IPVM For PR / Marketing People

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 25, 2017

This post helps PR and Marketing people understand and productively work with IPVM (as much as possible given our independent, often critical, position). It may be useful for others as it talks about our philosophy and positioning.

Background

IPVM started in April 2008, as the founder's, John Honovich, programming project. Called at that time, "IP Video Market Info", the site spidered manufacturer websites to identify and collect newly posted links / web pages. Here is what an earlier version of IPVM looked like:

While IPVM is most known for its stances on industry issues, IP Video Market Info was not found to do that. However, a few months after the site started spidering / collecting links, we added commentary on those links. It led to posting about product news and quickly grew to 10,000 monthly visits. During 2008, it was a free experiment.

At the beginning of 2009, we started the membership service (a few dozen signed up the first week). In 2012, we added in online training (with now 800+ per year trained. Overall, now in 2017, we have 10,000+ members.

IPVM has no external funding nor ownership, is debt free and continuously profitable since 2009.

Visits / Traffic

The chart below shows the trend in overall visits to IPVM over the past 8 years:

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

[Note: many people visit multiple times per month. Given that people can access from many devices (phones, tablets, work PCs, home PCs, etc. accurately estimating actual uniques is not feasible.]

Page Views

IPVM has ~450,000 page views per month, or roughly 3 per visitor.

In terms of individual articles / stories, in the first month after publication, this is a rough rule of thumb for how many reads they will get on IPVM:

  • 10,000+ reads - 'mega' story; typically involving a major manufacturer and major trend
  • 5,000+ reads - very high interest; our best tests, statistic reports and news events coverage are in this range
  • 3,000+ reads - strong interest; the top 20% of our posts are here or higher
  • 1,500 reads - average post, average tech topic or mid-sized manufacturer
  • ~750 reads -  niche post, either a small manufacturer or small topic

In the first year following publication, after the first month, articles average an additional 50% more reads. So if an article received 1,500 reads in the first month, in the next 11 months, it would typically get ~750 more reads.

Whether the article is free or not does not make much difference for readership. There are only so many people in this relatively small industry who want to read an article about codecs or Exacq's new recorder or Axis' 138th dome camera. The only exception are stories that show up high in Google search results but those are generally tutorials or general topics as Google search traffic for niche industry terms is comparatively low.

Geographic Breakdown

Geographically, ~45% of visits are from the USA, our home base, with the majority from outside the USA. The following lists the top 10 countries, by visit, for October 2016:

Comparison To Other Sources

IPVM has more online traffic than any other media source / publication covering the video surveillance industry. Trade magazine websites tend to have in the range of 50,000 to 100,000 visits per month and under 200,000 page views, despite the benefit of being free / public.

We publish 50+ original articles each month, which is far more than any other source as most sites re-run press releases or manufacturer marketing material (e.g., case studies). That our articles are original and that they take strong positions are key drivers to our traffic.

From a PR / marketing standpoint, we are (sadly) the only industry media that will regularly take strong positions on issues, especially being critical of major companies. A significant part of our impact comes from this role. 

Money and Its Impact

IPVM makes all its money from low cost subscriptions and online training fees. We do not accept advertising nor do we have any consulting projects or any other arrangements with any manufacturer.

Manufacturer commonly threaten media with pulling payments. Those threats are extremely powerful for other media sources but are useless to us. That is why we can call out any manufacturer at any time without any fear of undermining our business.

Why Original Reporting Is So Rare In Trades

If you wonder why trade magazines almost only write about their advertisers or republish articles manufacturer submit, this is why. Readership is super low and it cannot justify original reporting. 10 - 20 years ago, when print was in its heyday, trade magazines had lots of money and no competition from the Internet / Google / manufacturer website, mags could invest in numerous in-depth articles. This is long gone and most trade magazine websites average a few hundred reads per press release, case study or 'thought piece' they run.

We Care About Getting It Right

While we do not care about manufacturer money, we do deeply care about getting things right technically. If a company feels something is wrong or incomplete, we want to know. The best thing to do is have a technical / product person reach out to us and explain. By contrast, having a PR agency tell us they are unhappy will not result in any change. 

Neutral vs Independent

We are not neutral. We are not trying to be the 'Switzerland' of security technology.

We are independent and technically grounded. We are not impacted by manufacturer money. Rather, we always seek to ground our opinions on research/testing, frequently unique work done nowhere else in the industry.

PR Firms and IPVM

Our experience with PR firms shows that most deliver poor value and that the larger the firm (e.g., LRG), the lower the value is, as their charges to manufacturers go up and their antiquated processes remain. Many PR firms are still built around the broken model of pushing out boring marketing fluff and paying / paying off trade magazines to run their ads / 'thought' pieces.

First of all, undoubtedly, this approach is useless to us. Every time a PR person sends a stock 'please post this press release' email to us, we shake our heads and genuinely feel bad for the manufacturers who pay them for this spam approach. Most of these PR firms wind up not even trying to contact us, which clearly lowers their overall value proposition to manufacturers.

Secondly, the old school PR approach will wind you up with press releases in a handful of publications but with very few actual reads. Indeed, we continue to strongly recommend LinkedIn as a much more powerful and useful marketing alternative (indeed, we spend with LinkedIn ourselves).

Embargoes

We do generally accept embargoes - which are effectively pre-briefings on news (typically products) that are not yet released with an agreement that we will not report on it until the company officially announces it. Doing so helps us get detailed questions answered that improves our coverage as well as helps the company better understand our concerns and potential criticisms up front. If we already know of the news through other sources, we will tell a company up front that we will not accept embargoes. That said, since readership in this industry is so low (compared to Apple news or national politics), we have little incentive to break embargoes. Equally important, we see the value of IPVM to our members in the analysis we provide, not the sheer fact of reporting first.

Off the Record

We regularly speak to manufacturers off the record, which means we will not print what was said in phone calls. The goal there is to let execs or marketing people explain their issues / concerns or point of view without fear of being ambushed or misquoted. The reality is that with our product testing, integrator surveys, general knowledge, public materials, etc., if we find something to criticize, we can do so based on that. Calls are a chance for a company to clarify things and understand what our concerns are.

Speaking With IPVM

We are open to talking to any company in the industry that we cover. For example, for a while, we spoke regularly with Hikvision and they gave us feedback on their products and positioning. They were very happy to get what is essentially free exposure from us. Than shortly after we started to report on their Chinese government ownership, they banned communication with us. That is not the first time a manufacturer has done so, it will not be the last. It certainly does not prevent us from reporting on a company but it does make it harder for the company to share their viewpoint, which certainly hurts them.

If companies want to restart communications (e.g., we talk with Arecont and Avigilon now), we are happy to do so but we will certainly continue to do product tests, conduct surveys, issue analysis, etc. with or without official communication.

As long as PR / marketing / execs are willing to speak honestly with us and not to try to push to run their canned marketing content, we are happy to speak with them. 

More?

If you want to talk about anything else, feel free to leave a comment or email us and we will respond.

[Note: this was originally written in 2013 but was substantially updated in 2017.]

Comments (4): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Marketing

Avigilon Touting 'Made In America' on Sep 18, 2017
Canadian manufacturer Avigilon, who completed a US manufacturing facility in 2015, is now running a marketing campaign touting 'Made In America',...
Genetec Launches Community Connect Examined on Sep 14, 2017
Genetec has done best in large-scale, enterprise systems and relatively worse in smaller systems such as SMB. Now, Genetec is launching...
Pelco CEO Is Out on Sep 05, 2017
Less than 2 years after taking the job, Pelco's CEO is out. Pelco's rollercoaster continues. In this note, we examine the move, share feedback...
Favorite SMB Camera Manufacturers 2017 on Aug 25, 2017
Small to Medium Businesses (SMB) have been hotly pursued by lower-cost entrants over the past few years. Nowhere has that been as strong a factor...
Vivotek Acquisition Offer From Delta on Aug 10, 2017
One of the largest remaining independent video surveillance manufacturers has received an offer to become majority owned by Delta Group, a Taiwan...
Competing Against ADT on Jul 20, 2017
ADT is one of the biggest players in the security industry, with ~$4 billion revenue. In 2017, they were acquired / merged with Protection...
Hikvision USA Head of Cybersecurity Exits on Jul 18, 2017
Hikvision USA's Head of Cybersecurity has exited the company. In this note, we review the move, share Hikvision's feedback and examine the...
Top 5 Improvements For Manufacturer Sales People on Jun 28, 2017
Manufacturer sales people are very important to integrators, but it takes more than just punching a clock to be successful and truly valuable to...
No Personal Opinions About Work on Jun 26, 2017
One rising trend is the tendency for people to disclaim their statements on work related topics as their own 'opinions' or 'personal...
Hikvision: IPVM Is "Destined To Fail" on Jun 14, 2017
Hikvision has accused IPVM of 'cyberbullying' them, declaring IPVM 'destined to fail.' This is the 3rd anti-IPVM Hikvision post in 2 weeks,...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Reseting IP Cameras - 30 Manufacturer Directory on Sep 22, 2017
Every camera has a reset button (well, almost) but it is not always clear what these buttons do, how long they need to be held, what settings they...
80+ OEMs Verified Vulnerable To Hikvision Backdoor on Sep 22, 2017
Over 80 Hikvision OEM partners, including ADI, Interlogix, LTS, and Northern Video, have been verified as having products vulnerable to the...
Genetec Launches Cloud Access Control (Synergis SaaS) on Sep 21, 2017
Genetec's cloud everything expansion continues, with their announcement of Synergis SaaS edition, joining their cloud video offering Stratocast,...
Genetec CEO Warns Against Insider Threats on Sep 21, 2017
With Dahua and Hikvision cybersecurity issues becoming indisputable, a new counter has emerged. Just put them behind a firewall, buy cheap...
New IPVM Calculator V3 Released on Sep 20, 2017
The New IPVM Calculator V3 is released. An entirely new architecture delivers the following benefits: Turbo The calculator is now ~50% faster in...
Automatic Door Operators For Access Tutorial on Sep 20, 2017
Opening and closing doors might sound simple, but it takes a high-tech piece of door hardware to pull it off. Integrating automatic door operators...
'Clowns' Allege Ubiquiti 'Completely Fraudulent' on Sep 20, 2017
A short seller has alleged Ubiquiti is 'completely fraudulent'. Ubiquiti's CEO has responded calling them 'clowns'. Here is the short...
Avigilon 'Blue' Cloud Entry Examined on Sep 19, 2017
Avigilon is moving to the cloud. The company announced their Avigilon Blue platform, designed to be a web-managed surveillance system, utilizing...
HID Buys Mercury Security on Sep 19, 2017
One of the biggest access control deals in years. Mercury Security, the most widely used access hardware OEM, and partner to 20+ manufacturers,...
Hikvision Backdoor Exploit on Sep 18, 2017
Full disclosure to the Hikvision backdoor has been released, allowing easy exploit of vulnerable Hikvision IP cameras. As the researcher, Monte...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact