Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cary Sherburne says we need to replace "Web 2 Print." How about "printernet?" Consider HP + CGX + National Geographic

In today's WhatTheyThink, I found Cary Sherburne's column.

Web-to-Print: We need a new name:

"These days, however, what we were calling “Web-to-print” has morphed into something much more sophisticated and we really need a new name.
. . . . It is more about managing business communications or marketing collateral, which is likely to include some print.

In 2008, Graph Expo’s Must See’ems expert panel identified Web-to-print as number six in its list of the Top Six Survival Technologies for 2009. Number 1 was MIS, Number 2 was Information Technology as a core competency, and Number 4 was workflow."
My Quibble
The problem here is that printers cannot choose MIS or IT as a "core competency." It's like me "choosing" to make a million dollars. It would be nice, but choosing is only the necessary, but not sufficient, condition to make it happen. There is a well developed profession of trained, experienced experts who do MIS and IT. The idea that it is an easily earned competency makes no sense. Partnering with an MIS or IT outfit may be reasonable. But growing your own from a standing start is silly on the face.

At any rate, Cary goes on to frame the question about Web to Print.
In my mind, all four of these are tightly linked and almost need to be grouped as a must-have megasolution for the modern provider of printing services—or is it business communications services, marketing communications services, marketing services? It’s pretty confusing out there in this time of dynamic change.
The appropriate term in my mind is Printer. Printers have been around for 500 years. They improve every year. They weather every storm and come out better on the other end. The names change, but the job doesn't. As it says at the top of this blog. Printers print.

The rest of the column is a great quick survey of 14 of the 34 solutions to the web to print problem. I recommend the click.

And then the question:
As you read through what each of these does, you will see why we need a new category. Care to submit your suggestions?
My suggestion
Do what they did in Australia at PacPrint. Use the printernet idea to frame the discussion. Every printer is potentially part of a network of printers. A network printers supplies the speed and scale to compete against web media. No printer can do it alone but in a network, we can again redefine the industry and put Print in the middle of the game.

Add CodeZ QR codes and TinyPurls and Web2Print is complemented by Print2Web with a tool that generates click streams from physical objects. Click streams mean informatics. Informatics is the valuable commodity for every enterprise, commercial or non commercial going forward. That's the idea I've been trying to capture with Clickable Print.

One use case for Clickable Print, Printernet Published
Google and the other Internet titans are in a ferocious fight for control of the mobile web OS. Microsoft and Yahoo attacking search. Chrome OS attacking the desktop.

Consider the value created by 50,000,000 postcards printed and delivered in two days with a minmal carb on footprint. Each postcard takes the user to a video on the web. Some will get there by typing in a human readable URL, the TinyPurl. The really cool kids will just scan the QR and watch the video on their cell phone.

In either case, consider the clickstream generated by 50,000,000 potential clicks. Each click means someone is interested. By analyzing where and when the interested appeared, Google et al know where the interested live. If it's done with a little foresight by getting folks to opt in to receive postcards the connection with the interested is made.

Every marketing campaign needs to locate, nurture and help their evangelists. Locate them with clickable postcards. Nurture and help is for a later post.

In any case a little search and replace may help define what this market might look like. Every global brand needs the same thing. Every politician needs the same thing. Every education enterprise needs the same thing. Every health and government agency needs the same thing.

There are only two push mass media.
One is TV. The other is Print.
It's not web to print.
It's Print to TV.
1 + 1 = 3

Here's the HP + Consolidated Graphics + National Geographic piece.


  1. You get clear, step-by-step directions for installation, connections and configurations, plus troubleshooting advice on correcting typical hardware conflicts, annotated listings of common printer error codes and messages, a Web address directory of printer manufacturers, and more. Best of all, its compact, go-anywhere size makes it the perfect companion both on your desk or in your toolbox.

  2. Is that a product description or a wish list? If it's a product description, tell me more.