1. July 29, 2009 at 7:16 pm | permalink

    I was hoping most of us were above this :(

  2. July 29, 2009 at 10:44 pm | permalink

    The saga continues. Someone defaced them more and powerwashers are coming around to remove them. [photo]

  3. By donna
    July 30, 2009 at 12:55 am | permalink


  4. By Daniel
    July 30, 2009 at 1:24 am | permalink

    I saw these being drawn; they were screen-painted, not chalked.

  5. By Matt Hampel
    July 30, 2009 at 1:27 am | permalink

    @Daniel: They used a form of spray chalk, which is denser and looks like spraypaint. See also: Sidewalk chalk is not a crime

  6. By Leah Gunn
    July 30, 2009 at 6:43 am | permalink

    See my later comment about the power washing. This is not sidewalk chalk. If you are a commercial venture, you ought to pay for your advertising space, and also try to make it not so ugly. On the other hand, I did find the addition of “chronicle” to be highly amusing. AnnArbor.com is disapointing, and you can’t tell the difference between the news reports and the bloggers.

  7. By Alan Goldmith
    July 30, 2009 at 8:08 am | permalink

    So what’s the difference between AnnArbor.com and the Titanic? The ship had a band.

  8. July 30, 2009 at 11:27 am | permalink

    This reminds me of Microsoft’s Vista launch. They covered Manhattan with butterfly decals. That worked – lots of free publicity in exchange for a small fine and clean-up costs.

    Not sure if this campaign acheived its goals, but when we comment or blog about it and generate a link to annarbor_com it helps them with the search engines. So be careful on your blogs, or help offset their gains by adding a link to responsible local media (like http://www.annarborchronicle.com.

  9. By Julie
    July 30, 2009 at 11:40 am | permalink

    Annarbor.com may not be perfect, and it will hopefully continue to improve…. but I definately don’t want it to fail! We need a comprehensive local news source here. I love the chronicle, and it does what is does very well. But it doesn’t take the place of a daily paper, online or otherwise, at least in it’s current manifestation. So I will continue to provide constructive criticism to the site, but slamming it so completely does nothing positive for anyone.

  10. By Alan Goldmith
    July 30, 2009 at 11:59 am | permalink

    “We need a comprehensive local news source here.”

    I’m thinking hitting them in the head with a 2X4 might make them take the comments seriously. And if they are a failure as a newspaper or an online outlet, then they deserve to fail. We put up with that sort of thinking about the Ann Arbor News, that is had to be supported or it would go out of business. That didn’t work either. I hope the project is a success but if it fails, it won’t be because of comments here at:


  11. By Dave Askins
    July 30, 2009 at 1:26 pm | permalink

    Re: [10] “But it [The Chronicle] doesn’t take the place of a daily paper, online or otherwise, at least in it’s current manifestation.”

    I think that’s a fair point. This week’s lighter volume of publication here at The Chronicle makes that point all the more clear. We’ve plowed a sizable chunk of effort into handling business matters at the The Chronicle over the last several days, and that has distracted from writing and reporting in a way that I hope is not indicative of a pattern.

    As for critiques of AnnArbor.com, I think that they’re most usefully conveyed directly to AnnArbor.com or ideally to specific individuals there. Ultimately, AnnArbor.com is not a logo, or a spray-chalked ad (I think I disliked those probably even more than most people), or a paper edition, or a website, but rather a collection of people who are creating a product that you’re “hiring” to do some job or other — that might be different for different people. [For more on this notion of "hiring the newspaper" see this interview, bearing in mind that you'll have to plow through a lot of other material.]

    So maybe you don’t want to hire them to tell you about UM sports and you’d prefer not to have UM sports articles show up in your RSS feed. It’d be useful for the people at AnnArbor.com to know that you’d like the ability to filter that out. It could be that there’s already that functionality built in and all they need to do is point you to how to choose the right feed. Some of our readers, for example, have wished for an RSS feed from The Chronicle that’s free of the Stopped.Watched. items — they just don’t like ‘em. That’s been available from the start, although we’ve not done a tremendous job of documenting it. [Try: http://annarborchronicle.com/feed/?cat=-24 for a S.W.-free Chronicle feed.]

    Given a choice between reading (i) in some public place on the Web:
    (i) “Why are they such IDIOTS as to think that anyone wants to read Stopped.Watched. items??!! That’s not news …”
    and receiving (ii) in a email
    (ii) “Is there a way to get rid of Stopped.Watched items from my feed?”
    I know I’d prefer (ii).

    A note on linking: I think it’s perfectly sensible to link to AnnArbor.com stories — from blogs, other publications, Chronicle comments — as it is relevant to do so. Why on earth wouldn’t you link to a story you’re citing? In any case, while I’m not any sort of search engine optimization expert, my understanding is that the rel=”nofollow” attribute, which is automatically inserted by WordPress into links included in The Chronicle’s comments, alerts search engines to discount those links in the calculus of link counting. Likewise for including a link to The Chronicle in a Chronicle comment — it doesn’t technically help anything … but I do very much appreciate the thought behind the gesture.

  12. By Julie
    July 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm | permalink

    Thanks, Dave. You said it much better than I. I was having a visceral response to

    [8] Not sure if this campaign acheived its goals, but when we comment or blog about it and generate a link to annarbor_com it helps them with the search engines. So be careful on your blogs, or help offset their gains by adding a link to responsible local media (like http://www.annarborchronicle.com.

    As if helping annarbor.com with its search engines was a terrible thing. As if we need to work to make sure it fails.

  13. July 30, 2009 at 2:57 pm | permalink

    One of the things I’m having trouble assimilating in this brave new world is the petty detail and territoriality about such things as link counting or reader votes. I realize that it has commercial value but I find it exhausting to contemplate. After reading a long discussion on an email listserv I belong to, I went to AnnArbor.com and voted for a couple of my fellow food bloggers. (Apparently the number of votes may be related to whether bloggers get paid or not.) I don’t plan to make a habit of scanning entries and voting on them, though. There is a tawdry overtone to the whole thing that leaves me thinking, “so this is all there is?”.

    Now I’ll go check my dashboard to see how many hits I got today.

  14. July 30, 2009 at 6:59 pm | permalink

    Julie: Generating links to relevant, well-written stories on A2.com is a good thing. Publishing those stories will earn the company whatever credit it deserves in the search engine algorithms.

    Generating links to stories about guerilla marketing campaigns does something else – it rewards guerilla marketing, not competent journalism.

    Part of my distaste comes from this: guerilla marketing depends on manipulating the media (see the Microsoft example in comment 8). In the Web 2.0 world the readers are a key part of the media. To the extent this campaign is designed to generate a response from us, it’s a bad idea.

    Newspapers converting from print to digital insist that they’re journalists first – that the delivery medium doesn’t matter, only the content does.

    Perhaps. But readers evaluate content based on the publisher’s credibility. I don’t think A2.com helps itself establish credibility by manipulating its readers (or offending them by taking over the sidewalks).

    I wish A2.com well. I hope they succeed, and I hope discussions like these help them focus more energy on the quality of their content and less on novel (to be polite) marketing campaigns.