Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Business of blogging (and investments therein)

We're doing a discussion on this topic at BlogOn and the must-read posts are piling up.
Feedburner raises 7 figures from Portage Ventures. (Via Rafat)
Brad Feld: Why we invested in NewsGator(and all the cool things it can do.)
Jeff Jarvis: What RSS needs to do to make $$.

Orkut: Sued for code

Orkut is being sued by Affinity Engines over alleged theft of source code. The two social network platforms share an employee--Orkut Buyukkokten--and Affinity Engines is charging that similarities in some bugs prove Orkut has pirated code.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Saw Fahrenheit 911 in New York tonight; what an amazing movie!
Go see it immediately, and then tell your friends to go.

Points Michael Moore makes:
1. Bush's interest is to protect his family's powerful friends and continue to allow them--and him--to make tons of money.
2. Bush is a) not that smart, b) dishonest c) will do anything to stay in power
3. Bush protected the Saudis and sheltered them from 9/11 investigations because the Saudis have been tight with Bush and his circle for 30 years--then covered it up
4. The real reason the Bush administration wanted to go to Iraq was to get control of their oil and distract America from looking into Saudi ties to Al Quaeda.
5. The US establishment cynically exploits and manipulates the working poor of American cities such as Flint, MI, where unemployment may be 40%, by using them as feeders for the military--cannon fodder while the fat cats sit back.

Moore's movie is the same kind of personal polemical exploration of a theme that Roger& Me (1989), his first movie was, but whether you agree with him or not, this movie is a must-see.
For those caught in the is this guy a liar mode, there's a roundup on pundit point of views in Howard Kurtz' Washington Post column today.(That via Jarvis, natch.)

Update: Mitch Ratcliffe has a good post:
"People should see this film. The bloody scenes are things we haven't seen, and we need to see this war and all war with complete candor, not the sanitized version presented through television, so that we can judge it for what it is. Moore does not mock soldiers, he portrays their confusion and, in some cases, the sickness that overcomes people in war, but all it is war, which is sickening."


One of the things I love best about New York is the open all night energy.
At 10 and 11 pm on a Monday, when even the main streets in other US cities are locked up, dark and deserted, New York is filled with people hanging on stoops, leaving (and entering)restaurants, walking down streets and clearly going somewhere interesting.
Last night after I flew in, I ended up in a sushi bar at 10:30 pm eating dinner; tonight, I came out of the movies and walked a while down Broadway, before heading back to the room.
It feels like not only are the places open, the people are open. They're up and around hand aving fun rather than shutting down for the night.

Famous in Fresno: Local guy bags Britney

ABC local news in Fresno, CA, reports that local folks, especially dance instructor Wayne Hurley are beaming with pride now that Fresno homeboy Kevin Federline ie engaged to Britney Spears. Hurley told the press: "These last two weeks have really been overwhelming for us. I mean, to know that a kid from our studio is proposed to Brittany Spears, and just had the opportunity to grow up with Dance Empowerment, is just something good."
Rumor mill:
Brit and Kev already married.
She's three months pregnant (26 year old Federline already has 2 kids.)

Update: Fresno-area bloggers say Kev's a skeeze and he dropped out of high school (see the comments).

Monday, June 28, 2004


Can social networking services make a buck? Australia says naaah.
Craig Newmark: Craigslist is not for sale!
Starbucks: Merchandising music like coffee? Interview with Howard Schultz at fast (Via Rafat Ali)
NY Times adds RSS feeds: Stepno's got a good list of additional news source feeds.
Crate and Barrel launches CB2, new *urban* ecommerce site
SBI.Razorfish sold to Quantative, former Avenue A.

(Good) Advice to Friendster

Collectivus's advice to Friendster: "...As you desperately attempt to resurrect the buzz once swarming around your service, don't be that guy.
--The loser who sycophanticly tries to fit in with the cool group, don't be that guy.
--The aging has-been trying to prove he's still with-it by using contrived pop culture references, don't be that guy..."
More here-right on the money.
(Via danah boyd)

Sunday, June 27, 2004

College Countdown: 51 Days

It seemed far away last September, but now we're on the college countdown. 51 days till Z heads out.

Weekend update

Didn't spend too much time online--or inside--this weekend.
Spencer's aunt and uncle came in from NYC to see him perform at the Monterey Bay Blues Festival; we picked them up Friday night, then headed down Route 1 to the show on Saturday morning and back again, Sunday am for a second (gospel) show.
In between, we ate and drank: Rainer cherries, local apricots, local goat and Oxacan cheeses.
Cooked marinated chicken kebabs, saffron rice, baby spinach salad, and zatar-flavored burgers.
Drank wines from Pasa Robles and Napa. Not to mention the fried artichokes, pho, and Marianne's ice cream we managed to sample during the weekend.
We also hung the car, in the yard, and at the festival.
A great chance to kick back and catch up.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Do animals have souls?

Ira Hadnot, Dallas Morning News: "If animals do not have souls, why do we behave as if they do?....People love their pets. And that love is intense. It is a kind of love that God entrusted to Adam to take care of the animals in Eden."

Friday, June 25, 2004


Which is more amusing/scary--the idea Madonna is "pillaging Judaism" for the parts she likes, or that she is closing the gap between ballsy Jewish women and their Italian counterparts?
Reportedly, the E formerly known as M is heading to Israel this fall to study Kabballah with her rev over the High Holy Days.
As Urban Kvetch says: "According to the article, "Madonna will stay in an out-of-the-way guesthouse and avoid fans and TV cameras..." Let me state for the record, unequivocally, that this will never happen. How out-of-the-way could any guesthouse be in a state the size of New Jersey? And as far as privacy's concerned, unless the guesthouse is a Mossad safe house, there's no way her location's going to remain a secret. In fact, I have so many relatives in Israel that I bet that by September, I'll know where she's staying."

Supernova conference: Keeping the faith

Spent the past 36 hours at the Supernova conference, and am now hiding at home, getting some work done, before going back for the afternoon. This has been one of the better conferences so far, for a couple of reasons:
Energetic, diverse attendees--Supernova has a good cross-section of people from different disciplines--journalism and media, social media tools, telephony, wifi, digital identity, CMS, and so it's not the same old same old. One of my favorite presos yesterday was from Denis Crowley, founder of, a 'hey, come have a beer wiht me!" kinda social networking service for your mobile phone. Fresh, funny, no corporate speak--and pitched just right for his audience.
Chances to mix it up with the townies--The pre-conference dinner was so much fun--there were about 110 people, ranging from jet-lagged(and not) East Coasters to super cool San Fran programming geeks and local Valley folks.
I met some interesting people I didn't know, saw some old friends, talked to some people I'd only known virtually till now. Most exciting: Meeting John Quartman, who, back in the early 90s ran the first Internet metrics and analysis effort out of his Austin,TX digs. (This was long ago that the reports were mimeographed and mailed, like small press catalogs.)
Relevant panels: Okay, the panels aren't as good for me as what's happening in the halls (but you get read about them here in more detail). Still, Syndication Nation, Mapping Insights, and Users Do the Darndest Things were all worthwhile. JD Lasica as a photo album and fuller report at his blog.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Over at SuperNova Today

I'm at SuperNova today, blogging the conference on their weblog. (Of course, while it's fine and sunny outside, it's freezing in this hotel ballroom--what do they think this is, the meat locker?)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Dallas Morning News:"Blogs are here to stay. Simply put, they are the most exciting thing happening in journalism today."
MichNews: "Let me be blunt. Newspapers bite. The work isn't much fun anymore, thanks to the soul-snatching corporate culture that has euthanized newsroom personalities."
Online News Association, 2004 Award in Online Commentary rules: "This category honors a unique and powerful voice of commentary original to the Web. The commentary should display freshness of insight and clear writing. Creative use of the medium -- especially in the areas of blogging and community journalism -- will be considered.
eWeek: Do favors or cash motivate online business networking? "Social networking is as old as humanity itself. The whole concept is about reciprocity."
Kottke: NYC subway rules.
Lifetoons: Clevel customized art/gifts(this is from an old friend.)
Naropa Poets: Audio on the net. The Internet Archive and Naropa have posted hundred of hours of tapes by Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Diane diPrima and others.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Bureaucracy: The nature of

A friend told me a story tonight about email at his job that is worth passing along:
"I've worked at a good-sized health facility for the past few years. When I am going to be out of the office, I send a note to my group. Recently, the email list changed, so now group notes go not just to my area, but to the whole company.
I knew I was going to be out on Thursday last week, so I sent out a note. Almost immediately, I got responses from people I didn't know, all corporate Vice Presidents, telling me I had formatted my email incorrectly and suggesting changes for the future.
This week, I knew I was going to be out for another day(I am in a training program), so I sent out another note.
Of course, I incorporated all the instructions the corporate Vice Presidents had given me into this email.
I was highly amused, when, within minutes of sending out this note, I got yet more email from a new set of corporate Vice President types, telling me--yes, you guessed it--that I had formatted my email incorrectly.
Of course, their suggestions completely contradicted the ones made earlier, but then, that's what bureaucracy's about, right?"

Where teens find news

A recent survey of teen attitudes has data on how teens access the news. According to the sixth annual Teen Report Card on Adults, sponsored by the Uhlich Children's Advantage Network,56% of teens are most influenced by television, 11.5% by newspapers, and 8.8% by the Net, with magazines at 3.3%.
(Via YPulse)

I'd like to compare this data to the research being done by Professor Rich Gordon and his graduate school classes at Medill on teens and news media--I suspect the responses would be amazingly different--Gordon and his students' take on how to package and deliver local news became a web site and newspaper insert called Your Mom.

Shameless promotional tout: Professor Gordon is going to be speaking at BlogOn onJuly 23rd--I can't wait to hear his takes on how local news, community and classifieds are evolving as blogs, trading communities and social networks move further into the mainstream.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Wednesday, June 23rd--Dinner in Santa Clara

There are already 105 acceptances for the Wednesday night dinner and party before the Supernova conference--it's open to everyone, conference attendee or not, so if you're a tech head you may want to check it out.
The party is at an Indian restaurant:
2232 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Tel: (408) 248-9747
Drinks at 6:00pm; dinner starting at 7:00pm.
It's $25.00
To get on the list, see the party Wiki.

Reading routines, part 2--what I read for fun

The sources in the last post are all work-related; here are others I read regularly--for fun.
Bay area: Beast Blog, Marc North, Radio Free Blogistan
Gossip & Celebs: Page Six, Gawker, Low Culture, Krukoff, fashion wire daily, Jossip
New York: Gawker, Gothamist and Amy Langfield
People blogs: Fred Wilson, Pamela Parker, Halley Suitt, Michael Barrish, Jerry Colonna, Erik Benson, Chris Nolan--these folks have interesting and distinctive takes on life.
Pop culture, style, books: BoingBoing, Cool Hunting, Styleborg, Cool Tools.
And I can't forget Hacking Netflix.

Blog-a-rama: What do you read regularly?

What's your (digital) reading routine?
AM: First read Page Six, Romenesko, the New York Post & Daily News Business Sections and the New York Times, along with the Merc or SFgate.
Then Paid Content, Gawker, iMedia Connection, MediaPost, Battelle's SearchBlog ,JD Lasica, Mary Hodder, and some others.
After a quick look at Google News, I get to work.
Of course, I get Google News alerts during the day and I read them when I'm taking a break, along with newsletters that look interesting(I throw most of them away). Plus friends and project teams frequently send me links.

PM: Scripting News and Buzzmachine, then onto theRSS reader to look at blogs. There are 306 in my newsreader, and it takes a while to get through them all, so I do this every few days.

And you? What's your information routine?

Update: My bud Peter Caputa's picked up this meme right here.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

\Weekend reads

Mercury News writes about three Bay area writers/bloggers: JD Lasica, Christan Crumlish and Dan Gilmor. All writing books, all using social media to help edit the books. Loved seeing their names mentioned in print, and urge interested parties to check out their sites, respectively DarkNet,Power of Many and We Media.
David Roux, SilverLake Ventures: "Harvard Business School graduates scare me." They scare me, too. (Via Paul Kedrosky)
Mediapost story on evangelizing blogging PR (w/report on Steve Rubel mini-conference--and Steve's own report).
Steven Downes web gospel:"If you can't do it simply, with a simple text-editor, a web server and a standard browser, it's broken."--The others are just as wise. (Via Roland Tangalo)

Transparency and connectivity: Observations

This weekend, a clever poster commented on my Madonna/Esther entry. She was a blogger, so I clicked on the blog link she left. Blog was clever, well-done and had a link to her Ryze page.
Clicked on that. Read the bio and work history and realized she had to a)know, b) possibly would be friends with my sister-in-law in NYC. Emailed a note to her to that effect and got a reply right back: "Yes, I'd heard Amy's sister in law was really into blogging...Now I know it's true cause I met you on my own..."
Point: Connections are becoming(deliberately) transparent and exposed among an ever-broadening range of people. Awareness of networks that used to take months can take minutes.
It's not just that we're all connected--it's that we know exactly how we are.
Of course, this also makes it harder to hide.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Dept of something's not normal: Kimora Lee Simmons

The well-done piece in New York magazine on Russell Simmon's wife and uber-material girl Kimora Lee Simmons does a nice job rationalizing how greed and ambition can be glossed over with fine clothes, but the best details about this odd couple come from the Kimora story running in the June 21st Star.
Telling details there: Russell is a vegan and has his own refrigerator at their NJ compound. Girlfriend has a 2,500 sq foot dressing room she hangs in, while Russ spends time in the meditation room. In most of the photos of them I have seen, she's hanging on him, but he seems detatched.
Two kids, great PR machine--but these people seem to have nothing in common except their ambition and their mutual pride and a lotta dough.

Little porcelain skull

This objet got the acquistive juices flowing:

Too bad it's an utter waste of money, it looks so cool.
(Via the marvelous cool hunting)

Friendster's Scott Sassa: Search engine ad smarts?

Like many people, I was intrigued when Scott Sassa, formerly NBC Entertainment President, took the CEO job at Friendster. Was this another Hollywood guy pulling a Terry Semel?
Now it turns out that Sassa is one of the founders of Efficient Frontier, a new search engine marketing company started in 2002 by Ellen Simonoff and another ex-Yahoo exec.
This suggests that Friendster's new CEO will not only be knowledgeable about how to sell search engine advertising, but he may have the company to do the strategic planning already lined up.
No doubt, if Sassa boosts revenue at Friendster by 40% or so via paid search integration, all the other social networks will go nuts--and that line between classifieds and SN will continue to blur.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Panels: Blah, blah, blah

Dave Hornick writes: "I attended yet another social networking panel this evening. It was the Churchill Club's event called Blogging and Social Networking: Who Cares? The panel was a cast of thousands, including such social software panel mainstays as Ross Mayfield, Marc Canter and Dan Gillmor. At this point I have seen enough of these panels to say with a fair degree of certainty that they are all the same."
(Via Jarvis)

Lost, but now found

I have two pieces of jewelry that belonged to my mother that I wear often--a gold bracelet and a diamond/ruby pave ring. She never took the ring off, and she wore the bracelet often, so they remind me of her.
For a while, I wore the ring constantly, but then, a few months ago, I lost it.
It was during a time I was traveling a lot, and I didn't know if I'd left it somewhere (unlikely but possible), dropped it in a pocket, or put it away in one of those safe places tired, jet-lagged people don't really remember.
I felt terrible that it was gone, and angry at myself for losing it.
Tonight when I got home, the ring was sitting next to my computer in my office.
I tore downstairs to my husband. "Where did you find the ring?"
"In the bedroom," he replied.
Apparently, the ring was at the bottom of a bowl he keeps beside his bed for keys, pens, clips,etc.
Did I put it there, or did someone pick it up off the floor and drop it in?
We don't know.
But hey, it feels so good to have that special ring again.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Chris Nolan & LA Times piece on Craig Newmark

I didn't say anything about this week's LA Times piece on Craig Newmark because I didn't know what to say--while it was thrilling to see Craig's List get coverage, the piece kinda had that celebrity feature gloss that devalues long-term development efforts like Craig's.
Now Chris Nolan has written a post about the story that totally gets it right--
"So let's ask the question the LATimes didn't ask as it dissed my informed guess: Where do you think those job ads would be going if there weren't going to Craigslist? To newspapers. Newspapers just like the LATimes which, despite its numerous Pulitzer Prizes this year, must cut its staff."


The Material Mom now has a new name--during Kabballah services (whatever twisted permutation of Judaism those are), Madonna's moniker is--Esther--according to the New York Post.
You wanted to know that, right?
Now go back to work.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Noted: Recent blog reads

Mathemagenic: Weblog networks as social ecosystems (Via Robin Good)
Nielsen/NetRatings: Middle-aged women spend more time at game sites than teen-age guys
Online Business Networks: David Teten's got an interesting review of a book about "structural holes"the value of being a link between two groups of people.
Beyond Bullets' PowerPoint tip:Don't slap your logo on every page of your preso.
PR Opinions: The launch plan for the original Apple Macintosh, c. 1983
Yoshka, Google's dog mascot, is blogging.

Going local: Metroblogging launches

LA writer/bloggers/entrepreneurs Sean Bonner and Jason deFilippo have launched, a network of blog sites for major (and wired) cities. San Francisco, New York, and Chicago are up, with the promise of more to come. There's a diverse amalgam of bloggers at each site, with a few familiar names, some fresh voices, and some raggedy posts as well.
The clever thing, of course, is that Bonner writes the (unofficial)Apple weblog for Jason Calcanis, who publishes numerous niche weblogs and places ads across them. Apple didn't fall far from that tree, eh?

When is the blogosphere (not) like a dog park?

Almost every morning, I take my dog to a dog park about 30 blocks from my house. There's a set of regulars who come by, and it's kinda the pet equivalent of hanging at the sandbox--dogs run and play as their owners watch and chat, poised to jump in if anyone starts to tussle.
One day this past week, there were two huge furry dogs loose on the Big Dog side of the park--with no owner in sight. A knot of pets and their owners clustered in the Small Dog area--apparently, one had gone in there with her Lab pup and fled when one of the furry dogs barked. Discussion kicked in about the dogs: who had left them there, was the owner around somewhere, what was going on, anyway?
After about 30 minutes, a guy dressed in full military camouflage strolled up--they were his dogs--and he'd been sitting in his truck down the road.
The dog owners fell on him with comments: Didn't he know it was unsafe to leave the dogs alone without water? And what if his dogs had gotten into a fight with another dog--who would pull them back? And didn't he know it was against the rules to drop your dogs off and split?
The park users were amazingly clear about the community rules--and were very clear about communicating them to this potential new member of the group of people who brought their dogs to the park. It was obvious to me that it would be difficult for someone who didn't follow the rules--or whose dog didn't get along with (most of) the dogs--to return on a regular basis.
It struck me as well that these kinds of clear community rules are what the blogosphere doesn't have. Or if they exist, they are not clearly posted--instead we have seismic waves of posts and comments on hot topics. People express outrage, there are discussions, and then things settle down. Or not.
Would the blogosphere benefit from being more like my dog park community? Or is the chaos a healthy part of things? What is the right balance between freedom and social rules?

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Chris Schroeder: Will pay for performance ads take over web advertising?

Mediapost article today by Chris Schroeder, vice president, strategy for The Washington Post Company. Schroeder writes: "Online search has let a genie forever out of the bottle-pay-for-performance (PFP) is cheap, it works, and it is perfectly attuned to the measurability of the Internet.
...Will the rise of PFP success do to the cost-per-thousand (CPM) what TiVo and personal video recorders (PVRs) are doing to the 30-second spot?"
Schroeder also asks: "What it the potential for a branding, emotive experience on what is fundamentally a transaction-oriented medium? "

Mernit thoughts: There's no question but that text ads and pay for performance are the new--and probably a better--paradigm for web pages. However, in a broadband universe, floating ads, towers, mini-movies, etc. have huge potential for brand and image advertising, so let's not write them off, let's just agree that the value--and impact--of banners and buttons is diminishing, quickly--not only because of cost/ROI but because of consumer fatigue and page clutter.
Another interesting question--will big online sites retain their ad viabiity as advertising networks for blogs and hyperlocal sites mature? The growth of saleable alternatives may do more to reshape the current online ad market than text ads."

Monday, June 14, 2004

Howard Rheingold on journalism today

Howard Rheingold: "If your calling is journalism, you enter the job market at the same time that that the long and honorable history of American journalism is traveling through the digestive tract of the disinfotainment industry.
...I know that your education, the tools you have available, and most of all, your determination and enthusiasm constitute a formidable counter-force to the walls that are being built around creativity and discourse."
Whole speech is here.
(Via Dave Weinberger)

What I cooked last night

Celebration for the kid's graduation aka the big BBQ:
Guacamole and salsa
Spicy lamb sausages
Beef ribs (a pain, but worth it)
Hamburgers & hot dogs
Candied yams
Baked beans
Spinach salad
Finished off with bowls of fresh fruit: apricots, grapes, peaches.

Congratulations, Zack!

Class of 2004, Lincoln High School

You did it!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Social Media/Social tools

Stowe Boyd talks about the 4 C's of social tools(aka social media)as
"Communication: instant messaging, e-mail, Web conferencing, streaming video and voice tools, and other messaging solutions
Coordination: calendaring, task and project management, contact management, and related technologies
Collaboration: file and application sharing, discussion, wikis, blogs and other shared-space technologies
Community: social networking, swarmth (digital reputation, also called karma or whuffie), group decision and other explicit community supports."

Boyd uses these definitions as the jumping off point to imagine co-workers subscribing to one another's RSS calendar newsfeeds, interlinked project blogs, and multiple-category individual profiles, the view depending on interest or role.
I agree. Things are definitely trending in this direction.
Neat essay.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Does CNET have an in at Google?

Post by John Battelle on the internal Google memo reportedly discussing support for RSS:
"It is noteworthy is that an internal email on any subject made its way into the hands of a reporter during the quiet period. (snip)
...So that means something else - that someone at Google is going around company policy to give this to CNET, or, that CNET has an in that Google can't stop. For a company that is notoriously good at keeping its cards close to the vest, it's something of a new development."

Thursday, June 10, 2004 How to talk to the press's got a new section on the home page posting reporters' queries for developing stories and inviting responses. Data is actually collected via an email style internal message board. This is a nice interactive touch as well as a good way to broaden the research net, but I can't help wondering what happens when more readers just end up posting responses on their local blogs.
(Via Steve Outing)

Low Culture Bush's toy car

Orkut: 500,000 and growing

Orkut's news page announced yesterday that they moved their servers(that's why they were down), and that they are about to hit 500,000 members.
According to the member stats, only 35% are from the US; 24% are from Brazil(!)
Given that Orkut launched the end of February, and that the site is invite only, what do you make of this rate of growth? Seems pretty good to moi.

Jerry Colonna: Work and love

Jerry Colonna has a neat excerpt from a book by Alain de Botton:
"Although the fear of being left penniless is a primary reason for our worry over the instability of our employment, it is not the only reason. We also worry-and here we return to our earliest theme--because of love, for our work is the chief determinant of the amount of respect and care we will be granted. It is according to how we are able to answer the question of what we do (normally the first enquiry we will have to field in any new acquaintance) that the quality of our reception is likely to be decided."

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Hanging with the 'rents

My husbands' parents arrived this afternoon from Sarasota, Florida for a visit. I've known them forever and have gotten really close to them over the years.
This is the first time they've been to California since we moved back, and the drive from the airport was filled with delighted remarks on the foothills. They thought our new(rented) house was lovely, the dinner we cooked was great, and the(humongous) dog adorable. My son beamed from ear to ear throughout dinner, particularly after Grandpa announced that he was going to wash Z's 1984 Mercedes tomorrow afternoon, with the kid's help, of course.
They're now in the recently-cleaned-out spare room, sleeping, while Spencer and I squeeze a last spot of work in before we go to sleep ourselves. I feel really happy they're here and am trying to figure out how to balance all the work I have to do this week with taking them around.
As a (trying to reform) workaholic, having family around to highlight important moments is a great check on my compulsiveness. As much as I want to keep working on projects, their visit reminds me that other thngs are also important--enjoying their company, hanging out with family, taking a break.

Does The Internet Economy Need a Voice Again?: No, thank you very much

Rafat Ali: Does The Internet Economy Need a Voice Again?: No, thank you very much: "...the internet/connected economy voice is not these revival attempts, but aggregation/analysis sites like mine, Gizmodo, and most important aggregation efforts of all: the RSS newsreaders which allow users to put together their own voice, and whatever voice they want to hear."

BlogOn: New conference July 22-23

I've been helping to organizing a new conference about the business of blogging and social media. Called BlogOn, it will be held July 22-23rd at UC Berkeley. Chris Shipley, Mike Sigal, Mary Hodder, Shel Israel are among the other planners, along with Ross Mayfield and JD Lasica (see full list here).

There's a special blogger's rate of $149 for the conference--hope to see you there.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Magazine land: Does MRI measure YOU?

A recent story in AdAge leads with the news that US Magazine readers reportedly have higher incomes than Vanity Fair readers. As a dedicated reader of tabloids, of course I savor this news, but the Ad Age story then goes on to report that many magazine publishers are questioning whether Mediamark Research Inc (MRI) accurately measures upper-income demographics. The piece quotes Michael Clinton, CMO at Hearst Magazines, as saying "MRI is broken, with regard to measuring the luxury and affluent consumer." (According to the story, Clinton says that MRI's methods of in-home interviews are a poor match for the ultra-wealthy who live in gated communities and those making over $75K a year.)

(On the other hand, given that newsstand sales of general interest magazines continue to decline, and B2B magazine cirq is going down as well, according to an report Paid Content just covered, magazines clearly have multiple problems--related not only to rate base, but to a general erosion of readership as they turn to other media. As a magazine junkie, I want to see my favorite pubs stay healthy, but part of that challenge is keeping them relevant to always-connected readers.)

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Madonna Notes

Thoughts a day after seeing Madonna's Reinvent Yourself tour last night:
1. Madonna is the Barbra Streisand of my generation--she can do everything.
2. Madonna started with Jesus and ended up with Moses. (Is that equivalent to reading left to right?)
3. How many singers kick off their tour doing a pelvic bridge while singing atop a hydraulic lift?
4. Like Malcom McLaren before her, M's a hi/low sampler: bits of Francis Bacon, Stomp, taiko, Cirque de Soleil, Martha Graham, flavor the Orbital /Infected Mushroom mix
5. Unlike her grrl Britney, Madonna can (now) really sing.
6. Is there a Scottish kilt segment in the show because Guy Ritchie (Mr. Madonna)has a family castle in Scotland?
7. Does Madonna prefer lox or Scottish smoked salmon?
8. Does M wear panties under her kilt?
9. When the the little Arab boy and the little Jewish boy run down the road hugging, are they in Israel--or Southern California?
10. Who is her plastic surgeon? That face has no lines, but she still looks like herself

What I made for dinner tonight

Back to Sunday night specials after a long hiatus:
Chicken breasts meuniere
Spinach sauteed with garlic and pine nuts
Pasta with tomato and fresh garlic and basil

Dessert is 2 tickets to see Madonna at the arena in San Jose.
Can't wait to get a eyeful of that blue burka.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Department of truer words never spoken

Amy Campbell:"...Most people don't even know what a blog is, let alone an RSS feed or how to actually utilize an aggregator. I think blog enthusiasts miss this point often. RSS needs a PR campaign. It's not going to be mainstream, until it's simply a button that people can push. Syndication needs to be incorporated into web tools and news sites with less jargon and requiring less technical understanding."

Friday, June 04, 2004

Building a better mousetrap: Cookies and RSS

Must-read Jarvis post exploring what smart guys do in their New York offices--discuss why RSS needs cookies to grow commercially.

Noted: This morning's reads

Greg Gershman isn't keen on Amazon Plogs.
Ed Sims reflects on web businesses, c. 2004
Rafat Ali on CNET's new test sites, RSS and big media, and ONA's study of young adults' broadband habits.
Matt Blumberg on doing things right
Paul Frankenstein's in Asia--and blogging great pix.
Low Culture: Yo quiero Muggles?
Global Guerillas: Was 9/11 a Black Swan? (It is becoming obvious that the gov feels that a big terrorist attack is coming to the US and we're just waiting...)
Rox Populi on women bloggers and then some. (Great post!)

Update: Help Anil Dash win the Nigritude Ultramarine challenge with this link.

Evolution: Gawker Media does Nike SIP

In the magazine world, special interest publications are called SIPs. They're often one-shots does for a specific audience and/or a specific advertiser. SIPs entered the blog world this week when the canny Nick Denton launched The Art of Speed, a blog for Nike.
I'd like to think that, in its own way, this blog will be as striking and successful as BMW's digital video shorts,and be equally successful in helping Nike refresh its brand.
Why do I want that?
Because with this deal Gawker Media's taken the next step in the evolution of blogs as a (commercial)publishing platform--and as a successor to paper. (Note there is no print partner to this Nike blog, and that no 'mainstream' publishers have demonstrated yet that the understand the blog form--though this announcement will no doubt send some ad agencies and publishers into a blog feeding frenzy.)
As for people who have trouble with commercializing the medium, I'm not one of them. Without money, projects die.

Nick summarizes the business case pretty clearly:
"Some people will question the use of the weblog format in marketing. There is no straightforward answer. Contract publishing, online or offline, can be done well, or badly. It depends on the subject matter, and the tone. Dr Pepper/Seven Up seemed cynical in its exploitation of the weblog format when it launched, a site devoted to a new milk drink. However, a smart approach to an appropriate topic can work. Witness, Macromedia's product weblogs, or Jason Kottke's weblog campaign around the release of Adaptation, the movie....In principle, campaign weblogs allow a marketer to participate in the weblog conversation, rather than observe it as a passive sponsor."

Oh, and need I mention that doing a microsite for an advertiser this way is potentially much cheaper that a flash-heavy version?

The interesting issue that will emerge here is flooding. As numerous groups, eager to make a buck, start selling and launching advertiser blogs, the noise level will go up, the quality will go down(and up), and readers will get overwhelmed.

Gee, sounds like every type of advertising.
Guess the blog world is indeed maturing.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

NY Post to carry Parade

As an alumni of Parade, I had to note the news that the New York Post is going to start distributing the Sunday newspaper insert beginning July 4th. This will be the first time in 10 years that Parade has access to the New York metro market (translation: the people who edit, write, and place ads in Parade can now get it on Sunday.)

6/14 update: NY Times story on relaunching Life as a newspaper insert.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

OJR: Classifieds and the 'infamous' Craig's List

Did you know that Craig's List is an 'infamous community site?'--(All those apartment and adopt a pet listings seems infamous to me, for sure.)
Although OJR columnist Mark Glaser's article on Craig and the infamous list gets off to a shaky start, Glaser ends up doing a good job as he explores one of my favorite questions: Just how big a threat to online classifieds is Craig, and how much money has his service sucked from local newspapers?

Conclusion: If you are interested in online news, local,classifieds, or Craig, this piece is well worth a read--though the protestations of newspaper execs that Craig doesn't cut into their market sound weak--IMHO, anyone who cares about the 18-34 year old market online, especially in regard to local, should be plotting their strategy to get those folks back onto their site--whole generations are being formed that just aren't going to consume media and services in the old ways--and if you're a mature brand, they may not even know who you are.

Some quotes:
Peter Krasilovsky: "The Bay Area papers, especially the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News, probably feel like they've had their lunch money taken away by Craigslist. Given the recently depressed job market, there have been a lot of questions in the newspaper industry (as to) why they are not getting the recruitment dollars. Craigslist is a real convenient excuse, but is obviously just a part of the problem."

Craig Newmark: "Journalism is at the beginning of great changes through blogs and camera phones, especially when you can get live video camera phones. And advertising is changing -- not only classifieds but everything else. They have to learn fast to adapt to those. We're having an effect, but probably not that big of a deal. Google ads are probably a much bigger deal."

If I was involved with a online news service, I'd figure out what other strategies besides a next-generation Tribe could be deployed and start building relevance and services: RSS feeds of classifieds data, the relationship blogs could have to classifieds and listings, and how reputation and identify fit would all be in the mix.

Tribe: Fortune Small Biz Drinks the KoolAid

Fortune Small Business has a nifty story on Marc Pincus and Tribe. At the same time that the writer bats him a round a bit for being a copycat 'serial entrepreneur', she gets out of the way and lets Mark get in some great sound bytes, like this one:
" is the next generation of online classifieds. Local and community classifieds is still a $12 billion business, with no market leader. Add another $4 billion to $5 billion for online. With Tribe, you connect only with your friends and your friends' friends, and you're more likely to trust their listings for a roommate because they're not coming from strangers, as they would in the newspaper or on Craigslist."

Newspaper classifieds need lots of help right now-they are dying. Way to go, Mark.

Quote of the moment: TW CEO Dick Parsons

Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons: "Our challenge is to articulate to Wall Street that there is a Yahoo inside AOL so that some of that internet fairy dust gets sprinkled on AOL."

Who is Rance? Sleuthing continues...

Lots of fun with Rance, the blogger who claims to be an anonymous Hollywood star--and a damn good writer.
The Museum of Hoaxes claims to have sleuthed out who Rance really is and explains how they arrived at these conclusions.
Basically, they figured out that both Rance and illustrator Keith Thomson were each marketed, at different times, by the same anonymous poster. Maybe they are all the same guy? Hmmnn.
Theory one: It's Keith Thomson
Theory two: It's his agent and friend Nick Reed of ICM.
(Via Xeni at BoingBoing)

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Bazima: 36, but who's counting?

Bazima's got a list of people she's slept with (note I did not say banged.)
"Number of people I?ve slept with: 36
Number of one-night stands: 11
How many were women: 1
How many I regret: 4
Number of times I had sex with one person while thinking about another: 2
Number of guys I slept with who were musicians: 9
Number of lead singers: 3"
More here.
P.S. She balled 1 blogger and 9 blokes she met on Nerve.

(Via Gawker)

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