Friday, June 30, 2006

Another book in blog

Bob Garfield is the latest author to write a book as a blog. He warns that his employer will own everything - comments and all - but still it's another example of a book as a living thing being created in public.

Blogging to recruit

Charlene Li, the Forrester analyst, explains why blogs are perfect for recruitment.

Comcast takes action

A technician for US cable company Comcast who fell asleep in a customer's home while waiting an hour on hold to his own company's customer support, has been sacked after a video of the event was posted on YouTube.



Some 300,000 people have watched the video.

"To google" makes it into the dictionary

According to Resource Shelf "to google " is now officially a verb as it is included in the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. The definition:

"To use the Google search engine to find information on the Internet. trans. To search for information about (a person or thing) using the Google search engine."

US paper to provide free WiFi

Paidcontent reports on plans by a North Carolina newspaper to provide local free WiFi.
Publisher David Woronoff explains: “The Pilot’s mission is to serve Moore County and we think the technology has advanced to the point that we can help bind the community together in a dynamic and compelling way with The Pilot’s products and Internet service.”

Web ads up by 62%

Says the Association of Online Publishers UK internet advertising spend has achieved a record rise of 62.3 per cent according to official research released by the Advertising Association.

Google Checkout is born

Google's long-awaited payments system was finally launched this week under the name Google Checkout rather than the much-anticipated Gbuy. The service will be offered to existing advertisers only, at least for now, and Google has announced an attractive incentive to stimulate take-up. Says Wired:
Merchants won't have to pay processing fees on purchases totaling 10 times their advertising volume with Google. That means an advertiser spending $20,000 per month at Google wouldn't pay any processing fees on purchases totaling $200,000. After the spending threshold is exceeded, Google will charge merchants a fee equal to 2 percent of the purchase amount, plus 20 cents per transaction. PayPal's processing fees range between 1.9 percent and 2.9 percent of the purchase amount plus 30 cents per transaction. The model that has proven successful so far. PayPal handled $27.5 billion in online transactions last year, generating $1 billion in revenue for the company. It currently has about 105 million users worldwide.


Update: the official post is here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gmail goes mobile

Google has announced that its Gmail web email service will be available on mobile phones.
"To access Gmail, users simply visit http://gmail.com through the web browser on their mobile phone and sign in to their Gmail account as they would on the web. Because every mobile device is different, Gmail automatically optimizes the interface for each phone. Users can also view attached photos and documents from their phone, and reply-by-call to people whose phone number is stored in their Gmail account. Gmail messages are automatically synchronized, regardless of whether Gmail is accessed from a mobile device or through the web."


Update: Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced the formation of The Windows Client Mobility Marketing Team. Says eWeek:
"While small—run by Mika Krammer, director of Windows product management, it currently consists of fewer than 20 people—the group's existence signals a shift in thinking and emphasis toward mobile computing at the software giant."

Jellyfish means discounts

A new shopping comparison site which is slightly different model has launched. Jellyfish.com has signed up retailers who may the site a commission on all sales, at least half of which is shared with the shopper. In a transparent shopping enviornment on the web it is difficult to believe that the discounted rate is truly the lowest on the web, but the psychology might just work - and the interface is really clear and simple to use.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gbuy to test this week?

According to WSJ.com Google is set to test its new online payment option Gbuy as early as this week.

TED goes video

The annual TED Conference (it stands for "Technology Entertainment and Design") takes place in California and attracts an impressive rosta of speakers. Through a sponsorship deal with BMW for the first time this year they are releasing all the talks on video. Inspiring stuff.

Mobile surfing to get easier

Wires news reports that a consortium of companies including Nokia, Vodafone and Google, are getting together to produce guidelines which will make mobile surfing easier. In the same piece they annouce that Belo Corp., owner of the Dallas Morning News, is laying off newsroom staff and hiring more on the internet site.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blogs upstage magazines in investment stakes

PaidContent.org has taken its first investment, reports BuzzMachine. The sum was said to be 'less than $1m' according the WSJ and Rafat says he will make more than $1m in ads this year. Investor Alan Patricof says:
“To start a magazine today would cost a minimum of $15 million to $25 million, and you have to spend through three or four years of losses,” Mr. Patricof said. With blogs, “the economics are a lot better.”

The BBC opens up

According to Jeff Jarvis senior BBC editors will be going public on their own editors' blog today, in a further example of media accountability.

MySpace stats from The Virtual Handshake Blog

The Virtual Handshake Blog Shawn Gold, SVP, MySpace: Marketing in a Networked Culture:
MySpace has 100m users projected by July
84m registered users, 2m new registered users per week (size of Houston), 48m unique visitors per month in US
2nd most popular site for content consumption on the Internet, as defined by page views. 29000 indie film profiles. 1.8m music profiles.
#1 video viewing site
#1 referrer to Google - 8.19% of Google's traffic
42% of YouTube viewing is happening on MySpace.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Blogging for business

iBlogBusiness is a new business blog directory which aims to help people find blogs on specific industries. Sounds a bit like the start of business publishing 2.0.

Blogging by bloggers

A study by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Chancellor Professor of Marketing at UMass provides some insight from a fairly large number of well-establised bloggers. Among the advice:
  1. Blogs take time and commitment
  2. Blogs must be part of a plan
  3. A blog is a conversation
  4. Transparency, authenticity and focus are good. Bland is bad.
The report (pdf) is here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Google Begins Streaming Free Videos

WSJ.com reports that Google has begun trials of free streaming videos.

"Google's move is a key test of how online ads can finance consumer access to premium video content on the Web, the way TV commercials have supported broadcast television for decades. It could impact the efforts of companies such as Apple Computer Inc. to charge users fees to access popular videos from the Internet. If successful, the video advertising could eventually develop into a significant new extension of Google's ad system that generated over $6 billion in revenue last year," it says.

Interactive advertising trading platform

Right Media operates the first open media exchange for the interactive advertising industry. Buyers and sellers, interconnected on a common platform, seamlessly trade more than two billion impressions on the Right Media Exchange daily.

Internet changes everything shock

As the Internet grows up the news industry is being forever changed says the Washington Post in an article about the challenges and opportunity of the new media space.

Feeds 4 U

Feeds 2.0 is an RSS aggregator with personalisation built in. It claims to watch what you read and then deliver more of what you are interested in.

Mashup tools company gets funding

A new company called Mashery founded by Orel Michels, former VP Business Development for Feedster, has been given first round funding.
"Our Mashery will be a resource for developers, API providers and mashup users. Over the next six months, we will release a range of services that will make it easier to develop, deploy and use mashups and other "user generated services", says Michels on his blog.

Google goes for "cost per action"

Google is testing "pay per action" according to Wired News. The piece says reaction on the blogs is mixed so far, but it is likely to be popular with advertisers anxious to prove ROI..

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

UGC to bite back?

Robert Scoble, the Microsoft blogger who is leaving Microsoft to join a vodcasting start up, writes about "the screwing of the Long Tail" by which he means all the companies that are making advertising dollars from user generated content. Is there a chance that these users will combine and rise up and create a new model in which they combine and keep most of the money they collectively generate themselves? He thinks there's a chance.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Uploaders or Freeloaders

Interesting perspectives from PaidContent.org on the tensions inherent in user generated content business models. "Perhaps the social web will come to be known for its freeloaders, rather than its uploaders," it quotes Donna Bogatin saying.

Guardian PDF

According to Jeff Jarvis The Guardian has just announced that it will produce a constantly updated PDF version of the online paper designed to be printed out and read on the train etc. The plan is for a version to be created every 15 minutes.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Diet Coke & Mentos Video demonstrates the new economy

There was a lot of noise on the web last week (which was even picked up by The Today Programme on Friday) about the discovery that adding Mentos mints to a bottle of Diet Coke produces an entertaining reaction. One enterprising team even produced a "firework display" using the technique and set it to music. Now, PaidContent.org is reporting that the team has so far made $15,000 in advertising revenue from the clip which has so far been viewed a staggering 2.5 million times. The clip, which cost $300 to make (mostly in bottles of Coke and Mentos) was posted on Revver.com which shares ad revenue 50:50 with it's content creators.

What will the next big things be in 5 years?

It started with a Yahoo! Answers question... then Leondard's blog took up the challenge and produced a good list of products and services which in his view will become essential in five years time.
They include:
  • Software as a service becomes more standard.

  • Global identity framework, referred to by some as "Identity 2.0."

  • Digital Media – more and more of it, some cheap and some free, carried on many gadgets of many sizes, with wireless access to sync and stream effortlessly.

  • Smart phones.

  • RFID

  • Self monitoring

  • Personal aggregators

  • Shared everything.

More mobiles than people

In some 30 countries round the world there are now more mobile phones than people reports Lunch over IP quoting Informa Telecom & Media. There could be 10 more countries joining the club by the year-end.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wikimapia - describing the Earth

Wikimapia is a mashup which allows users to annotate Google maps. I can image great things which could be done with it, especially in vertical contexts.

Om Malik to go it alone

Steve Rubel blogs on the rumoured decision by Om Malik to leave Business 2 and turn free agent. He draws some parallels with other big personal media brands. Om's Gigom blog is apparently the 85th largest in the world.

TagFetch

TagFetch is a great new site which aggregates tags from the major sites which have them. Steve Rubel has only two complaints: it doesn't have an RSS feed generator and it doesn't allow other sites to be added. Still, maybe these features will be in v2. A great resource for journalists to keep on top of key subject areas.

Netscape site relaunches

A newly relaunched Netscape.com includes Digg-like story voting and other community features. Meanwhile Digg announced it is to add more categories to broaden its appeal beyond technology.

Social Networking Sites audience numbers released

Unique visitor numbers for the biggest social networking sites have been released by comScore Media Metrix. The numbers are truly staggering: out of a total internet audience in the US of 172m, Myspace has 51.4m visitors, Classmates and Facebook 14m each and video site Youtube 13m.

CNET on blogging policies

Tech site CNET writes about how companies should respond to employees blogging and using camera phones and iTunes at work. They provide some ideas on how guidelines could be developed.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Picasa takes on Flickr

Picasa Web Albums releases on limited test. This is Google's Flickr-killer, although there's a way to go; Flickr broke the 100 million images barrier a while ago.

Rusbridger on bloggers

Is it all over for bloggers? asks Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, in his Lubbock Lecture at the Said Business School in Oxford on June 8th. It's well worth a read. The Guardian is probably doing more than any other major newspaper in the worth to embrace the "new media" so its interesting to get Rusbridger's perspective, which I think is slightly more old school than you might have expected. Jeff Jarvis critiques bits of it here.

SimCity takes over

A blog doesn't need a clever name has a piece on the increasing influence of the popular urban environment game SimCity's role in educating tomorrow's town planners. "Because of the widespread use of SimCity in schools and homes, it is easy to make a case, as Paul Starr of The American Prospect has, that SimCity provides a more influential introduction to city planning than any book on the subject," it says.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Guardian to "offer news online first"

There's been a lot of comment about the Guardian's decision to publish its stories first on the web. MediaGuardian.co.uk New media Guardian to offer news online first shouted Guardian Unlimited, which went on: "The Guardian will become the first British national newspaper to offer a 'web first' service that will see major news by foreign correspondents and business journalists put online before it appears in the paper.

The shift in strategy marks a significant departure from the established routine of newspaper publishing where stories are held for 'once-a-day' publishing.

The move aims to strengthen and complement the strong track record that has been built up through Guardian Unlimited's own breaking news content.

By putting the main elements of the Guardian's news online first, the paper aims to widen and deepen coverage online to benefit the Guardian's expanding global readership.

However, copy from agency and news wires services will continue to be re-purposed or run as normal.

The system will give reporters and writers on the paper the opportunity to produce more copy of greater scope outside of the limitations of the daily paper.

Some exclusive stories will continue to be held back for the newspaper to maintain the quality levels of the print version. The object is to not remain beholden to a 24-hour printing cycle and be beaten to important news by print and new media rivals."

Jeff Jarvis makes a lot of the announcement.

But as Kieran Daly, Group Editor of Flight, points out in an email to me:

From our perspective, this is the key bit:

Rusbridger said: "Nearly all City information is now available on the day, and it seems to me a bit old-fashioned waiting for an artificial print deadline in order to put up City stories."
According to Rusbridger, the intention is for 95 per cent of stories to go straight up on the internet. He said: "If we had a world exclusive interview with George Bush that everyone was going to follow up, we might hold that back for the print edition."
The Guardian gets next to no city or foreign exclusives, so this is a logical move. But as Rusbridger acknowledges, if your material is exclusive then the situation is different.


And that, strangely enough, is the view taken by The Telegraph. According, again, to Jeff Jarvis, despite rumours to the contrary, Telegraph journalists are free to publish whatever they like of the web as and when they like in order, just as the Guardian has said, not to be scooped by online rivals.

A Ring Tone Meant to Fall on Deaf Ears - New York Times

The New York Times reports on a ring tone which rings at a frequency too high for adults to hear. This is in the category of amazing but true - the technology, as the article says, was developed in Britain and my kids have in fact been experimenting with it at school with near-perfect results and much hilarity to boot.

Eight Problems That Haven't Changed

Jakob Nielsen, the usability guru, lists eight usability problems that haven't changed in a piece for Wired's Webmonkey site.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A computer in your wall!


Jade Integration has launched what it calls "a computer in your wall". Says the site: "The Jack PC is a revolutionary new 'thin client' computer made by Chip PC Technologies. Thin clients are effectively desktop computers designed to connect to a 'terminal server' or Citrix based environment where processing is handled by servers instead of PCs. Thin clients have been getting smaller and smaller over the years however this is the world's first Windows-based thin client small enough to fit in a network wall port. The benefits to business are massive since there's no longer a need for desktop PCs at all - your monitor, keyboard and mouse just plug into the wall! " Via A Blog Doesn't Need a Clever Name

Friday, June 09, 2006

Gnoos makes the news

A new Australian blog search service launches with a distinctly web 2.0 feel. Apart from the fact that it concentrates on regional content which is a welcome change in the largely US-dominated space, it has got some nice features like tagging and voting nicely built into the interface.

Visualising a Blogger's Informal Social Network

Steve Rubel lists a few sites which have visual tools that help map out the influence of sites. They are fun to play with...

eBay Blogs

eBay Blogs are live. More from Steve Rubel, who has been digging around for the details, here.

Soros on screen

George Soros onRocketboom - now I've seen everything!

Hotel Offers BlackBerry Detox

The Chicago Sheraton is offering a BlackBerry Detox Programme which involves guests checking in their Blackberry on arrival where it is put under lock and key. Manager Rick Ueno says the idea grew out of his own addiction to always-on email.

Giving robots another sense

A new tech breakthrough will allow robots to feel says an article in eWeek.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Web ads rock(et)

A column in Business Week Group M saying web advertising in Britain will outstrip national newspaper advertising this year. Another milestone. He says this is in contrast to the US and goes on, unflatteringly "when the Brits are the early adopters you begin to suspect the US might be really screwed."

Oh My Tribune

In a further example of old/new media collaboration, The Guardian reports that the International Herald Tribune has stuck a deal with Korean super-site Oh My News to take citizen journalist content for publication.

Newspapers blog

Jeff Jarvis reports on recent efforts by US newspapers to get into blogging or tap them in other ways.

FAQ on Net Neutrality

"Net Neutrality" is an issue that has hardly surfaced in the British media, but which about which a debate is raging in the US. It centres around whether telcos should be allowed to charge variable prices according to the kind of content being carried, thus creating a multi-tiered service. Susan Crawford has written a very good summary of the issue if you are interested.

Second Life, same old lawyers

In another twist in the development of MMORPGs a man who was suspended from Second Life has sued the game's creators because he wasn't reimbursed for the real-world value of his online real estate.

Photoshops rools

It took 2000 hours and a lot of knowledge of Photoshop to create this image of the Chicago skyline. While we're on the subject of Photoshop, a Hall of Fame has been created to honour those whose work pushes the limits of what you can do with the software.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jarvis on Greenslade on Guardian Unlimited

Jeff Jarvis' comments about Roy Greenslade's new blog on Guardian Unlimited are worth a read. The best line: "The best indication of that is that he doesn’t turn this into a long column and he’s not too proud to do what’s really valuable onine: aggregate."

Nokia turns cellphones into webservers

According to LinuxDevices.com Nokia has ported an Apache webserver to Symbian opening up the possibility of all phones become webservers in the future. Says the site "many mobile phones today have more processing power than early Internet servers."

"Nokia's Raccoon project believes mobile phone webservers could have large implications for the Internet. It says, "If every mobile phone or even every smartphone initially is equipped with a webserver, then very quickly most websites will reside on mobile phones."

An Internet comprised largely of mobile phone-based servers could challenge search engines to keep pace, however, because of the "dynamism" of an Internet where site content can change from minute to minute."

Nature tries out new kind of peer review

The bit debate in science publishing is the role of the publisher and open source (aka diy) publishing. At the heart of the defence is the peer review process. Now sciene publishing bastion Nature is trying out a new kind of peer review, accodinig to Smart Mobs.