Scoop Update #5 – Scoop Refuses To Say Die!!!
In This Edition: Dear Scoop Content Providers… AND THAT”S NOT ALL! YOU ALSO GET FREE STEAK KNIVES WITH SCOOP….Feedback To Yesterday’s Dramatic Scoop News….
This is the sixth in a series of occasional newsletters to subscribers to the My Scoop community.
Scoop Update #6
NOTE TO MY SCOOP READERS…. We today posted this message to a list of Scoop’s content providers… we thought you might be interested…
Dear Scoop Content Providers…
Over the last few week each one of you (170 people are receiving this email! And we would appreciate it if you could pass this email on to your colleagues…) have sent us a press release concerning something of importance that you want people to know about.
(NOTE: We have also taken the liberty of posting it to 2500 My Scoop Subscribers, some of whom you no doubt are – so apologies for the cross posting.)
Many of you – or your predecessors- have been providing us material for much of the last two years.
I am writing to you on behalf of the Scoop team because Scoop is unfortunately facing a cashflow crisis.
You may have already heard as we are getting a bit of media interest::
Scoop blames demise on lack of support
Lack of support from beneficiaries and advertising agency community to blame
ad future positive despite Scoop's struggles
Even large sites finding revenues tight
And as you are the people who write Scoop you are, in our view, entitled to be consulted on what we do with it.
Attached below are a sample of the responses we have received from your/our audience.
These people will clearly miss the content you provide – (in fact many will miss the material you provide more than that which we have the pleasure of providing, it seems.)
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
Scoop is in reality your creation.
Scoop is populated by the stories you write. Each day we publish around 90-120 items. The huge majority of which are written by you.
And on Scoop your material is popular.
5000 people read Scoop each day – 50,000 each month. They read 1 million pages a month of information or around 25,000 a day.
SCOOP IS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
Thanks to the way Scoop is built, every single one of your headlines gets a front page showing… and then a showing on every page in the wire it appears.
Scoop is designed to provide as close to a level playing field for the audience testing of a headline that it would be possible to do.
If your story is picked for Top Scoops (and around 40-50 a day are) then your headline is also sent out to around 2000 subscribers.
We are also the only website that publishes daily ratings so you can see whether you have struck a chord. And if your headlines was a good’un the previous day, and it rates in the top 30, it is automatically sent out to 1000 subscribers.
All these features are unique to Scoop.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU GET WITH SCOOP?
For PR Professionals like you, Scoop is extraordinarily useful. We are a test bench, an intelligence tool and a marketing dream rolled into one.
And all this for free.
AND THAT’S NOT ALL! YOU ALSO GET FREE STEAK KNIVES WITH SCOOP!
Scoop not only provides you with a large valuable and willing audience – but it also provides you an almost direct relationship with them.
We are the only media that doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t edit you.
Pretty much everything you say is reported verbatim. And we are far more inclusive than our competitors.
Whereas Newsroom chooses to some extent what it publishes, and strips contact details off content. Scoop – as a matter of policy – tries to suspend judgement as much as is possible. Scoop also leaves contact details on unless requested not to. This means it is news you can use.
After all, that is presumably why you are sending out the press release. To get a reaction. (Parliament press secretaries note: as your parties have requested that your contact details not be published they aren’t.)
As a result of our open philosophy, Scoop is the only media with Libertarianz, the Correctives and the Animal Liberation Front.
Sometimes we also end up publishing your blatantly commercial pitches too – which has on occasion offended our paying subscribers. But that’s life. Open is open. And Scoop believes there is value in being free and open.
SCOOP PROVIDES “THE INTERNET RECORD” OF YOUR WORK – BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY NZ WEBSITE WITH A FREELY AVAILABLE DATABASE
As an experiment you should go to Google.com (the world’s favourite search engine which also powers Yahoo!) and search for the name of your clients and “Scoop” and see what comes up. Now try the same thing without “Scoop”.
You could also try searching for something specific like “Airways Winston Peters Jenny Shipley”. Or the name of murder victim “Lisa Blakie”.
It is also worth noting that in this last result NewsRoom, Stuff, The NZ Herald, NZoom and Xtramsn do not appear. Why? Because they are planning on making money from historical material about you, in fact about anything. Usually there archives cost around $1 a story to subscribe to – or in NewsRoom’s case $150+GST a month for access to their archive.
If Scoop fails, the only search engine-indexed database of NZ news on-line would disappear.
For the public, the only remaining free news search tool would then be the NZ Herald – who are losing money and might soon follow in the footsteps of Stuff.co.nz and start charging.
If this were to happen the usefulness of the Internet for the general public (not to mention schools, libraries and universities) as a free research tool would be severely undermined.
SUMMARY - WHY SCOOP WORKS FOR YOU
SCOOP PROVIDES FOR YOU AND YOUR CLIENTS THE FOLLOWING SERVICES – WHICH NORMALLY COST LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY, FOR FREE:
- a large audience;
- a uniquely valuable audience;
- a uniquely compliant and open news media;
- a fair system of news exposure (a level playing field);
- a test bed for your work;
- a marketing tool;
- an intelligence service;
- a free online archive of your work - free to the public;
- free, direct and fast access to your stories from the world’s biggest Internet search engines
WHY DOESN’T’ SCOOP CHARGE?
Simply, Scoop doesn’t charge because if it did it wouldn’t be nearly as good.
In theory we could charge $20 a press release and survive, but that would deter enough of you to severely disable the service’s usefulness – both to you and the public.
Scoop is valuable to everybody involved in it because it is free.
We could in theory charge for the public to use us, but they shouldn’t have to, and probably wouldn’t anyway.
We could charge for public access to the database – and do what everybody else does - but we don’t because that too would make access to information an elitist privilege.
And, in any event, this business should be able to survive on the basis of advertising and subscription income. It has a big audience. It has a good media brand. And it has exceedingly low cost structures.
HOW BIG IS THE PROBLEM?
Not very big at all.
Scoop has a shortfall in income over costs of around $5000 a month. (Note: Stuff is probably losing around $300,000+ a month by comparison – excluding Jobstuff.)
If just one third of you were willing to subscribe to our professional news by email product for $100 a month we would be able to continue.
WHAT DO WE WANT
There are a few possibilities
1. Become a Scoop Angel – A Sustaining Subscriber
SCOOP’S GREAT BIG PAGE OF THANKYOUS
With instructions can be viewed at.
2. Or even better, get something for your money. Subscribe either personally or as an organisation to Scoop’s My Professional news-by-email service.
I.E. tell whomever holds the purse strings in your organisation that Scoop is valuable and worth supporting for the reasons above. And then write to firstname.lastname@example.org With an expression of how much you would be prepared to contribute per month. The price for a single account is $100 a month. Six accounts costs $200 and 10 accounts $300 a month..
Alternatively you – or your client – might like to buy some advertising. We have very reasonable rates and an extremely good quality audience… Afterall they include you. For advertising please ring Alastair Thompson on 04 934 2132.
SEE ATTACHED RESPONSES FROM SCOOP’S FANS TO NEWS OF OUR IMMINENT DEMISE….
Scoop has provided such excellent service since its inception. It has always been my first choice in the way of seeking important and interesting news 'straight from the horses mouth'. It would be more than a real shame if it failed to live on. If you guys need an extra volunteer count me in, there must be something I can do :)
'Those who give up their guns to make plows, will plow for those who dont'
Alastair Thompson - I live in a remote (well, remote-ish) area. I do not watch tv and listen to a limited amount of radio a day. The nearest place I can buy a local paper or The Press is 25k away, and - the price of diesel being what it is - I don’t expend 5 litres worth every day. YOU are my main news source. And I lurrrve Russel Brown's HARD NEWS.
I can’t assist in computer stuff (which I suspect you need the volunteers for) but I can offer you, say, 20 litres worth (Coast prices!) per month if it'd help.
Kia kaha, kia manawanui
Sorry to hear about the troubles. If I had any money I would offer a bit. I've voted on the internet awards for scoop, because it *is* one of the resources I value highly.
Daily email top scoops is what I use most. Are you looking towards a format such as the indymedia posting system, where a browser interface is used to post items?
What sort of volunteers are you in need of? Not sure that I have any more 'volunteer time' to give, but I could also put out the word to people, if you have an idea of what skills might be useful.
I think what you're doing is great - the most useful thing is being sent emails of releases on subjects of my choice.
Sometimes the time delay between when you receive a release and when you email it out to subscribers can be quite delayed.
Hope this feedback helps.
SW - (subscriber).
I am sorry to hear that Scoop is in dire need of financial recognition from some of the best paid Scoopsters in the country. While I am not in that sad category, I have enjoyed Scoop enormously and wish to offer my humble voluntary services. I have absolutely no idea what assistance I can provide you with but I have flexible time, a sense of humour, and I'm a news junkie.
Oh dear! You say "... in reality it would probably be fair to say that we have become another casualty of the tech wreck."
As a big fan of your service I'm very sorry to hear that. I'd like to think that at the very least we've helped drive people through your site to help in some small way to attract those few advertisers you have picked up, but I really would hate to see you go.
While I'm afraid that, unlike Comalco, I'm in no position to offer Scoop money :-( you do say in your message that it would make it easier for you if contributors could publish their releases to the web themselves.
I'm very happy to do that if it helps. When you have time could you point me to something showing me what that entails?
Sorry to hear your predicament.... I'm a casual browser who finds your site very interesting. I'm willing to give you $100 cash to help you out, maybe the same next year. If you want this email me back with possible payment options.
All the best 'cause I think you need it,
I am sorry to hear of Scoop's imminent restructuring. I am one of those users not paying anything, but I could possibly be persuaded to pay something if it was packaged right e.g. $20 extra on my Independent subscription (which is at their special rate of $99 and I wouldn't pay any more because I can read it at work anyway) for Scoop access.
You may know that many public service managers in Wellington get a free Dom provided by their employer. Scoop is in many ways better than the Dom but as you say it is difficult to get money for a virtual newspaper.
I get value out of getting press releases and news ahead of other media, but probably more from the press releases that never get published in other media. I must say that while the opinion pieces are interesting I don't often agree with them and sometimes find them irritating.
change = opportunity.
we rate Scoop - great value and I guess we can help the process by paying your invoices on time (do we get any?)
will come back with feedback in the morning after input from the team.
Thanks to you and the scoop team for doing such a good job, I have to admit I only really have time to look at the world news section of scoop but its definitely the best place ive seen for news in this region. The Fiji crisis has been particularly fascinating as is the "hard news" section each week(I will vote for Russell Brown). Anyways I was wondering what sort of volunteers you wanted, if its to contribute material I would be interested. Let me know what the guidelines are for submitting a piece and I will do one. Can it be on anything? or do you have specific areas you like to cover? Let me know if I can help.
I regularly visit Scoop but read only a small part of the content - certainly nowhere near enough to consider a subscription. I have wondered for some time how Scoop managed to survive financially. Sadly reality has forced changes upon you and congratulations for making it this far. From the start I must admit no knowledge of the market in readership or costs but have listed a few suggestions below including those parts of Scoop which I enjoy and others I'd like to see put together in a lower cost fashion.
Scoop could evolve into a partly commercial, partly community enterprise. It needs overall control to maintain coherence and consistency of quality. The commercial side could earn some advertising revenue hopefully sufficient to cover the costs of "Scoops" and web hosting with voluntary input from interested people to source and set out the remaining content.
These steps would require partial relinquishing of the "ownership" of Scoop and trust in those who assist. However I detect a sympathy towards grassroots community feelings in Scoop's editorial stance. In addition Scoop could provide a launch platform for aspiring journalists. (Upcoming Russell Browns.) I see huge potential for a greatly enhanced Scoop provided it taps the energies and abilities of the NZ internet community. ("It's a new paradigm Wilbur.") Given what a poor job TV and commercial radio do in informing NZers it can't be too difficult to leave them in the dust.
Sorry, but the main page is messy with confusing duplication of links and in my view needs dividing into clearly identifiable sections such as News, Comment, Backgrounders, Dispatches, Reviews, NZ sci- tech etc. Keep the photos.
News: In addition to Scoop's own items include links to news items elsewhere with brief descriptions much as in A&L Daily. A kiwi news version of A&L Daily (hourly) would grab my attention. Invite readers to send links. Accompanying links to overseas items about the same sorts of issues we face here would help to put matters in perspective. Drop the News Monitor bit unless someone volunteers.
Sports: No interest to me but I expect a sports section as for News above might make commercial sense.
PRs: PRs could be ring fenced or included in relevant sections provided they were clearly identified as such. I don't know the PR market but perhaps an annual sub or a per placement fee for political parties and commercial enterprises who wish to post material. Not enough to scare them off but sufficient to at least cover costs.
Religion: Either dropped or placed in its own section and not just one particular variant of one particular religion.
Feedback: What about a section for reader opinion on all issues and articles?
Questions: Moderated posting of thoughtful questions concerning issues of the day and invite responses from acknowledged experts. Could be stimulating stuff.
Rant area? Posters own liability.
Reviews: Movies, books, theatre, music, arts etc etc. Reader reviews invited a la Amazon.
Hosting Brian Harmer's WYSIWYG News for ex-pats? The Scoop I am suggesting should appeal to ex-pats so perhaps some foreign advertising on the basis of IP.
And, why not a daily editorial from invited guests?
Eventually make the Search facility for subscribers only.
If you want to tap my particular brand of energy I am an EE who has an interest in many things but should probably stick to suggesting non-IT science and technology items. One thing I really enjoy about the Net is the access to often quirky material which increases my understanding of peoples and issues.
Above all make it thought provoking and where feasible entertaining.