Eric Vidal from Webex interviews John Battelle in a podcast appearing on Podtech.net today. I'm a huge fan of Battelle's, who isn't, even if I am not all that sold on Federated Media. His interview with Eric is a perceptive update on where we are now.
Some particular insights: Battelle notes that we are not in the future, we are in the present as far as conversational marketing is concerned. But most "traditional publishers" still don't understand that the model is not classic, packaged goods, build-it-and-walk-away, but dynamic and interactive. He cites as evidence that the former heads of online for three major publishing companies - News Corp., TimeWarner, and Viacom have been recently replaced, usually with former television executives.
Battelle, like most of us, believes that AOL, cut from TimeWarner would benefit, because it is burdened by the expectations of a large corporation, but also notes that most of the publishers in the Federated stable are too small, hence their need for Federated's back-office and integration. Like Goldilocks, it seems, marketers are looking for companies which will provide conversational marketing that are "just right."
While there is no doubt that Federated is able to provide some very innovative use of the space that marketers carve out on their member blogs, Jerry and I are of the opinion that there exists a whole new level of conversational interaction that is less wedded to advertising geography, i.e. banners, even when they are dynamic. (And yes, that is what we are building into our media strategy.) I need to check out exactly what Federated is doing - they don't come any smarter than Battelle - if they are able to engage their blogs' audiences in specific, community activities... that would be very cool.