The Cultural Divide Between LiveJournal and Six Apart
With the news of Six Apart's move to buy Live Journal comes an interesting piece from Danah Boyd on the cultural differences of the two blogging communities.
Jump inside LJ culture. People who use LJ talk about their LJs, not their blogs. They mock bloggers who want to be pundits, journalists, experts. In essence, they mock the culture of bloggers that use Six Apart's tools. During interviews with LJ/Xanga folks, i've been told that MovableType is for people with no friends, people who just talk to be heard, people who are trying too hard.
LJ folks don't see LJ as a tool, but a community. Bloggers may see the ethereal blogosphere as their community, but for LJers, it's all about LJ. Aside from the ubergeek LJers, LJers don't read non-LJs even though syndication is available. They post for their friends, comment excessively and constantly moderate who should have access to what.
While you cannot generalize about LJers, a vast majority of them are engaged in acts of resistance regularly (think: subcultures, activists, youth rebels, etc.). They value LJ because it values them. They value LJ because it is a tool of resistance, an act of going against mainstream and representing those already marginalized by society - the geeks, freaks and queers among us. They don't want to be mainstream. They don't want their parents/authorities/oppressors using the same service. At the same time, LJ provides shelter, support, community. When someone threatens to commit suicide, LJ doesn't throw up its hand and scream "not my problem." There are folks who actually work to help friends help each other. They're not just an anonymous service - they care.
While many bloggers love to talk about LJ with disdain, as a low-brow version of the culture, i adore LJ from the bottom of my heart and i'm truly concerned that LJ's culture will be corrupted by an acquisition. It is not like any other blogging service and the needs that it serves are fundamentally different. I understand that Brad would gain much from selling, but it breaks my heart all the same. I can totally understand what he will gain, what Six Apart will gain... but what will LJ folks gain?
Orb Networks the company that recently launched a product that can stream all of your media, including TV, video, music et al to your handset have announced a partnership with Creative.
"We're extremely excited to work with Creative," said James Behrens, CEO, Orb Networks. "Creative is driving digital entertainment on the PC, and Orb shares that vision. Now, with the combination of our solutions, we can provide an even better product to the consumers. It's wonderful for all consumers to be able to expand the capabilities of their digital tools and toys. What you can use at home, you can now spontaneously access on the road including the ability to see into your home on virtually any mobile device using your webcam."
Looks like Orb, which i have to tag as a very exciting startup is picking up some speed.
Mobile and Open: A Manifesto
Howard Rheingold puts forth a vision, threadlinked above, of how mobile should be, for all to benefit from the rise of the mobile web. How it will be is probably far different but it's an interesting read and a commendable attempt to influence the thinking of those that are defining the medium:
Only a cockeyed optimist would forecast an open, user-driven, entrepreneurial future for the mobile Internet. This should not prevent us from trying, however. Sometimes, envisioning the way things ought to be can inspire people to work at making it that way. That's what manifestos are for.
Google on 60 Minutes
You can grab the whole video and stream it at the threadlink above. I have a question for the americans if i may: Is it normal for the presenter of such a show to talk to the audience as though they were children?
Woot, Here It Is
Woot.com is a word of mouth marketing buzz bomb of simplicity and gimmick, and it's making a STACK
The all-things craze hit ecommerce too, and Amazon went from selling books to hawking everything from Stairmasters to BBQs. But now, an ecommerce site is gaining ground by following Google's go simple strategy, and if its early revenue numbers are any indication, it's found a winning strategy.
The site is called Woot, and offers visitors a simple choice: It sells one item, usually something electronics-related, for one day. At midnight central time the new product is announced, and usually within a few hours, it's sold out.
So, is going as simple as possible the best way forward for Ecom sites? It's certainly an approach that has worked for Google in Search and there is a lot to be said for simpicity i think...
UPDATED for Danny's benefit: As well as the widely reported outage in the US, there are widespread reports circling the blogosphere right now including SEW Blog of a slightly longer outage in Australia
Reports are coming in that the West coast and Alaska are a Goolge Free Zone right now - please confirm / deny stating where you are and what you see....
Added: All seems well now, but when Google goes offline, even for a few minutes my AIM starts lighting up like a xmas tree heh...
Mobile equipped ski jackets are just about the only thing that would pursuade me to buy a motorola. Plus a bonus of proper amounts of music through the same headphones.
Now if they could geotarget the ringtone advertising for cheap gluwhein, send me text vouchers for beer at the local bar, and put the pockets somewhere I definately won't land on them I'm a guaranteed early adopter :)
Microsoft Readies 'A1' Security Subscription Service
No, don't laugh, it's true...
Mary Jo Foley reports in the threadlink above that M$ are "rumoured" to be prepping for a fee-based anti-spyware and anti-virus solution according to loose tongued developers:
Publicly, Microsoft continues to be cagey about packaging and pricing plans for its anti-spyware and anti-virus solutions. But privately, Microsoft has begun informing partners of its plans for a security subscription service code-named "A1," according to developers who requested anonymity.
It's Like Google Suggest, Only As A Dictionary
Now this is cool, type in words and have the text box suggest completions of your partial text based on dictionary terms. Copywriters may get a lot out of this and it's certainly going in the Nick W toolbox!
Matt Cutts On Google Suggests
Jason Dowdell publishes a transcript of his conversation with Google engineer Matt Cutts about Google Suggest the new beta tool that predicts what you're searching for as you type it into the text box.
Here's what he had to say:
"I don't have much extra information on Google Suggest, but I know that suggestions aren't based on personal search history, according to http://labs.google.com/suggest/faq.html . I wouldn't be surprised if the order of the suggestions is determined by how often searches were queried at some point in the past. I'm basing that off this quote from the FAQ: 'For example, Google Suggest uses data about the overall popularity of various searches to help rank the refinements it offers.'"
Practically nothing, heh...
I think Matt knows a fair bit more than that, after all, it's not that tricky to see how it works now is it?
Come on Matt, we know you can do better than that mate! :-)
The threadlinked YPC article above by Dick Larkin essentially extolls the virtues of Pay Per Call over Pay Per Click from a Yellow Pages biz perspective. As well as pointing out the major players and making a relatively new concept understandable Dick manages to halfway convince me that he's rigt :)
It would certainly present a challenge to click fraudsters if PPCall become the norm wouldn't it? Though the piece does have to be taken as coming from a classified ads perspective - roofers, accountants etc rather than retail - i cant imagine Amazon wanting to do PPCall...
Here's a quote explaining the basic concept. It's a worthwhile read so go check out the rest. Thanks Danny
How Call Measurement Works
Here's a brief call measurement primer. The directory publisher provides a unique phone number for an advertiser. This number doesn't appear anywhere outside of the publisher's directory, so calls to this number will accurately measure the directory's effectiveness. Calls to the metered number route through a call measurement service (CMS) that records details such as how many times the phone rang before it was answered, how long the call lasted, and what time the call was placed. The CMS is often able to track the phone number where the call originated, the owner of the phone and the phone's address. Some CMS combine this data with demographic information to provide an insight into the neighborhood.
The caller is unaware that the number is routed or metered.
Any opinions or thought on the impact of Pay Per Call when it enevitably hits the big time?
Gary and toprank both point to the threadlinked New York Post article above that points out that Crispin Porter & Bogusky may have a shot at the title based on previous low key work on billboards to hire techies.
Hiring an ad agency of record would mark a strategic change for Google, which has become one of the world's most recognized brands simply by word of mouth. With "googling" now part of the global lexicon, the company's name is synonymous with online search.
But Google is engaged in fierce competition with the likes of Yahoo! and Microsoft for consumers. The company has been rolling out new products right and left, betting it can innovate faster than rivals.
Known for being ultra-secretive about its plans, Google has declined to comment on an ad review. A Crispin spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny that the agency had worked for Google.
After the resignation of Cindy McCaffrey last month it would be very interesting to see if Google would move away from their long held tradition of low-key word of mouth and jump into the mainstream media jungle...
Threadwatch member notepage aka Sharon Houseley of notepage.net has posted a nice set of links to tools that can be used to ego surf or get notification of topics you follow - such as mentions of your company or bits and pieces of interest about competitors and so forth. The list inludes:
Google News RSS
Ebay keyword RSS
Amazon keyword RSS
and some useful resources for monitoring tools. The links are followed by nice concise descriptions so do check out the full details at the threadlink above.
A Question for Threadwatchers
How do you monitor those keywords and topics that matter to you, and what do you use to do that?
Personally i use G Alerts and that's about it. It's lame, and as a result of Sharons article i'm going to try to fix that :)
Newsmap as a Model for Smart Aggregation
Mike Davidson who works in media product development for Disney initiates an interesting discussion on information overload and how a smart aggregator could be the answer to the enormous amounts of data we will (and some are already) be processing in the next few years.
The idea is that a desktop smart aggregator would filter your email, and learn from your habbits using adaptive learning technology as Mac does now but, also on your IM and news consumption. It's a purely speculative post, but an informed and quite plausable one - here's a snippet:
The key to our information gathering lives is all about smart aggregation. The days of media companies deciding what’s on your “front page” are numbered. Within five years, I believe customizable newsreader technology (whether client-side like Net News Wire, or server-side like Bloglines), will be as prevalent as the web is right now. The web will still be there for viewing entire bodies of content like full stories and video, but the web will not be the notification source that this content is available. Instead, it will be simple aggregators like we have today, and then eventually, creative ones like Newsmap… albeit in a much more effective form.
This follows on nicely from the conversations we recently had here on the excess effect and coping with infomation overload.
You can see from the discussion that there's a large amount of work to do just on the theory let alone an actual application but Mike speculates that one of the big players if not several are already working on it.
Do you think Google or M$ et al could pull such an app off and could it be the media app of the decade? I think they could, and it might...
BURST! Media Launches Blog Ad Channel
Rob McGann has the scoop at the threadlink above on BURST Media's new blog channel:
Ad network BURST! Media has launched a new blog-focused sub-channel, landing Kyocera Wireless as its first advertising customer. The service allows interactive marketers to place ads on the more than 20 blogs on BURST!'s 2,000-site network.
BURST! currently represents 22 blogs that together generate 9 million monthly pageviews. In addition to the group of Gawker Media blogs, that stable includes BlueLemur, 2WallsWebzine, and CelebCourthouse. However, with new applicants applying regularly and some existing member sites opting to reclassify themselves, BURST! expects the number of blogs on its network to change on a weekly basis.
Third-party app name change points to Apple iWork suite
Here's one to watch from Macminute threadlinked above via Tech Knowledge:
IGG Software today quietly changed the name of its flagship application, iWork, to iBiz. Rumors have been circulating through both the Mac Web and mainstream press about a possible Apple productivity suite--named iWork--to be introduced at Macworld Expo next week. It is not known whether IGG was forced to change the name of its software by Apple, or whether it simply believes the speculation and wants to differentiate its software in advance. IGG's Ian Gillespie offered a simple statement on the matter.
All eyes on Mac right now, as TK note in the link above M$ and Dell et all must be green with envy over the excitement Apple seem to generate so easily these days...
Google Cracks $200!
InsideGoogle inform us in the threadlink above that Google shares have topped the $200 mark. John Battelle has the reason via Reuters:
Google gained as much as 5.15 percent and Yahoo rose as high as 3.3 percent in Nasdaq trading after Goldman Sachs increased its forecasts, citing strong Internet advertising trends. In a report, Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto said that his firm's recent talks with media buyers demonstrated that "the strength in online advertising demand did not appear to abate" in the quarter.
We're also told of the imminent launch or the Google Foundation where 1% of all equity and profits will be donated to charitable causes.