By Editor Morten B. Reitoft 

A couple of days ago, I watched an episode of "The End of Day with Ray," and he ended his video talking about his spread and popularity based on analytics from LinkedIn. The numbers were quite impressive; I was still surprised as Ray Stasieczko "only" has 1,350 subscribers on YouTube but impressively more than 30,000 contacts on LinkedIn. The combination of daily content and the above numbers gives him, in 365 days, 1.7 million impressions.

I never really looked into my numbers, but it got me curious, as we are often asked about numbers for INKISH, which we never share. I will revert to this in a moment! I had to check, and just for comparison, my numbers are WAY less impressive than Ray Stasieczko's, with about 1,120 YouTube subscribers (which we NEVER market or encourage) and 5,800 LinkedIn contacts. However, the impressions of my posts are still more than 1.3 million in a 365 days view.

INKISH does not provide data on our channels, and there are many reasons why we don't do this. First, if you are a media, your business is to provide views. Of course, the content is an essential part of the value proposition, but essentially your price is based on how many views, clicks, and conversions you deliver. The media plans from the various media price the media space but justify prices based on reach. The funny thing is that printed media often claim (with some stats supporting it - wondering how) that a printed magazine is read by 5-6-7 people, bringing the readership to astronomic heights compared to the print run, but apparently advertisers accept these measures?

Our business model - and how we, to some extent, see ourselves - isn't like a media. We are a production company, and we produce content. So we have flat AND publicly available prices on all our services. We 'just' happens to have two channels - INKISH.TV and INKISH.NEWS. As we don't sell Clicks, Conversions, Views, Likes, or anything relating to the number of viewers and readers we have, we don't want to be trapped in the hamster wheel. And the 'hamster wheel,' I would like to explain.

If your product is the 'numbers,' how will that influence your coverage? I would probably focus MORE on stories that convert, which isn't bad at all, but if you end up chasing the stories with higher conversions, you may not have the 'freedom' chasing stories that are just right!

When we started covering the Gallus/Benpac acquisition, it was REALLY good for us from a viewer/reader perspective. Still, it has challenged us commercially since some customers MAY find it difficult working with INKISH as we could potentially chase unpleasant stories about them. From time to time, I even hear that people believe I have lost it, as some of the stories we write can be seen as counterproductive, but that's how real media has worked for centuries. The editorial MUST be separated from the adverts; otherwise, your content has little or less value - in my mind!

Think about critical views or broader views on technology. Can you write critically about a company's product if your business model depends on the dollars you get from them? I know from colleagues that some more significant vendors use their marketing spending to influence the content. That's not good for any - not even the vendor that bullies the media! When we, i.e., covered the launch of HP's Advantage 2200 inkjet printer (un-related to the above - to clarify), we perspectivated the Advantage 2200 concerning competing machines, and even in comparison to offset, something that gives us opportunities, readers, and maybe a different perspective from our competitors?

Yet another reason why we don't provide numbers is that we consider ourselves a global player. So let me share a 'secret' with you. Most companies have tight connections to their community, so when we post something from a Swiss company, there are more Swiss people than when we post an American film - despite both being in English. We get considerably fewer viewers from outside the DACH region when we produce films in German. When we make films about PSPs, we get more views from people I believe live close to the PSP, so numbers are funny - because what do they show?

Before discussing the numbers and what they show, I want to share something disturbing. When you post something on the Internet - a film, an advert, a message, whatever, you expect it to reach your audience. Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube deliver much value to their users, but it also opens up some quite dodgy business.

If you watch a YouTube film, you expect that the views shown are genuine. They are NOT. YouTube is a brilliant example of why using numbers is so tricky. If you integrate a film into a website via YouTube's API, it will not show in the count on YouTube, and it makes sense. Using YouTube as a storage or content container doesn't give YouTube/Google any revenue, so the views generated via the YouTube API are not shown. Worse is so-called click farms. Dodgy companies can manipulate or alter the data on YouTube and give you an internet presence that has no relation to reality.

There are several companies out there, but here is an example: The company Views.biz offer you clicks, subscriptions, and even comments on various platforms from YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and more. You simply order how many likes and clicks you want, swipe your credit card, and voila. Minutes after your film, channel, or whatever has now added the number you paid for. It's SO easy cheating on almost every channel that you have to stop believing the data you see.

They don't even pretend to be 'real.' I purchased 1,000 likes on YouTube for about $30. Seconds after, I had more than 1,000 likes on a film only viewed by about 300 people!

I am not implying that established media use tricks like this, but you can ask yourself a simple question. Are clicks vital if you have delivered the right content? I believe content is king and, therefore, must be produced as good as possible within the available budgets.

So my point about numbers is simple. No single channel or communication will convert into sales in a B-to-B market. Several vendors have told INKISH that, today, PSPs are way better prepared when they start talking to vendors. They prepare themselves with relevant content on the net, networking with colleagues in the industry, and maybe even asking independent consultants for advice before buying. Therefore the key to sales is not the short-term views, clicks, and likes but the availability of films asking the right questions, in great technical quality, and asking people that can bring their relevance and point of view to similar-minded businesses.

This is, of course, just my opinion, but when I judge websites, films, and companies in general, I dare to trust my opinion about what I see. Maybe you should trust your judgment and look at the films you see, the websites, the newsletters, etc., and then judge whether they support your brand or product and whether you would like to be associated with them. I for sure can point at a few media I wouldn't like to be associated with, simply because of bad websites and questionable journalistic integrity - but hey, that's just me :-)

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