The Digital Gloss Files

...with Margaret Tran and Satchel Girl 

Lauren Conrad is a regular webpreneur. The reality TV star, fashion designer and author (ah-hem) last week launched a pretty beauty site, The Beauty Department, sure to be a hit with her teen fan base, with the view to "provide girls and young women with a basic how-to of simplified versions of popular trends and styles that they can recreate themselves." The site is a collaboration between Conrad and her hairstylist Kristin Ess and makeup artist Amy Nadine. Additionally, the newly relaunched features her blog-style edit of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and entertainment content (celebrate, decorate, dine, grow, primp, wear), as well as a community girls can sign up to; an ideal platform for online retailers to shift their wares and her publishers her books.

However, new research shows that despite increasing their online spending, teens still prefer to shop for clothing in-store (at least in the U.S.). It's a social thing. And a lack of credit card thing. That said, the internet influences the purchasing decisions of teen girls, coming in behind friends and magazines and ahead of TV and movies in terms of shopping power.

Conde Nast is reportedly cooling off on its magazine apps (is snubbing the almighty Apple's app plan wise?). But, notes Steve Smith, publishers appear to be taking a sit back, watch and wait approach in order to refine their new media content models based on the mistakes and victories of newcomers. WWD's Blast app gets a special mention, as does Vogue's cover stories series of apps and Martha Stewart's cookie recipe app. 

Still, are magazine publishers wasting their time and money on app development

Can magazine subscriptions go viral? With Facebook increasingly becoming the one-stop-shop for all your online consumer needs, it really does seem only a matter of time.

However, Facebook may have peaked in popularity.

The Bees Awards recognise the best social media marketing practises of the year in order to promote ethical and outstanding professionals and their expertise (or so says the site's blurb). This year's nominees, based on entries from 33 countries, include no Aussies (as noted by mUmBRELLA) but loads of interesting concepts to peruse, such as Microsoft's Geek Network (Best Relationship with Blogs; Best Reputation Management), which "coined the term Brand Journalism" and "used social media to publish in places where crucial decision-making happens live" (take that, Apple).

Clearly, Microsoft is doing something right: the company has seen its online division revenue increase 14% year-on-year, while its entertainment and devices division grew 60%. "Consumers are purchasing Office 2010, Xbox and Kinect at tremendous rates, and businesses of all sizes are purchasing Microsoft platforms and applications," said CFO Peter Klein.

Online ad revenue is up, up and away. With retail, packaged goods, health, pharmaceutical, and travel and leisure increasing their digital ad spend last year, "Display advertising showed the fastest growth, with advertisers spending $10 billion dollars on video, banners, sponsorships and rich media ads," reports Media Decoder.

Apple has been doing some purchasing this week, reportedly buying the iCloud domain for a cool $4.5 million.

Laurel Papworth asks, what's the value of a Facebook fan or Twitter follower?

Is it a bird, is it a plane...? What exactly is The Daily trying to solve? Is The Daily a newspaper or an app?

The New York Times has posted a profit in its digital earnings. While paper's online paywall has "prompted debates about the viability and fairness of paying for news online", writes Meghan Peters at Mashable, "the biggest question that lingers in an everyday web reader’s mind is much simpler: "Will clicking on this link bring me to a story?" (i.e. will an unexpected paywall leave a lingering unpleasant taste in the mouths of readers who access stories via social media sites?)

The Boston Globe has outsourced its online comment screening (to ICUC Moderation Services). On that note, Justin Ellis asks, "Would you rather have online staff spend their time playing traffic cop in the comments or producing work for the site?". Steve Bilous of ICUC adds that with the incentive for news organisations to define their commenting policies,  "The focus is on getting more better-quality comments and conversation on sites instead of ‘let’s just get as much comments as we can."

Why every journalist needs a Tumblr, "the stand-out tool of choice for anyone who wants to start a web presence quickly – but not at the cost of powerful tools or presentation value." But does social media make for "quality journalism" (meaning, not gossip or "fluff pieces")? And will web start-ups like Storify make the personal Tumblr obsolete?

The Huffington Post is being sued by unpaid bloggers in a suit filed by labor activist Jonathan Tasini (who, um, doesn't actually pay bloggers himself). Notes Ashby Jones at WSJ, "Tasini acknowledges that he and others have been given what they were promised by the defendants. In exchange for their words, HuffPo promised to give the writers...wait for it... exactly nothing. Nothing, that is, outside of the exposure that would naturally accrue from having one’s byline below a piece on a well-trafficked website."

Want to land a job in online journalism? Media Bistro gives you a five-point plan. Plus, this year's Pulitzer entries included 100 stories from 60 online-only news outlets, including ProPublica's Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein for 'The Wall Street Money Machine', "their exposure of questionable practices on Wall Street that contributed to the nation’s economic meltdown, using digital tools to help explain the complex subject to lay readers."

"Social media has forced [media] agencies to work quicker, longer and harder — all while keeping up with the newest Facebook features and location-based app. Its impact on agencies and their work can not be underestimated." - Lauren Drell on 'The Impact of the Social Web on Media Agencies'

Neil Glassman gives us "10 ways to measure social media engagement".

Social media isn't killing anything, least of all TV. See also: #papergiants and #qanda.

Google News uses social media as a "tasty side dish".

Can parents win against food companies using online games to market their product to tweens and teens? "With hundreds of thousands of visits monthly to many of these sites, the ads are becoming part of children’s daily digital journeys, often flying under the radar of parents and policy makers, the critics argue."

Girl With a Satchel