Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Headlines for 26 December 2006

Trends
Founder of Wikipedia plans search engine to rival Google; Links to Amazon
Times Online
Google to Write an 'Integrated Story' for Business Content?
Internet News
Read/WriteWeb Christmas: Widgets, not Cheese
Read/Write Web
Social Networking Awards - The Top Social Networks of 2006
Mashable!
You Tube & Venice Project, Not The Same Sport
GigaOM
Why Yahoo’s Panama Project Is Important
TechCrunch
Internet 2007 Predictions: Digital ID, Google vs Microsoft, growing Web Ad Budgets, Infolution in 2008
Information Architect
Goldman Reiterates Bearish View On Newspaper Stocks
Forbes

Best Practices
Which search engine can give better access to books?
AP via LA Daily News
College libraries: the condensed version
LA Times*
Librarian is one of the best careers for 2007
Really Simple Sidi

Cool Tools
Online Video Publishing - Customize Your Blog Or Webpage With Google's API
Robin Good

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
Ontario pension fund, Manulife buy CCNMatthews
Reuters
Level 3 to Acquire SAVVIS Content Delivery Network
PR Newswire

Products, Markets & People
ProQuest gets NYSE listing extension
BusinessWeek
Zoho Adds Wiki to its AJAX Web Office Suite
Sys-Con

Headline Summary for Week of 18 December 2006

Want to catch up on last week's headlines? Try our weekly categorized summary with embedded commentary on the latest trends.

Click here to view last week's headlines in review

Monday, December 25, 2006

No Headlines Today - Local Holiday (Christmas)

Shore is very grateful for all of the wonderful support that we have received from our customers, our subscribers and our friends and colleagues this year. We hope that your holidays will be wonder-filled and that your 2007 will be a year to remember!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Second Nature: PLoS One Picks Up Where Nature Left Off

The launch of the new PLoS ONE scholarly research portal looks like a big win for open access research content from a number of angles. PLoS ONE is posting research and will allow interactive review before and after publication for scientific articles via a very sophisticated publishing environment. The PLoS ONE platform applies many of the best practices of social media, providing ready access to comments posting and awareness of active discussions to draw in more active discussions. PLoS ONE will publish all papers that are judged to be rigorous and technically sound, and had already posted more an 100 papers by its launch - a remarkable number for a just-launched scholarly journal of any kind. By contrast Nature's recently shuttered open-review portal trial, which ran for around four months, attracted only 71 authors willing to post their work online and attracted 92 technical comments.

As we noted in our latest news analysis article one of the keys to successful social media products is a dedicated core of trusted contributors who will be able to ensure editorial success. PLoS ONE starts with a global editorial board of more than 200 scholars, ensuring a broad array of inputs for reviewing content. Some of the fears about having content rejected after having had it exposed to comments prior to publication may be relieved by the PLoS ONE policy that allows papers that have been already rejected by PLoS Biology and Medicine journals to be re-submitted via PLoS ONE. This is a potentially valuable feature, allowing research that may not have yet reached the highest levels of acceptance to mature through its exposure to comments from a broader audience.

PLoS ONE is finally opening the doors to the potential for fundamental changes in how scholarly research proves its worth. With an open exchange of ideas and commentary facilitated by technologies long available to the general public and a solid body of research and reviewers PLoS ONE holds out the potential to liberate the highest levels of scholarly innovation from the regimen of the printing press. Changing the way that research is paid for was a good first step for open access, but with the ability to eliminate artificial distribution bottlenecks that choke off natural conversations PLoS ONE may do for scholarly research what Wikipedia has done for reference materials - with much more integrity in the underlying editorial processes.

News Analysis - The New You: The Next Generation of Social Media Moves Towards Focused Products

In the midst of the social media revolution it's easy to think that the war for profitable publishing will continue to be fought on the grand scale of major portals like MySpace and YouTube. Although major social media properties are certainly important factors in this movement the trend is already moving away from the gargantuan victors to more focused media properties. Pick your niche for which you think social media will succeed, listen to the audience in that sector - and then throw out the assumptions and limitations built into Wikis, weblogs and other social media platforms. Tomorrow's successful social media properties will move far beyond these simple tools to solutions that satisfy audiences in far more sophisticated ways.

Click here to read the full News Analysis

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Headlines for 21 December 2006

Trends
Flip.com Launches - But Only for Girls
Mashable!
Goldman Sachs' 2006 Review: Newspapers Did Poorly -- In Good Times
Editor & Publisher

Best Practices
Interaction, Co-Creation, Tagging, User Participation: This Is Information Architecture 3.0
Robin Good
Nature Experiment in Open Editing Ends; A New One Begins
paidContent.org
Google Quality Score Decoded
Search Marketing Standard

Cool Tools
Widgetbox Launches Feedburner for Widgets
Mashable!

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
The Internet Archive Receives Grant to Digitize Historical Collections from Five Major Libraries
PR Web
Foreclosure.com inks online deal
South Florida Business Journal
Reed Elsevier says it bought Syngress Publishing for undisclosed sum
AP via IHT

Products, Markets & People
InfoSpace Announces Executive Departure
BusinessWire

Answers Arms Race: Amazon Launches Askville Beta

Well, no sooner do I finish with one answers service when another rears it head. I just received an email from Amazon announcing the launch of Askville, a new beta service that provides...yes, another community service for asking questions and providing answers. While demonstrating lots of best practices - good user interface, discussion boards to expand discussions on answers, the ability to view similar questions and their answers, tagging of questions - overall this is not much more than a well thought-out clone of other services. That said, it's a good clone, one that takes advantage of some unique Amazon strengths. Login to the service can be accomplished via one's existing Amazon account, while an icon on the top navigation bar tells me that I have already earned one "quest coin." This icon links to a placekeeper "coming in 2007" page for Questville, a service that appears to be a planned rewards center for Askville community members.

The Questville twist is by far the most interesting aspect of this new service. Other social media sites are using cash payments and other forms of recognition to encourage loyalty, so that in and of itself is far from new. But here is an interesting example of Amazon building community content as a way to translate that community loyalty into loyalty for its other online brands. One assumes that Questville will provide rewards points towards purchases via Amazon, with the ability to promote content and goods available via Amazon that match an Askville's question activity - an Amazon speciality already. In a way Askville content becomes a great market research tool for learning about the interests of Amazon shoppers and matching them up with merchandise from their network of online stores. Why bother with external advertising when you can put the right goods in front of a captive audience for their choosing?

This could be a particularly strong motivator for users with focused expertise to settle in to Askville and to have Amazon pump trinkets their way from their online store via Questville that match up with their interests. If you're, say, an expert on a certain kind of music, why not answer a few questions now and again to get some downloads or CDs from your favorite artists? Or if you're an expert on HDTV, you can build a franchise that will build points towards your purchase of the next hot model in Amazon's store.

In the 1930's the Montgomery Ward department store chain devised a a brand-new character for a promotional story booklet: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Millions of kids scooped this up as their parents came into their stores for the holidays through the years. It became a huge loyalty factor in its time. Here is today's online department store coming up with year-round promotional content that not only drives traffic and brand loyalty but, if we can assume what Amazon will do with Questville, targeted sales. Yet again, content to the rescue of a sagging retailer.

This interplay of questions services and online ecommerce is in its very infant stages at this point, but it is going to be a huge opportunity for content services providers over the next few years. Matching expertise from users, vendors and retail outlets with the curiosity of potential purchasers is creating a new level of online reference services that will act not just as searchable bookshelves but as confidence-building services that will facilitate the trust required to conduct transactions with a given party. Expect Q&A services to spring up like weblogs in many different kinds of venues in 2007, leveraging not just everyday users but the expertise available from local merchants, corporate help desks and other sources of insight that can support knowledge seekers.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Headlines for 20 December 2006

Trends
Grant funds open-source challenge to Google library
CNET News
Nature Cancels Public Reviews Of Scientific Papers
WSJ Online*
The End User: The future of telecommunications may be 'comminfotainment'
International Herald Tribune
S.F. Judge Blocks Hearst/MediaNews Collaboration
Editor & Publisher
How Web providers dodged a big legal bullet
CNET News
FCC: 90-Day Franchise Shot Clock
MultiChannel News
GoogleOS II: Starring Linus Torvalds
Read/Write Web
Roll Your Own Media: Moving Beyond Clutter
ClickZ News
Google Book-Scanning Efforts Spark Debate
Washington Post
WSJ Gets Comfortable with Blogs, Wants to Boost Community
Media Shift
WSJ Bodyslams Bloggers
Micro Persuasion
New Media Trends And 2007 Predictions: What's Coming?
Robin Good
2007 Web Predictions
Read/Write Web
Interview with Gil Penchina of Wikia
e-consultancy
Copyrights gain online ally
San Francisco Examiner
Good-bye Cable TV, Hello Fiber
Publish
Del.icio.us Widget Released
TechCrunch
The Stupidity of Crowds
Catallarchy
Democratizing The Economics Of Content
The Blog Herald
Many Suspects Seen in the Death of a Mystery Bookstore
The New York Times*

Best Practices
Does Your Site Lack Focus? Five Ways to Keep Consumers 'On Site'
RIS Media
YouTube to meet Japan media on copyright protest
Reuters

Cool Tools
Books-on-Demand machine coming soon
SciFi.com
Blogger's new bag of tricks
Google Blog
Zoho Adds Wiki Features
Wired Blogs
Forget the backpack, 'pocket journalism' is coming
USC Annenberg OJR

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
R.R. Donnelley to Make Another Acquisition
FOLIO: Magazine
AllBusiness.com partners with CBSNews.com
BtoB Online
blinkx Partners With Dow Jones Online to Index Video
Content

Prime Newswire

Products, Markets & People
Brandon Hull, Well-Known Sales Consultant, Launches Podango Podcast Station
BusinessWire

Lunch with Answers.com: Getting FAQs Down on the Farm

Jeff Cutler, Chief Revenue Officer of Answers.com invited me to chat with FAQ Farm founder Chris Whitten yesterday to learn a little more about this key acquisition for Answers Corporation. Full disclosure: the lunch was great, and my apologies to Answers VP Bruce Smith for almost eating his Caesar salad. Other than that, my insights remain untainted. FAQ farm is a very important acquisition for Answers.com, which has built up an impressive core of reference content from quality sources, including content from Wikipedia, but has not yet developed its own unique content sets. The well-established community that forms the base of FAQ Farm's answers provides the core upon which the Answers product can build that content. The first shot at this boost from a reference content community will take form as WikiAnswers, which will be an Answers-branded complementary product to the main Answers.com reference product.

Will it pay to keep these two sources of content separate? The Answers team contends that this is the way to go, and there's reason to think so on some levels. Building authenticity in Wiki communities requires a sense of product ownership as well as community on some level that will allow the leaders from the community to feel that they are not just a cog in a greater machine. That's a little hard to manage when user content is seen as an add-on rather than the main attraction. There are balances that can be struck to integrate mainstream and user content in a way that provides both a sense of community and a sense of other content available to service one's interests. For example, the Newsvine online community continues to grow with a mix of newswire content from AP and user-selected articles with a rich community of comments, so these mixes can succeed - if the sense of users being in control takes hold clearly.

But that sense of control may not appeal always to the wide array of publishers licensing premium content to a service like Answers.com, nor will it necessarily appeal to users who have come to rely on Answers for quick lookups across a wide range of well-edited sources. People attracted to a community Q&A product like FAQ farm or Yahoo! Answers have significantly different motivations than those looking for quick answers: it's as much about the social interactions and exploration as it is about knowing what to look for in a new computer.

FAQ farm adds some interesting twists to the Q&A concept by adding a comments section that allows discussions to keep on growing on hot and evergreen topics, as well as serving as a Wiki-like service for questions as well as answers, but at its core it's about growing a community of people who like to hash around interesting questions and people who like to answer them. That's a far different dynamic than your typical search engine or reference service, one that can build up a unique kind of loyalty if done properly. FAQ Farm has the basic ingredients to be that kind of service in a bigger way: now it's up to the Answers.com team to give it the exposure and sophisticated marketing outlook that can help take it to the next level of commercial success.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Headlines for 18 December 2006

Trends
Time Person of the Year: You
Time Magazine
NASA-Google partnership ready for liftoff

CNET News
AOL Re-Org Unveiled: Six Business Units Will Report To COO Ron Grant
paidContent.org
The Score: Blogs Gain Favor Worldwide, but U.S. Redership Lags
iMedia Connection
"Anti-YouTube" May Be Announced Next Week: Really Bad Idea
Mashable!
MySpace print magazine?
John Pospisil
YouTube Opens Untamed Copyright Frontier
CBS News

Best Practices
Finland and China to develop information society of the future?
Cordis News
Using Internet publishing to drive book and freelance sales
USC Annenberg OJR
New to Russia, Google Struggles to Find Its Footing
The New York Times*

Cool Tools
LinkSys iPhone surprises technology world
BBC News
Del.icio.us reorganized
UserStyles.org
Use your PDA or Smartphone as a webcam
Download Squad

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
Nstein Technologies Acquires Eurocortex, a Leading Web Content Management Software Provider
PR Newswire via EarthTimes
NewsGator and Edelman Team to Create Next Generation Community & Advertising Solution
MarketWire
CondeNet Teams With The FeedRoom to Launch Dynamic New Online Video Applications
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
Mapping Europe: Google Acquires Endoxon
Google Blog
Ingram buys academic information services company
Nashville Business Journal

Products, Markets & People
ProQuest First With Search Platform That Solves Common Research Roadblock
PR Newswire
WSJ to add stock-tracking feature online
BtoB Online

Headline Summary for Week of 11 December 2006

Want to catch up on last week's headlines? Try our weekly categorized summary with embedded commentary on the latest trends.

Click here to view last week's headlines in review

Friday, December 15, 2006

Headlines for 16 December 2006

Trends
Patent Office considers Wiki peer review
ZDNet
VNU set for EUR320m sale of titles to 3i
FT via MSN Money
More AOL Changes: EVPs Jim Bankoff, Joe Redling and John Buckley Leaving; Also CTO
paidContent.org
Fool on the Street: How Now, Dow Jones?
Motley Fool*
Report: Americans media use rising
AP via Yahoo! News
Blog That Answer
Pogue's Posts
Amazon hits back at IBM over patents
CNET News
Copyright Clearing Service Fights Internet Video Piracy
KillerApp

Best Practices
How The Web Is Transforming Itself: Summary and Outlook - Part VII
Robin Good
How Taunton Press Built ROI, Customer Loyalty With Video, Slideshow for Sub Site
Marketing Sherpa
My Job in 10 Years: Collections: Further Thoughts on Abstracting & Indexing Databases
Confessions of a Science Librarian

Cool Tools
BlogKits Matches Writers To Advertisers
TechCrunch
Quantcast Adds Comparative Charting
Micro Persuasion
Good-bye Cable TV, Hello Fiber
Publish

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
Cadmus Communications Wins Four-Year Services Contract with The American Physiological Society
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
Hearst Buys Copley's Daily Breeze, Plans to Transfer to MediaNews
WSJ Online*

A Step Ahead in the Dance: CSA Acquisition of ProQuest Puts a Question Mark onThomson Learning Spinoff

The announcement of a deal for CSA parent Cambridge Information Group to acquire ProQuest is an interesting acquisition coming at an interesting time. CSA's Illumina interface provides a powerful search interface into scholarly content relating to arts & humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and technology. With the ProQuest acquisition CSA picks up an organization with very deep roots in library services and a much deeper content profile for scientific, technical and medical content, plus centuries-deep electronic archives for newspaper content. The combination of core academic and scholarly content with core news content gives CSA a much different potential profile for its services. Illumina clients will certainly benefit from a broader collection but the combination of these sources also places CSA in a position to offer a wider array of corporate information services, as well.

Not necessarily benefiting from this deal is Thomson's attempted spinoff of Thomson Learning, which Thomson hopes will generate cash for bolstering its position in its financial, legal and pharma markets. While it appears as if the CSA deal for ProQuest has been in the works for a while the timing of the deal in light of Thomson's efforts seems to place it as a pre-emptive effort to position CSA as a more dominant player in library markets against potential rivals scooping up TL assets - and perhaps lowering TL's valuation in the process. This means that acquirers of TL may wind up with more left in their pockets to invest in making it a more effective business unit, which could be good news for buyers, but it may take some shine off the sale from Thomson's perspective.

Challenges in library and academic markets has brought a number of vendors to rethink their portfolios, but in research-intensive markets the demand for high quality research products is not going to disappear. The Googles and the Open Content Alliances of the world will pick more of the low-lying fruit of this sector as time goes on, and they may in time decide to go for the premium offerings to round out their online research offerings, but that's a way down the road at this point. For now consider CSA as having made a good move at a good time to broaden its footprint and to fend off others who may want to find a way to make life difficult for them. Not a bad ending for the ProQuest story, either, given all their recent turmoil. Good luck to all!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Headlines for 14 December 2007

Trends
Online, P.& G. Gets a Little Crazy
The New York Times*
U.K. considers wiki to ease patent bottleneck
CNET News
Google adds patent search to portfolio
IT Wire
Nielsen says digital music, iTunes sales jump
Reuters
Yahoo News Gives ABC Top Video Spot
MediaPost
Corporate Blogging Moves Into Investor Relations Services
FinanceVisor
Our Sixty Minutes with Bill Gates
Micro Persuasion
Google Finance updates
Download Squad
Custom-Publishing Spending at All-Time High
FOLIO: Magazine
Chandler Family Bid Makes Tribune Breakup More Likely
Bloomberg News
Gates tells consumers to ditch DRMed tunes, buy CDs
Engadget

Best Practices
Top mistakes made by new online publishers
USC Annenberg OJR
Reuters CEO Discusses 'Trust' and Citizen Journalism
Editor & Publisher

Cool Tools
ZCubes: Trying to "Do It All" on the Web
Read/Write Web
Yahoo Releases Video 3.0
TechCrunch

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
Vivisimo Joins EMC Documentum Application Developer Program
BusinessWire

News Analysis - The Death of Media: Are Direct Online Marketing Channels Superseding Publishers?

Corporate Web sites may not push out awesome viewership statistics compared to many media sites, but the data coming out of recent research is pointing to direct communications with online audiences providing multiples more impact on their bottom lines than media-based advertising. Online media companies are likely to have a great year in 2007 but the looming question is how much longer marketers are going to care about Web site advertising in an era when direct conversations between sellers and buyers are pushing traditional media to the sidelines. The media isn't dead yet, but if it can't shoehorn its way into these conversations more effectively it better start thinking about it's retirement plan.

Click here to read the full News Analysis

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bloggers as NewsMasters: A Glimpse into News that Feeds News

We watch a heck of a lot of content to build our weblog, but boy, Mike Arrington at TechCrunch is a feedaholic. The Blog Herald picks up on a listing of 373 RSS feeds that Arrington uses as sources and background for his news gathering. While there are a number of mainstream feeds tossed into this mix, the vast majority of these sources are weblogs or other born-on-the-web sources that have little to do with mainstream media. TechCrunch's focus on the latest and greatest news in online technologies makes weblog feeds a natural for sourcing news, but it's also an indication of how news in general needs to be sourced today. With virtually any individual a potential global publisher in their own right news now rarely waits for any one media organization to break it to the world. It's as much about being able to get the aggregation of potential sources right and to be able to monitor them effectively.

A list of feed bookmarks or social bookmarking services are places to start with news aggregation, but hardly better than the mess that pushed financial institutions decades ago into developing far more sophisticated news aggregation capabilities. Expect more news services to arise that help individuals and institutions to monitor the world of personal and enterprise publishing to come up with their own "front pages" - with our without news media companies leading the way.

News Drives Program Trading via Reuters NewsScope

TechWeb notes the introduction of Reuters NewsScope Real-Time and NewsScope Archive, services which allow securities analysts and traders to match Reuters news stories to securities trading data with a very high degree of precision and organization. The archive version of NewsScope allows the posting time of stories to be matched with trading data at millisecond-level accuracy, so that there can be very exact analysis of how news moved specific trading activity. The service meta tags story content to identify the industry sectors, companies, and other data that might be useful to financial analysis functions. The real-time service uses the same general functionality to match news as it breaks to real-time trading information, enabling automated trading functions to act on breaking news more efficiently.

There's of course a great deal of financial analysis that still requires human intervention, but the real-time aspects of this service provide an intriguing peek at how news can move markets in the era of automated trading. Already securities ratings agencies create press releases on ratings changes that use very stock, standard phrases to indicate the reasons behind ratings changes; many regular news stories in financial markets also have fairly standard language. It's a relatively small leap from basic metadata generation for real-time stories to real-time text analysis that can push automated trading and risk analysis to new levels of sophistication.

But as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ponders allowing corporations to post their financial reports and disclosure-related press releases on RSS feeds, news services are likely to go several steps further in providing analysis that can move automated trading. To some degree we're well on the way already a two-tier news marketplace - one level driven by automated numeric and text analysis and another for executive and consumer consumption. With an ever-increasing thirst for making sense of news coming from an ever-increasing galaxy of news sources premium news services will be moving further into the realm of news analysis services on many levels. Speed remains important, but time to insight is becoming an even more important performance benchmark for fast-moving news consumers.

Headlines for 12 December 2006

Trends
Yahoo Dethroned By MySpace: ComScore
Red Herring
Reuters Helps Computers Read The News
TechWeb
OpenBC/Xing : The EUR157M Social Network
Alarm Clock
Yahoo’s "Project Fraternity" Facebook Docs Leaked
Tech Crunch
Internet Video Audience to Number 157 Million by 2010
MarketWire
Big Media’s ‘OurTube’ to Dominate Online Video Realm (spoof)
MediaShift
2006 Web Technology Trends
Read/Write Web
Opening up the Google Web Toolkit
Google Blog
Community websites take wiki path
BBC News
Nobody goes there anymore--it's too crowded
The Long Tail
Big Media taps new set of digital gurus
AP via Yahoo! News
Want to Know What Mike Arrington Is Thinking?
The Blog Herald

Best Practices
MLA Panel Finds No 'Lost Generation of Scholars' From the Tenure Track
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Cool Tools
Wikio Launches Digg-Like Site For U.S., Germany, And Spain
TechCrunch
Boxxet Rolls Up Collections of News, Blogs, Photos
Micro Persuasion

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
MIT and Wharton Team Up for Wiki about Business 2.0
Beet.TV

Products, Markets & People
FeedBurner Delivering Feeds and Ads for Top-Ranked Technology Network
BusinessWire

Monday, December 11, 2006

Headlines for 11 December 2006

Trends
In Web Traffic Tallies, Intruders Can Say You Visited Them
The New York Times*
Media Spending in '07? Don't Expect Big Boost
Advertising Age
Power Of A Data Warehouse In The Palm Of Your Hand: Business intelligence scaled for smartphones
InformationWeek
Communications regulators 'converge' with the times
International Herald Tribune
New York Times Surrenders To Social News
Tech Crunch
RSS Delivers Web's Best Deals
Wired News
The Future of Journalism Online
SlashDot
Why digg is destined for failure
Download Squad
Times Sq. Ads Spread Via Tourists' Cameras
The New York Times

Best Practices
New media survey shows b-to-b users big on video, slow to embrace wikis
BtoB Online
Content is King: Ins and Outs of eXtensible Business Reporting Language
Seeking Alpha

Cool Tools
Google Adds The Geographic Web To Earth
Tech Crunch
Socialtext Unplugged -- An Offline Wiki Solution
MarketWire

Deals, Parnerships & Sales

MuseGlobal Creates Customized Connections to the Elsevier XML Gateway
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
Legendary Literary Journal The Paris Review Now Available Electronically via EBSCOhost
PR Web

Products, Markets & People
Social News Service Introduces Quick, Free and Easy Way to Create and Manage Content Rich Media Sites
BusinessWire
GCN to make its content available on a variety of Web-enabled mobile devices
GCN
Prism's SourceESB.com Site Adds Hazardous Substances Search Capabilities
BusinessWire
Interactive Data’s ComStock Strengthens Global Real-Time Sales Organization
BusinessWire

Begging for Clicks: Content in Search of Context Tries Pop-Ups

The New York Times notes how Nielsen/NetRatings demoted its reported April traffic statistics for Entrepreneur.com from an estimated 7.6 million unique visitors down to 2 million - due to the site's use of automatice pop-up windows to increase their claimed page views. Pop-ups have been used for years to push ads from sites both reputable and otherwise, but their use for pushing content is a relatively new phenomenon. Entrepreneur.com is not alone in its efforts: according to the NYT other sites that appear to have used pop-ups for content in the last year include Concierge.com, the Web site of Condé Nast Traveler magazine; ForbesAutos.com, part of the Forbes financial publishing group; and Heavy.com, a popular humor site.

Clearly content pushed involuntarily via pop-up windows inflate visit statistics unfairly via unethical channels, as software that enables the pop-up function is oftentimes introduced to a user's computer involuntarily in a virus-like fashion. But on the other side of the equation there's room to consider how advertising functions in general can be used to push full-page content into more valuable contexts. Online ad networks allow advertisers to compete for good position on search results pages and destination sites: why not make more active use of these same auction-based techniques to pay for sponsored content positioning of full text in key venues that match up with targeted audiences?

We've been arguing for this concept for quite some time but it sounds as if the desire for pulling in audiences for advertisers may be catching up with this concept at last. Paying for context is going to take on new meaning as the battle for online audiences progresses ever-closer to the audiences and away from destination Web sites.

Full-Text Feeds Paying Off: Moving Beyond Fear to Profits

Digital Inspiration notes the impact that full-text feeds have had on their operations. According to their analysis a conversion from feeding partial excerpts of an article to subscribers via their RSS feed resulted in a 20 percent increase in RSS subscribers in only a month. Moreover revenues from ads on their Web site appear to have increased several times over from their previous months' income, though the graph provided does not give scaling to determine just how much more. DI also notes an increase in engagement from readers with more comments in weblogs.

This is but one relatively small weblog's experience, but the threats and fears that they note - loss of site visits and exposure to sites stealing full-text content - are the same as most publishers might have in exposing their content to full-feed distribution. As noted in our earlier News Analysis on feeds the need to embrace feeds is only increasing. Feeds are not perfect - they are still too crude in most instances to provide the full value of a Web site's content - but if publishers focus on providing more value in their feeds they will be standing out from the crowd in a unique way that can build both traffic and loyalty.

More quantified research is needed to look at all of the various aspects that go into successful feed campaigns - sponsors, anyone? - but in the meantime the evidence to date seems to indicate that robust feeds that serve an audience well are going to be money-making endeavors that serve the long-term and short-term goals of publishers quite well.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Headline Summary for Week of 4 December 2006

Want to catch up on last week's headlines? Try our weekly categorized summary with embedded commentary on the latest trends.

Click here to view last week's headlines in review

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Headlines for 6 December 2006

Trends
Yahoo, Aiming for Agility, Shuffles Executives
The New York Times*
Corporate Marketers' Websites Outdraw Those of Major Media Players
Advertising Age
Microsoft Live Search Books rivals Google Book Search, but limits selection
PC World
NYT Co. Expects 'Challenging' Year in 2007, But 30% Online Growth
Editor & Publisher

Cool Tools
July Systems Awarded Patent for Rights Managed Peer-To-Peer Distribution of Mobile Content
BusinessWire India

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
Navteq to buy Map Network for $37.5M
BusinessWeek
Amazon Invests in Wikia: Value-Added Capital Key to Wikia's Expanding Product Plans
FreshNews.com
Fairfax Agrees to Buy Rural Press
WSJ Online*

Products, Markets & People
John French Named CEO of Prism/Penton Merger, Company Renamed Penton
FOLIO: Magazine

ContentNext Mixer: Finding the Right Mix of Hipness and Sanity

The venue for ContentNext's mixer in NYC last night was far from ideal, but it provided an interesting metaphor for this dance between all of the various factions of Content Nation. A night club with velvet ropes and a bouncer outside and disco lights on the inside is just fine for the younger set of Content Nation, but it wasn't very conducive to the group of more grey attendees gracing the event (good luck reading name tags). At the same time, though, people like Dow Jones EVP L. Gordon Crovitz marveled at the confluence of these different tribes into a single group with a perceived common purpose through publications such as paidContent.org that span the merging worlds of old and new media. It's good to have a new "there" there but no one seems to be particularly comfortable with its shape just yet: the "there" is more like an airport waiting lounge filled with transients than a cushy destination.

Gordon's stand-up interview at the mixer with paidContent.org publisher Rafat Ali heralded the Wall Street Journal's forthcoming new print edition, which was a somewhat odd focus for the electronic-oriented crowd, but Gordon emphasized the key point: online usage is driving up print usage, with a ten percent increase in print subscriptions powered by online-only conversions. As younger Content Nation denizens put on their business suits they're accessorizing with the appropriate print content fashions. Crovitz shook off some tugs from Rafat to reveal any radical re-launch of WSJ's online properties, instead emphasizing their continuing efforts to listen to customers and to tune the existing site to meet their needs with a broader array of ad-supported content and more analytical journalism. But Crovitz did lay a little groundwork for the WSJ Online's reworking of its online stocks information service, intimating that it would have a broader appeal: perhaps a little more direct competition with Yahoo! Finance is in the wings.

Rafat gave up on the interview with Gordon after a relatively short while due to the noise levels - the format needs some help, either it's a free-for-all mixer or it's not - so there were a lot of interesting questions left unasked, unfortunately. Like: as more newspaper corporate headquarters get converted into trendy condos what's the real future of ad-supported and subscription mainstream media? WSJ's answer seems to be to keep focused on your users and don't be afraid to claim the value that you offer them. A good an answer as any, I suppose, but as content accessories shift from print platforms to all-electronic platforms it's not clear that venues such as WSJ or any other mainstream media outlet, no matter how well focused, are prepared to play the broader editorial role that many of today's leading content consumers demand.

There's a lot of well-earned pride that goes into the editorial operations of papers like the Wall Street Journal: are they ready to become like the Rafats and the Robin Goods of the world and to take high-quality content under their wing from whatever source presents itself? With so much emphasis on "our" content in traditional publishing houses there are going to be lots of missed opportunities to take a client-centric focus to the next level and to assemble whatever it takes to keep their audiences informed and entertained. If Content Nation can rub elbows over cheese and drinks in a disco, what will it take to get them to do the same online in a wider array of venues? I guess there's a good reason right there to give the next ContentNext mixer a try.

Yahoo Reorg: Redundancies in the Air, But Will the Strategy Fly?

It's kind of hard to feel sorry for a company that so dominates online content, but you have to feel somewhat sorry for employees at Yahoo that are having to endure yet another reorganization effort to get some spring back in its step. As reported by The New York Times and other majors the reshuffling puts Yahoo CFO Susan Decker into the role of likely replacement for CEO Terry Semel as COO Dan Rosensweig and media man Lloyd Braun head for the door. Yahoo will be structured into three business units: one for client focus, one for publisher and advertising focus (headed by Decker) and one for infrastructure focus. Shades of Thomson and other large aggregators trying to engineer efficient operations.

It's probably as good a way as any to start eliminating the product fiefdoms that had proliferated at the online giant and to restore a sense of focus that had drifted as Yahoo's search and advertising efforts fell behind Google's dominant efforts, but it's not going to be easy to define a coherent sense of mission for a company that seems to be racing towards every "old" and new media player it can lay its hands on to build up page views. It's not a bad thing to have a lot of valuable content on hand, but it's not clear that Yahoo is aiming to excel in its use of content in any unique way that will set it apart from its competitors. If Google's mantra is to organize the world's content and to make it accessible, what's Yahoo's mantra?

While focusing on good destination content is still going to be a top priority for Yahoo the "how" of making it valuable needs to be made more clear to both publishers and users. In the end there needs to be a dominant player who will be a winner in helping audiences aggregate mainstream content in a way that they find to be very valuable, but building a portal is not the complete answer to this puzzle. Getting content into the contexts that matter most to audiences also means making it useful on PC, mobile devices and other non-portal venues. This all argues towards Yahoo becoming the leading expert in content packaging and delivery, regardless of whether the venue is a Web page or a TiVo or a Blackberry or whatever platform a user finds to be valuable at the moment.

In reality, though, it appears as if Yahoo will march on for now with a strategy focused on becoming a more powerful destination site. That's not a bad place to start, but as users move from page visits to experience visits on any number of devices it may not be a strategy for the most effective long-term growth. Focus on the ability to deliver content payloads any valuable context and the rest will take care of itself.

News Analysis - Feed on This: Publishers Face the Dilemma of Content in Motion

XML-based datafeeds are becoming popular tools for delivering content to online audiences from Web sites. But feeds are far from popular with publishers intent on boosting page view statistics and fearing leakage through content that's delivered to users who will never come in to their sites. The real issue is not feeds but the need for publishers to accept that an important portion of their revenues will rely on understanding how to make money from content delivered to their audience's personal devices and Web sites. Some leaders are already making good money on feeds: what will it take for others to follow suit?

Click here to read the full News Analysis

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Headlines for 5 December 2006

Trends
Ad-Sales Woes Likely to Continue
WSJ Online*
Executives expect new media to pay — eventually
USA Today
Troubling '07 Forecast for the Old-Line Media but Not for the Online
The New York Times*
Microsoft Buys Weedshare’s Superdistribution & Rev-Share IP; Implementation in Zune?
paidContent.org
Google subpoenas to rivals bewilder observers
Computerworld
UN reports on dismal state of web accessibility
Out-Law
Who Has Been Naughty or Nice in Web 2.0?
Micro Persuasion
Backdown on draconian Australian copyright laws
Fairfax Digital
Retrevo - What Vertical Search Will Become
Read/Write Web
SimplyHeadlines Is About Five Years Too Late
TechCrunch
Yahoo partners with Reuters on eyewitness news
New Media Musings
News Corp not bidding on Tribune assets - Chernin
Reuters

Best Practices
Cooperation between newspapers and blogs: interview with Pluck’s Eric Newman
Editors' Weblog
Staying informed with Google News search
Google Blog

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
VNU Turns to Podbridge to Deliver Trackable and Dynamic Advertising Solution for Podcasts
BusinessWire
Newstex Joins Voxant's Viral Syndication Network to Distribute Full-Text Newswire and Blog Feed Content
PrimeZone
WebTrends Acquires Optimization Firm ClickShift
ClickZ Network
Calacanis Takes Position at Sequoia Capital
TechCrunch
Dow Jones Online Selects FeedBurner to Manage and Monetize RSS and Podcast Feeds
PrimeZone

Products, Markets & People
Standard & Poor's Increases Compustat(R) Xpressfeed Data Coverage
PR Newswire

Weedshare Hits the Big Time with Microsoft Zune Implementation

When I first made comments about the digital rights package being used in Microsoft's Zune portable media player a few months back I noted how it was a bit like a lightweight version of the Weed rights management scheme that uses Microsoft's Media Player as its platform. Weedshare files can be played by someone receiving them a few times and then can be purchased if the recipient wants continued access - with the person forwarding a file receiving a small royalty.

Now paidContent.org notes that Microsoft has acquired the license to the patents underlying the Weedshare system, with the presumed intention of extending the model used on the Zune to include the extensible ecommerce models supported by Weed - as well as picking up access to content produced by independent artists already using the Weedshare system.

While Rafat notes that this great rights management system is tied to the thus far regrettable Zune platform, the Weed capabilities are easily extended to any platform that can support Windows Media Player-compatible files. So be it PCs or any portable player equipped with this capability, Microsoft has positioned themselves with a great tool to provide a real reason for using the Windows Media file format as an alternative to Apple - and a real reason for any content that can play in that format to adopt WMF as a dominant standard for premium content.

Chalk this one up as **THE** entertainment media play for 2006 in digital rights management, positioning Microsoft very strongly to take advantage of users as distribution agents and value-add resellers of premium content. To all those who lollygagged while Microsoft plucked this plum up, you may be licking your wounds for a while come 2007. Congratulations to the folks at Weed for hanging in there and developing the most effective user-oriented rights management scheme to date.