Candle Vigil

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Orlando and LGBT communities throughout Florida and everywhere. May you find peace and healing in the coming weeks and months.

The tragic events of early Sunday morning have become an all too common occurrence in the United States; Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, San Bernardino and many, many others. The facts of the Orlando shooting will become more clear by the day but due to the work of many hardworking newspaper journalists in Florida, we already know (and did know within hours) a significant amount about the shooter. In particular, his alleged motivations and how he was a licensed security guard (and able to purchase firearms) despite being on the FBI terror watch list as recently as 2014. These are important facts as we try to learn from this tragedy. Newspaper journalists were undoubtedly the first on the story and they will likely be the ones that will do the most in-depth reporting of the impact of the tragedy on the City of Orlando and the LGBT community. It’s what they do.

As always, newspapers play an important role in shaping the public’s consciousness following a traumatic and horrific event (wish I could say unprecedented here.) Along these lines, the front pages of the New York Daily News and New York Post have become somewhat predictable…but this is a certain kind of ”journalism” that overtly plays to the prejudices of readers.

Daily News NY Post Orlando Shooting

It’s difficult to say what exactly is the ”correct” chord to strike in the wake of such an immense tragedy. We thought it best to show how Florida papers -those closest to the tragedy- responded to the Orlando shooting.

Even in Florida, a few newsrooms went the somewhat sensational route:

Florida Times Union June 13th FP

Palm Beach Post June 13th FP

NWFLA Daily News June 13th FP

Generally speaking, however, most of the headlines were more reflective of the basic facts and scale of the terror:

Sun Sentinel June 13th FP

Ft Myers NewsPress June 13th FP

The Tampa Bay Times and the Villages Daily News have two of the more unique and creative front page treatments:

Tampa Bay Times June 13th FP

The Villages Daily Sun June 13th FP

Perhaps most fitting, the Orlando Sentinel has what could easily be describe as the most moving headline and imagery. #OrlandoUnited

Orlando Sentinel June 13th FP

Post by Jim Jinks.

The Future of Hyperlocal News

aol patch
(Photo: Patch)

Earlier this week we posted on the strength of community newspapers, despite the current struggles of their national and regional counterparts.  Part of the reason for their success is the lack of availability of hyper-local news online. Where do you go to find out about local events, local politics, and local businesses?  Chances are, you turn to your weekly community newspaper.  And chances are, you can only find them in print, as very few have complementary websites.

Though some people turn to local pages on Facebook for “news,” these groups contain posts that are not vetted, edited, nor are discussions monitored or moderated.

AOL made a pass at this with Patch, their “hyperlocal news network,” launched originally in 2007 and acquired in 2009.  Patch struggled to achieve profitability and monetize their traffic, and according to a TechCrunch article from December 2013, the network lost AOL millions of dollars in their attempt to keep it alive.

According to the corporate website, AOL spun out Patch to Hale Global in January 2014.  It seems the site now relies heavily on community member posting directly to the site, and the local staff writers and journalists in each location appear to be more regionally-based where one reporter may oversee a dozen or so sites.  They operate 900+ local news sites in 23 states and as of when it was last reported on in 2014, had a staff of about 65.  The “LocalStream” pulls social content from Facebook and Twitter, while the bottom of the page features popular national news stories.

The new management was able to turn the company profitable by May 2014, according to the New York Times.  The biggest change, not surprisingly, was on the advertiser side.  While the site used to rely heavily on local advertisers, and employed sales people to sell display ads to local businesses, it now has a $5k minimum spend.  This almost certainly prices them out of reach for local advertisers.  From what we observed on the sites, most ad space appears to be retargeted programmatic ads.

What does all this mean for the future of local news?  NiemanLab reported last fall that after many local journalists were laid off by Patch when they were sold off by AOL and the company pivoted to become a leaner organization, many of those writers have gone on to launch their own local news sites.

Whether online or in print, “local” represents a huge opportunity for advertisers and allows brands to meet consumers where their heart is, at home.


For advertisers looking for help reaching consumers at the local level, contact us at MediaBids.  Likewise, if you’re looking for national advertisers for your newspaper or magazine, we can help!

Post by Darcy Mauke


Memorial Day Weekend Ads & Deals

american flag.jpeg

If your inbox looks anything like ours, it’s flooded with Memorial Day Weekend sales already.  “The WHOLE store is on SALE up to 25% off EVERYTHING,” “Over 45% Off + More MEMORIAL DAY DEALS,” “Memorial Day Stars & Stripes Weekend Specials.”

It can be hard for companies to cut through the clutter on holiday weekends that have become known for not just parades and BBQs, but aggressive consumer deals as well.  Retailers offer deep discounts in hopes of getting a piece of the pie.  Typically you can find sales on clothing, appliances, camping equipment, electronics, mattresses, and power tools.

We picked up a few of today’s largest national newspapers to sneak a peek at who is advertising in print this MDW.

Wall Street Journal

We only found one small Memorial Day Weekend ad in the WSJ, a 1/9th page 4C ad for a bed and mattress company with a 10-20% off sale plus free delivery.  Overall, there were 5.5 total pages of real estate advertisements (the highest concentration we found out of any paper), 1.5 pages of house ads, and only 9.5 ad pages total.  With 60 total pages in the paper today, that’s less than 16% ads.  There were 24 ads total, 88% of which were in color.

beds direct

New York Times

The NYT had a total of 13.5 ad pages out of the 60 pages total (23%) and had many Memorial Day Weekend themed ads (6 out of 38 – 16%).  Only 37% of the ads in the NYT were in color.  They had 1 page total of house ads, .5 pages of luxury retail, 1 for wireless phone, 2.8 for movies, and 2.9 for cultural activities.  The MDW themed ads included two national department stores, one national retailer, one credit union offering auto loans, one travel ad, and one for an art exhibit.  Lord + Taylor’s ad included a 20% off coupon in addition to advertising 25% off almost all sale & clearance items plus 10% off fragrances with the purchase of a $5 ticket to benefit the USO.  Bloomingdale was highlighting their 60-70% off mattress sale.  And Crate + Barrel was promoting 15% off full priced items in addition to 40% off outdoor furniture.

lord + taylor.jpg



crate + barrel

USA Today

USA Today had the highest concentration of total ads with 7 ad pages out of 32 total (22%).  There were 16 ads which included three with Memorial Day Weekend tie-ins.  This publication had three national auto retailers (Jeep, BMW, and Chevrolet).  The full page Chevrolet ad touted their military discount program.  USA Today also included USA Today Sports edition- a glossy, digest-sized insert with three full page ads within.  Also included was a supplement insert of Healthcare News with several ads for universities with nursing programs, as well as a healthcare ad for Cigna.  63% of all ads were in color.

Chevy Salutes

Boston Globe

The Boston Globe was the smallest paper examined with 54 pages total including 8 ad pages (15%).  We counted 6 Memorial Day themed ads which included a local gym as well as a local auto dealer, and a travel ad as well.  We found the same Lord + Taylor advertisement as found in the NYT, as well as another Chevrolet MDW ad, though this one featured their lineup of available crossovers.  The same Crate + Barrel ad as featured in the NYT was also in here.  Out of the 25 total ads, 26% were in color.  We noticed more DR offers here with ads including coupons for travel, windows and siding, as well as basement finishing.  This edition also included a 10 page double-sided glossy insert for Macy’s Memorial Day Weekend sale including a 10% off promotion.  We also found a double-sided glossy color insert for Sleepy’s advertising ½ off.

local gym


local car


chevy lineup.JPG

macys insert

sleepy's insert

Overall, is seems there is no lack of deals to be found over this holiday weekend.  If you’re still in the office reading this on Friday afternoon…when everyone else is headed to the beach…here are two comprehensive roundups of the best deals of the weekend (you’re welcome):



Happy Memorial Day from MediaBids!

Post by Darcy Mauke

Liar, Liar, Clicks on Fire!

“Fraud.” A word that is starting to permeate the conversations on blogs and news sites covering the digital advertising industry. As people start to dig deeper into online response rates, more and more startling findings are beginning to emerge.

According to a new study produced by Invesp Consulting, Ad Fraud Accounts for $1 of every $3 Spent! That means a THIRD of advertising spend online is completely wasted. If marketers moved that budget to print, they could turn those wasted ad dollars into qualified, verifiable new leads. The infographic below outlines the online advertising fraud findings in more detail:

Infographic provided by Invesp Consulting

What can marketers do to combat this?

Our recommendation, of course, is to move a portion of the budget back towards traditional channels where there is a lower risk of fraudulent activity.

However, if you have a large spend online, it is worth the investment to enroll the help of a fraud-prevention service. There are third-party verification firms such as Adloox , Forensiq and Simility that take a deep look at traffic sources to weed out potential fraudulent activity and publishers. This info can help you negotiate refunds from your advertising service providers, as well as prevent further fraudulent activity.

If you’re an SMB, Google Analytics can show you where your referral traffic is coming from, and you can comb through the data to try and evaluate fraud sources to block their traffic or remove them from your advertising plan.

Other recommendations can be found by visiting the  Alliance for Audited Media – a group that focuses on validating the audience of media properties

This is a major issue – expect to read much more about it in weeks to come.

Post by Jess Greiner

Gannett bids for Tribune


All newspaper industry eyes are watching to see what will happen next with Gannett and Tribune.  On vacation or taking a digital hiatus and miss the news of Gannett’s bid to buy Tribune earlier this week?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Here’s a roundup of articles on the potential acquisition:

  • USA Today provided a good overview of the news of the deal in which Gannett has offered $815 million to buy Tribune just weeks after acquiring Journal Media Group for $280 million.


  • The Tribune chairman Michael Ferro Jr. reportedly missed the email from Gannett CEO Robert Dickey offering to buy the company, as reported by the Wall Street Journal:


  • The WSJ details that the offer has not been without drama:


  • Poynter provides interesting commentary and speculation that the takeover is likely to go through, though not without the blessing of the DOJ:


  • Predictions from Poynter on what the deal would mean for Tribune, should it go through:


  • Media Life Magazine taps newspaper merger and acquisitions authority Sara April to provide expert analysis of the deal and what it means in the context of industry trends, pointing to a recent surge in newspaper deals.


  • For more analysis from Media Life, particularly through the lens of what it means for Tribune, see here:


The acquisition would certainly have effects for media buyers and advertisers – even though Gannett claims editorial staff is valued and journalists would not be affected, it is very likely many administrative functions (ad sales, billing, etc.) will be centralized or “streamlined” to maximize cost savings ($50 million in “synergies”).  Now that we’re all caught up, stay tuned.  The uncertainty is undoubtedly shaking things up at papers held by both media companies.  More to come.

Post by Darcy Mauke

Newspaper Readers Don’t Use Mobile Phones

Did I get your attention?

Conventional wisdom, at least from not long ago, would say that older Americans are not that ”digital.” In 2014, Pew Research showed that people 65+ were still about 18% less likely to use a mobile phone and they’re only about half as likely to go online and/or have broadband access. In other words, people 65+ are kind of like the ”settlers” in the latest (and very funny) series of DIRECTV commercials.

For sure, older Americans are still doing some things at a higher rate than the generations coming up behind them; like watching TV (when the show airs rather than time shifting), using the landline to make calls, ”going online” using their desktop PC and reading newspapers (the kind that will occasionally leave black ink on your fingers.) However, if our first-quarter call data is any indication, the conventional wisdom about older Americans and newspaper readers may be quickly becoming more conventional than wisdom.

Mobile vs Landline Chart

Our chart shows the percentage difference between the number of mobile calls versus landline calls; meaning in Texas, for example, there were over 300% more mobile calls than landline calls during the first three months of this year. New York State, at the other end of this scale, had a small difference between the number of mobile and landline calls. Of course, without weighing the types of publications and the specific advertisers that drove the calls, we’re not suggesting anyone jump to conclusions. Although, the advertiser mix is likely similar across these states. Also, for this comparison we only looked at the ten highest population states. The total sample, for all ten states, is tens of thousands of qualified calls.

The point is that with so much change in media devices and technology and so much change in our habits over the past several years, it’s likely we don’t know as much about ”seniors,” ”millennials,” ”adults 25-54” or any demographic set for that matter. If newspaper and print readers are reaching for their mobile phones first (often at a much higher rate than landlines) then it’s time to update the popular view of newspaper/print readers…if it’s possible.

Post by Jim Jinks




5 Crazy Facts About Inbound Calls


Here at MediaBids, we drive some great, high-quality phone calls to our advertisers from ads we place in newspapers and magazines. Our calls are typically 6-7 minutes long, meaning our clients get some great leads and sales from the customers we drive.

Typically, inbound phone calls are great for advertisers no matter what the medium it is that drives them. We’re partial to print, but here’s some crazy facts about the inbound call landscape right now:

Despite all of the digital ways consumers can use to interact with a company, phone calls are still a huge part of of the sales and customer service cycle, and they’re not going away any time soon.

Post by Jess Greiner


Happy Made-Up Holiday Day!

lexington-180975_1280Many of you outside the northeast may be unaware but today in Massachusetts (and Maine), public workers and school kids have the day off to celebrate Patriot’s Day -the two-state holiday commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord; the events that kicked off the American Revolution in April, 1775. It’s also the day that the rest of us in New England, bitter and disgruntled, feel cheated for not having a ”made-up holiday” like Patriot’s Day. So in honor of the day and in the spirit of made-up holidays (sorry to my Massachusetts (and Maine) friends), I thought why not take a break from blogging about media and the print industry. Instead, today, we’ll look at other made-up holidays (a.k.a. important state traditions) from around the country.


Alaska -Seward’s Day (March 28th, thereabouts) – The United States purchased  Alaska from Russia in 1867. Seward’s Day celebrates Secretary of State William Seward’s signing of the treaty that made Alaska officially a part of the U.S.

Texas -Texas Independence Day (March 2nd)- In case you didn’t know Texas was once an independent country, Texas celebrates a holiday to remind you. The kids don’t get the day off from school but some state workers do have the day off. The Texas Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence.



Texas -San Jacinto Day (April 21st)-As they say, everything is big in Texas. This goes for state holidays as well. In addition to celebrating their declaration of independence, they also celebrate the day they won the battle of San Jacinto; the victory that won Texas’ independence from Mexico. San Jacinto is an official state holiday, meaning all public workers and school kids have the day off.



Hawaii -King Kamehameha Day (June 11th)- King Kamehameha Day is an official state holiday in Hawaii. It’s a day that Hawaiians celebrate their rich heritage and history. It’s the only official holiday in America that celebrates the life and contributions of a royal figure.


Utah – Pioneer Day (July 24th)- Pioneer Day is an official state holiday in Utah, commemorating the arrival of Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. They made the treacherous winter journey from Illinois to Utah, in 1847, to escape religious persecution and start anew.



Nevada -Nevada Day (October 31st)- Apparently October 31st is extra special in Nevada. Along with Halloween, it’s ”Nevada Day,” an official state holiday. It commemorates October 31st, 1864, the day Nevada was admitted to statehood. Apparently Nevada has by far the largest statewide celebration of its admission to statehood. As far as ”made-up” holidays go, Nevada has as good as a reason to take a day as anyone.

There you have it. Our unofficial list of all the odd-ball state holidays from around the country. I know I skipped a few in Texas, but c’mon, how many does one state really need anyway? If I missed one, please mention it in the comments below. Thanks.

Post by Jim Jinks


Generating Ad Revenue in Print


A recent article in The Guardian points to the challenges newspapers face attracting advertisers and maintaining ad revenue.  And yet millions of people are still picking up print editions.  Though the article comments specifically on the UK market, the same could be said of the industry here in the US.  But contrary to the sentiment the author suggests that “publishers must find new ways to convince advertisers that they have audiences worth targeting,” we would argue that publishers are tasked with finding alternative ways to monetize their product.  Convincing advertisers of the value of their readership is not enough.

While many have looked to selling digital advertising as their saving grace, there is another option.  A new revenue stream within the print property.  Per-inquiry advertising.  Yes, this involves publications taking on risk and shifting from their traditional model.  But if they are boasting engaged readership, shouldn’t they have confidence in their ability to drive response?

Advertisers are paying per response in other mediums, so is it really that unrealistic that they expect to be able to do the same in print?  They demand performance, measurability, and tracking.  Advertisers need to justify spending, after all.

Here are MediaBids, we believe in the power and value of newspapers.  Our President, Jedd Gould, has said “we at MediaBids feel very strongly that newspapers and magazines are a critical component to democracy in the United States…we really feel that without newspapers and magazines and the original content that they’re producing, we all would be worse off”.  When is this truer than in an election year?  Yet, we know the model is being threatened by economic pressures and changes in the advertising landscape.

Hundreds of publications have already adapted and teamed with MediaBids to run per inquiry ads.  While response varies widely depending on many factors such as advertising campaign and publication size, its undeniable these campaigns are driving calls and sales, thus delivering revenue to publications.  If you’d like to increase your advertising revenue and feature national advertisers in your publication, give us a call today at 860-379-9602 or learn more at https://www.mediabids.com/publication/print-advertising.jsp.

Limit Your Opportunity Costs & Raise Your Short-Term ROI

Money TreesEven if money did grow on trees, we would still be faced with decisions in business (and life) that cost us revenue or income, all the time. Really, the only question is to what degree or how much.

In economics this is referred to as ”opportunity costs.” It is the ”loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.” In other words, when we make a choice, we lose the value (however defined) of having made other choices.

Business owners and managers are faced with opportunity costs nearly every day. This is perhaps most acute in terms of hiring new employees – especially salespeople. The churn rate in sales averages about 28% a year, meaning if you hire four salespeople this year you are nearly certain to end the year with only three. As we all know, the time and costs associated with hiring salespeople are high. A quick Google search turns up a range of $120k to over $1 million per year, depending on the industry. These costs include salary, benefits, training and lost productivity (meaning new sales!) What seems to go unnoticed or under-appreciated, is the fact that the costs of generating sales -in the short-term- is likely to exceed the revenue from new sales, meaning your short-term ROI is negative or neutral at best. It’s a major challenge.

Media properties and publications face these same costs and challenges. Increasingly, print publications have turned to ”off the page” or alternative revenue sources; these include events, sponsorships, buying clubs, in-house marketing businesses, etc. Nevertheless, there is one alternative source that doesn’t require an upfront investment of time and resources, the opportunity costs are low and the short-run ROI may well compete with the hiring of a new sales rep.

At Mediabids, our alternative revenue, print advertising service has an upside potential (like other alternatives) but without the high opportunity and hard costs of other options. You simply select the ads and tell us the size/specs. You run the ads in your pages. We then pay you for the response. It’s that simple!

sales chartWe have several publications (particularly the ones that view our service as a true alternative revenue source) that generate over $100k a year. Keep in mind, this revenue is virtually cost free and relative to the costs of other alt revenue options (or the option of hiring a new salesperson), the short-run ROI is tough to beat.

Even if money is growing on trees, at your organization, the opportunity costs of alternatives to Mediabids’ alternative revenue, print advertising, are likely to be unnecessarily high. If you’re considering the pros and cons of your options in the alt revenue space, be sure to include short-run ROI among the variables to be evaluated.

Post by Jim Jinks.