Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Quote of the Day
We don't want Wal-Mart or Sears to tell us what to buy. We want to shop our way -- on Ebay.
We don't want to watch entire baseball games, we want it our way -- highlights on sportscenter.
We don't want a DJ at a radio station to tell us what to listen to, we want music our way -- downloaded in to our own playlists on our portable MP3 players.
We don't want TV producers to design scripts and give us a plot-in-a-box show, we want it our way -- reality TV.
We don't want a Star Search talent show determined by a panel of judges. We want to vote like in American Idol.
When Toyota wanted to launch a brand of cars for the 16-29-year-old age bracket they gave it to us our way -- Scion, where cars our "Ready for personalization at Scion.com."
We don't want News packaged by Dan Rather and Peter Jennings high on Mount Olympus and then rationed and handed down to us everynight. We want blogs. We want citizen journalism. We want it our way.
According to all of this, we should be the most democratic generation in the world. If we want to pick the order of our music, shouldn't we also want the government our way too? If we vote on American Idol to have it our way, why do we let old people vote for us? "
--Andy, 21, writing at A wall off which to bounce
Video ads get real: IAB announces standard
The guidelines are posted online, but basic rules are:
- In-stream commercials may be up to thirty seconds long for pre and mid-roll commercials.
- Publishers may offer custom lengths for post roll. A recommended minimum of 200 Kbps for encoded bit rates.
- The minimum player controls present should be Start/Stop and Volume On/Off and Softer/Louder Control.
- Other recommended and acceptable buttons include Fast Forward/Rewind, Pause, Zoom and other Interactive buttons as needed.
- All buttons should be enabled throughout the play, with the exception of Fast Forward.
Yahoo RSS--Leveraging integration
Scott Gatz says: "RSS in mail makes perfect sense for a few reasons: 1) people already spend a lot of time in their Mail experience, why shouldn?t personally relevant content be there too 2) While you read RSS you are probably gonna want to forward good stuff you find 3) Hundreds of millions of users use Yahoo Mail, so if we want to reach the masses, we need to go where they are.
And, its cool to realize that we are the first major webmail service to offer an RSS reader integrated into the experience."
Seeing Yahoo deploy features across tool sets is seeing a company do it right.
Updates: Charlene Li says: "I?m thrilled! I've long wanted to have my RSS feeds integrated in with email." Steve Rubel adds "Note that you can post to 360 or save an item to My Web 2.0. A nice start!" Dave Winer comments: "They're including a nice smallish RSS reader in their Mail app. I had seen it before, and it's a River of News aggregator." More here.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
More on mobile--identity and persona
Update: About 15 papers from the conference uploaded here on cameraphones and mobile...
NEW: Yahoo integrates RSS into mail and alerts
Mike Arrington and John Furrier are first with, respectively, a brief story and a podcast/ interview with Yahoo's Scott Gatz and Ethan Diamond.
This is cool stuff! More tk.
Nick Denton's start up kit
Jason Calcanis on AOL
...I'm pushing everyone here as hard as I can to start blogs and start talking with our customers."
Susan sez: I can't wait to see Jason clean up AOL!
Monday, November 28, 2005
Paul Montgomery: Clone the Memorandum API (and comments here)
Via Design Technica: "According to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, roughly one in six U.S. Web users have used to the Internet to sell something."
Charles and Marie Shop: Deal of the day, aka Woot for aesthetes.
Quote of the Day
"Back in 2000, every entrepreneur who started a Web content company carried the same PowerPoint slide. It charted the astounding growth of U.S. online advertising, from next to nothing in 1995 to $6 billion in 1999. Then a dotted line shot up to the projection for 2005 -- typically the $16.5 billion figure supplied by New York City-based Jupiter Communications. If a website could just attract visitors, the slide argued, advertising dollars would follow.
Venture capitalists and big portals bought in, placing sky-high valuations on sites that promised large audiences. Of course, the market for traffic dried up as online advertising slumped from $8.2 billion in 2001 to $6 billion in 2002. But here's the kicker: Web content deals are on the rise again, and Internet ad spending should reach $12 billion this year, meaning Jupiter's once-ridiculed forecast wasn't far off the mark.
--Om Malik,'The Return of Monetized Eyeballs', Business 2.0
Ask the experts: Jeff interpets Craig
Susan sez: Am I utterly evil and cynical to think this coyness is the most clever way to raise investor interest? One would think that the combination of amazingly smart Upendra Shardanand and Blogfather Jarvis would command humengous investment sums for back end infrastructure no matter what.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
What I saw: Thanksgiving movie weekend
Walk the Line was fantastic--the acting and the story were outstanding--this is a serious Oscar contender, IMHO.
The Squid and the Whale--GREAT movie, much to my surprise. Laura Linney, Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg and young Owen Kline give stellar performances in a compelling family drama. (My favorite, over all-though WTL is stellar.)
Now this is cool: Holla Back Blog
Posts are from SF, NY and across the globe.
As the girls say: If You Can't Slap 'Em, Snap 'Em!
This is going to go next to Overheard in NY on my blog list.
Scoble's new blogroll
Nice to see this blog survived the cuts.
I'd like to see J.Wynia mashup this list up into an OPML outliner/aggregator--please!
J Wynia: OPML Sampling, Building a page showing the best item from each RSS feed. How he did it.
Marc C: Check out Restaurant reviews with Yahoo maps, a sweet little toy.
Via we make money not art: Zapped!/Preemptive Media mapped the results of their investigation about RFID use in Tokyo. Neat-o.
Via Programmable web: "Auction Mapper is an interesting little application built on the eBay API that gives fast Flash-based search results on a map (and not Google or other public API map)."
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Fresh look: Blogging conference dos and don'ts
Do: Accept invitation heartily.
Don't: Forget this little noun: context. Find out the politics of the aegis under which you will be speaking.
Do: Purchase the sparkliest, pointiest stilletos you can find, especially if the Manolo is moderating.
Don't: Get yourself seated between two thin, beautiful women if you have not lost your two-year-old pregnancy weight. Who are you kidding? It's toddler weight. Why do they have to snack on frigging crackers and cookies all the time, despite your urgings of fruit and veggies? You WILL be photographed looking like Jabba the makeup artist and the unflattering photo will be posted on Yahoo News, so that all of your ex-boyfriends and former friends and enemies can gloat and bask in your back-fatness.Susan sez: Does anyone in the Valley wear Manolos? Joking aside, Kim's post is worth a read.
Friday, November 25, 2005
RSS users visit more than twice as many news sites as non-users
"RSS users are significantly more engaged in online news than non-users, visiting an average of 10.6 news sites compared with 3.4 news sites for non-users...Not only do RSS users visit more news Web sites than non-users, they also visit those sites more frequently. RSS users visited the top 20 news Web sites nearly three times as often as non-users and all other news Web sites four times as often. This means that sites outside of the top 20 properties may be among the greatest beneficiaries of RSS. "
Another interesting tidbit is that among the RSS users who understood the technology, 78% were male..."
Surfing the Feedster 500
Some of the surprises (to me)
#18: Spacefem.com Feminist Of The Day
# 35: knittyBlog
#45: National Center for Science Education
Feedster's kindly provided an exportable file for Excel analysis--I'd love to see Tristan Louis analyze the breakdown of the Top 500 by software provided, network affiliation, etc.
Andrew Krucoff is off for a month in Israel.
Minority Rapport: Fresh takes on social media/software--my new blog read.
VC Steve Brotman on early social networkfounder Bo Peabody's book Lucky or Smart.
Coming up: Competitive study of search in Chinese market.
Winer: "Arrrgh, I plugged my new iPod into my old Mac and lost everything on it."
Wired: Kevin Kelleher story--Who's afraid of Google? Everyone.
What's in the GoogleBase? The same old stuff
Susan sez: I checked GoogleBase out this am--XXX now has 451 results, about half on the first page clearly porn, XXX webcam has just 7--all porn-- and XXX teen webcam has 2--both porn, of course.
But here's the more fun comparison of data entered in the base:
iPod has 277,555
Blogs has 2,627
Podcasting has 280
XBox has 242
XBox 360 has 121
Stuff for sale:
Cars-- 985, 0945
Stuff for your driveway(!)--17,213
And for your dog--71, 014
Sex -- 17,027
Personals -- 8,252
Skiing -- 886
George Bush -- 2,181
Britney Spears -- 107
Looks like the local classifieds to me folks--the data in GoogleBase seems to be replicating the same crappy listings we see everywhere--anyone have better news to report?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Thankfulness: 12 things
Here's a short list of some people--and things-- I am thankful for:
- Family and friends: Zack, Nancy, Ralph, Sidney, Amy, Lori, BJ, Randy, Peter, Ellen, Mary, Lisa W, Andrew N and many others.
- The 5ive team: Steven, you rock--Kurt, Richard, Jory, ditto.
- Colleagues: Too many to list, but I hope you know who you are.
- Work: We're working with some good companies on interesting projects.
- Intellectual challenges and problem-solving: I am always learning, and the conversation never stops.
- California: I'm living in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Every day I feel lucky to be here.
- Blogging and writing: This year, I went from one blog to several and started writing poetry again after many years.
- Chances to help others--always an honor.
- Yoga and meditation: Martin and Lori, thank you for what you have shown me.
- The pets: The cat is the boss of the dog. They both are the boss of me.
- R: You know why.
- Zack: You get called out twice because you are the best son I could ever wish for...and an terrific person.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
What tech companies just found out--Women buy technology, too
--Paul Rand, chief development and innovation officer at communications firm Ketchum
The Business Week article on Dell, Samsung and Best Buy's new interest in marketing to women is full of catchy sound bites, data nuggets, and tips on how to make your store decor more appealing to suburban moms(take that with a grain of salt.)
Of course, one hopes the authors came across some of the terrific women-authored tech/gadget blogs out there--ShinyShiny, TechieDiva, and Barb Dybwad's Geeked (also at Engadget)--as they researched this just in time for the holidays story.
After all, journalists are supposed to be smarter than consumer electronics marketing people--right?
Talking: The distributed web
The (new) web we are moving into, the one some of us are already sick of calling Web 2.0, is both aggregated (think newsreader and personalized start page) and distributed (the same data can be found in more than one place, in more than one platform).
On a tactical level, this means that web sites that focus on improving their content, updating more frequently, recruiting users through community, etc. are missing half the picture--the half that says that if you issue APIs for your site's products and services, allow remixes, encourage--no, help--users tag your data--and RSS-ify everything--you'll be far ahead of the game and grow links--and audience--like crazy because your discoverability will soar. In other words, you need to not only improve your destination, you need to move off it.
With big media companies, the fear of letting data go into the ozone is often great--after all, mainstream media--outside of investigative journalism--is often about beautifully packaged, highly filtered points of view--as unique and distinctive as possible. The cost and effort involved in these products is often so great the idea of releasing assets--like so many red balloons--seems daunting.
And yet the user-driven successes of the past few years--the slashdots, the flickrs, the wikipedias--show that the greatest access and therefore the greatest exposure--come from distributed, remixed content that's linked and distributed across the net--personalized to fit, if you will, everyone's individual experience of Web 2.0.
Big media, if you want to catch up to your audience, you have to let go.
Update: In the middle of writing this, came across similar thoughts from Dorian Benkoil, NYC blogger and Corante columnist--worth a read, for sure.
Update: Web 2.0 workgroup
Susan Mernit's Blog, Web 2.0 Explorer
Companies & Products
TechCrunch, SolutionWatch, eHub
Design & Usability
ParticleTree, Emily Chang
Tech & Development
Mashing it up and then some
Some of the (first) examples Adrian Holovaty and Jim Brady offer:
- News Cloud, which is a tag cloud of Post stories that lets you browse stories by keyword.
- Ripped from the Headlines!, a daily news quiz created automatically from headline feeds.
- washingtonpost.com search results via RSS, which provides RSS feeds for search terms on our site.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Michael Bierut: Innovation vs. Design
Bierut writes: "It's not hard to see why innovation is becoming the design world's favorite euphemism. Design sounds cosmetic and ephemeral; innovation sounds energetic and essential. Design conjures images of androgynous figures in black turtlenecks wielding clove cigarettes; innovators are forthright fellows with their shirtsleeves rolled up, covering whiteboards with vigorous magic-markered diagrams, arrows pointing to words like "Results!" But best of all, the cult of innovation neatly sidesteps the problem that has befuddled the business case for design from the beginning. Thomas Watson Jr.'s famous dictum "good design is good business" implies that there's good design and there's bad design; what he doesn't reveal is how to reliably tell one from the other. Neither has anyone else. It's taken for granted that innovation, however, is always good. "
Susan sez: Reading this post made me think about the number of times in the past month people have talked about wanting to hire designers who are "really Web 2.0" types--and how what they always seem to mean is they use Ajax.
eCommerce Watch: San Francisco slips off list of top online shopping cities
Susan sez: Is it because everyone's recycling their stuff on eBay and Craig's list?
Here's the top (online) shopping cities list, just in time for your rush to the mall:
1. Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota
2. San Diego
5. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
6. Washington, DC
7. New York
8. Dallas/Ft. Worth
greenwich village 60s photos
(Via Alex Vassifer)
Quote of the Day
That should be carved over our door. If we do this right, it will be remembered as one of the great things humans have done, up there with the Library of Alexandria, Gutenberg's press and putting a man on the moon."
--Brewster Kahle, founder Internet Archive and Open Content Alliance, speaking in The San Francisco Chronicle about efforts to digitize the world's great libraries.
Gawker closes Oddjack: Stats were lousy
Interesting, this unsuccessful site--whose numbers, said Denton, were "just never really there," had 420,000 pageviews and about 180,000 visitors during its peak traffic month of September--probably not too far from the traffic some small regional newspaper sites receive (draw your own inferences from that dig, folks.)
Update: Lock says my stats were wrong, plain wrong--the real data is here and suggests that OddJack actually got fewer visitors than a Fire Department pancake breakfast.
Global Voices wins Best of the Blogs Award
AOL: Layoffs pending in Q1?
On a related note, I heard that AOL execs are reconsidering their multiple portal strategy and worrying that some of the traffic going to AOL web properties should better go to AOL.com, all the better for a concentrated, targeted set of data--and users.
Does this mean that someday soon Netscape, MovieFone, and perhaps even Mapquest are going to become landing pages for the new AOL?
As one insider said to me, "They just never really got multi-brand."
Monday, November 21, 2005
Frensno Famous makes LA Times cover story
Rules for (today's) workers
- Carry and use your own cell phone/number for business
- Carry and use your own email address even at work
- Carry and use your own health insurance
- Incorporate and work on contract rather than as an employee
- Carry and use your own hardware, building tech expenses into your compensation
Susan sez: While not everyone is going to do all this (no one wants to pay for health insurance), putting even one or two of these suggestions into practice makes obvious good sense.
Marc Orchant reports on the new AOL Pictures, saying the old You've Got Pictures service has some fancy new Ajax apps, and an offer to give new users AOL 100 free 4x6 prints as sign-up incentives per AOL account/screen name. AOL GM David Liu emphasized the integrated capabilities of the new site, which allows photo-sharing between AOL Mail, the AIM service, AOL Journals and AIM Blogs.
Danny Sullivan hacks AOL stats using the new Google site maps tools. Here's how--and more here.
Via NYTimes: Steve Case-backed Lime, a media company "devoted to new-age lifestyle programs on subjects like organic food, hybrid cars and alternative medicine" gets mucho press. Deepak Chopra, Danny Seo and Rodney Yee are the celeb gurus.
Friday, November 18, 2005
WSIS: Expression under repression
"Our joint project, Global Voices, is all about finding ways to call attention to conversations taking place in Citizen?s media? and our first panel includes two GVO regulars, Isaac Mao and Hossein Derakshan, as well as Taurai Maduna, from Zimbabwe.
Before introducing our citizen journalists, Rebecca talks about one of the critical issues we?re focusing on for the next two days: Internet filters. She mentions the just-released Open Net Initiative report on Tunisia, demonstrating how a US firm - Secure Computing - helps the Tunisian government censor the internet. Rebecca shows us pages that are blocked by the Tunisian firewall, as well as net censorship in China (including a comparison of a Google search for Tianeman Square Massacres from within and outside China.)"
Susan says: Now this is brave-and good.
Mark Pincus on Google
"google base is a very msft mba approach to the world. while it makes business sense, it lacks soul. it does as little to help the community as bringing in a walmart. in fact, google feels a like walmart today. once the excitement over trying out their latest release wears off we are left with the realization that they are going to ultimately put the corner grocer (being craigslist) out of business, and suck value out of an economy not add back. and while it's a beautiful day here in san francisco, it's a sad one for me to see a company with so much promise to help the world, primarily focus on helping itself."
There's lots of good talk in the comments as well--
Smart Mobs: "A typical Chinese Internet user is a young male who prefers instant messaging to e-mail, rarely makes online purchases and favors news, music and games sites." AP story here.
Google celebrity maps: An API for the stars.
CNET: Taking back the Web--a special report on social media and Web 2.1 users that's worth a read.
Dan Conover: What inquiring reporters read--a solid list o'blogs.
News via Niall-- Google bought Riya--that was quick. $4o-60MM, they say.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Bakersfield participatory media:User profiles driving traffic
Susan sez: It ain't MySpace--but it is the same impulse--clustering actions and content around core identity as an important community attribute.
Quote of the Day
To faciliate this, I suspect that Google will soon announce a program whereby people can register their "Base compliant" RSS feeds with Google base. Google will then poll these feeds regularly just like any other RSS reader....(snip)... Soon, every publisher on the planet will be able to have a highly automated, highly structured feed directly into Google base."
--Bill Burnham, Burham's Beat
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
API launches newspaper innovation initiative--spending $2MM on consultants' fees?
According to API, the project's goals are:
- Assess the threat to newspapers in the next decade, including emerging competition
- Determine opportunities for newspapers, including implementation of available new technology
- Suggest executable new business initiatives ? products, services and strategies ? with detailed rationales
- Provide implementation guides for these business plans, addressing the management of change and risk.
Rafat's succinct two cents: "The viability of news gathering will have nothing to do with the future of newspapers, in the future...if API was really serious this, it would have invested that $2 million in some local sites or independent investigative journalism projects, instead of trying to get a bunch of 45-year olds (even though the list is impressive) from old big media companies together and come out with a report...(snip)... If you want news gathering in the future to flourish, stop talking and pondering about it..either do it yourself, or fund those who are."
Susan sez: I wonder why they didn't just give the money to The Media Center--isn't this exactly the kind of think tank they are? (Oh yeah, I forgot, they're not at Harvard.)
Yahoo to distribute Gawker blogs
Content--labelled as commentary--from Gawker, Defamer, Gizmodo and Wonkette will supplement Yahoo's news pages, adding a flavor that will only be matched when Yahoo finally manages to create a platform to channel content from ALL of the most linked/authoritative sources in the blogosphere (and that day will come, believe me.)
Meanwhile, Yahoo's rush to compete in media and social media is admirable--it will be interesting to see if some of their vertical categories take advantage of the learning the media/news group is doing and tweak/rethink their platforms a bit to integrate some new tools (and user involvement).
Update: Priceless Denton quote from Washington Post:"Yahoo has developed a certain weird geek chic, their philosophy is just edgy enough. The key to the Yahoo deal is the wider audience out there. This is the same younger audience that responds to 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.' "
New: Eurekster--Building a better swicki
Some swickis to note:
working with Eurekster as a consultant on this product and am eager to get feedback on this early beta...And more examples of swickis to check out.
Update: Press release here. Tech Crunch story here.
Quote of the Day
....What does a portal mean? In a sense, we say we've got 30 million portals: In MySpace, everyone has their own portal. All of our sites will be tightly interlinked technologically, so you can click from one to another. I think you've got to network your stuff -- that's interesting. Half the advertising on Google, and a lot of it on Yahoo!, is coming from networked sites. You help people: If someone has a good blog on Yahoo! and there is some connection by Google, then they share in the advertising.
--News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch in The Hollywood Reporter.
GoogleBase is live
What does it mean?
Check out the examples of recipe-finder, personal data mangement, cars for sale, full time jobs...
The mind boggles..or is that goggles?
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Charting an explosion in expression.
How to keep up?
The explosion of expression--both content and technology--is just so rich--and sometimes, so innovative-- that not being able to look at everything, while frustrating, is a good problem to have.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Quote of the Day
--Charles Cooper, Executive Editor, News Commentary, CNET
Killed: Piece by probably fictional author about equally fictional cable TV show
LeRoy told James: "I've always played with identity and gender. I understand what [the Times is] saying, but they entered into working with me knowing that ... Just because the Washington Post came after them, why should I be forced to prove who I am? They knew exactly what they were getting when they dealt with me."
Susan sez: At what point does the TV movie follow the well-detailed exposes?
Friday, November 11, 2005
Quote of the Day
These won't just be from the big portals but also dozens if not hundreds of new startups that'll continue to grow, evolve and consolidate.
Think about it as a microchunking of online services. That's dozens, and possibly hundreds of user names and passwords, and log-ins and log-outs a day for every single user.
And it gets especially complicated when needing to access all these services not just via a PC, but cell phones, PDAs and any number of wired and wireless gadgets coming down the pike."
--Michael Parekh on IT--and the whole post is worth a (close) read!
AOL reports on instant messaging (IM) behaviors
- Two-thirds (66 percent) of teens and young adults (ages 13-21) say they send more IMs than emails, up from 49 percent last year.
- Teen boys (55 percent) are more likely to have parental rules about IM use than are teen girls (50 percent).
- One in three (33 percent) IM users send mobile IMs or text messages from their cell phones at least once a week. This is an increase of 14% from 2004. The figure was 10% in 2003.
- Half (47 percent) of those ages 13-21 change their away messages every day, to let others know where they are (71 percent), to list a cell phone number or alternate way to be reached (47 percent) or to post a favorite lyric or quote (47 percent).
According to the survey, the top ten markets for instant messaging are: 1. Miami, FL; 2. New York, NY; 3. Boston, MA; 4. Chicago, IL; 5. Atlanta, GA; 6. Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX; 7. Detroit, MI; 8. San Francisco, CA; 9. Sacramento, CA; 10. Tampa, FL.
NPR is podcasting, major.
Yale conference Dec 3: Regulating Search-A Symposium on Search Engines, Law, and Public Policy--convener Eddan Katz was at Berkeley with Mary Hodder.
Merc News: Google offers free WiFi to Mountain View, CA-After all, if you're leasing 1MM square feet at NASA and building housing, you need free WiFi at the train station, right?
Yahoo's Scott Gatz: " Google is replaying Yahoo?s playbook circa 1996."
Tristan Louis: Reading the Google Tea Leaves--Tristan's take on things is becoming invaluable--and this is fascinating.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Quote of the Day 2
Mashed Up Blog Posts at tech.memeorandum
Mashed Up Funny Videos at delicious
Mashed Up Playlists at webjay
Here is the future of media:
1 - Microchunk it - Reduce the content to its simplest form. Thanks Umair.
2 - Free it - Put it out there without walls around it or strings on it. Thanks Stewart.
3 - Syndicate it - Let anyone take it and run with it. Thanks Dave.
4 - Monetize it - Put the monetization and tracking systems into the microchunk. Thanks Feedburner."
--Fred Wilson, VC and smart guy
(Via Definitive Ink)
Quote of the Day 1
--Shelly Powers, Burningbird on the "leaked" Microsoft memos
Fun with food news
- Stranded on a desert island and faced with a choice between an unlimited supply of beer and burgers or a vegetable-only diet and Angelina Jolie as a hut mate, a solid majority (61 percent) of men would become vegetarian.
- For women, the choice between unlimited chocolate or a lifetime of eating veggies with Brad Pitt is much closer. At 51 percent, Brad Pitt just wins over the unlimited chocolate.
- Bucking the national trend, 58 percent of women in the Northeast chose chocolate over Brad Pitt.
- Meanwhile, a whopping 85 percent of men in that region -- significantly more than anywhere else in the nation -- picked Angelina over beer and burgers.
- When asked to choose a popular TV show's character(s) for a breakfast companion, most people (34 percent) said they wanted to share a tropical fruit plate with the castaways from Lost.
- Over one-quarter of Americans admit they hide foods from other members of their household, with candy being the most frequently hidden food.
- Women (20 percent) are more likely to hide candy than men (12 percent), especially if they are married.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
AOL to distribute CBS News Video
This morning MSN and the AP announced their deal; what's next?
Boosting women's interest in technology/science careers
The release says: "The digital library is geared toward students, parents and educators. It includes tips for encouraging girls to succeed in mathematics and computing, sample lessons for teaching computing to girls, and details about technology-themed summer camps and programs for girls. While the Labor Department predicts the creation of some 2 million tech jobs in the United States by 2012, the number of women in the information technology workforce has declined by18.5 percent over eight years, according to a report by theInformation Technology Association of America. The EducationalDevelopment Center, ITAA, the Stanford University office of science outreach and Junior Achievement also have collaboratedon the initiative."
Ray Ozzie's Three tenets of (disruptive, Internet) success
"Today there are three key tenets that are driving fundamental shifts in the landscape all of which are related in some way to services. It's key to embrace these tenets within the context of our products and services.
The power of the advertising-supported economic model.
Online advertising has emerged as a significant new means by which to directly and indirectly fund the creation and delivery of software and services. In some cases, it may be possible for one to obtain more revenue through the advertising model than through a traditional licensing model. Only in its earliest stages, no one yet knows the limits of what categories of hardware, software and services, in what markets, will ultimately be funded through this model. And no one yet knows how much of the world's online advertising revenues should or will flow to large software and service providers, medium sized or tail providers, or even users themselves.
The effectiveness of a new delivery and adoption model.
A grassroots technology adoption pattern has emerged on the internet largely in parallel to the classic methods of selling software to the enterprise. Products are now discovered through a combination of blogs, search keyword-based advertising, online product marketing and word-of-mouth. It's now expected that anything discovered can be sampled and experienced through self-service exploration and download. This is true not just for consumer products: even enterprise products now more often than not enter an organization through the internet-based research and trial of a business unit that understands a product's value.
Limited trial use, ad-monetized or free reduced-function use, subscription-based use, on-line activation, digital license management, automatic update, and other such concepts are now entering the vocabulary of any developer building products that wish to successfully utilize the web as a channel. Products must now embrace a 'discover, learn, try, buy, recommend' cycle, sometimes with one of those phases being free, another ad-supported, and yet another being subscription-based. Grassroots adoption requires an end-to-end perspective related to product design. Products must be easily understood by the user upon trial, and useful out-of-the-box with little or no configuration or administrative intervention.
But enabling grassroots adoption is not just a product design issue. Today's web is fundamentally a self-service environment, and it is critical to design websites and product 'landing pages' with sophisticated closed-loop measurement and feedback systems. Even startups use such techniques in conjunction with pay-per-click advertisements. This ensures that the most effective website designs will be selected to attract discovery of products and services, help in research and learning, facilitate download, trial and purchase, and to enable individuals, self-help and making recommendations to others. Such systems can recognize and take advantage of opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell products to individuals, workgroups and businesses, and also act as a lead generation front-end for our sales force and for our partners.
The demand for compelling, integrated user experiences that 'just work'..
The PC has morphed into new form factors and new roles, and we increasingly have more than one in our lives , at work, at home, laptops, tablets, even in the living room. Cell phones have become ubiquitous. There are a myriad of handheld devices. Set-top boxes, PVRs and game consoles are changing what and how we watch television. Photos, music and voice communications are all rapidly going digital and being driven by software. Automobiles are on a path to become smart and connected. The emergence of the digital lifestyle that utilizes all these technologies is changing how we learn, play games, watch TV, communicate with friends and family, listen to music and share memories.But the power of technology also brings with it a cost. For all the success of individual technologies, the array of technology in a person's life can be daunting. Increasingly, individuals choose products and services that are highly-personalized, focused on the end-to-end experience delivered by that technology. Products must deliver a seamless experience, one in which all the technology in your life 'just works' and can work together, on your behalf, under your control. This means designs centered on an intentional fusion of internet-based services with software, and sometimes even hardware, to deliver meaningful experiences and solutions with a level of seamless design and use that couldn?t be achieved without such a holistic approach."
Quote of the Day
We will build our strategies around Internet services and we will provide a broad set of service APIs and use them in all of our key applications."
--Bill Gates , Oct. 30, 2004 in an internal memo to senior staff, via Scripting News
A leap forward--MSN and AP do deal for video news service, player
Yet another data point suggesting how quickly Internet video is going to become a standard--The Associated Press (AP) and
The service, which will be free for members, is scheduled to launch in first quarter 2006.
Note that MSN will be selling the ads--and, persumably, either paying a rev share to AP--or paying a straight licensing fee for the content.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Newspapers circ. is contracting--are you surprised?
- San Francisco Chronicle, 391,681, down 16.4 percent
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 362,426, down 8.73 percent
- The Boston Globe, 414,225, down 8.25 percent
- Houston Chronicle, 521,419, down 6.01 percent
One would argue that the large regional papers are especially vulnerable to both circ and advertising losses, since they lack the global cachet and national subscriber base of the NYTimes (up slightly) , the Wall Street Journal, and perhaps, The Washington Post--and they are not really able to be microlocal or fully zoned--it's just too expensive.
Will newspaper be able to extract enough revenue out of their online operations to make their current business work? Probably not--if revenue growth is going to come from online, news organization will need to adjust their businesses accordingly-the tail just can't make enough $$ to wag this big dog--or, in other words, a 30 person online operation can't support a 300-person newsroom.
So, what's next? It's reinvention time.
Update: CJR editorial goes gentle into that good night.
AOLEntertainment: You've got blogs(not)
A retreat of the old "Gossip" main page with a nod to bloggerati, HBZ feels so tired and old--it's a great example of how wanna-bes can mangle what's supposed to be a fresh,dynamic and interactive form--even with the current passion for gossip online, there is no way anyone who know how to click on a link would ever be compelled by this tired little puppy.
Susan sez: Fellas, you you bought Weblogs Inc--how about you get some counseling on this Web 2.0 thing?
Update: Yes, I am feeling a little mean this am...coffee hasn't kicked in yet.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Sunday supper returns
- Spinach, radicchio and endive salad
- Garlic bread with oregano
- Baked potatoes with non fat sour cream
- Roasted tri-tip, Buckhorn brand (thanks, RK!)
My 19-year old, over for the night, hungry and always broke, was impressed enough to eat a ton. It was so pleasant I thinkI may take a page from Lisa Williams' family dinner and invite friends for chow next time.
Dave Winer's Hypercamp: Imagining a blogging newsroom
Seattle Mind Camp: Women just in it for the parties and beer?
Scoble notes the misstep, Liz Lawley calls it out, and Tara sets the record straight.
This raises one of those age old questions--if you interview 20 people, quote one woman, and make her sound stupid, is that sexism--or just poor reporting?
Susan sez: Okay, I think it's both--but the best last word comes from Adam Kalsey who says:"Not that it will make you feel any better, but Tara, you're my marketing hero. A month ago I'd never heard of Riya/Ojos or you. As a result of your blog, community building, and networking at parties, I hear about Riya several times a week."
Quote of the Day
--Jeff Weiner, Yahoo's senior vice president for search and marketing, quoted in a NY Times article on the company.
(Note: I have modified the original paraphase of Weiner's comments in the story to make the quote flow a bit more smoothly.)
Internet TV: Brightcove hires sales vets to drive Internet TV ad relationships
Quote of the minute from founder Jeremy Allaire: "The advertising industry is changing rapidly, and the emergence of Internet TV promises to give agencies and marketers major new opportunities to distribute brand messages and marketing content that engage consumers in ways that are impossible in traditional TV."
Scripps efforts lead to Food Network web ITV exclusive
Susan sez: Are there any big media companies left out that that don't get that ITV, citizen-journalism-style video, and podcast video are 5 minutes away from the next big thing?
Of course there are.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Topix starts indexing blogs; asks "But are they news?"
To figure that out, Rich and co. took a look at the coverage of key categories--news, sports, entertainment, etc.--but mainstream media and blogs, decided blogs added a lot to the mix, and then crawled (he says) about 1 MM blogs to build a list of the 15,000 now incorporated into the Topix index. He's got some interesting charts and some fascinating data, including the fact that 85-90% of the daily posts hitting ping services such as weblogs.com are spam--and now visitors to pages like US News and Wierd News can see the blog posts highlighted alongside the other feeds.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Quote of the Day
And, at about that moment, Forbes will announce that the blogosphere is the Next Big Thing for investors."
Mike Malone, former editor at large for Forbes ASAP magazine re Forbes' anti blogging rant.
Best Bets: More on which companies Google might buy
iVillage, AOL, CNET, Tivo and The Knot (what, no Knight-Ridder?) and his conclusion is that Google has the cash to buy'em all if they choose.
Would they? Who knows?
Update: thanks, bleh.
Will work for books--Amazon Mechanical Turk
A typical task right now is for A9 and reads as follows:
"You are presented with the name and address of a business as well as a set of photos taken along the street where the business is supposed to be located. Your task is to identify the best photo of the business that is listed."
For that, you get .03; if you do it 179 times, you get 5.37.
Amazon's estimates work so that if you have spent an hour to fulfill 1170 of these requests, you get $35.00, which means your time is worth $35 an hour if you can fulfill about 1 per second--if it takes you 5 seconds to fulfull each task, your time is only worth $6-7.00.
Amazon says that they take a slice of each transaction and that workers can transferr money to their U.S. personal bank account or to their Amazon.com account.
The most amazing thing about this, IMHO, is that the Amazon guys let the Web Services team put this up--which means they had to run some use case scenarios on what it would save them in terms of hiring freelancers or outsourcing company wide.
Gross n' geeky: What has 30,000 calories and costs $47?
Mashable.com: Web 2.0 tools blog.
Chad Alderson: Google Map hacks collected--here and here.
Society for New Communications Research: Jen McClure launches a research group.
There is no cat: RalphBrandi's blog, almost live from NY.
Jason Calcanis: Code thieves, you suck--when imitation seems to cross the line to rip-off. Bonus: Building a weblog ad directory.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Why Krucoff is beyond charming
(P.S. Check out the hilarious comments, including one from the *real* Toby Young.)
Quotes of the Day
Start with the real goals, which are informing society, keeping power in check, improving people's lives, making connections (right?) and then ask what the best ways are to do that today. After that, you can ask what the role of journalists and newspapers should be."
"Newspapers and television remain the greatest producers of journalism in this country. Yet, their one-way communication models- we print and distribute, we produce and broadcast - are antiquated mechanisms to a generation that makes no distinction between the pre-Internet era and Web 1.0 or Web. 2.0. "
--Tim Porter, First Draft
Would Google buy Knight Ridder?
And yet, on the other hand, having KR be acquired by one of these brands seems unlikely. For one thing, none of them have a practice of acquiring widely diversified holdings--most of their acquisitions have been coherent with an overall strategy and digital delivery platforms. For another, while alot of the revenue growth in the company seems to be coming from online, the dollars generated by the local papers--and the proportionate share of local media they command in their markets--is too great to dismantle--or ignore.
It's just not the most pragmatic decision--for a digitally-driven company to buy one with lots of presses and delivery trucks--and yet is offers a fascinating concept of how to fast forward to the future....after all, wouldn't the Google-ites perhaps have a fresh look at how to build a cost structure that was both distributed (they've done it on a global scale) and centralized?
And wouldn't a digital media or tech company have some fresh points of view on the paralyzing costs of operating the legacy systems and processes that keep many people employed--but make the growth margins deadly?
This is one of those wildly speculative questions to me--if KR did sell, it is unlikely (IMHO) it would go to any of these players--but I'd like to think we'd see some new approaches to systems and legacies--and a continued appreciation of the power--and responsibility--of the press--if one of these digital players did make the buy.
Susan sez: This could be interesting--or it could just die down.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Ad Networks: Tacoda teams with Technorati--and 199 other sites
According to the MediaPost article, the Technorati sites will not serve ads, but will send data to Tacoda that will allow their system to better target those users as they move to other sites...The idea of Technorati--and other similar sites licensing their back-end data was discussed as a possible business model back in the early days of large-scale data historical data aggregators like Technorati, but not many of the new-style search companies have done these kinds of deals, to my knowledge.
Susan sez: One would think that there would some instant cash benefits for Technorati here--both in a licensing model and with a revenue share incentive. And for Tacoda, the benefits of adding these datasets are obvious.
iVillage: Up for sale?
Reuters and others are posting reports that women's portal iVillage has--or is about to--put itself up for sale for $700MM, give or take.
The analyst quoted in the Reuters story imagines Yahoo or AOL buying the service, ideas I think are very remote possibilities--
After all, Yahoo just hired a former AOL women's channel GM to run their health and wellness portal, and I just don't see AOL making that kind of spend.
On the other hand, a media/newspaper conglomerate with some cash (are there any left?) who wants to bump up their ad inventory might be one prospect (News Corp?Viacom? Part owner Hearst?)
IMHO, Best prospect--MSN, who could afford to roll up iVillage and acquire a chunk of AOL and go to battle against the portal guys Yahoo and Google--and if they don't get AOL, iVillage could be a tasty consolation prize.
Quote of the Day
--Nick Denton, founder, Gawker Media, quoted in OJR
Susan sez: What do you think folks, is Gawker really unacquirable (grin)?
Steve Rubel's 4 points for managing customers via blogging
- Find--determine which bloggers are most likely to become your company evangelists. Understand what's being said & join the conversation
- Listen--use a combination of Technorati, Feedster, IceRocket Pubsub et al. to track what matters to you. Understand the common thread, the beat on the street and take it seriously.
- Engage--show bloggers you care. Blogger complained abut not being able to find his favorite deodorant. Unilever sent him a case of the store and told him where in his neighborhood he could get more. That's engagement. That shows customers you care. "It puts you at eye level with the people you care about most.
- Empower--help people achieve something they could not do on their own. Create programs that create customer evangelists.
Update: iMediaConnection weighs in
Brad says they didn't sell the edit, they have always wanted Bill to write for them, and when they realized it looked bad, they took the ads down.
Brad goes further and says they don't sell edit, period--"...if somebody -- anybody, even a sponsor -- submits a byline for our consideration and the article turns out to be a veiled or overt commercial for the contributor's company, then we don't run it."
Brad's explanation works for me.
So does their quick response in addressing these issues.
The fact we can have this kind of dialogue--in public--is part of how the web has changed things and driven everyone to more transparency.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Goldman Sachs forecast: Newspaper $$ down the tube in 2005
Stories in E&P and MediaPost report the 2005 is ground zero for lowered ad revenues, weak classifieds, and softness across all markets and most properties.
Interestingly, 2004's Scarborough Research Report conducted for the Newspaper Association of America and the NAA's related benchmark report found that "Eight out of 10 (77.8 percent) adults 18+ in the top 50 markets are reading the newspaper over the course of a week (five weekdays plus a Sunday)." An October 2005 NAA report says "three out of four (77 percent) adults in the top 50 markets read a newspaper at least once a week, or 115.6 million readers in those markets" and "analysis also confirms the strong spending power of newspapers audiences by showing that in the top 50 markets nearly 60 percent of consumers with household incomes of $75,000 and above read a daily paper."
However, reading this week's dismal forecasts, one wonders which particular ostriches spent a little too much time in Pollyanna land.