Sunday, October 31, 2004

Seraphic Secret: Mourning a son

Robert Avrech: "Karen and I have flown three thousand miles to take part in a Shabbos for bereaved parents."
This latest post in Avrech's blog about his grief over the death of his son and how it colors his life is so moving--the depth of feeling Avrech shares with the world reminds me why geniune communication is a privilege--and how petty things can get in the blogosphere sometimes.

Mother Jone: Bush WUZ wired

Got an email from Jay Harris, Mother Jones publisher that says, in part: "Yesterday, on, we released new photos from all three debates and an analysis by NASA scientist Robert M. Nelson, who normally spends his days analyzing and enhancing photo images sent across the depths of space by the Cassini and other space probes. He has turned his expertise to images of the president in his three debates. His conclusion: "George Bush is obviously wearing something -- probably a receiver of some kind -- under his jacket for each debate."
Harris adds: "Nelson's work makes one thing abundantly clear: the White House, the Bush campaign, and the president himself ­have been lying about the bulge in his suit.
So what explains the bulge? Was Bush cheating and getting help with his debate responses? And, if the photos so clearly show a device hidden under the President?s jacket, why hasn?t the press been more aggressive in pursuing an honest explanation?"
Harris says he is sending info to the wider news media--and to bloggers-- to try to get more mainstream coverage.
Somehow, I don't see America's largest news outlets picking this up before Nov. 2nd, but it sure does seem like Bush was wearing a wire.

Noted: Media

Peter Zollman: Directory services are bypassing local newspapers. And?
MercNews: Tony Ridder supports San Jose. Wish the city was as well-run as Knight Ridder.
UPN: Missy Elliott's doing a reality show, starting Jan. 5 Damn, can't wait to see this--she is so talented.
Mediapost: BellSouth Corp.'s RealPages, a print and online Yellow Pages provider, will resell AdWords, Google's pay-per-click search advertising product as part of RealSearch Engine Solutions, a search engine marketing service for small- to-medium-sized businesses. Wow, Google's building an affiliate sales force from a telco!

First pass Holiday gift list

For a change, I am planning ahead this year and ordering cards and gifts early.
Some items on the list:
--Custom cards from Fresno-based letterpressed, which I found on Fresno Famous (started reading cause of my Britney news addiction--hubby's from Frezyes.)
--Giant Robot and Kid Robot : t-shirts and stuff-scammed off the lovely receptionista.
--American Spoon Foods gift packs--I get these every year, what's not to like.
--Ebay: bidding Thai silk scarves and vintage sweaters.
Still trying to figure out what toys to get the 5 and 7 year old nephews. Advice welcomed.

Ecommerce updates

Internet Retailer: New Jupiter study reports that most online shoppers aren't able to search sites the way they'd like to: by brand, price and style., and get high marks for product search. (Via Marketing Vox)
Kelsey Group: New survey reports online search users most often use mapping sites and general search sites, followed by Internet Yellow Pages, online classifieds, shopping search sites and entertainment information sites, followed by online travel sites, local destination sites and vertical directories. The study reports that thirty-seven percent of online consumers say they are already very familiar with shopping search comparison sites--and 75 percent of those respondents said that comparing prices and/or merchants was their favorite aspect of shopping online.
Nikewomen: New catalog drops 600,000 copies into homes, more than many smaller magazines. 56 full-color pages of yoga, training and running products driving buys to (So, how about a blog? --That was a joke.)

Measuring newsreader usage by feed sub clicks

Rich Skrenta of discusses both the percentage of readers using RSS clients and the popularity of specific clients.
Some data from Rich on clicks per story for users of specific clients:
Newsgator, 29%
Feedster, 24%
MyYahoo, 20%
Intravnews., 4%
Netnewswire. 4%
Pluck, 3%
Sharpreader, 3%
Feedreader, 2%
Feeddemon, 2%
Firefox, 2%$

Bloglines, Rojo and Amphetadesk--three I use regularly--are all MIA from this list--as is Technorati, whi, Rich says, doesn't seem to be crawling Topix feeds. (why the H not?)

Will Yahoo buy CBS Marketwatch?

The Deal: "Yahoo! Inc. is emerging as a leading bidder for MarketWatch Inc., although the Internet giant will face stiff competition from CBS parent Viacom Inc. and other media conglomerates for the rights to buy the online financial news company." (Via Paid Content)
MW would be an interesting fit if Yahoo is interested in increasing user metrics via its email and RSS services--and in building new premium services under a highly respected brand.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Meet Manolo, the shoe guy

Mary Hodder's pointed to the funnest new blog--Manolo's Shoe Blog--purportedly written by shoemeister Manolo and filled with posts on--suprise--shoes.
This is the funniest thing since "Tinkerbelle Hilton" kept a diary--courtesy of dong resin.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Noted: New hires & then some

Weblogs Inc: Shawn Gold, the man responsible for some of Rare Medium's early candy ads for kids, joins as VP, Sales and Marketing; Judith Meskill now editorial director. (Via Paid Content)

INDTV: David Neuman and Anne Zehren have been named to the senior management team at INdTV--Neuman will serve as president, programming, and Zehren as president, sales and marketing. She is the founding publisher of Teen People and he is former president of programming at Channel One Network.

Google: Russell Beattie decides NOT to interview--great post!

Omidyar's making investments

Given that the mission statement for Omidyar Networks investments is "of the people, by the people, for the people," their recent investment in Linden Lab's virtual reality environment, Second Life, caught my attention.
Announcement was that Benchmark Capital kicked in $8MM with Omidyar participation. Omidyar said: "Second Life has a vibrant community where content creators and consumers reinforce one another."
Sounds like the mission here is virtual shopping. Anyone tried the service?
(Omidyar Network previous investments include wiki platform company Socialtext.)

Map: Search engine data

Stuart Watson pointed me to a very cool dynamic map of search engines and their data flow. Bruce Clay's the guy, SEO's the game.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Kinja links: New tool you're not supposed to see?

Standard Deviance was doing a bit of URL-snooping and followed some links to a newly-removed Kinja page that exposed in-bound links to a blog such as Gawker.
Ellen wonders if this means they are going to compete with Technorati (damn skippy!)--
I wonder if this is the project I'd heard a certain media honcho was all excited about.

Mary Meeker's new report rocks the house

Morgan Stanley analyiste Mary Meeker's issued a new report, and it's worth a long PDF download. An Update from the Digital World, October 2004 expands on the message that accessing information online is becoming easier. Meeker & company write:
"Three factors are combining to drive online momentum: 1) rising usage of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) by content providers as a standard distribution platform for online content; 2) ramp in creation of blogs and other user-generated content and 3) Yahoo!?s easy-to-use integration of RSS feeds with My Yahoo!."
"We believe ongoing improvements in the following areas will be important to watch: 1) search; 2) personalization; 3) user-generated content (including blogs, reviews, images and audio); 4) music; 5) short- and long-form video; and 6) accessibility(including mobile devices and the PC desktop)."
"Web-based user-generated content is at the heart of some of the most relevant and fastest growing applications we have seen on the Web (including eBay user feedback and message boards, Yahoo! movie reviews, fantasy sports game play, and blogs)."
And finally:
"If the Internet is a marketplace of ideas, then the best ideas should float to the top, with traditional mass media perhaps serving as a tool for legitimizing/establishing discourse. The driver for Yahoo!, eBay, Google, Microsoft and's Internet successes has been their never-ending quest to create the perfect, seamless user experience, in other words, they do right by their users. What open syndication shows is that by doing right by their users and independent publishers, they also have the potential ability to do right by investors, in our view."

This is a terrific article--crisp and clear, with good examples and illustrations--must read for everyone in the biz--including the folks at the Associated Press, who will see themselves referenced quite a bit.

Gallup: How teens spend their time--and it ain't reading newspapers

More evidence that we're moving from a text-based culture to a visual/experiental one--a recent Gallup poll of teens 13 to 17 asked what they'd done"yesterday"--
90% said they'd watched TV
77% Listened to music on the radio
76% Listened to music on CDs/MP3s
60% Used the Web
37% Played computer games
33% Read a book for pleasure
29% Read a magazine
28% Read a newspaper
7% Read a comic book
(Via E&P)
Anyone surprised?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Liegirls: Must see this

Sean Bonner IMed LieGirls to me and I thought he was a spammer.
I just checked the site out and it is--as he says-AMAZING.

Gary Price uncovers MSN Search prototype

SEO Blog: The images seem to have been taken down, but Gary Price's post on finding some MSN Search pages for a not yet released search product is worth reading even without the pictures. Highlights:
--an option to use three "sliders" to manipulate the ranking of pages. In other words, add or reduce the weight of certain ranking factors. Some might even call it personalization since the results I see might be different than the ones someone else views for the identical search.The sliders are labeled:+ Updated recently--Static+ Very popular--Less popular+ Approximate match--Exact match.
--Clicking the green "arrow" next to the search box offers a pull-down menu with different database options. You will not see PC search listed but an option to run a dictionary search.

RSS: Are we at the tipping point?

Media Post: "Global content provider Factiva, a joint subsidiary of Dow Jones and the Reuters Group, will deliver a series of free really simple syndication feeds that relate to the U.S. Presidential election, the company said Monday. The feeds cover election-related topics including jobs, the economy, health care, the war in Iraq, and budget and taxes. "
Release goes on to say the sources will not be Factiva's 9,000 exclusive news sources --they will be 4,000 blogs and Web sites covering the Presidential election.
1) Factiva is gong to redistribute other people's work--like bloggers--hopefully, with permission.
2) They didn't ask their partners for content (yet)
3) They think there is a market
4) The market is right now

Monday, October 25, 2004

Sunday (and Monday) dinner

Cooking up what we bought at the farmer's market, and have made the following so far:
Roasted asparagus
Oven-grilled artichokes with grated Parmesan
Humboldt stew (this is what we have dubbed the eggplant/peppers/onions/tomatoes and other veggies ragout we started making on vacation in Northern California)
Lamb stew with curried onions and potatoes
Brown rice with daikon radish seed (this is a Trader Joe's mix)
Butternut squash and white potato puree
Baby spinach and mache salad with Balsamic/mustard dressing
Tomorrow, leftovers.

Making money with blogs

Oct, 19, Doc Searls: "I believe it's far more important (and interesting) to make money because of our blogs, rather than with them; just as we make money because we have phones rather than with our phones."
April 13, Jeff Jarvis: "What are the issues doing business on blogs raises?"

Media news

Orbitz teams with Lucky Magazine to make a travel shopping boutique. Travel--and local merch.
Bauer launches Life & Style Weekly, a weekly designed to cut monthly InStyle into little pieces. Of course, the fact they printed the wrong URL in the release, and have an ugly placeholder page suggests they might need to ramp up a bit.
Ned Desmond, Time Interactive: ""Young readers approach our titles first online before they get to print. We need to engage those readers. It's the key to the future in many respects. A lot of people are rallying to this way of looking at it at Time Inc."
Ad Age: US Weekly is Mag of the Year. Don't think they see their web site as a key to the future. Hmmnn.


Tacoda Systems to provide audience targeting services for NYTimes sites; Grey Lady switching from in-house system. (Via Media Post)
Quigo attracts publishers who want text-ad choices other than Google. Chief Executive Mike Yavonditte: "We verticalize the world." (Also MP)
Nick Denton: I think any area where they print reviews, which are review driven, product review driven, like beauty products or gadgets -- any product like that is actually pretty suited to either discussions or Web logs. (Via iMedia Connection)
RSS Publishing: Anne Zeiger has started a useful new list.
NexTag launches comparison shopping site for services such as mortages and loans.
Akimbo: Connect your wired or wireless home networks to the Akimbo Player, which connects to their televisions through standard cables. Get video and TV off the web; store in in your settop box, watch on demand. Release says "It is Akimbo's goal to provide the most comprehensive selection of video-on-demand programming available on TV. " Player's exclusive on Amazon.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Craig: Becoming a "brand?"

Nice story on Craig Newmark and Craig's List in the Washington Post today. Reading it, I realized that Craig's List has become so huge that Craig is in the process of becoming one of those people who don't need a last name--he's Craig, as in Craig's List and you mean, that Craig.
Craig clearly lives his life according to his values and beliefs--it is interesting to see someone who never pursued fame become so well-known, by virtue of their creation--and use their success to continue to do good.

Ben Johnson's Soapbox

The blogosphere often reminds me of 17th century England, where Ben Johnson and his cronies posted broadsides on the coffee house walls.
As Lisa Williams says, we all live in the world of the Internet. In this global village, all sorts of personalities emerge--from blegomaniacs (blogging egomaniacs) to sharp-eyed newsmavens, philosopher kings, humorists, kindly community folks --and a million others.
It's interesting to see some of the voices move to the extreme ends of the spectrum--a couple of the bloggers whose ideas I value the most highly now often sound highly arrogant and judgemental, while others I read eagerly go out of their way to be egalitarian.
And both types frequently quote each other.
Welcome to the media agora, as Kevin Marks dubbed it.
We're back in the age of the small press, only this time on the web, and with powerful interactive and community elements--and with new voices, new tools, and new disruptions all the time.
When you step back from the microsystem and the short-term fuss, the themes that stand out to me are community--bloggers writing for audiences they recognize--and disintermediation--big media just ain't the always preferred medium anymore.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Saturday stroll

Heavy rains, so we went to the Ferry Building in San Francisco instead of Ridge Vineyards.
The Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market was in full swing --we ogled BellaViva Orchards dried fruits, Acme bread, Mariquita Farms herbs, and so on.
Amazing scene, beautiful produce, wine and food.
We also went looking for The Tanglers, an old timey band that play at the market--one of their members, Jeff Lefferts, plays the bones, aka rhythm bones (check it out here).
It turns out there's a whole world of bones players--great percussive sound--and Spencer is now the proud owner of a pair and practicing hard. (His inspiration is Sonny Terry's nephew and bones player extraordinaire.)


I had such poor connectivity in New York, there's a lot to catch up on.
Renee Blodgett has good coverage of Pop Tech: Bruce Mau, Jim Rygiel, Halley Suitt and more.
Bloglines has donated $1000 bucks to Bloggercon. And Wendy Koslow is engaged to Accordion Guy--congrats!
UK Children Go Online: British report on kids' online habits, with interesting data on how kids increasingly use mobile phones forInternet access.
AOL: Parenting channel relaunches--more Time Inc titles and comparison shopping features.
Another Brit article on women's increasing purchases of tech toys--and what they buy.
Consumer Reports builds out a Yahoo Shopping area--they keep finding new ways to gain revenue without selling ads.
Detroit News: Berry Gordy IV is launching a Motown clothing line in 2005--Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Four Tops, Temptations, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Rick James to be on t-shirts. Olsen twins, move over--time to squeeze some bucks from the past.

Home at last

After most of the week on the road, am so happy to be home in California.
It's great to be home, and the climate is amazing. Went out this morning into a grey, hazy morning and took a long walk with the dog, then came back and picked another round of cherry tomatoes from the huge, still-flowering tomato bush in the back of the yard.
Meanwhile, the orange tree is groaning--by December, we will be begging people to take navel oranges, or deep into Googling recipes for marmalade.
Later today, we're going to either go for a hike or go up to Ridge and buy some of the new wine.

Friday, October 22, 2004

20% of newspaper readers read blogs

1 in 5 newspaper readers also read blogs, according to recent stats in a survey conducted by the Associated Press Managing Editors' National Credibility Roundtables Project. (Via Dube)
Given how quickly newspaper readership is dropping, especially among under 35s, this is an interesting stat--my guess is that if you surveyed those who consume news in other forms--online, via cable, TV, and radio--the stat would be closer to 40%.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bloggercon's coming

Dave reports the glad news that the Google and some others have donated a thousand dollars apiece to support Bloggercon III.'
Dave says: "This is all part of the no-editorial-concessions policy for sponsorship of BloggerCon, which is why the Google and AP contributions are so important. It establishes a new pattern that other conferences can use as a precedent when seeking sponsorships."
I suspect Google and AP paid to have a place at the table to honor Dave and his energy in bringing this group together-and to buy a place at the table--commercial, or not.

I am completely psyched about this conference-I was at the first one, a new blogger, and was so inspird and amazged by the people and ideas.
Missed the second unexpectedly.
Now the third is in Silicon Valley, home ground and I am ready to dive in.
There are so many people I know and can't wait to see and so many people I feel like i know and want to know better. Jule Leung, Lisa Williams, Halley, Roxanne Cooper...i await your energy with delight.
Bring it on!
Now, I live 30 minutes from Stanford, so if you need advice about which airports, places to staym etc,--ask me and i will try to help.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Paradox: In NY and connectivity sucks

The local wireless network seems to have lost its wires--I'm making a quick trip to New York, and my connection keeps failing. Arrggh.
I always marvel at connections failing in a big city--whether it's a cell phone or a wireless network, I somehow (naively) imagine that millions of people, an industrial-strength MAN, and all these office buildings and apartments would make it simple to get a onto the Net-not.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Sushi USB drive

A sushi USB drive....what I want for Christmas.

(Via A Full Belly and Shinyshiny)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Blogs--influence and audience share

In discussing a post by Frank Barnako about blogs' size and influence, Jeff Jarvis hits a key point--if you analyze the data, there are bloggers getting more monthly traffic than individual columnists--and blogs getting more unique visitors than some so-called big media.
Jeff says : "I can (but won't) name many national magazine and local newspaper sites that don't get the traffic and audience of these bloggers."
Jeff is absolutely right.
One only has to see the dollars Nick Denton and others are getting from advertisers to realize how mainstream media's audience is breaking apart--and how quickly some new media properties are being perceived as "big" media.
The blog mix of passionate and knowledge voices, fast response and reaction, and inexpensive publishing is changing publishing, just as digital video, cell phone, cheap cameras and P2P file exchange are changing what we watch media.
Furthermore, the cost of entry into the marketplace is so low, new product innovation and experimentation can be extraordinarily high--great stuff for a culture that thrives on novelty, another area where established brands find it hard to compete.

Ecommerce: Microsoft's new shopping platform

The newly launched is Microsoft's latest foray into consumer services--it's a one stop technology-shopping shop offering comparison shopping, digital downloads, and entertainment media.
As anyone who's recently downloaded the Windows XP Service Pack 2 and been asked to allow ActiveX realizes, Microsoft's vision--not unlike AOL's--is to get permission to remotely manage consumer's desk tops--why not extend that into the digital home as well?
With this new marketplace, Microsoft's created a platform where consumers can buy the digital technology--and related accessories--their systems recommend.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Ecommerce: what ya gonna spend, ghostbusters?

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so these stats caught my attention:
Kids aren't the only ones partying on Halloween--adults get into it, too.
According to a recent study conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average consumer plans to spend $43.57 on Halloween merchandise this year. $14.83 will go to candy, and costumes will average $28.11 each.
5 million children plan to dress as their favorite superhero on Halloween this year: 2.15 plan to go as Spiderman, 1.8 million children as a princess, 1.3 million as witches and 899,000 as as vampires.
But it's not only kids hanging out--50% of all 18-34 year plan to dress up in costume and attend a party. Over 55s--82% will be home handing out candy.

WOW: Apple Mini Stores

The first of six Apple mini stores opened this weekend, according to Josh Rubin who says that the stores will not only feature cutting edge design, but also forward thinking technology.
Josh writes:
"Because 80% of customers pay with credit cards there will be self service check out stations. To facilitate communication within the store and back to "HQ," all employees will wear a Trekkie like communicator that operates using voice commands. "
Here's a picture of the store- it looks amazing.

More at ifoApplestore and cult of mac--and at Josh's blog of course.

Who's reading whom? Bloglines redux

It's all about you, baby.
Or, it's all about me.
Every technocrat and blogger know that one of prime behaviors fueling blog indexing and search is the impulse to see who is linking to and/or talking about you, your blog, or your company. Blogger's watch lists --tracking who's linking to you--are core to Technorati's future business plans (think of them as the latest form of (non-corporate) data-mining, aka market research) and popular as well at Feedster.
A number of bloggers now check OPML files and RSS aggregator data to see how many readers--and who--subscribe to their feed. Richard McManus of Read/Write Web has written a couple of posts about this, including a recent one that discusses how the number of Bloglines subscribers to a feed can go up--even as the author's postings go down.
(Kellan, one of the commentators, remarks: "One explanation for Seb and Mark's subscriber totals increasing is the growing number of people who are switching to Bloglines, and bringing a long OPML file with them. I'd read the increase as largely driven by Bloglines growth.")

Conclusion: If you interested in blog data and metadata, Richard's post is worth a read--as is his blog, for that matter.
Side note: I looked up my own blog and list of public subscribers, and was interested(this is complete navel-gazing, so be forewarned) to see a) how many of the people I knew or had met, and b) when various people had started subscribing to the feed.
The answer to a) was about 25% are known to me, and b) there seem to be more folks added in the past month--though that is probably linked to the growth of Bloglines.

Celeb news from the netherworld

Britney's latest--she's taking a break. Via Stereogum, part of the letter to fans she posted on her web site:
"Going & going & going is all I've ever known since I was 15 years old. It's amazing what advisors will push you to do, even if it means taking a naive young blonde girl & putting her on the cover of every magazine."
Sounds like she paid a heavy price to make $50MM. I am glad now she can lie around and eat cheetos and get her childhood back.

Paris Hilton's lending her name to a chain of nightclubs. Makes sense in her case, that porn, exhibitionism and shameless self promotion lead inevitably to the hospitality biz.

Noted: Media

WWD (Women's Wear Daily): Who are the up and comers in the NYC-based national magazine/media scene? If you care, this is worth a read.

Standard Deviance: Where are the snarks of yesteryear? "Half our blogroll is composed of bloggers who don't blog anymore." (Note: yeah, they are writing or have written for a Gawker property.)

Docuticker: Daily posts on research docs from the non-commercial sources, from the ResourceShelf Team. (Via JD)

Blogger and illustrator Danny Gregory gets a compliment from Robert Crumb.

Marc North, photographer: San Francisco street scenes. A new batch of powerful pictures, including this one.

Betsey Devine's husband wins a Nobel Prize

Blogger Betsy Devine's husband Frank Wilczek, has won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics (shared with two othera.)
Congrats to all. Great news!
(Via Winer)

Friday, October 15, 2004

Got gmail?

Another batch of gmail invites has come to my account.
Email me if you would like one--you get priority if I know you.
As always, I won't be giving accounts to anyone who's masked--ie, if I don't know you, you need to be identifiable as a real person to get one here.

Browser battles--Firefox vs. Netscape

I've been holding off writing about Firefox until I can do a more through job using all the new features--but Mozilla's Rafael Ebron posted a comment on a previous post that's worth highlighting here.
Rafael says:
"The second largest browser in terms of marketshare is Mozilla Firefox. Netscape 7.2 had short of 4MM downloads in a little less than 2 months. Firefox, with the preview release, is short of 5MM downloads in less than 1 month.
Either Nielsen/Netratings isn't breaking out Mozilla Firefox in their number or their data is slightly inaccurate.
We've been asking around and checking top site logs and Mozilla/Mozilla Firefox is clearly in second place even higher than IE 5.5. (IE 6.0 is the majority browser.) "
Anyone else tracking this?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Tools to target teens

If you were a packaged goods company that wanted to target your products to appeal to teens ages 13-17, where would you spend your money?
If you are gum company Dentyne, pushing the Ice, Fire and Tango chewing gums, you buy Yahoo!'s IMVironment (Branded IM) and its Launch music channel and sponsor an exclusive sponsorship new content area within subscriber-only AOL RED called RED@Night-- an area "where teens can interact with a New York dance club experience via live video feed, streaming audio, chat and polls," according to an AdWeek article.
What's interesting about this is that Dentyne's spending its money to use music and community to reach teens--Yahoo's AIM client leapt ahead of AOL's when music was added to the interface, and the RED area will be a safe party spot for teens too young to actually drive anywhere.
What will the other top teen online properties (Bolt, Alloy, etc.) need to do to go after these dollars?
Prediction: new features--and deals-- will be launched.
(Via AdWeek)


College by the numbers: comScore reports that more than 12 million college students accessed the Web either from a dormitory or private residence during September. Average time spent online was 21.5 hours online--each student viewed more than 2,000 pages (!) (Via iMedia)

Kids by the numbers: A Direct Marketing News story reports that 2.1 million kids visited AOL's Kids Online (KOL) during August. Driven in part by AOL Kids Radio, time spent online for AOL kid subscribers has jumped from seven minutes dailyto 23.7 minutes per unique KOL account. MM also says that AOL has 1.6 million registered kids-only accounts and 1.6 million registered young teen accounts. (Let this puppy out of the walled garden!)

Evite & CitySearch: Companies team up to offer restaurant reviews and invites. Reminds me of Chef Moz and makes me think Evite should create an API that bloggers could use.

NY Magazine: editor jumps ship to edit section at New York Magazine.

Media Bistro: Liz Spiers to be editor in chief. This is a coup for them--Something tells me MB is leaping up on my must reads.

New looks like Netscape's cleaned-up cousin. I like the grid layout.

Guitarplayer: A certain youthful relative of mine who is code-named Buster has started a blog-Way to go, E!

New: Cool (tech) Tools

Google's got a desktop. This tool will find things all over your hard-drive--testing now. Battelle says "This seamlessly integrates your hardrive into Google." ( More from Om, Kottke, SEO blog, etc.)
Google's got an IM Client too(it's Hello). (Via Inside Google via Battelle)
AOL: Netscape 7.2 browser was second most popular browser on the web in August; more than 4 MM downloaded since the GM release in August.
And CNET reports that AOL's confirmed they are working on a desktop client, too. (Naturally.)
Open Media: Jd Lasica, Marc Cantor, Lucas Gonze, Christopher Allen, Brad deGraf and a score and then some of folks are working on an open archive of digital media. Everyone came to it in a different way, but this is an idea whose time is here, give it your support.

As someone said to me yesterday: "It feels like everything is moving faster and faster and we have to get going or we'll be left behind."
Translation: New technologies are driving new behaviors and dollars, time spent, behaviors and mind share are all shifting.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Romenesko & Starbucks-Like Larry David selling cars

Remember the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry, the co-creator of Seinfeld, wrangles his way into a job selling cars? His wife and agent think he's nuts, but Larry explains that being a car salesman is a long-cherished dream, and that he thinks he'd be really good at it. (He's not.)
Reading Jim Romenesko's Starbuck's Gossip blog kinda reminds me of watching this Larry David episode--I understand that Jim is perfectly capable of writing a great blog about Starbuck's, but why does he want to do it?
Is there something in the constellation of Milwaukee/coffee/global business/beat news just too hard to resist?
Or is this a Prairie-Home Companion like joke?
Whatever the reason, now I know where to go when I want a little news with my Vente latte.

Is terror nigh? Or is it a scam?

Sean Bonner says his police-guy pal may have inside dish--via a memo-- that..gulp..terrorist attacks could happen at any minute.
Of course, Ms Cynic here wonders if this is really a tactic for the administration to hold off on elections.
Not that President Bush would ever consider such a thing.

Sifry: Blogosphere is doubling

Dave Sifry: "...the blogosphere has been doubling at a regular pace, and it is now more than 8 times as large as it was in June of 2003. "
Technorati's founder adds that currently roughly 12,000 new weblogs are created each day, which means that on average, a new weblog is created every 7.4 seconds (of course, about half are abandoned in the first 3 months). Dave says that terrorist activity, politics, and international events have driven a large number of posts, but that topics such as "the discovery of a flaw in the basic mechanism of high-end Kryptonite locks" have also made bloggers post like crazy.

Pushing for $$: Weather Channel beefs up sales team

The Weather Channel announced the formation of a new sales team focused on selling the desktop, to focus on both database marketing and ad sales--both for customers and new accounts.
This caught my interest for a couple of reasons:
--Toolbars and desktop apps have become commonplace--and popular--as computing becomes ubiquitious
--It's push a la pointcast, only in a different world(see above)
--It offers advertisers an effective way to reach both national and local audiences--as everyone starts to realize the value of local advertising, desktop utilities offer advertisers another way to reach into a targeted local market (think ski reports for New England, as well as zip code specific)
--It shows how ad dollars continue to move away from traditiona demographic centers such as online newspapers
--And it shows how seriously Weatherbug is hurting The Weather Channel, as MarketingVox points out.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Paid Content is hiring

Paid Content is hiring writers/bloggers--see this posting.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The future of online classifieds

Brian Dear asks: "Why might we need eBay less and less? Consider craigslist with RSS, or, better yet, a notification service tied to RSS or email. "Notify me when a sofa with the following attributes and in the following price range and in the following general geographical area goes on sale."
And then Brian asks--getting at questions about the real future of classifieds when reputation enters the game:
"And maybe the question should also be, do we even need craigslist in such a world? What happens if you can just post lists on your blog of things you want to sell and things you want to buy, and hang them out there in RSS feeds waiting to be scooped up by Technorati-style bots, who in turn notify people who live within driving (maybe even walking) distance of you?"
This is exactly right--for at least a percentage of items--and fits right into what Tribe is hoping to deliver.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Noted: Ecommerce

Robin Good on Feedburner's splicing ecommerce ads into RSS feeds. Quote:
"FeedBurner detects your feed categories and then asks you to assign an Amazon store (books, music, software, electronics, etc.) to any category for which you want to include the Amazon Associates program." Developers are really working that Amazon API.

Marketing Vox: Online reference leads to offline buys: People conducting product research online bought almost $300 billion worth of goods due to their research findings according to a recent study fromThe Dieringer Group. ClickZ: Similar ComScore research shows fat pipe=bigger buys. (Jeremy Zawodny's got a good summary of this data.)

Fiber2fashion: Bluefly sets up a channel on Amazon.

Forbes: may be the largest shopping-comparison site, but Forbes says don't buy.

eBay GivingWorks: Shop and support a cause.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

ONA award finalists: an incomplete list

Today, The Online News Association announced this year's finalists for the annual Online Journalism Awards(the list hasn't been posted to yet).
There are some terrific sites and packages listed, including CBS's Prisoner Abuse at Abu Ghraib, PBS's"Murder, Race, Justice: The State vs. Darryl Hunt, San Diego's "Firestorm 2003" and Fresno Bee-'s Wildfire coverage.
My personal favorites Dan Gillmor's eJournal and OJR's Mark Glaser are both finalists, as are all the great big sites like WashPo, NYTimes and BBC.
However, the list as as interesting for what isn't there, as for what is.
Where's the political coverage from Daily Kos and Josh Marshall?
How about the business journalism of Rafat Ali's Paid Content?
And the locally-focused sites such as Gothamist and Coastsider?
Is it that these entities didn't nominate themselves, or that the judges only considered *traditional* (would that be corporate?) institutions when they made their choices?
In this election year, when news was broken--and made--by more than one solo practioner, I would hope their achievements in covering the news would be recognized, not MIA.
Wake up people, and smell the coffee.
Don't let colleagues go by the wayside because they write and publish in a different form than you are accustomed to--it just makes you look out of touch.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

In Virginia

In Virginia today at the Media Center.
Tonight, I saw some good friends from the AOL days for dinner--I enjoyed hanging out and catching up--one of them has a high-pressure finance job at a big non-profit; the other is a marketing consultant.
Both are doing well.
It felt good to have such a nice connection. Even though we haven't worked together now for a couple of years and alot of our contact is virtual (phone, email, blog) there was great energy and warmth.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

New & 2, a next-generation newsreader announced this week. I helped create this, so of course I want everyone to try it out. Chris Alden, Tim Caitlin, Kevin Burton did the yoeman's work--see for yourself.
Snap: It's not just people who've come back into the game, it's the URLs. SNAP, once a portal that spawned NBCi, is now a new search tool from IdeaLab. Stu Watson's new RSS/shopping beta gets a viewing.
...Zawodny, Jarvis and Rafat all have related good reads. Conference really picks up tomorrow.

Related: Grouper also announced this week, but this cool private groups s/w from the founders of AOL-acquired Spinner is already drawing fire for DRM issues. Uh-oh.

And one more thing..a quote from Mary Hodder: "If Web 1.0 was about making the internet usable for users, I'm stumped. Cause it's not very usable."

Wired: How search and recommendation shift what we consume

Wired, The Long Tail: Chris Anderson's article explores how filtered search and recommendation are making a wider variety of products available--with sometimes surprising results.
A snippet:
"Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after service, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs in the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody. People are going deep into the catalog, down the long, long list of available titles, far past what's available at Blockbuster Video, Tower Records, and Barnes & Noble. And the more they find, the more they like. As they wander further from the beaten path, they discover their taste is not as mainstream as they thought."

Rumor Mill: Is Kanoodle being sold?

Rumor going round NYC that Kanoodle is in the process of being sold. And to a very smart consortium of more traditional companies.

G-Media: The Empire blogs built

OKay, so I am the 2,000th person to point out what a shrewd--and powerful--media empire Nick Denton is building. New cars, gaming and just funny stff blogs went live today, and ad dollars are following.
Nick says: The new sites bring the total number of titles in the Gawker group to nine: Gawker, Gizmodo, Fleshbot, Wonkette, Defamer, Kinja, Jalopnik, Kotaku and Screenhead. Combined traffic in September 2004 was 19.2m page impressions, compared with 1.6m in September 2003, giving a month-on-month growth rate of 23%.

Will some big media company buy Nick, or just keep investing?
Prediction--One year from now, this company has been acquired or merged on the basis of audience and revenue going up 150%.

Web 2.0 kicks off, but women are MIA--as are many bloggers

The wonderful sounding Web 2.0 kicked off today, and many of the really fascinating guys I know are there--and a couple of the women.
A friend sent me a copy of the attendee list and I have to say that the percentage of women in the audience is about parallel with the women speakers--maybe 5%?
What is that about?
As for bloggers, they ddn't seem to comp that many...most I imagine as comped had a clear connection to John Battelle as in former students, worked together previously, etc.
Meanwhile, Winer's in Seattle, Sean Bonner's gonna lobbycrash(I love this!) and feedster's got a coverage feed, which is where I'm getting these bits.

Ev has left the building

Ev Williams is moving on from Blogger. Let's hope he's got a ton o'cash and great ideas for the next useful product/new company...Blogger rocks in my book as a class-A consumer app.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

On the road again

Heading to New York tomorrow am, and Washington, DC mid-week.
It's fairly warm in the Bay area right now, with our wild tomato plant and my neighbor's fig tree both still in full bloom. (Spent the afternoon at Great America on the water and adventure rides--as I get older, my enjoyment of amusement parks is increasing somehow, maybe because screaming seems so very therapeutic.)
NYC weather clocks in around 64, but that means it could turn into coat weather very quickly--some rain or chilly days, and brr...late fall's here.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

No safe ground for journalists--how about the rest of us?

Washington Post, Dan Broder writes: "When the Internet opened the door to scores of 'journalists' who had no allegiance at all to the skeptical and self-disciplined ethic of professional news gathering, the bars were already down in many old-line media organizations. That is how it happened that old pros such as Dan Rather and former New York Times editor Howell Raines got caught up in this fevered atmosphere and let their standards slip."
Broder says "there is no safe ground" in the news business anymore.
Susan says Is there 'safe ground' anywhere these days?

Friday, October 01, 2004

RIP: Richard Avedon

81-year old photographer Richard Avedon passed away today. He was one of the great photographers of the 20th century and a personal hero.

Noted: Media

Sindikk.aeshin: Google's top news story on Oct. 1 is a (Daily Kos) blog post--a first. (Markos is now immortal.) Life Magazine rolls out in Sunday newspapers this week. (Via I want media)
Denver Post: Phil Anschutz forms Clarity Media to manage his newspaper holdings--SF Examiner and 3 DC papers.
E&P: AZCentral, one of the better online newspaper sites (IMHO), has a new design. Less clutter, more multimedia, bigger IAB ad slots.(Via Paid Content).
ShopEtc: New shopping mag's group blog takes center stage as second issue hits newsstands. (Disclosure: I worked on this.)
CBSMarketWatch: Time Warner will keep AOL--for now. Why does anyone think they'd ever want to sell it?--Oh yeah, they totally screwed their business, I forgot.

Noted: Newish

Om Malik: The 5 digital disruptions. "Digital innovation is creating a tidal wave of disruption."--a must read on how technology shifts markets.
Mary Hodder: RSS addiction means No feed, no read.
Tom Watson: Alan Meckler's thoughtful move into the blogosphere--trade publishing's newest medium.
Micah Sifry has a new blog with a greater forcus on domestic issues (as opposed to Iraq.)
Micropersuasion: Steve Rubel is rockin' with the commentary--good posts daily!
Josh Rubin recommends transmaterial, a book (PDF) about design and materials from Seattle architecture firm NBBJ.

CNN's (Very dry) Blogosphere

Kevin Burton pointed me to CNN's Election 2004 Blogosphere page. It's interesting that CNN hired a communications company, not a journalist, blogger or search firm, to analyze the results.
Also noticed the description of Who Blogs? on the CNN Blogosphere FAQ page. It says, in part:
"While the earliest adopters of blogging were technologists searching for a simpler method of expressing their opinions through the Internet, those wishing to make their political opinions and observations available to others quickly adopted weblogs. Shortly after the adoption by technologists and politicos, younger Internet users rapidly began adopting weblogs as a journal or diary to share with others, however, today people of all ages and technological abilities have adopted and use weblogs. For example, new mothers have adopted blogs as a convenient and time saving way to provide updates to friends and family on developments with the new child without having to answer tens of e-mails everyday. "
Am I the only person who thinks this description is really enervating(aka sucks the life right out of blogging)?

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