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Archive for January, 2006

Should All Information Be Free?

January 27th, 2006 by Bob Bly

There?s a growing movement among some folks to make all information in the world available to everyone on the planet at no charge.

But if information is free to consumers, that means the salaries of the subject matter experts, writers, and editors whose job it is to produce content must all be paid by advertising, rather than subscription and product sales. One can argue that all content producers would be then influenced by advertisers, who would hold their financial fate in their hands.

Content producers who produce objective, unbiased reporting because they accept no advertising, like traditional subscription newsletter publishers, cannot survive if they must give away everything they produce for free.

Consumers, by the way, don?t buy into this ?all information is free? crap: according to an article in BtoB (1/16/05, p. 10), the information industry will generate revenues of $306 billion in 2006.

That?s an increase of 8% over 2005 sales — an indicator that the growing presence of the Internet is stimulating rather than retarding the sale of paid content.


Category: General, Writing and the Internet | 49 Comments »

Censorship and Sponge Bob?s Evil Empire

January 23rd, 2006 by Bob Bly

According to an article in the Daily News (1/19/06), the Center for Science in the Public Interest is suing both Nickelodeon and Kellogs for advertising Frosted Flakes on the cartoon TV show ?Sponge Bob Square Pants.?

They contend that it?s immoral and harmful to use a popular cartoon character to convince kids to eat ?junk food.?

What planet do these people live on? Compared to other stuff my kids eat, like candy and soda, Frosted Flakes are health food. Yes, they have sugar. But cereal is good for kids to eat — they get fiber and vitamins — and they consume milk with it.

To me, this lunacy is an example of censorship gone over the edge. Do you agree?


Category: Advertising | 84 Comments »

Should your passion be your vocation?

January 19th, 2006 by Bob Bly

I’ve always advocated that loving your work is the key to being happy and successful.

My good friend, CM, doesn’t agree. He says, “Do whatever will make you a lot of money, and then you’ll have the money to indulge your passions.”

My problem is that if you don’t love your work, you’ll spend 40 to 60 hours a week doing something that bores you — to me, a miserable existence.

A recent article in the Daily News says that “people who are happy with their jobs are 4 times more likely to be happy with their lives” … a fact that supports my position.

The article also notes that 65% of those surveyed by are dissatisfied with their jobs at least part of the time. Yikes!

How about you?

Do you work to live … or, like me, live to work?

Do you love your job … or just tolerate it to make money?


Category: General | 50 Comments »

The Strange World of Professional Speaking

January 16th, 2006 by Bob Bly

It amazes me that people get paid much more to talk about their job, skill, or area of expertise — as professional speakers — than they do to actually DO their job.

Example: As Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan holds the fate of the U.S. economy in his hands, and in return is paid $180,000 to work the entire year managing it.

When he retires from the Fed, I heard on the radio today, he will join the pro speaking circuit — where he will get paid $150,000 to give a one-hour talk about the economy.

Am I the only one who sees a disconnect in these disparate payscales?


Category: General | 59 Comments »

Would You Encourage Your Kids to Take Your Job?

January 12th, 2006 by Bob Bly

An article from lists the “25 top jobs for 2006.”

They include some careers I’d expect or wasn’t surprised to see on the list — software engineer, sales, nursing — and some that struck me as odd choices, including waiter and janitor.

Notably absent from the list: marketing manager, advertising manager, writer, copywriter, editor, publisher, journalist, and most of the other jobs people reading this blog are involved in.

So … are our careers no longer hot or even desirable? Would you encourage your kids to follow in your footsteps — or tell them to pick a profession other than yours?

What say you?


Category: General | 78 Comments »

AT&T?s Art Director Gets a D+

January 3rd, 2006 by Bob Bly

I was reading the Daily News today and came across a 2-page spread that is part of AT&T?s new global positioning campaign.

The headline is in small blue type. The body copy is in reverse, in tiny white type. Both are on a black background.

Using reverse type in body copy, at best a risky proposition in magazine advertising, is a deadly sin in newspaper advertising.

Reason: the ink spreads more on the cheaper newsprint paper, encroaching into the white letters, and making the body copy almost unreadable.

I am sure that AT&T uses a big Madison Avenue ad agency to handle their advertising — and it is amazing to me that a professional art director on Madison Avenue does not know this simple design principle.


Category: Advertising, General | 75 Comments »