Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

AnnArbor.com: We're nuts for Ann Arbor; also, offices on Liberty

3. June 2009 • Matt Hampel
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Two pieces of news from AnnArbor.com today.

The first is a logo announcement — here you go:
Acorn icon, annarbor.com wordmark

I wanted to write some witty description, but I can’t do better than the text already provided:

We’ve chosen an acorn as the icon of AnnArbor.com. Oak trees are ubiquitous here in Ann Arbor. They permeate our landscape, our iconography and our history. The acorn icon symbolizes the best of that tradition while signaling a new beginning.

The acorn also signifies potential and change; AnnArbor.com will constantly grow …

… The logo was designed by New York-based SS+K …

The second piece of info is their new office location: Liberty at Fifth. It’s going to be open to the community, a welcome change from the current News Bunker on Division:

The first floor will have free wireless Internet access. We’ll have comfortable couches and chairs to foster a relaxed environment where local folks can gather to discuss news and events, or simply surf the Web. Additionally, there will be a conference room that local groups may reserve as scheduling permits. There will be ample outdoor gathering space, too.

Computer training classes will be offered, writes the Old News. Editorial & business staff will be on the seventh floor.

Until recently, that first floor was home to Primo Coffee and Microcoworking, which was abruptly shuttered this week. Coincidence?



  1. With all due respect…lol. This is getting to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

    You think anyone in their right mind is going to ‘hang out’ in the new space, surf the web and ‘discuss’ all the world class quality news from the a2.com site?

    “We’ve chosen an acorn as the icon of AnnArbor.com. Oak trees are ubiquitous here in Ann Arbor. They permeate our landscape, our iconography and our history. The acorn icon symbolizes the best of that tradition while signaling a new beginning.”

    Is there someone sitting in a Manhattan loft, smoking pot and coming up with these lines that sound like a comedy skit writer making fun of Midwesterns? Or was the part actually written ‘locally’?

    I am thinking they might want to go with plan B, the free open bar.


       —Alan Goldsmith    Jun. 3 '09 - 04:51PM    #
  2. I’ll definitely swing by the space. Especially if it means I can chat with a reporter about some project, or sit around and write some code for a local application.

    The firm that made the logo may have an exclusive contract with our new .com’s parent. That’s the best explanation I can think of. We’ll have to wait and see if Dearing or another representative posts a rebuttal.

    But it’s a little disappointing that Primo was booted from their space. As l.m.orchard notes on the original blog post, they already offered community space, coffee, and pastries.


       —Matt Hampel    Jun. 3 '09 - 05:53PM    #
  3. This logo is an embarrassment. It looks like some New Yorker’s idea of what midwesterners are like. It has all the appeal of a elementary school newspaper logo.


       —Just a homeowner    Jun. 3 '09 - 08:49PM    #
  4. Glad they will be downtown but it was bad that local businesses were apparently kicked out. Not a good way to start off, even if it wasn’t A2.com’s fault. Kind of the thing a local news organization should know not to do. Has anyone talked to Primo? Do they have other options?

    The acorn embodies our vision for AnnArbor.com — to provide journalism that is of, by and for the Ann Arbor community, but with a modern twist.
    Uh, what? I rarely think of acorns as journalism with a modern twist.

    Their work on the logo was informed by extensive consumer research in Ann Arbor, along with feedback from us and from people in the community.
    So who were these people? Seems funny that no one I know heard about the extensive customer research. Not so extensive perhaps.

    I know it is tough to pick something like a logo, but this just seems so random. Personally, I would have preferred an interesting A or a new tree (tired perhaps, but it is much more of an Ann Arbor image) or even a maple leaf to the acorn. I’m already hearing comparisons to buckeye nuts. Sigh. Mostly I’m very unhappy this was done by a New York firm rather than a local firm. I also wonder why the community wasn’t given a choice in the selection of the logo. If it really is by, for, and about the community, why not at least give us a choice of logos? What, do they think we are nuts? Oh, yes, apparently.


       —Juliew    Jun. 3 '09 - 08:53PM    #
  5. Well, according to ArborWiki, the seal of the City of Ann Arbor features a Burr Oak.


       —Matt Hampel    Jun. 3 '09 - 09:16PM    #
  6. Matt, you are right that Ann Arbor has many giant and wonderful Bur/r oaks and that the city seal is most likely the Bur/r oak. But those acorns look like this.


       —Juliew    Jun. 3 '09 - 10:01PM    #
  7. The logo isn’t so bad—it has an indie feel to it that’s appropriate for the endeavor. I just hope AnnArbor.com’s spirit isn’t too indie…not sure it’s going to succeed if it feels like Just Another Local Blog.

    Sad to hear about Primo…the coffee wasn’t great, but I was happy to see a cafe actually succeeding at that location. Wonder if they will relocate.

    Not sure this “open door” thing is going to work either…it’s an interesting concept, and might be worth a try though.


       —Young Urban Amateur    Jun. 3 '09 - 10:10PM    #
  8. Two horrible PR moves — hiring a NY graphic design firm for the logo and booting two local businesses from their locations. Not exactly the community-based beginning one would hope for. What were they thinking?

    The community space idea is a fine one — but one that Primo already provided. Wi-fi included — and coffee, which was a plus.

    I can think of 15 incredible graphic design firms located here in Ann Arbor that could have come up with a great logo. I have no problem with the acorn — but why did we local dollars to be spent on Madison Avenue to achieve that?

    It seems like in this economy, AnnArbor.com is starting out by showing itself to be utterly clueless about what Ann Arbor really needs.


       —Acclimated to Ann Arbor    Jun. 3 '09 - 11:36PM    #
  9. If you know of graphic design firms in Ann Arbor, can you add them to the ArborWiki page of that name? We really don’t have a list, and it would be helpful to know who’s out there.


       —Matt Hampel    Jun. 4 '09 - 01:04AM    #
  10. The agent who negotiated the lease for AnnArbor.com says that Primo’s closing had nothing to do with AnnArbor.com. See the comment thread to AnnArbor.com’s article on their space.


       —Tom Brandt    Jun. 4 '09 - 03:36AM    #
  11. Normally I try to offer a thoughtful analysis. In this case, in response to the logo: yuck. (And I like acorns.) That said, sounds like AA.com is trying to retain some of the popular aspects of the space.


       —Steve Bean    Jun. 4 '09 - 03:00PM    #
  12. Question:

    Were any of the people involved in the new online venture part of the strike breakers recruited by the Newhouse chain for the Youngstown Ohio Vindicator newspaper?

    http://www.michigandaily.com/content/daily-out-touch


       —Alan Goldsmith    Jun. 4 '09 - 03:59PM    #
  13. From the Michigan Daily 2005:

    “The Ann Arbor News’s participation in efforts to break the Vindicator strike contrasts dramatically with the sentiments of Ann Arbor’s predominantly liberal populace. Many residents here — and many Ann Arbor News subscribers — would strongly disapprove with the paper’s decision to allow its employees to work at the Vindicator during a strike. Yet The Ann Arbor News has not informed its readers about the paper’s role in the Vindicator strike.”


       —Alan Goldsmith    Jun. 4 '09 - 04:02PM    #
  14. Bingo:

    “Employees at the Youngstown Vindicator, an Ohio newspaper, confirmed yesterday that the Ann Arbor News’s top editor, Ed Petykiewicz, as well as Managing Sports Editor Jim Knight and sports copy editor Dave Holzman, worked for the Vindicator while its permanent employees were on strike.

    At least three Ann Arbor News reporters and editors worked at the Youngstown paper, said Debora Shaulis, vice president of the local Newspaper Guild, a union that represents 179 striking newspaper workers in Youngstown.”

    —Michigan Daily 2/24/09

    http://www.michigandaily.com/content/a2-news-chief-works-scab


       —Alan Goldsmith    Jun. 4 '09 - 04:04PM    #
  15. My modest proposal for the title of the new publication: The Ann Arbor Nuts.


       —David Cahill    Jun. 4 '09 - 04:36PM    #
  16. I am thinking they might want to hire Harry Bennett for office security while they are at it.


       —Alan Goldsmith    Jun. 4 '09 - 04:40PM    #
  17. To provide A2-dot-com’s avant corporate image more visual balance and dynamic tension, might they try adding a small squirrel to the right of the company name? Just to see what it would look like? As a helpful suggestion, let’s envision a very striking, forward-leaning Midwestern squirrel, as seen from a side view facing toward the left, with tail curled at the ready and little paws hovering over “.com”, giving its undivided attention to the acorn as big as itself over on the other side of the name. Please note that squirrels occupy an integral role as actors within our vibrant local oak ecosystem.* Give the acorn a friend.

    Also, please note that the existing logo design has been locally created, as far as this concerns the Staten Island based Advance Publications. The corporate deciders just need a ferry ride and a short walk in lower Manhattan to get to SS+K offices. As for cost, while the image up at top looks like the polished result of a lunch hour brainstorm, I’ll hazard a guess that the SS+K’s total billed amount for producing this logo would be sufficient to allow one of us working-class punters to comfortably retire for a couple of years. A web designer or illustrator at The Onion’s NYC offices would have conjured up with a very similar design in a couple of hours for far less, doing so while Advance execs rode the ferry across the water.

    On the other hand, Advance willfully embraces bland design aesthetics, which carries a certain honesty. Give them some credit for more accurately visualizing drab corporate reality, rather than hiding it behind a facade of brilliant eye candy.

    * However (nod to Alan), corporate officials will no doubt note, in turn, that squirrels maintain a long history as unreliable scabs. Sent on a beat, they repeatedly dig up the same story.


       —yet another aging boomer    Jun. 5 '09 - 01:22AM    #
  18. Just to clarify: “Microcoworking” was not a business to be “booted,” it was instead an informal gathering of (mostly) self-employed people working side-by-side in the Primo Coffee space. I’m sure they will land somewhere else.

    What I want to know is whether this space is going to have coffee! I work upstairs, and I was happy there was a coffee shop again downstairs. And now it’s gone. I’ll have to walk over to Main to get some Mighty Good coffee in the Workantile Exchange, or over to State to Comet Coffee in the Nickels Arcade.


       —Spencer    Jun. 5 '09 - 08:01PM    #
  19. I hope you change your minds about the acorn logo! The ACORN organization, which has an acorn for its logo, has recently made news, resulting in a questionable reputation for itself.

    Ann Arbor (originally named “ANN’S ARBOR”) has been a city known for its TREES since its founding in the early 1800’s. It would be great to have a simple, neat little grove of trees for the logo!


       —7th Generation Ann Arborite    Jun. 11 '09 - 06:07AM    #
  20. Microworking did meet for a couple of weeks after Primo’s closing at Workantile Exchange, but next it will meet at Eastern Accents. Any and all are welcome to join us each Wednesday from 9:30(ish) to noon(ish). More on the microcoworking website


       —Tom Brandt    Jun. 11 '09 - 08:33PM    #
  21. On the post-beta version of a2 dot com site, their logo remains acorn-only. Oh well. Though I do notice they’re using an oak leaf icon, painted in rgb olive green, to signify a nearby expression of thoughtfulness that has been submitted by one of us, the readership. The Your Voice icon works much like a thought bubble, but one which they’ve chosen to depict as a summer leaf that has become detached from a great oak tree — that larger community of leaves which represents all of A2’s collective thoughts and aspirations. I can’t help but imagine these leaves falling gently and serenely in a light breeze down to nature’s grass-covered dot-com floor down below. Once there, they will nourish the soil and thus further enrich the great communal tree that created them.

    While entranced by the above poetic vision of our typed words falling gently in a digital blue sky on a summer’s day, I’d still like to make one final plug to promote the use of a squirrel as an alternate site icon. The critter needn’t appear in the a2 dot com logo or for that matter be painted in olive green or in slate blue (like the top header). It could lead its own separate existence on the site, much the same way the oak leaf does.

    Let’s say you hover your cursor over a page link and then suddenly up pops a contextual menu in the shape of a squirrel. The menu’s contents happily surprise you with links to other A2 dot com articles with similar themes to what you’re currently reading, to new postings, or to subscription information. Tiny text-based ads might appear there as well. This could transform the acorn-consuming mammal into a web-based feature somewhat comparable to Clippy, the helpful and informative paper clip found in Microsoft Office. Something like that would quickly gain popularity with local readers. Also, upon further reflection, let’s paint it in java(script), a natural hue for the highly active ground creature.


       —yet another aging boomer    Aug. 2 '09 - 01:11AM    #
  22. Hmm, the squirrel is an interesting concept, but it’s already been used. Ever see the TreeTop Observer?


       —Vivienne Armentrout    Aug. 2 '09 - 01:59AM    #
  23. Sunday A2 dot com Sunday editorial page. Two letters to the editor, four NY Times columns, a lame ‘editorial’, and, fortunately, the return of Pete Luke’s great weekly column.

    And, to balance out the positive move with Luke, the sports page had convicted felon David Mayo’s sports column from the Grand Rapids Press. In the past, Mayo could at least blame smoking pot for the half baked, cliche writing that took not having a clue to new heights. But now it appears it’s just a lack of talent.

    The anti-Greden ad though was great and worth the price of admission. Lol.


       —Alan Goldsmith    Aug. 3 '09 - 06:26PM    #
  24. I should add, the David Jesse series of articles on child porn, while maybe not the more important local topic to focus on, was well written and interesting and great journalism.


       —Alan Goldsmith    Aug. 3 '09 - 08:12PM    #
  25. Alan, could you get a snap of the anti-Greden ad? (I’m not in Ann Arbor right now, so I can’t)


       —Matt Hampel    Aug. 3 '09 - 08:28PM    #
  26. Matt, I just emailed you a scan of the ad.


       —Alan Goldsmith    Aug. 3 '09 - 10:00PM    #
  27. Does someone have a link to that ad?


       —Annette Gilbert    Aug. 3 '09 - 10:28PM    #
  28. Thanks for that, Alan.

    Here’s the ad, for posterity:
    image on arborwiki


       —Matt Hampel    Aug. 3 '09 - 10:30PM    #
  29. Thanks Matt. Lol.


       —Alan Goldsmith    Aug. 3 '09 - 11:10PM    #
  30. Annette, Matt and Alan,
    The Alliance of Neighborhoods has a pdf file of the proof for the ad. It doesn’t have the bleed through that appears on the scan. The link is on the front page under the “Vote! Vote! Vote!” paragraph.

    http://groups.google.com/group/ann-arbor-neighborhoods


       —Jack Eaton    Aug. 4 '09 - 07:17PM    #
  31. Thanks Jack!


       —Alan Goldsmith    Aug. 4 '09 - 07:44PM    #
  32. Back to A2.com. But why hasn’t anyone asked any REAL questions during the campaign. You know, like Is Cheerleading Too Dangerous?

    Lol.


       —Alan Goldsmith    Aug. 5 '09 - 09:03PM    #
  33. Re Post no. 28: The “Ann Arbor Citizens for Better Local Government” ad that some have credited with giving Steve Kunselman his six-vote victory has M. Winkelman listed as the group’s treasurer. M. Winkelman is really Marjorie Winkelman, a longtime employee and associate of Patricia Lesko, spokeswoman of the GO Ask Voters organization.

    In fact, anti-Greden activists with their get-out-the-vote calls and other conduct can surely be credited with handing the victory to Steve Kunselman.


       —Junior    Aug. 15 '09 - 04:02PM    #
  34. I hope you change your minds about the acorn logo! The ACORN organization, which has an acorn for its logo, has recently made news, resulting in a questionable reputation for itself.

    I’ll go out on a limb here, hanging with the squirrels, so to speak, and confidently predict that ACORN — which for several decades has assisted or initiated community organizing campaigns aimed at low- to moderate-income households — will manage to survive any mistaken associations due to the acorn emblem currently in use by Advance Publications’ local subsidiary. The generally positive reputation that the grassroots group has developed over the years should remain intact.

    Will concede, however, that A2 dot com’s rendering of acorn clip art does look a bit nicer by comparison. Glad they got that much from their Manhattan-based design firm.


       —yet another aging boomer    Aug. 16 '09 - 05:51PM    #
  35. Hmm, the squirrel is an interesting concept, but it’s already been used. Ever see the TreeTop Observer?

    It looks like Glen Thompson does much of the posting on that site. Although I can’t say I fully understand the situation at the A2 farmers market, he’s been accused during recent times of running interference for a few of the more mainstream sellers, protecting their special privileges while sometimes denigrating local organic farmers (including one the founders of People’s Food Co-op). At public meetings he may have been a point person in efforts to block reform proposals that would have brought more fairness to arrangement of the stalls and the flow of shoppers at the market. While I’m sympathetic to some of the questions & issues he brings forward in regard to what goes on at city hall, and while what happens at the market isn’t the only thing in town that matters, Glen’s advocacy for local reform does not appear consistent across the board.


       —yet another aging boomer    Aug. 16 '09 - 06:25PM    #
  36. I hope that you will get rid of that acorn icon. Otherwise everybody will connect your name with the ACORN organization. Do you really want that? They are swindlers (last election) and corrupted. And they use a similar icon for their organization. Who were your advisers in this matter?


       —Milo    Sep. 8 '09 - 02:45PM    #
  37. I agree 1000% with Milo’s comments. I don’t want my home associated with the ACORN organization at all, so I cut the logo off the of the sign that was plastered to the newspaper box. AnnArbor.com needs to change their new logo.


       —Diane    Sep. 10 '09 - 12:25PM    #
  38. I’m left wondering if these comments say more about the people making them or what they think of the intelligence of their fellow residents?


       —John Q.    Sep. 10 '09 - 02:10PM    #
  39. For clarification purposes, the Diane above is not me (Diane G., who has previously posted on arborupdate as “Diane”).

    Arborupdate should have unique identifiers in place. I actually can’t believe that they don’t.


       —Diane G.    Sep. 10 '09 - 02:32PM    #
  40. That’s easy, Diane G. – just post under your full name or choose something catchy as a pseudonym.

    Let us now take a moment to mourn the absence of Parking Structure Dude!. PSD! (the punctuation is important) could never be confused with another.

    Question for the management: do you make or can you make any effort to prevent people from usurping others’ pseudonyms? For example, could I get away with posting wisdom as John Q? (No, no, I wouldn’t try it if I could.)


       —Vivienne Armentrout    Sep. 10 '09 - 04:48PM    #
  41. aha! I am going to post as Vivienne Armentrout! :-)


       —Leah Gunn    Sep. 10 '09 - 05:58PM    #
  42. If I see something that looks weird, I’ll check some details in the administration section to see if something’s going on. I doubt we’ll be registered usernames anytime soon, but we might display Gravatars


       —Matt Hampel    Sep. 10 '09 - 07:01PM    #
  43. Diane (G) –

    I actually can’t believe that they don’t.

    It’s institutional inertia at its finest. The reason we use software that doesn’t have commenter-level authentication is because that’s what Rob installed 5+ years ago. “Maybe we should migrate to Drupal so that we can have commenter accounts!” became an in-joke to our internal discussions around, say, 2006, but changing over a few thousand posts and comments between systems never seemed appealing enough for anybody to spend their weekend on.

    So far, we’ve gotten away with people calling out their (typ. inadvertent) doppelgangers, as well as the fact that nobody thinks they can convincingly pull off a John Q. or PSD! charade.


       —Murph    Sep. 11 '09 - 12:39AM    #
  44. @Yet Another Aging Boomer:
    Your summation of Glenn Thompson’s erratic “advocacy” is spot on. If only he and his partner Karen Sidney would focus on preventing another Neil Berlin-style corruption of city finances, instead of monkeying around with privileged farmers market vendors, we might be better off.

    As reported on our blog, in a recent posting by Mr Vazquez highlighting continued corruption at the farmers market, and with Mr Vazquez collecting signatures on a petition for better baked goods rules at the market, Mr Thompson is alleged to have said to Mr Vazquez when asked to sign the petition, “I’m not signing your ****ing petition” or “I’m not signing your phony petition”. So much for Mr Thompson’s “advocacy”. It appears to many in our community that he is an interloper who alternately supports or opposes city officials depending on how it suits his purpose. In the matters of the market, he has never once proposed to sit down with former Market Commission Chair Mr Vazquez, although Mr Vazquez has made such proposals to sit down with Mr Thompson and his (phony) group the so-called Friends of the Market. If dialogue and transparency in government is the goal, then Mr Thompson has failed misereably.


       —fuzzbollah    Sep. 11 '09 - 03:25PM    #
  45. At least annarbor.com posted a story and video on Mr. Vazquez’s protest during the 90th Anniversary of the market: http://www.annarbor.com/news/no-faked-goods-says-farmers-market-protestor/

    We believe this shows a good faith effort on the part of annarbor.com to cover stories of local interest, no matter how trivial or painful the subject may be. However, many in our community won’t even know this protest occurred, since the article was promptly buried, and did not appear “above the fold”.


       —fuzzbollah    Sep. 11 '09 - 03:33PM    #
  46. for fuzzy RE:glen thompson. Awhile back vendors, commissioners &the public were asked for suggestions regarding the topic of seniority.several suggestions were received and discussed. It appears Mr. Thomspson sent an e-mail to several members of his “pack”’. Mr. thompson’s statement is as follows. “there is a proposal to eliminate the current seniority system. One proposed alternate concept is to consider the vendors carbon footprint”.
    this false statement created a frenzy and the commission was influxed with several e-amils from members of the “pack” objecting to the “proposal” thompson had mentioned in his e-mail.
    Mr. Thompson received an e-mail from shannon brines maintaining there was no such proposal on the table and asking glen to send another e-mail to clarify to his readers that there is not a proposal to eliminate the current seniority system. the e-mail re- sent by glen to the “pack” finds him babbling about his use of the words “eliminate” and “proposal” somehow trying to justify his incorrect info that he’d previoulsy sent. However, the most arrogant thing he stated in this e-mail is “ As a result on the July 17, market commission meeting I believe the concept of carbon footprint is dead, primarily as a result of our e-mails. I will try to keep all informed and I hope you will continue with your comments”.
    does seem like there is an “underground” to the market with mr. Thompson leading the “pack”.

    Mr. Thompson , NO concept is dead! the talks will resume again. perhaps the next round of conversations will include not only carbon footprint but will include less spaces for large farms that have migrant workers or the one that supports their farm with a retail store selling liquor and cigarettes, vs. the small family farms like Kathy Melmouth speaks about in her letter to the commission. You Mr. Thompson needlessly worried her. you should apologize to her for that.
    spreading false information for your gain to eliminate ANY concept that you don’t want presented for conversation is irresponsible.You did this with the market renovations. what farmers and consumers got from you spreading false rumors, is not the beautifully designed market that was presented to the city at a cost of $150,000 for the design, but a painted roof. do you know how many artisans have their products ruined when it rains because the gutters are pouring in on their stalls. the market manager just says oh well..?
    Let’s not talk about how you ruined the potential for some to have heated stalls in the winter. what a ________ you are.


       —it is what it is    Sep. 23 '09 - 03:27AM    #
  47. I am having a problem getting reliable figures on the number of unique visitors per day to AnnArbor.com.

    A2Politico, in a comment to its story Who’d Get Your Vote If The Election Were Today?, says that AnnArbor.com gets “about 5,600 unique visitors each day.”

    The Internet traffic site Quantcast.com says AnnArbor.com gets about 15,000 people per day. I assume this means “unique people”, since this site also says AnnArbor.com gets about 20,000 visits per day. The results are graphically displayed.

    I just talked with an AnnArbor.com staff person, who claimed 180,000 unique visitors per week. Quantcast says about 30,000 people per week.

    Quantcast says its figures are rough estimates. I found it by chance – I saw a reference to it in Scientific American.

    What is the most reliable site for accurate monitoring of Internet traffic?

    And what does this site say about AnnArbor.com traffic, in terms unique visitors per day?


       —David Cahill    Sep. 23 '09 - 07:40PM    #
  48. David,

    You’re looking for total impressions, stickiness (time on site) and unique visitors. That’s what they’re trying to sell to advertisers.

    The most reliable data will come from AnnArbor.com’s own servers, of course. I just looked at http://www.quantcast.com/annarbor.com and this was what the site reported:

    This site reaches approximately 67,712 U.S. monthly people. Those are uniques. Do the math at 2.6 pageviews per user per visit.

    Alexa provides some other interesting data: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/annarbor.com

    Stats for trailing month are disquieting (if I own AnnArbor.com). Trailing 3 months are better. At only 2.6 page views per person per visit with 70 bloggers and what must be, by now, thousands of pages of content, is the biggest source of concern. Time on the site per visit is 3.9 minutes, according to Alexa over the 3 months. Again, disquieting due to the sheer bulk of content that they’re paying (and not paying) to generate. Over the past three months, half of visitors looked at only one page. That’s way too many bounces. The site isn’t nearly sticky enough. Depending on how much money they have to burn, we might see some major tweaks soon. My guess, though, is that the operation is still burning through money.

    With quick visits, lots of bounces and 2.6 page views, I’m wondering how many clicks/impressions the advertisers are getting. A savvy advertiser will track their results closely. They sold ad packages without telling advertisers what monthly uniques would be. Advertisers will re-evaluate, obviously.

    What does this say? Give AnnArbor.com three more months and look at the trends. The other day of reckoning for them comes every day when they get the daily numbers of print subscribers who’ve re-upped their subs. Ann Arbor News finished with something like 48K paid subs. If paid circ. drops, obviously that’s a revenue bite, but also savings in printing costs. It doesn’t balance out, unfortunately.

    I would imagine actual uniques on the Web, and page views for each content item (at least I hope) are scrutinized. However, I know three contributors who have never been given any feedback concerning how many people actually read their material.

    You can do the same for with AnnArborChronicle.com. It’s an interesting comparison.


       —UMGrad1234    Sep. 24 '09 - 12:14AM    #
  49. What we really need is an Audit Bureau of Circulations” for the Internet. 8-) The ABC verifies print media claims of circulation. For a daily paper, that’s daily copies. For a constantly-updated site like AnnArbor.com, the closest parallel is unique visitors per day.

    As UMGrad points out, the daily paid print circulation used to be 48,000. For AnnArbor.com, using Quantcast figures, the daily “circulation” (uniques per day) is about 15,000.


       —David Cahill    Sep. 24 '09 - 02:03PM    #
  50. Part of the challenge that it’s harder to count web visitors than newspapers. You will get different numbers just based on which tool you use. For example, Wordpress Stats reports different visitor numbers than Google Analytics for the same website.


       —Chuck Warpehoski    Sep. 24 '09 - 02:32PM    #
  51. Chuck is right; it is a challenge to nail down stats. As with print advertising, A2.com’s web advertisers will either see the spending as effective or not. Banner ad prices on the AA Observer’s site are priced insanely high for the small amount of unique traffic the site serves up. AnnArbor.com has all kinds of ad bundles. Dunno about AnnArborChronicle.com. Right now, there’s lots of competition, so to speak, and that’s good for advertisers.

    We’ll see if AA.com realizes that online it’s better to go for the fast advertising nickel than the slow dime.


       —UMGrad1234    Sep. 24 '09 - 06:03PM    #
  52. Delivering 48,000 newspapers means only that the papers landed on the doorstep. It does not mean that anyone read the paper. How many of those were read? AA.com gets, let’s say, 15,000 unique visits per day. Because of the different delivery of the website, we know that every one of the visitors actually looked at the website. They had to because they had to choose to go to the site.

    The idea that 48,000 papers means 48,000 people see what’s inside the paper is no correct.


       —just a homeowner    Sep. 24 '09 - 07:30PM    #
  53. It’s reasonable to think that every paid subscriber will look inside each issue of the printed newspaper. While some may not, their omission is more than made up by members of the subscriber’s family reading a given hard-copy publication.

    Hard-copy publications often claim that more than one person reads a given issue, thus boosting their alleged readership. Using the Audit Bureau of Circulations figures at least gives some objectivity. (I think that’s one reason the ABC was created.)


       —David Cahill    Sep. 24 '09 - 10:33PM    #
  54. so if someone uses a laptop in three different starclicks, then what?


       —toasty    Sep. 25 '09 - 06:23PM    #
  55. “The idea that 48,000 papers means 48,000 people see what’s inside the paper is no correct.”

    That supposition is mostly incorrect. The A2News and annarbor.com are subscription/point of sale based papers. People generally look at things they buy.

    Granted, some might be longtime subscribers who no longer spend much time with the paper.

    And, when I read something in print, I tend to spend more time with it than if I was reading on the Web.

    All I know, is print is still a more effective source of advertising than online. Why do you think A2.com comes out on Thursdays and Sundays. Those are the two biggest advertising days. And I’d guess, those print ads are propping up the company. Online? Nobody’s making any money.


       —Anon    Sep. 25 '09 - 08:54PM    #
  56. AnnArbor.com’s marketing director sent me some more info. They use a site called “Omniture Site Catalyst” to measure their web hits. Omniture’s code is installed on their pages.

    Based on this information, AnnArbor.com claims an average of 37,750 unique visitors per day based on the first two weeks of September.

    An article in October’s Ann Arbor Observer says the Nielsen firm reports that AnnArbor.com drew 129,000 unique online visitors during August.

    With regard to print circulation, AnnArbor.com says it will still use the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Unaudited current figures are 49,837 on Sunday and 41,050 on Thursday.

    So – go figure. 8-)


       —David Cahill    Sep. 29 '09 - 03:02PM    #
  57. For the moment, I’m going to revive this thread. It will, relatively speaking, be brought back in the general direction of the original topic, which hopefully no one should mind. So then… to recap earlier posts at #36-37 from a couple of mavericky, McCain-esque teabaggers whose commentary was going rogue at the expense of ACORN community organizers:

    I hope that you will get rid of that acorn icon. Otherwise everybody will connect your name with the ACORN organization. Do you really want that? They are swindlers (last election) and corrupted. And they use a similar icon for their organization…

    …I don’t want my home associated with the ACORN organization at all, so I cut the logo off the of the sign that was plastered to the newspaper box. AnnArbor.com needs to change their new logo.

    These delicate sentiments were partly in reply to #34. Since that time more water has flowed under the bridge, and recently the federal government stripped away some of the group’s funding. Now, according to a Metro Times report, the latest development involves two Detroit-area activist lawyers assisting the national Center for Constitutional Rights in a lawsuit filed against the federal government on ACORN’s behalf. The article notes that various right wing politicos, who typically can’t be bothered to lift a finger over major excesses and corruption on Wall Street, have made a point of singling out this group over far smaller transgressions (some of which are unfounded allegations):

    Because it works primarily with low-income and minority populations — groups that traditionally tend to support Democratic candidates — ACORN has become a target of conservative political forces “dedicated to the proposition that the fewer poor people who vote the better,” according to the lawsuit. …In the past, the right has also made much do about instances of fraud involving voter registration.

    What else have these neighborhood organizers done, historically, that causes such politicos to go nuts?

    “[ACORN] has advocated raising the minimum wage to a living wage in dozens of communities across the country. It works against predatory lending and to stop foreclosures. It has helped over 150,000 people file their tax returns. It has worked on thousands of issues that arise from the predicaments and problems of the poor, the homeless, the underpaid, the hungry and the sick, on the local, state and national level through direct action, negotiation, legislative advocacy and voter participation.”

    Last — but not least — one of several Rachel Maddow program segments discussing smears on ACORN’s public image, broadcast on MSNBC in late September, can be found here.


       —yet another    Nov. 20 '09 - 03:20AM    #
  58. In fact, no, this thread is not about ACORN the organizing group.


       —Matt Hampel for AU    Nov. 20 '09 - 04:46PM    #
  59. Rather, it is about squash.


       —Bruce Fields    Nov. 21 '09 - 03:58AM    #
  60. That is appropriate since apparently there is a pumpkin shortage and it is about to vanish from supermarket shelves. Poof!


       —Vivienne Armentrout    Nov. 21 '09 - 02:57PM    #
  61. Matt — Sorry. Will try to do better this time, for you and for AU.
    Irrelevance must be squashed, lest we turn into pumpkins and disappear.

    … so I cut the logo off the of the sign that was plastered to the newspaper box … everybody will connect your name with the ACORN organization

    Let’s try placing decisions on the use of logo art and the development of organizational identity within the context of the natural world and its knowing, eternal wisdom. There’s a clear connection to be made here once we remind ourselves — with due reverence — of the elemental and essential role that the not-so-humble acorn has played in the existence of earthly creatures, going back eons in geologic time.

    It is the oak tree’s great gift which helps nourish life on the ground. In the natural environment, for example, acorns have reliably sustained countless generations of squirrels in a range of climates over many millennia, and continue to do so today in our very own Tree Town backyards. Deer appreciate them, too. And, prior to invasion by European cultures, they provided a meaningful food source in the North American diet.

    Is it any small wonder, then, that organizations as diverse as a Republican-despised community group and a once-formidable newspaper chain have sought to leverage the acorn’s majestic, life-force symbolism? That they display it — front and center — in order to promote their non-profit cause or commercial media activities? That they endeavor to crack open its enigmatic shell and release the sheer marketing potential found inside?

    When ambitious organizations bravely choose to adopt an acorn image as their main symbol, should it bring any great surprise that our society subsequently holds them accountable to high standards of excellence in human affairs? Might this explain the fervor animating discussions like these?


       —yet another    Nov. 21 '09 - 11:54PM    #