Monday, February 28, 2005

HOT Stuff

Jason Calcanis sells ads readers can comment on--how cool is that?
Former Gridskipper editor Andrew Krucoff has his say about Gawker Inc. and that ad fracas: " I tried, I really fuckin' tried but the service journalism aspect of travel writing bored me to no end."
Andy Baio sleuths out Overture's new AdSense-like product. Or not?

Yelvington: Licensing RSS feeds

Steve Yelvington asks about RSS feeds: "Who owns the feeds, and what can be done with them?"
This is a great question, especially as search engines and newsreaders begin to think about seeking advertising for categories--like automotive and financial--that have been high-value customers for media companies--after all, they would profit from repackaging the headlines and digests (or whatever) from other sites.
There are no licensing models in place yet to address this kind of redistribution, though most media folk recognize that the days of the remix are here to stay.
For media companies releasing headlines and digests as a way to build traffic, the focus has been on framing use by individual consumers (and bloggers). I'm expecting that additional models of reuse and repackaging for smaller players--like bloggers with over X level of traffic--will emerge as well--and they will have subscription fees, micropayments, or other types of value/revenue exchange attached.

Bill Burnham: Wish I could short still AOL

VC/Technology Investor Bill Burnham takes a hard look at where AOL is today:"With management in denial, broadband competitors stealing their high-end customers and competitors like NetZero stealing their low-end customers, AOL is clearly getting ripped apart."
Burnham wonders if AOL can successfully copy Yahoo and thinks...not.
(Via Internet Stock Blog)

Technorati: Why customer service matters so much

Robert Lindsay had the best experience when he called Technorati about a problem--and they treated him like a king. (Via Blog Herald)
If you think this post about Technorati's great service isn't going to populate all over the blogosphere, think again--we're in a world where the best outcomes--and the worst--can make lots of noise.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

It's 11 PM, I'm still working, and I have a killer day tomorrow

--So this post made me smile.
Kate: "I worship Baklava. It's a religion that pays off nicely. Oh sure, it doesn't explain the injustices in the world, nor does it provide any moral compass. But you know what? It doesn't matter because you're eating Baklava."

And guess what, it has no calories.

Seth Godin on search engine marketing, keyword division:

Seth Godin:"Because once companies increase their conversion efficiency, they'll probably be willing to pay 400% more than they pay now for the right words."
(Short version: He lost his keys and the advertiser didn't deliver on the keyword click. Led to big insights.)

Rich Skrenta: Search is a first step to full utilization of a world-sized corpus of encyclopedic information

Search Engine Blog talks to founder Rich Skrenta. Rich emphasizes that Topix strives to automate editorial functions in categorizing stories.
Recognizing named entities challenges the machine first to be able to tell whether the story cites the movie star or the ordinary person with that name, and then to understand whether the story is actually about the person or just mentioning him or her in passing (this is a big flaw in Google news alerts.)
Rich also talks about dmoz, the open directory, and says that "while directories were very interesting in the mid '90's, keyword search has eclipsed them as the main ways consumers find information on the Internet."
And my favorite quote from Rich: "Search is a first step to full utilization of a world-sized corpus of encyclopedic information, combined with the full value that community participation in the content & commerce process can provide."
A good read.


Skyblog: Live Journal-ish, en francais (Via Code Consult)
Paid Content: Staci Kramer says NYTimeser John Markoff's story favored his podcasting pals.
Two Way Web: Dave Winer fisks Markoff and writes some great, smart stuff.
EContent: Steve Smith's smart story on how search is shifting user behavior, traffic and ad revenues.
What's on Tonight? Allen Weiner asks why the iPod can't be a content management device.
BuzzHit: Tony Gentile notes HotJobs now has RSS feeds for saved searches. How about MSFT, he asks? Scoble says checking(at 3 am!)
Snarkmarket: Will Jarvis be the Times' new omblogsman?

Observer launches blogs, will release code and templates

Reading Cory Doctorow's account of Ben Hammersley's role in setting the Sunday Observer (UK) up with a new blog--and an accompanying complement of podcasts, moblogs, full text RSS feeds, open comments and delicio. us bookmarks--all super cool stuff--reminds me that it only takes one or two people of the *right* people to make a difference.
Here, it's tech god Ben Hammersley, who's made all the practical magic happen, and Neil McIntosh, who's the other blogging guy in the picture--and then--I suspect-- Guardian new media guy Simon Waldman, who's made the Guardian into a digital media showcase, much to the readers' benefit.
And, most excitingly, it looks like the Guardian is prepared to make all their work on the Observer blogs and related folksomonies etc. truly open source--to release the templates and the code so they can be used elsewhere.

This is a very bold step for a media business and a wise business decision--can't wait to see what it spawns.

Imagine the impact if the Washington Post, the NY Times, or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, for example, took some similar steps.

Hey, so here's a radical notion.: WHY DON'T THEY?

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The (Somerville) Gates: Did ya see it?

The Gates,version 2:

Remember, small is beautiful. (This picture got5.5 million hits in one week!)
Link cosmos here.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Manolo makes the funnies

The super-fantastic blogger, the Manolo, the man with the fetish for the feets, has been immortalized in the funny papers.
We bow in homage:

Cheap Tickets pulled ads on Gridskipper; Gawker shrugged

It's NYC. You're an up and comer with alot of moxie (ironic,of course) and you get a chance to helm your very own Gawker Media site.
This is as big a break as getting accepted to grad school at Wharton, maybe bigger, and even your parents have to be thrilled.
But merely days after your new site launches--with lots of media attention, of course, the one big advertiser pulls out. The money she's gone, nada, zip.
What happens then?
Does big boss scream or hand you back your job?
Well, if you're Gridskipper editorAndrew Krukoff and GawkerMedia head Nick Denton, the correct answer is you tough it out.
"We'd rather lose the occasional advertiser than the character that attracts the audience in the first place. If an advertiser wants a safe environment, there are thousands of tired media outlets to choose from,"Denton told PRWeek, proving, once again, that experience matters and cojones count.
And guess what? They got another travel advertiser.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

"Addicted to flickr"

Jason Tester's got a big jones for flickr and here's what he has to say: "In the past week I've lost a fair bit of sleep to the year-old Web photo community Flickr, going from about 4 photos to almost 800 in just a few days. I'm not entirely what prompted my change of heart, since I always claimed that I could get into carrying a camera and taking photos but the photo-sharing and -tagging genes were just not in me. Regardless of what got me started with Flickr, I've been going non-stop. During the times I've come up for air from uploading, tagging, and exploring I've made some observations about the service and the interactions it facilitates."
Jason goes on to describe the fun of tagging and commenting on photos and the sense of community--and fun--it creates--but doesn't tell us his flickr ID.
Seeing his photos would have been cool.

Paid Content: More on AP + RSS

Rafat Ali asked Jim Kennedy for more details on the AP's intent with RSS feeds--as in, are they trying to create a news portal (The answer is no.) Jim responded(in part):
"It's an experiment right now to explore the impact on traffic to the news pages we host for member newspapers and broadcasters. We have a service called Custom News, which provides hosted national and international news pages for hundreds of member sites. These RSS feeds click through to those pages.
If a user picks up one of the feeds from a member site, clickthroughs will always go to that member's version of the hosted pages. "
More here.

Jarvis & Keller: The Penpal Diaries

Demonstrating that highly intelligent grown men of the writerly persuasion can never resist a chance to impress one another with witty writing and nit-picking minutae (also known as micro-content) blogger/czar Jeff Jarvis and NYT exec editor Bill Keller are on round three of their email exchange.
A couple more rounds and these two will decide to write a book together, no doubt.
Meanwhile, the closing exchanges have warmed up.
Keller has progressed from "I hope you will accept this in the same constructive spirit as your open letter. And if not, I hope you will have countless hours of fun fly-specking it for evidence of bad attitude and hidden agendas.
Best regards, Bill Keller" to
"Obviously if I thought blogs should be disdained or dismissed, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But I gotta go. Best, Bill "
and Jarvis has moved from "So how about it, Mr. Keller? We'll bring the bagels, you bring the sandwiches" to
"Finally, various commenters have pointed out that you would make a great blogger. They're right. In fact, because you are writing these emails with full expectation that I'm going to post them, I could argue that you are blogging. Welcome to the club, Bill. best, jeff"

Sweet and heart-warming, don't you think? Definitely a big step forward for both blogging and mankind, oops. I meant the news media.

AP: Canadian couple's photos show tsunami approach

AP story today about a Canadian couple who perished in the tsunami, but whose recovered camera shows the tsunami's approach.

John and Jackie Knill, who took the photos.

Their last shot.

Elise Bauer: Analyzing market share for web tools

Consultant and food blogger Elise Bauer's got an analysis of blogging tools going that considers the degree to which Google spiders pages associated with certain weblog tools, with an eye to establishing market share for each tool. Elise's list follows(detailed analysis at her site):

Two points that caught my attention:
Note: This was picked up by others earlier--index of posts here.

Om Malik: Is flickr selling to Yahoo?

Speculation continues.
flickr is so cool and has so much buzz-- the service currently has more than 250,000 members and 3.5 million photos on its website.
Om says: "Most of the deal-related chatter is coming from blogging world insiders who have said that Flickr might have inked the papers last week, but Yahoo is holding off on an announcement until March 1."
More here and here.

Mega-blogger Darren Rowse: New Grub Street?

Susannah Gardner interviews full-time (and six-figure?) Australian blogger Darren Rowse.
Those who want to go fulltime with blogging, take note: "I currently have a goal of posting 25 posts per day 7 days per week. Of course this is across 17 blogs, some of which I post multiple posts per day, others I would only post on a couple of times per week. I don't always meet this goal (although some days when I'm on a roll I can do much more than that) but its what I aim for. I figure if I want to make a full time living from blogging then I need to put significant levels of effort into it. If I post for a full year at this rate I'll have added 9125 pages which gives every opportunity for someone to find it using search engines."

Can anyone say New Grub Street?

(Via Micropersuasion)

Anil Dash: The blog (grand) father?

Commemorating a friend's bloganniversary, Anil writes about blogging friends: "Why are the first real posts on Ernie's and Mena's blogs both about going to Vegas with your parents. I think this either says a lot about my circle of friends or what it took to have a good, funny blog a couple of years ago."

More RSS related news: Topix/AOL Local deal

Rich Skrenta reports that AOL Local will be use headlines on their new local search service.
Susan sez: IMHO, Topix is a small company that is doing both the technology and the business right. Rock on, guys!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

RSS News: Associated Press launches RSS feeds

The Associated Press has quietly added RSS feeds to their corporate site. This is the first time AP stories are available directly on the web in RSS (as opposed to running through Yahoo News.) The seventeen feeds include Top News, US, World, Business, Sports, and Technology--and are headlines/digest feeds available for non-commercial use. Right now the feeds go to generic AP story pages. According to VP/Director of Strategic Planning Jim Kennedy, in time they plan to implement geotargeting to direct clickthrus to local/regional members who use the Custom News service.
Some terms worth noting in the language of the redistribution rights:

AP has been hard at work studying the next generation of digital and social media--this is the first tangible product of those efforts.

(Disclosure: I have consulted for the AP.)

Update: Some folks are wondering, like Jeff, if AP is planning to link their stories through news partners--the answer is yes.

Is Google launching a calendar?

Paul Kedrosky: "Dave Jung says his ical calendar page is newly getting pinged like mad by a Googlebot. " Is a calendar beta next on the roadmap?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


IRE: New Jersey has over 200 toxic waste sites, but is that an excuse for building schools on them?
Traffick: Wishlist for NYT's Horan, take note.
South Korea's Ohmynews turns 5ive--oops, I mean five. (Via Lasica)
Richard MacManus on vs.Kottke: "As a writer whose goal is to (very soon) earn a decent living via blogging, I wonder how viable the 'work for peanuts' approach of is nowadays."
Silicon Beat: Craig Newmark intends to support citizen journalism. But how?

Family visiting, lighter posts tomorrow

My brother and his family are here from New York for a couple of days. This is the first time they've been back to the Bay area in a while, and this time they have kids with them, my nephews, ages 6 and 11.
Tonight we went to Saravana for vegetarian Indian food; tomorrow I'm taking the kids either to Winchester Mystery House or over to Santa Cruz to see the surfers (and walk the boardwalk).
Back to the same old on Thursday.

We are our mesh, the nomadic swarms

Howard Rheingold's piece on education and mobile computing and Professor Bryan Alexander caught my attention in a big way.

Some quotes:
"Blogs and wikis were yesterday. Moblogging is today. Tomorrow, Alexander anticipates the arrival of sensor networks, digitally tagged objects and places, augmented reality, location-based knowledge, and something Alexander calls "swarm learning."

"Bryan Alexander asks us to start by understanding that mobile machines are by their nature intimate media -- they are not just untethered from the desktop, they are carried in the pocket, held in the hand, rested on the lap. Because of this intimacy, "emotional investments increase," Alexander claims, citing research to that effect: "Michele Forman, the 2001 National Teacher of the Year in the United States, notes that her high-school students became very attached to their wireless laptops. They significantly increased their personal writing and composition. Such machines become prosthetics for information, memory and creativity. Are we ready to respond to such attitudes from IT staff, instructors, and participants in the physical and information architectures of campus spaces?"

"The nomads arrive suddenly, surprising the urban population and appearing without warning in city streets, markets, libraries and homes. Kafka?s tale focuses on the incomprehension of the city-dwellers, as well as on their dogged willingness to attempt living life as if the nomads simply weren't there. The story charts their progressive decay and their slipping grasp on reality while the nomads build a new civilization literally in their front yard. It's a very funny story, in Kafka's unique way, but of course it's also a cautionary tale, especially for those of us in higher education. At colleges and universities around the world, the nomadic swarms are already arriving."

We are our mesh, the nomadic swarms. Neat. Brilliant.

kottke goes kottke, quits job

Jason Kottke of has quit his day job and will work on the site (and related endeavors, one assumes) full time. The guy's asking for a little money; I gave--and I hope it's a great success--kottke rocks.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Russ Beattie: What will Six Apart sell for?

Russ Beattie's having a bit of fun: "Before the announcement, I would have said around $250 million. That's a wild-ass guess, I have no idea. 7 million blogs times $820,000 apiece would be $5,740,000,000,000 which is probably a bit high. But now I'm thinking Six Apart guys are going to announce a run up to an IPO any day now, and then get scooped up by one of the Internet giants soon thereafter: Yahoo, Google, MSN, or AOL."

New West: Web site launches, citizen journalism to follow

Delight might be the best word to describe my feelings on clicking into New West, the just launched regional web site operated by former Industry Standard publisher Jonathan Weber. Positioned as the voice for the West (meaning Missoula, Boulder, Salt Lake and other parts West, as opposed to California, Oregon and Washington, I guess), this site has the slicks of a top quality regional magazine (think the old Texas Monthly) but is built on a blog platform (with what looks like wonderously detailed meta-tags and super clean CSS, not that I know, really.)
Visitors can sign up to become citizen journalists, and a magazine is promised in 2006 (nothing like well-thought out plans for world domination.)
The site looks well architected, with areas for policy as well as lifestyle--and an animal section(hope Pam Houston is there with her dog.)

And the citizen journalism intro is no slouch:
"Citizen Journalism is an integral part of what we're trying to do here at New West. The idea stems from our philosophy that an educated, engaged citizenship will be instrumental in this evolution of the Rocky Mountain West we're always talking about. The idea is that you as the reader have access to much of the information that we as journalists do and there is no reason you can't be a writer, a reporter, a pontificator or a blogger yourself. By empowering the public with a medium to speak their minds, or report on the world around them, we are hoping to expand the media offerings here in the West. Similarly, in a world where sense of community is waning, we also want to create online hubs where readers can foster a neighborly discussion of the issues at hand, all the while connecting themselves with each other and their sense of place."
So, readers who sign up can comment on specific pages--ie they become "citizen journalists" by joining the story--and while they own their words, New West has the right to use them anywhere they want--for free.
Not everything is working yet, but this looks like an exciting launch--and an integration between the old and the new.
(Via Buzzmachine)

Update: How could I forget to note that New West was the title of the illustrious journal founded by journalism great Clay Felker?
In true mining town tradition, Weber's site's name stakes his claim.

Dave Briggs: Thoughts on successful blogging

Good suggestions on being a better blogger, useful for newbies and veterans alike.
For more on the following points, dig into Brigg's blog:
1. Read more blogs.

2. Use a link blog.
3. Make sure your blog has a feed.

4. Find a niche - but evolve it.
5. Link, link and comment.

6. Keep notes on everything.
7. Make sure your presentation is good.
8. Be interesting, even controversial, but not stupid.
9. Be funny.

10. Stick at it.

RIP: Hunter S. Thompson

Everyone's probably seen the news that Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide on Sunday. Thompson was one of those writers who changed my consciousness at at early age--as one of the leading practicioners of the "new" journalism, he showed me what non-fiction writing could do at a time when I was just starting to put words to paper.
His gonzo journalism also provided huge entertainment value--to me, a kid from the suburbs, this far-out character's brilliant writing suggested there was a lot I had to learn--if only I made the effort to look outside the box.
RIP. Condolences, everyone.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Paris Hilton: Hacked

Some folks hacked Paris Hilton's Sidekick phone and published the photos (sexy), the address book(full of celebs) and the notes therein.
In addition to revealing that she met Mark Cuban and got his number, Paris' Sidekick notes show this blonde business person is smart, smart, smart--at least about working her angles.

(And then there are the fascinating what could this mean posts, like:
Tell ken about jess trying to bone JT
Its nick u bitcg 732 5397329
and the immortal

Buy a lap top
Ron perlman 2125725060
1 a start fininf band members and dance class work out )

More at Teagan.

Update: Apparently, this hack triggered lots of phone calls.
Victoria Gotti is quoted: "
"I got 100 calls in two hours. I didn't want to take the phones off the hook because my oldest son was out on a date. This went on all night. Finally, at 5:30 a.m., I took them off the hook. This morning, I put them back on and they started ringing immediately. It's driving me insane."

5 million web pages link to a creative commons license

5 million web pages link to a Creative Commons license--can you find them all on the net?

Charlene Li: sale

Charlene Li: "I expect that,, and will tie together their use of Tacoda?s behavioral profiling (both are already clients of Tacoda), thus allowing them even greater ability to track specific profiles across the sites. So if a user visiting auto pages on later visits to read international news, will still be able to provide an advertiser like Ford access to a car enthusiast."


'The goal is to teach journalism students how to recast their relationship'

So 2 seconds on Jeff Jarvis, self-described "mediaman by day, blogboy by night, " as visionary citizen's media educator--In his second letter (in reply) to NYTimes' Bill Keller, Jarvis says, as a side note--
"I wrote up a proposal for a (pardon me) Citizens' Media Center and damned near got funding for it.... The goal is to teach journalism students how to recast their relationship with the public via this medium, to teach bloggers the skills and standards of professional journalism, and to teach big media how to interact with the public in new ways via this medium. One of the deliverables (as I'm told one says in grant proposals) is to bring together bloggers and reporters -- that is, citizen journalists and professional journalists -- to build understanding, to show that we're not enemies, to demonstrate that we share a common goal to inform the public, and to demonstrate that we can better do that together."

Jeff, as a project this is a gotta-have it, a great idea. Even if it's run by a consortium of Universities with Knight and Carnegie support, it's well worth making happen.

Noted, Northern Voice

Wished I could have gone to this conference, but hey some of us have to work (or just went to other conferences).
What's catching my attention, long-distance: sale: An insider's view

According to a former AOL-Netscape colleague of mine, who also used to work at IDG over a 15-year career with both Peter Horan and Kelly Conlin, the really interesting story on the sale is two-fold.
He says to pay attention to:

1. The NYT's angle on buying it, and what that says about the future of print newspapers. It's clear that NYT management realizes that a strong Internet presence is mandatory to tie together communities of readers and advertisers. Classified advertising and Jobs Wanted advertising are the largest profit makers in the Newspaper business. can bridge those communities and enhance just about every NYT print property they own.

2. Primedia's reason for selling it to reshape its portfolio, pay down enormous debt, and streamline a previously unwieldy company that was out of control under the previous leader. Kelly has done a yeoman's job of creating the metrics through which each publisher and division must jump. The stock has moved higher over the last few months because I think many investors see that the team there is getting a handle on the business. Frankly, I would have wanted to hold onto, at $410M sale price, that helps reduce the debt significantly. In business, you sometime have to make short-term decisions to ensure there is a long-term future. It is a tremendously smart move on Primedia's part to reduce debt now.

More: Jay Rosen on sale

Dave Winer suggested the money was paramount and enough with the details, but as someone who's followed since it was The Mining Company, this latest incarnation interests me--and makes NYU Professor Jay Rosen's latest essay a compelling read.
Jay also posts Jeff Jarvis' comment: "About is a platform and a company with the resources of The New York Times can expand and exploit that platform in many ways. I would not assume that as you see it today is going to stay that way."

The whole essay is here, and worth a full read if this interests you---and if you're interested in newspapers' efforts to adapt and thrive in a digital age, this should interest you.

Saturday, February 19, 2005 Why NYTimes has bought a gold mine

Back in April 2004, I wrote about CEO Peter Horan's efforts to make over to give it more of a brand identity, and how this was a different focus than the strategy followed by former CEO Bill Day, which was to make sure the site's pages could be to be discovered as top-line results in as many search queries as possible, particularly on Google.

Seems like the combined efforts of the two regimes may have formed a combo that was irrestible to the New York Times--Horan's efforts added 25 new section fronts on topics such as Small Business, and Career Planning, which support targeted advertising, while Day & Co.'s efforts ensured that pages such as the Broadway Show Guide, Geography Guide (#1 Geography result on Google) and the Urban Legends Guide (#3 result for Urban Legends on Google) show up in the first 15 Google (natural) search results on many topics.

After all, think about what's knowledge of natural search will bring to the Times--with the judicious application of some SEO optimization and the creation of new landing pages that brings some content outside the archive's walls, the Times can kick some butt and do some major traffic acquisition, vastly boosting their revenue from sports, entertainment, financial, and even local advertising (think about adding the NYTimes ad targeting skill for rich media to the SEO mix).

Can you spell money machine?

And then, think about the halo effect for satellite Times properties--what's it gonna do to the franchise when these tools and knowledge base get lent to Boston? Right now has the second Red Sox result on Google--but when you type in "Red Sox Guide"'s page comes up as #4--and it's about the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry.

No wonder Martin Nisenholtz got promoted. This was a very shrewd move.

And hey, they get blogs, too, should they ever want to go there...

Magazines--Spending on print plummets, while tech buys soar

American Demographics reports that the average American household spent $40,817 in 2003.
Of that, just $127 was spent on reading newspapers, magazines or books, or 0.3 percent, while $290 was spent on tobacco and $391 on alcohol.
Spending on consumer electronics was $2060, or 5 percent.
Housing ($13,432) and transportation ($7,781) costs accounted for over half (52 percent) of total spending.
(Via folio)

Susan sez: These stats explains the home theatres, ipods, computers, and GPS systems all my neighbors are buying, but the mailman's bag seem seems stuffed--with catalogs.

Thought for a rainy Saturday

Which of the people in your life represent your past--and which represent your future?
Brad Feld posted some similar questions around the first of the year, including: My goal right now is to focus less on the people who I know are mostly part of my past, and focus more on the people who are in my present--and hopefully, who will become a (valued) part of my future.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Jamie Zawinski : What killed Netscape

Groupware, babies. (Oh, and Microsoft).
Jamie Zawinski says:
" The one that got most of the press was Microsoft's illegal use of their monopoly in one market (operating systems) to destroy an existing market (web browsers) by driving the market price for browsers to zero, instantaneously eliminating something like 60% of Netscape's revenue. Which was, you know, bad.
But the other one is that Netscape 4 was a really crappy product. We had built this really nice entry-level mail reader in Netscape 2.0, and it was a smashing success. Our punishment for that success was that management saw this general-purpose mail reader and said, "since this mail reader is popular with normal people, we must now pimp it out to `The Enterprise', call it Groupware, and try to compete with Lotus Notes!"

Moral of this story: Open source calendar projects are cool, but someone who survived the trauma of Netscape is always around to share the love(aka kick your butt) .

Sorry, Jeremy!

The Power of Blogging

National Journal: William Powers says bloggers are the bright new journalists, but watch out for them. (Via Romenesko)
Chris Locke shows how blogger Robert Scoble has turned Microsoft into a company having true customer conversations--in the Cluetrain spirit (Via EvHead)

The conference trail

This is conference season in my world.
Attending Whose News? Media, Technology and the Common Good, March 3 to 5, 2005, at Harvard, then ETech (my first) March 14-16 in San Diego.
Want to meet up?
Let me know.

OJR ethics story on blogging for dollars

At OJR, JD Lasica looks at blogging for dollars, as in ethics of: "Just how far can marketers go in soliciting blog coverage of their products or services? Does the practice of paying bloggers to blog about a product amount to an advertorial, embedded infomercial or product placement ? and does such an arrangement violate the compact of trust between reader and writer? Or is it simply the next logical step in the blogosphere?s evolution from hobby to business opportunity? Do different rules apply to journalists who blog?"

BTW, Lasica's bio notes that he is working with Marc Canter on, a nonprofit grassroots media effort, and that "Canter was involved in promoting the Marqui initiative in the blogosphere".
Transparency, baby.

Thursday, February 17, 2005 Wild speculation

IM'ing with a friend tonight about the NYTimes acquisition of
W agreed the ad revenue and inventory was the big thing, but moved on to more speculative thoughts:

Any other big(read wild) ideas out there?

Update: -- Rex Hammock: "The NYT is paying $410 million for a network of 500 weblogs that collectively have 22 million visitors each month. $410 million / 500 = $820,000 per weblog." (Via Paid Content)


Nick Denton pulls back the kimono and tracks his traffic (this is so cool)
NYTimes buys for $410M: Hey, it's for the inventory, right? (Rafat agrees.)
Biz Week: Weblogsinc is a company to watch.
Vin Crosbie goes staff with start-up Critical Mention, will shrink consulting practice.
Ventura County Star: Daily news budget blog--another neat little innivation.
CNN now has their own RSS. Yippee. Does that mean the rest of TW will soon have RSS, too?

Subscribing to *egofeeds*

Eric Rice quote: " I just don't know if I could burn incense and put USB flash drives at the base of little Dave Winer or Evan Williams statues on my mantle on a regular basis. "

Rice also has a post today on egofeeds--feeds on someone's name. He says he subscribes to egofeeds for Steve Rubel, Robert Scoble and Jeff Jarvis.
So do I.
Why? Interested in their ideas--and what others say about those ideas.
(PS: On Bloglines, Rubel's egofeed has 11 subscribers).
(PPS: I can't believe I am telling you this.)

So, what is Nick Denton?

Izzle Pfaff!, commenting on a Daily Show skit on bloggers " What is Nick Denton, after all, if not some hideous amalgam of Queer Eye, Real Sex and the New York Post?"
Susan sez: Perhaps David Pecker's better half?
Or a publishing genius?

What bloggers (really) do at home

Jeneane Sessum: "You probably think that when I'm not blogging, I'm writing super-copy for mega-corporations, sporting fancy sunglasses and an expensive laptop to Starbucks to work with the other trendy involuntarily separated outcasts of the 00s.
What I'm really doing is hanging my DSL wire over the footboard of my bed, hoping it doesn't slip out again since it long ago lost the little prongy-thing that keeps it neatly stuck inside the ethernet port, emailing long-lost bloggers encouraging them to come back."

Yep, J, I know what you mean.
(And that's why it's great I have an office!)

Dinner last night: Blogdigger & noodles

Jing Jing's appeal can't be the food--but althought the Dan Dan noodles were just okay, the company was excellent--Feedster's Michael Fagan and Mike Rowehl, Russ Beattie, Mary Hodder, Esme Vos, Kaliya Hamlin, Technorati's Niall Kennedy, and a couple of folks whose full names I didn't get (sorry).
Oh yes, and guest of honor Greg Gershman of Blogdigger, in town from the East Coast.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Knight Ridder buys Bay area local papers--what's next?

Knight Ridder's had the smarts to buy 4 local Bay area/Peninsula daily newspapers this week. The four papers have a combined daily circulation of more than 55,000 and about 120 employees.
Seems to me this is a great opportunity for Knight-Ridder to have a new testbed for print/digital media integration, especially around classifieds, community and "citizen journalism."
After all the margins are lower, the papers have super-unique content, and distinct identities--and they'll report up to Hilary Schneider, a supremely web-savvy exec.

Alan Mutter has an interesting point about the sale: "
The deal is significant, however, because it means that the Hearst-owned Chronicle now is completely cornered."

What's next?
If they continue to be smart, a significant opportunity.

Open source Craigslist?

Commercenet blog: Rohit Khare asks " Now, what would it take to build an open-source clone of Craigslist one could run locally?"

Start-ups: Superhacker and Phonegirl

Adam Rifkin's riffing on start-ups and what makes them work (with heavy props to Guy Kawasaki)
" In a technology startup there are usually just two initial goals: engineering and sales. That is, Make something excellent, and get others to believe (and buy!).
The "Phoneboy" (or, in some cases, "Phonegirl") part of a founding team is the one who gets others to believe; s/he serves as the intrepid sidekick to the "Superhacker" -- the one who gets things built. Sometimes a Two-Founder team divides the tasks: Apple's Wozniak makes something excellent, and Jobs gets them to believe. Sometimes both individuals do some of each, as is the case (I believe) with Google's Page and Brin. What's important is not how the processes of making and selling are divided; what's important is that the partnership is able to do both well enough -- and communicate together well enough -- that the flywheel can start turning and the combined endeavor is ready to sell, to build more, and to hire."

Adam has more..and it's good stuff if you're in start-up mode--or just interested in the internet economy.

Erik Benson: Managing presence with Bloglines

Erik Benson's writing about using Bloglines to manage his online presence.
What does this mean?
Erik consolidated his personal feeds into one Bloglines folder, built a quick Ruby On Rails script to pull in entries from that server, in chronological order into a local database, and displays them here.
He says "What I get back from Bloglines is beautiful content that looks the same no matter which site I originally posted it on. Since everything goes through this filter, there's really no need to have access to the database of content directly. I therefore decided to move all of them off my server and to make Bloglines the mesh net through which I collect all content."

Richard MacManus of course saw this right away and commented: "I find it interesting (in a nerdy way) how you've gone from roll-yer-own software to MT to Typepad. I replaced my linkblog with delicious early Jan and did other Web 2.0-ish things, but you've raised the bar."

Ms. Geek says this is amazingly cool.
And wishes Erik's Blogline's sub list was public.

Chris Carfi: Long Tail relationships

Sales guru Chris Carfi's posted some quotes and comments about the long tail concept and the importance of relationships. What's interesting here is that he segues from Chris Anderson , Steve Gillmor and other digerati into Whole Wheat Radio , a small(of course) station in Talkeetna, Alaska that is also super-user-driven.
Well, one of my current favorite (non-work) blogs is David Miller's To Philly, From Alaska, w/love , a schoolteacher's journal originating in Tuntutuliak, a native Eskimo village in S.W. Alaska, 440 miles west of Anchorage.
And what does this prove?
Absolutely nothing, except that people in Alaska are as independent and original as common wisdom has it, and I should go visit so I am not so goddamned naive about our 49th state.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Washington Post: Streamlined home page

Exec editor Jim Brady and team have launched a slimmed-down, streamlined home page for the Washington Post, one that gives more prominence to the news hole and reduced channel navigation clutter. The whole left nav bar is gone, leaving a more dynamic horizontal nav in its place. Nice job and one that is sure to be copied.

(Via Steve Outing)

March 13th: Come for a hike!

Blogger turned hiker Tom Mangan and out of shape, sits on her butt too much blogger/consultant Susan Mernit (me, in other words) invite you all to join us for a Sunday hike on March 13th, 2005.
Start time: 10 am (meet in parking lot at park)
Location: Joseph D. Grant County Park, San Jose
(8405 Mt. Hamilton Rd., San Jose, CA 95140, in the east of Santa Clara Valley. Travel to the park by taking Highway 101 or Highway 680 to Alum Rock Avenue eastbound in San Jose. Turn right onto Mt. Hamilton Road and travel eight miles to reach the park entrance.)

We'll do a 5-8 mile hike, not too strenuous, for about 4 hours.
Bring water, lunch, rain gear.
Kids welcome, no dogs on trails.

The park has pretty views of rolling hills, leading up into some cool vistas.

Leave info here or email me--include cell phone number so we can call if there's a big storm or something.

Conferences: Freedom to Connect

Frank Paynter has a passionate note about Freedom to Connect, DC, March 30 and 31st. Sounds great...I have to be on the east coast a week later, so it probably won't happen for me, But it looks good, just as Frank says.

Six Apart redesigns site; staffers star

Blogging software company Six Apart has relaunched their web site and it's a beaut. Overseen by marketing director Deb Schultz and executed by Mule Design, the site is the epitome of clean and bright--but, even better, all the people depicted are staffers (man, they look good.)
Do you know these people?

Very cool--and diverse, which I assume is one of the points.

Ecommerce: Search is first step for sales

Mediaweek story about Performics/Doubleclick research on how search leads to online sales. The Performics/ComScore report, Search Before the Purchase, analyzed pre-purchase search activity across four categories: Apparel, Computer Hardware, Sports & Fitness and Travel, using a sample of 1.5 million participants and found that half of all online shoppers research products via search engine before buying, with more time spent on research than previously realized.

Data points:

Related: See Seth Goldstein comments on SEO from Emerging Tech conf.

Quote this: When good journalists go mad

Charlie Madigan, Chicago Tribune: "Because the medium of blogging is speed-of-light stuff, we have become self-referential and obsessive about what happens well ahead of the historical curve."
Michael Wolff, Vanity Fair: "By all rights, 18 months from now we should be looking back at this and all kind of embarrassed to say the word blog -- I hope." (Oh, and he also says Serge Brin and Larry Page want to sell underwear.)

Mark Cuban (not a journalist, but a good quote): " Its payback time . The bloggers are here, and they are ready to knock down the gates and get their pound of flesh. The traditional media has no idea what is about to hit them."

Weds nite dinner with Greg Gershman, Blogdigger

Greg Gershman of Blogdigger is going to be in town for 24 hours starting tomorrow, so we're planning a quick (and cheap) dinner for interested folks.
Dinner Weds. February 16th, 6:30 pm in Palo Alto
jing jing noodle
443 Emerson Street, Palo Alto, 94301
(Anticipated cost per person $20 bucks)
Greg's got a note at his blog and you can leave a comment there---or here--if you plan to come.

Monday, February 14, 2005


Bertrand Pecquerie: Eason Jordan, How Patriotism interferes with journalism.
James Atlas: Fired at 50. "But I knew what it was about. You always know."
Tony Pierce: "never before this administration has a gay male prostitute with a fake name writing for a fake news service been allowed such access to the west wing."
Om Malik: DEMO: Featured products, but no markets. (Via Paid Content)
Netdialogue: New governance, policy and issues site, founded by Berkman and CIS.

Online TV: Reuters UK to launch channel

Terry Heaton reports Reuters UK is telling the press they will launch a consumer video aka TV channel on the web. Quote: "Our philosophy is to offer viewers the ability to choose the news that matters most to them, wherever and whenever it is breaking, and to see for themselves what?s really happening on the ground. This is the future of the television news experience."
See a demo here.
This gives some special resonance to the Television Goes Online event in Berkeley this weekend-
Berkeley Cybersalon: Television Goes Online
Sunday, February 20, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
The Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St., Berkeley
and to Jeff Ubois' new site on TV.

Emerging Tech: Grokking Seth Goldstein, Majestic Research

One of the more provocative talks at Emerging Tech was by Seth Goldstein, long-time NY digital media guy and chairman of Majestic Research, a new research firm that focuses exploring corporate performance for analysis in the Internet, Auto Retail, Ecommerce, Video Games, Homebuilders, Casinos, and Health Care sectors, among others.
Some points from his talk:
Seth also mentioned some new (ad/revenue-related) companies to watch
And raised questions about whether keyword price inflation would kill the business(nope), where brand advertising fit as keywords continued to rule, how ads would make their way into RSS (and not piss off consumers), and so on.

It was a great talk about one of my favorite topics--where the money is going as the platforms evolve.

Oh, and Seth's blog is here.

Emerging Technology conf related posts

Chris Anderson, on 'will spam slam the long tail?' aka 'Can blog spam be solved like email spam filters?'
Steve Gillmor looks at "why attention AND human filtering are the disruptive intersection at which the new Web stands."
JD Lasica's measured take on the conference.
Ross Mayfield thinks about Yahoo's goals and asks if machines can ever replace people (rhetorically, of course) And Marc Canter says check rojo.
Andrew Nachison summarizes, and Jackson West, Mary Hodder and Renee Bodgett take notes.
Ross Mayfield on Mark Fletcher, Scott Rafer, Dan Gillmor and Chris Anderson talks.

More Media Center Emerging Tech links here. And here.

Roses, roses, roses

On a day when I did not expect anything, this came:
They were so beautiful, I cried.
And then cried some more.

Update: Newspapers with RSS feeds

Jackie Rejfek and Kevin Reyven have compilled the latest list of US newspapers with RSS feeds. The list has 69 RSS feeds, with a total of 1178 US papers, with convenient add/edit boxes to update when they get their feeds. (Via Dave Winer)

Note: Will people start saying *feed* instead of RSS?
Mark Fletcher of Bloglines suggests staying away from tech terms with consumer-oriented products.
And then there's Atom.

Back online at last

Blogger crashed for me--but the help desk folks got me up and running once my low moans turned into piercing shrieks.
More tk, especially about the eTech conference..

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Hey, mine is bigger!

JD Lasica points to two bad boys of the net arguing over whose is bigger (network, that is). Jason Calcanis and Stowe Boyd have a little friendly jousting going on, mostly because they both wish they had Nick Denton's traffic.
Tony Perkins joins in and says "Everyone who makes over 33% profit margins on their network selling to IBM, Sun, Accenture, Audi etc. raise their hands!"

You gotta love it, right?
--Or run screaming from the building.

Yahoo's My ambitions--additional thoughts

There's a lot of good discussion coming out of the events of the Media Center Emerging Technologies conference this week.
Ross Mayfield's written a(nother) superb post, this time on personalization and customization, spurred on by the apparent building out of RSS tools by Yahoo and others. Ross says (reacting to a comment I made):
"Yahoo has blended personalization and RSS to form the most widely used aggregator on the planet. Keep in mind that the vast majority of traffic goes through a handful of portals (and an oligopoly of carriers) and mainstream attention follows the power-law.
...A new editor is rising and it isn't your blogging client, nor branded aggregators, its an algorithm that supposedly will grow to know you better than people can."
Ross goes on to say that all the "superpowers" will have personalized RSS readers in the next year--and he's right, they will--and they should.
But--and here's his big interesting point-- customized personalization-- smart, self-adjusting, filtered system--limits discovery (think EPIC).
Ross insists that the new new thing is the social exchange of info--that I read something hecause Doc Searls wrote about it, or Mary Hodder, or my friend Lisa Williams--and that has a higher value than some machine filtering me.
He's right again, but organic, web-like organizations don't fit corporate structure, so we'll see those networks grow outside and around the new tools as they're fitted into the mainstream--and see additional tools (maybe FOAF?) radiate out from their hub.

Side note: Jeremy Zawodny had a post on all this as well, but I wasn't able to leave a comment--I checked the MT Blacklist, and I'm not there--anyone have any ideas why leaving a comment might not have worked?

Schlumping on Saturday (& books)

A beautiful sunny day in San Jose.
I took advantage of it by going almost nowhere.
After a week of conferences and clients, today I cleaned the office, the closets, the dressers, etc.--Many bags of trash later, there's open space.
Later, I went to the library, paid fines, and got new books--The School Among the Ruins, Adrienne Rich's latest book of poems, Honored Guest, new short stories by Joy Williams, Poet of the Appetites, a biography of MFK Fisher by Joan Reardon, War Against the Animals, a novel by Paul Russell, and Branded Nation by Chase Twichell, whose earlier book on luxury was pretty good. (I am also reading Getting Things Done and The Perfect Store: Inside eBay.)
Tonight we're going to see The Wedding Date.
And, there's a whole 'nother day of the weekend left.

Ecommerce: Selling shoes pays off

Internet Retailer reports that shoe and handbag outlet Zappos had the highest gain in unique visitors over the past year, rising 60% and pushing it into the top 10 apparel/beauty sites.
Anyone think that popular shoe and handbag bloggers like Manolo, Kiss Me Stace, Shoewawa, Miss Meghan's Shoe Blog, Imelda's Closet, and In My Bag are driving some traffic?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Getting fired at Google

Mark Jen has some comments on his blog on getting fired at Google:
"in january 28th, 2005, i was terminated from google. either directly or indirectly, my blog was the reason. this came as a great shock to me because two days ago we had looked at my blog and removed all inappropriate content - the comments on financial performance and future products. for my next entries, i was very cognizant of my blogging content, making sure to stay away from these topics. i mean, as much as i like to be open and honest about communicating to users and customers, i'm not insubordinate. if i was told to shut down this blog, i would have."

hopefully, mark got some sort of package...he's says he's on the market now....and Google gets to show the world what an uptight, secretive company they have become. Good move, fellas.

RSS History: Netscape launched RSS in 1999

Dave Winer recalls today as the day in 1999 when "Netscape went public with its RSS reader, the first-ever. It was called My.Netscape.Com. "

John Roberts, CNET News Developer, on Newsburst

The man (John Roberts) speaks and it sounds good:
"Woke up this morning to realize that Newsburst, the free web-based reader from CNET had been found. We developed the service out in the open to a large degree, and it's surprising in some ways that it remained quiet this long. Still, we were not quite ready to start showing it to people... but that's the way the web works, and after various folks dug in and cleaned up, the preview release is ready for readers. Mostly!

I look forward to all the feedback. I've been reading lots all day, and at this point I'll just point to the Newsburst sources I'm using to keep up. You can click the Add Source link at the top of any of these pages to add them to your Newsburst.

Note: Newsburst allows OPML import and export. If the service doesn't earn your time, your subscriptions go with you. "

John, congrats--it is slick.

Calcanis: Google AdSense $$ is good!

Paid Content: Google analysts's day reveals Weblogsinc is averaging $600 a day in AdSense revenue; that means they have at least 11 times the traffic of a more typical--and successful-- blogging site(who might make $600-1000 a month if they're lucky.)
Calcanis is quoted on the slide: "I've never seen anything like it in my 11 years of web publishing!"

(So, given that the ad placements on weblogsinc still seem to be sold on a sponsored basis--ie a fixed spot for a fixed period of time, one could speculate that selling 10-12 spots at $250 month to run across 75 sites (like $2,500 a month) and selling run of network space could be worth a $2-3 CPM(maybe $3,000 a month?) it makes sense that AdSense brings in substantially more for a group like this--but, hey, that's all wild speculation--I don't have any real idea what their revenue picture is, outside of this Google nugget.)

Backing the robot coop: more on the money

A post from robot coop guys on their Amazon funding.
Nice transparency, but it's worth mentioning that they probably have some seed money from Microsofties as well.
I first noticed them before they hit the radar last spring when Ignition Partners' Martin Tobias, a smart guy to the nth degree and an x-MSFT, told the BlogOn conference he was a big fan of Eric Benson, who was leaving Amazon to do his own thing.
I was also a Benson fan and thought: When a VC says that, start-ups (and $$) follow.
And how true it was.

Britney's (real) wedding pictures

Back in the day, when ran pictures of Britney Spears on the beach, we had the highest traffic ever.
So posting links to the just-leaked pix of Britney and her wedding party is irrestible.

There's something amazingly sweet about these pictures--what's shocking is that the down-home white-trash bride is one of the world's most successful recording artists--guess 2004 is when Spears made it clear she's a grits and bacon homegirl.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I (heart) tony pierce

tony pierce.
This man is the man. Have no idea what he's like in real life, but his blog is pure charles mingus poetry.

Talking 'bout my Craigslist: Should NYC apt. brokers pay listings fee?

Craig asks: Should Craigslist charge apartment brokers in NYC? There's a discussion going on here.
Craig explains:
"The high volumes of postings in these categories encourages frequent re-posting of the same listings, creating a vicious cycle. That can be really annoying to everyone, making these categories much less useful. Many brokers and renters have suggested that a small fee could do wonders in eliminating this problem, saving lots of time and headache for all concerned.

We want to keep the cost of using craigslist low, and our current thinking is $10 or less per posting. Even if an ad has to be reposted a few times - and we're not sure this will be necessary since a fee should cut overall volume by up to 90% - such rates should keep costs much lower than advertising elsewhere. "

Susan sez: Craig is doing his usual customer-focused thing in asking the community to weigh in--looks like consensus is in favor of charging, with discussion focused on what the right amount is.
At CL, community may *really* rule.

Analysts' Day: Inside da Googleplex

Google's analysts' call yesterday included a "Day" that allowed folks into the building in MountainView for a real live meeting.
Points from the Seattle Times story on the event:
Anyone blog who was in attendance? Or does the sign at the door NDA preclude that?

Slashdot, SEW, Greg Linden. (Via Battelle)

New kinda spam?

For the past two weeks, I have been getting spam in one of my email accounts that seems to be based off a Yahoo groups name. It's all from some cute girl looking for a nice guy (the account name is gender neutral). She urges me to go look at her picture on some innocuous-sounding site. Of course, I don't respond.
Today, I got an email supposedly from the first girl's friend!! Passing me along as a "neat guy she met on Yahoo."
A snippet:
"Hi.... I know this is going to sound reallllly silly, but I got your email from a friend that was chatting with you on Yahoo (she is currently back together with her old B-friend) But she couldn't stop talking about your profile and how kind you were, since I am generally very shy this past week or so has really been outlandish for me.... And I know it sounds kinda stupid, but I can't ever get up the nerve to hit on a guy. I guess I am just better with least that English major is good for something huh? I, also, seperated with my husband not too long see, he cheated on me. So, I am already feeling pretty dejected and didn't want to add to it !! I am sure this is sounding crazy, but I really would love to get together. You can check out my pictures if you like... I joined a pretty fun personals site that lets me get back at my "X" a little bit (Also, done this past weekend.). "
And so on...What a marketing pitch!

Emerging Tech notes: Coming later

Nuggets to share from Emerging Tech, posting when conference ends this afternoon. A couple of stray thoughts from a marvelous dinner and preso at Yahoo last night:

Update: SFist Jackson West has a long point on the night. And a different perspective.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mark Jen: Blogger gone from Google

John Battelle: "Mark Jen, the fellow who reported on internal company activities at Google, is gone from the company."

Guess: What did Bloglines cost?

The new guessing game--what did the Bloglines acquisition cost?
Gary Stein at Jupiter says his "mole" thought $35-40 million.
Someone told me the asking price was rumored to be $40 million.
Someone else says he thought it went for $20-$25 million.
Any other guesstimates?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

New biz blog: Brandshift

Corante just added BrandShift to the roster. And it's worth a look.

Steve Rubel: Amazon invests in Robot Coop

Rubel reports that Amazon's (wisely) ponied up $$ for Robot Coop, the neat Seattle start-up comprised of folks from an early incarnation of the Amazon personalization team. Josh Peterson and Erik Benson seem like super cool guys( in that techie sorta way) and their beta is interesting.
Let those dollars flow!

At Emerging Tech conference; light postings tomorrow

Emerging Tech is in full swing and I'm the facilitator for many of the sessions, so postings will be light till Thursday, when manical vigor will kick in once more.


Om Malik: Digital lifestyle ain't cheap. "Even the very basic package could set you back by at least $150 a month."
Paid Content: Yahoo wants to be the (new) MTV.
Ask Jeeves and Bloglines: The love story--sweet post by Jim Lazone.
Alan Mutter: Merrill Lynch's Lauren Fine shows newspapers are losing ads as quickly as global warming.
Google Maps. Have ya seen it? Pretty, but still in beta.
tony pierce: this year's Kerouac and a helluva writer.

Monday, February 07, 2005 is on the block; Google bidding? reports that AOL, Ask Jeeves, The NY Times, Google and Yahoo are all bidding to purchase, the guide-driven portal now owned by Primedia.
Asking price is $350 million to $500 million, and Goldman Sachs has been managing the sale for the past month.
It's obvious why AOL, Ask, the Times and Yahoo would want's got a huge amount of ad inventory and can easily be integrated with other content and tools--but it's intriguing to think about how Google might use the site.

Oy, vey. My head is swimming.

Is flickr the next to sell?

Laughing Meme wonders if flickr is getting sold. To Yahoo.
Good question.
Paul thinks maybe. And this Paul knows they're hot.
Rumor mill.

Bloglines/Jeeves: The scoop on the acquisition

"We starting thinking about acquiring Bloglines because everyone in the company was using it, like 25 times a day," says Jim Lanzone, SVP of Search Properties at Ask Jeeves, the Oakland-based search company that's acquiring the blog newsreader/aggregator/directory company for an undisclosed sum. "It's entirely possible we won't roll out a revenue model right away, just let Bloglines complement the other features and services we have."

Nice compliment, but there's no question Ask Jeeves acquired Bloglines for both the database and the advertising possibilities.
--Not only does BL have 283 million indexed articles going back to 2003 indexed in their archive, they have a structured directory and database that--as Mark Fletcher points out--will integrate very nicely with the Teoma engine--and maybe support the development of some new products.
(And all that data could work really well for targeted advertising as companies like Tacoda and Revenue Science broaden their platform to provide support for blogging, structured data, and RSS and make deals with these guys.)
And if they are really smart about, Jeeves might get to be a leader in the targeted delivery of advertising within packaged RSS feeds--an exciting--and emerging--space.

Starting Tuesday, BL founder Mark Fletcher becomes an Ask Jeeves VP (and GM for his original business) and his team of 5 or so joins the Asksters at their Los Gatos satellite offices.
The product, the interface and the user value will remain the same, but suddenly, don't the possibilities for BL seem slightly more limitless?
...And doesn't the valuations of the other aggregators suddenly seem higher?

Update: Founder Mark Fletcher's post here (Thanks, Tom)

Gridskipper: Did Cheaptickets bail?

Jeremy Wright noticed that new travel blog Gridskipper seems stripped of its sponsored links.
So, did they bail?

Scoble in San Jose--want to have dinner?

Microsoft evangelist and tireless blogger/connector Robert Scoble is coming to my home town of San Jose, CA and speaking to SJC students at the awesome new library.
Thursday, 2:30. Open to the public.
Details here (inc. RSVP)
I am going to go--a friend and I were going to meet at the library anyway--Now we have to show up.
Scoble--you have any dinner plans?

MacManus: How to subscribe to tagged searches

Bless Richard MacManus for this useful post on how to use PubSub, Blogdigger, and some of the better-known RSS/search engines to create feeds of search tags, or as Richard says "essentially just searches for future content."
If you've heard about creating searches of blog data that you get in a feed --and aren't sure what to do--read this very clear and easy to follow post and set yourself up in style.

Brit bits (UK, not Britney)

Eric Lunt:: Predicted BL acquisition in 2004

Wow, Eric Lunt predicted the acquisition of Bloglines by Ask Jeeves in September, 2004.
He said:
"Okay, so who would acquire Bloglines?
So who? I'll tell you who: Ask Jeeves. They're still hanging in there, but jumping into this space could be the shot in the arm the old butler needs. They've got some good technology (they're behind more sites than you might think), some decent revenues, but they need some buzz. Bloglines could be just the thing for them."

More on this deal as soon as the embargo lifts tonight, 9:01 PM PST.
--Or when somebody else breaks it.

PS This is a fix..I first thought it was Shelly Powers..not. (Thanks, Richard)

Ecommerce: Wal-Mart catching up to eBay

Internet Retailer reports Neilsen NetRatings data:

The top 10 with visitors in December ?04, December ?03 (in millions) and year-over-year growth were:

More here.

Local LA papers relaunch sites--with blog-like designs

Hop Studios (Travis Smith & Susannah Gardner) have redesigned 5 local LA-area newspaper web sites owned by Tribune via LATimes:
The designs remind me of, in a way, and have a nice organizational clarity--very blog-like and able to include more interactive features, I hope.
Travis says:
"The front page of one paper is only 19K -- 50K if you include all the graphics and style sheets."

Blogging: 1 million active MovableType and TypePad users

Phil Wolff reports, via data from the Blog Business Summit:

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Have you been Googlejacked?

What is Googlejacking and should you care? kuro5hin's got dish and how-to to check if your site has been you-know-what.

Lisa Williams: 4 minutes about podcasting

Lisa Williams movie on what poscasting is and why you might care: "Podcasting is a space suit for the toxic media atmosphere of our planet. Judging from the smell, it's a methane atmosphere."
This little movie is an instant classic.
Not seen it?
Gotta watch.
And when you are done, you will know all about podcasting.
And be smiling.

Update: Lisa sez--this podcast cost $151.00 to make.

A different view: Ain't always the new thing that's the best

Had dinner tonight with my old friend Peter, who started a dot com with me some years ago, ran a couple crazy startups and now is in the agency/marketing/direct mail biz.
I said I have these business ideas that are 6-10 months ahead of the curve and I never do them because they are too early, and then similar ideas become big--for somebody else.
He said "Want to hear my philosophy of life about this?"
I said "Of course."
And then Peter said, " You know, after I did all these crazy new start-ups, I decided I wasn't going to do anything anymore that was totally new. Instead, I was going to find things that people were already doing and just do them so much better."
He said "You know, GM has already been making cars for 25 years when Toyota came along."
Peter's an ad guy now, and smart, and you know what?
He's got a good point.

Liz Spiers: FishbowlNY is like

Spiers sez FishbowlNY ain't Gawker:
"We're targeting media people, not a general audience. In the best of all worlds we'd be but without spending the $28 million.
If the fishbowls end up being Gawker 2.0, we're doing something wrong."

AdJab--Tom Biro launches Weblogs Inc ad industry blog

The covers are off on on AdJab, the new advertising commentary blog Tom Biro's launched with Calcanis' Weblogsinc.

Techie side note: AdJab offers the nice feature of RSS feeds by category--you can get the whole feed, or go for agencies, superbowl, etc.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Coding those Cadavars: RFID to the rescue?

AP story: Seems The University of California is considering inserting RFID chips into donated cadavers to prevent illegal traffic in organs, corpses, etc.
A quote from Dr. Todd Olson, director of anatomical donations at Albert Einstein Medical School of New York: "There's more regulations that cover a shipment of oranges coming into California than there is a shipment of human knees that are going from a body parts broker in one state to Las Vegas."

Bakotopia radio ad: Hotties & 2 cell phones

So, do you need two cell phones to manage your hook ups?
If yes, and you're a Central Californian, you're the perfect demo for Bakotopia, the new Bakersfield classifieds/community services--or so new radio ads running locally suggest.
--And even if you don't fit the profile, the ads are a hoot--another sign of the creativity of the new media team involved with the Bakersfield California newspaper.

My next read: Bo Peabody

Brad Feld reviews a new book by entrepeneur Bo Peabody, who founded Tripod (sold to Lycos for $58m), among other things.
Book is Lucky or Smart? and there's a related Inc. Magazine article.
I know Bo is smart, and I hope the book is, too.

Make #1 is out

Make is out and the web site's up.
Merlin Mann--who's a columnist--says "It?s a beautifully designed and edited publication about homemade technology projects for nerds. Kind of like ReadyMade meets Popular Mechanics."
The site lists articles but has little content, but there's a Make Blog written by Phil Torrone(who writes for Pop Sci, engadget and hack a day) and a sweet FAQ.
congrats, folks.

Feedster teams with Eurekster

Another collaboration in the RSS/search space is now public---Feedster and Eurekster, the NZ/CA-based search company, are working together.
Feedster's blog and RSS data will be integrated into search results for Eurekster, which will be interesting to see.
Eurekster is an intriguing--if somewhat unknown play--a search tool that can be weighted by cohort groups and pages viewed by that group (or by groups of people who view a similar keyword).
Cool beans, guys.

Friendship: The limits of social networks?

Christopher Allen says: "How do I maintain meaningful relationships with over 300 people?"
(So, Chris is thinking about his Dunbar number, the point at which the 300+ relationships on his social network sites don't scale.)
This is a great question and Chris asks how others handle this issue.

Some thoughts:
I like the idea of keiretsu, the Japanese notion that a set of companies have interlocking business relationships and shareholdings--only I take it to mean a larger, loosely joined group of people with shared interests and compatible business objectives.
Beyond a circle of active friends are the keiretsu, the group with shared sympathies and interests--I use Linked In and Orkut to keep track (a little) of who might be within my larger network--friends, colleagues, and friends of friends with overlapping ideas or interests, but it's really a pretty abstract list--I don't try to make my social network lists comprehensive--so some good friends might not be there, will acquaintances are.

Dave Weinberger's comment:"My own strategy is the same online as it is offline: Nod pleasantly and try to avoid getting yourself into a conversational corner where it becomes obvious that you don't actually remember the person's name."

Bloglines acquisition: the speed of a leak

I heard something about Bloglines on Friday afternoon.
Sat. am, my friend Mary Hodder blogged the news Bloglines will be acquired by Ask Jeeves.
And now I am reading this news in Business Week online.
And on the blogs of Dave Winer, John Battelle Scoble, and Steve Rubel, among others.
How did this get out?
Somebody talked (obviously). And then someone listened.
And in today's world, news travels--fast.
No official word yet.

Bonus: Russ Beattie has a message for Jeeves. Don't mess with the B!
Bonus 2: PaidContent's Rafat Ali says: "(The acquisition) certainly makes AskJeeves more palatable acquisition target...but who would buy it? IAC?" And PC on the earnings.

Susan sez: We don't know yet, what the actual details are, but one would think this improves the valuation of all the other aggregator companies that are also rapidly adding users.

One more link: AP story via Forbes on Ask Jeeves in Google's shadow.

Friday, February 04, 2005

INDTV picks an audience, kinda

Hey, it's the post-college years.
INDTV: "There's plenty to watch, but viewers in their twenties and thirties don't have much of a chance to help shape what actually makes it on TV."
"INdTV Is The New Black
Are you a trend-spotter? A cool-hunter? Take off your trucker cap (or put it back on) and show us the next big thing in clothes, culture, style, or music."

(Does that mean it's really aspirational 19 year olds in Kansas?)

AOL TW data--are the percentages really higher?

From the recent TimeWarner meeting with analysts:
Don Logan, Chairman, Media & Communications Group, on AOL: "Today this media network represents over 100 million domestic unique monthly visitors and over 200 million globally. Our strategy relies on increasing audience and usage across these diversified properties."
(Via Paid Content)

Susan sez: It's hard not to compare these numbers to previous data. If we could look back for stats on what the numbers were in 1999 and 2001, at the time of the merger, and then before subscriptions started ebbing away--how would the percentage of the overall population online compare with the ratios for AOL users?
Lower, I bet.

Mark Pesce at Sydney Mobile conference

VRML and Bitorrent whiz Mark Pesce gave what sounds like a fascinating talk at a Mobile conference in Sydney, AU. Shane Williamson posts:
"Some of Pesce's comments:
  • a concept of 'hyperpeople' where these individuals are producers, distributors & consumers all rolled into one.
  • That we need to change the way we view the word 'networks' and instead of thinking of it as 'connected identities'
  • Digital Social Networks are online sites like LinkedIn, Friendstar, Orkut, Livejournal that foster connected identities.

"Digital Social Networks are like sharks, if they stop collecting info they die."
(Via Louey's Blog)
More Pesce ideas here.

Dicey ricey: NYC Rice pudding shop laundering money

Ya gotta love this--the NY Post reports that " the owner of the Rice to Riches Cafe in Little Italy was busted yesterday for allegedly running a $21 million-a-year sports gambling ring just in time for the Super Bowl. Nearly $30,000 was found stashed in the eatery. "
Gives new meaning to the blurb on their site:
Who knew that by scientifically combining optimum hand-picked ingredients from around the world, we would stumble on a RICE PUDDING so threatening to other desserts that we were told by the government to keep our recipes confidential."

Who knew, indeed?

Ventura County Star incorporates 'citizen journalism'

It's not always bloggers vs. journalists. Sometimes it's win-win.
Howard Owens, Director of New Media at the Ventura County Star, a Scripps paper (and award-winning newspaper web site) posted this note recently to Online News forum(excerpt):
"We see blogs, forums, photo blogs and other forms of citizen journalism as a significant part of the online news world. Our readers want to be part of the process of sharing the news and shaping the news. Technology is giving them the tools to do it, and as Dan Gillmor has pointed out, our readers often know more than we do. They can also be more places than we can. And, they also know what interests them and what news they want in ways that traditional, top-down journalism might miss. We need to give appropriate attention to this growing facet of our business."

To that end, the Ventura County Star created a position for an editor whose job it is to "guide them in the world of 'journalism as a conversation.' "

Owens says " Our current plan is to grow organically in this area rather than push any one big initiative. We have blogs, forums and photo blogs now. We will work to grow these and help promote citizen journalism in Ventura County."

More on Yahoo Japan Blogs

Phil Wolff took another look and reports:
  • Each blog has an RSS feed (all flavors) but not Atom. It's not clear which services a blog pings with updates.
  • A "favorites" system, lets you add a blog to "My Favorites" and see their updates in a sidebar of your own blog. The number of fans you have (favorites subscribers) shows in your stats. This is a great way to use RSS feeds within an application.
  • Like Ryze and other social networks, you can leave a message in a Guest Book, essentially commenting on the blog instead of a specific post.
  • Access control over posts, like LiveJournal. So you can have a post that's private to the author, to named friends, or to a named group.
More here

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Craigslist metasearch of all cities

Lifehacker (Gina T) reports on clsearch, an appropriately bare-bones search engine that searches a keyword across all Craigslist sites.
I tried searching resumes for "America Online" and got 30-odd results.
(Warning: it's slow)

Words we like: Technosexual, furkid

Technosexual: "A male with a strong aesthetic sense and a love of technology."
Furkid: "A pet treated as one's child."

What do you call a girl geek who's obsessed with her dog?

(Via Online Blog, Guardian)

Web 10+ reports

There was a seminar--Web+10 ---about online media at the Poynter Institute this past week.
Neil MacIntosh has a detailed post, including a pointer to a Steve Yelvington/Dave Winer mash-up.
Favorite quote from MacIntosh: "Away from blog hype, one thing that stood out was the huge changes facing the US press, online and off. Many titles have enjoyed near monopolies in their circulation areas, and have built rich businesses through classified ads. They've employed huge (by UK standards) staffs. But now, into that quite cosy world, eBay and Craigslist have blundered, and business models are, simply, being blown apart. To make things worse, younger readers are abandoning print at a rate that even the UK can't match - yet."

P.S. For the record, I think Dave Winer's post is not crass-it's right on. (But then, my secret name is media geek.)

Exceptions: Where women out earn men

Does this article from Fast Company on fields where women out-earn men mean that men make more $$ in all other jobs?
  • Sales Engineer -- $89,908 -- $62.660
  • Engineering managers -- $82,784 -- $76,752
  • Aerospace engineers -- $78.416 -- $70,35
How depressing.
(Via Tod Maffin)

Should passion be a job requirement

John Pocaro's got a good post on Curt Rosengren and his talk to 150 Microsofties on--yep, passion and your career.
Shrt version: The way to be passionate about your career is to figure out what you love to do, focus on that, and SAY NO to the rest.
Great advice, sometimes hard to follow.
More here.

SFist: I got blogged

Bay blogger of the week: moi.
(Isn't mutual sucking up nauseating, unless you're one of the parties involved?)

Pure Geekery: PC Week' top FireFox Extensions

So if you like Firefox as much as I do, you will care about this PC Week article on the top 15 FF extensions.
Only thing is, PC Week's organized so you have to click to a new page for each new item, which is a total drag.

Branded RSS reader:Coming to America

Advance Internet and the LA Times are working with Consenda, the newsreader company that helped The Guardian launch a branded newsreader (pre-loaded with Guardian feeds) as part of their site.
(Via Steve Yelvington)

How many online news sites are looking at co-branding a newsreader?
Hopefully, many.

Update: Here's the (future) LA Times link exposed

More: Rafat Ali's got great info on Consenda and their plans.

Feedster redesigns

Just noticed that Feedster has a redesign--looks great!
The wire frame is close to the earlier design, but it's sharpened and smartened up, and has well-organized nav, ad slots, and recent searches.
Changes on results pages are more subtle, but with a nice clean organization.
Nice job, whoever did this.
More comments here.

IKEA Help Center Chat Bot, as in fun with the--

Lindsayism taunts the IKEA helpbot:
Me: I wanna touch your boobies.
I cannot as I am a computer program and I do not have a corporeal dimension. Please submit a question which is specifically about IKEA.
I wanna touch your boobies on an IKEA couch.
How is IKEA different from other furnishing stores? We offer a wide range, good design and function, and also low prices. That's our business idea.
That wasn't what I asked.

dave Pollard: 10 Most important ideas of 2005

Dave Pollard quotes Peter Drucker, one of my favorite biz gurus, and makes this chart:

Pollard's 10 ideas cover getting answers from groups, workflow management,
corporate ethics (as in need for), value of courage, cutting costs, elegant simplicity, minimizing consumption, leadership, counter-culture commercialization and more.

Rojo gets served

CNET story: "...a new crop of start-ups has emerged promising to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. And venture capitalists and veteran Internet investors Marc Andreessen and Ron Conway are right behind one of them.

Rojo, a San Francisco start-up in the blog aggregation business, "is wrapping a communications capability around content consumption," said Andreessen, Web browser pioneer, Rojo investor and Opsware chairman. "And the killer app for the Internet is and always has been communication."

The boomlet in blog aggregation start-ups comes as online content increasingly is pushed to readers using protocols such as RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Atom, which transmit fresh lists of headlines and content summaries to a browser, a Web site like Rojo or a separately downloaded application."


Blogpulse: detailed analysis of (blog) tsunami coverage.
Adam Penenberg(Wired): "How much is it worth to a company's bottom line to place near the top of Google's search rankings? SEO story.
Search Engine Watch: Yahoo's testing contextual search, called Y!Q. Try it on their news page.
Lucas Gonze:: Paid Blogging to grow up (Via Doc Searls)
Wharton DC Alumni Club: AOL's exec VP Jim Bankoff, interviewed(as alum of the month) (Thanks, Steve)

NY Times buys position on

From rojo's Kevin Burton:

Hoping to attract more online readers, The New York Times is paying to have its headlines featured in sections of, an Internet startup that compiles news snippets from hundreds of Web sites.

The partnership, expected to be announced Thursday, represents a coup for Palo Alto-based Topix, which hopes to persuade other newspapers to buy featured positions it other sections of its Web site. Topix, founded in 2002, offers 150,000 different categories, divided by geography and a wide range of categories, including news, sports, entertainment, health and science.

Talk about deep verticals! It's interesting that the Times is moving beyond syndication deals with the big guys (AOL, etc.) to the long tail, which is what represents.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Catrina Fake: On Resilency & Survival

Catrina: "I think a lot about people who have survived terrible trials, and thrived. (snip)
The thing I've noticed is that people who have suffered and survived terrible things are stronger than the rest of us, and they almost invariably become existentialists, and obsess about their own responsibility for making the meaning in their lives."
More here, with links.

AP to launch blog, link missing

An AP story announcing their new Bad Language blog from what sounds like a would-be Gawker writer (only he's got health insurance.)
The pitch:
From inside our cardboard box at the AP World Headquarters, we'll do stuff like fill you in on Bad News, tell you about the latest Bad Habits, ask stupid questions in Bad Interviews, bitch during Bad Reviews, chase celebrities on Bad Trips and present anything and everything we deem Just Plain Bad."

Only, in typical newspaper fashion---there's an announcement--but no link.
What is this, Microsoft, c. 2001?

A parting quote: "
All you should expect from Bad Language is sarcasm-coated news and commentary about all things pop culture."

How embarassing. Get this kid an editor.

Radar rocking the talent pool

NY Post on Maer Roshan's Radar magazine launch--apparently he's hired some choice talent-- Vanessa Grigoriadis, Bartle Bull, Choire Sicha, and Jake Tapper, among others.
Hope the web site has equal value.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Why I talk about RSS

Tammy Green sez: "However, my job as I choose to define it is to offer as many options for content delivery as possible. In order to do that, I need to have intelligent conversations with people about those options. I can't be the only one in my organization who uses RSS or thinks about its possibilities."
I've never met Tammy, but this recent post sure got my attention--Not only is she a blog sister for sure--and the maintainer of a great feeds list, but she's someone who cares about making things better. You go!

Dept of quotes

Dave Winer says : "My chin dropped when I saw my miserable little quote alongside those from such bastions of wisdom as the NY Times, AP,"
I know the feeling.

Google AdSense pushing blog deals?

Been hearing from some print/web publishers I know about pitches from the Google AdSense team to sign their sites up for the program.
Just saw this note from Cameron Marlow on getting pitched by the AdSense team to get AdWords up on his blog. Cameron posts the emails he got (senders deleted) and says:
"The email included--get this--a powerpoint presentation showcasing how awesomely Matt used AdSense on PVRBlog. They also sent along a one-page pdf detailing the same information. Here's a copy of these files:
Attachment: Google AdSense Partner Program Invitation - Feb 2005.ppt
Attachment: pvrblog.pdf"

In other words, Google sent Cameron a blogging case study for their ad service!
Man, this adds some resonance to what Bill Burnham wrote, doesn't it?

Cameron's last words(almost):
"For a company that is dedicated to fighting spam, they don't seem to have good enough internal communication to stop from doing it themselves. A 400kb powerpoint presentation is worse spam than anything I've gotten from a legitimate spam operation."

I wonder how many bloggers the Google ad sales team will sign up in the next 30 days?

David Jackson on Google's (big) bucks

Former hedge fund guy and financial blogger deconstructs the G's earnings call. Couple highlights from DJ (more here):
  1. Google cut the proportion of revenue it pays to its AdSense partners to 77% from 85% a year earlier. Will this generate the same hostility from partners as eBay's recent price rise?
  2. Google's AdSense program generated almost as much revenue as its search business ($490 million versus $530 million) and grew at almost the identical rate sequentially. AdSense is underappreciated by investors, since Google's competitive position in contextual advertising is arguably more secure than its position in search.

Bloggies: Vote for this blog as best kept secret

Can you be a best-kept secret if you win a prize?
Hey, help me deal with that one later--vote for this blog in the 2005 Bloggies--voting ends Thursday, Feb. 3rd.
To vote, click here--and scroll 3/4th down the page on the left to that Best Kept Secret chunk o'goodness.

Flickr, Yahoo, Google, blogging

Biz 2.0's lead for a story on VC money is about how everyone wants to buy photo community flickr.
Om Malik dishes the quote, which says Google and Yahoo want to buy it outright, and questions whether flickr missed a chance to cash out.
He then points to Bill Burnham's analysis of the developing competition between Google and Yahoo, which starts off "For Yahoo and Google, the Internet's two search titans, Blogs are rapidly becoming both an important distribution channel and a growing cost center. The battle to control this distribution channel, while at the same time reducing its costs, will intensify greatly this year."
Burnham then rings the changes on blogging as an ad platform in a way that's completely dead-on, especially for all those smaller blogs that will never aspire to being BoingBoing.
Key points:
  • The company who gets the bloggers and their ad placements makes $$ from a fast-growing distribution channel
  • And gets the chance to act as an advertising/affiliate platform for the web
And accounts for some cost issues for the big guys:
  • While they must make similar (and often higher) payments to traditional media partners, the payments to blogs are more costly to process (due to large number of blogs) and much more susceptible to click-through fraud schemes.
  • The best way to save costs may actually be to spend some money and acquire companies that currently offer services to bloggers.
And so on... All good, provocative stuff.

Oblivio: Buying new glasses

Something about Michael Barish's Oblivio keeps pulling me into his stories, like this one about being forced to buy new glasses (and being amazingly near-sighted, which I am as well.)

In some ways, I feel like Barish and photographer Marc North are compatriots, even though they live on opposite coasts and probably do not know one another. Why? For me, their sensibilities match.

Fresh views of Poynter Web +10

Good feeling for what the Poynter meet up is like from Yahoo's Jess Barron and Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson of EPIC, Snarkmarket, and INDTV, among other spots.

MediaPost redesigns, almost blog like, but not really

MediaPost has redesigned and launched a daily site that seems inspired by Paid Content and the (World) Editors Weblog.
Same content as before, but (slightly) different format.
Not sure what the point is...better ad placements? More integration with newsletter?
How about a comments section, folks?

Who's blogging at Yahoo and Google

Olivier Duffez at PR Weaver, Search Engine News has lists of Google and Yahoo employee blogs.
Looks like Google's got the greater quantity--but they missed Mark Jen.

Yahoo Japan Launches Blogs in Beta

When did Yahoo Japan launch a beta set of blogs? Last night?

Much like MSN, it looks like Yahoo's pulled together a nice blogging beta over in the land of kanji--a follow up to their 2003 launch of blog tools with Yahoo Korea.
According to Japanese blogger, this is a recently launched beta; townboy says the system allows publishing 2GB size photos.
None of the newswires or tech sites seem to have anything on this yet but the site looks great. Iit is exciting to think about how blogs can integrate with the My functions and other community focused apps as Yahoo moves these products out into other countries (like the US) and builds them up further.

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