Tuesday, July 31, 2007

End of an era for Rubel?

Steve Rubel, stalwart A List Blogger, explains how he is winding down his blog in favour of "micro blogging" - using Twitter and the like. Is this a trend? Is it the end for the blog as we know it?

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Measuring influence across networks

How do you measure influence on the web? The number and quality of links was the traditional way, but now David Brain, ceo of Edelman Europe is trying to develop a more comprehensive model which tracks influence across large numbers of social networks.

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Social networks - the future of media?

Social networks will define media consumption in the future - or so says Dan Scheinman, senior vice president of Cisco Systems' Media Solutions Group. Though it may sound like an activity relegated to high school and college kids, social networking is going to be the avenue for marketers and media companies to reach consumers and enterprise customers alike, Scheinman said.

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Common sense about naming

Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff has some sensible advice for those developing software or delivering internet based content - stop calling your customers "users".
Try, just for a day, to stop using this word. You'll be amazed at how differently you think about the world. Web users become people looking for information.
Application users become employees trying to get stuff done. Users of your Web site become customers....User-generated media becomes amateur media.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Facebook as the new blogging?

Robert Scoble is comparing Facebook to blogs and concluding that Facebook has something extra... The key? True two way interaction, in his view.

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EMAP beefs up construction

Emap has acquired Torcello Publishing, which publishes the online-only Infrastructure Journal, for GBP 20 ($40) million as it looks to ramp up its portfolio of construction titles. That portfolio already includes such exciting names as Construction News, Ground Engineering and New Civil Engineer. Infrastructure Journal ceased trading in print some years ago.

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Facebook still not for sale

Facebook will do over $100m in revenue this year and "is not interested in selling" according to a PaidContent piece.

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Blog from the top

Reuters CEO Tom Glocer is blogging from inside the prestigious Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference in Idaho. Nothing too remarkable in the posts, but more remarkable in who's posting. Incidentally it looks to me that Glocer has chosen to blog on Community Server, the same platform we are using on FlightGlobal and FWI to host our forums. I like the "Roller" function. You can also see pictures of Glocer with all sorts of famous people - The Queen, Vladamir Putin, Tony Blair, Nelson Mandela and Ehud Ulmert, the Israeli prime minister.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

You Tube marketing

Charlene Li of Forrester has an interesting post on the effective use of YouTube as a marketing vehicle. It's very powerful, but there are a few tips:
1. it's got to be funny
2. it's got to be authentic
3. it's got to be original
4. it's got to connect with the product.

Can our marketing people do this, I ask myself?

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Scoble on the advertising revolution

Robert Scoble has some thoughts about the changing balance of power between the contributors and the medium. Why can't he charge for access to his Facebook friends list, he asks? Good question.

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More newsroom mergers

News International's Daily and Sunday newspaper and online teams are to merge, reports the AOP.
The company plans to increase its online audience and profitability through this streamlining of online and print editorial teams, and increased use of the web and mobile services to attract a younger demographic, which is less receptive to print.
Murdoch's Damascene conversion is now complete.

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Extending the power of maps

Google has launched Maplets, widgets that anyone can make to mash up data (say, airports or cheap petrol stations) with Google Maps and then share them with anyone.

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Measure or die

More on the problem of measurement in a Web 2.0 world from Jeff Jarvis. Problem is, he says, if it's not measured then advertisers won't buy it and that would be bad for innovation. He lists maps, widgets and RSS feeds as some example of place where people are spending their time, but which aren't getting the credit for it.

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MediaGuardian Top 100

The Guardian has published its seventh annual Top 100 most powerful people in media (registration needed) - though one of the listings (Facebook at number 100) is a site not a person. Eric Schmidt, Google ceo tops the list, followed by Rupert Murdoch, Mark Thompson, BBC DG, Michael Grade, famous TV mogul and new boss of ITV and James Murdoch, ceo of Sky.
The old media certainties are no more. In a world where print journalists have become podcasters, video-on-demand has replaced the video cassette, and two-year-old new media start-ups sell for $1.65bn, it is apt there should be a changing of the guard in the MediaGuardian 100. So this year we ripped up the list and started again with the help of several new members on our panel of judges. Out of the list go the likes of Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer and Daily Express editor Peter Hill, in come the vanguard of the social networking revolution - YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steven Chen, MySpace chief executive Chris DeWolfe, and Bebo's Michael Birch. Nearly half of this year's list are new entries.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Google to move on Exchange?

EWeek sees the latest Google acquisition of security firm Postini as evidence that it is gearing itself up to challege Exchange in the corporate email space.

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Web development goes online

How to build a real-time fuel price map with mash-ups? Use Google's mash-up editor and Yahoo! Pipes. Easy.

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New social networking

Google is working on a new social network called SocialStream which would act as a central point where all contact data from other social networks could be kept and updated. It works on the assumption that the competitors open up their services through APIs and don't continue as "walled-gardens" as is now the case. Meanwhile, Yahoo! is rumoured by Techcrunch to be working on its own new social network, Mosh.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Washignton Post's online principles

The world famous Washington Post has published its 10 principles of online journalism which among other things commits it to posting "most" scoops online as soon as they happen, and publishing news as it happens 24/7. As Jeff Jarvis points out: good as far as it goes but the paper conspicuously fails to place itself as part of a two-way conversation with "those formerly known as readers". The Post is still the centre of the journalistic universe.

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Presentations online for Google

Presentations are soon to join documents and spreadsheets in Google's suite of online "office" applications. Two recent acquisitions - Zenter and Tonic Systems - will be at the heart of the offering which is promising to debut this summer.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

More Gov. jobs online

AOP reports that the government intends to push more recruitment advertising of Government positions online. Press will still be used, according to the report, but ads will be smaller and will direct applicants to Government websites. There is a silver lining of sorts for print publishers; apparently the moves will apply to senior jobs only as the view is that not everyone who might apply for lowly jobs have access to the internet.


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Social Media ups and downs?

Steve Rubel posts the news that social networks (blogs and other places consumers produce content) are set to be a huge business - $1bn this year and $4.3bn by 2011 says eMarketer. He says this won't be without its problems:

1. consumers won't continue to do this for free

2. ad blocking technology will get better and make monitisation harder (the new Camino browser for the Mac has it built in, for instance) will continue to improve, he says.

I agree with 2 but I think the propositions will simply become better and more compelling - we are really in the infancy of effective online brand marketing.

I don't agree with 1. It seems to me that there is a basic human urge to communicate which has been unleased by the new technology and I don't think the desire to share the spoils will weigh much against this background.


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Paxman joins the tie debate

Newsnight's pugnacious front-man Jeremy Paxman has entered (started) the debate about the neck tie. Is now the time to ditch the convention he asks.


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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fast buys cool new technology

Norwegian search software company Fast, whose software we have installed at Kellysearch and Zibb, among other places, has bought AgentArts, a San Francisco personalisation and recommendation engine. This could open up some really interesting opportunities. Let's hope it's integrated soon.

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Economic models explained by cows

One of my colleagues, who will remain nameless, sent me this today. I've read many of the definitions, with some slight variations, but this is the most complete list I've seen. Not very PC, but funny, none-the-less....

You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the
milk away...

You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons

You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a
debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to our listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows. You shred them.

You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows. You worship them.

You have two cows. Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your
country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy....

You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.

You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate

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Keeping good people

Marc Andreessen has some advice for big companies that have gone off the boil and who want to keep their best people. Firstly he says the problem is framed wrongly. It's not "we can't keep our best people" it's "we're not winning". Start winning again and your problems will (mostly) go away. But, he say, aside from this, there are things you can do:
1. Don't give up - keep insisting you are still aggressive and innovative, not that you are now a big, staid company so that's that.
2. Focus. Keep the key players - the magnets who the other good people want to be around
3. Clean house. Get rid of the mediocre people and the people who joined in the good times because they were the good times.
4. Promote your best people
5. Simplify and clarify the organisational structure
6. Take out layers - especially at the top.

So, there you are....

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Picassa advances

After a slow start on the web (Google's Picassa has always been the best desktop photo organiser) Web Albums development is picking up with geo support being added to the application and the API.

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Moving over for Flickr

Yahoo! is shutting down its Yahoo! Photos service and providing tools to move customers to either Flickr or to competing photo-sharing sites. Seems odd to have kept it going so long, but that lack of integration has long been a characteristic of Yahoo! Perhaps with Yang at the helm things are changing?

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Hack Day comes to London

The Yahoo! Open Hack Day takes place this weekend in Alexandra Palace. Read about it here.

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A stand for journalism

Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC refusing to read the Paris Hilton story - I'm sure you've seen it. There have been thousands of comments of support, so there's some here...

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Google GrandCentral

Google has acquired beta phone service GrandCentral. The service allows users (currently only in the US) to have one number which can be used on all their phones -  and a host of other services.


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The new president of Yahoo!

The New York Times has a fairly long piece about Sue Decker, the Yahoo! executive who has just been made president following the departure of Terry Semel.


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Yahoo! display ad engine

Yahoo! has applied for a patent for its new SmartAds that deliver display ads to people across the web based on their demographics or behaviours. SearchEngineLand reports that the idea is to take templates containing advertiser-generated  content (logos, copy, graphics) and assemble them dynamically depending on who's seeing the ads.


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FeedBurner feels the Google affect

Following its acquisition by Google, FeedBurner has announced that previously paid-for services will now be free. The first off the blocks are FeedBurner Pro (using your own domain for feeds instead of their's) and TotalStats (detailed and granular feed stats).


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Mobile content grows

AOP reports on Informa research indicating that UK mobile content was worth £661m in 2006, half coming from 25-34 year olds.


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UK online ads set to grow

So says Carat in its latest advertising forecast which is predicting growth of 4.1% growth for 2007 and 3.9% next year. Almost all of which will be driven by the growth of online, reports the AOP story.


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BBC balance

A post from Jeff Jarvis came to mind when I heard the excellent news that BBC correspondent Alan Johnston had been released in Gaza. In this post Jeff reported on a BBC report on its own impartiality. It emphasised both the legal obligtion for impartiality and the moral imperative. There are 12 principles listed but this one sets the tone:

Impartiality is and should remain the hallmark of the BBC as the leading provider of information and entertainment in the United Kingdom, and as a pre-eminent broadcaster internationally. It is a legal requirement, but it should also be a source of pride.

What doesn't quite gel, though, is the BBC's own reporting of the kidnapping. Every morning on the Today Programme there has been a news item about some aspect of Alan Johnston's plight. It was heart-warming to see the BBC mobilize on behalf of a colleague, but hardly "impartial". In this morning's story about the release Today mentioned in passing the five British hostages held in Baghdad since late May. I'm ashamed to say I'd forgotten about them.


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Price and the move online

A price rise on the New York Times is changing veteran journalist and media commentator Jeff Jarvis' reading habits. Then he thinks about it some more and has some advice for the Times: push up the price a lot more. Then more of the audience will be forced online which is where they will end up anyway. Grasp the nettle, he says...

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Whipping up an ad storm

I missed this controversy from a couple of weeks ago. Federated Media, founded by Search author John Battelle caused upset by enlisting A-list bloggers to quote in ads for Microsoft's "people ready business" campaign. Jeff Jarvis gives a comprehensive account and one strong message: don't blur advertising and editorial.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Facebook as the Google of people?

There is a large amount of excitement in the blogosphere about Facebook's opportunity to become the new Google. John Batelle corals the argument in this post, for instance, and then Small Business Hub goes on to argue that Facebook is in the same position that Google was before it stumbled upon the AdWords business model - an audience waiting to be monetised. He thinks it is a good thing: ZDNet begs to differ. Donna Bogatin argues that Facebook presents many more privacy worries than Google.

However, there are counter arguments which suggest that Facebook's "walled-garden" approach will limit its growth. Jeff Jarvis argues back: there are big differences between AOL's attempts to wall us in and Facebook's attempts to wall others out, he says. Time will tell.

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Simple sign-up

Jeff Jarvis chronicles content start up MyFootballWriter.com's move to a low-cost subscription method. From August the site will offer a subscription service for just £1.50 - text the site and you'll receive a premium SMS with a unique code which will provide access. Could be a really simple way to build a subscription revenue base - provided the audience segment is large enough...

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Ning - the story

Marc Andreessen, of Netscape fame, explains on his blog all about his latest venture, Ning, a social network platform.  He says he and his co-founder Gina Bianchini created Ning to let thousands of social networks bloom.


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"We need your help"

Four words Steve Rubel says many journalists have trouble saying, he believes. Not so Jim Hopkins of USA Today. Steve recounts how he responded to a link asking him to fill out a survey seeking his iPhone buying intentions. From then on the enterprising journalist enlisted readers to help develop his story with first hand accounts and pictures. He gets full marks from Mr Rubel.


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iPhone as instrument of witchcraft

Among the acres of newsprint, virtual and physical, devoted to Apple's iPhone, this homage stands out:

This device, portrayed as a harmless product of science, is obviously designed to introduce our children to witchcraft and sorcery.

Read on....

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Google Earth as publishing medium

The Crisis in Darfur project uses Google Earth to organise information about the humanitarian crisis in one of Africa's blighted spots in a very effective way. Makes you wonder what other, perhaps less emotionally challenging, data sets might not find a better way of expressing themselves in the Google Earth metaverse. Wired has the story.

And seperately, Wired writes about the impact Google Maps has had: "Google maps is changing the way we see the world", no less.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Yahoo! and the new world

Is the new, open, content-friendly Yahoo! going to end up as the publisher's best friend. This video of Yahoo! Network boss Jeff Weiner hints at some changes to come, as Yahoo! tries to differentiate itself in the post-Semel world.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Just downloaded the Blogger widget for Mac and this post is proof (or otherwise!) that it works.