I think Gram magazine is quite nice looking. But as a concept it is utter crap. It’s a lazy way to use other people’s content to make money out of advertising. In short it summarises blog posts and then links back to the blog but without asking permission to use content. It did send out emails which detailed that bloggers had to opt out if they didn’t want their content used (which I did through several email exchanges).
It is also a flawed concept as the reader has to have a smartphone and then download a barcode reader to be able to navigate to the blog posts featured. The same goes to visit advertisers’ sites. I doubt very much it drives much traffic to any blogs or advertisers’ sites.
Like I said the benefit, mostly financial (although at issue two I’d image most ads are freebies).
I’d be interested to hear comments from any blogger or advertiser to find out how much traffic was driven by Gram.
Anyway, Gram continues to send out unsolicited circulars to bloggers. So I thought I’d lift the content:
Recently there has been some feedback from a few bloggers concerned about GRAM, so I wanted to try to clarify our intentions and give our perspective on a few things, and try and work out some ways we can improve the magazine.
When we originated the idea of GRAM it was all about how to get an RSS feed offline. We saw it as a bridge between the offline and online worlds. We wanted the magazine to:
– Be interesting and liked by the general public
– Be a positive thing for bloggers
– Be of benefit to Melbourne’s hospitality industry at large
– Be free, easily accessible and independent
We know the content is light, simple and an easy read. That’s because we wanted the focus to be on the links rather than anything we have to say. We’re not pretending to be master writers, or master publishers or anything like that. We’re striving to provide a platform for interesting articles, without giving too much of the original article away, so that people have a reason to read on…
We’re a small, independent team, just trying to further broadcast unbiased opinions, for people who weren’t in the know about the various food blogs (and were accustomed to reading the same food review annuals year after year), giving them a little taste of blogger articles, to push them online. From the start our main concept was to be a link from print to the web. We thought it was a great idea, and still do, but understand some people may not agree, or like it. We wrongly assumed everyone would appreciate their content being linked through to.
Admittedly we’ve made a few mistakes along the way with executing the concept of GRAM, especially with communicating our intentions and how the magazine was going to work with some of the bloggers. For that we’re sincerely sorry. It was never our intention to upset or offend anyone, or step on anyone’s toes. All I can say is GRAM is a new concept, and without a precedent to work from mistakes are easier to make.
We are learning, changing and adapting things as we go along though, and hope not to make the same mistakes.
We know that in focusing on pleasing our readers by offering as many links to different blogs as possible in a single issue, we seem to have overlooked the perspectives of some of those who we considered to be onside with, the bloggers themselves. Like with any creative project, we knew from the start that we weren’t going to please everyone, but we especially didn’t want to upset, offend, or anger the bloggers. For that we sincerely apologise. We would never steal content or take part in any underhanded dealings – just the opposite. We clearly show the URL, Tag and author name next to each article. The spotlight’s always on the blogger. And while GRAM does have ads in it, that’s not why it’s being put together. Advertising just seemed like the best way to produce and distribute a free magazine.
In terms of traffic, we are new, and the click-through rates so far may not be coming in thick and fast, but I’m sure you can understand these will improve and grow with time…at least we can reasonably expect them to. Not to say that traffic is a trade-off – just a by-product of being in GRAM.
We want to be of benefit to the blogging community, and are looking at opening up discussions with those interested on how we can become a part of the blogger community, (something we’ve always intended, but probably should’ve stated from the beginning). Through initiatives like sponsorships of events (for example photographic exhibitions, tasting nights, or any other project that benefits the community at large).
Sorry for the group email, we just thought it was the best way to open up the discussion to everyone. We’re eager to hear individual thoughts and opinions on how we can improve what we’re trying to do, and have tried to contact as many people as possible. If you know someone that we’ve missed though, please let us know their details.