Chill, blogophiles; you're not the first to do what you're doing
Wonderful piece from Kevin Maney in USAToday downing the nauseating hype and constant dribbling about everything and anything about blogs.
But in the tech industry, hype is like a basic food group. Something is always going to change the world overnight: 3G wireless networks, interactive TV, artificial intelligence. If it won't change the whole world, you work down to the smallest applicable unit: "Our software will revolutionize dietary supplement knowledge management aboard ships at sea." Or some such thing.
Blogging is similarly the latest revolution — e.g., it's not. Which, in a way, makes it cooler.
Today, software tools make it cheap and simple to post personal journals on the Web, so more people do. "I wouldn't underestimate how much of this is driven by the tools," says Jonathan Weber, the former editor of the defunct Industry Standard, now starting a blog-infused Web site about the Rocky Mountain region.
Blogs and the reasons they exist have historical antecedents.
Take Luther in the early 1500s. About 60 years before, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Before that, only the church and governments could afford to reproduce and manage information, keeping a lock on ideas and power. The printing press gave Luther a way to distribute his thesis — an early version of blogging. Next thing, we had Protestants.
It's no secret that all this teen mania everytime some dumbarse throws up a few lines on a website annoys me, i read the blogs (currently upward of 250) to keep in touch with what's going on in my fields of interest but bloody hell, if i read one more sodding "so and so has a blog!" i swear im gonna puke...
Good news for US mobile marketers
Adverblog have the scoop on a new report from Frost:
revenue in the US mobile marketing market was worth $11.5 million and it will reach $69.3 million by 2007. The report, "An Insight into the United States Mobile Marketing & Short Code SMS Markets" reveals that to further enhance customer response, mobile marketing companies must work toward achieving greater synchronization in a comparatively extended value chain that includes advertisers, platform providers, connection aggregators, and mobile operators.
Its not much, but the comments about bottlenecks in the progression of mobile marketing caught my eye in particular - why is it that the very people and companies that should be creating wonderful new tech and exciting biz opps are also the ones stifling progress? - i know there are easy answers to that question but buggering hell, it's just such a damn shame..
So what are you reading these days?
Interesting piece in Tech Review on Rojo Networks (hmm.. nice site..), a year and half old startup headed by Chris Alden who founded Red Herring that plans to use it's Rojo aggregator tech to link feeds in a social networking environment.
San Francisco’s Rojo is one of dozens of RSS aggregator companies. Like some of its competitors, Rojo has an RSS feed search function and gives readers the ability to flag stories they find important or interesting. But in enabling users to draw on the insights of friends, family, colleagues, and others in their social networks, Rojo departs from most of the competition. Rojo users can invite others to sign up for Rojo accounts; those accounts are linked, much like the accounts on the popular website Friendster. Rojo users can see what RSS feeds the members of their networks are reading and which stories they are flagging. Network popularity also affects the ranking of results when the user searches RSS feeds. “We all depend on our community for content discovery,” says Chris Alden, Rojo’s cofounder and CEO. “Any successful media service has to tap into that.” [Disclosure: Technology Review’s editor in chief worked for Alden when he was CEO of Red Herring.]
As rafat notes, the important question is if users will start new social networks to discover feeds when they probably already maintain networks at places like Friendster...
Is it when you hear an advert during the breakfast show on a commercial London radio station for a PPC management company?
I don't know if this is worthy of TW news per se, but I do have some thoughts on it so decided to "blog it" rather than submit a thread.
I listen to the radio pretty much all day long. My station of choice isn't music based but a news and talk show based format. Whilst this is common in North America it is rare in the UK. There was a try at starting up the talk radio genre in Blighty by Talk Radio a few years ago, but even they changed their format and became sports focussed, now calling themselves Talk Sport.
Anyway, I listen to LBC and during the breakfast show, with the wannabe shock jock Nick Ferrari over the last few days I have heard an advert for Top Position a PPC management company that his this to say about itself.
Top Position specialise in helping businesses of all sizes to increase the effectiveness of their Google AdWords campaigns by improving click-through rates while reducing costs. This is achieved using an approach based around developed, highly targeted campaigns which provide Google users with the results they need more easily, while clients reduce overspend and improve conversion rates.
Now my thoughts aren't whether Top Position are a great or not PPC company but has SEM hit the mainstream. I have never heard an advert on the radio nor seen an advert on the TV before promoting SEM.
I would be VERY curious to hear from someone at Top Position about the effectiveness of their radio advertising campaign and why they, rather than their competitors had the big balls it took to make the decision to utilise this route to the business execs stuck in the London traffic jams.
Googler Blogs About Work
This is most certainly not fact, though there's more than enough smoke to suggest a fire...
Late yesterday evening (for me), blogoscoped reported on a new blog by some Google employee - one Mark Jen. He'd written a whole bunch of posts about his new employment at GOOG and they were, shall we say, less than discreet:
"Look at all these other fringe "benefits": on-site doctor, on-site dentist, on-site car washes... the list goes on and on with one similarity: every "benefit" is on-site so you never leave work. (...)
Google definitely has a program that is on par with other companies in the industry; but since when does a company like Google settle for being on par? Microsoft's health care benefits shame Google's relatively meager offering. (...)
Lastly, Google demands employees that are 90th percentile material, so what's with the 50th percentile compensation? The packages would've been decent when the company was pre-IPO, but let's be honest here... a stock option with a strike price of $188 just doesn't have the same value as the ones of yesteryear."
Upon waking, i find that Mark has deleted all of his posts.
We know GOOG read the search blogs so did they put the kybosh on Mark's unfortunate indiscretions?
Added: Getting lots of IM's with links to Y! caches - add them as comments if you find others...
uh oh, what happened to my bank account?
global sales conference - google style
Information Wants to be Liquid
Straight out of the madness that envelopes everyone that thinks too hard about information occasionally comes this concept: It's like hypertext on steriods, and just as confusing as the analogy.
Froge Heglund of liquid information who works with Doug Englebart at the University College London's interaction center has some truly unique ideas on the next stage of the internet and how information should/could be presented and linked:
Hegland's idea is simple -- he plans to move beyond the basic hypertext linking of the web, and change every word into a "hyperword." Instead of one or two links in a document, every single word becomes a link. Further, every link can point to more than one place, pulling up all kinds of background context from the web as a whole.
Click on a politician's name and find out who donated to his or her campaign. Click on a town name in a news story and find out what else has happened there.
"We feel that a large part of the history of technology, digital and otherwise, has been about the production of information," Hegland said. "It's time to focus on consumption, to help people navigate through information and get relevant information into their heads."
You can see a working example here - just point your mouse over any non-linked word.
Hundreds of problems exist with this idea as pertains to "the internet" but i could see uses for doing this with certain kinds of data in certain situations - perhaps on a Wiki project, maybe on WIkipedia itself, but as the next stage of the internet? Nah...
What A Single Chip Phone MeansEmail This Entry
Dana Blankenhorn's been talking about the single chip mobile for a little while. Now it turns out that Texas Instruments and Nokia are to build phones based on TI's new single chip cellular solution.
Apart from being damn cheap - and being able, as a result to market to high growth markets like india and china there are other interesting things about single chip cellular:
But there's something else involved here. When cellular telephony is reduced to a simple chip, it can become an ingredient in anything else.
For instance. Let's say you have a golf course. You use a lot of water, but you waste a lot, too. Now, throw some moisture sensors out there and link them via one-chip cellular. The bandwidth needs are modest -- the sensor says "water me" or "turn off the water" as needed. Your hardware costs just dropped to the floor, and the system probably pays for itself on just a few months' water bills.
Anything that needs to be monitored, over a long distance, can now be monitored, and results transmitted, over a cellular link, because remember (in most cities) cellular is ubiquitous.
Imagine what this can do for farmers? They can monitor conditions in their fields in real-time, addressing concerns immediately.
Interesting stuff - can i have a cell phone in my mp3 sunglasses please?
The author of this post would like to remain anonymous...
Too Much Viral Marketing?
Doing a search for google browser on Google News, gives you a whole load of articles about the posibility of Google stepping into the browser market, more than 210 articles currently, and that's just the english one's!
"Google voip" didn't return many less results either and a search for "Yahoo baby" also returns a wide range of pages.
What do the four examples above have to do with each other? In my opinion they are all hoaxes/rumours, and you know what, all four stories been featured on CNN's frontpage.
Is the average joe being misled by too much Viral Marketing?
Many marketers know Viral Marketing is hitting the gold nugget, often it's extremly cheap publicity/branding. But are companies today using it to the extreme, too much?
Of course Google won't say they are doing this, why would they? it's free publicity. Yahoo just launched Yahoo Video search, they gona push it? Who knows, to me it just looks like a "re-launch" of the video search that's been available at both Alltheweb and Altavista for ages, are they just hoping that a little piece of free viral marketing will give their revamped and repackaged technology a PR boost.
CNET: All Glory No Guts
There's a small amount of buzz about CNet "launching" trackback support today. Well, firstly: Wakey wakey boys and girls, TW was talking about this back in November heh..
Secondly, Jason Dowdell raises a good point when he highlights the fact that CNet do not link out! I remember a well known webmaster forum owner bitching about one of their reporters, Stephanie Olsen, always pinching stuff from his website and never linking back or crediting but it actually goes much, much further than that.
The thing is, many of CNet's stories are really rather useless - better suited to print than the web - Really, reading your average Cnet story can be quite a painful experience, a typical read will involve (for me):
Seeing cited article titles that are not linked
Seeing brands, companies and people mentioned that are not linked
Seeing other news sources cited and not linked
Having to do advanced searches on various engines to find the unlinked material
What is it with these muppets? Don't they get it, or are they just greedy bastards who don't need to care about the user experience due to their size and influence?
I don't like these ads show me otgers
Google it seems are rolling out a brand new beta feature for adsense. It allows website visitors to change what type of ads are shown.
If you click on the threadlink above and look at the left hand side (where adsense is) (you may have to refresh a times) you can insert you own keywords and phrases for the ads to be based on or select from a pre-defined list titled 'Change to Ads About:'
Tags, or folksonomies are actually a lot simpler than much of the acedemic debate surrounding them. Put simply, they are a user defined method for organizing data. Im going to try to explain what they are, why they are important to marketers and web devs and suggest some ways you might use them. Follow the title link above for the full post.
Yahoo! are adding a tab for video search to the main search interface shortly and Google have added http://video.google.com subdomain today - reported at numerous sources
I must admit to not even having played around with Yahoo's vid search but i hear Jenna Jameson is launching a new wireless ad campaign so i'll probably be doing a little research on that one...
Also, i keep meaning to investigate Blinkx.tv but it just looks so confusing and if i don't get how to work it within a few seconds i get all upset....
More on Yahoo! & Google Video Search
Now i've managed to drag myself out of bed i find a whole bunch of posts on this stuff, unsurprising. On good topic to talk about is Google dont have actual videos, but Yahoo! do... This from Forresters Charlene Li
My hunch is that this is a way to demonstrate to reluctant studio producers that video search could help them monetize their video content if they make it easily discoverable. Imagine Google partnering with DVR services like TiVo to do one-click recording of future episodes. Yet another is to enable video-on-demand ordering with your local cable provider, where users would pay-per-view to see the episode that aired two weeks ago. Or movie studios could sample a segment from a movie and allow online streaming of just that one section for a fee through partners like CinemaNow or Movielink.
Ad Network To Reward Publishers For Bringing In Advertisers
If i understand this correctly, AdMarketplace who launched at the beginning of December last year have put together a rather neat way of bringing in more advertisers - they're going to use their publishers to do it. Rather like an affiliate program:
Contextual ad network adMarketplace this morning launches a new initiative designed to give publishers an incentive to solicit advertisers for the network--even if those advertisers ultimately abandon the publishers who brought them in and instead advertise with competitors. The plan involves paying publishers residual fees on all ad revenue generated by advertisers they refer
The idea is that publishers place a link on their sites that goes to an Admarketplace registration form - if the advertiser signs up then the publisher earns residule income from all revenue generated from the hook up. Of course there are a few considerations the MediaPost piece didn't mention, such as:
Wont the publishers users get pissed off?
So, how long is the cookie?
Is there a cookie at all?
It is kind a cool though eh? A cross between referal spamming, affiliate marketing and good old fashioned "see what ya could have had..." style marketing.
News in via neowin says that lead Firefox engineer Ben Goodger is to work for Google - fueling rumours that the dreaded GBrowser that was denied in October last year may once again be on the table.
From Inside Firefox:
My role with Firefox and the Mozilla project will remain largely unchanged, I will continue doing much the same work as I have described above - with the new goal of successful 1.1, 1.5 and 2.0 releases. I remain devoted full-time to the advancement of Firefox, the Mozilla platform and web browsing in general. I'm sure you have many questions. While I will be spending more time at Google, I will work out of the Mozilla Foundation offices regularly as the need arises.
Now if that doesn't fuel a few conspiracy theories and wild speculation im just gonna pack up go home heh..
And from Neowin:
Cute, maybe the MSN team are starting to get the point of the blog medium, this entries halfway interesting heh.. they even promote My Yahoo when listing places you can add the msn search blog feed to.
There's also a listing of MSN Feeds at rss.msn.com with the promise of more to follow.
Over the last week or so there's been much speculation and general commentary on the upcoming (now here) MyMSN RSS including:
Findory's Greg Lindon - My Yahoo vs My MSN
Silicon Beat - Quotes from Brooke Richardson MSN prd mgr
Danny Sullivan mentions Blog Search Features? - I didnt see that, did i just miss it or will it come?
Staci at PC talks about the Moreover relationship Moreover are powering thier feeds apparently..
As an aside, Staci also mentioned the fact that it's amusing to watch all the techie blogs take shots at M$ everyday but when the megacorp release something like this they still all get really excited. heh...
Semantic Web Ontologies: What Works and What Doesn't
"Humans are very good at detecting this kind of spam, and machines aren't necessarily that good."
Google's director of Search quality Peter Norvig talks about semantic web ontologies and the challenges faced when looking at them in terms of Search:
On the difficulties of using semantic ontologies with public systems:
Now imagine what it would be like if instead of using our algorithms we relied on the news suppliers to put in all the right metadata and label their stories the way they wanted to. "Is my story a story that's going to be buried on page 20, or is it a top story? I'll put my metadata in. Are the people I'm talking about terrorists or freedom fighters? What's the definition of patriot? What's the definition of marriage?"
Just defining these kinds of ontologies when you're talking about these kinds of political questions rather than about part numbers; this becomes a political statement. People get killed over less than this. These are places where ontologies are not going to work. There's going to be arguments over them. And you've got to fall back on some other kinds of approaches.
On Search Spam
The last issue is the spam issue. When you're in the lab and you're defining your ontology, everything looks nice and neat. But then you unleash it on the world, and you find out how devious some people are. This is an example; it looks like two pages here. This is actually one page. On the left is the page as Googlebot sees it, and on the right is a page as any other user agent sees it. This website—when it sees Googlebot.com, it serves up the page that it thinks will most convince us to match against it, and then when a regular user comes, it shows the page that it wants to show.
What this indicates is, one, we've got a lot of work to do to deal with this kind of thing, but also you can't trust the metadata. You can't trust what people are going to say. In general, search engines have turned away from metadata, and they try to hone in more on what's exactly perceivable to the user. For the most part we throw away the meta tags, unless there's a good reason to believe them, because they tend to be more deceptive than they are helpful. And the more there's a marketplace in which people can make money off of this deception, the more it's going to happen. Humans are very good at detecting this kind of spam, and machines aren't necessarily that good. So if more of the information flows between machines, this is something you're going to have to look out for more and more.
Why Google Is Not Doing VoIP
Om Malik, somewhat of a VoIP expert and frequent commentator on the technology explains why speculation over Google going into VoIP is out of whack:
The first reason, why Google is not doing VoIP: how the hell do you monetize something like this. Since Google’s business model revolves around embedding text-ads in pretty much everything, it doesn’t make sense for them to even indulge in VoIP.
I suspect that people are reading too much into Google’s job listing, which in my opinion has a very simple explanation. Google is growing, and it is adding data center capacity pretty much all across the planet. (Because it wants to be the Internet OS!) Europe, Asia and US and it needs to link these together with a dedicated backbone, like most smart companies do. In order to do that, they have to build a global virtual network.
Om goes on to theorize that Google does not want to buy dark fibre at all, they just want a chief negotiator with experience in the area to put these deals in place.
Pamela Parker reports on Quigo's new private label contextual ad marketplace - they have already have deals in place with TheKnot USAToday and DenverPost:
....a private-label version of its AdSonar system, which will allow advertisers to buy contextually targeted text ads on individual sites.
"Now the publishers get to control pricing, the types of advertising that go on the site, and those that don't," said Quigo CEO Mike Yavonditte, adding that it also gives advertisers the flexibility to advertise only on the sites they choose. Contextual networks such as those from Google, Overture, and Kanoodle distribute ads throughout their partner sites without allowing advertisers to designate individual sites.