Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What AC Contributors are Thankful for in 2009

We asked contributors to tell us what they'll give thanks for this Thanksgiving. We received hundreds of great articles. After reading these submissions, all I can say is, "What a great bunch of grounded, happy people write for AC." The overwhelming themes found in these assignments included gratitude for family, health, jobs, happiness and even for Associated Content. Some of you made us blush with your kind words!

Photo from Flickr

Kevin Flotte touched us by giving thanks for New Orleans and its rebirth following Hurricane Katrina. He's also thankful for the recent successes of the New Orleans Saints.

Mary Rose-Sellers is thankful to be a breast cancer survivor celebrating both Thanksgiving and the six-month anniversary of her last chemotherapy treatment. Mary's recovery from cancer changed her world view and turned Thanksgiving in the Rose-Sellers household from "a few extra days trying to catch up on things" to a treasured holiday. We're thankful for your good health, too, Mary!

Injecting some mirth into our conversation about Thanksgiving is Mark Whittington, who shared a tall tale told in his family about the creation of spaghetti sauce at the first Thanksgiving. Besides familial fables, Mark is thankful for his family, good health and that this is the first decade of the 21st century.

If you like your holidays with an irreverent, political bent, you'll either love or hate this Thanksgiving gratitude list by Dr. Stoos. Among other things, he's, "Thankful that no one shot back when NASA shot at the moon last month."

Martha Munro gave thanks for small pleasures, including her first vine-ripened tomato straight from the garden in years. She's also making an early New Year's resolution to make daily notes about wonderful things she observes as she interacts with the world in 2010.

Mike Gordon took time to reflect on parts of his life that he sometimes takes for granted, from his home of 25 years to the 1945 surgery that enabled him to live a long and fulfilling life. Mike has been retired for four years and is thankful for the security provided by retirement and the good fortune to have experienced the year 2009.

New contributor Nicholas Palm made us a little misty-eyed with very first article, a fond tribute to 11 years of love and happiness with his wife, to whom he first said "I love you" on Thanksgiving in 1998. They'll celebrate seven years of marriage this year and have adopted a son together.

Kate Clifton has had an eventful life since a near-death experience two years ago. She moved home to her beloved San Diego, married her best friend in a beautiful wedding and began writing for AC. Add three children and four grandchildren to the mix, and you'll see why Kate is thankful for so many things in 2009!

Nancy Canfield shares gratitude for her family and her country in a post that is by turns quirky, self-deprecating and patriotic.

Another new contributor, Bruce A. Ritter, will give thanks this holiday despite losing his job a week before Thanksgiving. He's grateful for the opportunities available to him now and in the future, for his family's support in his new job search and more.

Barbara Hagen is thankful this year for a friend who got a second chance after attempting suicide.

Melani Presler, like Bruce, struggled this year due to the floundering economy. She's thankful that she survived and will go on to succeed and win again.

Teenage AC contributor Jesse Patterson admits that, as a college student, she's used to thinking mostly of herself. She's grateful for some unusual things, including a warm coat and a loving pet cat.

Chris Humpherys has a Thanksgiving story that will resonate with any football fan who's ever been torn between another commitment and the big game. Things worked out pretty well for Chris in the end, and he's got a lot to be thankful for this year.

Wrapping up our batch of featured articles about gratitude this Thanksgiving, Lisa Carey shares an experience she had while waiting in line at Walmart. Her generosity toward a stranger gave another family something to be thankful for and encouraged Lisa to reflect on the little things that really matter this Thanksgiving.

If you found another great Thanksgiving story on AC, share it in the comments section!t

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Business Insider Interviews AC CEO Patrick Keane

Henry Blodget, Editor-in-Chief of The Business Insider, recently sat down with Associated Content CEO Patrick Keane to discuss AC's position in the rapidly shifting online content ecosystem. You can watch all 3 parts of the interview below.

In part one, Patrick reflects on AC's biggest strengths -- the sustained, search-driven growth of our audience, and the community of Contributors who power our platform:

In part two, Henry and Patrick discuss the recent interest of large online media companies, like Yahoo! and AOL, in the open publishing model that AC has been spearheading since 2005:

In the third segment, Patrick shares his optimism on the current state and future growth of display advertising in online media, with an emphasis on AC's increasingly strong position in this space:

Thanks for tuning in!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

AC does Thanksgiving

More than 10,000 pieces of content in the AC library are looking especially festive this month. Grab a slice of pumpkin pie and take a gander at the brand new Thanksgiving article template:

It’s stuffed full of special features: we’ve made images and related links more prominent, integrated holiday fun facts, created special content hubs and made it easy to share content on Facebook and Twitter with the click of a button.

Need to find some vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, pick up tips for keeping the peace with your in-laws or find the perfect wine to pair with your holiday feast? Want to watch a video that walks you through the process of cooking a perfect Thanksgiving turkey? Look no further than Associated Content’s Thanksgiving Guide – a cornucopia of useful information, powered by the insights and creativity of hundreds of AC Contributors:

If you’re looking for more ways to get into the holiday spirit, check your AC Assignment Desk and claim the special “What are you most thankful for in 2009?” assignment. We’ll be tweeting out the best submissions every day next week (from twitter.com/acnews) and featuring them on the blog and our Facebook page.

Our thanks go out to the AC Community, who have helped us build the largest and most diverse library of useful holiday content on the Web!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thursday: AC Craig on the New FTC Guidelines

On December 1, 2009, new Federal Trade Commission guidelines regarding "The Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising" will go into effect. These guidelines specifically address online content and social media, and may affect AC Contributors who publish product and service reviews, including reviews of household products, entertainment, restaurants and hotels.

To discuss the ramifications of the FTC guidelines – and Associated Content’s plan to make it easy for Contributors to comply – AC's General Counsel Craig Abruzzo (aka AC Craig) will be hosting a "Happy Hour" discussion this Thursday evening in the AC Forum. Details:

Happy Hour with AC Craig
How the FTC Guidelines Affect AC Contributors
When: Thursday, 11/19, 5-6pm Eastern
Where: The "General Discussions" section of the AC Forum

Craig will outline the most important aspects of the new guidelines, preview AC's compliance plan and take time to answer questions from the Community. If you'd like to submit advance questions, please leave a comment to this post.

See hope to see you in the Forum on Thursday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Patrick Keane: Engagement vs. Utility

Common web-logic holds user engagement as the most important indicator of the effectiveness of a website: How much time do people spend on your site, and how many pages do they click through? But in evaluating sites that are ad-supported and search-driven, like Associated Content, AC's CEO Patrick Keane believes that immediate utility is an even more important quality to measure: How often does your site provide visitors with the exact information they're seeking, and how directly does it guide their decisions?

That's the argument Patrick Keane makes in his recent AdWeek column, "The Case Against Engagement." It's an important consideration for online publishers and advertisers alike. Click here to read the column in its entirety.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Remembering Lauren Beyenhof

We're sad to announce that a talented and inspiring Associated Content Contributor, Lauren Beyenhof, has passed away from complications related to Cystic Fibrosis.

Lauren was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth, and devoted much of her adult life to supporting, educating and empowering people living with the condition. Her spirit of advocacy lives on in the written work she published across the Web, including AC articles like "A Day in the Life of an Adult with Cystic Fibrosis" and "Four Secrets to Living Well With Cystic Fibrosis," and entries on her personal blog.

That same spirit also lives on in the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (www.cff.org), an organization dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those who live with Cystic Fibrosis. If you'd like to donate to CFF in Lauren's memory, you can join Associated Content in contributing to Lauren's "Great Strides" campaign, which directly funds Cystic Fibrosis research and care. Click here to get involved.

We'd also like to thank AC Contributor S. Maven, who alerted us to Lauren's passing and published a tribute to her life and work earlier today. You can read S. Maven’s tribute to this inspiring woman here.

Lauren Beyenhof, 1980-2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Best of AC Awards: Personal Finance, Politics and Sports

Associated Content is excited to announce the winners of the October 2009 Best of AC Awards - our monthly contest that rewards Contributors publishing extraordinary content in a wide range of topics. Be sure to stop by the winners' profiles to congratulate them!

The winners are...

Best of AC: Personal Finance - Elizabeth Valentine
Elizabeth Valentine joinied AC less than one year ago, and she's already built a strong and diverse library of nearly 250 pieces of content. She published nine Personal Finance guides in October -- each of them beautifully written and formatted, full of sharp financial advice informed by her academic background in business. If you're looking for the best tool to use for tracking your finances, check out her guide to The Best Personal Finance Software.

Best of AC: Politics - Mark Whittington
Mark Whittington has a keen eye for hot-button political issues -- inside the Beltway, in small town America and overseas. Whether or not you agree with his political views, it's clear that his frequent contributions to AC's Politics section provide analysis and opinion that go beyond the story. Check out his take on the results in this week's New York Congressional election -- and be sure to chime in with a comment.

Best of AC: Sports - Zac Wassink
Zac Wassink is a diehard sports fan and a passionate Category Editor for AC's Sports section. He's also one of AC's most prolific Sports Contributors, with more than 450 football, baseball, basketball, golf and wrestling articles under his belt (and close to 40 in October alone). Be sure to read this loyal Mets fan's letter to the New York Yankees, leading up to their recent World Series victory.

Congratulations to all three of these talented Contributors, and thanks to everyone who sent in nominations!

Looking ahead, the categories for the October 2009 Best of AC Awards are Fiction, Shopping Guides & Winter Holidays.

If you'd like to draw attention to content you're publishing in any of these fields, or if you know of any other worthy Contributors you'd like to nominate for these awards, please do so here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Congrats to October's Rising Stars!

We'd like to congratulate the five talented, new Contributors who won Associated Content's October Rising Star Awards:

Sylvia Branch has a unique, indie spin in all of her content, from pin-up girl-inspired fashion reviews to raw food recipes and unique gift guides (check out her Best Stocking Stuffers for a Roller Derby Girl). She has also climbed to a Clout 6 with over 26,000 page views in her first two months on the site.

Chiropractic doctor and practicing Kinesiologist
Nathan Schilaty, DC is a member of the Featured Health & Wellness Contributors program, and has built an impressive library of heath content since joining AC in July.

Brandon Miller was nominated by several other Contributors in the Forum for his fun, timely and helpful online gaming content. Check out his guides and tips for Farmville, Restaurant City and Mobsters 2 as well as his Southern California local content.

She may have joined AC in September, but
Kyla Matton is already a mainstay in the AC Forum and a Contributor to watch with 60 pieces of content on everything from the H1N1 virus to delicious recipes. Check out her piece: H1N1 Vaccine Available in Canada Earlier Than Expected.

Rebecca Caroll's profile says that she's "passionate about life" and it's definitely reflected in her content, which spans topics from Christianity to the holidays to living with disabilities. Her overt interest in hers topics makes her content extra engaging, and she's already raked in close to 25,000 page views.

Congratulations to this month’s winners!