Techcrunch wrote a year ago. With paper this is not the case. People will cite the Erika Brown's Forbes article a year later. And yesterday I was getting many emails from long time friends and even a former university professor about the New York Times article and this does not happen to me when blogs who send tons of visitors write about me or Fon.

There really is something about old media that we retain for a long time which is not true of new media and this may explain why people like Tom Friedman are still not blogging. As a consequence an old media reputation, good or bad, seems to be deeper and longer lasting than the flavor of the month reputation that the Internet builds. When John Markoff writes paper in hand people listen. They know that Markoff has fact checkers, has done his research and is paid to spend a lot of time on a story. Same was true of Erika Brown whose fact checkers kept calling me for weeks before the Forbes story came out. So while I try to write objectively from my blog and so do other bloggers I don't think anyone of us has the time or resources yet of a Forbes or a New York Times. Old Media still has more money to pay journalists than new media and it shows. Nor does new media have the undivided attention that readers of magazines or newspapers get. Paper, whether we like it or not, still looks better than screens. So even though I have been an advocate of new media for 12 years and I have never invested in any news that came out in paper, I still think that paper is more credible than pixels.

An old media reputation is still more valuable and lasting than a new media reputation.