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Dog Bites Website 357

Posted by JonKatz
from the can-open-marketing-online-save-writers? dept.
I'm not much of a salesman, in comfort or skill, but I'm willing to hype my books, especially given the realities of 21st Century publishing, when you do it yourself or nobody does it. Some people think if you get a book published, you're a big deal and a rich one. If you're Grisham or King, that's true. The reality: Few books sell well, and even fewer (mine, for example) make money. Can content like books be successfully "open-marketed" on the Net? I say yes.

In early March my eleventh book A Dog Year; Twelve Months, Four Dogs and Me was published by Random House/Villard. For several months I've been working on a bottom-up, Net-based marketing program that permits me to push my own book in my own way, rather than rely on big publishing or big media. That led me to the banner ad on this site a lot of you have seen and e-mailed me about. So why am I buying a banner ad, on Slashdot of all places, to tout my new book about a year with four dogs? It's a chance for me to tick off the yowling hordes, which is always fun. Some will shriek that a dog saga has little to do with open source, technology or selling things on the Net. But it does, and I'm happy -- eager, even -- to explain why.

I do most of my hyping for A Dog Year in the expected places -- in media interviews and on various dog-related sites, mailing lists and forums.

My reason for advertising here, too, is that I believe the Net offers the best place for individual entrepreneurs of all kinds -- writers, game creators, artists, musicians, software designers -- to skirt conventional costs, limitations and marketing practices and find their own audiences. To me, that's a big part of the "open" in open source. Younger people raised on the Net don't pay nearly as much attention to mainstream media as their elders, so we have to reach them where they are. The good news is that we can.

In fact, Net communications themselves have become increasingly segmented and targeted. Much has become subterranean, centered on mailing lists, IM and other limited-entry venues. In the weeks before my book's publication, I concentrated on these grass-roots venues, contacting websites, subscribing to mailing lists, e-mailing excerpts of my book to people who were interested. People on special interests lists and chat rooms don't mind being pitched on subjects they're interested in. They don't consider it spam. What they hate is being bombarded with messages for things they don't care about, which is what traditional media does. Besides which, I can't afford to take an ad out in Time magazine or on the ABC Evening News.

Elsewhere, individual entrepreneurs and creators find it more and more difficult to survive. The megacorporations who've taken over much of culture and media are primarily interested in best-selling mega-products -- Britney Spears, John Grisham -- not idiosyncratic ones like mine. They have a point, too. My last book found its own audience, or rather its audience found it. It did all right, but didn't sell much beyond it's core audience. To successfully market a book like Running To The Mountain or A Dog Year (at least in the conventional way) could cost more money than my publisher expects to earn. And interesting, I believe the Running To The Mountain excerpt that ran on Slashdot sold more books than a subsequent appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show.

The Net, at least in theory, can bypass that stalemate and create radical new opportunities for artists of all kinds. So I don't mind paying for my own ad. I think it has worked.

Individuals are under attack all across our culture, from the likes of Microsoft and Wal-Mart and Sony to publishing conglomerates. The Net can be a way out for people like me (us), whether we're telling the story of our dogs or coming up with new software. What's why I bought a banner on Slashdot. If it works, it could sell some books, sure. I have no apologies to make for that. But it could also help demonstrate to writers and other people struggling to survive in a mass-market world that the Open Source idea is only fractionally about software. It's about individualism, free expression, and a culture open to us all.

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Dog Bites Website

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  • I Hate You (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alphaparadigm (306270)
    JohnKatz is lame!
    • I'm not much of a salesman, in comfort or skill, but I'm willing to hype my books,

      by abusing using your powers as an editor at what purports to be a "news" site, thereby proving to all and sundry that you are no longer even bothering to predend to have a shred of journalistic integrity.

      especially given the realities of 21st Century publishing, when you do it yourself or nobody does it.

      Really? You mean to tell me that the publishing industry has decided to abandon advertising altogether? Advertisements for the latest Stephen King (RIP) book are taken out by Mr. King himself?

      Some people think if you get a book published, you're a big deal and a rich one. If you're Grisham or King, that's true. The reality: Few books sell well, and even fewer (mine, for example) make money Can content like books be successfully "open-marketed" on the Net? I say yes.

      I'd attempt to answer that question, except I don't know what the fuck "open-marketed" means.

      In early March my eleventh book A Dog Year; Twelve Months, Four Dogs and Me was published by Random House/ Villard. For several months I've been working on a bottom-up, Net-based marketing program that permits me to push my own book in my own way,

      Which includes, apparently, writing a "story" which is a barely-concealed advertisement of the book and using your connections to post this advertisement to the front page of a popular site.

      rather than rely on big publishing or big media.

      Oooh, scary... are they like big tobacco and big oil?

      That led me to the banner ad on this site a lot of you have seen and e-mailed me about. So why am I buying a banner ad, on Slashdot of all places, to tout my new book about a year with four dogs?

      Because it gives you an excuse to write a much larger advertisement for your book, thinly disguised as a "story" about buying a banner ad?

      It's a chance for me to tick off the yowling hordes, which is always fun. Some will shriek that a dog saga has little to do with open source, technology or selling things on the Net.

      Well, actually it has nothing to do with any of those things.

      But it does, and I'm happy -- eager, even -- to explain why.

      I do most of my hyping for A Dog Year in the expected places -- in media interviews and on various dog-related sites, mailing lists and forums.

      My reason for advertising here, too, is that I believe the Net offers the best place for individual entrepreneurs of all kinds -- writers, game creators, artists, musicians, software designers -- to skirt conventional costs, limitations and marketing practices

      For example, by abusing your powers as an editor of a news site and posting an advertisement for your book. Oh wait, no, this is a legitimate news story about how you bought a banner ad to advertise your book. Right.

      and find their own audiences. To me, that's a big part of the "open" in open source. Younger people raised on the Net don't pay nearly as much attention to mainstream media as their elders, so we have to reach them where they are. The good news is that we can.

      A big part of the "open" in open source is that now you can advertise on the web?

      In fact, Net communications

      read: advertisements

      themselves have become increasingly segmented and targeted.

      Yes, thanks to the ubiquity of "what kind of spam do you want to sign up for" checklists in site and software registration pages

      Much has become subterranean, centered on mailing lists, IM and other limited-entry venues. In the weeks before my book's publication, I concentrated on these grass-roots venues, contacting websites, subscribing to mailing lists, e-mailing excerpts of my book to people who were interested.

      Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

      People on special interests lists and chat rooms don't mind being pitched on subjects they're interested in. They don't consider it spam.

      *cough*bullshit*cough*

      What they hate is being bombarded with messages for things they don't care about, which is what traditional media does.

      Messages for things they don't care about... You mean like an ad for a dog book an a computer/tech news site?

      Besides which, I can't afford to take an ad out in Time magazine or on the ABC Evening News.

      Elsewhere, individual entrepreneurs and creators find it more and more difficult to survive. The megacorporations who've taken over much of culture and media

      Rand McNally ain't exactly an independant publisher.

      are primarily interested in best-selling mega-products -- Britney Spears, Jon Grisham -- not idiosyncratic ones like mine.

      Idiosyncratic? Not a best-selling mega-product? What happed to you being one of the few authors whose books made money?

      They have a point, too. My last book found its own audience, or rather its audience found it. It did all right, but didn't sell much beyond it's core audience.

      Which is it, Jon, do you have a small audience, or are your books some of the few that sell well and make money? Jesus Christ, can't you keep your story straight through an entire article?

      To successfully market a book like Running To The Mountain or A Dog Year (at least in the conventional way) could cost more money than my publisher expects to earn.

      Technically, I think that would be "unsuccessful marketing"

      And interesting, I believe the Running To The Mountain excerpt that ran on Slashdot sold more books than a subsequent appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show.

      The Net, at least in theory, can bypass that stalemate and create radical new opportunities for artists of all kinds. So I don't mind paying for my own ad. I think it has worked.

      Yes, it's given you an opportunity to right an entire page of this crap to hype your book.

      Individuals are under attack all across our culture, from the likes of Microsoft and Wal-Mart and Sony to publishing conglomerates.

      Except for Rand McNally, they're quite nice.

      The Net can be a way out for people like me (us), whether we're telling the story of our dogs or coming up with new software. What's why I bought a banner on Slashdot.

      If you actually bought it. Given the gross abuse of editorial privilage which is this "story", I wouldn't be surprised if no money actually changed hands.

      If it works, it could sell some books, sure. I have no apologies to make for that.

      How about an apology for this "story", then? Tell me, if I come up with a product and buy a banner ad on Slashdot, do I get to write a front page "story" saying "look at me, I bought a banner ad! Isn't the internet great?"

      But it could also help demonstrate to writers and other people struggling to survive in a mass- market world that the Open Source idea is only fractionally about software. It's about individualism, free expression, and a culture open to us all.

      Advertising on the internet = individualism and freedom. Advertising on TV or in print = corporatism and oppression. Right. Got it.

      One final question - do the subscribers have to deal with this shit too, or did this story get filtered out as an advertisement? If I had subscribed with the promise of eliminating ads and had to see this shit, I'd demand a refund.

  • Advert as content? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by casio282 (468834)
    I don't mean to be troll-ish, but why is Slashdot posting this blatant advertisement as a news story? Am I missing something?

    Gentle corrections are welcomed.
    • Because Jon Katz is a slashdot editor, and can post whatever he wants, basically. If CmdrTaco wrote a book, I'd expect a writeup about it here.

      Now what we need is for someone to write a review about "A Dog Year" and get it submitted.

      Hopefully from someone who didn't like the book. (:

    • Because part of Slashdot's new finance model includes the posting of one "sponsored" story (i.e., advertisement in the form of a story) per day. This was announced along with a bunch of the other subscription news.
    • by aikido_kit (546590) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:33AM (#3394485)
      Not only is this an advertisement, but on my preferences, I have it set to not show articles by Jon Katz. But I see it anyway. Wonder if this is a bug, or an article that I can't filter out.

      Looks like Jon wanted to make sure everyone saw this.

    • I know, I should have done this a long time ago, but this JonKatz adverticle is over the top. Note to JonKatz: I ain't buying your crappy book either!
    • by KnowsNot (559056)

      I'm not sure that I see the problem with this article. I would say that it makes a valid point about the possibilities of grassroots advertising and the individual creator on the net. There is no doubt that it also advertises JonKatz's new book, but using the same engine that the article comments on--which in some circles might be considered clever. There is probably some argument that this article is such "preaching to the choir" that the newsworthiness of grassroots online advertising is reduced and only the advertisement remains. However, the generally negative reaction to the article suggests that maybe the point is news (or at least a good topic for discussion). Comments that relate less to the obvious fact that there is advertising in the article and more to whether or not such article/advertisements are a boon or bane to open online communities would certainly be more interesting. I support the use of online communities for grassroots marketing, understanding that the marketer must try to walk the line between contributing to the community and mere profiteering. Perhaps, this article crosses that line, but I wouldn't have thought so.

    • Come on, be fair.

      This blatant ad is the best thing Katz has ever written. To the point, logical, even engaging. Certainly the first Katz speel I've read to the end.
    • Yes, you are (Score:2, Interesting)

      by JonKatz (7654)
      I expected this reponse, of course, but you are missing something..like the point of the site. If the Net and the Web can be used to communicate content like books apart from entities like big publishes, big media (big software manufacturers), that's very newsworthy. I want other people who create content to understand how this could work.So I think you are missing something. There are many better venues to promote a dog book than on Slashdot, but I really feel strongly that writers, artists, individuals, etc. should understand that mailing lists, blogs, etc. are a huge opportunity to bypass the big company/big media marketing systems. To me, that's a big OS idea, the reason I came to write for the site in the first. It's essential that this message get out, I think,as so many music writers, book writers, etc., are not able to deal with big marketing realities.
      • I expected this reponse, of course, but you are missing something..like the point of the site.

        The "point" of the site (if it has one) are links to articles that Taco and the editors find interesting, and discussing them. "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters".

        But be that as it may, my particular problem with your article is that it's primary point seems to be to advertise your book, and not to make points about self-publishing. Even the subject references your book!

        I realize it's a fine line between writing about your personal experiences, and selling your personal wares. But maybe you should read over your article and ask yourself what the primary focus is. Is the primary focus your trial and tribulations of self-marketing or a plug for your new book? To my reading, it looks like a plug with a small amount of discussion tacked on.

        If the point had really been about your experiences with self publishing, you could have written a much more in-depth article without ever mentioning your book, or just having a small link to a page about it. But you didn't choose that route. You wrote a very short, shallow article that only half-tried to make a point about self publishing.

        Sorry, but I'm just not buying it. Ironically, I probably would have had less of a problem with it if you HAD just an article that said, "Hey! I have a new book being published. Apologies for abusing the site in this way. Thanks for reading, bye!". At least then you are being honest and not trying to disguise the plug for the book.

      • Jon,

        I have no problem with the use of a public online forum as a marketing tool, provided that there exists an organic relationship between the forum's focus and the product being touted, as well as a marked understanding of the audience/community by the marketer; in other words, the product should be of general interest to the community at hand, and the marketer should be a member of that community (e.g. no spammers).

        I think you satisfy the second provision; while some might get all frothy upon seeing your name attached to articles, there's no doubting that you understand, and are a (not uncontroversial) part of the slashdot community. But the first requirement, that the product should fit organically within the context of the forum, just isn't met...I mean, sure, lots of folks love dogs, including slashdot readers, but, really, isn't a story about a book about a man and his dogs just Meta-Offtopic in the slashdot context?

        This Offtopic-ness would certainly be enough for slashdot editors to reject a story from an (functionally, not literally) anonymous contributor. So while you extol the virtues of the "little guy" seizing the open-forum of the internet, this isn't in fact an example of that. This is an example of someone taking advantage of a privileged position vis a vis a particular forum, and using that advantage to publish the sort of advertisement that the general public wouldn't be able to publish.

        So maybe what you advocating is that the "little guy" exploit privileged positions within institutions they may be a part of in order to sell whatever it is they're selling. This message, to me, is not so noble...

      • And a huge breach of etiquette. Not that you would understand what that is. Your posting a blatant advertisement for your book on a news/discussion site is disgusting, to put it mildly. In other words, OFFTOPIC.
      • by Sean Clifford (322444) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @02:00PM (#3395999) Journal
        Point taken - yeah, there are effective grassroots means of marketing stuff (books, pr0n, whatever) online. However, spamming mailing lists, blogs, newsgroups, and other places you work ain't one of them.

        It would have been a news story if someone else posted something like "Hey, JonKatz wrote a book" - but using your position as an editor to post a story hyping your book ain't news. It's spam.

        Making a point about grassroots marketing is all fine and dandy, but not when the book is *yours*. There's a blatant conflict of interest, something you thought about but ignored.

        This could have been done better by:

        a. Making your in-print book available - in its entirety - online in PDF or some other readable format.
        b. Putting links to places where people can go buy your book.
        c. Having *someone else* note that you published a book and that it's available online. Y'know, mebbe an interview where you talk about grassroots marketing.

        Yeah, people would still have a problem with this because you're an editor on this site. However, it would have a skitch more journalistic integrity.

        I'm not JonKatz slamming here - I don't have the "despise JonKatz" intolerance that many others are fond of expressing. But dude, you really should have known better.

        Anyway, we all make mistakes - learn from the heat of this one.

      • Re:Yes, you are (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ichimunki (194887) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @02:11PM (#3396078)
        We aren't missing a damn thing. If your other writing is as bad as the stuff you post to Slashdot, it's no wonder your books don't sell. And no, I'm not normally this mean about it, but your article was nothing except a long-winded advertisement for your book. The few tidbits you chucked in about "bottoms-up" marketing on the net have nothing to do with "open source" anything, and everything to do with changes in the face of telecommunications and media, especially as linked to demographic niches.

        If you want to write an insightful article on the impact of the 'net, why not focus on something interesting like the 2001 election of RT Rybak to the office of Mayor in Minneapolis. His campaign grew out of his participation in a Minneapolis-issues politics mailing list [e-democracy.org] and continues to use the list to communicate with constituents.

        The list itself is notable for trumping some other forms of communication and media sources when it comes to "being in touch" with politics and news in Minneapolis. As an example, a recent Critical Mass bike ride [critical-mass.org] in downtown Minneapolis was subject to a fairly brutal police crackdown, and while the main papers and (apparently) evening news slid right over the story, the list was a primary source of communication on the incident (the other great source being IndyMedia's web site [indymedia.org]).

        I realize you've written many articles over the time I've read Slashdot focused on how the web/net democratize society and the economy as well, but this particular article is just plain shoddy. Especially since you throw in a lot of jargon, but don't really connect the dots between a dog book and net marketing. You haven't shown the rest of us how this really works (a key piece of what "open source" is all about), and you haven't shown how it has really helped you. Did you do a cost-benefit analysis detailing how much time you spent hyping your book in various online forums versus the revenue those presumably additional sales produced? Did you check to see if your online efforts were truly the source of the increase by using appropriate statistical sampling methods? Have you provided any part of the book online, or just a lame link to Amazon which any right-thinking moral netizen is boycotting?
      • I'm all for it (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wonko42 (29194)
        If what you're saying means that when I publish my book, I, too, can post a long wankish article on Slashdot all about how I think grassroots advertising is cool and good because I can't afford to pay for real advertising, then hell, sign me up. Of course, I can't help but harbor the sneaking suspicion that, had your average Slashdot user submitted this steaming pile of self-promotion, an editor would have vaporized it from the queue without hesitation.

        So I guess the moral of the story is, "If you're Jon Katz, posting thinly-veiled advertisements on Slashdot and passing them off as articles is cool and revolutionary."

        By the way, Mr. Katz, if you'll include a digital picture of yourself with your index finger buried at least to the middle knuckle in your left nostril, I would be more than happy to post an "article" all about your new book on my own website. Just say the word.

    • but why is Slashdot posting this blatant advertisement as a news story

      Because it's been so long since stories about the Baen Free Library [baen.com] were posted (i.e. giving away electronic copies of books in print helps sell them, but publishing books yourself means that there is nobody to weed out the crap ones)

    • Nah, don't worry about what the book is about or that he used the net to market it (as opposed to saying the internet is only a source of piracy like SOME organizations..), no no... dismiss it because he's getting publicity for it.

      Damn Slashdot for getting the word out there that the internet isn't a bad place to market a book! ADVERTISING BAD!
  • Hey look... (Score:4, Funny)

    by !ramirez (106823) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:20AM (#3394367)
    Hey look, I got two ads on this Slashdot page - one for a Pentium 4-M processor, and one for some crappy book about dogs. I demand a refund. I thought they said no more than one ad per page.
    • I've been getting two banner ads on some pages for a while now. And I certainly hope Jon came to my site while he was doing his research... (speaking as a Labrador breeder with 33 years experience, and the owner of the biggest -- and best, if I do say so myself -- kennel site on the entire web)

      [/shameless plug] :)

  • Adverts (Score:4, Funny)

    by gazbo (517111) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:20AM (#3394368)
    So you bought a Slashdot banner ad, and got to write an article about your product. I know that Microsoft have advertised Visual Studio here, so do you know when we get to see an article by Bill Gates saying how great his product is?
  • by joshsisk (161347) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:21AM (#3394370)
    For several months I've (Link to Amazon/something about book) been working on a bottom-up, Net-based marketing program that permits me to push my own book in my own way

    "Link to Amazon/something about book"? C'mon, you're a professional writer : please submit stories, not drafts.

  • Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dynamoo (527749) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:21AM (#3394371) Homepage
    Nope.. who the heck wants to read fiction on the web? That's what books are for.

    There's nothing I enjoy more than a soak in the bath with a good book.. but if you think I'm gonna balance a $1500 laptop on the edge of the bath to read, forget it!

    • Project the screen on the bathroom wall and use voice-recognition to page through the book. At least, that's what I'd do, but I only have a shower. Waterproof touchscreen computer, here I come!
  • Ah HAH! (Score:5, Funny)

    by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:23AM (#3394391) Journal
    It's a chance for me to tick off the yowling hordes, which is always fun.

    Well, that pretty much explains his entire slashdot career, doesn't it.

    Jon Katz. Mega-troll.

    • Jon Katz. Mega-troll.

      I knew he sounded a bit too much like OOG THE CAVEMAN... now that's the kind of conspiracy I could get into ...

      Am I the only one who thinks slashdot conspiracies alone would make a really great season of the xfiles... or lonegunmen or something... oh well ...

  • JohnKatz is lame. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alphaparadigm (306270) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:23AM (#3394392) Homepage
    Does anyone else think it is a perversion of the purpose of slashdot (that being to provide news and stories nerds will care about) for JohnKatz to try and pimp his book to us, the guaranteed massive readership of the site? Is this not an abuse of power on par with a newscaster interrupting a story about the middle east to remind us how he has decided to sell us his latest book of total drivel?

    Fie JohnKatz. You have offended my honor, and I challenge you to a duel.

    • I used to hate Katz articles. But now that the Dilbert LOTD is gone, I find that the /. community's repsonses to his articles are about on par with the hilarity of PHB bashing.

      So I don't really mind the advert, it's not like I even read his post.
      • Re:JohnKatz is lame. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by $carab (464226) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @11:00AM (#3394682) Journal
        When I started looking at /. about a year ago, I was amazed by all the times JonKatz would post a story and at least half the responses were of the effect "Katz sucks". Why did people hate Katz so much?

        Sure, his movie reviews were sometimes lame ... He seemed to be straddling a line between self-righteous indignation (there were too many explosions, and not enough plot. The people around me, however, didnt seem to mind. Fools.) and plain stupidity (didn't he give Zoolander or some such trash a confident "thumbs up"?).

        But this is a perfect example of why Mr. Katz has made my "block" list. He takes an opportunity to sell his book in a sloppily done manner (For the love of God proofread your damn headlines!). To paraphrase, Katz advertises on /. and dog sites, trying to sell his book, then decides sales aren't good enough and posts a "story" for people to read. If any member of the /. community had written in a post "Buy my ! Its so cool!" They'd be trolling. Dont pretend you're an author if you're just trolling. People have paid your salary to read about how great your book is?

        I bet I can count the number of responses that are "on-topic" (appears to be either a response about a Katz book or internet advertising) on one hand.

        To end, I'd just like to give the obligatory, and justly earned, "Katz sucks".
  • I hope... (Score:2, Informative)

    ...Jon Kats proof reads his books better than his /. stories.

    "For several months I've (Link to Amazon/something about book) been working on a bottom-up(...)"


  • Errrrrrrrr (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:27AM (#3394426) Homepage Journal

    I'm not one of those people who get worked up when Taco et al reviews some product and people complain that it's some sort of advertisement.

    But this is a little much.

    Is there a story here? I'm actually kind of curious to hear if Taco approves of this blatant use of the web site to advertise Katz' book for free. Did Katz get permission before posting this "story"?

    Even if everyone is on board, I find this really, really, really classless.

    • classless

      Agreed. Although, if we're honest, if it were a good book and we got first sniff of it we'd be kinda happy.

      Its just that the guy is a penis, and is generally accepted to write pish, so we feel 'sold at' rather than 'updated'.

      Seriously. Most 'good' journalists end up writing a book or 5. Whenever this happens (certainly in the UK broadsheets) you tend to get a big spread, often in the Sunday edition, about the book. Usually accompanied by a "OUR JOURNO WRITES BOOK" headline.

      When its a new investigation into corruption in Brussels by a Europe correspondant, or a book about W by 'our man in Washington' it IS of interest to the readership. It gives the loyal reader first look. It keeps the bond alive as he moves from paper to book.

      When its 'our man in Vegas writes a bonk-buster' or 'globalism dude writes about puppies' then who gives a fuck!
      • Seriously. Most 'good' journalists end up writing a book or 5. Whenever this happens (certainly in the UK broadsheets) you tend to get a big spread, often in the Sunday edition, about the book. Usually accompanied by a "OUR JOURNO WRITES BOOK" headline.

        Exactly. You know what you're getting -- a review of a book written by a journalist that works at the paper. There's no hidden agenda.

        What you won't see is some article written by that journalist in the first section of the paper supposedly about the publishing industry, but the main focus is his own book.

    • I hope for slashdot's sake, everyone was NOT on board, and Katz did this on his own. I would certainly expect something this classless and sleazy from him, but not from the rest of the /. crew. If they have truly crossed that line, then I predict a slow death for this site.

      I am sure glad I didn't fork over any subscription fees. That that I wouldn't, but chances are reallllll slim if they allow things like this to happen. Hopefully they will be pissed about it and ban Katz.

  • Katz is on the right track. He can feel how the internet is a different ballgame entirely when it comes to marketing, but he's not quite sure how. Or why. Or what.

    Read the Cluetrain Manifesto.

  • by kwishot (453761)
    He's missing the tags. Maybe his book sales aren't doing too well. That's pretty low....
  • by realgone (147744) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:29AM (#3394444)
    ...do the dogs symbolize the evils of unchecked globalism in the computer age?

    Just checking.

  • Sellouts! (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by awptic (211411)
    Slashdot has sunk to an all time low. This is pathetic, it's blatantly obvious this entire article was an advertisement for jonkatz' book, disguised as some rant about media advertising. And you guys are trying to get people to subscribe?!?! Mod me down, I don't care, someone has to say it.

  • So lets get this straight all those words to say

    "I need the book to sell, so I decided to advertise it"

    Well Duh! At least dress up the advertisement is something resembling English or the standard "developers and dogs work well together, as I say in my book (link to the one click wizards at Amazon)...." the art of advertising is to make someone want the product, so a well thought out article on dogs and developers might have stood something of a chance.

    An article on "I used the worlds least effective advertising medium because I'm desperate" is a lot less effective.

    But the best dog for the developer is the newfie anyway. Needs bugger all exercise, its big and therefore impresses your geek friends, its cuddly do women like it, and can be used to pull things that your too weak to handle Newfies [newfoundland-dogs.com] are also ace with kids.
  • Open Source Books? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:37AM (#3394514) Homepage Journal
    Well, here's my example of open source writing [bruceeckel.com]. Bruce Eckel's books are available for free on the internet, including books he isn't finished with, yet.
    He also makes a living on selling them (hell, I own two of them).

    My question for Mr.Katz:
    Where can I find a copy of your book online (for free)?


    PS - yeah, I broke the Blackout. Sue me.
  • by Myriad (89793) <myriad@@@thebsod...com> on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:37AM (#3394518) Homepage
    right here:
    Few books sell well, and even fewer (mine, for example) make money.

    Plug away Mr. Katz...

  • by damu (575189) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:37AM (#3394519) Journal
    What I got from the story, besides the very obvious ad, is how non this non mainstream (slightly poor) author is trying to sell his work. This should affect all of us, because none of us are MS, we do not have the power to be able to make a program, call it something jazzy then bombard the public with flashy ads on TV, with two page ads on newspapers, with release parties with live bands and lasers. Somehow I think Mr. JK was trying to relate his struggle to sell his book to the struggle that open source is enduring.
    Or I just may be an idealist and do not believe this would just be a page long ad.

    dam(adiue)
  • and the answer is... (Score:3, Informative)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:38AM (#3394523) Homepage
    Can content like books be successfully "open-marketed" on the Net?
    Yes. [baen.com]
    Too bad Katz didn't.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Correct. I would think that if Katz were really interested in the marketing of books on the internet, he would have included a reference to that article.

      I would also think that he would try to preserve some small bit of integrity with the community by *not* linking to his own book. I don't mind an author writing a /. piece about internet marketing of books. I, for one, would like to see the hard numbers showing the results of his efforts to market his books on mailing lists and such, as well as the click-through and conversion stats from his banner on /.. (- Do I really need that extra "."? Someone should do an article on proper Internet message syntax vs. language rules. But I digress.)

      The question is, is Katz actually keeping track? Will he be able to show objectively the results of his "experiments"? This is what defines whether or not he was conducting legimate research, or just pimping his own shlock.
  • Nice try. (Score:3, Redundant)

    by neo (4625) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:42AM (#3394559)
    What's why I bought a banner on Slashdot. If it works, it could sell some books, sure. I have no apologies to make for that.

    No, you should apologize for pandering you book in a article. How long did it take you to think this angle up?

    Please think harder before writing such a selfish article.

  • Umm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kwishot (453761) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:46AM (#3394582)
    "My reason for advertising here, too, is that I believe the Net offers the best place for individual entrepreneurs of all kinds -- writers, game creators, artists, musicians, software designers -- to skirt conventional costs, limitations and marketing practices and find their own audiences. To me, that's a big part of the "open" in open source. Younger people raised on the Net don't pay nearly as much attention to mainstream media as their elders, so we have to reach them where they are. The good news is that we can. "
    ----
    Advertising on the internet is one thing, but advtising at the place at which you work, a place where you have a distinct advantage over nearly everyone else on the internet, is totally out of line. There are plenty of places to talk about your totally unrelated work (Remember - News for nerds, stuff that matters) besides Slashdot. Here's a thought, none of us really care about your book. Why would you even attempt to market to an audience that doesn't care? Thats like advertising feminine products during Sesame Street. It's just plain dumb and it's not going to help you get any customers (only people whining about how feminine products are being advertised during Sesame Street - catch my drift?).

    -kwishot
    • In the book he mentions how he was able to get his golden retriever to boot Slackware and tells a fascinating tale of how his great dane smuggled a turd Gator-style into his house and deposited it under the couch.
  • It's one thing to have banner and box ads. It's quite another to have *article* ads for someone's book. ug.
  • open books (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mokhwaci (72328)
    If you want to make your book open, give it away on the Internet. It will even increase your book sales [counterpunch.org] (must read).
  • by FallLine (12211) <fallline@oper a m a i l .com> on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:55AM (#3394642)
    You believe in Open Source. You believe in breaking with tradition because it's not working for you and others (ignoring for a second that perhaps it SHOULDN'T work because the market doesn't really want it). Yet you don't "open source" (i.e., allow free distribution but ask for tips or some such) your own books? Pfft. If you're going to talk the talk, then you should at least walk the walk.

    Anyways, I fail to see how you are qualititively different than the traditional publishers' means of promotion and sales. Sure, you are relying on the Net, by and large, to market your book(s) but I assert that that has more to do with your relations with this particular community and that, except for that relationship, the publishers are no less likely to experiment with banner ads and such than you would otherwise be. It's not as if marketing stuff online is exactly a massive departure from their business model. There's no revolution here, you just have a nominally different way of marketing your wares.

    I suppose what I object to is your arrogance. You assume the publishers (not to mention the software industry and numerous other established entities) are stupid for being "traditional", yet you, yourself, barely manage to eak out an existance, despite the fact that you have a couple things here (e.g., slashdot) going for you that few can repeat. Nor can you point to substantial success stories. Yet you expect ... what exactly?

    Might there be a better way that some crafty entreprenuer can discover? Sure. Might the "traditional" way be better? Quite likely. The simple fact of the matter, though, is that it's unproven. Until someone can really show a workable, never mind superior, way, it's unrealistic, unreasonable, and just plain stupid to expect publishers to drop everything to chase pennies on the net.
  • by A.Soze (158837) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:55AM (#3394645)
    When they are a minor Net celebrity, at least around these parts. Let's see a regular Joe, not known for inciting anything, would fare in a net marketing campaign. Jon's status at Slashdot is ebough to negate any good data that could come out of his "study".

    That, and the fact that Jon can publish an "article" about his "study" and plug the very book he is "studying" the "effects" of...

  • Due to opinions like this, I feel the net has become LESS of a creative medium to express thoughts, socialize and invent. All of the sudden the net seems to be one huge marketing campaign. Ads have been plastered everywhere. I miss the days when the worst it could be was a popup. Now we have animations covering the content of the site, the net surfer actually has to wait for the annoying lizard to finish crawling across the screen, or the damn car to stop driving around, becuase they can actually view the content. okay, sorry about the rant.
  • Baen Free Library (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aniquel (151133)

    Katz, if you're really interested in reaching the widest possible audience, you might want to consider switching publishers.

    The Baen Free Library [baen.com] has a wide selection of books you download off the net for free -- But before you ask, "well, how do I get paid?", you may want to look at the statistics they've posted for free downloads encouraging sales. I know I'd be alot more comfortable purchasing a book about a year w/ dogs if I could read part of it first.

    Just my two drachma.

    • Baen also has websubscriptions, non-free books you can pay and download, but in open formats, including HTML. These are available in electronic format before the physical books are published, so fans can (and often do) buy both the e & physical versions.
  • Oh COME ON. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gannoc (210256) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @10:59AM (#3394678)
    What's why I bought a banner on Slashdot. If it works, it could sell some books, sure. I have no apologies to make for that.

    You don't have to apologize for buying a banner ad with money. You have to apologize for posting an ad with your moderator priviledges, disguised as Yet Another free expression anti-corporation blah blah article.

    But it could also help demonstrate to writers and other people struggling to survive in a mass-market world that the Open Source idea is only fractionally about software. It's about individualism, free expression, and a culture open to us all.

    Holy shit, I take it all back. You're not just advertising your book: you're a hero and a role model to us all. I can't believe you tried to tie in buying a banner ad into support of the open source movement.

    Hey, ./ subscribers, how happy are you that you wasted a page hit on Katz's book promotion?

    • by btellier (126120)
      >You have to apologize for posting an ad with your moderator priviledges, disguised as Yet Another free expression anti-corporation blah blah article.

      Seriously.. it's a BOOK about DOGS! Unless his dogs were cloned/implanted/digitized/running Linux/playing mp3's/putting spyware in Kazaa.. I DON'T GIVE A SHIT!
    • by armb (5151)
      > Hey, ./ subscribers, how happy are you that you wasted a page hit on Katz's book promotion?

      You mean subscribers got to see this too?
      Maybe I won't bother after all...
  • Do subscribers see these advertisement-stories?
  • by 2Flower (216318) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @11:04AM (#3394713) Homepage

    Putting aside Katzbashing, he has a point: the Internet is giving hobbyists and individual enterprenuers new avenues for getting their work out there.

    Writing is one of the best examples, even better than musicians or possibly game creators, since the web is at heart a text based medium. The traditional publishing method (submissions, rejections, contracts, printings, promotions, sales, yadda) is laborious and iffy... online, you just post your webpage and you're done. Advertising to subcultural niches that would find your work interesting can be very effective; success/popularity can be found in modest amounts while completely bypassing the traditional channels.

    But something Katz isn't seeing here is that online grassroots success != bigtime financial success. If someone wants to make it as a mainstream author on the NYT best seller list, putting your work on a website and grassrooting is not going to do that. Selling anything online, particularly with the 'I Want It Free' mentality, is difficult at best. If you're fine with 'smalltime' work or hobbyist tinkering, though, that's probably okay for you (assuming you can afford the bandwidth to make it happen; webcomic authors have this problem in spades).

    Case example, which I swear is not a plug. Myself, everything I've ever written is out there [pixelscapes.com] for free. The majority of it fits into the niche subculture of 'anime fanfiction', so that works perfectly; I couldn't make money off it anyway, and grassroots hype and advertising makes perfect sense. Plus, using the audience I build from that, I can branch off into things like my original works [pixelscapes.com] which I CAN market. But being the next John Grisham by my internet doodlings? No. Even if I was at that level of writing quality (frankly, I think I am...) I know this is not the road to that goal.

    So yes, new doors are opened by the potential of online promotion and distribution. But they're not the SAME doors you could open going the usual way.

  • While I applaude JKatz for sticking to his guns (he never disappoints in pissing people off), I still have to wonder the point of this story. Granted, /. does book reviews, posts stories that are shameless plugs for products, and even occasionally plays host for rampant, undisguised commercialism, but why this drivel? In some twisted, sadomasochistic parallel universe, yes, this would fit, but not here! A plug about a book that has no connection to /. except for the author. This guy must simply enjoy the attention. Forget the 'Great /. Blackout', I propose a complete and total boycott of all future JKatz stories/postings. Who is with me?
  • Ad? or no? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @11:06AM (#3394726) Journal
    Ok, of the "this is an ad" posts. Any moer should be considered -1 redundant.

    The real issue here is not "is this an ad" or "can books be promoted on the net" or even "I don't like dogs", but this:

    " Can books be 'net' books ... profitably?".

    Had Jon mentioned profitability or actual sales or given some demonstration of the idea that his alternative marketing and/or distribution means are actually working, it would be news.

    The closest he comes is here: "... I believe the Running To The Mountain excerpt that ran on Slashdot sold more books than a subsequent appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. ...".

    No proof, no studies whatsoever, not even a clear and certain anecdote.

    It's EASY to get proof - sell the books under different catalog numbers, and enter the catalog numbers on the invoice(s). Or, use an 800 number, and use different 800 numbers for different adv. media, and compare the phone bills.

    As it sits now, it's like listening to the life story of a homeless person - not likely to get you anywhere meaningful.

  • From a customer review on the Amazon website:

    a big disappointment, April 14, 2002
    Reviewer: A reader from Washington, DC

    I really admired Jon Katz's "Geeks" and I'm deeply interested in dogs, so I pounced on this book, but I'm sorry to say I found it very disappointing. Katz writes well, and some parts of the book are touching, especially his accounts of putting his labs down, but on the whole the book is grating in its misperceptions and obtuseness about canine behavior. It also seemed to be reaching for significance and spiritual insight in a self-conscious way that is occasionally embarrassing. Worst of all, much of it is just not interesting. There are so many insightful and genuinely touching books about the human-canine relationship that this one just seems unnecessary. I hope Katz gets back on stride with his next book.

  • by deaddeng (63515) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @11:09AM (#3394739) Homepage
    How can you not like a book about Golden Retrievers and Border Collies? Why kind of twisted, hate-filled bags of dirt haunt ./?

    I mean, it's not like Jon's little advert blotted out crucial news like another 2.4.19 Rev xxx Linux kernel patch.
  • A salesman? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'm not much of a salesman


    Yeah, and you aren't much of a writer either.

  • Few books sell well, and even fewer (mine, for example) make money.

    Huh. No kidding. I mean, with such a devout following on /. I'd have never figured.

    [S A R C A S M]

  • Unfortunately, this whole article has a major flaw. Jon Katz isn't "joe author", a general unknown author, on /. He is, in essence, part of the publisher.

    That he has access to /. really biases things. It's like saying "hey, if you help create a website that reaches 20 million people, you too can be a simple, ordinary starting author and sell your book via the web."

    Next news flash: Oprah's humble novel career gets a boost when, by some mad coincidence, she gets mentioned on Oprah's Book Club. And this could happen to you!!! [after the heat death of the universe].

    The real lesson here is that, in order to sell via the net, you have do the people-networking thing-- get in good with a central site or two, so you can then have access to make a plug.

    Which is no different from 'get in good with a print publisher, so they'll push your book'. But it is easier for techies like us to get in with a website, than to get in with a print corporation.

    So there are lessons here, but probably not the ones Jon intended :)
  • I'm not usually one to get to outraged by the goings on here, I typically find it more amusing than anything. And sure, piling on JK is good sport now and then, but this drags all of Slashdot down to a new low...

    By allowing one of their own to hawk blatantly unrelated crap (and then have the *nerve* to claim that because it's 'net marketing it *is* related), the d00ds who run this site once again have demonstrated the posers that they are. They want to be journalists... they want to be entrepreneurs... they want to be businessmen... all they are is a bunch of amateurs, and we continue to lap it up.

    So the standards are immutable (unless one of the insiders needs them not to be). I get it.

  • At least not directly. For some unknown reason, JonKatz has the rights to post his articles directly, without any moderation from CmdrTaco et al. In other words, JonKatz is abusing the privileges he's been given, and it's up to the SlashDot Moderators to review those privileges, in my opinion... (yes, I have a real name, see my website if you think you need it.)
  • by rnd() (118781) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @11:39AM (#3394972) Homepage
    i don't understand why people give katz such a hard time. he's got good insight, and he makes it his mission to communicate the insights and strengths of the geek/OSS community with the rest of the world.

    i think that many slashdotters are somewhat embarrassed that katz has turned their area of geeky expertise into a national reputation and has become a successful columnist and writer.

    let him sell a few books here... i mean, who cares! by and large he represents the views of the slashdot community even if he doesn't adopt the same AC-like geek-superiority complex that most of us do.

  • My Fiendish Plan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phil Gregory (1042) <phil_g+slashdot@pobox.com> on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @11:57AM (#3395109) Homepage
    1. Become a Slashdot editor.
    2. Write a book.
    3. Write an article with absurdly far-fetched ties to any sort of relevance to the Slashdot community.
    4. [text illegible]
    5. Take over the world!

    Seriously, this is an insult to the readers of Slashdot (or, at least, me). I've long been a proponent of Rob and Jeff's freedom in choosing topics for the site, but this is a bit much. (And, while it was Katz that put this article up, I highly doubt that he did so without the knowledge of Rob and Jeff.) All this article is is an advertisement for Katz's newest book, with some tenuous ties to topics of interest to Slashdot readers that Katz can point to and say, "See? It's on topic!".

    Yeah, Slashdot's been going downhill, but I had hoped it would never sink this low.



    --Phil (Now sorry he ever voted to "keep the gasbag".)
  • A Dog Year is the top Mover [amazon.com] on Amazon at the moment. It's up 1730%.
  • there actually is a good point in there about free-ditribution of books online.

    http://www.baen.com/library has a large collection of downloadable books, and a great philosophical point about it. Basically, they're putting their money where their mouth is.
    Commendable.
  • If you want to advertise your book, do it on your own website, or pay for ad space on tv/radio/magazines/whatever. This is not the place to advertise your personal creations in a sad attempt at selling something.
  • by Pedrito (94783) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @12:22PM (#3395298) Homepage
    Few books sell well, and even fewer (mine, for example) make money.

    Maybe your books just aren't interesting and therefore don't sell well. Just a theory.
    • My theory on why his books don't sell well is that there's no submission box at the end where people can rail on him. He should use to his advantage the fact that people feel compelled to vent after reading his work.
  • The quote was said to J. Michael Strazcynski, when he called for advice on getting his works to sell, since none had. The *next* thing he wrote was Bab5.
  • C'mon guys... give the guy a break.

    Katz just really wanted to tell us about this exciting and interesting new book he has written. I haven't read this book, but after skimming over 1/2 of Katz's review of a book by the same author, I feel compelled to read it.

    Well, not really.

    Here's hoping the actual book is better than the ad (for the sake of anyone who DOES read it).
  • by kaladorn (514293) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @12:59PM (#3395557) Homepage Journal
    Amazon and other on-line booksellers are being targeted for their strategy of selling used books. (Reminds me of the MPAA/RIAA style of problem solving). Their argument seems to be that advertising used versions of the original book will hit authors in their pocketbooks.

    Is this something new? Hasn't this always been the case with used books? Why is it now a newsflash?

    And while we're on the topic, what other industry has more than 50% of its products returned to the manufacturer? This seems to suggest something wrong with the whole deal. I'd think that this suggests that publishers over-publish (relative to demand). Apparently market reasearch isn't a strong point of authors or publishers.

    The rising cost of books has been driving people to be far more selective. I know I am, when I'm paying $11 Cdn for a novel and $35-45 Cdn for a hardcover new release (the latte obviously much moreso).

    And yet, at the same time, I see the web as a vast and powerful marketing tool with low cost (relative to newspaper or TV ads) and I see modern micropublishing capabilities as one way to cut costs.

    I saw a special on PBS from Australia that let people publish a few hundred page hardcover in runs of 100 copies for as cheap as Aus $1000 if they were willing to do their own typesetting/formatting. This was a very basic book (black and white, no or few illos), but if I can do small print runs for such a cheap price ($550 USD for 100 copies), then surely there is something very broken about the conventional publishing scene, no?

    And is it any wonder when students buying a textbook end up paying $120 for something they use two chapters out of get ticked off? What hapened to some of the initiatives to do chapter-wise production of texts? I know plenty of books I'd like a chapter or two out of, but won't spend $50-150 for! So instead of the author getting something (and the publisher too I guess), they get Nada/Nothing/Zip/Zilch/Squat/No $$$.

    Instead of running around hammering Amazon for its book selling strategy, trying to defend IP via vampiric legalism, or jacking the prices of books to insane levels, why don't the authors and publishers start looking at more innovative ways to deliver cost-effective services and services which meet the actual needs/desires rather than those they (in an out-of-touch fashion) seem to imagine to be the case? Or would that require more work and more cranial sweat?

    Denmark isn't the only place where something is awry.... conventional publishing seems to be more than a bit broken to my mind....

  • What's wrong with John Grisham? Is it because he sells more books? makes 28 million a year? Guess what Jon, people read his books because they are worth reading.

    Maybe your little stint about John Grisham in your article should have <penis envy> </penis envy> around it!
  • Does anyone else think it is a perversion of the purpose of slashdot (that being to provide news and stories nerds will care about) for JohnKatz to try and pimp his book to us, the guaranteed massive readership of the site?

    This article by Katz comes at a time where people are bitching about slashdots advertising system and the supposed slashdot blackout. The article is a very timely piece which I think justifies the posting of it.

    I've been very critical of Katz's postings of the past and even modded down as flamebait on several occasions because I disagreed with him so much that I just couldn't make a rational post. This article however I find no fault at all with. In fact I would almost call it genius because it does several things.

    First of all it gives him a free plug for several of his books which are far from the techno-geek culture and does so in keeping with current hot topic of slashdot advertising and how so many of us hotheads are against it.

    Secondly it forces us to click open the article and post comments which leads to more ads viewed and of course more content for the site.

    Pretty clever if you ask me. And on another note, I like dogs and just might pick up a copy of Katz's book just to add some mix to my current reading list. Based on some of the reviews on Amazon it looks like I'd enjoy it.
  • Something like a book is the automatic feedback. Not only is Katz getting the word out about his new book, he gets to see hundreds of people respond as to why they would or would not buy his book.

    Let me predicate this by saying I am a writer. Not a professional one... I do it as a hobby to entertain myself and my freinds. Someday, I'd like to think what I wrote would be worthy of publication. I have received thousands of emails with comments and ideas from total strangers telling me what's good or bad about my writing.

    I've learned that I'm not by far ready to do anything warrenting a book.

    That having been said, let me say why I won't buy Katzs' book. To be honest, I can't really understand why Katz is so well known. The best guess I can come up with is that he was one of the first people to write about Internet technologies and explore some of the more far out ideas. But today, those far out ideas are common practice, so there is nothing new.

    Over the last few years, I've read a lot of the things he's posted on Slashdot. Increasingly, I find him way off base. It feels as if he's somehow become out of touch with the subject matter he uses. When you come up with a new idea, and bring it to an open forum for dialogue, thats a good thing. But if 99% of the people who read it can only respond with 'no, you're wrong', and tear apart your arguments and your premise, then perhaps it's time to rethink where you're comming from.

    If you can get anything from the Internet, Katz, it's that you should stop writing for a while. Your ideas seem vague, poorly thought out, and at times just stupid. Get a job... work for a few years. Take some time to observe first hand the phoenomnea and the community you use as your subject matter. And, even if your ideas ARE good, and you sit in frustration wondering why people just can't see them, then you're probably not explaining them well enough.

    You have name reconition, something that is above and beyond what 99% of aspiring writers has. If you use the Internet to help you become better, to get back on track, you can continue to be a good writer... or, you can just become a hack. It's up to you.
  • by ahde (95143)
    Younger people raised on the Net don't pay nearly as much attention to mainstream media as their elders, so we have to reach them where they are. ...In fact, Net communications themselves have become increasingly segmented and targeted. Much has become subterranean, centered on mailing lists, IM and other limited-entry venues. >/i>

    That's rediculous. The fact that the major media outlets (there are fewer of them than ever before, with greater than ever penetration into our lives, and higher integration between them -- all the news programs carry the same "top 10" stories that receive 90% of air time) can even presume to tap into web communications shows that it is false. The media giants are very successful at integrating into the video game and movie fan "underground" for example.

    In past generations, the TV networks did not even dream of influencing what people talked about in their own home or with their neighbors or aquaintences. Chat rooms have replaced informal conversation in coffee-shops and so forth. News groups and websites like slashdot are called "forums" for a reason. In ancient Greece, all the Hellene geeks hung out in the Acropolis to discuss the latest abacusen and clay tablet geometric formulae. These days they do the same sort of thing on comp.os.minix and sometimes they might talk about politics or pop culture or indulge in flame wars, subjects their historic progenitors may have gotten into too.

  • Thats it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sfgoth (102423) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @04:24PM (#3397241) Homepage Journal
    This was the last straw. The most blatant shameles self-promotional tripe with no excuse for wasting my time. The final Katz story that actually got me to go to my prefs page and turn off the gasbag.

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