The online media industry continues to face readership and revenue challenges. They are burdened with the task of not only providing the content but gaining more user interaction in the form of reader comments. Comments by readers are beneficial to sites because they show created readership and mean more eyeballs to that particular page or article. For publishers, more eyeballs means more revenue.
The Industry Standard is a news and analysis site owned by IDG, a large publishing organization that publishes over 300 magazines in 85 countries!
The Industry Standard re-launched on Drupal in 2008 with the goal of engaging with new readers and encouraging them to contribute comments and content. They also wanted to allow readers to comment anonymously, something that most news sites do not do. The Industry Standard felt that anonymity gave readers more freedom to express their comments, and would encourage more frequent and detailed commentary while expanding traffic and tying the publication into the many other online conversations taking place around technology.
Ian Lamont, The Industry Standard's managing editor, had prior experience managing online communities, and knew that the relaunched publication would need a comment filter that could encourage quality comments while sifting out spam and trolls.
According to Lamont, having anonymous comments is hugely important to The Industry Standard. "We really believe that most people don't want to deal with the hassle of registration. Because we are relatively small, if we only had registered comments, there would be far less reader engagement on the site. As it is now, we can have dialogues with unregistered users, which is really important to building voice and an online identity."
The Industry Standard is using Mollom to help them remove the barrier to visitor participation, allowing readers to comment anonymously and eliminate spam vandalism. Since the re-launch in 2008, Mollom has blocked 800k spam messages in 539 days and blocked more than a thousand attempts a day with peaks up to several thousands a day. Cool!
Big, exciting news! The flag ship website of the U.S. government, Whitehouse.gov, just relaunched on Drupal. This is a big day for Drupal, and for Open Source in government, and something all of us in the community should be very proud of.
First of all, I think Drupal is a perfect match for President Barack Obama's push for an open and transparent government -- Drupal provides a great mix of traditional web content management features and social features that enable open communication and participation. This combination is what we refer to as social publishing and is why so many people use Drupal. Furthermore, I think Drupal is a great fit in terms of President Barack Obama's desire to reduce cost and to act quickly. Drupal's flexibility and modularity enables organizations to build sites quickly at lower cost than most other systems. In other words, Drupal is a great match for the U.S. government.
Second, this is a clear sign that governments realize that Open Source does not pose additional risks compared to proprietary software, and furthermore, that by moving away from proprietary software, they are not being locked into a particular technology, and that they can benefit from the innovation that is the result of thousands of developers collaborating on Drupal. It takes time to understand these things and to bring this change, so I congratulate the Obama administration for taking such an important leadership role in considering Open Source solutions.
Being one of the world's largest consumers of computer software, the U.S. government is not new to Drupal. Several agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, and the General Service Administration have been using Drupal, for example. Drupal adoption is growing rapidly within the U.S. government. However, Whitehouse.gov switching to Drupal goes above and beyond any other Drupal installation within the U.S. government, and is a fantastic testament for Drupal and Open Source. It will raise awareness about Drupal across the U.S. government, and across all governments world-wide.
Personally, I'm thrilled by the idea that Drupal can help governments provide greater transparency, higher velocity, and more flexibility.
Disclosure: my company Acquia was involved in the development of Whitehouse.gov in partnership with General Dynamics Information Technology, Phase2 Technology, Akamai, and Terremark Federal Group. Additional details can be found in this TechPresident post (PDF version).
Lucas Arts, the video game company of George Lucas, launched a stunning Drupal site for its upcoming MMORPG: Star Wars, The Old Republic. Check out the website at: http://www.swtor.com. The Force is strong with Drupal!
A couple of weeks ago, Robbie Williams made his comeback on British television music talent show The X Factor, where he performed his new single "Bodies" for the first time live.