Back in 2007 when we decided to build a wiki I was not sure what the future of journalism was going to look like.  Today, with many newspapers around the U.S. in bankruptcy, others being sold and magazines dropping like flies, it was clear disruptive change was running rampant. To put it in market terms, newspapers were in the open outrcy business in a quickly moving electronic trading era and did not know what to do about it.  I thought new media company and product models were called for and building MarketsWiki was our first step towards creating one.

Today the problem I see, after the carnage to the mainstream media business of recent years, is that advertisers and marketers are struggling to find ways to effectively find potential customers.  Long gone are the days when an advertiser could take up to 80 or 90 percent of a broadsheet newspaper page for a splashy advertisement along side some newspaper story.  Today readers are viewing more news on hand-held devices and computer screens where the impact of advertising is different.

Given the economic situation the world broadly faces, we must find innovative ways to solve this problem to help foster economic growth.  It was the late management consultant and best seller author Peter Drucker who said business is about two things, innovation and marketing.  Having tried some innovative things in journalism and had a degree of success, we are looking to bring our attention to the challenges of today’s advertisers.

Adding Value to Advertising

At John J. Lothian & Company, Inc., we are addressing this issue and trying to bring more value to the sponsors of MarketsWiki, EMN, JLN ME and our blogs.  Specifically, we are adopting a bolder advertising positioning for sponsors on each page of MarketsWiki.  Borrowing a page out of Wikipedia’s book (again), we have decided to implement a splashy top of the page sponsor box on each page in MarketsWiki akin to the box Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is using for his fund raising appeal in Wikipedia.  You can see what this looks like by visiting www.marketswiki.com/Sandbox or just typing in Sandbox in the search box on MarketsWiki.

We believe we have a pretty interesting journalism model with great marketing/advertising potential; pushing publicly available news out via Twitter and our newsletters and pulling people in via search on our blogs and MarketsWiki.  We work synergistically with other journalists and publications to push their news out and readers to their websites.  We produce original content.  We are enterprising in holding events as the opportunity arises, rather than regular scheduled annual ones. And we tie all of this together with links and marketing, drawing people to MarketsWiki.  In fact, today there is a story on INC Magazine’s website that says companies should use Wikipedia as a marketing tool because potential customers use it as a search tool or find it when searching for solutions on Google and the like. This realization was at the core of the decision to build MarketsWiki back in 2007.  MarketsWiki is not Wikipedia, but it shares many of its values about open participation, transparency, fairness and the power of collaboration.  And, MarketsWiki has broader ambitions when it comes to commercial endeavors, including offering alternatives for targeted advertising by the wikis sponsors.

Adding Value to the Industry

Our philosophy is to add value, add value and add value.  Starting MarketsWiki was about adding value to the John Lothian Newsletter, a voluntary pay publication and adding value to the industry, the people who use our markets and the people who work in the markets.  My personal experience has been that the people who are the happiest are those who give and we believe in giving.  Giving our sponsors a bigger bang for their buck is our attempt to add value to their investment in our enterprising experiments in journalism.

MarketsWiki now has over 5200 articles with real content.  The site has been edited over 86,000 times by our staff of experienced market journalists, consultants and our registered users.  Marketswiki has had over 3.72 million page views since the project launched, a number dynamically generated directly by the Mediawiki software and displayed on the front page of the site.  Pages on the site are increasingly registering higher and higher on various search subjects on Google and other search engines. Even our Tweets are showing up prominently for some searches.

Building a Valuable Team

I have been extremely lucky to build an outstanding staff of experienced market journalists and industry professionals to drive this effort.  With Editor in Chief Jim Kharouf, Senior Editor/Producer Christine Nielsen, Senior Editor Sarah Rudolph, Metals Edition editor Chris McMahon and the rest of the MarketsWiki team, we have talent, experience market knowledge and a desire to build a media model that does not kill trees.

Subcriptions Matter Too

Since 2004 the John Lothian Newsletter has been offered on a voluntary pay basis, meaning individuals and firms finding the newsletter valuable are asked to pay for it.  It has been the revenues from this newsletter that has allowed me to experiment with new products.  It was a desire to bring more value to the voluntary pay newsletter that drove the decision to launch MarketsWiki.  As is the tradition, the new year brings a new subscription payment request.  The John Lothian Newsletter is again offered for rate of $115 for an individual subscription and $75 per year per reader for an enterprise rate for companies or groups with 5 or more readers.  Environmental Markets Newsletter is offered for $150 per year per reader, or $100 enterprise rate, and includes a full subscription to the John Lothian Newsletter.

John Lothian Newlsetter – Metals Edition continues to be free during 2010.  NYSE Liffe US continues to sponsor JLN-ME, but not exclusively.  Other interested companies, other than exchanges, are welcome to become JLN ME sponsors.  Contact me at johnlothian@johnlothian.com for more information or contact my associate Jessica Titlebaum at jessicatitlebaum@johnlothian.com.

Announcing John Lothian Newsletter – Managed Futures Blog & Biweekly Newsletter

Today we are announcing the upcoming launch of John Lothian Newsletter – Managed Futures Edition, a biweekly newsletter, blog and integrated Twitter feed covering the managed futures sector.  Ron Sebonia, my new Price Group and John J. Lothian & Company, Inc. associate, is the editor of JLN Managed Futures Edition.

JLN MF will offiicially launch on January 15.  You can follow the blog at www.jlnmanagedfutures.com or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JLNMF.

The Price Futures Group and affiliated companies are the exclusive sponsors of JLN Managed Futures for the first six months.

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