Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tips for founders

Onstartups, a blog for entrepreneurs has 17 Pithy Insights For Startup Founders. I particularly like number 13 - "The problem you solve should be ugly. The solution you build should be beautiful." Can't say this description springs to mind all that often, though.

UK tops shopping chart

According to a report from Mintel, posted by  AOP the UK now does more of its Shopping online than any other European country.

WYSIWYG web 2.0 programming

Wired's Monkey Bites blog has a write up on a new WYSIWYG web editing tool called Aptana that it says helps to get Web 2.0 effects quickly and easily.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Mash-up on the menu

MenuTree is a new mashup which shows restaurants on a map. It's a lightweight mash-up, and is pretty light on content at the moment, but anyone publishing hospitality content should take a look.

The Answer to the big question?

Danny Sullivan asks if Yahoo! Answers may not be the next big thing on the web. He points out that it is growing nearly as fast as YouTube and MySpace (albeit from a smaller base).
Via Steve Rubel

Tracking by numberplate

Wired News reports that License Plate Tracking technology, for now the province of US police departments, is set to go public.

The systems, which cost about $25,000 are about the size of a can of baked beans and are powered by a cigarette lighter. Attached to a laptop they can check up to 60 plates a minute against a database, says Wired.

Wired quotes former policeman Andy Bucholz, who's on the board of Virginia-based G2 Tactics, a manufacturer of the technology, saying the price is coming down and companies like ChoicePoint, who already provide masses of personal information on people, will be chomping at the bit to get hold of real-time locational data.

Internet ads continue to rise

Online advertising spending is set to grow 25 per cent worldwide in 2006 says a report from Carat, quoted by the AOP.
Internet advertising will continue its rapid ascent in 2006 and help prop up growth in the ad market as a whole, according to a new report from Carat International.

The Aegis-owned network said in its latest “Global Market Update” that the online medium will grow 25 per cent year-on-year worldwide, and will overtake the amount of ad revenue generated by newspapers in the US by 2008.

In the UK, it overtook outdoor advertising in 2005 and is likely to outstrip magazines this year. For early adopters like Sweden and South Korea, the internet is forecast to become the third biggest advertising medium this year, after television and newspapers.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Amazon video business to launch next month

According to’s movie service will launch in mid-August.
[The service], which has been in the works for some time now, will launch mid-August, report AdAge. The service, called Amazon Digital Video — or Amazon “DV” — has evolved over the past year from a music-themed offering to a video-centric one, mainly because of competing services. It will have movies and TV shows, and will have subscription and la carte download (download to own plus burn) options.

Video for the masses notes the explosion of small live gigs which are being streamed live to satisfy the demand for niche content - another example of the democratisation of the medium. There are a number of companies springing up to satisfy the desire more more specialised content like Network Live and Livenation. The Long Tail is making itself known in virtually all media.

Technorati facelift

Zoli's Blog was first with the news that Technorati has updated its UI, even stealing a march on David Sifry who was now has more details up.

Monday, July 24, 2006

TV vs. YouTube

iJeff Jarvis makes much of the fact that Nielsen report on the lowest-ever ratings by the network TV companies in the US and its co-incidence with the news that YouTube is now serving 100 million videos a day. "Insert apocalyptic punchline here," he says.

Developer wars

Robert Scoble, the ex-Microsoft blogger, has an interesting post on the coming "developer wars". He believes there are a few essentials: developers need a platform that is fast, has a load of storage, has powerful APIs and is cheap/free. He assesses the current players against these criteria. The winner? Probably Google, but don't count out the others, he says.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Interesting collaborative voting system at AmigoFish. Worth a look.

Dabbling in video

Dabble, a video search service, launches in "private beta" - which means give them your email address and you might get invited to try it out.

digging for bargains

John Batelle blogs about, a US site which combines shopping and digg-like functionality to bring bargains to users. Hot deals get to the front page by users votes.
It's self-billed as a combination of Digg and, for which one of the DP co-founders also serves as President. From the press release: " is the first and only [community shopping] site [that] combines social bookmarking, user level, and non-editorial control over the posted content.

India bloggers not amused

Indian bloggers are up in arms, says the BBC, following an apparent ban by the Government of various blogging platforms. Although the Government is not saying much, it is believed it is a response to the Mumbai bombing and an effort to curb the activities of terrorists. However, this is not how it is being seen:
Indian bloggers say that the decision is an attack on freedom of speech.

A number of them have started filing petitions under the country's new landmark freedom of information law which gives citizens the right to access information held by the government.

Bloggers say the ban has meant that people do not even have access to blogs like the one set up to help the relatives of the victims of the recent train bombings in Mumbai (Bombay),

Google Finance improves

Google has upgraded its beleaguered finance service with a slew of improvements in response to comments from users. The blog has the details.

IM beats email

According to the Associated Press for many youngsters email is now old-hat. They prefer the immediacy of instant messaging, texting and social networks like My Space.
“It used to be just fun,” says Danah Boyd, a doctoral candidate who studies social media at the University of California, Berkeley. “Now it's about parents and authority.”

It means that many people often don't respond to e-mails unless they have to.

Boyd's own Web page carries this note: “please note that i'm months behind on e-mail and i may not respond in a timely manner.” She, too, is more easily reached with the “ping” of an instant message.

Gawker splits

Gawker Media, Nick Denton's blog empire, is terminating its traffic deal with Yahoo! Nick says:
The bald truth is that the deal, which we announced in November, garnered way more attention than we expected, but less traffic. A few new readers probably discovered Gawker, or one of the other four sites that we syndicated to Yahoo. I doubt many of them stayed. Yahoo has a mass audience; Gawker appeals to a peculiarly coastal, geeky and freaky demographic. And these people are more likely to come to our sites through word of mouth, or blog links, or search engine results, or Digg, not because of a traditional content syndication deal.

Jeff Jarvis has his own take on events. He says Yahoo! in trying to be a portal is more interested in locking people into its site than helping them find what they want elsewhere.
Contrast this with Google, which does still try to get you in and out quickly. It makes a fortune by putting targeted ads on many of the sites it sends you to. Thus its potential is unlimited, for the more content there is, the more Google has to organize, the more we need Google to find what we want, the more its ads can appear everywhere, and the more it earns. Yet Google still satisfies both traditional roles of the old networks in the content industry: It takes in money by aggregating audiences for advertisers, while it also pays out money to support content creators. Google is network 2.0.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Google on optimisation

The AdSense blog has some tips on optimisation.

Google's rise continues

Google has doubled its profits for the second quarter, taking analysts by surprise.

Says USA Today:
The search giant reported $2.5 billion in revenue, up 77% from the year-ago quarter. Net income was $721 million, or $2.33 per share, up from $342 million, or $1.19 per share, a year ago.

Analysts had expected Google to report per-share earnings of $2.22.

Virtual Earth news mash up

Interesting use of a map mash up showing news and blog coverage of the crisis in the Middle East. Gives an unusual perspective.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Google Video ups the antedzhil

According to Micro Persuasion Google Video has added "in-stream permalinks. The move, which goes one better than YouTube, means that now you can link to a specific part of a video. All you need to do is append the time in this format (#1m35s) to the video URL.

Search for the visually impaired

Google Labs has a new product - Google Accessible Search. The site works by analysing the meta data and html on sites to bring back those most likely to be more readily used by the visually impaired - those which work well with images switched off, for instance. It is linked to Google Co-op so site owners can self-identify.

Click fraud increasing?

Click fraud is growing, according to a report quoted by
Another report makes it harder for search portals to deny click fraud as a growing concern. According to the Click Forensics study, fraudulent clicks on search-related online ads rose to an average of 14.1 percent last quarter, up from 13.7 percent in the first quarter. Earlier this month, advisory firm Outsell interviewed advertisers and estimated the rate as closer to 14.6 percent, or $800 million lost in revenue a year.

HK enlists scouts and guides

Hong Kong Youth Enlisted For Online Copyright Patrols, says
Forget bots and automated web crawlers … the Hong Kong government has enlisted 200,000 youth ages 9-25 from 11 organizations including the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides to patrol the online discussion sites for copyright violations.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Netscape woos Diggers

According to Wired News Netscape is offering to pay people to blog. The story goes on:
Jason Calacanis offered up to $1,000 a month to woo volunteer posters away from popular reader-generated link sites like Digg and Reddit. A post on Calacanis' personal blog is offering potential contributors -- which he'll call "Netscape Navigators" after they jump ship -- the $1,000 monthly stipend for a minimum of 150 posts on the recently redesigned Netscape site.

The posts would be similar in content to the highly popular submissions on Digg, which are generally sparse on original content but offer links to original stories elsewhere on the web.

Calacanis believes that "crowdsourcing", where a large pool of users contribute content to a community with little or no monetary compensation, is an outmoded idea.

Monday, July 17, 2006

YouTube Serves Up 100 Million Videos a Day

According to eWeek YouTube, the video sharing site, has broken through the 100 million videos served up a day barrier. The site was launched only late last year and now has 29% of the US multimedia entertainment market online, according to eWeek - quoting Hitwise. According to the company's fact sheet 60,000 videos are uploaded daily.

El Blog

El Tiempo, a major daily newspaper in Columbia, has just relaunched its website and incorporated a swath of Web 2.0 features, according to Jeff Jarvis, who was himself quoting Boz.
They have activated comments on articles. Comments can be voted up or down by readers. They have a most read and most active search section on the homepage. It looks like they may incorporate tags next.

Making a Watch by Hand

In case you have a few spare moments over the summer and are at a loss as to what to do with your time, you might want to considermaking a watch by hand. Amazing.

How to succeed at Web 2.0

The antidote to Web 2.0 hype, Dead 2.0 has 11 Suggestions For Not Being a Dot-Bomb 2.0

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Vint by John

John Battelle interviewed Vint Cerf for Business 2.0 but because Fortune ran an interview the piece was spiked and it has ended up on for all to read - for free.

MSN and Yahoo! speak to each other

After what seems like a lifetime, Yahoo! and MSN finally announce a beta service where users of both services can view each others' online status and exchange messages. It only works with Messgenger Live and Yahoo!'s lastest version. Still, it's a start!

Here's eWeek's take on the story

Wikipedia RSS

Micro Persuasion reports that  Wikipedia has added RSS. As Steve Rubel points out, this means you can easily track revisions on articles about things which are important to you - people, brands etc.

Google health plans?

If this (from VC Ratings) is correct Google's health portal plans, the subject of some speculation, may be more extensive than originally thought. costs 36p

The BBC's annual report is out and among other things it confirms that 36p from our £126.50 licence fee was spent on (over £72m.)

b2b Top 100

BtoB Magazine has a list of the top 100 people in the b2b space. Don't be too disappointed if you find you aren't on it.... :-)

M&A in media is hot....

PaidContent is quoting the JEGI database reporting that there were 315 deals totalling more than $37bn in value in the first half of 2006, more than a third up on the same period last year (by value). More detail from PaidContent here.

FT merges on- and off-line production

FT To Axe 50 As Online-Print Merger Happens - from
The Financial Times plans to cut 10% (about 50) of its 500-strong editorial staff as it merges its online and newsprint operations…the job losses will be mainly in production, as the reporting operation was integrated several years ago.

The long tail vs Pirates

Some thoughts from Rafat following the publication of The Long Tail which coincided with the all-time-record opening weekend of Pirates of the Caribbean which brought in $132m.

The conclusions: Blockbusters will continue to succeed even as niche media proliferates…a long-tail world doesn’t threaten the whales or the minnows…It threatens those who cater to the neglected middle, such as writers of “mid-list” fiction and producers of adult dramas. Also, competitive economics aren’t going away. As long as people herd, there will be blockbusters in one form or the other.

Wired re-Wired

Wired News report that Condé Nast is buying.... Wired News
Lycos is selling its Wired News unit to Condé Nast Publications for $25 million, Lycos parent Daum Communications announced in Korea late Tuesday, a deal that brings and Wired magazine under the same owner after an eight-year separation.

Lycos acquired Wired News as part of its June 1999 acquisition of Wired Digital in a stock transaction valued at about $83 million at the time. Since then, Wired News has published Wired magazine articles on the web under a contractual relationship, while reporting independently on technology and science news.

Tuesday's deal includes all the assets of Wired News, such as the website, news content and domain name, but leaves Lycos in control of former Wired Digital properties such as HotBot, Hotwired and Webmonkey. Upon completion of the transaction, the assets of Wired News will be operated as part of Condé Nast Publications' web division, CondéNet. No layoffs at Wired News are planned as a result of the deal.

Penton Media on the block

Penton’s Up For Sale; Hires Banker  says
The B2B media firm Penton Media, taking advantage of the uptick in the B2B media M&A, has put itself up for sale. It has hired Credit Suisse Securities and Allen & Company to help in the process of exploring strategic options, including sale.
The official reasoning given on the move: said CEO David Nussbaum: “it is an opportune time to evaluate strategic alternatives was based on a number of factors, including that management has successfully improved operating income since the industry recession in early 2001 and the board’s belief that the market is currently very attractive for business-to-business media assets.” The company is among the oldest in existence: it was founded in 1892 by Canadian immigrant John Augustus Penton.

DMGT does it again

In case you missed it this week. DMGT continues its online buying spree paying $31 million for three classified sites, reports
The three websites include car dealer site AutoExposure, and two recruitment web firms, Interbase and The Appointment.
Auto Exposure provides car dealers with services to publish and advertise their vehicle inventory online. Interbase Limited operates, a subscription based recruitment website for freelancers in the TV broadcasting and film production industries in the UK. The Appointment Limited runs the retail recruitment sites and as well as the retail magazine “The Appointment”. The three new acquisitions, which have a combined turnover of approximately $8.25 million.
In May, Associated spent $85.3 million in buying dating website Allegran, and Data Media Retail, which owns All of the acquisitions will form part of the AN Digital network of online assets.

Times reorganises

Times, the UK newspaper owned by Murdoch, has done an editorial overhaul of its online division, Times Online: In another change, Richard Caseby, the managing editor of the Sunday Times, will become assistant editor of Times Online. Anne Spackman, the managing editor of the Times, has been editor-in-chief of Times Online, as part of a move to further integrate the paper’s print and website operations. Peter Bale, previously editorial director for Times Online, will become editorial director of digital strategy, reporting to Spackman and leading the development of the website.

Technorati raises more

According to blog search engine Technorati has raised $7.6 million in its third round of funding, according to an SEC filing, picked up by PE Week Wire.

Meanwhile, according to Om Malik, Feedster, the San Francisco blog search engine has raised a new round of funding, mostly internal and is about to announce a new president.
Sources say the amount of funding is in seven figures - between $1 and $5 million, says Om.

Finding good podcasts

Lifehacker has a "how to" on finding good podcast content.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

IT- specific search engine is a new specialist vertical search engine focussedo on the IT space.


This is an interesting mash-up which puts a new front end on Flickr. Worth a look.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Google Video rolls out

PaidContent report that Google Video is rolling out country-specific sites in Europe. The idea is to make the content more appealing to local audiences by localisation - and this, despite the rather disappointing (by Google's rather cosmic standards) take-up in the US.

Mashup Camp

Mashup has barely become a word and it has its own conference: Mashup Camp. Being held in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, this is actually the second annual event - plus there's a blog, a wiki and a "mashup university".

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Google Gdrive Surfaces

More web sleuthing has surfaced more evidence of the fabled Gdrive project by which Google was meant to get into the operating system game.

Yahoo! goes on vacation

Yahoo! has launched Trip Planner, a site which uses Web 2.0 features to encourage travellers to score good vacation experiences. The company hopes that the money will come from travel sites needed the traffic.

Landing page quality update

The Inside AdWords blog talks about changes to the algorithm which will affect the way Google views landing pages. In future poor advertiser landing pages will be penalised by lower ranking for AdWords ads.

Herding spiders

Matt Cutts from Google talks about how to make the Google crawler do what you want it to do.

Will Talkcasts Be Talk of the Town?

From eWeek: Will Talkcasts Be Talk of the Town?: "TalkShoe, a small company in Pittsburgh, has created a Web service that allows users to create and join real-time voice conferences that can be extended to thousands of participants using cell phones, regular telephones or VOIP (voice over IP) devices.
Unlike existing Internet conferencing and chat services, TalkShoe's Talkcasts incorporate both live and recorded telephone-quality voices, are accessible via a full range of phone connection types, integrate voice and chat, and can be made public or private, according to company officials."

Bartending, RFID Style

It had to happen: RFID tags in the bar. EWeek reports that a beverage company is now selling an RFID attachment for bottles.
"'The software converts the tilt into an estimated volume, and the conversion is automatically perfected based on the history of each bottle; hence it becomes more accurate over time and adapts to each bartender's habits. When the bottle is empty, our sensor knows it and the software readjusts the historical pours of each bottle to the known volume of the bottle,' said Beverage Metrics CEO David Teller, who said his company has between $5 million and $10 million in annual revenue. 'Our system reconciles pours to ring-ups and recipes and automatically decides what is a long pour that should be changed to two pours [and] when to combine short pours in sequence.' "


The BBC have been running an open competition to come up with a redesign for the BBC home page. The winner - Malkovich - has just been announced. There are a lot of interesting things about this: that the BBC outsources its redesign; that the winner incorporates community features in a really comprehensive way; that the separation of content from comment is hardly there at all. Fascinating.

Interactive Map of the Blogosphere

Matthew Hurst has produced an interesting interactive map of the blogosphere on his site, Data Mining. You can click on any of the nodes to be taken to site it represents. The data is a bit out of data as it was gathered in June 2005.

Prescott in bloggers' firing line

How the net closed on Prescott: the Guardian takes a look at bloggers' role in the John Prescott saga. "The deputy PM's latest tangle is the first big British political story to be driven by bloggers, reports Patrick Barkham, while, Guido Fawkes defends their role "

How to track a market

I made a note to myself ages ago about this post from Micro Persuasion which details how to track specific issues through the use of blog search engines (but I forgot to post it!) It seems to me that this is the kind of workflow change journalist today need to make to keep on top of what is happening.

AOP research digital future

New research from AOP and Deloitte finds publishers much more comfortable about the digital future. On average publishers say digital will make up 40% of revenues by 2012. Advice, distilled from the research, follows....
1. Make it simple Develop and clearly articulate a simple overarching strategy that sets out how your offline, online and mobile offerings interplay. Ensure it delivers incremental value to customers;
2. Know your customer Get to know your customers and grow with them. Don’t ignore the young – they are your future;
3. Profit from personalisation Personalise to provide what customers want at the right price and they will come. Don’t be afraid of breaking your traditional one-to-many publishing model;
4. If you can’t beat them, join them Embrace those who won’t opine about or contribute to your product; they will ultimately enhance and support your brand;
5. Fee or free Look beyond the printed word and focus on the brand at the centerpiece for generating revenue.

YouTube figures

Wired has a piece on the perils of online video - usual stuff about unregulated content and youngsters - but there was an amazing fact quoted : YouTube is now getting an average of 50,000 videos a day uploaded!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Open source community software

I came across Pligg, open source community platform at the moment in beta, a while ago but lost sight of it (that will teach me not to blog it in the first place! It looks quite good and the best thing is the licence lets you use it for free and change the software as you see fit.

The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the Affero General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users.

eBay bans Google Checkout

Techmeme is alive with comments on  eBay's decision to bans sellers from using Google Checkout.

The online auction giant updated its Safe Payments policy this week to add Google's new payment service, Google Checkout to its list of online payment methods not permitted on eBay.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

New term for a new phenomenon?

Jeff Jarvis suggests a new term: "networked journalism"
I think a better term for what I’ve been calling “citizen journalism” might be “networked journalism.” “Networked journalism” takes into account the collaborative nature of journalism now: professionals and amateurs working together to get the real story, linking to each other across brands and old boundaries to share facts, questions, answers, ideas, perspectives. It recognizes the complex relationships that will make news. And it focuses on the process more than the product.

The Wiki approach to Who's Who says it is "a revolutionary project that revolves around the idea that everyone in the world, no matter who they are, has a unique and interesting story that deserves to be told. We aim to create a database of biographies for everyone in the world, as told by those who know them best."

Micro Persuasion: The 2006 Halftime Report

Micro Persuasion publishes a half-time score card on Steve Rubel's seven big online trends.

Keeping track of your comments

coComment is a site which allow you to keep track of your comments across websites so they can be viewed in one place.

Clickfraud driving moves to pay-for-action

Click fraud cost $800m last year according to
Online advertisers paid more than $800 million (14.5 percent of total clicks) last year for fraudulent clicks and more than a quarter of them have reduced their spending as a result, according to Outsell.

AOL's big gamble

According to, AOL is considering offering its entire menu of services — including e-mail, virus protection and other security software — free to anyone who has a competing Internet connection, WSJ reports.

Says PaidContent, "Under this proposal, which AOL CEO Jonathan Miller presented to top Time Warner executives in NYC last week, AOL would stop charging a subscription fee for outside users, but subscribers who have traditional dial-up through AOL would still have to pay their monthly fee of as much as $25.90. The company expects that 8 million of its existing dial-up customers would cancel their subscription to take advantage of the new offer…it could be giving up as much as $2 billion in subscription revenue in a gamble aimed at boosting ad revenues."

Massive layoffs would follow reducing costs and advertising revenue increases would offset the rest of the subscription decline.

Free file downloading service launches

TechCrunch » Blog Archive » Use Red Swoosh to Serve Files For Free
Silicon Valley based Red Swoosh is launching a free, ad supported version of its file serving technology today, says TechCrunch. The service is similar to Bittorent but apparently easier to use.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Five Quick Tips to Building a Better Blog

ChangeThis, a blog by Meryl K. Evans, offers five tips of making corporate blogs better. It's in PDF but worth the download.

MetaCafe gets funding

MetaCafe, apparently the fourth most popular video download site in the UK according to has received $15m of funding from venture firms Benchmark Capital and Accel Partners.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Gawker regroups

Nick Denton announced that Gawker Media, his blog company, was closing a couple of blogs - Sploid and Screenhead - and moving staff around on four more. He says changes in the media landscape are behind the move. Jeff Jarvis reckons this is just Nick - with whom he is friends - acting like a media company (21st century one at that) and proving that modern media companies are easy to tweak when things change, unlike 20th century ones. Maybe.

5 reasons why social networks fail

Simon Robinson pointed me to this interesting post of the 5 reasons why social networks fail. Future posts from the author promise to focus on why they succeed, too...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Size of the planets

This is going a bit "off-piste" but I couldn't resist pointing to this pose from which has a great series of illustrations showing the relative sizes of the planets and nearby suns. This one shows our nearest neighbours; others show our sun dwarfed by nearby stars.

Phone, GPS and compass = search

A new service has launched in Japan, says OhGizmo!
It’s called “Mapion Local Search”, and allows you to get detailed information about any of 700,000 businesses simply by pointing your cellphone at them. The GPS determines where you are, the compass where you’re pointing; the service digests this information, and spits back useful info about the business in question.

Google Video Rating

Google Video has added rating to provide more user interaction with the conents. Reported by Steve Rubel.
The official Google Blog version is here.

NatMags to launch internet division

National Magazine Company, the UK consumer publishing arm of Hearst Magazines, is forming a digital division according to
About 30 staff will be hired for the new digital division, which will handle production, advertising sales and marketing, overseen by a managing director for digital publishing, a role which is yet to be filled.

New visual search engine launches

Pixsy is a venture-backed "visual search" engine based in San Francisco.

VNU launches internet TV and radio

VNU Business Publishing launches an Internet Broadcasting Service with online video and audio delivered from its own "six figure" studio complex in Soho, London.
VNU On Air will incorporate a mix of up-to-date news, product and technology know-how, and high level industry discussion and debate, aimed at the four million users per month of VNU's 20 on and offline brands in the UK including The Inquirer,, Computing, IT Week, Accountancy Age, Computeractive and CRN. The programming delivered through these new video and audio packages will appeal to the company's three core audiences; B2B IT buyers, consumer technology users and financial management professionals.