Betting a Billion
I have a short attention span at the best of times and the flurry of predictions for tech and marketing over the last few weeks has pushed me to my limit, however, Bob Cringely's post threadlinked above is really rather good - Here's a summary of the main points:
Microsofts Anti-Spyware and Anti-Virus is a disaster for users
Apple will take a big risk - Job's has $6bn in the bank and has hinted at buying something "big"
The RIAA will continue to throw $$$'s at law suits but will also continue to see their business crumble due to the likes of iTunes et al
WiMax will be the big story of the summer but will take a further 2yrs to achieve widespread adoption
VoIP will eat TelCos for breakfast, they will either start VoIP co's or buy into the larger existent players
Desktop Linux will finally make some major inroads
There is much more, those are just what interested me personally so go check it out...
Yahoo! are rolling out an online campaign targeted at companies yet to embrace online advertising - they'll be publishing ads in WSJ and NYT for starters, followed by a print campaign starting on the 17th Jan.
One particulary interesting point is that they will be targeting specific domains, ie - if you're coming in from a known agency then they'll have ads just for you. Nice way to demo the tech huh?
Yahoo! plans to use domain targeting with the campaign, which will involve displaying ads to visitors coming from Internet protocol addresses of specific companies--including ad agencies, clients, and prospective clients.
Conceived by WPP's Soho Square, the online campaign features Yahoo! clients wearing t-shirts with specific ad-related messages. For instance, one online ad--a large rectangle--stars Pepsi-Cola North America Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Dave Burwick wearing a t-shirt that says "Fizz Engine."
More text appears when visitors roll the mouse over the rectangle. For example, when the mouse rests on the t-shirt, a cartoon-style balloon appears that reads: "With innovative ad units and deep customer insights, Yahoo! gives Dave's sales more fizz." Another ad features Dwight Caines, senior vice president, worldwide digital marketing strategy at Sony Pictures. Executives from other companies including Intel, Sheraton, and Chrysler will also appear in the campaign.
Shereshewsky said that the text will also highlight Yahoo!'s behavioral targeting capabilities. For instance, to attract automobile manufacturers, Yahoo! will emphasize that it knows when consumers have recently looked at cars online, even if those consumers are currently looking at stock prices, said Shereshewsky.
Why does the marketing news coming out of Yahoo always seem just that little bit more interesting than other engines? Maybe it's just me...
Is this Google Labs tool useful for working out what theme your site has?
Basically if you put your URL in the tool will return which categories G thinks your site comes under.
I blogged about it but it seems after asking Nick that this tool has been mentioned before back in November (the forum thread talks about theme bubble, not sure how I have missed that or if it discusses an older version of the tool) but did not spark any discussion, do any Threadwatchers find this tool interesting/useful?
With what DaveN has to say about links and theming perhaps this is worthy of a little debate? ;O)
TIME Archive - 1923 to the Present
News comes in via ni that TIME magazine have published a complete archive of all articles (over 266.000) and covers spanning back to 1923 when the US magazine launched. See the threadlink above.
The archive is organized into a series of collections including health and people all neatly sub-categorized. Also all of the TIME covers (also by category aswell as date) are available and although you can't copy this stuff, if you can't find a "fair use" benefit from this little gem then there's probably no hope for you :)
So, if you're writing articles or researching topics then i'd make that a top priority for the toolbox - have fun!
Momentum Is Gaining for Cellphones as Credit Cards
The NYT have an good piece about the technology behind using cellphones as credit cards this morning:
In Asia, phone makers are already selling phones that users can swipe against credit or debit card readers, in much the same way they would swipe plastic MasterCard or Visa cards. Trials are now under way to bring the technology to America, industry executives said.
The marriage of cellphone and charge card poses some significant challenges, including security problems. To reduce fraud from stolen phones, consumers may be required to punch an authorization code into their phone each time a charge is made.
For more than a year, phone makers, software companies and computer chip manufacturers have been working to develop secure and reliable payment technology for cellphones. After the phone's chip is recognized by the electronic reader, the credit card account number will be verified, as it is now, and the price of the purchase will be added to the consumer's credit card bill.
The new phones may also be capable of being programmed for a prepaid sum from which payments could be deducted.
Sounds like a sensible idea to me, if you can overcome security issues and genuinely make it more convenient than a regular credit card I can't immediately see anything but benefits.
I do wonder how that would translate to purchases online though?
Trafficlogic, Inc. Completes Merger With MAC Worldwide, Inc
Yet another SEO/SEM firm goes public:
MARINA DEL REY, Calif., Jan. 7, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- MAC Worldwide (OTC BB:ISHM.OB - News) today announced the completion of a stock-for-stock merger with Trafficlogic, Inc., a privately-owned California corporation, and has changed its name to InfoSearch Media, Inc. (the ``Company''). In connection with the merger, the Company issued to the shareholders and option holders of Trafficlogic, Inc., 15,860,369 shares of common stock together with options to purchase 1,639,631 shares of common stock in exchange for all the outstanding capital stock of Trafficlogic, Inc
Interesting times in deed. I wonder what more 2005 will bring in terms of SEO/SEM's going public?
Search Marketing Association
of North America - SMA-NA
For those SEM's looking for a bit more info on the forthcoming SMA-NA (Search Marketing Association North America) you can find some interesting stuff at interim director Ian McAnerin's blog threadlinked above.
He also has some good stuff to say about DUMPO - the failed Search Engine Marketing Professional Association in his post that reveals much about the possible motivations behind the beleagured org and it's president.
A long time ago SEMPO got themselves into a bit of a flap because they had incorporated themselves as a Non-Profit, but then proceeded to break almost every rule known that non-profits are supposed to follow. It was a real mess.
I also discovered that although SEMPO is, in my opinion, fundementally broken, there are a lot of very good people who joined it because it's clear the industry needs a trade association.
The problem is that SEMPO is designed to cash in on big bucks sponsors and SEO firms. Key members have even stated that small SEO firms are "not their target audience".
To me, that was unforgivable. Small SEO firms and single SEO's working in IT departments form the vast majority of this industry. How can you claim to be an industry association if the industry is not your target audience? I have it on good authority that Google and Overture agree with me on this one.
Following a meeting in London with SMA-UK and SMA-EU committee members and setting up the framework for the new org Ian phoned Barbera Coll to resign from his seat on the DUMPO committee. The passage that follows, from Ian's post above is most telling i think...
Although the majority of the conversation was confidential, it was made very clear that SEMPO considers the SMA-NA to be a direct threat and a competitor for membership and sponsor dollars. Interesting that the SMA-UK and EU were not considered the same way. To me, that really confirmed the regional blinkers SEMPO wears. The concern about the money rather than the industry was also very interesting. Although it was mentioned that the industry would be better off with only one group (I agree BTW ;) ) this was mentioned in direct relation to funding.
Google exposes web surveillance cams
Blogs and message forums buzzed this week with the discovery that a pair of simple Google searches permits access to well over 1,000 unprotected surveillance cameras around the world - apparently without their owners' knowledge.
Searching on certain strings within a URL sniffs out networked cameras that have Web interfaces permitting their owners to view them remotely, and even direct the cameras' motorized pan-and-tilt mechanisms from the comfort of their own desktop.
One such query is inurl:"view/index.shtml". As some of the cams are controllable, I would image they would be spinning all over the place about now. Secure your cams people!
Some enlightening analysis of Microsofts consumer electronics and DRM strategic moves in the context of a rerun of the PC market battle Apple and M$ fought so long ago.
From Russell Beattie, threadlinked above.
Well, I've been watching Microsoft's moves over the past few weeks and I can pretty much say that it's game over for a lot of Microsoft competitors, though they may not realize it yet. To me the decisive move was their MSN Video announcement which included deals with MTV as well as TiVo to make sure that TiVo To Go recordings play on Microsoft Mobile devices. That's when I saw the big picture: Microsoft's DRM strategy and Windows Media WMA codec are going to allow them to have a massive advantage in the consumer electronics market, which includes everything from MP3 players, to mobile phones to your set-top box, to a host of other converged devices.
What's important is that Microsoft *owns* the alternative to Apple and is already branching out to areas like movies and home-recorded content. It's amazing to see history repeating itself, no? Apple lost the PC desktop because it refused to license its Graphical User Interface and now they're going to lose the Consumer Electronics market because they've failed to license their FairPlay DRM technology.
Everyone was laughing at Bill Gates' gaffs this week at the CES. The bluescreen of death, etc. But did you *see* what they were showing off? They have set top boxes, mobile phones, PDAs, portable video players, game consoles and more all running Microsoft software, and most importantly, all supporting the same Windows Media codec and DRM. The final piece of the puzzle was the TiVo To Go announcement. Now it's not just content you buy, it's your personal content as well.
There's a fair bit more to read and it's a great post, check it out and tell us what you think.
Why is it that Apple are so great on one hand, the GUI, the COOL, and so utterly blind on the other? What is it about Apple that seems to doom them to ultimate failure despite fantastic kit like the iPod?
MSN Beta to Ramp Up
msnsearch's WebLog notes that starting next week they'll increase the amount of search traffic they send to the new MSN search engine. Oshoma Momoh also points out it's still in beta and "we will officially launch it when it’s ready." Seems like a lot of search products stay in beta for a while.
No blogging, no social networking
Saw this a few days back and thought i'd wait to see if anything else emerged but as i've not heard much else about it im going to assume there's some truth to the rumour that Iran have censored blogs, Orkut, Yahoo Personals and other social media:
Friends in Iran, journalists and technicians, are saying that judiciary officials have ordered all major ISP to filter all blogging services including PersianBlog, BlogSpot, Blogger, BlogSky, and even BlogRolling.
They have also ordered to filter Orkut, Yahoo Personals and some other popular dating and social networking websites.
For ISPs this means a big loss, since much of their recent sales have been because of people writing and reading blogs and surfing Orkut. So the government is effectively eliminating small and private ISPs by bankrupting them, whiteout paying a political price for it.
I see Dan Gilmor is also reporting this today but he doesn't appear to have any additional information other than hoping that proxies and so forth get set up quickly.
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)
Thanks so much to Cory at boingboing for pointing out this essay on sleep. As geeky tech types many of us are i suspect quite familiar with odd sleep patterns right? Personally, I resent the time it takes out of my day and am constantly fighting to stay up late and still get up early to try and fit the most into my waking time that i can.
This essay has me thinking about my habbits in some new ways and if you have sleep trouble or just a general interest i'd highly recommend the loooong read :)
Here's one paragraph that really struck a chord with me:
As Robert Anston Heinlein said:
"Waking a person unnecessarily should not be considered
a capital crime. For a first offense, that is."
One thing I noticed upon arriving to the States is that nobody here seems to have any notion of "sleep manners". I have seen (and experienced) many times people barging into the room containing a sleeping person, switching on the lights and TV, talking, even talking to the sleeping person, all the while not being even aware that this is a Big No-No, very inconsiderate, and extremely rude. When confronted, the response is usually very defensive, stressing the person's individual right to do whatever he/she wants and not bother about being considerate about some lazy bum who is sleeping at an inappropriate time. Whoa! Stop right there!
First, individual rights are assumed to mean that you can do whatever you want as long as that does not hurt another person in some way. Waking someone up is harassment - of course it hurts someone. Second, there is no such thing as inappropriate time. If you can, you sleep whenever you can. There is no appropriate or inappropriate time. What do you do if someone is working the night-shift (like my wife often does, and I sometimes do, too)? That person will sleep during the day, so you better shut up. Third, what is this about sleeping being a sign of laziness. The "owls" are constantly being treated as lazy, though they are more likely to be sleep-deprived (cannot fall asleep until the wee hours, then being rudely awoken by the alarm clock after just a couple of hours) and spend more hours awake (and presumably productive) than "larks" do. If you are asleep, this means you need it. If you are rested enough you cannot physically remain asleep or go back to sleep again. You are wide awake. Thus, when you see someone asleep, it is because that person needs sleep right there and then. Sleep is not laziness.
More power to the people says HP
It's been interesting to watch Hewlett Packard move into the digital lifestyle area, they seem to be taking to it well and im impressed with the fact that their new media hub is based on Linux! :)
The BBC has a nice summary of Carly Fiorina's, HP's top dog of tech, speech at CES this year. Here are some of the more notable quotes:
"The digital revolution is about the democratisation of technology and the experiences it makes possible, Revolution has always been about giving power to the people."
Part of giving people more control has been about the freeing up of content, such as images, video and music.
Crucial to this has been the effort to make devices that speak to each other better so that content can be more easily transferred from one device, such as a digital camera, to others, such as portable media players.
There's a whole bunch of good stuff in there so do check it out. Could HP be an exciting company? - I've always thought of them as rather stuffy, but some of the things they have coming out now are really quite cool...
G-Money and Me: Bill Gates Interview
Well, a transcribed audio interview is certainly more palletable than watching Calacanis beaver his way round CES 2005 with a microphone and camera heh..
It's not a bad read, and apparently there is more to come so i'll post it as a comment when/if i catch it. From the intro:
I would ask the hard questions: Does Balmer really eat children? Can I swim in your Money Bin? I didn't quite muster the balls to ask those, though, and instead acted like I had real questions or something.
The Importance of Being Permanent
Simon Waldman of the Guardian is talking about a lot of the things that SEO's and web devs in general have been doing for years, and thought, untill now(ish) that maybe they were onto a good thing as most of the big players clearly didn't get it.
You might scoff a little, i know i did, but then why? The press are allowed to bee n00bs aswell and Simon is a good chap, i've been reading his blog since he started it and like what he has to say on many things.
He's talking about some concepts many of you will be very familiar with, such as:
Long term Search rankings
Getting other sites to link to you (oh my...)
It's a long read, but a good one. Here are a few snippets:
Why should you want today's news to be read in 12 months time when everyone will be focused on the next disaster, explosion or election?
It's important for a number of reasons, but they all move in the same direction: permanence is about ensuring you have a real presence on the Net. It is a critical part of having a distinctive identity in an increasingly homogenous landscape. It is about becoming an authority and a point of reference for debate.
Here's another example. Think of all the millions of words written by news organizations around the world about Abu Ghraib during 2004. Now go to Google and search (as suggested in the Wired article above) for Abu Ghraib, and you will find only a handful of traditional media outlets mentioned in the first few pages (fortunately, the Guardian is one). This isn't just a quirk in Google's search algorithm; this is about traditional media ceding responsibility for providing the definitive, permanent record of major events.
All that reporting effort, all that insight and expertise, all those contacts: now completely invisible to the millions who decide to use Google as their first and final tool for researching.
Yahoo! Picks of the Year
This is great :) Check out the threadlink above for the full listing of Yahoo! web picks of 2004 found on the Y! blog and then check out my personal favorite David Hasselhoff Online! ahh... Knight Rider...
David screenshotHasselhoff recently experienced a new low when he was picked up by the LAPD for suspicion of drunk driving. Everyone makes mistakes, and the Hass is simply a human being who made an unfortunate decision. He needs your support now more than ever, and David Hasselhoff Online is a site that's ready, willing, and able to give you the tools to be there for everyone's favorite bare-chested life-guard. Start with a look at the covers from the criminally under-appreciated Knight Rider series of books.
Everyones favorite knob end...
Lots to see and do, if you're just in from the pub you're gonna like this a LOT..
Piper Jaffray: New iPod rivals still aren't enough
Looks like the Creative Zen Micro is the nearest serious rival to the iPod so far - this quote from the MacMinute post threadlinked above:
In a research note to clients Friday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said the iPod still has no equal, despite a number of new entries coming from CES this week. "After the introduction of a handful of new portable audio devices yesterday at CES, we believe that the iPod is still in position to dominate this market," Munster said. "Of the other players looking to chip away at Apple's market share, Creative is gaining the most traction with its Creative Zen Micro. We believe that Creative may have had the most crowded booth at CES.