Ben Matthews from Hotwire PR recently invited a handful of UK bloggers to spend an afternoon with The Financial Times. I was intrigued. Or rather, I was interested while also being nervous that my soul might be sapped. I went along anyway.
I’m glad I did. I got to meet Neville Hobson, Sarah Blow (Girly Geekdom), Patrick Altoft (BlogStorm), Andrew Donoghue (ZDNet) and Robert Andrews (UK editor, PaidContent). From the Financial Times side, we got to spend some quality time with James Montgomery (Editor, FT.com), Kate Mackenzie (Interactive Web Editor), Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson (Media Editor), Tim Bradshaw (Digital Media Correspondent), Tom Glover (Senior Communications Manager), Sam Jones (Alphaville), Steve Ager (video team). We briefly met Rob Grimshaw (MD, FT.com) and Robert Andrews got an interesting interview with him which you can find here.
Do I feel like I’ve been duped into thinking about and linking to the FT? Not really. It was quite nice to be invited in. The tour of the news room alone was worth the trip. I think Ben and Drew at Hotwire set up an interesting day for us, and I was particularly impressed with the level of access we got, especially to James Montgomery and the news room. My biggest bit of feedback was that internet access would have made our lives a bit easier. Despite being encouraged to live blog, Tweet etc, there was no guest wifi internet access provided for us.
- This is the first in a series of blogger events. “We’d like you to take an interest in FT.com and we’d like your views. We’d like to pick your brains about blogging”.
- In October 2007 the FT.com access model changed to be more ‘blogger friendly’. Return to non-subscription based. Now, anyone can access 5 articles per month without registration. 5 articles per month = register, 30 per month = pay.
- The pool of registered users has grown from nothing to over 450,000 registered users since October last year.
- Embedded video ‘mini player’ being added to the site very soon (next month?)
- Kate Mackenzie fielded some predictable hassle about not offering full content feeds. (And even hinted they might remove them from the FT blogs which do still offer full feeds). Big discussion about letting go of control and finding a way of opening up content without damaging the business model.
- Anecdote about Alphaville, which apparently didn’t see a traffic drop when they switched from full feeds to partial. Hmm. There’s a bigger picture here. The desire to be open and helpful is in tension with metrics and revenue streams which rely on pageviews?
- (Catching up on this today, I dug around. If you’re an Alphaville user looking for the full feed, Paul Murphy gives a helpful link in this chat transcript. The full feed is still out there, you just have to look for it. This made Felix Salmon happy too.)
- “Digg is the only social bookmarking site which gets us any significant traffic”. del.icio.us is used by some people on the ground, but not seen as a traffic source.
Other people’s thoughts: