Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, August 17, 2021

The Budget is the Amish community’s newspaper of record. And yes, it does have a website — which, presumably, none of its readership ever see. What’s Pennsylvania Dutch for “irony”?

But then, The Budget fulfills a role as a sort of “Amish Internet”, on a weekly paper-and-ink basis. All of which adds up to an insufficiently-orthodox slant, in the eyes of some:

[The Budget] is the oldest and largest among Amish publications, which include Die Botschaft, a rival weekly formed in the 1970s by people who believed The Budget was too liberal.

Sure enough, Die Botschaft (”The Message” to you, English) is firmly off-the-grid, with no Web presence in sight, other than an official Library of Congress listing. Old-school Plain People, represent!

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/17/2009 09:57:55 PM
Category: Internet, Publishing, Society
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turn, turn, turn
Somehow, the Los Angeles subway system went this long before deciding to add turnstiles to its station gates:

For decades, the [LA-area] MTA has used a gate-free honor system in which passengers walk unimpeded to train platforms without verifying that they have a ticket. To catch fare cheaters, the agency has relied on random checks by civilian inspectors and sheriff’s deputies. But the fine for lacking a ticket — up to $250 — still hasn’t deterred some riders from taking their chances. Cheaters cost the system at least $5 million a year in lost revenue.

As someone who rides New York’s subways almost daily, this laissez faire approach at mass transit management in Southern California is mind-boggling. If they tried an honor system here, the yellow-orange flashing of MetroCards would get so rare that you’d just assume they were no longer being printed. Besides, there’s no “honor” when you’re trying to squeeze onto a super-packed F train

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/17/2009 08:38:00 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society
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that's the spirit
I wasn’t the only one who suspected some unreported product-placement going on with “Mad Men”: AdWeek poked around for evidence.

It found some, specifically regarding Season 3’s unique inclusion of Stolichnaya vodka:

Andrey Skurikhin, a partner at SPI Group, which owns the Stoli brand, said that he didn’t pay for placement. Skurikhin said ["Mad Men" network home] AMC contacted him and, he, being a fan of the show, gladly acquiesced, even producing a bottle from 1963 to conform to the show’s historical accuracy. But was Stoli even available in the U.S. at that time? Not widely, Skurikhin said, but it’s plausible that the high rollers at Sterling Cooper might have been able to access a bottle.

Like I said in my previous post, I don’t have a problem with this premise, because I think it does preserve the authenticity of the storyline. Do I believe Stoli really didn’t pay for this placement? Maybe, maybe not. It could be that the creative folks had that brand in mind, and didn’t want to start a bidding war between Stoli, Smirnoff, and any other historically-eligible Eastern European vodkas. Or maybe AMC will make up the value given to Stoli by hitting them, or other liquor brands, with desirable ad rates for commercial time in later seasons.

There’s no way of telling, other than taking everyone at their words. And that cloak of secrecy is intentional:

When asked whether other brands mentioned on the show on previous seasons like Utz and Cadillac were paid placements, AMC president and general manager Charlie Collier was coy: “We absolutely have product integration on the show, but you shouldn’t know which ones are paid and which ones aren’t.”

Perception is critical. If everyone starts talking about which props are paid-for, that will color the perception of the show, fairly or not. It underlines how much product-placement is still considered a less-than-honorable advertising practice.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/17/2009 08:07:28 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food, TV
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If anyone’s having trouble figuring out why MySpace would want to buy social music site iLike, here’s the reasoning:

Until now, MySpace has addressed the music community with “MySpace Music,” dedicated pages for bands and recording artists.

With iLike’s acquisition, MySpace doubly-reinforces its place as the go-to place for musicians. It also puts the company in a dominant position within rival Facebook’s own site.

In effect, MySpace is doubling-down on music as its hook for attracting and keeping users. It’s already mapped out this strategy with the idea of “social DJs” as social media musical vanguard; iLike would seem to be an essential tool in moving that concept forward.

This is a return to its roots, actually: Remember that a key driver in MySpace’s rise as the first widespread social network website (well before the dedicated “MySpace Music” initiative) was its cultivation of musicians, especially obscure indie bands and their fans. Now that it’s lost buzz and user numbers to Facebook, it’s a good bet for MySpace to reinforce itself as a niche socnet. Music is one of the more reliably sticky content formats for keeping eyeballs glued to the screen, and adding iLike’s 50 million users affirms that strategy. It’s a dirt-cheap one, too: At the rumored $20-million pricetag, iLike is selling for many multiples less than the $280 million that it cost CBS Corp. to buy Last.fm.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/17/2009 02:23:22 PM
Category: Business, Pop Culture, Social Media Online
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