VNU blogMedia

It’s good to see my old employer, VNU eMedia, get into the world of weblogs, and with the right people involved. VNU has launched a pair of blogs, one for Billboard and one for Adweek, in an attempt to reach a larger, younger audience. (Given Billboard’s circulation woes—down from a rate-card quote of 32,323 to a New York Times-noted 20,000 and change—it couldn’t happen soon enough.)

The blogs themselves are hosted on blogs.com and run by outsiders with, I’d imagine, heavy oversight from the appropriate editorial staff.

Billboard PostPlay has potential. It’s staffed in part by the journalists at paidcontent.org, and Rafat Ali’s team is solid. But would someone please tell Billboard’s graphic designer to come up with a more sophisticated PostPlay logo? This one screams 1996, and it’s poorly optimized, too. Not the best way to make an impact online. Speaking of which, could someone at Billboard set up a server-side redirect so the home page actually works?

AdFreak seems to be a midpoint between Adweek magazine and, say, Gawker. Given the VNU copyright in the footer, this is an official site, but the logo and lack of a masthead makes it feel like a parody, or a foil to the similarly good-but-underwhelming AdRants. I kind of like the content, but chalk this one up as a work in progress.

Keep an eye on these blogs, and watch for the magazines’ evolution as well. Billboard’s new print redesign promises an interesting evolution, one that I hope my old friend Ken Schlager, now Billboard’s co-executive editor, will turn into an unqualified success.