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Has TZ been sold? Ownership change?

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Ok a little misleading....
But it almost appears that TZ is now owned by Video Arts, or is it that Video Arts is owned by TZ?

What with whole page adverts on the home page for a week at a time (resembling my local freebie newspaper with adverts for the local garden centre) and skyscraper adverts on almost every page.... it almost appears that there is no other training firm out there.

Yet they appear not to advertise in Training Journal?? mmm strange?

Have VA over advertised? are you now blind to the black animated skyscrapers or do they attract your interest?

Is this marketing gone mad? what do you think?
(no affiliation just interested)
Mike
Mike Morrison

19 Responses

  1. ooops
    I hadn’t even noticed, but now you mention it….
    has Mike inadvertantly discovered a new style of teaser?
    😉
    rus

  2. Business as usual
    Mike

    You will be relieved to hear that Training Zone has not been sold. The advertising format that you refer to was a trial. The visibility of Video Arts was accentuated because the advertising took place around Christmas/ New Year, when there are fewer ads on the site. We try to maintain a healthy balance between editorial and advertising and will certainly take your comments on board.

    Steve Roth
    Managing Editor
    Training Zone

  3. no but…
    Hadn’t noticed VA but my own company is a serious advertiser on TZ so I take Mike’s concern on board for our own scheduling…

    However, I am somewhat concerned that there only seem to be the same half dozen or so enthusiasts that enter comments to virtually every question…

    This suggests that:(a)there are now only a handful of regular visitors (b)the interest of the masses is waning, or (c) everybody us using one of five or so pseudonyms….

    which is it?

  4. is it a bird…?
    Hi
    I also hadn’t noticed the skyscrapers, but I’m interested about the “same few contributors” comment. I’m not bothered about sharing what (little!) I know, but I get REALLY hacked off when no acknowledgement of my time, or contribution is made by those who have asked the question. A simple thank you costs SO little…

    I expect I’m just old-fashioned but it strikes me as rude….

  5. Unrealistic expectations?
    >>>However, I am somewhat concerned that there only seem to be the same half dozen or so enthusiasts that enter comments to virtually every question…>>>>

    I think this is a widely held viewpoint. Why dont more people comment on forums? To use a physical example to illustrate, many people wander past the speakers at Speaker’s Corner but few engage with them.
    Why? Because they are content to listen to the debate and not comment. Because they didn’t come to comment, they simply came to wander past Speaker’s Corner, its interesting, we are curious.

    We don’t all have the inclinations, skills or time to want to debate issues. As a Corner speaker to assume that most of your audience wants to respond to your point of view/question that has been foisted upon them just when they were engaged in coming to ‘have a look’ is misguided.

    Ah you say, but they are all talking about differing subjects and we have a common subject, training. I’m not so sure, they are all talking about contentious issues (a commonality), that their audience may or may not be engaged with. Elements of this forum display the same qualities even though they are grouped under one heading, not all subjects appeal to the TZ audience.

    To assume people read your post to comment is unrealistic. We don’t expect everyone walking past a notice in Trafalgar Square to write on it.

  6. The 90-9-1 Rule
    In his article titled “Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute”, Jakob Nielsen explores a phenomenon which affects most online, multi-user communities that rely on users to contribute.

    Participation Inequality is the tendency for most users to participate very little (if at all) and a few members of the community to account for a disproportionately large amount of the content and activity.

    When studied, it was found that user participation generally follows a 90-9-1 Rule:

    90% of users are “lurkers” (i.e. they read or browse but don’t contribute)
    9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time
    1% of users participate very often and account for most of the contributions

    So the observations here on TZ would seem to be perfectly “normal”. Still, it would be great if more people contributed. It would certainly go a long way towards what these sites are for – increasing the shared knowledge of our community.

  7. Dead or really alive?
    Hi Steve
    Thanks for confirming that 😉

    As for ‘regular contributers’ as has been said there are many lurkers and few prepared to put their thoughts down onto the keyboard.
    The problem is many of those that say “I wish more people would contribute” are often themselves only occasional contributers.

    Without the 1% of highly active participants this (and other sites) would die.

    New posters rely on having their questions answered, and advertisers rely on people like us having discussions like this – no adverts – no forum – someone has to pay for it.

    Other forums chose a different business plan of users having to pay to be members – this has turned a very lively community into a trickle.

    As several people here have said that they barely noticed the adverts – the site management will take notice of this as they need adverts to be seen!

    As ‘regular’ contributers part of our role is to help encourage new posters and make sure that we don’t ‘flame’ them into not contributing a second time.

  8. The loud minority
    Hi all

    What an interesting thread and one that I read with a vested interest; I run one of the online sites:)

    Might I suggest that the 90-9-1 rule is no different in the online environment than it is in the offline. How many parents take part in the PTA; 1,000 children in a school, 100 max will turn up to a meeting that is run by 10 committed committee members.

    For the statistically interested; we have just over 5,000 registered users of http://www.trainerbase.co.uk of which only 290 have ever posted a message of which 59 have contributed more than 10 messages and 14 have contributed more than 100.

    But I often get comments from members who say that they read the updates I send out and watch the threads on the site; they are members for that reason only and are satisfied with it. Juliette is correct with her comment on member reasons and it is my challenge to raise the game on TrainerBase.

    As for advertising; a recent piece on the television indicated that print advertising revenues were decreasing at an alarming rate whilst online advertising was going up exponentially. The fact that some of us have not noticed the ads is a challenge for the advertisers (making sure the message is seen) rather than the channel or medium.

    Good discussion and has given me something to think about:)

    Off to write an advert now ….

    Peter
    Founder, Chief Executive
    TrainerBase
    The Association for Learning Practitioners

  9. What a great discussion!
    Hi all,

    This discussion has really caught my eye – community interaction is central to what we do here at Sift Media (the publishers of TrainingZone.co.uk) and the 90-9-1 theory certainly seems to hold very true in practice.

    But it doesn’t matter how much theory we try to take on board, it’s always refreshing and massively useful to hear our members’ views straight from the hip!

    Editorially-driven online communities such as this receive a massive amount of ‘passing trade’ – I’m guessing that you’d be astounded to know that this site has around 80,000 unique visitors every month! In some ways it seems a shame that barely 1% of those will be moved to participate in discussion, but I guess that’s life!

    It would be great to hear more of your views on what we could add to TrainingZone.co.uk to make it a more useful resource for everyone out there – if you’d rather email us than post here, do drop me a line at [email protected]

    Kind regards,
    Darren Falkingham

  10. Are most regular contributors freelancers?
    I wonder if for this site a key element is motivation.

    For freelancers, those who want to keep their name in the spotlight as a business strategy, there is an obvious benefit to allocating time to contributing to online sites regularly.

    Maybe those who are trainers within organisations the motivation is a lot less and more to do with altruism?

    it would be interesting to map the 1% against their job role.

  11. not just PR!
    While I understand the last post, much of what is said on TrainingZone is essentially free advice and sharing resources.

    And while I’m a firm believer in what you give out the universe you’ll get back, if people were waiting for a job to come at them from contributing to TZ, I think they’d probably wait a long time – particularly in light of the discussion on self promotion.

    I’m occasionally a bit taken aback by some of the questions posed here (where I think if someone was actually in this role in an organisation, shouldn’t they KNOW the answer themselves?) and yet contributors still willingly share knowledge. So given all this, I’m of the view that the motivation to contribute is largely altruistic.

  12. ooh let’s get philosophical!
    From the other comments
    “a shame that barely 1% of those will be moved to participate in discussion”

    “Grasshopper, is not the person who only listens also participating in discussion?”

    Also a few facts:
    -I’m a freelancer-
    -I mouth off as much as anyone on the forum-
    -I’ve had one (1) enquiry about paying work from a prospective client in all the time I’ve been contributing-
    -I have also designed and delivered FREE training for three charities over the past 18 months-
    -On the basis of ROI I should shut up-
    but it makes ME feel good
    -and I use the questions as a way of exercising my little grey cells so it is a form of learning and challenge for me
    ……so….
    “There is no such thing as a truly altruistic, selfless act” Discuss.

  13. Let’s get sceptical, sceptical. I wanna get sceptical
    >>>>this site has around 80,000 unique visitors ….>>

    I’m always sceptical of the claims of webmasters, constantly touting the number of hits.

    Lets face it, if four people are reading a thread and they all check it once every working day ie. click into it then thats 20 hits. Its not the same a 20 people viewing it, there are only 4 viewing it on a daily basis. That’s why contentious postings rapidly notch up 200+ viewings. It doesn’t mean 200 people are reading or indeed actively participating, it often means the same parties are clicking into the site multiple times in the same day to see if there any newer contentious postings.
    Given that TZ only seem to send summary emails once a day and I suggest this highly likely.
    Furthermore given that most people dont pay to read the postings the ‘value’ of the site to them is debateable. A large number of people read junk mail, an equally large number just skim it and bin it, the fact is neither of them are prepared to pay for the service, therein one can’t really claim they have any ‘stake’ in the product. They aren’t subscribers and they aren’t members as most free websites like to claim. A any membership that doesn’t pay a membership fee is simply a crowd.
    Care to comment Darren?

  14. For Juliet
    >> Care to comment Darren? (Juliet)

    Why, of course!

    >> I’m always sceptical of the claims of webmasters, constantly touting the number of hits. (Juliet)

    Not a webmaster, but I’m responsible for marketing and the community features for Sift Media’s portfolio. However I do have to understand web metrics very well. We have over 80,000 unique visits, as per the ABC official definition, each month. The site hits are much higher, well over 200,000 per month.

    >> Lets face it, if four people are reading a thread and they all check it once every working day ie. click into it then thats 20 hits. Its not the same a 20 people viewing it, there are only 4 viewing it on a daily basis. That’s why contentious postings rapidly notch up 200+ viewings. It doesn’t mean 200 people are reading or indeed actively participating, it often means the same parties are clicking into the site multiple times in the same day to see if there any newer contentious postings. (Juliet)

    I’m happy to say that your scepticism is unnecessary. Your description above is just not true – the counters on TrainingZone.co.uk log unique readers. Try refreshing the page on an article – the counters don’t change. Come back tomorrow and do the same – the counters still won’t change.

    In other words, it really does indeed mean that 200 people are reading or actively participating.

    >> Any membership that doesn’t pay a membership fee is simply a crowd. (Juliet)

    Sorry Juliet, I’m genuinely not being argumentative here [friendly smile!]

    TrainingZone.co.uk is a niche business community focused on training – we’re not going to get ‘passing trade’ from people looking for Playstations or the latest perfume.

    The traffic here is either direct from our email bulletins, or from Google searches related to training. As such, the ‘crowd’ here is largely self-identifying its interest in training.

    Therefore, the crowd is very much a community of practice gathering around a (hopefully) relevant training resource.

    All in all, I’d like to say that TrainingZone.co.uk is an extremely vibrant community, and we have the opportunity here to deliver better resources to you. Please do keep the questions and suggestions coming!

    Cheers for now,
    Darren

  15. For Rus and Karen
    >> “a shame that barely 1% of those will be moved to participate in discussion”
    >> “Grasshopper, is not the person who only listens also participating in discussion?” (Rus)

    Fantastic! OK, the 1% who ‘post’ in discussions, rather than ‘participate’. 8)

    >> “There is no such thing as a truly altruistic, selfless act” Discuss. (Rus)
    >> So given all this, I’m of the view that the motivation to contribute is largely altruistic. (Karen)

    One of the key drivers of the ‘1%’ is recognition from the community. Unfortunately, this recognition could be both selfless and selfish in its motivation … not so much recognition as ego, you could say.

    But the overriding characteristic of the 1% is that they want to be involved, want to communicate with others, want to make change happen, and that’s a Good Thing.

    Cheers for now,
    Darren

  16. do you get what you focus on?
    Hi all – wow what a rich thread – way off my original question… but ho hum 😉

    TZ is a wonderful and unique community in the HRD world. several have stood shoulder to shoulder – but none remain…. than says something.

    Do people do stuff for nothing?
    well some people get a good feeling from helping another…
    some use the platform for marketing…. 😉
    some because they like the sound of their own voice.

    As contributers it is important to remember that our customers and potential customers also read these forums – indeed only today I was in a meeting with a long established client meeting a new person for the first time… then she said.. oh are … on the forums… ?

    Now this can make or break a relationship before you even talk to a client. I have been ‘luckier’ than Rus in that I get a large number of referrals from the TZ community. For those employed it can impact future interviews and applications to – both in a positive or negative way.

    Now back to the original question – what type of adverts work best for you…..

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