UK regional paper publisher to charge for web access

Local news publishers in the UK have had a fairly hard time of it recently, hit by falling readership and reduced advertising revenue, but now one of Britain’s largest regional newspaper publishers is to begin charging users to read full stories on six of its titles’ websites.

Johnston Press will charge £5 (about $8) for three months full access to content on the Worksop Guardian, Ripley & Heanor News, Whitby Gazette, Northumberland Gazette, Carrick Gazette and Southern Reporter.

Readers who don’t wish to subscribe will be given access to excerpts and then encouraged to buy the paper copy to read the full stories. [Read more…]

TweetBookz: Would you turn 200 tweets into a book?


tweetbookz-logoI’ve written just over 4,000 tweets since I signed up for Twitter several years ago, but I think I’d be hard-pressed to choose 200 of a high enough quality to turn into a book.

However, new startup TweetBookz has decided there must be enough Twitter fanatics who would like to do just that.

Cofounders Jacob Schwirtz and Asael Kahana said that the service offered a “fun way to look back on your favourite tweets and capture all the emotion of those moments to keep forever.” [Read more…]

Google turns to algorithms to create better-looking ads


The constant push to make ads more visually appealing — reducing the effects of ‘ad blindness’ and helping them to convert better for advertisers and pay more to publishers — continues, as Google announces a pending deal with the Californian startup company Teracent.

Teracent specialises in machine-learning algorithms which have been put to use on the image ads of Google and its partners.

The example given in the announcement shows a standard, human created ad (left) and a similar ad that’s been picked in real time from thousands of different creative elements by these algorithms.


[Read more…]

Twitter finally ready to roll out pay-for business accounts

It’s been a very long time coming, but Twitter could roll out a commercial service before the end of the year, according to founder Biz Stone.

Though precise details haven’t been announced yet, Stone’s interview with the BBC suggested that additional pay-for features could include advanced analytics and information about their accounts and who is visiting them. [Read more…]

Twitter adds geotagging to its API

Though a number of mobile Twitter clients have been able to add their own level of geographical information to tweets, Twitter has now officially added geotagging capability to its API (Application Programming Interface).

It doesn’t change how the web interface works, but given that many mobile users (where geotagging is most useful) will use third-party clients, this isn’t much of a problem. [Read more…]

New mobile small payments service launches: ideal for selling content?


gopayforit-logoWhile the big boys of publishing are looking at methods of walling their content and then charging for it, smaller publishers such as bloggers will often look to making money from at least some of their content.

With this in mind, GoPayforit has launched its mobile small payments service in the UK, which allows content owners to sell content online and charge very small amounts (micropayments) for it.

It’s simple to set up – site owners add some code to their blog template – and then both pay-as-you-go and contract mobile phone users can purchase the right to view protected content via their mobile phone credit.

Purchasers enter their mobile phone number online, receive a PIN via SMS, then enter the code online in order to read the content. It’s supposed to be much quicker, and more secure, than messing around with credit card payments, even via a service such as PayPal. [Read more…]

Six Apart launches TypePad Micro and official AVATAR online community


typepad-avatarThe company behind TypePad today announced the launch of an official AVATAR online community, in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox, a month ahead of the release of James Cameron’s film on 18 December. offers fans a central place to read AVATAR-themed microblogs, other content from around the web, behind-the-scenes video, and integration with Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and other social sites.

Simulating Twitter and Facebook, but in an AVATAR themed environment, users can sign up and then follow other members, share notes, photos and videos. They can also create AVATAR blogs. [Read more…]

Orange UK mobile customers get Twitter picture messaging


twitter-orange-mmsAfter the disappointment surrounding the withdrawal of many international Twitter SMS services due to exorbitant costs, it seems that UK mobile operators are helping them to bounce back.

Both Vodafone and O2 have offered SMS-to-Twitter services to their UK users in the past year, and now Orange is introducing MMS-to-Twitter.

MMS, or picture messaging as it’s colloquially called, will allow Orange users to send images directly to the Twitter service, via the newly-created Snapshot web site. [Read more…]

Interview: Tom Rusling, Text Link Ads

text-link-ads-logoHere, Thord interviews Tom Rusling at Text Link Ads.

Let’s start with you. Who are you and what do you do at Text Link Ads?

I am the Senior SEO Strategist. In that role, I offer resources to Text Link Ads clients that are looking to add a layer of strategy and/or on-page site optimization to their link building campaigns. TLA is by design a self serve network: clients can enter our system and find a huge array of links to choose from. However, often clients are looking for guidance around things like:

  • Which keywords should I be targeting?
  • How many links should I be buying?
  • How fast should I be purchasing links, and how much should I vary my anchor text?

And of course, many clients feel like the links they have acquired with us are not working effectively for them. Often my most important role is to help clients identify technical problems on their site which are impeding the benefit of their link building. Such examples could be incorrect use of redirects, duplicate content issues in all its many vast and wonderful forms, lack of page targeting and keyword dilution, etc. They always come into the conversation blaming the links, but invariably the client and I are able to analyze the problem and identify the source of the problem is something on-page.

[Read more…]

Fwix launches local news revenue-sharing service: AdWire


adwire-logoWith the increasing number of publishers creating hyper-local sites, it’s no surprise that services such as AdWire are springing up to allow them to add a new stream of relevant advertising and earn revenue.

AdWire, from Fwix, is a local news distribution system which allows web publishers to add widgets to their sites that will provide local news and ads.

AdWire serves up news based on particular categories that a publisher sets, but it also takes visitors’ geography into consideration when serving content, hopefully keeping stories relevant.

Ads are served in between main content. [Read more…]