PHOENIX – Representatives from Yahoo and Google each took the stage at separate sessions of the American Magazine Conference on Monday to address search’s capability to unite with the magazine industry in the era of user-generated content.
Both companies have made recent investments in user-generated content: Google’s YouTube buy and Yahoo’s Flickr.com purchase. However the search giants’ approaches to branded vetted content differs.
“From our perspective we love magazines, because there is a real opportunity to partner and expand both of our brands,” said Daniel Rosenweig, chief operating officer of Yahoo. “Magazines are also on the cusp of reinventing themselves.”
Yahoo offers magazines distribution and a setting for marketers to reach their audience in another place that consumes go.
“We have the technology to be able to serve the right audience with the right ads and format,” Mr. Rosenweig said. “The Internet allows you to get into deeper niches.”
So how should magazines approach consumers from Yahoo’s point of view?
“We approach the world through the eyes of the consumer,” Mr. Rosenweig said. “People want host sites, but they also want editors and to create their own content and we provide that.”
Google is also concerned with the consumer’s point of view. If content is made public than the magazine industry needs to make sure it measures where things are online and how findable they are via a search engine.
“You have to fully leverage your on and offline brand and by using search engines to close the gap between brands and traffic,” said Tim Armstrong, vice president of advertising sales for Google, New York. “You have to ask yourself what the end result on the user will be.”
Companies that partnered with Google received an $825 million payout in the third quarter of this year. Media partnerships have gone beyond the Web and now include mobile, radio and print companies.
“We have established a business model that is driven by syndicating our high value product and advertising assets to a partner network,” Mr. Armstrong said.
Google has aligned partnerships with print companies in order to improve transaction efficiency and targeting, share incremental revenue and in the long term, establish measurable response metrics.
“Magazines need to treat users like they are part of a MySpace environment,” Mr. Armstrong said. “Magazines have only one page with a user feedback loop, so readers don’t feel included.”
Vanity Fair has a total book of 360 pages and Wired has 242 total pages, yet they each have only one page for customer feedback.
“If we build trusted offline communities online, more feedback will occur in the editorial and you can only expand from there,” Mr. Armstrong said.