Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Help save Daily Dose (again)

Once again, absolutely terrible news from Daily Dose this week, that unless adequate sponsorship can be found by the end of the month, the peerless drug news service that has been running since 2002 will close. For any blog readers that don't know about Daily Dose, and there cant be many, it is a BRILLIANT daily drug news listing website (and free subscription email) that is hand-complied 365 days (and nights) a year. Testimony to its brilliance is that it has over 7000 subscribers and gets 800,000 hits a month.

For Transform the service is invaluable. Google news alerts and similar automated news aggregators are, lets face it, a bit rubbish. They completely lack the depth, editorial input, and human touch that makes Daily Dose so incredibly useful. It is the editorial genius of Jim and the rest of the Wired Initiative team that means it outstrips any of the automated parliamentary news filter services Transform have used in the past, as well as automated news search services like Lexis Nexis - and these cost serious money, whilst Daily Dose is completely free. The great thing about the editorial content is the non-biased coverage from all news and information services across the web, reflecting the full range of media outlets and opinion in the drugs field. That's why everyone loves it and everyone uses it - from Whitehall and Government, through the treatment field, and across the non-government sector.

Daily Dose is a non profit free service supported by sponsorship - which to any commercial players in the drugs field should appear to be a complete bargain given the site's amazing profile. If there is one thing Daily Dose has fallen short on, it is marketing itself - probably because they are so obsessed with turning out first class content.

So to all you potential sponsors: compare the measly £5K you would have to spend to have your logo associated with the much loved and legendary Daily Dose (raking in 10 million hits a year, and a million or so emails direct to marketers-dream demographic in the drugs field) to the untold thousands you shell out on having one of those pointless fancy stalls at yet another awful drug conference where you speak to about three bored people who really just want a free pen.


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that Wired In, the producers of Daily Dose, have contaminated their brand (and reduced its attractiveness to certain sponsors) by increasingly using it to plug their own recovery agenda.

I understand that last time the begging bowl went round, the NTA effectively saved the Dose by putting in a very substantial sum of money. They must have been somewhat pissed off when they then saw this information resource turned (partly) into some kind of recovery mouthpiece which spends a good deal of its time slagging off the NTA. This time round, their contribution is understandably much more modest. I'm afraid Wired In have only got themselves to blame - although in their pious and arrogant way, they will not see it like that at all.

chrisbx515 said...

It is tragic that the daily dose is yet again about to go under and I hardly think that them being critical of the NTA is putting the Wired brand at fault. Indeed the opposite is true organisations should challenge the NTA aka the government. The very reason why treatment agencies i.e. charitable trusts like Addaction and the likes do not seriously challenge the NTA is due to the fear of funding withdrawal. It is the very reason why drug treatment agencies do not pose a danger to prohibitionist policies. The NTA will put their name in places that will give its brand kudos and a semblance of credibility look to Exchange Supplies and DNN who are sometimes critical, do good work, but are in collusion with the NTA to ensure their profitability, in every way legal or illicit there’s good money to be had in them there drugs!

Anonymous said...

I think you have missed my point. The NTA have sponsored Daily Dose both times round - so it's not the case that they are 'withdrawing funding' because they can't take criticism. I'm simply pointing out that the first time, they (so I hear) put in a very large amount of additional money to keep the Dose going (over and above standard sponsorship) because they saw an independent objective information resource as a good investment for the field. My point is that by indulging a bit too much in the recovery self-puffery, the Wired In people have undermined the Dose's credibility as an unbiased source of information. Nothing wrong with that but they appear to have shot themselves in the foot given that the Dose is folding.

None of what I am saying should be interpreted as arguing against the importance of criticising the NTA and other government bodies. But if you are naive about when and how you do it, you sometimes end up hurting yourself.

Steve Rolles said...

I have suggested to DD that they run the wiredin content as a seperate section. It certainly deserves inclusion but I think a seperate section - like the miniblog (on the tranform main blog) or demarcated in some other way, perhaps a different shade/colour, would serve to give it prominence without potentially undermining the perception of editorial independence on DD which we all value so highly.

I don't really know about the NTA politics to comment, but DD often runs material critical of its sponsors. Respect where its due.

I just hope it comes back. Any criticisms I have are marginal ones - it is an incredibly valuable service

Anonymous said...

I certainly miss my dose of news first thing in the morning, but I fear they are fishing in the wrong pond for funding.

The government is firmly in control of the drug support "industry" (as it seems to like to think of itself). A large part of the present drugs strategy is control of the media and information services. DD is outside of that overall control, it is therefore not really welcome so I susect the Home Office will be only too happy to see it die.

I also suspect budgets are being drawn in now not least of all because of the economic conditions, so I would expect there to be even less money available to the agencies.

If I were to criticise the people who run DD at all, it's of having a faith in a system which is basically corrupt - in that the sector is under the thumb of government. I know they're hoping the sector will come to their aid, but I don't see it happening.

I do also agree about the over promotion on the "recovery" agenda though, although in this case I don't believe it is a part of the prohibition agenda the idea of enforced abstinence certainly is and like "prevention", "recovery" is one of those words that needs approaching very carefully.

But if Jim or anyone else from DD is reading this, we do miss you and we've lost a valuable resource.

Steve Rolles said...

Daily dose lives on to fight another day!

it was obviously the tranform blog wot won it!

chrisbx515 said...


John said...

The Daily Dose is a welcome e-mail most mornings, saves a couple of goggle searches but it does big up its own agenda and fails to highlight multiple coverage of the same story.

Having read their appeal for funds I was really shocked at their demand for £100,000 to keep running the show. It must take less than an hour to put together and most of this money must go on overheads.

So I when they closed down I was hoping for something new to emerge to replace them that was less commercial and more comprehensive. So I for one was disappointed when it reappeared.

Steve Rolles said...

In fairness to Jim and the team, I think it takes considerably more than an hour to produce and involves late night and early morning checking of several hundred sites on a daily basis, 365 days a year. By any stretch it is an impressive achievement. Inevitably it requires editing and the editorial policy may not be precisely to everyones tastes or interests, but my view is that one of its great achievements to cover a broad spectrum of opinion and output as well as it does. Its presentation also means that readers can easily and quickly scan through the days content, and choose the subject matter and content providers they are interested in.

the prof speaks sh*te said...

What a surprise! They managed to get the service back up and running again. Surely this wasn't just a stunt to squeeze some more sponsorship money out of people? That would be really cynical... If they pass the begging bowl round again in the future, I think I may just be sick in it.

the prof speaks sh*te said...

Forgot to say in previous comment that I agree with John. I was hoping the Dose really would disappear and that something better might emerge in its place.

MttJocy said...

No offense to those who suggested it would be better the daily dose should die and something better appear in it's play but you can get a dedicated webserver for as little as $50 a month on a very good internet connection so where is your site with this BETTER content?

Lets see using one of the many free hosting services your sample of even one weeks news put up with the editorials etc and then if what you claim can really exist I would personally (I am a person on benefits but with some savings) put £100 into it if you can convince me that you can do something so much better.

It is very easy to critisise and ask for "something better" but what exactly would be better? Perhaps instead of critisising either put up an example of this "better service" or give some real constructive ideas to improve it, otherwise please don't attack something which is putting a lot of effort into producting a service which does not even charge for access (most news monitoring services like this which doe real reviewing do charge and a huge sum).