Tag Archives: Mail Online

paidContent:UK: Why Mail Online is staying free

Publisher of the Mail Online, the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), has shared some of its executives’ slide show presentations from an investor day.

The presentations explain on why the online paper is staying free, and not going down the the Times Online route.

You can download the slides here, or find paidContent:UK’s excellent summary at this link. The group says that while charging for niche and mobile might work:

MailOnline – uniquely among UK newspaper sites – is now big enough to make the advertising model pay.

#followjourn: Sarah Ewing/freelance

#followjourn: Sarah Ewing

Who? Ewing is a freelance journalist based in Edinburgh

Where? She has her own blog, The Scribbler, where she posts up “new case study requests for features I’m working on and thoughts on current issues”. Her articles for various different publications are collected on her Journalisted page. Ewing works mostly for Mail Online and the Daily Telegraph, covering health, celebrity, relationships among other things. She has also contributed to the Times, and frequently run into trouble with her luggage while travelling.

Contact? @sarahewing

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

Commenters accuse Mail of image misuse – a bigger missed opportunity for publishers?

Mail Online is coming under renewed criticism for its use of online images, following a story on ‘moneyfacing’ (people using banknotes to create self-portraits).

A tweet from @alisongow alerted us to the Mail’s article ‘Creasing up: Banking on a funny photo with the ‘moneyfacing’ craze sweeping the web’ on which commenters have alleged the paper has used the images central to the story without permission.

Comments include:

“As the photographs are a pretty intrinsic part of this so called feature, I’d say that asking permission to use them is the very least this so-called newspaper should’ve done.”

The creator of the images, Thom Shannon, has now reposted them to Flickr with a watermark protecting them, adding he has never felt the need to use watermarks before, but that requests to the Daily Mail to remove the photos have not been answered.

The Mail isn’t the only site making use of the images: the Sun has a 12-image slideshow and Telegraph.co.uk features just one image, though it does give accreditation for this to a website (something Shannon has disputed).

This is not the first time the Mail’s use of online images has been challenged, but issues of copyright aside, Kevin Anderson suggests that there is a bigger opportunity being missed by newspapers at large (scroll down to the comments):

“[T]his is another example of the news industry missing an opportunity to build community around what they do. When I use Creative Commons photos from sites like Flickr, firstly, I honour the terms of the licence. Secondly, I drop the Flickr user a note letting them know that I’ve used a photo on our site. It’s not only a way to use nice photos, but it’s also a way to build goodwill to what we’re doing and do a little soft touch promotion of our coverage. It takes a minutes out of my day to create that email, but instead of a backlash, I often get a thank you. They let their friends know that the Guardian has used their picture. It’s brilliant for everyone. There are benefits to being good neighbours online, rather than viewing the internet as a vast repository of free content.”

Testing times for Mail Online’s comment system

The introduction of a rating system for comments on articles on the Daily Mail’s website back in December last year was a bold move for a site that often publishes highly controversial (or certainly comment-provoking) articles.

Comments on the site can be removed by the editorial team if necessary, but the aim of the system is that users will act as moderators, flagging up inappropriate content.

One particular story last weekend tested its mettle: the report on the death of a man in the back of a lorry in the channel tunnel.

The article in question provoked a spate of offensive and abusive comments (as shown in this screengrab captured by FiveChineseCrackers.com).

As Mail Watch points out in a post on the matter: “If these are the highest rated, and thus most visible, comments, how does that reflect upon the ‘controls’ and ‘processes’ used by Mail Online to prevent ‘inappropriate content’ appearing?”

By Monday afternoon the comments referred to had been removed from the piece. At time of writing this blog post, only two comments appeared on the article and additional comments are no longer being accepted:

Mail Online comments on migrant death article

As Mail Online’s terms and conditions page states, the site is not liable for third party content including comments posted by users.

And the site’s own House Rules suggest that pre-moderation of comments is not always the case:

“Reader comments that violate the letter or spirit of these rules or our Terms may be removed (or, if checked in advance, not published in the first place). If we do remove something, we will generally remove whole posts, or where necessary, whole threads (not parts). This means that even if only one sentence is objectionable, the whole comment will usually be removed (or not published).”

In this case, however, the screengrab clearly states above the offensive comments: “The comments below have been moderated in advance.”

Asking how such incidents affect the Mail’s attitude to commenting, a spokesman told Journalism.co.uk:

“As regards the Channel Tunnel story, several inappropriate comments were posted until they were rightly flagged up through the ‘report abuse’ facility when we immediately took them down. This shows our system is working as it was designed.

“The comments facility is a much-loved part of Mail Online and phenomenally popular.

“To enable as many people as possible to have their say the vast majority of our comments are now not moderated in advance. This presents a new challenge for us and our readers but we are happy the system is working well.”

How the Guardian and Telegraph overtook the Mail in latest ABCe traffic report

This post originally appeared on Malcolm Coles’ blog at this link.

June 2009 saw the Mail Online unexpectedly overtake both the Guardian and Telegraph in the ABCes with the most monthly unique users partly on the back of US traffic and Michael Jackson stories, a position it held for both July and August.

Fast forward to September and the story is the same as earlier in the year – Guardian 1st, Telegraph 2nd and Mail 3rd. So what changed from June to September? To find out, I’ve compared the ABCe figures for UK and foreign visitors in June and September. The difference between the Guardian’s performance and that of the Telegraph and Mail is revealing.

Analysis: The Guardian has seen significant growth in the UK AND abroad.

Table: September unique visitors (millions) and percentage change since June

Total Change UK Change Overseas Change
Guardian 33m 14% 11.9m 17% 21.1m 12%

The Guardian’s total visitor numbers grew 14 per cent from June to September (up from 29m to 33m). There was a 17 per cent increase in UK visitors and a 12 per cent increase in visitors from abroad. This makes it the most popular online newspaper in the UK by some way (it’s 2.4m ahead of the Mail in second place).

UK visitors accounted for 36 per cent of the total in September (barely changed from 35 per cent in June).

Analysis: Telegraph sees growth overseas

Table: September unique visitors, percentage change since June

Total Change UK Change Overseas Change
Telegraph 31m 14% 9.1m -1% 21.9m 22%

The Telegraph has also seen a 14 per cent increase in total visitors from June (27.2m) to September (31m).

However, the geographical breakdown is revealing – its UK unique visitor numbers are down one per cent from June to August but its overseas visitors are up 22 per cent (from 18m to 21.9m). It’s now the most visited UK newspaper abroad – but only the 3rd most visited inside the UK.

As a result, the proportion of its visitors that comes from the UK has fallen from 34 per cent to 29 per cent – the lowest of any UK newspaper (the Mail held this honour back in June).

The Telegraph saw the biggest increase in overseas visitors of any newspaper – but because its UK traffic fell, the Guardian beat it into 2nd place.

Analaysis: Mail Online records UK growth only

Table: September unique visitors, percentage change since June

Total Change UK Change Overseas Change
Daily Mail
30m 2% 9.5m 15% 20.6m -2%

The Mail’s traffic stood fairly still between June and September – it had 30m visitors last month, up just two per cent on three months ago. But its story is the reverse of the Telegraph’s.

The Mail saw strong UK growth – up 14 per cent to 9.5m visitors in three months. Overseas visitors, however, fell by 2 per cent to 20.6m. As a result, it now gets 32 per cent of its visitors from the UK (up from 28 per cent in June).

And the rest …

As for the others:

  • The Sun is down to 23m visitors in September, an 8 per cent fall over 3 months. A 15 per cent collapse in overseas visitors couldn’t make up for a 3 per cent increase in UK users.
  • The Times is a story of decline – 13 per cent down overall, with a 10 per cent fall in the UK and a 14 per cent fall from overseas.
  • The same is true of the Mirror Group (down 5 per cent overall) and the Independent (down 6 per cent overall) but to a lesser extent.

This table has all the stats. If you can’t see the iframe, you can see the full spreadsheet here.

The Express doesn’t take part in the ABCes. The FT does not participate every month.

Journalism.co.uk ABCes coverage at this link…

Currybet.net: Lessons on handling an internet brand crisis from Jan Moir

Martin Belam has produced a really useful guide for news and media organisations when responding to the kind of online crisis illustrated by the reaction to Mail Online’s publication of a piece by columnist Jan Moir and her comments on the death of Stephen Gately.

[See related links below]

Belam covers making changes (don’t do so in haste; be transparent and thorough); and planning an ‘escalation procedure’ for your online community.

It’s also important to respond to criticisms and comments everywhere your audience is looking, he says.

“It is going to get easier and easier for people to exchange outrage, and the links and information required to act on that outrage to make a complaint. You need to have a plan for what happens if you find yourself at the eye of a perfect internet storm,” he writes.

Full post at this link…

Mail Online confirms withdrawal of ads on Moir article; defends free speech

A statement from Mail Online received late on Friday night confirmed to Journalism.co.uk that the title had indeed pulled advertising from a heavily criticised column by Jan Moir on the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately.

“Following the publication of advertisers’ telephone numbers by the heavily orchestrated campaign attacking Jan Moir’s column, Mail Online – of its own volition – withdrew the ads alongside her article,” the statement said.

As Jan Moir, who has gone on record supporting civil partnerships, says in her statement, this intensely choreographed campaign mischievously misrepresents her carefully argued article.

“In the interest of free speech  Mail Online is carrying  comments both for and against her column, but regrets the heavy-handed tactics by the campaign which is clearly being fanned by many people who haven’t even read Jan’s views.”

However, in a week where the once ‘old’ and ‘new’ worlds of media joined forces to overturn threats to freedom of the press by contesting legal firm Carter-Ruck’s attempt to gag the Guardian, the Mail’s argument that Moir has been the victim of an ‘intensely choreographed campaign’ does not ring true.

As Guardian digital director Emily Bell comments today:

“Moir, or her editors, or both, misjudged the speed and breadth of the real-time web and social media in their power to highlight and pressurise at speed and with force. To see the Daily Mail taught a lesson about public outrage in the electronic age would no doubt have raised a weak, battered smile at the BBC.”

NMA: Mail Online stops pre-moderation of user comments

The Mail will now rely on users to flag up unsuitable comments. It will continue to use an automatic filter to pick up inappropriate language, but will only review comments if reported by readers.

The title says it hopes more comments will be published as a result.

But advertisers and moderation experts have raised concerns about the move.

Full story at this link…

Malcolm Coles: Michael Jackson’s kids made the Daily Mail the most visited UK newspaper site in June

This is an edited cross-post from Malcolm Coles’ personal website:

The Daily Mail surprisingly overtook the Telegraph and Guardian in the June ABCes – with more unique visitors than any other UK newspaper.

However it was only 4th in terms of UK visitors. Figures from Compete.com, which tracks Americans’ internet use, suggest that, of the 4.7 million unique users the Mail added from May to June, 1.2 million were from the USA. American and other foreign visitors searching for Michael Jackson’s kids – the Mail tops google.com for a search on this – drove this overseas growth.

US traffic to UK newspaper sites
This is what happened to US traffic for the ‘big three’ UK newspaper websites from May to June, according to Compete.com’s figures:

This dramatic increase in traffic, compared to its rivals, from May to June helps explains how the Mail leapfrogged the Guardian and Telegraph.

Traffic leapt from May to July

Google.com was the main referrer to the Mail – responsible for 22.7 per cent of its traffic. More on this below. Next up was drudgereport.com [a large US news aggregation site], followed by Yahoo.com and Facebook.com.

What was behind this rise in US traffic?
So what led to this sudden increase for the Mail? Compete also shows you the main search terms that lead US visitors to sites.

Top five search terms that lead US visitors to the Guardian

  • Guardian/the guardian: 2.6 per cent
  • Michael Jackson: 0.9 per cent
  • Swine flu symptoms: 0.6 per cent
  • Susan Boyle: 0.6 per cent

Top five search terms that lead US visitors to the Telegraph

  • Michael Jackson: 2.5 per cent
  • Susan Boyle: 0.8 per cent
  • Swine flu symptoms: 0.7 per cent
  • Daily Telegraph: 0.6 per cent
  • Michael Jackson children: 0.5 per cent

Top five search terms that lead US visitors to the Daily Mail

  • Daily Mail/Dailymail: 9.9 per cent
  • Michael Jackson (or Jackson’s) children: 2.9 per cent
  • Michael Jackson’s kids: 1.3 per cent

What does this tell us?The main keywords driving US search traffic to the Mail
The Guardian’s top five search terms, as suggested by Compete.com, accounted for just 4.7 per cent of its search traffic. The Telegraph’s top five for 5.1 per cent.

But the Mail’s top 5 accounted for a massive 14.1 per cent – split between searches for its brand name and for Michael Jackson’s kids (and outside the top five there may have been many other MJ-related terms).

Its search traffic in June is heavily skewed to these two search terms in the USA – and elsewhere in the world, I think it’s reasonable to presume.

Can this last?
Searches in the USA for ‘Daily Mail’ have been fairly consistent over the last few months according to Google Insights. I don’t know why so many people do this compared to other newspapers.

But I do know that interest in Michael Jackson’s kids is going to die down. This graph shows how there was a huge and sudden surge in searches for his children and kids after he died. The graph shows just two search terms – there are likely to be many others, and so a significant proportion of the Mail’s overseas traffic increase is down to search terms related to Jackson’s offspring.

Searches for Michael Jackson and kids/children shot up

This increase in searches translates into traffic for the Mail because it is currently TOP for a search on ‘Michael Jackson children’ at google.com and 3rd for kids (it’s also top in Google India for a search on his children, and India is the next most common source of traffic to the Mail after the UK and USA).

So all this data suggests that the Mail’s top spot in June’s ABCes is built on US and other worldwide search traffic around Jackson’s children – the massive peak in late June and again around his funeral in early July.

Once people stop searching for these terms, this traffic will disappear. The Mail may still top July’s ABCes on the back of this traffic – but it’s hard to believe it will still be top in August.

You can, of course, pick holes in this argument.

The three MJ’s kids search terms account for 4.2 per cent of Google traffic, which accounts for 22.7 per cent of 5.2 million visitors – so about 50,000 users.

But I think it’s reasonable to assume that there are more search terms outside the top five; there are other search engines; and that the other sources of traffic, such as people sharing links on Facebook and news aggregators, will also partially be about Jackson’s children.

Plus this is the only publicly available data that I’m aware of, and this is the story it seems to be telling.