Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Headlines for 31 October 2006

Trends
Google: A New Advertising Engine
Washington Post
Will Yahoo Make a Deal to Buy AOL?
Fortune via CNN Money
Digg Brushes Off Acquisition Rumors
NextNet
At Conde Nast, It's Print Versus Digital
Crain's New York Business
Hoovers Joins LinkedIn, Launches a Business Social Network
Mashable!
MySpace To Start Music Copyright Detection via Gracenote
Filtering

WSJ Online*
Brightcove Launches First 360° Internet TV Business Platform
Robin Good
Web 2.Org: Organizations Competing in Traditional Media Spaces
Policlicks
Stephen Colbert: Don’t Love and Leave YouTube
Media Shift
The Domino Effect - Igniting 500 Litres of Diet Coke and 1500+ Mentos for fun - and profit
Google Blog
Attack of the Bots
Wired
John Battelle Interview With Folksonomy
Federated Media via Folksonomy
BBC joins the user contributed content gang
Journalism.co.uk
Analysis: Why Circulation Keeps Heading South
Editor & Publisher
Copyright report calls for more consumer rights
Computeractive

Best Practices
SIIA FISD Issues Derived Data and Non-display Usage Draft
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
If Google Demotes Your Web Page, Can You Sue?
Publish
Internet Archaeology - Digging up the web of the past
Content Log

Cool Tools
Webmaster Tools: A resource for content providers
Google Base Blog
Get a Mapkit Widget for Your Blog and Earn Moolah
Micro Persuasion
Windows Media Player 11 (final) is now available
Download Squad

Deals, Partnerships & Sales


The Economist Acquires GalleryWatch Online Service

Washington Business Journal

Products, Markets & People
Hanley Wood launches ‘Architect’
BtoB Online
New Website for Legal Professionals Aims to Revolutionize Sharing of Information
PR Web

Monday, October 30, 2006

Headlines for 30 October 2006

Trends
Time Inc. Picks Its Web Winners -- And Its Flagship Isn't One
WSJ Online*
Big Metros Show Severe Declines in Latest Circ Report
Editor & Publisher
Microsoft campaign touts Live Search
BtoB Online
World discusses internet future
BBC News
Are Traditional Media Stocks a Bargain Compared to New Era Google Mania?
GuruFocus
"Vox"ing our private blogs
Scobelizer
The end of all advertising is not exactly nigh
MySA.com
Outside.in could grow to be a mature Craigslist
606Tech
E.U. Nears Decision on Regulating Video Content on Internet
The New York Sun
Pluck RSS Reader Shuts Down: Consumer RSS Readers a Dead Market Now
Read/Write Web
Bidders said to be lukewarm on Tribune
LA Times*
Meet the new face of hyperlocal journalism
USC Annenberg OJR
Metacafe is making a play at Youtube
The Blog Herald
YouTube Is Purging Copyrighted Clips
The New York Times*
Blog Business Summit: Jason Calacanis Keynote
Web Pro News
Few check sources on Web health information
Reuters via CNET

Best Practices
Should Conferences Ban Blogging?
Micro Persuasion
Marketers Demanding Better Count of the Clicks
The New York Times*

Cool Tools
Is Firefox 2.0 a dud?
ZDNet
Mike Elgan says go wild with widgets
Download Squad

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Dow Jones to sell Traverse City newspaper, 6 others for $282.5M
Detroit News
ISYS(R) Search Software Builds on Channel Success With New OEM Partnerships
BusinessWire

News Analysis - Zibb Jab: Business Search Engines Take on Google and Enterprise Aggregators

There's a lot of talk about coming up with better business search engines lately, but so far the results offered by most publishers have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Reed Business Information has upped the ante substantially with its new Zibb search portal that covers a wide swath of content from both business media sources as well as from weblogs, Web sites and its own product and company databases. This blend of business-tuned content comes wrapped in a thoroughly up-to-date platform promises to give both Web search engines and enterprise subscription news databases a strong run for their money.

Click here to read the full News Analysis

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Headline Summary for Week of 22 October 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

Google Readies News Aggregation to Drive Conversations Amongst Newsmakers

Philipp Lenssen on "Google Blogoscoped" posted a very interesting peek into the plans of Google gleaned from internal papers, including this interesting tidbit relating to potential plans for Google News:
One more specific objective Google outlined as company goal earlier this year in another paper available to me was to internally test a Google News prototype during the fourth quarter. This “radically improved” prototype should allow “other news sources, and organizations and individuals mentioned in news stories to debate specific points.”
This is a quite a twist that amplifies the potential for online discussion far beyond what outlets such as Digg and Newsvine have tried to accomplish with their online news bookmarking communities. Rather than have just the rabble of everyday online users comment on news stories Google News would act as an automated interview show of sorts, drawing in key figures closest to a story to provide their own insights. Such a move would be, in effect, automated journalism that feeds off of existing news stories.

Somehow if I get past my fears of a Larry King avatar from Second Life moderating these debates I can see that this has the potential to reshape news gathering in some fairly profound ways. Just as weblogs have provided a way to draw together elements of the news through links and comments a service that invited all comers an opportunity to shape news and opinion in an open forum based on being in the news would in theory offer a major leap forward in the quality of both the news and the debate.

Will the assets of AP and, possibly, Newsvine surface in this new venture as I speculated in an earlier post? I think that the AP content is quite likely to surface, but by the sounds of it Google may be thinking that it can accelerate beyond the Newsvine concept rapidly enough to render a Newsvine alliance moot. Newsvine continues to grow but as with many social services it may be settling in to servicing a relatively select number of special interest groups that will not be able to propel the quality of its news selections forward quickly enough to pick up significant new portions of market share. On the other hand the new spellchecking software for Google's Blogger weblogging software bears a strong resemblance to the spellchecker in Newsvine, so you never know.

Whatever the result Google is clearly planning for a major leap forward in the debate as to how news can and should be shaped. Add in footage from YouTube and you can expect some pretty interesting fireworks in the news industry when this package makes its debut. Allowing conversations to shape news as much as news shapes conversations is one of the key factors driving user-generated content forward; that conversation is about to get one honkin' big megaphone, by the sounds of it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Internet Librarian 2006: Mashups and Social Computing Enhance Information Services

Monterey in October once again provided a superb setting for this popular conference celebrating both its 10th anniversary as well as the highest ever attendance. Focused on application of emerging technologies, the Internet Librarian conference has established itself as the must attend event for information professionals utilizing Web technologies for their institutions. The closing keynote speaker, Elizabeth Lawley, noted for her social computing expertise as well as avid World of Warcraft gaming, commented she always learns a lot from both presenters and attendees at this conference.

Energy was high this year, and interest clearly focused on using new technologies to provide innovative ways of delivering library services. There was a goodly contingent of nextgen librarians describing how they are using Web 2.0 concepts to reach younger patrons, even to the extent of creating individual Ask-A-Librarian profiles on MySpace and Facebook, and creating the Second Life Library 2.0. On the other end of the spectrum, keynote speaker Clifford Lynch described the emergence of e-science, and predicted the evolution of "data librarians", part librarian and part researcher.

The Talis competition "Mashing Up the Library" awards highlighted the high level of interest in the mashups track, with overflowing rooms. Mashups using Google Earth are the first generation of useful applications, but the power of mashups lies in exposing library resources in new, visually exciting representations, making underused collections readily accessible using Web technologies. Podcasting and videocasting are becoming part of the library toolkit to broaden reach to their communities.

Wikis as a means of collecting and enabling access to library content are a major trend this year, across the spectrum in public libraries, corporate libraries and academic libraries. Many of the applications improve ease of keeping content up to date using blog and RSS technology in addition to wiki software. Maureen Clements of NPR, provided a fascinating study of their wiki implementation, describing the hectic environment of a news room and the challenges of integrating new wiki technology into their workflow.

More effective website design was another underlying theme. As keynoter on the second day of the conference, Shari Thurow of Grantastic Designs gave practical strategies to improve the visibility of websites in the search engines, emphasizing that good user design generally goes hand in hand with search engine friendliness. As proof of that approach, Marshall Breeding of Vanderbilt University Library described how adding static webpages for the abstracts for their 805,000 TV archive collection, doubled their traffic and enabled their services to survive without continuing to be subsidized by the university.

New search engine developments are a recurring theme at this conferences, though not as dominant as in previous years. Chris Sherman gave the annual state of the search engines talk, noting strategic directions for Google, Yahoo and MSN, but commenting that the new implementation of ASK is hot! The search is very good, and he sees ASK emerging as the Avis of search, with a clean intuitive interface, including a nice blog and RSS interface. ASK has another asset--Gary Price, the prolific force behind ResourceShelf and DocuTicker, has joined them recently. His conference presentations included a very lucid description of mobile services, and implementation challenges.

Books in electronic form were present throughout the program, with Greg Notess discussing uses and searching techniques for the search engines on Amazon, A9, Google, and soon to emerge OCA. In the concurrent Internet @ Schools West conference, e-books as audio books are being successfully used for "reluctant readers" by putting books on iPods, which makes them "cool", as well as quite useful for long school bus trips. In the exhibit hall, ebrary and Knovel both demonstrated continuing enhancements to their ebook collections designed for research, as ebooks become more widely integrated into digital library collections. And major journal publisher, Springer, promoted their ebook collection as a complement to their journals.

A common complaint from attendees was that they couldn't attend all the sessions they were interested in, so Information Today has utilized the technology discussed in the sessions for conference coverage, so check out the conference wiki, linked to Flickr pictures. Enjoy!

Headlines for 26 October 2006

Trends
Private Equity May Face Snags In Media Hunt
WSJ Online
Google’s Internal Company Goals: Newsvine-Like Feature Coming in Q4?
Google Blogoscoped
"Push-Back" From Advertisers Reported Against Verified Circ
FOLIO: Magazine
On the alert for bloggers
Google Blog
Google, Google, Google!
Forbes
Google quizzed over YouTube plans
BBC News
Jawed Karim: How YouTube Took Off
GigaOM
Yahoo Takes YouTube Idea and Expands On It
ZeroPaid
Does YouTube Really Have Legal Problems?
Slate
YouTube Gets New Logo, Facelift and Trackbacks - Growing Fast!
Mashable!
Campus researchers getting a lot younger
Tuscon Citizen
Skype founders plan to launch Web TV service: paper
Reuters via Yahoo! News
Current TV Pops a Flavorpill
Multichannel News
Newspapers are urged to reach out to Web
AP via Yahoo! News
Who Will Buy Thomson Gale?
Library Journal
TheStreet.com 3Q Profit Nearly Doubles But Shares Hit a Rut
AP via Yahoo! Finance

Best Practices
The Evolution Of The Creative Commons Spectrum
SmartMobs
Two out of Three Workers Overwhelmed by Information Overload, Nucleus Research Finds
BusinessWire

Cool Tools
Comparing Feed Readers
Web Pro News

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Answers.com Joins CBSNews.com, to Upgrade Reference Information
Web Site Host Directory

Products, Markets & People
ProQuest Platform Supports Shibboleth-To-Athens Gateway
Managing Information
Zillow.com(TM) Opens up API for Free to Provide Zestimate(TM) Valuations and Information on Web
PR Newswire
Finding Auto Insurance Information is More Efficient With Insurance.com’s New Search Platform
BusinessWire
BrandSweeper(TM) Helps Intellectual Property and Brand Owners Take On Search Engines
PR Newswire via Earthtimes.org

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Merrill Analyst Fears Flat Future for Newspapers: Online Won't Pull More than Half the Freight

Editor & Publisher reports on Merrill Lynch publishing analyst Lauren Rich Fine's report on the future of newspaper publishing, which paints a somewhat gloomy future for newspapers over the next two decades. Fine sees online revenues not being able to contribute more than 50 percent of newspaper income from advertising in that period, based on an assumed double-digit growth for online revenues through 2012 and a 1.5 percent annual decline in newspaper ad revenues. As Fine puts it succinctly, "Put another way, moving from a near monopoly to a competitive model is having the impact of restraining blended ad rates and absolute dollar profits." Newspapers - and major media outlets in general - have enjoyed little competition in local markets for ad services and now face a myriad of new channels for advertising and marketing that will continue to place pressure on editorial operations for years to come.

But what Fine and other analysts seem to neglect is the diversification of news properties into diverse online destinations that provide traditional news as but one content product, even as non-traditional operations begin to incorporate news gathering into their own operations. Yahoo has taken on its own staffers for generating original news, even as paidContent.org notes Yahoo's shopping of classifieds content from their HotJobs portal to newspapers not affiliated with the CareerBuilder job posting network. And for The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal their forays into online properties About.com and MarketWatch have added diversity to their online holdings that can transcend the limitations of traditional news operations.

So while stock analysts may look at news operations and see a zero-growth game weighed down by declining print operations the increasing diversity of the news game is providing new avenues of growth that have little to do with the woes of traditional news monopolies. And this is before anyone has even touched replacing mass-produced print with mass-personalized print products that could boost print ad revenues significantly. Ms. Fine's report is based on common sense, but I think that it's not focused enough on more radical shifts in print advertising that are likely in the next five years and more pronounced diversification of traditional news organizations into a broader field of information and marketing specialists.

This all argues for more rapid shifts in revenue streams but also a potentially brighter future in the years for news as a revenue generator if those shifts can be undertaken sooner rather than later. Don't look at today's ticker symbols for the story of news revenues, look at the broader index of the content industry that is thriving on contextualizing news in a broad variety of venues.

Headlines for 25 October 2006

Trends
Former GE CEO Jack Welch and Partners Ponder Buying the Boston Globe
WSJ Online*
ClearChannel Contemplates Going Private
The New York Times*
Merrill Lynch: Could Be Decades Before Online Sustains Newspapers
Editor & Publisher
Yahoo Close To Newspaper Deal For Hotjobs?
paidContent.org
Google Co-op Misses News
Marketing Shift
Facebook Testing Content Sharing
Adotas
Google seeks better access to government information
GovExec.com
Amazon Profit Beats Expectations
Reuters via Publish
Do you "Google?" A brand name may be slipping into generic status
Google Blog
Eurekster to Google: Bring it on in custom search!
ZDNet
Political bloggers coordinate 'Google Bombs': Readers are urged to 'fight fire with fire'
National Journal via MSNBC

Best Practices
Web 2.0 reaches the classroom
Network World
Data classification is the key to ILM
InfoStor

Cool Tools
Automated video news program from RSS and game-graphics
Boing Boing
Opera releases new version of mobile browser
Download Squad
Convina Offers Google Base Integration With Ecommerce and Other Data Systems
PR Web

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

SkillSoft Announces Agreement to Acquire NETg from The Thomson Corporation
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance

Products, Markets & People
SixApart Launches Vox
Micro Persuasion

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Headlines for 24 October 2006

Trends
Thomson Nears Plan to Put Learning Unit on Block
WSJ Online*
Amazon to Curtail Its Spending
The New York Times*
Controlling Choke Points No Longer Viiable: Eisner, Diller expound on new media
Variety
Is Digg On the Block For $150m?
Seeking Alpha
Old media urge FCC to ease ownership rules
The Hollywood Reporter
Will NBC 2.0 Pay Off For Digital?
paidContent.org
Yahoo Bookmarks Enters 21st Century
TechCrunch
Talent Agency Is Aiming to Find Web Video Stars
The New York Times*
Cornell Joins Microsoft Book Search
Library Journal

Best Practices
Podcasting Legalities: What Every Podcaster Should Know, Part 3
Digital Producer

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Harvard University Licenses DiscoveryGate(R) Content Platform
WebWire

Products, Markets & People
'Financial Times' adds microsite
BtoB Online
Autonomy Extends Leadership in eDiscovery With Enhanced Aungate Solutions
PR Newswire via Earth Times
CMP's Electronics Group Launches Newly Integrated TechOnline
PR Newswire
Windows IT Media Launches "Windows Excavator" Vertical Search Tool
BusinessWire
Mobile Editions of Government Computer News and Washington Technology Web Sites Make Debut
PR Newswire

Thomson Prepares to Shed Its Learning Division to Pump Up Corporate Markets

The Wall Street Journal reports on pending plans at The Thomson Corporation to spin off its Thomson Learning division for as much as USD 5 billion, citing a slow transition to online revenues for this division and an eagerness to concentrate on building up technology assets for its other divisions focusing on legal, scientific and financial markets. It's a good move at a pretty good time, allowing Thomson to attain a more serious position in the corporate content services space. The learning space is different enough that product and technology investments in corporate content would not be easily leveraged for learning efforts, whereas there appears to be a great deal of synergy in the technologies used to support its other efforts.

Academic aggregators in general are facing potentially grim times as universities and schools learn how to aggregate instructional content via new venues that bypass oftentimes the costly bundled electronic course offerings being pushed by publishers. Search engines, online course management systems and user-generated content systems such as Wikis and blogs are all tools that are helping both instructors and students create valuable course offerings at a lower cost to students and institutions. Book-based content is having a hard time transitioning into digital markets in general but with universities and schools filled with "digital natives" that are leaving yesterday's books behind it's going to be an uphill battle for educational publishers for many years to come.

That 5 bil would come in handy to bolster Thomson's offerings in the corporate world, where they offer good content and technology but struggle to deliver the breakthrough services that rivals such as LexisNexis, Reuters and Elsevier are able to conjure up on a regular basis. The scale of this cash could easily lead one to believe that a major acquisition such as Bloomberg could be targeted by Thomson to leap into the lead in finance for overall market position, but with Mike Bloomberg begging off a sale of his privately held company for now one assumes that a good portion of that cash will go into infrastructure and product design - until the next good deal comes along. How now, Dow Jones? Would combining Factiva and Thomson West tickle some fancies in rapidly developing legal and business information markets? Factiva licensing deals with LexisNexis would make this a tricky spinoff, but one that would make sense from a product standpoint.

There are lots of interesting possibilities for this deal but first Thomson must find a suitable suitor for its Learning assets. Moping about its performance is not a great way to start the bidding, but there's bound to be a focused publisher or two - or three - that would be up to cornering more of the market for instructional content products and services. We'll see where the best fit lies soon enough.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Google Custom Search: Powerful Aggregation the Easy Way

Pundits are pointing out loudly that the new Google Custom Search Engine is hardly the first custom search tool on the block: Alexa Web Search Platform is a full-featured platform for mashup experts wanting to cull through Web sites and easy customization options are available from Rollyo and other sites. But there is something about the Google view of search that provides features that result in a service that is both highly usable and very flexible and adaptable in ways that leave earlier efforts on the sidelines.

Setting up a custom search on GCSE is very easy through a series of entry panels that allows one to specify sites for a crawl and whether they should be searched alone or with results from other Web sites blended in. The results are published as a search engine that uses Google Coop as its underpinnings and that can be accessed as a destination page from Google or integrated into another site - as has been done with this custom search engine for Macworld. Searches can be used to build an RSS feed, of course, providing a steady stream of highly filtered updates.

What's beautiful about GCSE is that it makes it bone-simple to develop your own content aggregation schemes via search and to share them with others. Just as the categorization schemes of Google Coop encourage publishers to provide browsing filters for content to facilitate navigation the GCSE search capability organizes Web content into unique aggregation services that in some ways can be more powerful than traditional licensed database services in which Web content and cherry-picked sites are segregated oftentimes. Instead of search results being transitory services they can become public content destinations providing instant editorial filtering guided by subject matter experts - with Google's ads along for the ride to help monetize the results, natch.

Where other tools of this type are either over-simplistic or over-technical Google Custom Search Engine provides powerful content publishing tools that can service both the casual user and power users very effectively using the world's leading Web search technologies. Expect this to be a very powerful and popular publishing option for publishers of all kinds seeking new ways to create valuable inventories of destination content.

Headlines for 23 October 2006

Trends
Google to Launch Personal Search Tool
Forbes
IBM sues Amazon.com for Patent Infringement
VNUNet
AOL CEO Says Sales May Shrink for Two Years
Publish
LinkedIn: Can't we talk about this first?
37 Signals
Customizing a magazine to your taste
BuzzShout
How Dare You Make My Content More Valuable!
TechDirt
Bertelsmann Forms $63 Million Venture Fund; Sarnoff Heading It
paidContent.org
Adobe tries again with e-books
CNET News

Best Practices
Real Sharing vs. Fake Sharing
O'Reilly Radar
On-Line Newsrooms - Why They Matter
DigStrat
Electronic Content Firm, eBook, Supports New IDPF Content Standard
Web Side Host Directory
Content Classifiers Glom Onto Google
Byte and Switch

Cool Tools
A Memetracker for People
Micro Persuasion
RealClimate.org: A Custom Google Search Engine
RealClimate.org

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Autonomy Announces New Strategic Partner for Chinese Venture
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
blinkx Signs Content Agreement With VERSUS
PR Newswire
MediaBrains forms strategic partnership with Bobit Business Media
BtoB Online

Products, Markets & People
HollywoodReporter.com unveils major redesign
BtoB Online

Monday, October 23, 2006

Reuters Swims for High-Margin Markets as Bloomberg Treads Water

Mike Bloomberg opined recently that he's not in the mood to cash out from Bloomberg, LP, saying "I have complete confidence that the best days for the Company still lie ahead" - though he was quick to add that he looked forward to focusing the benefits of his cash cow on his philanthropic interests. But while Bloomberg continues to be a source of innovation in the financial information industry its long-time focus on its desktop services seems to be counter to the growing trend towards automated trading overwatched by a handful of top-level analysts and managers. With widespread trading position cutbacks expected in London's City trading district next year the trends would seem to favor Reuters at this point, which has been positioning itself to be a winner on both ends of this spectrum. So as The Times Online reports Reuters is absorbing a 25 percent decline in desktop position sales it's absorbing most of that impact through a 20 percent rise in revenue from trading transaction support services.

It's a reminder to publishers that although workflow-oriented content services seems like a charmed path to higher revenues and margins it's a path fraught with problems. Integration of content from vendors focuses increasingly on integration that is either highly specialized for an elite few or integration so deeply embedded in an institution's plumbing that branding is of more of an IT-oriented level than that of a traditional electronic publisher. That's not all bad, but it's an outlook that may catch many enterprise-oriented publishers feeling caught rather short. Look at the revenue profile of Reuters, though, and you see a path to the future: high-end and automated premium services providing margins for the machines and the few information elites and media-supported services providing content for the corporate masses in between these extremes. Look at that model and memorize it: your shareholders will be doing so soon enough.

News Analysis - Get a Life: Second Life Points the Way Towards Content Growth in Real-World Communities

The growth of game-like online communities is accelerating as virtual worlds like Second Life offer its members complete virtual lifestyles - including the ability to spend real-world dollars on both virtual and real goods and services. The smell of real money is drawing strong interest from advertisers and media companies intent on not missing the next hot online trend. But the real lesson of Second Life has a lot to do with the sorely neglected real world where publishers need to step up efforts to invent compelling new products that relate to digital natives.

Click here to read the full News Analysis

Headlines for 23 October 2006

Trends
We’re Google. So Sue Us.
The New York Times*
Putting blogs to work for Wall Street
CNET News
Why Apple Won
Forbes
Tribune Auction Draws Private-Equity Interest
WSJ Online*
McGraw-Hill Announces The Elimination of 600 Positions, Third Quarter Earnings
FOLIO: Magazine
Layoffs called 'unavoidable' at Inquirer, Daily News
The Philadelphia Inquirer
'Mercury News' To Axe Up to 101, Including 15% of Newsroom
Editor & Publisher
AOL to Focus on Ad Revenue in Europe
The New York Times*
Intellectual property theft is evil, Scout's honour
The Age
Crayon Claims To Be First SecondLife Company
TechCrunch

Best Practices
Information OPA Says Its Research Show Visitors To Branded Site More Active Than Portals
paidContent.org
New Study Finds Consumer Generated Content Plays a Large Role in Online Auto Shopping
Red Orbit

Cool Tools
Anothr: RSS aggregator for Skype
Download Squad

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

ProQuest to Sell Its Business Solutions Segment to Snap-on Incorporated
PR Newswire
Blackwell and ebrary Partner to Deliver E-Books
Information Today

Products, Markets & People
Factiva's Enhanced Taxonomy Warehouse Drives Better Information Asset Management
PR Newswire via WTNH
Wolters Kluwer Financial Services Brings Regulatory Compliance to Front End of Lending Process
PR Newswire

Headline Summary for Week of 16 October 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, October 20, 2006

Google Margins Nearly Double on Ad Revenues, Dominant Search Position Grows

Bloomberg covers the extraordinary quarterly report from Google in which it yet again beat street estimates handily and nearly doubled its profits from a year ago. Search share is up to 44 percent of the market, up from 37 percent this time last year. While Google's push to broaden its offerings is a part of this picture clearly the margins from ads go hand in hand with search growth - much to the detriment of Yahoo, which continues to lag as a search starting point and turned in suboptimal financials this reporting period. At the same time The New York Times reports on the softening of news ad revenues for them and the Tribune company, with continuing weakness from the NYT's New England (Boston Globe) division's print revenues leading the glum story.

We've been hearing - and warning - about a slowdown in ad revenues for some time, but clearly a sinking tide doesn't lower all boats equally in an ad market that's increasingly global, online and search-driven thanks to Google and other ad networks. With a worldwide Web footprint and the ability to get both extremely narrow and broad in its ad marketing footprint Google has the ability to weather out specific local economies while developing economies still ride high, wherever or however they may define themselves. Best of all, their own page inventory is constantly replenished and relevant via its search technology to become immediately relevant and valuable to advertisers - an instant editorial cycle.

What this may add up to is somewhat the opposite of what some doomsayers have been predicting for some time. Yes, eventually online ad revenues will sink along with other types, but in this economic cycle when ad budgets need to be cut it's far more likely that print ads will get the short end of the stick this time around in a greater proportion than in the past. For traditional media outlets there will be no gloating over a dot-com bust this time around - especially since such a significant portion of their own revenues now rely on online content that competes with the myriad of sources surfaced by search engines.

Along with this short-changing of print there is the new echelon of small and medium businesses advertising on the Web through Google, eBay and other outlets who are able to bypass traditional media altogether to make contact with their markets. With a continuing myopic focus on "walled gardens" most mainstream publishers are hard pressed to position themselves for this direct-to-market echelon of advertisers who are developing mass marketing strategies independent of the gardens.

So hang onto your hat, we're beginning to enter an era in which the advertising chickens are coming home to roost as never before - and they're not settling into their old coops. Business media will continue to enjoy a higher level of insulation from this trend as it continues to appeal to senior managers slower in dropping the print habit but on the consumer side it's going to be a much tougher transition through 2007. Congratulations, Google, you're making us all think. Ouch.

Headlines for 20 October 2006

Trends
Google Profit Almost Doubles as Ad Spending Surges
Bloomberg News
Google Q3 2006 Earnings Call Transcript
Seeking Alpha
To Explain Soft Numbers, Newspaper Companies Name a Common Culprit
The New York Times*
Blog aims to record a day in the life of the UK
SmartMobs
Why Is Video Search So Bad?
Internet News
The media cartel vs. Google: Big media won't have the nerve or incentive
MarketWatch
Springer Science launches bid for Informa
BtoB Online
Web 2.0 as a metaphor for 'rip-off'
CNET News
YouTube Removes 30,000 Files Amid Japanese Copyright Concerns
WSJ Online*

Best Practices
Technorati Announces Support for Open ID
TechCrunch

Cool Tools
The rebirth of cool: Google Mobile Upgrades
Google Blog

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

IBM and The University of Arizona Bring Web 2.0 and Social Networking to the Classroom
MarketWire via Yahoo! Finance
Datamonitor agrees to cash offer for Ovum
Reuters

Products, Markets & People
LexisNexis Launches Screening and Identity Verification for Advanced Government Solutions
BusinessWire via Epicos
Wolters Kluwer to move back-end jobs from US to India
Life Style Extra

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Safari Goes to Flat Fee for Online Book Library Subscriptions

The Safari Bookshelf portal has been re-launched as O'Reilly Safari Library, providing a major shift in pricing and packaging for the technology and scientific books and reference materials offered by the service. As announced by Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing, which has provided the platform for Safari Library, the Safari Library dispenses with the "bookshelf" concept that limited the number of titles and sections of books that a subscriber could have access to in the plan. Now for a flat fee - USD 39.95 a month for a limited time - Safari subscribers can get their pick of any of Safari's titles for online access, including content from pre-release "Rough Cuts" versions of books under development. There is still a throttle of five chapter downloads a month from online content offerings, so there is still an additional premium factor in the picture, but the big picture is that they are treating their entire range of offerings as a true library instead of a pickup window for a private library.

Why flatten out the access fee structure? Well, it's great for individuals who are then encouraged to make maximum use of the service instead of worrying about licensing details (which book do I throw off my shelf now?). But there's an enterprise aspect to this move as well. Certainly last week's announcement of an enterprise-wide deal with Sun Microsystems for access to Safari points the way to a simpler sales methodology that allows maximum exposure for reference book materials in enterprises. People outside of particular specialties may not make maximum use of titles in their collection but when book collections become a searchable collection for a wide audience the "long tail" of content exposed in those searches begins to create a greater value statement - much as newspapers benefit from archives being exposed in public search engines.

This move also sets up a simpler licensing framework through which Safari content from O'Reilly and partner Pearson Education can be integrated in time into search engines such as Google Books as they begin to provide controls that allow access to subscription book content. The Safari portal is well-designed and effective at serving up book content in various formats but at the end of the day readers want to access their content through whatever interface suits them best in a given moment. The Safari Library is a great move to accelerate the value of technical and scientific books in an online environment for both individuals and institutions that want to find effective reference and education materials where it suits them most - without having to hassle with arcane licensing details that are more about publishers' fears than about increasing revenues and value delivered to clients.

Headlines for 19 October 2006

Trends
Reuters set to cash in on computer-based trading
Times Online
Google Launches Website Optimizer
TechCrunch
Music Companies Grab a Share of the YouTube Sale
The New York Times*
DJ Execs Explain Factiva Move; MKTW Ad Revs Growing Faster Than WSJ.com
paidContent.org
Bloomberg L.P. Not For Sale, Founder Mike Bloomberg Tells Employees
PR Newswire
Do online publishers really need protection from Google? The outlook for ACAP
Corante
Portals: YouTube is now a verb and an adjective
WSJ via Post-Gazette
Patent Filing Shows Google Diving into Indexing the Deep Web
SEO by the Sea
Creative Commons + Flickr = 22 Million Sharable Photos
MediaShift
Google-Wikipedia-MySpace - How Teenagers Hijacked the Internet
Global Politician
AOL to lay off 1,400 call center employees in mid-December
Download Squad
Softness in Print Advertising Hits New York Times, Tribune
WSJ Online*

Best Practices
How to Create Web Content that Works
TechSoup

Cool Tools
Internet Explorer 7 — Start Your Download Engines
RealTechNews
SocialText Aims To Be Best Of Breed Office Software
Read/Write Web

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Bureau van Dijk Offerings on Safari Library Launched
The Open Press

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Headlines for 18 October 2006

Trends
Microsoft in digital book deal
FT.com
Google Testing Cost Per Action (CPA) Model Content Ads?
Search Engine Watch
Microsoft and Yahoo Prepare to Battle Google
TechCrunch
Dow Jones to buy rest of Factiva for $160 mln
Reuters
WSJ Ad Revenues Down 5.9 Percent in September, Barron's up 20 percent
WSJ Online*
Reuters Group 3Q revenue climbs 3% Electronic trading, machine-readable news drive sales growth
MarketWatch*
Yahoo Results Raise Questions on Ad Viability
Beta News
'BusinessWeek' Offers More Exclusive Web Content than Ever
Media Buyer Planner
Google, YouTube & the Future of Video Advertising
GigaOM
Health Information Search Engines Emerge
MarketWire via GEN
Yahoo! gets Eye-ful: CBS stations to upload news footage
Variety
Google is Pumping Up the Base
Online Marketing Blog
Watch Out Startups, Ad Spending is Falling and So is Your Sky
Micro Persuasion
Digital Newsstand Zinio.com Reports 154 Percent Growth in Transactions Over 2005
FOLIO: Magazine
Record Labels Turn Piracy Into a Marketing Opportunity
WSJ Online*

Best Practices
Association heralds strategic role of Web analytics, preps for ‘death of the page’
BtoB Online
A Question of Eyeballs: Nielsen Proposes to Measure TV Ad Viewership
The New York Times*

Cool Tools
Hotsoup.com, Social Networking For "Opinion Drivers," Opens Tomorrow
paidContent.org
Firefox 2.0 Review
Read/Write Web
Google Sync your bookmarks across computers
Lifehacker

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Verizon Communications Board Approves Spin-Off of U.S. Print and Internet Yellow Pages Directories
Earth Times

Products, Markets & People
LexisNexis Offering New Resources for Corporate Counsel and Intellectual Property (IP) Lawyers
BusinessWire
Autonomy Delivers Enhanced Export, Viewing and Filtering With KeyView v10
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
Permabit Unveils Major New Release of Dynamic Information Services Platform
BusinessWire
New Praxis(TM) eBooks Give Test Takers a Convenient, Less Expensive Test Preparation Option
MarketWire
Web's First Business Blog Directory and Search Engine Fast Becoming Hub for Corporate Bloggers
DMN Newswire

News Analysis - Gold Rush: B2B Database and Media Companies Eye the Same Veins for Growth

As database publishers and media companies converge on the common ground of today's business information markets they're discovering that they both need to learn the same lessons from different angles. At this year's InfoCommerce conference database publishers demonstrated how they were building more powerful value-add services that are embracing editorial assets while media companies pushed further into data assets that enhance core editorial operations. At the intersection of these two efforts is a gold mine of opportunities in enterprise, media and personal content markets.

Click here to read the full News Analysis

Sweet & Sour Deal: Reuters Surrenders Factiva Shares to Dow Jones

In May of 1999 I was fortunate enough to be present at the announcement of the alliance between Dow Jones and Reuters that gave birth to the company we know today as Factiva. There was much fanfare and presumed hopefulness in the air as two of the world's most dominant sources of business information unveiled an alliance that would provide a powerful combined archive and technology platforms to take on LexisNexis, Dialog and other business information aggregators. The promise of an expanding market awaited all.

Today after six years of slow growth at Factiva Reuters is in essence returning its seed investment with the announcement of its selling its half-stake to its venture partner Dow Jones for USD 160 million. Given that the original combined assets of this joint venture were estimated at USD 225 million that doesn't make for a terribly glamorous return on Reuters' investment but it's enough to provide a graceful exit into a straight licensing relationship and to free both partners to pursue markets as they may.

While Factiva has progressed since those early days in many ways, it's finding its future not as a world-beating business information aggregator but rather as a provider of niche-oriented business information services that focus on value-add on top of their broad collection of news and information sources. That's good for Factiva but limiting for Reuters, whose pursuit of growth for its business information is taking it far more aggressively and broadly into online markets that reach today's professionals than Dow Jones has dared to venture with its business information offerings thus far. Factiva also has much to gain by a deeper integration with core Dow Jones assets - a move that the Reuters/Factiva relationship could only hinder.

Given the paltry rate of return that Reuters has garnered out of the Factiva relationship and the growing strength of the Reuters online media offerings it's a good a time as any for Reuters to move on to relationships that will yield them more exposure for their content and services. This may mean that Reuters will pursue a broader array of licensing deals with other vendors - perhaps even a Google? - but with much of their content already available through major online portals it's more a way for Reuters and Dow Jones to call off the brotherly love act that had long faded away and to move into more effective competitive stances. Both parties have little to lose and much to gain from calling it a day at this point - and only themselves to blame if they don't make the most of the opportunity.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Headlines for 17 October 2006

Trends
Google Expected to Pocket 25% of Online Ad Revenue in 2006
eMarketer
Yahoo invests in two online ad companies
CNET News
SIIA Launches Corporate Content Anti-Piracy Program
PR Newswire via WTOL
Yahoo goes punk with a Zen twist
CNET News
"Second Life," Other Virtual Worlds Reshaping Human Interaction
National Geographic
Earnings: Scripps 3Q06 Boosted By Shopzilla, Uswitch; Online Rev Up 73 Percent
paidContent.org
Universal Music 'long tail' archives bring Christmas in July
Reuters
Viacom to provide content to leading Chinese web site
International Herald Tribune
Variety Relaunches Web Site, www.Variety.com
BusinessWire via Yahoo! Finance
Publisher and Top Editor of Toronto Star Resign
The New York Times*

Best Practices
The Interactive Advertising Bureau Announces the Creation of an Ad Operations Council
BusinessWire
Crowdsourcing Creativity
Micro Persuasion
eBook Technologies First to Support New IDPF Content Packaging Standard
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
The current state of audio search
Niall Kennedy
Why Aren’t Ebooks More Successful?
EContent Magazine

Cool Tools
ResultR - Create fully customized search engines
Emily Chang

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

About.com Teams with Healthology to Offer Expanded Health Video Content
BioWire via GEN
Business.com Partners with CMP and Hoover’s
BusinessWire
Voxant Partners With ChinaOnTV to Distribute Chinese Business News to English-Language Sites
PrimeZone
Factiva Links Company Data with Microsoft Virtual Earth for New Sales Professionals Mapping Solution
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
blinkx Partners With Clevver Media for Searchable Content From Major Movie Studios and Record Labels
PR Newswire

Products, Markets & People
Vivisimo Velocity Powers U.S. Department of Defense Portal
Web Site Host Directory
Vivisimo's Velocity Powers New Image and News Search Features at FirstGov.gov
BusinessWire
Wolters Kluwer Financial Services Expands AuthenticWeb for Claims
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
LexisNexis Launches Relavint Desktop 2.0
BusinessWire
Magazines.com Becomes First Subscription Agent to Undergo New ABC Evaluation
FOLIO: Magazine

Monday, October 16, 2006

'Round and 'Round We Go Again: Video Publishing Retraces Music Industry's Mistakes

The Wall Street Journal covers the brewing legal storm forming over Google's new YouTube acquisition and television producers who are beginning to recognize how deeply the pervasiveness of sharing video clips by YouTube are impacting their own distribution channels. An estimate from Viacom in the article pegs YouTube views of pirated content at about 80,000 times a day. With media company lawyers contending that YouTube could be liable for copyright violation fines of up to $150,000 per unauthorized video, this could get to be a fight that would make the music company battles against file sharing networks look puny by comparison.

I must admit that outside of old movies most of the video I am viewing these days is coming off of online video clips, most of which are served up from YouTube or similar services via weblogs that place the clips in context. It makes it so much easier to find content that you really care about rather than relying on the ancient broadcast model that sucks up time and attention in ways that I really don't want to give it. The phenomenon is spreading perhaps faster than music file sharing since there is always new footage surfacing for people to post. Where does this all go? The answer is probably found in the closing of music-oriented stores such as the recent Tower Records closing: if financial models for user-controlled distribution are not defined quickly, then video distribution will go the way of the music industry soon enough.

Unfortunately, the early going in the new video wars seems to point towards a replay of the music industry's failed digital strategies. The script goes roughly like this:
  1. Waste time suing content distributors, only to discover that new services and methods will spring up anyway.
  2. Waste time suing individuals, only to discover that it alienates your audiences who are going to want to circumvent copyright controls even moreso.
  3. Waste time settling on a handful of proprietary DRM methods locked into specific platforms or distributors, only to discover that this slows down market acceptance of rights-protected content and accelerates the growth of unauthorized use and of free or ad-supported alternatives.
  4. Start closing down your existing distribution outlets as the time wasted on ineffective legal and commercial remedies has opened up markets to viable substitute content that is easier to share online.
What to do? How about a playbook that reads like this:
  1. Have leaders in media agree on a DRM standard that makes it easy for users to distribute content from themselves or others legally via services such as YouTube. The standard would include capabilities that would make it easy for a user to specify a "fair use" portion of content that can be aired online or elsewhere without any human intervention.
  2. Have the DRM standard include monetization options that can allow the content to be displayed in different ways in different venues. So, for example, if a site wanted to display a clip larger than a "fair use" snippet a display ad or paid content placement would appear next to the clip or via an inline ad, or no ad if the distributor was willing to pay a royalty.
  3. Encourage users to use the DRM standard so that they can make money with their OWN footage. Have the standard include automatic payments similar to an AdSense service and include "hooks" that allow their friends to benefit from redistribution. Invest in open source video mixing software that makes it easier for people t use the standard.
  4. Turn your existing broadcast outlets into the equivalent of video RSS feeds, making it easy for people to subscribe to them in a portable DRM format.
A modest proposal for a big problem, yes. But it's probably the only way out of this mess before media companies risk making their content any less relevant than it's already becoming. Stop monkeying around with technology to create artificial "choke points" that just don't fit into today's most effective content distribution models. Invest deeply and quickly in the technologies and business models that DO fit today's content distribution patterns and that help ALL video producers benefit from improved content monetization schemes. Hopefully the TV crew comes up with the right solution more quickly than the music industry has. As of now I'm not betting on it, though.

Headlines for 16 October 2006

Trends
Media Titans Pressure YouTube Over Copyrights
WSJ Online*
Social networking extends beyond MySpace, Facebook
The Mercury News
NBC Digital Czar: Big Media Must Deal With the 'Small Media' Known as Consumers
Ad Age
Gref Says Piracy Hurdle Cleared at WTO Talks
The Moscow Times
Using ebooks on Symbian S60 3rd Edition smartphones
All About Symbian
Ads in the Google-YouTube marriage
CNET News
Yahoo adds CBS news to video lineup
BusinessWeek
EDGAR Online sues Vickers to resume data feeds
Fairfield County Business Journal

Best Practices
"The Library as Conversation" Moves into 21st Century
Library Journal
Blogs, Wikis, Podcasting, Social Networks And File Sharing: How The Web Is Transforming Itself - Part I
Robin Good
MIT's Center for Collective Intelligence: Smart Mobs and the Power of the Mobile Many
SmartMobs
Is No DRM the Answer to iTunes?
RealTechNews
Analysis Reveals One in Five Press Releases Contain Gobbledygook Phrases
PR Newswire
Digital rights in question as business model
IT Pro

Cool Tools
Social Networking Web 2.0 Cutting Edge Ajax Enabled News
Arizona Venture Capital
Make Your Own Aggregator with FeedRaider
Micro Persuasion
Movable Type Enterprise 1.5 Launched
Read/Write Web
Google Reader integration with Gmail - via Greasemonkey script
Download Squad

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Davy Corporate Finance deploys Thomson One Investment Banking
Finextra
Wetpaint Launches Wiki Community Sites for Treo and Motorola Q Owners
eMediaWire

Products, Markets & People
Reuters unveils first hi-tech development centre in Beijing to support financial information services
Reuters
Amdocs' Qpass Digital Commerce Solution Marks $1.5 Billion of Premium Content Processed
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance
NextMark launches sales lead referral service for list managers
BtoB Online

Search Drives Content Management for Publishers Seeking Reusability

Two recent announcements from Really Strategies and Nstein Technologies highlight the shifting role of content management systems as platforms for developing publications in a world that demands content reusability for targeting multiple markets and user needs. Really Strategies has focused for several years on providing upgraded infrastructure to publishers with custom installations, but has now introduced its RSuite CMS system as a packaged service. RSuite uses back-end technology from Mark Logic to mine structured and unstructured content sources and to make them accessible to RSuite's content management system as publishable XML objects. RSuite in turn makes it easy to assemble these objects into complex documents and to add formatting and metadata that will make them suitable for multiple audiences. On a similar note Nstein's announced Ntelligent Content Mangagement Suite straps Nstein's semantic analysis and search tools onto a content management platform provided by Eurocortex to provide easily repurposed content with rich metadata.

Both of these announcements underscore the rapidly evolving needs of publishers for whom neither traditional CMS solutions nor text mining solutions alone have been adequate to keep up with both the widening array of content sources needed to add value to publications and the need to make those sources highly findable and usable in a wide variety of publishing environments. Publishers are seeking "one-stop" solutions to their publishing infrastructure needs in trying to come with flexible "electronic first" production operations. These two new services are the type of platforms that can allow publishers to modernize their publishing back ends with easily repurposed content and metadata for highly focused audiences. You can thank a new generation of search technologies that focus on creating publishing assets as much as on staples such as relevance and semantic analysis to provide a new approach to developing content that frees publishers from the traditional strictures of database-oriented content management systems.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Headline Summary for Week of 9 October 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, October 13, 2006

Headlines for 13 October 2006

Trends
Google faces copyright fight over YouTube
The Guardian
Google Books Library grows despite controversy
AFP via Yahoo! News
Sun Asks S.E.C. to Allow Blog Fiscal Filings
The New York Times*
Smart Move or Silly Money 2.0?
BusinessWeek
NewsCloud Releases Open Media Web Services and API
SmartMobs
The PayPerPost Virus Spreads
TechCrunch
Yahoo time capsule draws photos and more
The Mercury News
Zimbio — new guide to the web
Pandia Search News
Mash-up event to unite leading minds from the geographic information industry
GSI User
Guruji.com, the Gateway to Indian Cyber-Space!
Information Manager
What Role Should Companies Play on Wikipedia?
Micro Persuasion
Google and BEA working on a mashup deal
Download Squad
Curtco Deal: When is a 12X Multiple Not Enough?
FOLIO: Magazine
CNET's Traffic Collapse and TheStreet.com
Seeking Alpha

Best Practices
Peer-To-Peer Art: How P2P Networks Are Transforming The Creative Landscape
Robin Good
The Ongoing Struggle of Free vs. Fee
Search Engine Watch
Viva La Office 2.0 Revolucion! Uh... Hello?
Publish
Digimarc Patent Proposes Solution for Identifying Copyrighted Content in Social and P2P Networks
Piranha Daily News

Cool Tools
Ask.com Launches Ad-Free & Search Box-Free Mobile Search Service
MoCo News
The New Sony Reader For Books Performs Like a Good First Draft
WSJ Online*
Google Maps in the Palm in your hand
Google Blog

Products, Markets & People
Wolters Kluwer puts regulatory information online
Finextra
Kilcullen Promoted At VNU; New Hollywood Reporter Publisher
paidContent.org
LexisNexis Announces Relavint Desktop 2.0 as Part of Advanced Government Solutions Offering
BusinessWire