Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bloggers vs.Journalists: Game over

NZ Bear has a piece on TechCentral Station explaining how tired the blogger vs. journalist thing is (also known these days as pajamas vs. suits.)
Bear sez "If you were an editor looking for a new hire these days, what would your first moveafter checking your candidate's resume and clips?To check their blog, of course," and IMHO he is completely right.
After all, 5 years from now publishing is not going to look much like what we see today--Amazon and eBay will be publishing magalogs, 50% of so-called online newspapers will be written by non-staff people, most media will be distributed via RSS and onto mobiles, and comments will be considered as entertaining as posts.
So what's there to fight about (if you're not an ostrich or a dinosaur, I mean)?

Note: This is another post Blogger chewed up. I'm gonna quit whining, and just quit this system for something that works--consistently.

Scoble on Corporate blogging

Robert Scoble, Microsoft blogger extraordinaire, has some useful comments on corporate blogging:
"...what's the challenge for Microsoft and Sun over the next year? Ship great products. Over and over and over. Hints on how to do that are here on the blogs.
This is where blogs will really prove their worth. I'm already seeing it. Teams are now planning on how they'll take feedback on their blogs to improve their products quickly.
I interviewed a team who'll announce a product later this week. They already have a plan so that users can talk back and tell them what needs to be improved. And they have a plan for how they'll take that feedback and put it into action.
...That's really where blogs will turn into a competitive weapon over the next 18 months. It's the companies (and groups) who can react to customers that'll really succeed (and be profitable.)"

Scoble is dead right--one of the effective reasons for corporate blogs is to cut the distance between the company and your customers.
Oh and a parting Scoble shot: "The way to learn how to blog is to read 50 blogs in your field for at least two weeks. If that doesn't incite you to blog, nothing will."

Found: Japanese sewer photography

Came across a link to Anil's post on a set of amazing photos that are--reportedly--pix of a Japanese storm drain system sewer/public works project. What beautiful photos, especially if you like post-industrial engineering on a grand scale.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Fisking PegasusNews

Steve Rubel sent me a link to a post he just did about PegasusNews, a "hyperlocal" stealth project that reportedly is going to launch a local news site in Dallas, then launch 25 more sites around the country.
While I applaud the ideas, the hyperbole --and their anonymity--put me off--and their blog message seems pretty unchanged from August to now.
Being from the show-me state of New York, I need to see something before I buy into the hype--so guys, where's the goods?

Visible Future 2: Korean Ohmynews raking in the bucks

Asia Times (via editors weblog) reports that OhmyNews is generating almost US$500,000 a month in advertising revenue. Ranked in the top 15 in South Korea, only 20% of the site's copy each day is written by staff journalists.
According to Asia Times columnist James Borton, " By 2005, eMarketer, a New York-based online research corporation, estimates that South Korea will have more than 34 million Internet users, accounting for more than two-thirds of the population. "

The Independent (UK): Nick Denton interview

I think of Nick Denton as someone relatively publicity-shy, so it's interesting to see where he makes appearances and gives interviews. This piece for Brit newspaper site The Independent doesn't spill any trade secrets (surprise), but it's worth a read.
The writer sez: "Yet the nine internet sites that comprise Denton's Gawker Media company are among the most original and influential of their kind..."
Denton sez: "The one common theme is to take an obsession, say a gadget obsession, and feed it - produce more content than the people could ever dream of having or consuming. Everybody likes to read about themselves, about their worlds. As with addicts, the more you give them, the more they want."
And(my favorite bit): "Even so, Denton doesn't think there is a need for Gawker in Britain, claiming that there is already enough criticism, competition and sarcasm. American media, he thinks, is different. "Journalists tend to defer to official sources and people who invite them to parties. In Britain, that's counter-balanced by ferocious competition; in the US it's not counter-balanced by anything," he says. "

Update: Ellen at Standard Deviance has more to say about this interview, and pretty much deconstructs the wobbly bits--like the omission of Liz Spiers from Gawker's launch, what the revenue picture really looks like, etc. Always fun when bloggers go at one another, in't it?

The Visible Future: Korean students moving away from email

In super-wired Korea, high school and college students are reportedly moving away from email toward SMS and IM. According to a story inSmartMobs) a poll conducted by Chungbuk University computer education professor Lee Ok-hwa with over 2,000 middle, high school and college students respondents revealed that more than two-thirds of the respondents said, "I rarely use or don't use e-mail at all."

Web sites: Who's the most global?

How does your company's web site do in addressing a global market? How many languages does your site support--and how localized is your international content?
If these are relevant questions, a look at bytelevel research's 2005 Web Globalization Report Card might be interesting.
According to a story in WebProNews, bytelevel ranks Google as the top in globalized sites, with HP, Amex, Phillips and Skype taking the next 4 slots.
Who got the low marks? Disney, Monsanto, Nike and Wal-Mart were among those singled out as (global) losers.

Feedster launches multimedia directory--with RSS

Now this is very cool--and super customer-focused.
Want audio, video, bittorrent, talk radio/podcast feeds?
And/or RSS lists of feeds?
Blogdigger has also been doing this--and it is great.(They have jpegs, gifs and Shockwave feeds as well as other data.)_
(Via Momentshowing--who says: " I believe that we need to create a tool to bring all these videos together. Like an RSS reader for video...and I think it's got to be for video only.")

Update: Complementary story at CNET on Google, Microsoft and Yahoo's efforts to create video searches. (Via Paid Content)

Sunday, November 28, 2004


Steve Rubel: Target, watch out.
Rebecca McKinnon: What's the best way to credit blog quotes? This ain't it.
Low Culture: Ham and Turkey in a Mosque?
Michael Monture: Hack Yourself (this is good.) (Via 43Folders)
DMEurope: Feedburner processing RSS ads for Overture. It's getting hot in herre.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Google--Ok, Froogle--launches lists

Google's gone into the list biz with the launch of Froogle lists and wish lists, the public and private way to keep track of--and share data on--things that you want.
To create a list you need a log in to Gmail or Google Groups or sign in here to create an account; once you make a list you can create a public Wish List by publishing it.
This is not only a shove back at Amazon, it's another smart integration play by Google as they get ready to launch more mobile features (just think about it.)
(Via Andy Beal and Anil Dash)

PS The Achilles heel here is that the results suck. It is IMPOSSIBLE to search for a woman's black t shirt for example--unless your dream is to purchase one from MidWest Choppers. So, like Microsoft, Google still has a way to go in the consumer packaging department of executing well on what is a very good idea.

PS Wishlists for GlitchNYC, Jason Shellen and me --anyone else have one to add?
PPS Seth Godin's good idea--Sales & bargain news.

Dinner with Doc, Dec. 2nd, Berkeley, CA

Doc Searls is joining Mary Hodder and assorted blog folk for dinner in Berkeley on December 2nd.
Maybe you?
Invite's here. (RSVP to mary at hodder dot org. )

We're baack

Pismo was a blast--I have a new appreciation for camping on the beach, drinking around a campfire, and staying offline. Of course, after 3 days, it's great to be back--I've just take a shower and eaten a Vietnamese vegetarian dinner...and am back online...

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving--We're Off to Pismo

Happy holiday to everyone. We're off to Pismo to ride ATV's with our teen and a bunch of his friends. The tent, coolers, heater, boots etc are all packed, and we're going here:
with folks who like to do this

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Noted: Majestic Research

Back in the day, there was this smart guy in New York named Seth Goldstein, who started a web company called Site Specific that was bought (weren't they all) by CKS for $6 million bucks. Seth eventually ended up with a low-key investment company called Majestic Partners, but last spring that morphed into Majestic Research, a new kind of investment research company that provides third-party research to investors.
I checked out their site and was amazed to see a full company and intrigued to see they've already been written up in the Wall Street Journal and blogged by Fred Wilson and others.
Their new CEO, Doug Atkins, joined just a few weeks ago and they're getting press today for just released data on the Google desktop.
What's interesting to me here is:
A) Someone smart is back in the game with a visible new company.
B) They've got an untraditional business model.
C) Their data is intriguing--as is the list of companies they say they cover in a PDF on their web site-- areas of focus include online retail(eBay and Amazon), auto retail (AutoByTel, CarMax), online travel, paid search, casinos and gaming.
It's also a great looking web site, highly usable--with great data I hope they keep releasing.
(Via John Battelle)

Unrelated side note and rant: It took 36 hours to get this post up because first Blogger ate it, and then the Blogger site died for night. Arrggh. Software from big rich tech companies is supposed to work(not that it always does.).

Monday, November 22, 2004

News: Feedroom CEO goes to CNN

Jonathan Klein, CEO and founder of The Feedroom, which has grown into a well-distributed platform company serving video feeds for over 70 news sites, joined CNN today as President and CEO of the News Group, replacing Princell Hair, who moves to a corporate role. A former CBS News executive producer, Klein worked on "60 Minutes" and is expected to develop more dynamic, integrated news programming for primetime.
Hopefully, Klein will also provide leadership in integrating web and broadcast program development--CNN has huge potential there that has largely been unmet.
Bart Feder steps up to run Feedroom.

X-AOLers: From you've got mail to you've got (luxury) timeshares

News today that Steve Case has poured more money into vacation home company Exclusive Resorts, enough to become Chairman and have his former AOL aide-de-camp, Donn Davis, become CEO.
According to the press release "Exclusive Resorts eliminates the burdens of owning a second home, the limitations of fractional real estate and the uncertainties of renting a villa. Members of Exclusive Resorts pay a one-time membership fee of $375,000, which is 80 percent refundable upon resignation, as well as Annual Dues of $15,000 to $25,000, depending on the Usage Plan the member elects each year. "
Case is quoted: "What attracted me me a little over a year ago to acquire a controlling interest in the Company is that Exclusive Resorts makes vacation homes more accessible and more affordable to more people, much as mortgages made home ownership possible for the public-at-large
And Davis: "I am thrilled to be CEO of the Company as I believe Exclusive Resorts is positioned to revolutionize the luxury travel and vacation real estate industries for the benefit of consumers."
Is there something scary about rich guys going from selling everyone ISP access to selling time shares to the top 2% or am I being too sensitive?

Oranges--and GMail invites

Yep, we've got both of them.
The backyard navel orange tree is going into full fruiting and we will shortly have more oranges than we can eat. Unfortunately this is true of half of the population of San Jose, CA. so, if you are a local (like in SF or Oakland) and you have a craving for a bag of really great free (organic) oranges and you actually know and see me, hey, get in touch and I will pack you up a bag of juicy oranges and bring them over next time I am round your way. Or you can pick some up at my place.
On a similar note, the Gmail invites are also blooming.
Anyone want one of those? E as well.

Kelsey conference on local media--Get ya (free) presos

The Kelsey Group conference on Local Media was last week in Jersey City. For those (like me) who missed it, they've kindly put many of the presos on the web.
Some useful ones:
Mary Meeker's Trends and Opportunities keynote--a strong preso that extends her recent white paper.
Mark Pincus' Tribe preso. A very crisp and attractive telling of the Tribe story with a push toward adding more affiliate partners.
Session on classifieds and directory merging: An all too short preso for what looks like a good panel and a timely topic.
More on the sessions here, including pointers from Ahorre, Paid Content and Tony Gentile, who first posted these links.
UPDATE, 11/24: Got a note (thanks!) that all the links don't work--and the server seems to be down. So if you want the Meeker preso or the others, email me--Miz Packrat here saved them.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Bakerina: Beats meat (at work)

Bakerina is one of the reasons I love blogs.
On staff at a marketing corp in NYC during the day, after hours, Bakerina turns into a damn fine cook, whose adventures veer between MFK Fisher, Little Lulu and Carole Lombard.
Last week, she brought her dinner to the office, raw, all the better to marinate...
"...I took the damn steaks to work, along with the adobo seasoning and salt, as well as a freezer bag to hold everything... At the first allowable break in la Marche Futile, I sneaked into the cafeteria, squeezed the lime juice into the bag, crushed a few cloves of garlic and threw them in, shook in a little salt and a lot of adobo, and dropped in the steaks, which looked nice and tiny in the meat case at Whole Foods but turned out to be eighteen inches long each. (Note to self:... I decided that if I kept it in my shoulder bag, it should stay pretty cool (and it did), so I carried back to my desk, half-wedged in the crook of my elbow, hoping all the way that nobody would catch me carrying my bag of raw meat...."
More here. And it's like this all the time!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Ecommerce: Gift Cards are BIG

Bloomberg News and other sources report that 74% of all holiday shoppers will buy a gift card for someone on their list--bringing the projections for gift card spending to$17.3 billion. According to a recent Deloitte & Touche USA survey of 16,000 consumers, gift cards are the top holiday gift among shoppers this year--a 4% increase from last year. Interestingly enough, one effect of this (newish) behavior is that a higher percentage of holiday sales get pushed into January when the cards are (usually) redeemed.
Is anyone tracking what percentage of gift cards will be purchased online? Or redeemed online?

Twinkler: Put it on the list

I am obsessed with lists, with how lists should work on the web, and so on...so I am eager to see Erik Benson/Robot Coop's 43 Things/Twinkler, which is supposed to be here--but isn't right now.
Erik sez:
"The basic idea of 43 Things is this: it?s a well known fact that by writing down your goals you greatly increase the chances of actually completing them. Part of it is just knowing what your goals are. Another is being able to hold yourself accountable. Here?s a place to write down some things you want to do with this life, look at what other people want to do, and generally think about what makes life exciting for you."
"The sites that were in the forefront of our mind were Flickr?s Tags (http://flickr.com/photos/tags ), and Marumushi?s Newsmap (http://www.marumushi.com/apps/newsmap/newsmap.cfm)..."

Update: Steve Rubel also posted on this, as did Shakermaker and others...

Related and interesting: Jeff Veen's post--and image-on "My whole life in happy little folders"--not about 43 Things, but relevant.

BloggerCorps: Help groups blog, that's it

Bloggercorps: Rebecca McKinnon's created a blog space for nonprofit and activist groups that want help with blogging, RSS, syndication, etc. can post--and those who want to volunteer can link up to assist.
This is good--a low-fuss, hopefully no muss way to aid nonprofits etc in using new tools.
Very cool! A Givingspace for tools.
Oh--and Rebecca has an informational handout about blogging here.

Update: Also see Progressivehelp.com

Friday, November 19, 2004

'Blogmedia: Time for another bureaucracy or what?

Nick Denton pitches making Jeff Jarvis (and Jason Calcanis) the founders of a Blogethics "permanent institution" that could start off by drafting guidelines for blogs.
(Note: Brian Alvey of Weblogs Inc registered the blogethics.org URL on Nov. 17. ) Jason says : "If Jeff Jarvis and Nick Denton are willing to start the Blog Ethics Committee I'll do it provided we have transparent open discussion spaces for people to participate in."
I have to say, while I agree that integrity, transparency and honesty are essential to write a credible blog (in most cases), the idea of forming another governing body, committee, or standards group turns me off.
Is anyone out there who reads blogs really stupid enough to think that not being credible will work for more than 5 seconds--I mean besides the ad folks who try to sell sugary cereal as a breakfast food and pretended ketchup might be a vegetable?
In other words, there's no need to preach to the converted.

Ellen at Standard Deviance has a smart post about all this--and some cautions about blogmedia cliques.

Steve Urkel: Is this really you?

Is this tight-pants wearing, short-jacket zipping, knee-high boots flaunting guy really Steve Urkel (aka Jaleel White) ? G'wan!

(Via WOW)

Claria: It's beginning to look (alot) like Xmas

Claria Corporation's Feedback Research reports that 52% of online shoppers plan to begin their holiday shopping over 30 days before Christmas, December 25. 28% say they plan to finish their holiday shopping between 8 and 14 days before December 25, compared to 16% of offline shoppers who say the same thing.
Start your engines, everyone. This is supposed to be a banner season for ecommerce shopping.
(Via eMarketer)

Neilsen NetRatings: Pre-tweens like IM

Kids 2 and 11 viewed 36 percent more Web pages in October 2004 than October 2003, according to data released today by Nielsen/NetRatings. The nugget I noticed is that girls in that age group are most drawn to instant messaging sites, which suggests the ways that pre-teens 8-11 copy teens go beyond dress and musical tastes right into online behavior.
(Source: Mediapost)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

NY: City as stage

A hustler on the subway selling genuine DVDs of new movies--Polar Express, Sideways and Bridget Jones 2, for example, for $5.00 each. "I've got my DVD player right here folks--and my business card and web site is on the back."
The guy next to me at a performance of Ain't Gonna Die a Natural Death, talking to his friend: "I've got two storage spaces filled with books and papers I plan to give to the Library of Congress. When you're well-known, they come after you for your stuff."
Two women at Mangia on 57th at lunch-salad and water--with one holding up a pair of 4-inch silver stiletto sandals, saying, "They're a little large--but the price was great."
10 20-somethings at Sushi Scuba, a favorite dinner spot, every one of them dressed in slacks and blue shirts, drinking and laughing. One says "Yeah, Keats, Bedford and Longsworth in da house!" (Okay, I made that last part up--or Spencer did. The guy really said "I LIKE sushi!!!"
--and I'm not sure he meant raw fish. )

Point being, there is a natural sense of drama to life in NY that is great fun, most of the time.

Blog coach: Advice for newbies

Just got through meeting some print editors who will start blogging in 2005--they're going to create a side blog to complement the core print and online products. Everyone seems excited, but nervous about doing this--they read blogs, but have never written anything like this--in fact, not all of them are writers. S0--what sites should they look at? Any great beginners' resources to pass along?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Some NY notes

On the subway platform yesterday, I watched a tall, thin woman with dark blonde hair and stork-like legs stroll the platform, Scanning her jeans, clogs, and wool jacket, I thought about how tall and thin she was, unlike me. When the woman turned I realized she was the same girl I used to look at when I lived in South Orange--she was probably 19 then, with long, straight hair, and when I'd see her behind the counter at the bakery, or taking the train to the City, I'd think the same kinds of thoughts. Now here she was four years later--with cropped hair, mostly likely in a completely different life.
Since I didn't really know her, I said nothing, just got on the train.
It seems strange to meet someone I didn't know in the middle of the city--to see a stranger you recognize after so much time.
As I stepped into the car, a man's voice said Susan! I looked up and it was Gary Welz, who worked with me at New Jersey Online and helped build the site. I'd seen him once, at a mutual friend's event, in the ensuring 8 years. Now here he was again, on the train. Wow.
Between 42nd and Canal we caught up. He teaches math and is an actor, does some other things.
Later that night, I went to a reception and ended up having another unexpected conversation--with someone who now has a job very similar to one I once had at the same company. We talked about the company and the products and the culture and the business and it turned into this great conversation. Amazing.

Jared Leto: He's just not that into you

Star Magazine gets the award for best use of a caption in this item.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

More Noted

Dan Gillmor wins ONA award--for consistently great writing and insights

Reuters: Evan Harrison, longtime AOL music guy, leaves to run Clear Channels's online group. Sezs"I'll be tapping into the local relationships and brands of Clear Channel's 1,200 stations to bring people into the online phase."

RSS and shopping(one of my favorite topics): Dulance says they extract prices and product availability from unstructured webpages in real time(Via Search Engine Journal)

New York Angels announces they gave Feedster (and others) investment $$. (Why is this a press release?)

Dick Cheney: Fully loaded?

Is that a force of nature in Dick Cheney's pants or a weapon of mass destruction?
This amusing photo's rocking the net because of the big bulge in da pants.

Tacoda launching national behavioral ad network

Tacoda Systems is launching Audience Match Network (AMN), a national behaviorally targeted ad network. There are 50-odd sites and 100 to 150 advertisers that will be running ads via this program in the initial phase.
Watching this with keen interest. Can it be a local AND national solution if it grows enough?
Investor/blogger Fred Wilson comments.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Red Herring/: 34% increase in online holiday shopping this year, according to ComScore stats.
Sloan School of Business and Babson College study: Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004 --Online education is--no surprise--growing rapidly. (Via DocuTicker)
AOL: Send your favoritelinks to your phone via RSS--Part-time job oppty to make AOL $$ (via the tireless Rafat)
PubSub is 2 years old this week--congrats.
Sifry says: Technorati's been added to Tucows as a Technorati search box, and a post-by-post Cosmos (AKA Threadorati, or Other Blogs Commenting on This Post) in its Blogware platform.
See it at here for Ross's first post--this looks just like BoingBoing's usage.)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Home & Style Market: EBay's long reach

New brief this week from Center for Media research on how eBay reaches as many home & garden shoppers online as industry heavies (and major advertisers) Lowes, Home Depot and HGTV.
Demographics of this audience are over 45, household income of $50K or more, 59% female--in short, the subscriber base for many established women's magazines.
I'd like to see someone analyze the sellers' base on eBay and report on what kinds of vendors and categories are aggregating the biggest set of purchasers/volume of sales--does eBay have selling power as well as reach--or is this an eyeballs play?

ONA: What a difference a year makes

Last year, bloggers were frustrated by attendance at ONA, the oneline news association annual meeting; this year, blogging seems like what the media wants to cover--viz this AP story and lots of other blather....more solid coverage of the whole conference here.


It's 50 in San Jose, sunny. Tomorrow we're flying back to New York for a week (email me if you want to get together). Halley posts this picture of snow in Boston:


Julie Leung's 15 minutes

One of the great things about the web--and blogging--is how there's greater access to getting ideas and writing into the world. I was reminded of this when a friend pointed me to my new favorite blog, Manolo Shoes, one of the funniest blogs I have ever read (and with great shoe picks, too)--six weeks ago, this site didn't exist, and now I check it every day--and assume lots of other people do, too. No PR, no big media, just great writing as a means to gain an audience.
Julie Leung is another blogger who I've come to read regularly and a voice having some impact, I'd say. A full-time mom and household CEO, she lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, but is originally from Silicon Valley, where her husband, another blogger, is part of the Open Source Applications Foundation (he mostly works from home.)
Julie's posts are forcefully simple, sincere, direct--and warm--she's makes me think of a high-tech Quaker in some ways, and of another wonderful writer with strong values--Kathleen Norris. (Oh, and of course she has a great sense of humor, strong values, and takes good pictures.)
Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying I didn't realize until this morning that the feature stories in my news aggregator about blogging in Kitsap County, WA featured Julie!
Julie was one of several local bloggers featured and she made the cover of the local weekly. Point here is that someone who writes very personally has the chance to be read by others who find her...and find value. Readers and writers can find one another in a fairly organic way.

Congrats, Julie...and keep having fun.

Modern Love aka This Fish Needs a Bicycle

Bloggers talk about a culture of transparency and openess, but those values are given a new twist by Heather Hunter, creator of blog This Fish Needs a Bicycle and author of a charming new column, Modern Love, debuting in the Sunday NYTimes this am.
Heather's piece is about dating another blogger (and musician), being nonexclusive, and putting it all out there online--as in blogging the whole thing.
The NY Times made a smart choice in comissioning this piece--she's got a great voice.

Side note: Curbed/LES blogger Lockhart Steele is also writing for the Times.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Tom Curley: AP head gets next-gen media models

The keynote by Tom Curley--Associated Press CEO--for the ONA conference is here and it's a good one.--Here's to the AP, the oldest journalism cooperative, helping to bring their members into a profitable new business model in which RSS, feeds, ad splicing, newreaders and blogging all play a role.
Quick snips:
"Content will be more important than its container in this next phase...At AP, for instance, we need to think about a story as the sum of many valuable parts -- an alert, a longer headline, a summary, a bunch of short updates and finally a newspaper workup.
"And we're trying to harness the right technologies -- search and RSS in particular -- to plot a strategy for moving AP content where it needs to go in the new, free-flowing world of Web 2.0."

Time: Make Citizen Journalists Person of the Year

Steve Rubel and the Hypergene guys have a great idea--Time should make citizen journalists, aka bloggers, 2004's person of the year.
Here's a cover idea:

(Note the bow to Dan Gillmor's excellent new book, We the Media.)

Neil Budde, WSJ.com founder, to lead Yahoo news

Marketwatch: Neil Budde, founding editor and publisher of The Wall Street Journal online, will leadYahoo's news division and report to Craig Forman, vice president of information and finance. For the past two years, Budde's done consulting, working on local online ad initiatives with Peter Zollman and other publishing-related projects.
However, Paid Content reports that "Yahoo News will not move into original content, and its core strength remains in aggregation."
Regardless, Yahoo is gaining a skilled packager and content strategist who sees the whole picture-- someone who can give AOL stiff competition as it moves free content onto the Web, and who can (presumably) package compelling reasons for consumers not to make Google news their information default.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Ned Desmond: Subscription best practices

Paid Content has Time Warner Interactive Exec Editor Ned Desmond sharing best practices for using online to drive subs. For some publishers, there is a question of how to balance bringing in the the largest possible audience to drive page views and ad revenue, vs. using the site to incent visitors to subscribe. Ned articulates the (effective) TW strategy:
"-- Lock up the best parts of a site and you'll get more subscriptions. How many more depends on the site, the readership and the title.
-- Provide instant gratification and keep the offer cheap. If someone sees something they want to read, make sure that they can zip through a subscription order form in no time and pay just a few bucks to buy a short-term, continuous service subscription on a credit card.
-- Make it possible for visitors to get around the site to see search results pages, hub pages, tables of contents and anything else that will help them develop a taste for the site and the magazine.
-- It's smart to keep a few distribution deals intact, even if it means making some valuable content free. In the same way, that holy grail of search engine optimization is important. Do what you can to ensure that the search engines find your pages and rank them well. "

More details--and discussion-- at Paid Content.

Good rockin': Weekend of blues

Two musician friends of ours are getting married this weekend, and all kinds of players are coming into town for the event--which means some great jams. Spencer's old friend and bandleader Willie Pooch came in from Ohio, and he's jamming with Dave Workman, Wendy DeWitt and lots of other folks tomorrow at the Saloon, Grant Avenue, North Beach, SF, 4-8 pm.

Dave & Willie

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Guess where I am?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Must read: Battelle on ecommerce of the future

John Battle's got a detailed post on what shopping might look like in a few years. It's possible to sum it up in a phrase: the phone will be your computer, PDA and personal assistant.

Noted: Media

Corante: Ernie Miller does a long interview with Jeff Jarvis.
The Knot launches The Nest, newlyweds' home and style site.
Suddenly, iMediaconnection thinks blogs are hot--Steve Rubel lays the Long Tail out. "Seemingly overnight, the fundamental underpinnings of the basic media/marketing economic model are on the verge of collapsing because of an explosion in user-generated content."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Score: Sushi socks

Wore my new sushi socks today, thank you Julie!

Nothing compares to wearing sushi socks under the sneaks.


Kanoodle partners with SixApart: bloggers can make (some) bucks off feeds.
Consumer Web Watch: New report on search engine site practices around paid inclusion, from a Consumer's Union project.
ClickZ: Two out of five Americans say they visit online community sites, according to an ACNielsen study for eBay. The communities were personal interest sites (66 percent of those visiting community sites), hobby sites (62 percent), health (55 percent), public issues (49 percent), commerce (47 percent), business networking sites (42 percent), sports (42 percent) and dating sites (23 percent).
Weblogs Inc announced Gadling, a new travel blog, a few days ago. This seems like one of the first WI blogs launched since Judith Meskill came aboard as editorial director (a smart hire) and it's stuffed full of an amazing amount of content for a site that starts the archive on October 1st1st. Of course, the title is wierd unless you speak Norse or something--Gadling? (Okay, it means gadding about..but, still...)

OJR: MSN GM imagines a blogging business

Mark Glaser: MSN Network GM Scott Moore says user-generated content is the most interesting area for the future and highlights ways MSN might work with bloggers in the future in this article as a side note in Glaser's piece on for-sale web sites like Marketwatch.
Quote: "If you're a blogger, MSN might come to you and say, 'We want to distribute you. We'll send you traffic and we want you to run these ads on your site, and you'll get a share of revenues on that. That's probably an offer that many bloggers are going to be interested in because they don't want to have to invest in creating that kind of infrastructure, and they would value the traffic."
In the past two weeks I have had people tell me that no one but Denton and Calcanis are doing a good job with commercializing blog publishing, and then tell me about someone else who is doing--or starting to do, blog publishing.
Conclusion: one of the flavors of the minute has emerged and it's called Mass market blogging is about to hit, better get involved.

Kmart.com relaunch: Another take on ecommerce

From a Detroit News story on the relaunch of Kmart.com:
"About 86 million U.S. residents are expected to make holiday purchases online this year, compared to 73 percent last year, according to Jupiter Research. And online sales are expected to reach $21.6 billion in November and December, a 19 percent increased compared to the same period in 2003.
'Online sales are the fastest growing retail sector, and it makes sense to be a part of it,' said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a retail consulting firm in New York. 'If you are trying to stop the tide of losing customers, why not go into what customers like the best?'"

Washington Post: Jim Brady's new exec editor

Just announced-- Jim Brady is the new executive editor for Washingtonpost.com.
Jim's a super-capable journalist and executive and a great choice for the site.
At AOL, Jim was one of the go-to people for years--good news judgement, smart, and respected by all.
Congrats, Jim--hope it's a super gig.

AOL: Restructuring again

WSJ: AOL has reorganized their operation into what the WSJ describes as four operational units--a group serving paid members, another aimed at expanding free services while handling programming and advertising sales for AOL, and a unit focusing on premium digital services such as safety and security features, music subscription services, etc. There will also be a European unit.
It seems that the reorg merges the broadband unit back into a matrixed role with the other groups--Lisa Hook, broadband head, is leaving, and in the New York Times story Jon Miller is quoted as saying "We want to be a broadband company all the way through."
Neil Smit will run the Internet access group,which will incorporate the (former) broadband unit, CompuServe, Netscape ISP and Wal-Mart Connect, a partnership between the retailer and AOL that offers Internet access.
Ted Leonsis, according to the Washington Post,will run a new division dubbed "Audience" that will focus on profiting mostly by selling advertising that reaches users of AOL's various Web sites and products, including AIM, AOL's free instant messaging service; Moviefone; Mapquest; Netscape.com; and a AOL.com.
The Digital Services, to be headed by AOL's chief technology officer, John McKinley, will focus on a new premium services, ranging from VOIP to subscription music services.
This is interesting, because there are several strong players and units that have to be fitted into this structure--one would assume that the programming (aka content and verticals) group, would stay with Leonsis, but be ad-driven as in monetize those pages and that audience, folks!
The broadband team would presumably be further split up...and the AOL client team would go to---Access?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Trasherati: Tara Reid's bare breast and more

This is for those who enjoy foolish gossip, so be forewarned--
X-Jersey starlet Tara Reid lost half the front of her dress while on the red carpet at a NYC party--the web is now filled with pics of her bare breast. Even worse, the girl's had a boob job with the scariest scars ever--all visible in lurid color. (Via The Superficial)
Paris Hilton was at the same party, and lifted her skirts high--no pants.
Defamer: Outed--Mark Lisanti's the name, gossip's the game. (Via Standard Deviance)
Okay, back to serious dot com stuff, drat.

What is wrong with Blogger?

Blogger is not working well for me. Not only has it been slow to the point of not functioning at times, it has failed to save numerous posts--to the point of feeling unreliable.
What's up with this, people?
Maybe a 2005 resolution should be to switch platforms.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Bloggercon: Emotional Life

This was one of my favorite sessions---a small group really talking. Julie Leung was the ideal leader.
What kinds of things when you write are you choosing not to put on?
What are you hiding or protecting? Or are you pretending?
Can you blog when you are feeling angry or depressed? What's the reaction or response?And what's it like when you read and enter into someone else's crisis?
Also, how about the connections that we make in the blogosphere?
Blogging is about sharing stories---we have the opportunity and the creativity to be expressive.

Julie: Chip Gibbons is another blogger on my island--Jay McCarthy linked to both of us and I realized we lived in the same place, but we never would have met otherwise.

A recent story that Julie tells: On Bainbridge Island, the kids go out at night and do crazy things--this summer some kids were racing and there was an accident and one died. I have been writing and thinking about this.

Susan Kitchen: When it comes to what is public and private, I have several different ways of censoring--what I don't want to talk about often concerns others who have privacy issues.

Lisa Williams: I also have things that I don't write about, but that makes it a better blog as a tool. I spent a lit of time in my paper journal complaining about other people, I have a statement of principals on my web site that are rules for me., The #1 one is kindness.
My blog is a backup of the part of me that can be saved. The average person is gone and we don't even know what their name was---blogs open voices to more people.

Paul: Blogs are so important cause you get feelings from people that you don't get in magazines and television. Video is where feelings come out and people can express things they can express without words. I think that the Internet is going to drive more emotional attachments--it's a space where getting to know people seems possible.

Mia: By having a moblog, I've been forced to come out as who I really am, even at the office. It's been very liberating.

Jerry Michalski : I am interested in what causes change at every different level and wonder what causes a human being to soften up enough to consider changing an assumption or belief. One lever is crisis; the other is familiarity or connection. Do the qualities of Quaker meetings etc carry over into the blogosphere? I don't use blogs much, but I like wikis and The Brain--the process of a group trying to build a good wiki is a magical thing. On one hand blogs may be helping us connect; on the other hand they make us more separate.
One of my goals is to document how process such as Scott Peck's Community Building and/or David Bohm dialogue can be moved online.

Shimon Rura : How do we make individuals consider change? Blogs make it easy to develop a discipline that fosters change through shame--i.e., you don't want to write things that you would be ashamed of or have trouble defending.

Frank Tansey: I resisted pithy posts from the beginning--I added a word count display to monitor how long my posts are...

Enoch Choi: Being a medical weblogger, this issue comes up because you can't share information about a patient--so I personalize my own experience.

Sylvia Paull: Get out, there is no privacy anymore. Blogs allow us to erase the distinction between private and public lives.

Jerry: When we blog we care enough to show people we are setting up a residence in the world.

Shua: Blogging is a system of listening. A brilliant post can get links from lots of places--they are artifacts of listening.

Note: These quotes are paraphrased; any changes needed, please contact me.

Bloggercon: Core Values discussion

Mary Hodder and 50-odd folks discussing core values, authenticity, spoofing, spam, privacy and so on. Mary's doing a good job of recognizing a range of voices and there is lots of thoughtful comments about implicit community,reputation system and social contracts.
No one feels that there is a way to legislate, and there is lots of spirited--though quiet--discussion about linking and the impact it as (as in is it a favor or what?)
Update: I'm hitting the post-lunch lull and losing focus on this discussion....no, don't check your eBay now...

Bloggercon: Lunch and links

Lopbbycon is always one of the best parts of any conference; hanging in the courtyard and talking to folks--both people I've read and not met, and friends and colleagues I see regularly.
JD Lasica, Bob Wyman, Stacie Kramer, Gabe Rivera, Frank Paynter, Tony Gentile, Chis Nolan .Phil Wolff, Steve Rhodes, Roland Tangalo, Andrew Anker, among the throng.
Lots of other folks posting on the conference.

A look back: Bloggercon 1, Oct. 2003

Bloggercon: Journalism, with Scott Rosenberg

Discussions about blogging and journalism, doesn't seem like a new conversation. Jim Kennedy of AP talking about the audience wanting to talk back and the ecosystem of blogging as a mesh with the professional reporters.
Scott R: Hey, it's just us--there are a lot of people doing journalism on the web and not waiting for a paycheck or an imprimatur.
Winer: If you've spent a lifetime becoming an expert in an area and your point of view gets mangled every time you get quoted, you want to work around that.
Susan puts her two cents in and talks about how bigger magazines are trying to figure out thet right balance in blogging with their editorial voice and recognizing the reader and involving them in ways that acknowledge their passion and expertise.
Good discussion about objectivity, ethics, and advocacy in media.
Paul Schreiber asks the room: Why would anyone want to ever talk to to the PR people or the paid shills?
Scott R: This is the Cluetrain idea--that there are levels of intermediation that will go away...
Last comments:
Trevor Cook, PR Blogger: People use PR so the CEO's comments don't get mangled.
Room: Why doesn't the CEO blog?
Dan Gillmor: The old intermediaries like Gartner are not going away, they are being changed out for people like Doc Searls.

Bloggercon: Overload session with Scoble

Free-flowing and sometimes contentious discussion punctuated by Dave reprimanding vendors for pushing their products and audience members disagreeing with him about the commercial nature of their comments.
Steve Gillmor talks about attention.xml, an under-development standard that can add a meta-data level of reputation and referral to all those newsreader posts. (This standard tells you what you have read, in what order and for how long?)
Sneaked out to journalism session...

Bloggercon: Podcasting session with Adam Curry

Sitting in the Podcasting session with the megafans. This is something I want to learn about and try--the session is giving me more motivation to explore than teach me anything about what how to experiment. As the stars of the podcasting world talk about their ideas, the ideas of The Long Tail come to mind--an infinite number of podcasts available to be filtered and selected by users (just like home made music, playlists and blogs) can all find their audiences via search and discovery.
Good comment from Stacie Kramer of OJR/PC about how tough doing this can be--I want to ask who gets into this--is it mostly bloggers, who's coming in from the music and playlist world--but there's just too much focused energy for such a newbie question.

Technorati: All new and shiny

The latest release of Technorati pushed last night--and, as Dave says, it seems waayy better. I got a tour yesterday, and saw the new bells and whistles, including working watch lists, cleaner interface, improved UI for results, and--most interesting to me, an improved keyword search, in part a result of improved search query language, including capabilities to work with parameters such as AND, NOT, OR, phrases in quotes, parentheses for word or phrase grouping, and date ranges.
One of the capabilities that Dave talked about that's gotten me jazzed is the almost real-time indexing. However, it may not be quite there yet.
When I tested this out (sitting in a session at Bloggercon with horrendous WiFi), the data didn't show up almost in real time. A search on Technorati for Bloggercon turned up http://www.technorati.com/cosmos/search.html?rank=&URL=Bloggercon produced results two hours old.
A search on http://www.technorati.com/cosmos/search.html?rank=&URL=www.bloggercon.org produced results 3 hours old.


It's heeeerrre!
Dinner with 110 other confbloggers last night-heading to Stanford Law this am.
Planning to post notes.
Checking out comments on last night from dcheung, photomatt, john furrier, andyabramson, julie leung, and more.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Businessweek: Moving from mass media to my media

This end of October Businessweek story lays out why RSS can't be ignored by media companies: "While Web sites have long sent promotions and news alerts to their visitors, RSS takes things to a whole new level by giving consumers much more control over what they see and how often they see it. "We believe the world is moving from mass media to 'my media,"' says Daniel L. Rosensweig, chief operating officer at Yahoo Inc., which last month began testing feeds to the 20 million subscribers of its My Yahoo service."
A good piece to explain the basics--for yourself, or a friend/colleague.

Fortune writer: Why read magazines?

David Kirkpatrick's got some juicy soundbytes in a recent Fortune Magazine article.
"What I wonder, as RSS and related software get better and better, is why readers will ever want to go to a media company's own website if they can craft their own out of the information feeds that they know are of most interest to them? Expect to see the very definition of the commercial media website evolve radically in the years ahead."

Topix: World domination, deal 2

Topix.net announced a new deal with Citysearch--they will provide local news stories and Citysearch will give them ad revenue (basically). This is the second major deal announced since the one with Ask Jeeves in September.
ClickZ quotes Taek Kwon, Citysearch EVP of product and technology: "In tandem with extending the reach of our network of local advertisers through Topix.net's localized news pages, we see this as a great milestone in championing local content on the Internet."
It's great to see Topix cutting more deals, but this agreement underscores what's wrong with the online newspaper business--as in why didn't one of the newspaper companies cut this deal first?
Sometimes I feel online news is like an old dog--you kick it, but it doesn't move. Other times, I feel like people are trying really hard to move the online news business along--they're just not always hitting the best targets.

They had a Britney & Kev Halloween

Let's not forget folks were chugging candy corn just a week ago, before everyone knew what red and blue states are. Stereogum's got some photos of Britney & Kev, uh, costumes that are a scream. (Okay, I have been screaming inside since yesterday, but pay that no mind...)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Listening to Mosh, Eminem:
"All you can see is a sea of people some white and some black
Don't matter what color, all that matters we gathered together
To celebrate for the same cause."
If you haven't seen this video, see it now.

New: Variety launches shopping blog

Just learned (from reading Steve Rubel) that Variety launched a shopping blog called The Stylephile a few days ago. It joins a gaming blog and a comic book biz blog-but this one is a guide to sample sales, launch parties, and web etailers. Unlike the other two, this one has no byline.
I've been reading a number of fashion and shopping-blogs lately and while it's great to see the category picking up, this Variety blog seems a bit odd--it's almost good, but not quite there yet.
Seems like The Stylephile's real target is the long-established Daily Candy, a franchise it will take work to beat.
StyleMaven, Cool Hunting (yes, I love this blog), the recently concluded Hot Pants(spicy lingerie) and the hilarious ManoloShoes--all engage my interest more fully than either Stylephile or Candy.
Still, it's only been 4 days--so this is a promising start.

(My personal sleeper fave: ShopTalk, the Shopetc.com blog--still under development, but with a nice range of voices--hear they may be looking for additional guest bloggers, too.)

Movie premiere: Blogumentary

Just noticed that Chuck Olsen's film Blogumentary is premiering in Minneapolis on November 5th. Chuck started working on this--and posting--in 2003 saying:
"We live in an age where everyone is a mediamaker. Blogs empower us to tell our story, spout and debate our politics, and share ourselves with the rest of the world ? or at least the 5 people who read our blog. What compels us to blog? How does it affect us, each other, our work, the mediascape, the world? Do bloggers have anything in common? Does the blogosphere have a life of it's own, like the emergent behavior of an ant colony excited by the discovery of food?"
Now the film's out--and I want to see it.
There are video snippets posted for download--but my DSL is funky tonight, so I can't grab them.
Here's a review.

Post election thoughts

Many in the blogging community were silent this am, having stayed up late to watch and read about the election. I was feeling very down about Bush's reelection. I was (and still am) disappointed Kerry lost.
I am also concerned about a couple of things:
1) The election shows how the country is polarized in terms of priorities, beliefs, and values--We may all watch the same hit movies and TV shows, but under the surface, there are clearly profound differences.
2) Bush's record on the environment is abysmal. The idea we may further accelerate global warming and destroy what's left of undeveloped wilderness in the next 4 years is alarming.
Many people I spoke with in the course of the day expressed fatigue, disappointment and dismay after the election. Everyone is worried that Bush will take this vote of confidence and use it as a battering ram on Roe vs. Wade, money for after-school programs, etc.
The short version would be that activism and involvement don't end after the election.
This is just the beginning--and would have been no matter who was elected.
The MoveOn team sent out a note that said, in part:
"Although George Bush won by 3% nationally, we must remember that 55.4 million Americans stood with John Kerry... And a healthy environment, a strong and fair economy, good schools, domestic safety and the end of the war in Iraq are goals we all share."

It's time to invest more time to support positive change--I'm just not sure of the best way to do that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Yahoo girds up to eclipse AOL

Just realized that Yahoo's hiring of Lloyd Braun to run their media and entertainment group may be closely tied to their competition with AOL for the 'wired' mass market and the ad dollars they bring.
Just recently, for example, Yahoo managed to beat AOL's lead with Instant Messenger.
How'd they do it?
Adding a link to their music service, thereby adding 22 million uniques to the mix.
AOL, of course, fights back by offering an ever-increasing portfolio of First Look, First Listen and You Decide hooks--Gwen Stefani videos, Who wants to be a Millionaire friends lists, TV previews and so on.
Lloyd Braun--who oversaw the development of "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives"--should be a good choice to lead Yahoo Entertainment's metamorphosis into a demographically targeted, multiplatform distribution channel--assuming the biggest need is to get a Hollywood insider who can freeze AOL out. A self-confessed web newbie, Braun clearly has the connections--and the creativity--to ratchet Yahoo media up a notch so long as somone else is explaining the Yahoo arsenal of utilities and tools.

Winer: Bloggercon's got the bucks

Dave: "We've definitely got enough money for this conference. Thanks to everyone for their generosity."
Bloggercon started with no fees, but through donations from corporate sponsors and individual attendees, costs have been covered--how cool is that? Dave, another great job!
--The conference is just a few days away now and I am really looking forward to it.

AOL: Holiday (staff) cuts coming up?

Washington Post reports that AOL is readying for significant staff cuts in Dulles-perhaps 700 people. Laying people off in the last quarter seems to be an annual AOL practice--this time, as always, it's to make the bottom line look better. Last year, they cut most of the Mountain View campus-450 folks--this time, it's 700 in Dulles.
Do I need to mention that they seem to end up rehiring lots of the same jobs 8-10 months after the layoffs?
(Via Paid Content)

Monday, November 01, 2004

Blog Marketing: GM's smallblock engine blog

GM, as in General Motors, has launched a blog for gearheads. It looks promising.
I was at a marketing meeting recently and many of the executives there were debating how and if they could use blogs for their companies and clients.
We talked about blogging as an internal project tool, but focused most on blogging as a branding and customer communications tool (a la Microsoft's Channel 9, and now this), and as a product launch tool-a la Gawker's Nike blog, the art of speed.)
Seems like GM has taken lessons from both--this new site has a couple of authentic voices, downloads for enthusiasts, and a chance for actual, real comments--which they seem to be getting.
Clearly a good start--though I didn't realize right off that smallblock is another way to talk about Corvettes.

Would Yahoo buy Doubleclick?

NY Post says Doubleclick's for sale.
Yahoo's acquiring. Would a nice ad-serving network round out their portfolio?
How about Google? Some former DC guys are there...would they make a case for acquisition?
No doubt some company serving search ads is gonna be the buyer--unless its 'I bought advertising.com' AOL.

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