Monday, January 31, 2005

Russell Beattie groks the remix

Beattie realizes the mash-up nature of aggregators and that packaging is king:
"What happens when all the niches have been filled? And what happens when we're all using our aggregators for most of our online reading?

Then I started to think about the coming advertisements we're going to see in RSS feeds. There's already some sites out there doing it, and I assume it'll become more common soon.
(snip)
What's happening is that online content is becoming a series of single serving content bits, sent around and filtered in a variety of ways. It's the same way that online music stores like iTunes have pushed singles back to the forefront again. "

Susan sez: Yep, and to the content delivery systems go the spoils, aka the ad and premium content revenue--and the bloggers will just get the wobbly bits--unless some of these let's start an ad agency and help people make money efforts folks talk about start to kick in.


Burningbird: Cheap-eats-at-the-semantic-web-cafe

Shelley Powers has a thoughtful post on tagging, focusing on the recent Technorati implementation of tags, but going far beyond in her thoughts about tags and structured data. This is a rich, complex discussion with lots of quotes and citations, illustrated with some kick-ass photos.
Su Chaw and others have equally wise comments, like this one:
"I can't help feeling that we're really only at the very beginning of the creation of meaningful tagsonomies and tagsonomical tools. Technorati's implementation of tags is one step on a long road - until we can sort by what Technorati calls 'authority' (but which is really a sort of popularity), pull the search results in to our aggregators by RSS, search using Boolean operands on multiple tags and do all sorts of complicated bespoke filtering, tags will remain a bit of a kludge."
This is a fairly technical discussion, but if you're interested in tagging, it's a great read.


Noted: Media & Geekery

NewsBluntly: A new Knight Commission study says 32% of HS students feel that the media has too much freedom. And more nuggets on how awareness of the First Amendment is eroding.
JD Lasica: The San Jose Merc's get a good package on podcasting.
Steve Rubel: PR client Weatherbug's gonna be blogging for Groundhog Day--that means 30 days of posts! Of course, all I can think about is the Bill Murray movie.
Terry Heaton: Greensboro paper is brilliant to blog letters to the editor. The News-Record sez: "We're adding this feature for two reasons. First, the blog format will enable readers to discuss and comment on each individual letter. Second, it will enable bloggers and other online writers to link directly to an individual letter, rather than just to a Web page containing multiple letters.
Tom Foremski: "...blogging is the most honest form of self-promotion out there bar none."
United We Blog: Nepalese bloggers.

Personal: Birmingham News story on 90 year old singer Claude Jeter and the American Gospel Quartet Convention in Birmingham-Spencer travelled from California to take Jeter down to this event from NY.

First Read--new Gawker and MediaBistro Blogs

So, like the rest of the world, I took a look at the new Mediabistro and Gawker blogs.
Some first reactions, in no particular order:
FishbowlNY: Honey, where is the RSS feed?
And is Washington the new Brooklyn? Or just where exiled media honchos go nonprofit? (Okay, that was mean.)
And what is this UN and US Army stuff anyway? Give us more stuff about Page Six's Paula Froelich--that's what will get clicks on your job ads.
UnBeige: Promising, but still finding its design-y feet.
Lifehacker: Gina T can clearly write, now I want her new tech blog to surprise me. Saucily, as promised.
Gridskipper: Peking, Budapest, Brooklyn, Madrid...yawn. Help me make some travel decisions, awright?

As for the real deal, Jeff Jarvis has the last word:
"But note what Denton has done twice: He got big-time advertisers to sign onto a product that didn't even exist yet. Take it from a guy who started a magazine; that doesn't happen. So why did they do it? Clearly, they wanted to be associated -- branded -- with the next, new, cool thing. Just being the first in equals branding. That is a value of this new medium: its newness."









Sunday, January 30, 2005

Gawker grows, launches new blogs

Papa Denton's at Gawker's got some brand new blogs--Gina Trapani's Lifehacker (I dig her scribbling.net), focused on technology(download recommendations and content about spam filters, virus killers, spyware, search engines, e-mail applications, Internet phones, and general productivity tips)--sounds like it's going after the boingboing crowd--which would be most of us.
And Gridskipper, an urban travel blog (?) written by Andrew Krukoff, one of those I will read anything he's written NYC guys who've written for both Gawker and Gothamist--and who is a wonderful writer with a good sense of humor.
Oh, and they've got advertisers--Sony Electronics will sponsor Lifehacker, while Cheaptickets will likely sponsor Gridskipper.
And Steve Rubel got quoted.
(Via MediaPost)

Update: Sony's paying $25,000 a month for placements on Lifehacker and Gizmondo, says Ad Age (reg. required.)

FishbowlNY: New media blog launches tomorrow

In an amazing week of NYTimes media relevance, see today's story about MediaBistro's Elizabeth Spiers and FishBowlNY, the NYC media trade rag she's launching tomorrow via blog.
The Times is pitching it as clash of the titans, with Gawker publisher Nick Denton and former employee Spiers going head to head, but Paid Content may actually be the site from which Spiers snares traffic.
MB may also end up taking some traffic away from other folks--in addition to FishbowlNY, which will be co-written by Spiers and journo/x-movie guy Christian Moerk, there's the talented Jen Bekman's Beige, a design blog, Claire Zulkey's MBToolbox,which sounds like useful writerly stuff, and a slew of local DC and LA blogs, enabling MB to build that all important targeted sales network.

Selling (blog) ad placements on eBay

Some Russ guy with no last name is pushing the eBay platform with an offer to give a banner ad on this blog to the highest bigger--the winner will get an ad in a banner position--120 x 90--top right for a month.
(I notice the bidders so far seem to be the same crew who bid on the PeopleSoft team.)
Russell says: "Advertising on blogs is going to be the next big thing, in my opinion. It offers very tight targeting, no wastage and offers the same accountability that has resulted in online advertising growing like crazy in the last few years."

And he wants to go into biz making this happen!

Note: For 5 minutes, I thought this was Russ Beattie--it's not--I apologize for the confusion.
Oh, it's Russell Buckley (thanks, SmartMobs)



YPulse: Anastasia Goodstein gets Chronicled

Ypulse blogger and programming whiz Anastasia Goodstein is the subject of a nice profile from The San Francisco Chronicle today.
"Ypulse has become a must-read for fans, from Seventeen magazine's editor in chief, Atoosa Rubenstein, and Aaron Cohen, chief executive of teen marketing powerhouse www.bolt.com, to youth ministers and librarians trying to gain insight into youth culture," says the writer--and she's accurate--Anastasia's mix of marketing savvy and insight into non-commercial aspects of kids lives has a special flavor.
Congrats!
(Via Micropersuasion)



Global Warming: Photos after the snow has melted

For a graphic look at how global warming has melted glaciers and changed the land in Alaska, check out SFGate's story and gallery of global warming shots from the past 100-odd years.
Here's two, from 1899 and 2003. Lots more there.





Elizabeth Grigg: Thoughts on Biz Blog Summit

Elizabeth Grigg's got some observations on the recent Business Blog Summit that have relevance to new conferences and emerging technology seminars beyond this last one. As someone who's planned her share of these events, I've seen the wide variance between the we-drank the Kool-Aid and are preaching to the converted set and the "What the hell is this and it it relevant to me.my business/my life?" consituency --and they are often speaking different languages (in the same room, no less.)
Some Elizabeth G points:

Lots more on her site.
(And more on summit takeaways from SeattlePI's Brian Chin here.)




Global photos: Escape Lab Travel Album

Via Josh Spears and Scoble, the Escape route photo album, a flashdriven, super-cool design showing cities around the world. Check it out--photo values are s good as Nat Geo.


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Rojo invites, too

Rojo has been getting some great press of late.
It is a very cool blog aggregator with social networking features.
Want an invite? Email me.

Christo's The Gates: Andy Carvin's community space

The brilliant Andy Carvin has yet another good idea--create a blog and wiki where folks can write and share about Christo's The Gates, the long-planned NYC art installation.
Andy sez: "This website is an experiment in community art criticism. When Christo's The Gates opens in New York's Central Park in mid-February, the public will be invited to post their comments on the exhibit to this website. You'll be able to post your own blog entries via email as well as by phone. I'll post more information on the idea in the coming weeks."
(Note: there are three photos for "The Gates" on flickr right now, some others tagged with Christo.)


WashPo: How to make money with your blog

Blog, blog, blog,blog, blog--I am getting sick of this word!
None the less, a very big newspaper has an article about how readers can make $$ from their you know whats.
Highlights--
(Of course, if you really get into blogging, you will probably end up trying to make money as a blog consultant, author of a book, or paid shill, (okay, hopefully not the last one.)



Gmail invites--do you want one?

Anyone want a gmail invite? Leave a note here--I have many at the moment.

"Emerging Technology, Business and Policy for Senior Executives," February 8-10th

The Media Center seminar/conference on "Emerging Technology, Business and Policy for Senior Executives" on February 8-10th is coming up fast. Working on this has been part of my fellowship, and there are numerous insightful people coming to share ideas and experiences,
The questions the seminar will focus on are as follows:
  • 'What trends and market disruptions are emerging that will change today's economic models and alter the digital-media consumer experience?
  • How can established companies look ahead and evaluate these developments...are they opportunities or threats?
  • And how do new tools, services and copyright paradigms reposition the business and social landscape? '
It's a small conference--and expensive--but a great crash course for someone looking for immersion in current issues and bright ideas from innovators.
Post event, there will be write-ups and more info from the conference and notes on Morph, the Media Center blog.


Mark Jen: Google blogger

Mark Jen's blog about life and Google is back up.
What a delight.
Someone who has a real point of view working at the world's most impersonal yet innovative company.
Go, Mark!

Update: Something's funny...Dirson says Mark Jen's blog has Google Ad words purchased...(Via Inside Google, Blog News Channel)

NYTimes: Overexposing blogs

I'm getting so tired of the blog du jour story in the NY Times every day.
Designer blogs, baby blogs, Iraqi blogs, blog stories assigned by every beat editor (When do we get education blogs and obit blogs?)
Overexposure, people.
Latching on to blogs to make the paper more relevant?
The individual articles are good, yet the aggregate is making me yawn.


Evelyn Rodriguez: Your blog is your brand--and your life

Evelyn Rodriguez has an eloquent post on blogging, consulting and relationships. She's reflecting on the link between personal connections and referrals, but then talks about getting hired because of your blog in a way that makes me think blogs aren't only your brand, they're your life--
And that's okay, but it's also kinda scary.
Why scary?
Well, these days, I'm of the tribe that wants to make sure I get a life--so my big thing is to step away from the machine (like it's Saturday morning, why am I writing this now?), go out and do stuff in the real world, and make the blog doesn't take the place of any of that--
Which, I suspect, isn't a problem Evelyn has.
Anyway, it's a thoughtful post about blog dynamics and relationships, well worth a read.
And Evelyn, I hope sometime we have a chance to meet.


Kick out the Jams, MFs

When I was 11 or so, I thought the MC5 were the coolest--and my mother hated their music, which made them even better. Now their posters and handbills are up online, and they flash back to that earlier time.


(Via Niblog and PCL Linkdump)

Scoble meets David Allen, Getting Things Done Guru

The fact that so many people I know are reading,have read, are using or trying to use David Allen's Getting Things Done system says as much about how maxed-out folks let themselves get as about the value of his work.
I've been reading his book (very slowly) for about 10 days, so Scoble's recent post about the guy (this generation's Stephen Covey) caught my eye--especially this Scoble-selected list o-links (thanks, man):
Do I have an opinion about Dave Allen's work yet? Nah, haven't even made it to the file cards mantra.

Related: Steve Berlin Johnson post and NYTimes essay about how he manages notes and research data (software involved).

Update: Msftie Jeff Sandquist has a getting things done wiki. This I will check out.




Iraq photos: Soldiers who shoot

Washington Post collected and selected photos from soldiers and their families about life in Iraq and published a gallery of the best shots.
(Interestingly flickr has galleries of similar photos tagged Iraq and Baghdad.)
(Via Cyberjournalist)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Friday night dinner

Spencer's just back from 10 days in Alabama, so we had a Southern-style meal, echoing dishes his hosts made:
Salmon cakes
Stewed tomatoes with okra and corn
White rice
Iced tea





What should podcasters cover?

Podcaster Cameron Reilly and team asked site visitors what topics they should cover in their podcasts--and how often then should offer new casts. Some of the hot topics are business blogging (!) and CIO interviews; preferred frequency is once a week per week.
Oh, and half the respondent were from Cameron's native Australia, whatever that means.


iVillage has curves--and a redesign

iVillage has relaunched its site and the redesigned women's' portal is streamlined and curvy. AdWeek uses the redesign to make a point about the increasing importance of video--and video ad inventory, but what catches my attention at the new site are the slimmed down channels--gone from 14+ to 8, and the more youthful, fresher voice--created through a increase in original content.
Hearst magazine offerings are tucked into their own channel in a super subscription-friendly way(still awaiting a face lift), there's a glimmering of budding ecommerce, and much-improved--and easier to follow--navigation. However, what seems to have taken a back seat in the slick, multimedia design are the community and message board aspects of the site--they're kinda MIA.
Overall those, it's a great improvement--and one that I bet positions them for a relaunch with a slightly younger, more ecommerce-using, broadband entertainment focused audience.

Noted, various

Alec Klein, Washington Post investigative reporter (and former AOL beat writer) on the investigative process.
Duncan Riley's blogging tips: Post in the morning, write hot headlines, and post often. There you have it.
Esalen workshop: California's spiritual frontiers--Erik Davis discusses how "California's alternative spirituality forms a religious tradition of its own. No, seriously, have a mushroom. (Via BoingBoing)
Beat Lucian Carr has died. RIP (Via Vin Crosbie)
Guardian, UK: Golden Compass author Phillip Pullman on how kids need less grammar, more play with language (and he's a former schoolteacher.)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Classifying pests, genus online

Ms. Contentious, Amy G's got a post on the blogosphere vermin she deals with and the ways she categorizes them--Porcupines, trolls, zealots, skewers, leeches and burns.
Youch. She's definitely got some basic behaviors pegged.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Meth: A human tsunami

Shocking before and after pictures at Oregon Live of meth users. Devastation beyond belief.
Story here.
(Via kottke)

Bloggies site working again

Bloggies site is back online

This site is up for Best Kept Secret Blog--please vote for me-- 3/4th down the page--and make the oxymoron happen...


Oh yea, and Om Malik says the Bloggies suck. So please vote anyway.


Things we left behind

Thursday is garbage day in Naglee Park, and over the past few weeks, I've been going through file cabinets and old boxes, throwing out paper that is now less than meaningful (as in why would I ever want to keep this PowerPoint preso any longer?)
Today, I got to the two big boxes stacked under the desk in my office.
I pulled them out, thinking about all the old files I could toss away, but the boxes didn't hold papers--they were filled with knickknacks and memorabilia from the office at my last corporate job(meaning the last job where I worked for a big company).
Photos, plaques, awards, snowglobes, snapshots, figurines--the two boxes were crammed full of stuff I hadn't looked at in over two years. I remembered packing all this stuff up, imagining I'd want it displayed in another office some day, and I was amazed at how little I cared now for any of it.
And then it hit me--what had changed.
At my last job, I was basically middle management in a huge company.
Having all this stuff in my office was a way to state who I was--to people I feared didn't really care (some of them did and some of them didn't).
I have a home office now, and I don't need all this stuff around to tell other people who I am--and in fact, I no longer see myself the way I did when I worked for Big Company X--I don't need all that stuff anymore to remind myself who I am. And I am somebody really different from when I had that job.

(So now I have two boxes of crap, the workplace equivalent of years of old report cards, and I have to figure out how much to toss--part of me thinks I should keep some things, another part of me wants to toss everything.)

Story to be continued.

Blogging from inside Google-or not?

John Battelle's got a fascinating post (via Google Blogoscoped) on a certain blog supposedly written by a Google employee that has comments in it like: "i must say, 1500+ sales people getting drunk at a company sponsored party feels remarkably like a frat party."
Funny thing, the blog is down (it was on blogger), and it's not cached anywhere on Google.
So, is it *real* ?
And did Google take is manually out of the cache?
And what did it say, anyway? Check here and here.

Susan says:
The blog is supposed written by Mark Jen. Mark Jen had a blog at Microsoft and on January 18th said he was going to work at Google.
Hmmn...


(Chinese)Tagging: Ten places in my city

SmartMobs posts about Ten Places of My City, Chinese blogger Kevin Wen's idea to use Technorati Tags to have bloggers show the top 10 places of their own city. More than 20 Chinese bloggers have adopted this meme (so to speak), and it just looks great!
A couple of links: Nanchang, Fuzhou, Shanghai
And pix via flickr:


The world suddenly seems a whole lot smaller--my favorite thing about the Technorati tags is the access they provide into flickr.

Derek Powazek: Waiting for weblogs to pass

This brief chronicle of how Derek Powazek got into blogging (1997) survived being called brain-dead(2000), and went to work for Technorati(2005) is witty and fun.
Guy's up for a Bloggie. Lifetime achievement.
Shameless plug: I am a Bloggie finalist as well-- please vote for me--Best Kept Secret Blog, 3/4 way down the page)--if I win, it will no longer be a secret. (Only site has been down forever.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Global Warming is about to hit the tipping point

UK's The Independent and US's CNN are both running a story that says that in ten years or less, if unchecked, global warming will increase to the point where there is significant climate change--and no turning back.

"There is an ecological time bomb ticking away," said Stephen Byers, the former transport secretary, who co-chaired the task force that produced the report with the US Republican senator Olympia Snowe. It was assembled by the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, the Centre for American Progress in the US, and The Australia Institute."

The International Climate Challenge Taskforce, Meeting the Climate Challenge
Can someone give a copy to President Bush, please?



Noted: Ecommerce

Los Angeles BizJournals: Buy.com files for IPO for up to $83 MM to raise cash to pay back their debt to a company owned by Scott Blum, their CEO and Chairman.
Amazon Web Services: Has a new blog--where's Tim Goodwin?
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings are now on sale at the MSN Music store. You want classic American music, this is the spot.
ClickZ, The Dark Side of eBay: "53 percent of eBay auctions end without a bid, another 23 percent sell with just a single bid."
SiliconBeat: Shopping.com part of suit by filed epinions founders against their VCs.

Craigslist: Buy Craig's shirt

Did you know you can buy Craig's shirt?
Okay, so you can actually buy a Craigslist t-shirt--from the craigslist store at cafepress.com. This is the shirt I want to wear when I go speak at media conferences.
(Okay, not really. I just said that in an effort to be cool, I mean annoying.)

Only $19.99.
P.S. Pssst, I have never seen Craig wearing any of these shirts.

Rojo is slashdotted

Slashdot points to a Technology Review piece on rojo.
Neat. Guys, get the new servers going.

Coincidences, pt. 2

This afternoon, a friend asks me to comment on the SF Chronicle story on blogging for another site and says "Be snarky."
I write a kinda mean post and send it off.
Ten minutes later, the reporter who wrote the piece emails me--he found my name on a tech site and wants to interview me for a Netflix story he's now writing.
How wierd is that?

Meanwhile, Jason Kottke posts a link to a flickr coincidence--Kris Krug tells about a guy from Scotland who goes 5490 miles to Tokyo and takes a picture of a girl taking a picture. She turns out to be a photographer from England--also on flickr--who finds her picture six weeks later and posts a note with links to the pix she took.


Noted

Danny Gregory on what it feels like to become an illustrator and yet workp/t in his old trade, the ad biz: "What I am wrestling with, truly, is the danger that I could slide back under the waves, go back to how I felt a half dozen years ago, when I didn't draw, didnt share my feelings, couldn't conceive of myself as an artist."
Dave Pollard elucidates the difference between search and research--you'll be expert when you finish this piece.
Elizabeth Grigg: "Being a blogger is a lot like being gay."


Monday, January 24, 2005

Why I believe in small world synergy

Ever notice the way things fall together so neatly sometimes?
Here's an example.
On Friday, I was at a meeting in San Francisco with a client. One of the execs starting talking about a friend of his daughter's who had a terrific blog and had given him lots of good advice about the company web site. Elise.com was the URL. I checked it out and was highly impressed (meanwhile, the site is a Bloggies finalist.)
Tonight I get an email from my friend Kim saying here's an article about a blogger who's a foodie.
Who is it?
Yep. Same person, same site.
Small world.
Hi, Elise. I almost emailed you over the weekend. Now I guess I have to.


Good read: Adam Hochschild, Half the Way Home

My brother lent me Mother Jones' co-founder Adam Hochschild's Half the Way Home, A Memoir of Father and Son, and it's so good I want to recommend it.
Hochschild's family were German Jews who moved to America-- his father and grandfather before him--were industrialists who assimilated into the upper classes, ran a multinational mining conglomerate, and hobnobbed with cabinet ministers, senators, and Presidents. Despite being born to a life of Trump-like privilege, Hochschild ended up a reporter, liberal, and social activist.
This deeply moving book charts the story of the relationship between only child Hochschild and his parents, particularly the autocratic father who seemed to never approve.
Writing with power and restraint, Hochschild recreates the family dynamic with vivid anecdotes and sharp observations, sharing insights and wisdom that have relevance beyond his own history.
Now that I've read this one, I plan to go through Hochschild's other books as well, starting with The Mirror at Midnight: A South African Journey.


Chocolate sushi: Someone has to get to the bottom of this

Xeni's offered to be a (non-Silicon Valley 100) chocolate sushi whore, but I can't let her take on such a tough job alone. Now that there's chocolate sushi flooding the net, I have a moral responsibility to track it down and sample every brand.
In fact, I think I have to drive down to Koo-Ki Sushi in San Jose's Japantown tomorrow at lunch, and sample every variety I can weasel out of them.
And then, I'll have to force myself to nibble on wobbly bits of fake fish roll from Renee Foote's Chocolate Sushi line, made with Belgian chocolate and lots of ganache.

Daunting!

P.S. For those of you with sushi USB devices and sushi socks, check out growabrain's list of sushi stuff--it's got food, silliness and more.


Vote in the Bloggies--I'm a finalist

Dear Reader,
This site is a finalist in the Bloggies as one of the Best Kept Secret choices.
So, this is a shameless plug as in if you'd like to go to the site and vote for me (3/4ths of the way down the page under Best kept secret weblog) I might have a snowball's chance in hell of winning.
Yep, yr vote could count--so please, get busy.
Best, Susan

kottke: Craigslist and Cottage Industries

Jason Kottke writes about how Craigslist is helping small businesses grow. A snippet:
"I'd never really thought about it before, but in some ways, CL helps lots of people build businesses cheaper and more effectively than more "robust", complex, and expensive enterprise software solutions. Movers are just one example. CL can help you find employees for your business. If you've got a van, you can pick up free furniture and electronics around the city, fix or refurbish, and sell it."

Arguing the value of print

Quotes about the value of print from a column running today in the Morris County, NJ Daily Record News: The columnist doesn't seem to realize Walter Isaacson has any history beyond running the Aspen Institute, but he offers this quote from him:
"Print. If for the past 400 years we'd been getting all of our info electronically, and somebody invented a way to put it on paper and deliver it to our doorsteps so we could read it in the backyard or bath or bus, people would say this new print technology is so wonderful it will replace the Internet."
He then quotes Randy Siegel, current publisher of Parade:
"At the end of the day, the power of well-written newspapers is unparalleled in providing meaning, connection and context. In our harried daily lives, the human brain can absorb print more intimately and more effectively that the cacophonous, often confrontational messages blaring at us from the electronic media hundreds, if not thousands of times per day."

I like that word,
unparalleled, because while I love print, it seems inarguable that print --and especially newspaper--audiences are diminishing-- no matter how great the printed word is.
(Via John Burke, Editors Weblog)

NY Times: MySpace trumps Friendster. So what?

NY Times story: "More than five times as many people visited MySpace as Friendster in December, according to Nielsen/NetRatings - and they spent far more time there. The average visit to Friendster was less than 17 minutes, the rating service found, compared to 78 minutes at MySpace. And MySpace logged more than 2 billion page views last month, according to MediaMetrix, compared to 152 million page views at Friendster."

Susan says: Has anyone invented a really new social network yet? Seems to me that most of the good social networks are actually transactional communities not so different than eBay--only they trade job leads, dates, and rides to Burning Man.
YASN, yawn (Yet another social network).

Disintermediation $$, baby--ad/revenue paradigm for 2005

While the NY Times says internet news sites are back in vogue (!), Richard MacManus is writing about the evolution of companies such as Feedster and Technorati and quotes Feedster's Scott Rafer hinting about future opportunities for disaggregated content--and the smart ways RSS and search can package them up to be grabbed--or pushed--out to consumers and business folk.
If you think about the idea that eBay has more unique users in its home and garden section online than do web etailers Lowes and Home Depot, you recognize the established brand doesn't always get all the bucks. It is entirely possible to imagine a day when an RSS feed for "Iraq + casualties" or "Prada + latest fashions" has a ton of subscribers getting the data all over the place--browsers, newsreaders, phones, PDAs, SMS, and so on--and you'd better believe that reaching those targeted audiences is going to be worth a lot to the ad world.

For all the ad revenue that big sites are delivering (and some of them are), there's that relentless march of info-hungry consumers moving to newsreaders and related tools--and they don't need to go to those big sites, do they?

The dance between these opportunities--getting the most ad revenue out of the growing traffic to news sites--and getting the most revenue out of the growing usage of feeds--is one of the key ad/revenue paradigms for 2005.

Update, related: Editor's Weblog has a story on
Goldman Sachs findings that money is moving from newspaper ads to--no surprise--the net.


Creative team for sale on eBay--who's bidding?

You probably heard about the creative team from PeopleSoft who put themselves up for auction on eBay, hoping to get hired as a unit somewhere.
Well, there are 18 bids and the current high bidder--for $51.00-- is a guy in Australia whose last purchase was a wireless router.
Other buyer have purchased Tiffany plates, teddy bears, and typing programs--not the high ticket items, but hey, this is about PR, right?
(Via Adfreak and FC)

Pheedo rising

Pheedo, the bloggy RSS ad-splicing and ad managing company, has been cutting or working on a number of deals lately.
Not only are they working with Kanoodle, and by extension SixApart, they've also announced deals with iUpload, and reportedly have more in the works.
Wonder who will end up being acquired by Google, Overture or AOL's Advertising.com to monetize their blogging capabilities and pull RSS/blogger revenue into their network?
Pheedo seems to be making a good case for itself.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Surprise, surprise--Word of mouth drives consumer sales

Emarketer: BIGResearch study shows that the web plays a bigger role in influencing technology and electronics purchases, but that good old word of mouth is the most successful consumer influencer for purchasing.
Oh, and guess what? The web influecnes gadget purchases. Like, duh?


New: Pew report on search engine usage

Brand new PEW report on search engine usage(36 page PDF here) . Some highlights:
  • 84% of internet users have used search engines. On any given day, 56% of those online use search engines.
  • 92% of those who use search engines say they are confident about their searching abilities, with over half of them, 52%, saying they?re ?very confident?.
  • 87% of searchers say they have successful search experiences most of the time, including some 17% of users who say they always find the information for which they are looking.
  • 68% of users say that search engines are a fair and unbiased source of information; 19% say they don?t place that trust in search engines.
BUT
  • 50% of searchers say could go back to other ways of finding information; 32% say they can?t live without search engines; and 17% say could let them go tomorrow.
  • 47% of searchers will use a search engine no more than once or twice a week; 35% of searchers will use a search engine at least once a day.
AND only 38% of searchers are aware of a distinction between paid and unpaid search results.

(Via BoingBoing)


Andrew Sullivan: What we did not know

Andrew Sullivan has a long and bitter essay in the NYTimes book review today, discussing the torture of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere taken into custody by the US Military.

After much detail about documented abuses, Sullivan asks:
"Did those of us who fought so passionately for a ruthless war against terrorists give an unwitting green light to these abuses? Were we naïve in believing that characterizing complex conflicts from Afghanistan to Iraq as a single simple war against ''evil'' might not filter down and lead to decisions that could dehumanize the enemy and lead to abuse? Did our conviction of our own rightness in this struggle make it hard for us to acknowledge when that good cause had become endangered? I fear the answer to each of these questions is yes."

An upsetting must-read.

THE ABU GHRAIB INVESTIGATIONS: The Official Report of the Independent Panel and Pentagon on the Shocking Prisoner Abuse in Iraq. Edited by Steven Strasser. Illustrated. 175 pp. PublicAffairs. Paper, $14.

TORTURE AND TRUTH: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror. By Mark Danner.Illustrated. 580 pp. New York Review Books. Paper, $19.95.


Birthday wishes

It's my birthday day, as well as the birthday of my son's friend Mark P (hey, Mark!)
2005 is turning out to be a year with some personal transitions, so the birthday calls, cards, emails have been MUCH appreciated.
Zack, Ralph and Amy, Nancy, Megan, Ed, Justin, and everyone else--thank you.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

In Good Company: The AOL Story, 2000

Saw In Good Company tonight. That's the one where Topher Grace gives a strong performance as an ambitious 26 year old corporate guy, and Dennis Quaid is the rugged magazine sales exec. Paul Weitz who directed, also wrote the script, and he must have watched the AOL-TW merger pretty closely, because the story is amazingly reminiscent of the AOL MBAs striding into Time Warner after the merger, talking about synergy and accomplishing...not much.
That's not the point of the movie, of course, but it provided a disconcertingly accurate back story of takeover hell.

Chris Anderson: What is the long tail?

Defining the Long Tail (readers' version):
  • "The Long Tail is the realization that the sum of many small markets is worth as much, if not more, than a few large markets." --Jason Foster
  • "The Long Tail is what you get when the obscure becomes ubiquitous."-- Eric Akawie
  • "The Long Tail is the 80% of stuff that didn't used to be worth selling."--Greg
  • "The Long Tail is the story of how products that were once considered fringe, underground or independent now collectively make up a market share that rivals the bestsellers and blockbusters." --Bob Baker
Chris is speaking at the Media Center conference in February and I am really looking forward to his talk.


Scott Rosenberg on change in journalism

Scott's thoughts, spurred by the recent Harvard conference: "It continues to amaze me how much of this debate is a retread of the mid-'90s, when journalists first moved online and discovered that the Web moved really fast, had different norms, gave their readers new voices and made their own voices sound stuffy and institutional. First I think, "Come on already!"; then I think, "Oh, it's okay." Lessons that change one's professional habits need to be learned from experience, and a much wider population of journalists is being exposed to these changes now that blogging software has drastically expanded the universe of personal media."
More at his blog.

Bakotopia: Local newspaper response to Craigslist

Steve Outing's got a post about the still in beta Bakotopia, a local community/onlines classifieds site developed by Dan Pacheo and The Bakersfield Californian newspaper site as an 'answer' to Craigslist.
Like the boutique beers owned by large companies, Baktopia doesn't breathe a word about its corporate parent--the online contact is spud@bakotopia.com and the owner is listed as Mercado Nuevo, LLC, which is apparently somewhat fictional--a Google search pulled up nada results.
With exortions to "Be Excellent!" and real estate listings for Crash Pads, the site has the retro appeal of That 70's Show, which will hopefully work in their favor.


More on WebCred conference: Jon Garfunkel

Reading posts on the first day of the WebCred conference page by Jon Garfunkel, who describes himself as an online essayist, neither blogger nor journalist.
Title: Some myths and assertions from day one.
Long and detailed, with many good points.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Dept of Wow


The ultimate connector

Auren Hoffman is in Newsweek! Apparently he's created a Silicon Valley 100 list and is recruiting companies to distribute *stuff* to the influentials he's compiled--like a toilet seat (no, really).
The Newsweek columnist sez: "It took three months on the phone, but the result of Hoffman’s detective work is a quirky, wide-ranging list of some of the Valley’s brightest lights, largest wallets and biggest mouths."
Morale of this story: If you got it, sell it.
Hey! Someone should introduce Auren and Steve Rubel, who recently wrote about blogger (paid) endorsements for iMedia Connection.
(Via JD Lasica)




Google-plat: Building a smarter ad platform

Gary Stein's talked to Rich Skrenta at Topix and reports on the "extra"Google Ad Sense information Topix is able to load into the JavaScript ad word tags, giving much more detailed individual user targeting to ad serving (like the site knows he's interested in publishing!)
John Battelle reports on the new Google Ad Sense program and describes it as a move to an API and a platform/infrastructure--comparable to what's happened with eBay and Amazon's platform efforts spurring new businesses, etc.--The main story's here, but once again Battelle describes it on the most cogent manner.

Update: Silicon Valley Watcher reports the new Google Adwords: Improved Adwords Conversion Tracking will " track conversions not just from Adwords, but also Overture, emails, banner ads, and all other sorts of online advertising campaigns. This allows the merchant to compare the campaigns against each other. "

Wow!

Scary (traffic) stories

I almost hit a van on Kearny in SF today; he was straddling the turn lane on the right and the center lane (where I was), so pedestrians could pass on the street he was turning into. I flicked the wheel so fast...it seemed like an even chance whether the car would hit him or not. Fortunately, not.
On the way home from SF, the radio reported blockage, a 20-police car chase on Holly Street--but they didn't report the accident further south on 101 North, opposite lane from me, with 3 fire trucks, an ambulance, two stopped cars, and what looked like a crushed black car with its wheels in the air, flipped over.
Ugh. Scary.


Renee blogs Craig and Craigslist

Down the Avenue: Renee quotes Craig at SD Forum about Craigslist--they have
  • 1.7 billion page views per month
  • 7 million unique visitors per month
  • 77 cities and they're adding others, when 'in the mood' to do so. Interesting comment.
  • They have more interest then they can keep up with.
One nugget:
"What has your biggest challenge been since starting Craigs List?
C: Chasing after the bad guys and....how do we deal with them. Whether its scammers, spammers, people who post ads for things that don't exist, etc. We need to do more self policing and also reward people who help chase down the 'bad guys' for us."


Noted

Doc Searls: "Conversation used to be optional. Now it's mandatory. Tom Limoncelli, co-author of The Practice of System Administration, and Director of IT Services at Cibernet Corp.,says, "When I'm on the phone with a vendor, I usually am surfing his competitor's Web site while talking with him". His point, however, is not about kicking tires. It's about a better kind of leverage.

JD Lasica: Nicholas Ciarelli, the publisher of the site www.ThinkSecret.com and a Harvard University student, will be defended by Terry Gross of San Francisco firm Gross & Belsky in the case being brought against him by Apple. (Via Merc News)

Betsy Devine: Happy birthday, Bets--her blog turns two. Does that mean tantrums and screaming come next?

China Daily: In China, journalism may be bad for the belly--Checks of 1,182 reporters in Beijing conducted by the Chinese Physician's Association on Sunday showed that only 28, or 2.4% of them, were healthy. (Via I WANTMEDIA)

WebCred (Are you sick of this yet?)

Chris Nolan at Ed Cone's: "The newsroom has left the building."
Dave Winer: "The battle between Journalism and Blogging is over -- but only from Jay Rosen's point of view, one which I am somewhat familiar with."
Jay Rosen: "Opinion in reaction to the news can come from anywhere, and the bloggers are frequently better at it than the sleepy op-ed page ever was."

And so on..there are going to be lots of pithy comments on this topic, which of course is of endless interest to journalists, bloggers, and media folk--and not much to anyone else.

Anatasia G goes to INDTV

Media Bloggers Association notes that YPulse's Anastasia Goodstein is joining INDTV as Manager, Audience Participation. Anastasia is passionate about all things teen, very media-savvy--neat hire!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A tad more on the webcred conference

Reading Ed Cone's January 18th post on the Harvard Web Cred conference blog and marveling at the 40-odd comments and responses Ed and three or four others manage to volley over 24 hours.
(Like, would some folks spell that p-i-s-s-ing match?)
Meanwhile, there's a nice RSS aggregation of the participants ready to go over here, courtesy of Mr. Winer.
And--all sessions (except dinner) will be webcast live. With comments. Inevitably the best part.
(Via Seth Finkelstein)
Additional discussions on similar themes--at Ratcliffe and Paynter.



Citizen Journalism: $$ and ethics

Jarvis is burning with straight-on observations about the revenue side of media, blogging and this new citizen journalism thing. Dan Gillmor has his own list about ethics, transparency, accountability (and it's a good one). The summary of both would be that markets are changing as consumer behavior shifts, and supply chains for media twist into new forms (that sounds awfully jargonly, but I've been reading more economics lately, sorry). Translation: Once more, it's time for established media to play catch-up and for new delivery channels and formats to define themselves. Oh, goody.

Accountability in the Armstrong Williams scandal

Over at Press Think, Lisa Stone gives a pretty through evisceration of the Ketchum PR firm/US Dept of Education hiring (aka payoff) of Armstrong Williams and how the PR community has responded.
Lisa says "When Toppo's story broke Jan. 7, I expected PR bloggers to howl in outrage at this abuse of their professional ethos." After a review of blogosphere comments by PR folk she asks:
  • Has or hasn't Ketchum been fined or censured for using taxpayer money for its role in both the Medicare VNR and DOE/Williams media campaigns criticized by the GAO? Why/why not?
  • As part of the Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of the Omnicom Group, are Ketchum officers held to the same corporate code of conduct?
  • Does the non-disclosure of Armstrong Williams? arrangement with Ketchum uphold the Omnicom code, both explicitly and in spirit?
  • What are consequences for violating this code of conduct? Within Ketchum? Within Omnicom, the corporation responsible for Ketchum?"

Lisa wants to know who is accounting for the larger issues, beyond blogger ethics and she is asking good questions--read the whole piece for some incisive thought.



Today 8 Million is the number of


Lincoln Millstein goes to Hearst Newspaper Group

One good way to fix a problem is to hire experience--and that's what Hearst Newspapers seems to have done with the announcement that Lincoln Millstein, just about to retire executive vice president of New York Times Digital, and corporate overseer of the the Boston Globe (Boston.com) and The New York Times (NYTimes.com), web sites, is moving over to Hearst to serve as senior vice president of Hearst Newspapers and director of digital media for that group.
Owners of the SF Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the Albany Times Union and the outstanding Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Hearst is one of the companies affected by the rise in the Bay area of sites such as CraigsList and by the growing disintermediation of news--Millstein's experience should help lead them to solutions and greater profitability.
(Via Digital Edge)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Japanese keychain plants

Via Beverly Tang and Akihabara News, Japanese keychains that contain tiny cacti and succulents.


Making money in feeds

A discussion of why Technorati and Feedster will surely be acquired by the big guys turns into a fascinating note on RSS feeds, ads, and product/audience segmentation, thanks to Chad Williams, Scott, and Dave.
(Via Dave Winer)

Blogging backlash: Is it here yet?

As more and more folks jump into the commercial end of the pool, I await the (newly formed) blogging backlash--are we there yet?

Back in San Jose

After a week on the road, I am thrilled to be home.
And grateful to make it out of NY before the snow really hit.

Martha quits ecommerce

Martha Stewart Omnimedia's gonna sell over at KMart from now on. The main site will only sell magazine subs and flowers once February arrives. Pourquoi? Not makin' enough money.

Shelley: This is a disclaimer

Burningbird: Shelly has her own take on credibility--
"Somewhere, somehow, along the way we began to take ourselves seriously,and now it's difficult to read original writing that doesn't have a caveat or a disclaimer attached. Multiple weblogs have popped up with people appearing out of nowhere, demanding that we all conform to a certain set of beliefs and practices, and the rest of us, who at one point in time used to have fun nod our heads and say 'Yesir' or 'Yesmam', because no matter what, we want to be seen as 'credible.' "
Passionate and eloquent, this post is worth a careful read.
And the comments ain't bad, either.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Blogging, Journalism and Credibility: Battleground and Common Ground?

So you're not invited to the Jan 21 and 22nd conference at Harvard entitled "Blogging, Journalism and Credibility: Battleground and Common Ground?"
Neither was I.
The invitation-only conference is being organized by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School, the American Library Association's Office of Information Technology and the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and there's a huge flap of chatter in the blogosphere about the invitees, the event, the issues and so on.
I'm interested to see the discussion notes from the event, but think some of the blogging comments give the whole thing more power than it warrants. This conference may be Harvard, but hey, that's both a strength and a weakness.
Innovation usually comes from smaller, disruptive players, then the establishment talks about how they could have done that too, if they wanted.
Nevertheless, some brilliant people will be there and discussion should be very interesting--and impassioned.



Monday, January 17, 2005

Taggeratti

Technorati tag fun--Check out what Oddiophile's wrought.
(Via Suw Charman)
Also Roland Tangalo asks if the tags are Technorati-specific--and T's Kevin Marks says nope.

Traveler's aid

So, you' re on the road a lot? Michael Nielsen's got advice for frequent travelers that inspired me to write down some of my own travel tips:
  • Head to the airport early enough to ask for an exit-row aisle--they don't release them until day of flight
  • If you're changing planes, check your carry-on--waiting to pick it up is less exhausting than dragging it across two terminals to catch an about to depart plane
  • Bring water, no matter what
  • Bring fruit or a snack if the flight is more than 4 hours long--never know what you'll get when you land
  • Work out how you'll get to your destination before you take off--bus, train, taxi, etc. Shuttle vans are cheaper than taxis, but often slower than buses
  • Always pack a raincoat or umbrella--if you don't, it will rain
  • Keep your cell phone charger with you
  • Starbucks has great WiFi even if you hate their coffee and what they stand for
(Nielsen via Mark Bernstein)



Honoring Martin Luther King

Sunday, January 16, 2005

PeopleSoft and LinkedIn

Another bullet point in the power of LinkedIn as a transactional community for jobs--Joi Ito notes that over 3,700 PeopleSoft employees have joined up on LinkedIn in the past 30 days--probably in anticipation of being laid off-- the full company is about 5, 500, so do the math.
(Via Ross Mayfield)

Food labels with attitude, vegan division

McSweeny's piece quoting food labels from vegan products:
  • For us, it's about a deep respect for the herbs we share with you.
  • Made with 71% organic ingredients!
  • Inspired by a conversation between the program's co-founder and gang members.
  • To simplify and enjoy life more, mix 1/2 oz. with 2 gallons hot water.

(Via kottke)

Dave Winer on the need for blogs

Dave on the upcoming conference at Harvard: "If it weren't for the callous lack of credibility of the pros, there never would have been a need for blogs."


Feb 8-10th:Emerging Technology, Business and Policy for Senior Executives

I've been working with the Media Center on "Emerging Technology, Business and Policy for Senior Executives" , a seminar in Palo Alto on February 8-10th.
The questions the seminar will focus on are as follows:
'What trends and market disruptions are emerging that will change today's economic models and alter the digital-media consumer experience? How can established companies look ahead and evaluate these developments...are they opportunities or threats? And how do new tools, services and copyright paradigms reposition the business and social landscape? '
There are many great people participating--check the full list.
Registration is still open and there are some blogger/press requests the Media Center is looking at as well.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Noted

Steve Gillmor: Podcasting, aka Steve Gillmor gives thanks--and no thanks.
Northwest Herald: X-AOL HR head Greg Horton pleads guilty to fraud.
Paid Content: Yet another (print) tech magazine launching?
Lisa Williams: Links to bloggers' policies about linking and disclosures.

MySpace: Jennifer Anniston's blog

MySpace has a blog by Jennifer Anniston. Yeah, right.
(via Defamer)

Help: Kanji

How can I read this? Seems like a Japanese blog on digital media.

Back in NYC: Harlem Flophouse

Staying at The Harlem Flophouse on West 123rd Street over the weekend; after 24 hours in Asbury Park, I'm now in a formerly grand Victorian B&B that's also undergoing restoration(even as people stay there.) Having dinner with friends tonight, Spencer arriving later in the evening--we'll hang out till Monday. Better wireless here than downtown at my last hotel!



Gmail

Got gmail? email me if you need one.

Grassroots Journalism: New Revenue Models

Post by Dan Gillmor about grassroots journalism and the need for new revenue models. This is something I have started to give a lot of thought to. After all, in some ways bloggers are part of the same long tail as the small business people using eBay and Amazon as transactional platforms and communities, making some money from their interests. Only, bloggers and local writers don't have a viable platform--yet. AdWords and affiliate relationships do not a livelihood make. --And yet, the role of big ticket brand advertising is also questionable.
So where's the money to come from?
That is a really interesting subject--what kind of new revenue models --and platforms--can we (in the community sense) develop to help grassroots journalists, bloggers and others in the long tale of niche/micropublishing make money?

Hanging Low in Asbury Park

Am in Asbury Park with my friends Betsy and Mike, who bought an amazing Victorian house in a reviving urban community just blocks from the beach. Asbury Park has this great faded grandeur and pristine Queen Anne houses.
Of course, the real pleasure is in seeing these wonderful old friends who moved down here about the same time I returned to California.
Heading back into NYC later today, home to California next week. Hopefully better connectivity from this moment forward.
Some pix:





Friday, January 14, 2005

Calanis and Wilson: Free Biz advice

Jason Calcanis and Fred Wilson have admirable advice for small business people and entrepeneurs--and anyone interested in creating a company.

Technorati's got a brand new tag

New: Technorati's got some brand new tags that bring photos and other tagged data into the search results.
Some typical results searching for tomato, Google, Dave Winer, had uneven results--but looked interesting--the interface is beautiful this time!
On the other hand, San Jose pulled up a lot of junky listings and flickr photos-in a way this is a hack of flickr to bring their data out into the wider net--but still an interesting experiment.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Should there be one centralized RSS Directory?

Dave Winer raised the idea that it might be a better user experience to have one centralized means to get RSS feeds--rather than dozens of service icons--and now folks are talking about it.
My own thought is that while having an easy means to get new users subscribing to feeds is needed, narrowing content choices into one directory won't fly--just like search engines and directories, RSS readers come in their own flavors and styles.

Blog, how I missed you

So it seems impossible to be in the middle of Manhattan and have lousy connectivity, but I've managed it, this trip. Need to find a better hotel next time--this one has unreliable wireless--am now in good ol' Starbucks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Ignition Partners recruits MSFT CFO

Wow--Martin Tobias and Ignition Partners, have recruited Microsoft CFO John Connors to join the firm.

MSN to add new blogging. RSS features

CNET: "Now, MSN will allow its 1.5 million subscribers of Spaces also to syndicate RSS feeds to their own blogs so that they can tell when friends update their content."
Wow, if MSN has created some strong consumer-friendly features, this could be interesting.
Of course, they haven't done the best job in the past of developing these kinds of features--but that doesn't ever stop them from trying.

Monday, January 10, 2005

All about the video

iVillage has bought Healthology reports PaidContent. That means they now have a fat pipe of physician-developed health content to supplement their already strong health and pregnancy offerings. Nice positioning for the future...

Noted

BoingBoing: Unsecured call notes from a prostitution ring in Florida, c. 1998. courtsey of WebGenie.
Calcanis: A lotta bloggers wanna go to Harvard--only two invited?
Marc Canter: "I'd say the Marqui program has gone off pretty well. As of Aug. '04 - there were 450 mentions of Marqui in Google. Today there are 139,000."

PurchasePro: AOL heads starting to roll

AP: "Two former executives at America Online were among six people charged Monday with stock fraud and other offenses as part of the federal government's ongoing investigation into illegal accounting practices at AOL. ...Court papers released last month indicated that as many as six individuals at AOL may have been involved in the PurchasePro transactions."


Curbed quotes Craig

Real Estate Direct is happening in NYC and Lockhart Steel is on the scene with Craig. Some Craig comments:
"We're strongly thinking about [charging for listings]. Brokers are asking us to do that to improve quality. The first step will be opening up a broad discussion of how to do it right. That's going to be a fascinating discussion that will increase my customer service work a great deal?

Right now the newspapers are perturbed by the fact that we seem to be getting classifieds that they aren't. I tell them that's not their big problem. The big problem for them is loss of trust. People don't trust mainstream media to ask difficult questions and be persistent."


Seeking Alpha on web investments

Rajesh Jain quotes David Jackson on web investment trends. Jackson sez that as
  • Web advertising becomes really useful, Web sites become progressively easier and cheaper to build
  • Syndication and filtering dramatically improve web publishing and information dissemination
  • Search continues to improve and grow in significance
At this point, David implies transactional and information-driven sites will merge together, and search by itself just won't be enough, so put your money on the integrated apps.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Ecommerce: Daily Candy snags Lucky ad vet

Anyone who's unsure whether blogs and alternative digital media are going to take ad dollars away from traditional print should listen closely to the news that Michelle Thorpe Holubar is leaving Lucky Magazine to join DailyCandy as publisher.
With a goal of a million subscribers and a daily email product Daily Candy has reach--and now it is buying relationships.

Companies that have reportedly fired people for blogging

A list via BoingBoing, from a site called The Bloggers' Rights Blog, created by Ellen Simonetti, former Delta flight attendant.
(Also via apophenia)

flickr

I joined flickr last summer, but am just starting to play with it now, mostly because so many people I know love the site, and I think I'll learn alot--and have fun-- using it more.


My morning commute looks nothing like this

9/11 recovered photos to be posted on web

Reuters story that 8,000 printed photos scavenged from the debris of the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 have been digitized and restored by Eastman Kodak and will be placed on a password-protected web site for deceased victims' relatives to check out--they can then claim photos that belonged to their family members.

Lillian Valenti, chief of the Port Authority's office of medical services, said: "We strongly believe that recovering photos that once filled office desks and walls in Trade Centre offices will greatly help families who lost loved ones."

(Via SmartMobs)

This seems really odd to me. First of all it's a virtual collection of real photos that will clearly take in a life of its own beyond the intended purpose.
Secondly, will the *right* people really claim the right photos?
And is it first come, first served?
Is there one printed copy for each digital one?
And is this really something that will help family members--or just a morbid exercise in overkill?
I can't begin to guess, but it seems strange.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

How RSS began

Okay, so if you care, Rogers Cadenhead says : RSS was co-created by Netscape and Dave Winer.
Around Netscape, in late '99, when I learned about RSS from the My team, that was what they said as well.

Saturday: Rain, rain, rain, rain

Want some whine with your rain?
It's been raining pretty much non-stop since Christmas day--the tent we set up and tried to sleep in is now piled in a heap under the overhang of the house, since it hasn't been sunny for enough hours to dry the damn thing out.
What can you do?
We're heading up to San Francisco to check out some museums and maybe stop by the Ferry Building and ogle all the foods we're not eating this month as we fight our way through the post-holiday diet.
Going back to New York later next week. Wondering if that will be snow, snow, snow.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Blogging: How do you estimate your audience?

Dave Pollard: If you're a blogger, how do you anticipate what your audience might look like? Pollard's essay on blog traffic and stats offers some ways to think about blog metrics, traffic and unique users. Dave estimates that only about 20,000 blogs (a mere 0.4% of all active blogs) have a sizeable audience (more than 10 regular visitors and more than 150 hits per average day). He projects that based on the latest Pew numbers, traffic to blogs might look like this:

Total
Hits/Day
Average
Hits/Day
per Blog
Minimum
Hits/Day
per Blog
Average
Aggregate
Reader
Attention/Day
per Blog

100 A-list bloggers
15 million
150,000
15,000
1700 hrs
2,000 B-list bloggers
5 million
2,500
1,000
62 hrs
18,000 C-list bloggers
9 million
500
150
13 hrs
80,000 up-and-coming bloggers
8 million
100
50
2.5 hrs
5 million remaining active bloggers
15 million
3
0
-

Dave sez: "If you're an average A-list blogger (those getting at least 15,000 hits per day), your 150,000 40-second visitors in aggregate are spending 1700 hours per day reading and commenting on your blog. The average B-list blogger (those getting at least 1,000 hits per day) is getting 62 hours per day of 90-second-per-visit aggregate reader attention, the average C-list (150-1,000 hits-per-day) blogger 13 hours per day of aggregate reader attention, and the average up-and-coming (50-150 hits-per-day) blogger 2.5 hours per day. "

More here.

Newsreader stats: Who's reading with what

Feedburner crunches their data and the news is:
  • Bloglines 31.2%
  • Feed demon 20%
  • Newsgator 8.2%
  • Newsgator Online 7.1%
  • NetNewsWire 5.3%
  • Sharp Newsreader 2.9%
  • The others 25.3%
What's your favorite newsreader?
Note: If you're not using a newsreader, check out Bloglines, or email me for a rojo invite.
Update: Turns out this chart is not definitive, just an example of the kind of interface coming for Feedburner users. Oh, well.

Comic Book Bondage Image of the Day

Did ya see this?
(From Comic BookBondage Image of the Day (an AOL member site, (via PCL Linkdump, an amazing blog)

Paul Kedrosky: NYTD has 32% net margins

Dug out of a BizWeek story, Paul Kedrosky produces the key stat in the NY Times considering charging for online content stories: "Times Digital sports 32% net margins, and is growing almost three times as quickly as, say, Microsoft. In other words, despite being free, Times Digital does very well, thanks, and is the fastest-growing revenue engine at the NYT Co. While online is still less than 10% of the overall revenue nut for NYT Co., it is not a bad testament to the merits of using free to bring traffic, and then using ads and for-pay ancillary services to build a complementary business."
The rest of his post is well worth a read.




How much email did you get in 2004?

From UltraNormal, Kevin Lawver: "So, I'm cleaning out my old e-mail, deleting everything older than a year, and I just realized that in 2004, I received and stored (which means it's not counting spam) over 24,000 pieces of e-mail to my work address, and over 1,400 (not counting things that get moved to other folders like listservs, comments on my site, breaking news, etc) to my personal e-mail addresses. (snip)
So, more than 25,400 pieces of e-mail passed through my inbox. "


Me, too--and at least half was probably spam.



Noted

Fred Wilson: "(Blogs) are real stories about real people doing real things. Told by the people who did them. How can you beat that?"
Venture Capital Journal: Blogging VCs, why doncha get a loadda that!
Jerry Colonna: He's back, maybe.
The World to Come:
Susan Mernit's Blog is his favorite media blog. Oh joy! Dimitri's Bloglines folder is where I went RSS(dumpster) diving last week...
Read Write Web: MacManus is inspired by AP's Tom Curley and looking at where content is headed.

Are consumers replacing Consumer Reports?

Steve Rubel, articulate as always: "Consumers are replacing Consumer Reports. We are increasingly turning to blogs and other forms of consumer generated media to gather the information we need to make informed purchasing decisions."

Literally devastating tsunami photos

Someone synced before and after satellite photos.
Take a breath, then click.


We Media: A look back--and forward

It's been just a tad more than a year since the Media Center published We Media, written by Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis, and edited by JD Lasica. Widely acknowledged as a key articulation of citizen journalism and blogging, this paper reportedly led Dan Gillmor to rethink how he was writing his book, We the Media and influenced former CNN bureau chief Rebecca McKinnon to pursue citizen journalism as a full-time career.
Now, a year later, Karma Peiró, a digital journalist from Barcelona, Spain, has interviewed the We Media authors and they've shared the interview on their site. Points worth noting:
  • Change is not coming from traditional competitors but from the audience they serve.
  • The speed at which RSS has proliferated is phenomenal.
  • ...The leadership and innovation of citizen journalism will continue to come from the edges of the new media ecosystem.
  • ...We are more likely to see big media try to purchase and integrate innovation rather than develop it on their own.
Meanwhile, as much as We Media continues to influence, the conversation is racing beyond it.

In the past two months, I have heard of plans to start three or four local blog-based news businesses, three or four ecommerce or vertical market niche blogs, at least two and maybe three blog ad sales networks, one major new community platform, and at least two blog cosmos-related neat tech tools.
--And that's without the impact of the Six Apart/Live Journal acquisition, awareness of the true impact of MSN Spaces, and deployment of any big media plans to have more presence--and better integration--in this more distributed and participatory space.

As Dan Gillmor says "We used to call mainstream journalism the "first draft of history." Now, I'd argue, much of that first draft is being written by citizen journalists. And what they're telling us is powerful indeed."
2005 may be the year when blogging became industralized--the number of conferences, consultancies, marketing agencies, etc. feeding off the growing awareness and usage of blogs is dramatic--but it should also be the year when we all remember that blogging is just a platform.
What I want to watch for is how bigger companies are handling the long tail and the disintermediation of content--and how individual bloggers, like cells in an organism, replicate and divide.

In other words--who will help build true open blogging platforms?
When can we see support for individual effort in the blogosphere that's akin to the platforms eBay and Amazon have developed? I'd like to see the long tail help fund daily media and personal voices, as well as P2P music exchange and book distribution.

--Show me some companies addressing those issues--or individuals crafting solutions--and I will be a happy camper.



How to sell to your boss

Working Smart's got a long post with practical advice on how to position projects to one's boss. One snippet (also true for consultants):
"Most top managers have two basic needs: they want to grow their company and they want to increase their profitability. Whether they are a private company or a public one, this is the ticket to their personal success. If your proposal promises to do either, you've got their ear. If not, you're likely dead before you start."
(Via Fast Company)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

How do you know when it's time to make a change?

How do you decide when to make a (profound) change?
Is it when you're dragged, kicking and screaming, toward an inevitable choice (i.e., no choice?)
Or the moment when something seems clearly right and you have the confidence to go with your gut?
Or, is it a more intellectual process of weighting choices and forecasting scenarios--and then deliberately choosing what seems best?
I'm making some decisions right now. One one level, my impulse is just to continue as is for as long as possible, hoping for the *right* choices to become clear. On the other hand, I need to make active choices--but not hasty ones.


Information overload: Do you encourage it?

Julie Leung: "I wonder whether I suffer from digital obesity and need to lose some weight."


Noted: Ecommerce

Internetnews: SmithBarney downgrades Amazon to sell from hold.
AdWeek: Beth Axelrod, HR exec, joins eBay. She is one of the authors of The War for Talent.
BizWeek: Women drove ecommerce buys over the holidays. (Are you surprised?)




Nice Tips

True confessions--when Variety started publishing Stylephile, a fashion and style blog, I scoffed.
Seemed totally off-topic.
But you know what?
It's pretty good--one of the better ones out there.
In fact, I can think of a couple folks I know who should consider swooping down and stealing this writer--and I don't mean Gawker.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Live Journal sale: Speaking to the community

Nice there's a note to the LJ community from the founder already posted.
Some highlights:
" I love technology and designing the LiveJournal architecture but I hate running a business. While I've been learning a lot of business stuff over the past 5 years and it's been kinda interesting, I just don't love it and I'm not great at it. Plus it just keeps getting harder as LiveJournal grows, sucking away more of my time and youth. I'm ready to pass off what I see as "the boring stuff" to somebody else that I trust and focus on the fun stuff.

Also, Six Apart has a lot of staff that we don't... marketing, designers, usability people, etc. "
Here's the press release stuff

CONGRATS EVERYONE

Update: Dave Winer says the motive could be a planned IPO.


Gawker: The New Conde Nast

It's so inspiring when publishers spend their ad dollars hiring more and better writers, especially in that lofty echelon known as management aka executive talent.
Lockhart Steele's gone to Gawker, and Sacramento is the New New York has a hysterical Matrix script of the deal.
If you care even a little, read it.
Genius humor.
Oh, and Gawker guys, your steady roll is so fun to watch.

Der Stern & Der Buzz

So, Jeff Jarvis had a nice chat with Howard Stern this morning.
Anyone hear Jeff chatting on air from the roadside of Route 78?



Noted

Xian: Fave blogs of 2004
Mary Hodder: Dumpster-diving in OPML (yeah, I'm the scavenger.)
Smart Mobs: GroupJazz starts an award in honor of departed online community maven Frank Burns--award is support and services for an organization--check it out.
MORPH blog: Read the posts, subscribe to their feed.
Little Judy, quoting Britney Spears' stalker on his obsession with Brit-Brit: "Maybe I'm a little bit crazy, but it keeps me from going insane."
Kelly Blue Book: Most researched cars of 2004. (None of them are on my list.)



Danah Boyd on Live Journal acquisition

Danah (who's studied social networks and communities in great detail, for those who may not know): "LJ folks don't see LJ as a tool, but a community. Bloggers may see the ethereal blogosphere as their community, but for LJers, it's all about LJ. Aside from the ubergeek LJers, LJers don't read non-LJs even though syndication is available. They post for their friends, comment excessively and constantly moderate who should have access to what."

And: "My biggest concern is that a merger will stunt the cultural growth on LiveJournal that makes it so fascinating. My second concern is that Six Apart will not be prepared to deal with the userbase and will initiate practices that are more detrimental because of fear. [For example, what's the best way to handle an LJ community dedicated to cutters trying to outdo each other via images?] It takes a resistance-based culture to support a community of resisters and Six Apart is by no means a resistance-minded company. My third concern is that LiveJournal will shift because of investor value."

There is a terrific discussion going on in the comments--including this quote from Scott Rafer, Feedster CEO: "With the astonishing, yet probably conservative, blogging numbers that Pew announced Monday, 6A can afford to leave LJ as a separate community and have it evolve into a more direct competitor to MySpace."


Thomas Hawk: Thinking about open media

Thomas Hawk: "The beauty of broadband, peer to peer, BitTorrent, podcasting, video and audio, blogs, the drop in price of HDTV cameras and the whole rest of new media thing is that it is going to open up media in ways that we have never seen before.

Most significantly, the new media is going to be a great exercise in the democratization of media and will usher in a new grass roots meritocracy based on actual talent (or trash depending on who you are talking to). Every creative college student can potentially become producer, director and actor."

This snippet of a long post on Thomas Hawks' blog caught my attention--The comments are in relation to INDTV, but truth is, INDTV is merely going to be--if they are smart--a distribution point for something that is already happening, not the cause of this groundswell(thank P2P, BitTorrent, eBay communities, blogging for that).

Om Malik: Six Apart to buy Live Journal

Om Malik writes: "I have learnt exclusively that Six Apart, the parent company behind hosted blogging service TypePad, and Moveable Type is about to acquire Live Journal, for an undisclosed amount.(snip)If the deal goes through, then Six Apart will become one of the largest weblog companies in the world, with nearly 6.5 million users. It also gives the company a very fighting chance against Google?s Blogger and Microsoft?s MSN Spaces.

More on this here and here. And here.

Update: Yep, it's true. eWeek story here.

Hey, folks, welcome to the world of managing multiple brands.

Good time last night at geek dinner in SF

Went to a monthly dinner at Delancey Street with many of the local social software/webheads in evidence. Re met an old, old friend, talked with lots of people. Staying in town for a breakfast meeting, then home,

Monday, January 03, 2005

Miami: 400 lb gator captured downtown

AP story: A 400-lb, 12-foot long alligator was pulled down on a downtown Miami creek on Monday.

"They farm-raised this big boy on Santeria and voodoo,"said alligator trapper Thom Hardwick who used a firetruck, a rope and a roll of duct tape to hoist the gator out of the water.

Blog rep firms dart out of the gate: Is BURST! first?

ClickZ story on how BURST! is repping a bunch of blog sites including Gawker media, BlueLemur, 2WallsWebzine, and Celebcourthouse. They say their 22 blogs generate 9 million page views a month.
Biff Burn, their marketing VP, sez: "It behooves the advertiser to pay a good price for the advertisments and supply good creative that is targeted to the content and audience of the blog, bercause it really determines what ads get selected and which ones will deliver the impressions."

Behooves?


Newsforge: Using blog tools

Kevin Burton sent this wonderful article by Phil Hollenback on using blog/RSS tools such as newsreader Bloglines, photo blog flickr, and blogroll/link manager del.icio.us
If you're looking for a clear description of some of these (new-ish) services, this is a good piece to check out.


My Newsreader, aka The Red Shoes

Remember the Hans Christian Anderson story about the girl with the red dancing shoes who just couldn't stop dancing?
I am starting to feel that way about my newsreader.
Now that it's neatly organized and holding 800+ feeds, I just can't stop reading them.
And getting through all the folders before they reload with new posts has become a joke.
Arrggh!

Quoted

Dave Winer: "Net-net: the professional journalist is totally part of the story he or she is writing. That they believe otherwise is the major bug in their process."
JD Lasica: "How are (traditional media outlets) planning to partner with their audience instead of lecturing to them? In what ways can their interests intersect and intertwine, and what are the obstacles that are preventing this from happening?"
Dave Hornick: "So my goal in 2005 is to meet great entrepreneurs. It was my goal in 2004, and my goal in 2003. And, while I'm not omniscient, I'm guessing it will be my goal in 2006. Great entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of Venture Capital."

editorsweblog: Wave of Destruction

Bertrand Pecquerie, Editorsweblog.org, mentions WaveofDestruction.org, a site with more than 25 amateur videos of the tsunami's impact.
I like this quote from Geoffrey Huntley, the founder of the site, who says, "The ease of putting something online is pretty much instant. At a media company, I'm sure there are channels you have to go through -- copyright, legal, editorial, etc. Blogging is instant."

And there you have it.


Topix.net: New channels track start ups

Skrenta:" Topix.net has added news channels to track any stories for 2,500 privately-held startups, scanned from the 10,000 sources we're crawling. The tracking channel was designed in association with Bob Karr's LinkSV.com, which maintains the database of private company profiles which we're using for the automated news scan. There is also a related channel which tracks press releases from any of the same 2,500 startups. "
topix.net/startups
topix.net/startups/pr
topix.net/vc

And it's free.

Noted

RIP, Shirley Chisholm: An inspiring woman, the first black Congresswoman, has passed.
Keith Kelly, NY Post: 2005 magazine predictions, including Janice Min at People, Tina Brown at US.
Tim Porter on the Chronicle and Craigslist: "The money being lost by the Chronicle, the Mercury, their online operations and other Bay Area newspapers could pay for enough journalists to staff two Chronicle newsrooms."
Reuters: Gibson launches *digital* guitars.
New blogs: Eve Maler, Pushing String, (via Searls) and Peter Levitan, 360


Sunday, January 02, 2005

PIP 2005: New stats to note

January 2005 'Data Memo' from the folks at the Pew Internet & American Life Project:
"8 million American adults say they have created blogs; blog readership jumped 58% in 2004 and now stands at 27% of internet users; 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online."
And
"At the same time, for all the excitement about blogs and the media coverage of them, blogs have not yet become recognized by a majority of internet users. Only 38% of all internet users know what a blog is. The rest are not sure what the term 'blog' means."
Read the rest, it's good stuff, especially the notes about the rapid adaption of RSS.
(Via POMO Blog)

Update: AP story on this data.

New: Guest bloggers at Morph--check'em out

Morph, the blog over at The Media Center (non profit think tank), kicks off the new year with a new tradition--guest bloggers.
Inspired by BoingBoing , Slashdot, Smart Mobs, and other blogs written by a group, they've invited some interesting folks to contribute posts for a month or so.
Here's the line-up and some info on what each will focus on:

JD gets it going tomorrow.
I am honored to be in this company and hope for some interesting discussion--and the start of a series of many more new and diverse voices at Morph.
PS. If you have ideas for future guest bloggers, or would like to be considered as a guest blogger yourself, email Gloria Pan gpan at americanpressinstitute dot org.

Neat photo, with snow

Saturday, January 01, 2005

2005--Year of blog bucks?

Mitch Ratcliffe: "2005. The year when blogging tools part ways with blogging religion for good, for good and bad. There will be publications built on blog tools (call the "blublications" or "blubs") that start to earn real money."
Mitch also says : "Beware rebels bearing manifestoes and the sleek taboos of trendsetters. Eat the dead, if their bodies aren't too putrid, to learn from the lessons coursing through their veins."


Dan Gillmor: New role, new blog

Best wishes, Dan, for 2005--for you and your new endeavor!
I'll be reading your new blog, and look forward to seeing your venture take shape.
You say "If anything worthwhile comes of this, and I strongly believe it will, the achievements will be ours, not mine. They will be the result of many people's ideas, good will and effort. If I can help clear a path for people who want to join the vast, global conversation, I'll be happy."
Amen, brother.

Page Six: Diet tips from the stars

Amused by Page Six's diet tips from the stars column today. Some favorites:
  • Christina Ricci "So all I ate was green salads . . . I looked like E.T., my head seemed so big."
  • Adrien Brody: "Roman had me eat two hard-boiled eggs a day for six weeks. My skin became translucent."
  • Howard Stern (who lost 22 pounds by eating steamed potatoes with no toppings) "My own private parts look better next to my thinner body."

The Bright River--Bay area must see

Last night we went to see the bright river: a mass-transit tour of the afterlife, a new play by Tim Barsky, with music by Andrew Chaikin (Kid Beyond) and performances by Jess Ivry(cello) and bassist Safa Shakrai. Produced by The Jewish Travelling Theatre, this retelling of Dante's Inferno (sorta) is magical--one of the best things I've seen in a while.
Tim Barsky, author and lead performer, is a delight, the show is pure poetry, and I am going again when they do the Berkeley run later in January.

Turns out some other bloggers saw the show as well--Danah Boyd and Eric Jones.


Personal questions for 2005

Brad Feld offers some reflective questions for 2005:
  • What were the significant events of the year?
  • What were my accomplishments?
  • What trips did I take?
  • Who was I closest to?\
  • What significant reading did I do?
  • What gave me joy?
  • In what ways did I grow?
  • What personal gifts did I use to serve this year?
  • What did I learn this year?
  • What in my life is dying (literally or figuratively)?
  • What in my life is rising (literally or figuratively)?
  • What are my goals for the next year?
(Via Emergic)
Brad says he and his wife have a "life dinner" on the first of every month and discuss questions like these--nice idea.

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