Tom Brady Sues Yahoo! for Using Image on Fantasy

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read stuff like this. New England Patriot’s QB Tom Brady, yeah, the Michigan alum and 3-time Super Bowl champ, is suing Yahoo! for using an image of him to promote Y! Fantasy Football “without authorization” in both a print ad in Sports Illustrated and in banner ads on the site.

Having worked with Yahoo! (I am currently a part-time, contract content producer), I find it hard to believe they an unlicensed image would have been used for something as high-profile as Fant. Football. Nonetheless, CNET News reports:

The New England Patriots’ three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, Tom Brady, is alleging in a lawsuit that Yahoo used his likeness to promote the portal’s fantasy football league without his permission.

According to a report on the news site The Smoking Gun, Brady filed his suit in U.S. District Court and is asking for unspecified damages.

[…]

Brady asserts that Yahoo’s use of his image “connotes a false endorsement,” according to the news site.

The advertisement in question shows several NFL players with their teams’ helmet insignias removed. Among the players are running back LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers, and New York Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey.

Calls to Yahoo representatives were not immediately returned on Thursday. With more than 4 million users, the portal’s fantasy football league is one of the largest on the Internet.

NYT Online Props Cash In … New L.A. Homeless Map

“The New York Times Co. said on Tuesday that it expects its Internet-related businesses to generate about $270 million in revenue in 2006” according to Reuters

The figure accounts for all NYTco owned Internet properties, including about.com. Online revenues may grow an additional 30 percent in 2007.

I think a handful of newspapers will see some hefty returns on their online properties next year if they go with the flow. (Also, great article in the Times — “Blogs and Jazz,” lots of links!

LA’s Downtown News, the underrated weekly with the killer map of downtown as well as a new MetroMix-y what’s happenin site teamed up with Cartifact for another great downtown mashup — the L.A. Homeless Map.

BlogBurst now offers topic-based widgets for inclusion on their online newspaper partner sites. I still haven’t seen any action from the service despite being an original content provider.

State of Design ’06 — Online News Sites

Check out Luke Stevens’ post featuring an invaluable collection of screenshots and design stats from newspaper Web sites around the world.

I find the unfortunate placement of ads on some of the U.S. sites to be shameful, at the very least degrading to the integrity of the news content within. For example, I never noticed NYTimes.com‘s mirror image ads on their masthead until seeing the repuslive “Blood Diamond” ads from this distant perspective.

If newspaper’s are hoping I become a print subscriber to escape the onslaught of ads on their home pages, I’ll repeat that there’s no money to be made on my $1 Fri-Sun delivered-to-top-of-hill subscription to the L.A. Times (and before I even take it inside I drop all the inserts in recycling).

If a news Web site’s goal is to have users regularly visit the home page, or even use it as their portal to the Internet, then the advertising is most definitely misplaced. Of course, as far as cost-per-click is concerned, the big money (and the most measurable) ad placement is on the site home page. However, it’s the ads in the actual articles that truly have the most impact, in my opinion (although each days’ paper has a fresh set of unique URLs), especially in this age of RSS and the ubiquitous Google search (leading directly to the article).

I’ve seen many people type the name of a Web site, columnist or publication directly into the Google searchbar as their mode of entry. I believe this is because of the uncluttered and easy-to-use Google homepage. Who wants to try and find a search box at nytimes.com when it’s scrunched between scrolling and animated ads? Personally, I default with Yahoo! News and digress with their full coverage links or news search engine. My other go-to is Google Reader, stocked with the latest from the hundreds of sites and blogs I track (see my opml). New York Times’ home page has a whopping 15 paid, graphic-based ads (not including a handful of self-referential ads) to only 9 legitimate (content-based) images.

As Yahoo’s news site proves, it’s better to be content heavy up front and keep the ads on the inside. Houston Chronicle is another example of this at chron.com. The home page is much shorter (lengthwise) than many of the others drawn upon in Stevens’ post but Yahoo’s cover presents at least twice as many hyperlinks (opportunities for deeper browsing — leading to a platform to better target ads based on content and the fact that the reader has already linked through).

I think the most effective news Web site home pages should be clean, content-heavy, customizeable and hyper-local — if not geographically, at least unique to the users preferences. Readers demand and deserve control of their content — why set your home page for news if the first thing that pops is going to be multimedia ad content?

And, yeah, those Scandinavian news sites (coming in at up to 9400 pixels in length!) are really something else.

Check out these sites / blogs about Online News Web site design: NewsDesigner.com, Editors’ Weblog, Paid Content, Press Time, poynter.