Thursday, March 29, 2007

Headlines for 29 March 2007

DoubleClick reportedly on the block
BtoB Online
VSS Buys Advanstar for $1.15 Billion
FOLIO: Magazine
Google, Online Ad Giant, Looks at Radio and TV
The New York Times*
Yahoo Seeks Content From Other Sites for Mobile Search Service
AP via Editor & Publisher
BSkyB, Google Trial User-Generated Video Portal For TV Channels
Why You May Need an Online Persona
Web Worker Daily
iTunes Complete My Album turns Individual Songs Into Complete Albums at Reduced Prices
Content Agenda
Barry Diller on the media
EU Commission may push telecoms majors to separate networks, services ops
AFX via Content Agenda
Eisner: The Web Doesn’t Change Content
Hey, newspapers, quit whining!
USC Annenberg OJR

Best Practices
Study: Web news readers have greater attention span
Reuters via CNET
Survey Shows Organizations Susceptible to Data Leaks through Social Media Sites
Search Engine Applications Focus of New Research Report by Information Today, Inc.
Net neutrality and the FCC: what's being done to preserve it

Cool Tools
The Real Scrapblog is Here… Finally
Microsoft Labs' Deepfish: iPhone for everyone
Google map your way to Stockholm
Download Squad
Web 2.0 business cards sport photos, avatars

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
LexisNexis, Dow Jones Alliance Brings Current News to Law Firms via Continuous Alerts

The Online/Mobile Divide: Lack of U.S. Mobile Adoption is the Next Revenue Gap

MediaPost reports on a new Netpop report on the U.S. broadband marketplace which highlights an interesting factoid: only five percent of Web users considered to be "innovators" use mobile devices to access Web content services. Sending email is the top use, underscoring mobile devices being used as messaging platforms, content use lags far behind. One of the main reasons cited for lower use? Price. None of this is terribly surprising given real-world experiences but it does underscore the need for content providers to consider whether the content licensing deals that they have struck with many of today's mobile providers haven't stymied overall mobile content growth. The stepchild in mobile access to date has been broadband wireless services, which are subject to telecommunications carriers trying to build tiered pricing into these services - which will likely slow adoption of these services.

With a looming gap between print and online revenues many publishers are concentrating full-bore on the move to online platforms to try to shore up margins. But as print continues its decline at a decreasingly ungentle rate publishers' horizons must turn to broadband wireless services more aggressively. Apple's upcoming iPhone features a full-screen browser to make online services more consumable via mobile devices, a trend that is likely to increase demand for mobile content - if the price is right. Publishers need to step up their lobbying efforts in Washington to ensure that cost-effective broadband wireless access can come online as quickly as possible to ensure that mobile users can stay connected to the services that are most likely to help publishers supplement declining print revenues with the medium that is most likely to become the default "reading on the go" medium.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Headlines for 28 March 2007

Microsoft rumored to be buying online ad network DoubleClick
MarketWatch via Content Agenda
InfoWorld Leads Way as IDG Goes Head-First on Web
News 2.0: the Hybrid Future is Kicking Down the Door
The Huffington Post
Web-watching the widget way
Reutes via Yahoo! News
Wiki Mania, Or Must We Share and Share Alike? (Yes, We Must)
Channel Web Network
Apple to credit song purchases towards full album sales?
Yahoo opens up e-mail APIs to outsiders

Best Practices
9 More Lessons for Would-Be Bloggers
Reconciling Print And Hypertext: An Evolutionary Case Study

Cool Tools
What's the relationship with Bill Gates and Felipe Calderon
Really Simple Sido
Tracking the web with Single Page Aggregators
Solution Watch
Worldmapper, a new way of looking at a world of data
Download Squad

Deals, Parnerships & Sales Acquires Comparison Health Site
GulfCoastNews.Com Joins Voxant's Viral Syndication Network to Make News Available to Websites & Blogs
PR Newswire via BNA
ClearSky Mobile Media Powers the New FierceWireless Mobile

Wolters Kluwer agrees sale of education wing to private equity firm
Information World Review
Yahoo to feature McClatchy international news

Products, Markets & People
MarketWatch introduces community tool for stock predictions
BtoB Online

ABM Digital Velocity: Setting the Pace for B2B Media

From the wilds of Scottsdale, Arizona back to the right coast via the redeye brings me to ABM's Digital Velocity event, drawing more than 230 people to learn the best practices for accelerating digital revenue growth in B2B media. The room is totally packed. Full disclosure: Shore is a member of the ABM Digital Media Council, so I have my bias as to the quality of this program, having served on the program planning committee. I think that the committee worked very hard to put together a very meaty event, and the level of attendance seems to reflect its anticipated value. I am not going to live-blog every panel, but I will be posting through the event in our events weblog and posting links here.

Keynote - Dr. Jim Taylor, Harrison Group
Organize for Tomorrow's Success
Empower your Workforce for the New Digital Landscape
Lunch Break with the Vendors
Venture Capital and the New Valuation Paradigms
Editorial/Content Strategies in a User-Generated World
Implementing a Web Content Management System
The Business of Working with IT
Best Practices to Web-Based Media Kits
Critical Role of Audience Development
The New Metrics That Run Your Business
Buying and Selling in the Digital World

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Headlines for 27 March 2007

Thomson to Launch International News Service via MSNBC
Time Warner May Spin Off Publishing Business
Moving Magazines to Strictly Online
WSJ Online*
TV: The Next Great Development Platform
Micro Persuasion
How the Online Newspaper Can Become a Community Hub
Buyer of Distressed Properties Sees Opportunity in Newspapers
The New York Times*
YouTube,Viacom Case May Not See Courtroom
Web Pro News
Yahoo Mail to offer unlimited storage

Best Practices
Duplicate Content - The Need for it
Web Pro News
One Picture, 1,000 Tags
The New York Times*

Cool Tools
Video Stream Yourself To The World Non-Stop: Justin.TV
Robin Good
Google Pack cures the PC blues
Google Blog

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
Microsoft Backs New Mobile Technology Company: ZenZui
What Is New
MuseGlobal Partners with UpSNAP to Launch Mobile Metasearch
Carolina Newswire
MobiTV Names Yahoo! Their Mobile Video Advertising Partner in Strategic Mobile Advertising Alliance
Content Agenda

Products, Markets & People
Robert Petersen, Publisher of Auto Buff Magazines, Dies at 80
The New York Times*

Headlines for 26 March 2007

Panama Likely To Boost Yahoo Search Revenue More Than 20 Percent; Higher Than Expected
Citizendium: Wikipedia 2.0
The end of federated search> Google could be cruising for trouble in deep web searching
Geeking with Greg
Yahoo steals the mobile world, and opens it up for publishers
Download Squad
MDs, Scientists Call For Elsevier Group Boycott
Science Blogs
Is Google a Semantic Search Engine?
Read/Write Web
Time Inc. to end Life magazine but keep it online
Twitter: Mini-blog is the talk of Silicon Valley via MSNBC
IDG Communications to shutter print 'InfoWorld,' fold content into webcentric publication
BtoB Online

Best Practices
TechTarget IT Media Consumption, Purchase Intention Survey Reveals Predominant Role of Demos

Cool Tools
Jabbits Launches - YouTube, Yahoo Answers Combined
MarketWatch Adds Community Stock Predictor

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
EMI and Bertelsmann settle Napster litigation
The Age

Products, Markets & People
Content Agenda Hosts Conversations with Digital Entertainment Industry Leaders
Broadcast Newsroom
Congoo News Circles Adds the Glue
Information Today, Inc.
Penton's AC-U-KWIK Pre-Flight Planning Information Now Available on Mobile Devices

Monday, March 26, 2007

New Research - Enterprise Search Deployment, Usage, and Trends

Information Today, Inc., Shore Communications, Inc., and respected analyst Jean Bedord recently completed an in-depth study of the dynamic enterprise search marketplace. More than 250 search professionals – users, buyers, and champions of the technology – provided unique insight into the trends driving and shaping enterprise search. This primary market research was supplemented by in-person interviews with representatives of market leading vendors. details and purchasing

Buying and Selling eContent 2007: Conversations with the Nomads

A quick plane flight finds me in Scottsdale, Arizona at the seventh edition at the Buying and Selling eContent conference, a great venue that brings together the heavy hitters from both the online publishing world and the enterprise content purchasing world. This year's conference format is a lot more conversational, so I probably won't be blogging in my usual "take no prisoners" live blogging format, but will instead be providing summaries as the conference progresses. I'll post links to our events weblog here as things unfold.

Clare Hart: Social Media's Impact on the Enterprise
Buying and Selling eContent 2007 - Panel: Social Media in Action
Buying and Selling eContent 2007 - Patrick Spain

Sunday, March 25, 2007

News Analysis - Business Information 3.0: Building Quality Business Content from the Web

Companies such as Zoominfo and Generate are using born-on-the-Web content and technologies to create business information services that are several notches above previous efforts to glean quality information from Web sites and other key sources. With an emphasis on analytics and semantic processing and business plans that are targeted towards the meat of traditional business information markets you could say that Business Information 3.0 has been born. Are traditional vendors ready to take on these well-funded BI 3.0 challengers?

Click here to read the full News Analysis

Friday, March 23, 2007

Headlines for 23 March 2007

FCC to Examine Net Neutrality
PC World
Online Video Ads Leave GIFs and JPGs Standing Still, Says DoubleClick
ClickZ News
How consumers hijacked the media model
How YouTube could survive the NicheTube
David All
Wolters Kluwer in Talks to Sell Unit
AP via Forbes

Cool Tools
Build Google Maps online with Click2Map
Download Squad

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
Hosted Service, FYI, Debuted by Legal Search Solution, LexisNexis
Web Site Host Directory

Products, Markets & People
Robert Krakoff, CEO of Nielsen Business Media, dies at 72
BtoB Online

Major Video Producers and Portals Unite for Distribution Control

CNET News and many majors go all apey over an announced distribution alliance between NBC Universal and News Corp. to provide full-length ad-supported and premium video content to media-friendly portals AOL, MSN and Yahoo. CNET and others hint at talks with Google about bringing this presumably rights-protected content into their YouTube video portal, but it sounds like speakerphone-ware at most for now. In general the whole effort sounds a little panicky and ill-formed, with partners confused about what's going to be free or not and no real details as to how this will all hang together. There are promises of user-generated content being in the mix but no sense as to how it would fit in with centrally produced video content.

At the end of the day it's probably going to be a step in the right direction for media companies to get more aggressive about building broader distribution of content with their own monetization built in to the packaging. But for all the talk about "ubiquitous" distribution it's a very limited initiative with scads of professionally-produced content well outside of the packaging schemes - including some of News Corp's and NBCU's flagship shows. It also increases the sites at which one can get content from these partners from two to a whopping...five. Wow. Bump it up to thirteen and we could fill up an old-timey television dial.

It's all a sadly inadequate response to user-generated distribution that doesn't begin to provide video the flexibility that will be required to respond to the user-generated media phenomenon. At most it's an acknowledgment that a significant portion of their audiences would be just as glad to receive programming over an Internet connection instead of a digital cable or broadcast service. This will be a plus as PCs become more integrated into home entertainment centers: why muck around with distribution deals with other partners when you can stream the programming that audiences want right to their PC/HDTV server. But a response to YouTube and other user-dominated distribution channels? Hardly.

Instead of circling the wagons of "friendlies" video producers need to face head-on the challenges of making user distribution of their content a plus rather than a frightening minus. The longer that they wait on this inevitable requirement the tighter their circle of wagons will be as the user "savages" develop increasingly flexible - and entertaining - alternatives to traditional video media. We'll see how this goes, but my bet is that in the short term it will be a fairly large ho-hum as users wait for the dust to settle around a less-than-spectacular service debut.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Headlines for 22 March 2007

FCC Classifies Wireless Broadband as Information Service
Broadcasting & Cable
NBC, News Corp. push new Web rival to YouTube
Viacom sued in YouTube controversy
Toronto Star
MMOD Update: No YouTube Sharing After All; Online Stats Up Double-Digits Over Last Year, No Details
Congress Must Make Clear Copyright Laws To Protect Consumers
WSJ Online*
Publishers Sue XM Satellite Radio
When Social Web Tools Get Creative
Guardian Changing Media: Reuters looks at the changes for 'old media'
Microsoft temporarily closes video site to tackle pirating
The Future of Web 2.0
O'Reilly Radar
Google's Blogspot is 3/4 Spam
Download Squad
Marketers Have Eyes on the 'Third Screen'
The New York Times*

Best Practices
Crowdsourcing: A Million Heads is Better than One
Read/Write Web
How Paid Content Sites Can Profit Against Ad-Supported Ones
Marketing Sherpa
Users are more engaged with smaller communities
BizReport via Content Agenda
Working Group on Bibliographic Control Wades into the Murky Future
Library Journal
Thomson tracks content copying with DRM watermarks
PC Pro

Cool Tools
AttentionMeter Compares Alexa, Quantcast, Compete
Micro Persuasion
KnowNow Releases New Enterprise RSS Solution
The rush is on: Web apps are deserting the browser

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
BNA and Thomson Tax & Accounting to Provide BNA Products to Law Firms on Thomson's Checkpoint(R)
PR Newswire

Products, Markets & People
Thomson Scientific Introduces the New Face of Research with ISI Web of Knowledge
Yellow Book USA to conduct circulation audits on all directories
BtoB Online

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Headlines for 21 March 2007

Web 2.0-Type Fundings At $844 Million in 2006
Online Search Goes Pro With B2B Engines
eCommerce Times
Google experiments with new ad model
UPI via Content Agenda
CIOs Spurn Web 2.0 Startups - Enterprises Want Suites and Large, Incumbent Software Vendors
Read/Write Web
ProQuest says NYSE to suspend trading in its shares

Best Practices
Keeping your online content under lock and key
Computing via VNUNet
What's The Best Way To Monetize Video Search?
Search Insider
Getting New Start Selling Ad Packages Across Platforms
WSJ Online*

Cool Tools
37signals Launches Highrise
RSS on the Go: A look at Web-Based Mobile Aggregators
Web Worker Daily
Could there be a Mozilla Desktop Environment in the future
Download Squad
The Size of a Paperback and Most of the Functions of a Real PC
The New York Times*
Adobe's Apollo looks to one-up Ajax

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
IDG Founder Teams With News Corp, Hearst On a $50 Million China Digital Media Fund signs exclusive online content agreement with Zagat Survey
Eye for Travel
blinkx Partners With WallStrip Adding Financial Video Content to Search Index
PR Newswire
Google Books Now Included In Online Reference Collection at
Fast Search & Transfer wins deal with biotechnology firm Millipore
ABC Money

Products, Markets & People
Mochila Announces New Clients from International Magazines, Web Sites and News Services
Hispanic PR Services
Amy Churgin Named Senior Vice President, Condé Nast Media Group

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SAE Gets a Slapdown for its DRM Strategy from MIT

MIT Libraries reports on their cancellation of access to the Society of Automotive Engineers’ web-based database of technical papers, based on the SAE's insistence on using digital rights management controls on their content. MIT will instead be provided with an electronic index of documents that may be used to access print, CD-ROM or microfiche copies of papers. Professor Wai Cheng, SAE fellow and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, was amongst the figures pushing for the cancellation, intending to bring up the topic to the SAE's Publication Board.

This does not bode well for scholarly publishers who may be planning to use DRM controls as a way of managing electronic access. As generally implemented DRM controls make it difficult, if not impossible, to use premium content for collaboration, a key factor for research and engineering. Being able to manage content reuse is a key factor for scholarly publishers but it's doubtful that DRM will be able to satisfy many of their core audiences. Instead to insisting on reinforcing a print model that is increasingly incompatible with the productivity requirements of scientific and academic audiences scholarly publishers need to focus on how best to facilitate knowledge transfer. DRM does nothing to help facilitate knowledge transfer whatsoever. Hopefully the SAE and other societies and associations can work with their memberships to come up with more productive models for licensing content.

Deeper and Broader: Hoover's Picks Up First Research for Actionable Sector Intelligence

Business information services are thriving as they gain sophisticated features to add value to their databases but they also face increasing competition on all fronts from web-sourced content and more specialized service providers. Chalk up a good score by Hoover's to fend off commoditization in its announced acquisition of First Research, a business intelligence service that serves up industry and state profiles aimed at sales professionals. First Research Call Prep Sheets are industry briefings designed to arm sales professionals with the right industry talking points before they walk out the door to accounts. State Profiles provide quarterly coverage of local issues impacting businesses in U.S. states for sales pros on the go across broad geographies.

All of this helps Hoover's to add a new layer of value-add content aimed at the sales professionals who are increasingly the core audience for many business information services. With more corporations providing an abundance of information online that can be mined easily by any number of services mere company profiles and sales contacts are not going to be sufficient for a business information provider to give their clients an industry edge. By focusing on the real-world situational needs of sales professionals via its First Research acquisition Hoover's is positioning itself more as a business intelligence solutions service that can provide complete briefings for sales professionals who need to know about not just individual accounts but as well the environment in which they play. Expect more plays like this from business information services providers - and more vendors positioning both technology and publishing services against business intelligence services in general.

Headlines for 20 March 2007

Wolters Kluwer near $1 bln education sale -sources
MIT Faculty and Libraries Refuse DRM; SAE Digital Library Canceled
MIT Libraries News
Google searches for European lobbyists
The Truth Revealed: Microsoft Can’t Compete!
Google Takes Friendly Fire / Content Agenda
Facebook’s Battle Against Chaos
Forget Google, search with K-Fed
Download Squad
More than meets the eye: Google unveils Plus Box
Google Blog
Huffington: No going back for traditional media
ABRY Partners, Sundance form company to invest in b-to-b media properties
BtoB Online
Don’t Read Our Blogs - Play Games on Our Blogs
The Blog Herald
Ad Revenue at New York Times Co. Plunges in February
Editor & Publisher

Best Practices
AJAX: The Giant Page View Killer
Content Delivery Networks (CDN) - Saddling Up for the Online Content Surge
PR Newswire

Cool Tools
Social Media Networking Meets RSS Content Aggregation And Promotion: Genwi
Robin Good
Business wikis line up at Under the Radar

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
EBSCOhost Databases Deliver News and Full-Text Blog Content with Historical Archive from Newstex
D&B Acquires First Research, the Leading Internet Provider of Editorial-Based Industry Insight
Return Path, TechTarget to partner
BtoB Online

Products, Markets & People
International Data Group Media Sites Tuned for Web-enabled Mobile Devices
BusinessWire via TMCNet
Scopus Harnesses the h-Index to Increase the Quality and Reliability of Citation Tracking
eContent Magazine

The YouTube Election: When Free Makes Sense

The 2008 U.S. Presidential election is expected to attract more than a billion dollars in spending by some estimates, with the lion's share of that funding being funneled into media buys. But as noted by the New York Times the 2008 election is also likely to be the first election in which freely available content from candidates in social media portals will play a key factor in their media strategies. In addition to MySpace pages for candidates the presence of candid clips of candidates on YouTube turned out to play a pivotal role in key 2006 U.S. elections, providing an outlet for content that major news outlets had to cover and by doing so shape the dialogue. The New York Times today whines that all of this openness makes it difficult for candidates to shape their messages.

Yet what could be a better channel for getting your message out to the masses? Already one of the more interesting clips of the still-young 2008 campaign was concocted by an amateur, playing on a 1984 ad for Apple's Macintosh computer to the detriment of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton:

While the eventual impact of this clip is still hard to determine, it has already been viewed more than 900,000 times, not too far from the number who viewed the original Lyndon Johnson "daisy" anti-war ad in 1964's presidential campaign. If this is what one person with only the most nominal technology at their disposal can create, what could a campaign with sophisticated production equipment and messaging goals do on YouTube? Unfortunately for the campaign consultants whose fees rely in large part on placing ad buys in traditional media outlets the best buys in the 2008 may turn out to be free placements on outlets such as YouTube where the message is the star of an ad-supported show. The "daisy" ad, after all, gained most of its impact not from its original airing but from the coverage that it received as content in other ad-supported shows.

In the YouTube era it can be as important to get your message into the flow of conversation as much as to push it down people's throats with endless repetition. Services like YouTube that monetize the conversation as much as the content itself allow the "push" to come from the audience instead of the media outlet, providing a peer-level endorsement through voting and distribution that's difficult if not impossible to replicate via traditional media channels. It means, of course, a whole new spin on marketing in general: instead of creating messages that can't be questioned or voted upon YouTube and other social media outlets require marketers to create value in the midst of conversations that supply an implied endorsement far more powerfully than interrupt-driven advertising has done to date. Content finds its own level in these conversations, favoring multiple small engagements rather than high-risk big engagements.

I think that we'll see the "daisy" effect in 2008 via YouTube and other social media outlets far more than we have in past elections. Smart candidates will use their own producers to create a forest of interesting "quick-hit" messages for audiences to wade through online, and will aim their loyal followers through weblogs and email campaigns to the most popular of these messages as well as to amateur messages that seem to be resonating with voters. The most popular of these messages may wind up being promoted to broadcast media usage, reversing the flow of clips in a Current-style editorial process that allows tried and tested content to work its way towards broader audiences. The implied endorsement of these born-online broadcast ads is likely to be far more potent, as their airings will capture the attention of people who have already seen them and discussed them online and who are ready to tell their family members or friends, "Watch this, this is cool."

Ultimately this may mean lower budgets for traditional media spends, but I don't think that we're going to see a great lessening of spending in 2008 - only a more well-targeted spending that focuses more on creating online endorsements through social media more aggressively. In the long run, though, established media outlets will have to come up with new ways to make money off of political campaigns than can compete more effectively with outlets that use political ad content as free programming that can attract other ads. Politics in an era of user-driven distribution is certainly going to be a different animal.

UPDATE: The creator of the "Hillary 1984" video has been identified as Phil de Vellis, a Web developer associated with Democratic campaigns, including the Barack Obama campaign. He has resigned his position, but in an interesting post on The Huffington Post de Vellis notes "This ad was not the first citizen ad, and it will not be the last. The game has changed."

Pando Creates One-to-Many Distribution for Bandwidth-Intensive Content

Pando is an increasingly popular destination for people wanting to share bulky files via email using a well-designed interface that makes it effortless to onpass content that used to be chancy to get through the typical email server's size restrictions. Pando's technology leverages infrastructure provided by BitTorrent, a popular file downloading service that makes it easy to get high-bandwidth content onto the your destktop. When Pando presented at January's SIIA Previews event I asked about whether they had thought about positioning the service for onpassing video and other forms of multimedia via a content serving model. The reps from Pando said "yes" in a rather strange and quizzical way, so I assumed that something was up.

Pando's recent announcement of media-serving capabilities seems to have confirmed my hunches - and opened up some interesting doors for those wanting to share podcasts, music and video with the world. The new Pando media tools enable media to be served up in client-side or server-side applications, kind of a NewsGator for multimedia approach to integration that will enable high-bandwidth content to integrate cleanly into any site or application design. While the underlying BitTorrent technology is nothing new, Pando's tools are making it easier than ever for publishers of any size to push out rich multimedia content without worrying about scaling issues. It's an interesting way to leverage the "that's easy" appeal of Pando's core functions into a much higher value-add relationship with content producers.

While folks like Viacom fret about the YouTubes of the world as threats there is a widening range of opportunities to work with vendors like Pando to develop publisher-friendly distribution channels for audo and video that can appeal to users who would like something better than the sometimes herky-jerky performance of the typical clip portals. What's the best way to deal with YouTube? Offer something that has more appeal and ease of use. Hmm, actually give audiences what they want in a convenient form. How novel. Pando's hardly the only game in town for good multimedia serving technology but they're lowering the bar quickly for publishers wanting to take a step into high-bandwidth services.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Headlines for 19 March 2007

Deanna Brown Leaves Yahoo; Joins Scripps As President, Interactive Group
Google 'admits to phone project'
The Times Online
Content Labels can resolve Viacom vs Google issue
Web 3.0: When Web Sites Become Web Services
Read/Write Web
Metropolitan Museum and ARTstor to Provide Digital Images to Scholars at No Charge
Ecole des Hautes Etudes
A Fee Per Song Can Ruin Us, Internet Radio Companies Say
The New York Times*

Best Practices
Digital Content Value Driving DRM

Cool Tools
FeedBlitz : email alternative for RSS and OPML
Library Clips
NewsGator Continues Mobile Expansion with RSS Reader for BlackBerry and Other Java Devices

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
Wolters Kluwer says to sell education unit
Reuters - a Melding of New and Old Media for Online Video; Content and Site Owners Get Paid
PR Newswire via Sys-Con

Products, Markets & People
LexisNexis Introduces New Version of with New Tools and Content
Alacra Adds New Batch Application to Alacra Compliance
PR Web
IBM Unveils IBM WebSphere Content Discovery for Business Intelligence
b-Eye Network
Dow Jones Changes Delivering News Optimized for Algorithmic Trading and Quantitative Analysis

Headline Summary for Week of 12 March 2007

Need to catch up on recent events in the world of content? Try our weekly headline summaries with embedded commentary.

Click here to read our latest headline summary

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ten Years After: Shore Communications Inc. Turns Ten

Ten years ago today I left a corporate attorney's office on a brilliantly sunny and warm day and opened a checking account at a local bank. The USD 100 deposit was to the order of Shore Communications Inc. To those of you who have heard the story of Shore, bear with me as I share elements which may be familiar. The to the rest of you, it's an interesting story, so stick around.

Shore actually started in the late 1970s when my then-roommate Bob Zwick and I took out a compass and applied it to a topographic map of the State of Connecticut. The Federal Communications Commission had announced a proposal to allow additional radio stations on the FM frequency spectrum. To our delight we discovered that the proposal had opened up a one-square-mile area in Old Lyme, CT where a 50,000-watt FM radio station could be built. Experienced in FM radio from our days of building and running our college radio station WCNI at Connecticut College and my selling radio advertising at WHCN, Bob and I crafted an application to build a station licensed to nearby Old Saybrook, arranged to lease land for the antenna site and engaged a Washington attorney to help shepherd through the application. The D/B/A name of the company that put in the application was Shore Communications.

Alas, in came a new administration in Washington who had friends in broadcasting not pleased with the FCC's proposal. The mile-wide hole that we had discovered zipped up quicker than you can say "political favor." Bob went on to a career in computer programming and gentleman farming while I pursued a corporate life at AT&T's Bell Laboratories, Citicorp, Quotron and Reuters.

Fast-forward to the fall of 1996 and a conference hall just south of Trafalgar Square in London. Reuters was having a staff-only conference on Web technologies and their impact on publishing. As I was involved in some of their early Web initiatives I found myself at the conference in a break hall with some PCs equipped with browsers and Internet connections. I guess that I never lost the startup bug, so it's probably no surprise that I typed "" into the browser just out of sheer curiosity. What I got back in that browser was a page of notes - something that looked like a half-forgotten site. I called the owner of the site in California and asked if I could have The fellow said "sure." I sent him $100 just to feel like it was a real business transaction and in January of 2006 I was the proud owner of a five-letter Internet domain name for nothing more than the guts to ask for it.

A corporation to act as an umbrella for the domain seemed like a good idea, so incorporation under our old Shore moniker followed shortly thereafter. It took a while before I actually did something with it, though. I tried putting feelers out for a consulting gig about a year later while still at Reuters but the first person I spoke to - Andrew Delaney - hired me as an employee at my consulting rate for Waters Information Services, an offer that I could hardly refuse. I spent a splendid year working for Waters Information Services as head of their market research, a startup in its own right. Working in the heart of New York's SoHo district at the height of the dot-com era stimulated a lot of thoughts about Shore, though, so when new management axed market research it's no surprise that I started work on a business plan for an Internet startup focused on community publishing. An angel fund was all set to underwrite the plan in April 2000. Oops. Bad month to be thinking dot-com. But in the meantime I had launched several Web sites, one of which I sold for a tidy profit a couple of years later. Another one included an early stab at what turned out to be a weblog - little did I know.

My consulting continued but after several calls from an organization called Outsell I decided to see what they were all about. Outsell was a great experience in many ways - it showed me how to be an analyst, experience that I carrried forward into a relaunching of Shore a couple of years later as a virtual team of content industry analysts. ContentBlogger was launched along with a refreshed Shore Web site and our ShoreLines newsletter in March of 2003. Rafat Ali of was our number two newsletter subscriber, starting a long and warm relationship that continues to this day. A later trip to Rome gave me the honor of meeting Robin Good, who has become a wonderful friend and mentor who syndicates our content now and again to this day.

I am grateful for the dozens of clients and thousands of subscribers that Shore has serviced through the years, as well as for all of the talented and genuine team members who have been a part of our success story. I am also grateful for all of the colleagues who we have come to know through the industry events that we have attended and supported with our speaking, research and panel chairing. If there's anything that I have learned in the time that Shore has gone from a twinkling in a dreamer's eye to a widely respected research and consulting firm it's that there are an amazing number of supportive people who will stand beside you in this industry if you show some perseverance and insight. My thanks to you all. Here's to the next decade of helping content, technology and people meet in new and exciting ways.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Headlines for 14 March 2007

Google adding search privacy protections
Web 2.0 Goes Mainstream
O'Reilly Radar
Google will purge some user data to better protect privacy
Boing Boing
Mark Cuban: Google May Not Know It, But They Have Already Lost
Digital Media Wire
Open Access Launches Journal Wars
Wired News
Ficlets remixes fiction in Web 2.0 style
Download Squad
Networks Divine a Seller's Market
WSJ Online*

Best Practices
State of the News Media 2007: An Annual Report on American Journalism
Project for Excellence in Journalism
"Preemptive Reference" from Library/Newspaper Alliance
Library Journal

Cool Tools
How To Create Your Web Radio Station: A Mini-Guide
Robin Good
Google Talk Gadget Goodness
How to: create a pre-filtered mash-up of RSS feeds
Journalism .co.UK

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
LexisNexis Taps Endeca IAP for Legal Business Development Solution
Ebrary Announces New Partners
Managing Information

Who's Evil?: Viacom Suing Google for (BWAHAHA) One Billion Dollars Based on Alleged YouTube DMCA Infringements has a good summary of the meat of Viacom's new lawsuit against Google claiming that the thousands of video clips being posted to Google's YouTube service are violating the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act. A good analysis by CNET of exactly what in the DMCA is germane in this suit points out that the thin ice that Google is treading upon is the alleged encouraging of mass infringement of copyright - in spite of very specific statements in its terms and conditions to the contrary. Financial analyst Henry Blodget notes in his blog that most of this is about heavy-handed deal-making and the ultimate failure of Google to come to terms with Viacom in recent discussions over content use and licensing.

While the legal precedents are not strongly in favor of Viacom's view of this suit there are some important twists to consider. Though there is no user-driven revenue model for Google via YouTube as of yet it could be argued that Google is engaging in trade practices similar to what supermarkets have used oftentimes to penetrate new markets. In years past a chain wanting to dominate a given market would lower to cost of its goods to the point of losing money in that market's stores to force competitors to lose business - and eventually fold. Viacom's claim is in essence that Google set up a store and stocked stolen goods similar to their competitors and made them available at deep discounts - say, in this instance, for free. If this can be argued successfully in the courtroom Viacom has a leg to stand on.

But this argument falls apart from a few angles. First, it's a little ironic that Viacom is claiming in a USD 1 billion suit that Google is using DMCA-sanctioned "takedown" of copyrighted content is a heavy-handed tool to buy them time in negotiating licensing deals. Other media companies have managed to come to commercial terms with Google for the use of copyrighted content on YouTube: what makes Google more "evil" in its relationships with Viacom? These precedent deals for YouTube usage can be used effectively in a suit as examples that Google does indeed want to license copyrighted content lawfully.

Equally important is the question of whether Viacom has demonstrated that it has in fact tried to protect the value of its copyrighted content from duplication. If video clips are as easily "borrowed" by audiences as apples from an unattended fruit stand then the "stolen markets" issue is not easily argued - willful neglect could be argued fairly easily by the Google side. Had these clips been behind a firewall or in a DRM wrapper that Google had cracked directly, the DMCA angle on this suit would hold much more water. As it is, Viacom has no effective technology that prevents audiences from "borrowing" its online content.

The real cloud hanging over this suit, though, is the pending legislation in the U.S. Congress to revise the DMCA to allow for more generous terms of use for copyrighted content by individuals. Viacom could in theory win its courtroom battle but find itself losing the war as new laws are passed making the laws far more in line with current practice via YouTube and other social media portals. It is this pending legislation as much as any real licensing issues that are probably behind Viacom's move to sue Google. After all, if you're going to have Congressional hearings on fair use as a part of that legislation, Viacom testifying to Congress as a major suit-bringer has a more serious heft to it.

All of this boils down to one key factor: Viacom and many other media companies have given little or no thought as to how to make content automatically monetizable through social media services such as YouTube. Yes, Viacom, your copyright has been abused by some posters on YouTube, and yes, you shouldn't have to ask Google after the fact for documentation showing where content was in fact being abused, but why are companies like Viacom failing to implement tools and policies to help monetize their content more effectively? Consider Viacom's suit perhaps the last loud "bang" of anti-Google legal maneuvers - due in large part to Google's having anticipated the needs of video producers far more effectively than any other major content outlet. The case could break the other way but for today I'd bet on Google continuing its push towards video posting as it awaits reasonable action being taken by courts to validate its thinking about what makes a successful content play in today's New Aggregation.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Headlines for 12 March 2007

Media's focus narrowing, report warns
LA Times
Wikipedia Enacts Credential Reform
Editor & Publisher
Is Web 2.0 Bad for Google?
Let it Bean: Starbucks to Start Music Label
New York Post
Who Owns the Live Music of Days Gone By?
The New York Times*
Anxious Times for Net Radio
WSJ Online*

Best Practices
Introducing the Social Media Content Audit
FAST Forward
Encouraging Enterprise 2.0: As simple as possible, but no

Different Approaches to the Semantic Web
O'Reilly Radar

Cool Tools
Zoodango Lets Businesses Create Their Own Social Networks
The New PR Wiki
The New PR Wiki

Deals, Parnerships & Sales
ebrary Announces New Distribution Partners in Europe

Products, Markets & People
Knovel Appoints New Vice Presidents of IT, Sales and Content Management
PR Inside
Tradelink Launches On-demand Global Trade Information Service
Supply & Demand Chain
Pando Shares the Keys to the Media Distribution Castle with Developers, Bloggers and Podcasters
LexisNexis starts forensic lab
Dayton Daily News
LexisNexis Marks Launch of Its New Data Collection & Forensics Services Lab with Projects in 16 Nations
Nielsen Company, JWT Launch Custom News Portal
FOLIO: Magazine

Headline Summary for Week of 5 March 2007

Need to catch up on recent events in the world of content? Try our weekly headline summaries with embedded commentary.

Click here to read our latest headline summary

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ning's Bling: Enables Private Social Networking Sites

Networking via online publishing communities is a great concept, but in very popular sites like MySpace sometimes it feels a little too public for its own good - a little like having a party in a public restroom. It's doable, but is it wise? Yet being able to choose your own crowds and conversations has great appeal, especially when there are multiple tools available with which to do so. The new social media portal Ning picks up where others have left off and creates an environment in which anyone can create their own private social media network. As with walk-up-and-publish tools like Blogger, TypePad and pbwiki Ning enables anyone to create a privately branded social network into which one can invite others to publish content such as weblog entries, videos, photos, forum discussions and live chats.

Each Ning community has its own levels of creator-defined security, so the community can be private or public or tailored to respond to a mass market of contributors or just a few select contributors. As with the Near-Time network of privately maintained weblogs, wikis and file sharing communities Ning provides a common login and top-level navigation that allows one to define and join multiple communities without having to re-enter information. This creates both a top layer of commonality and overview without giving up the unique flavor of each individual group. Features are fairly robust and very easy to use, although lacking Near-Time's Wikis, premium subscription capabilities and more professional-oriented features such as calendaring, task management and file storage.

I think that we're going to see products like Ning and Near-Time become highly successful this year in much the same way that Blogger and TypePad soared in popularity as weblogging became a popular pursuit. There is also that chicken-and-egg factor that well-designed tools can engender: will people's interest in social media beyond weblogs explode once tools that combine various social media features begin to make it easier for groups of people to express themselves to one another more effectively in private and public settings? I think so. The 57 million or so weblogs that Technorati reports being out there on the Web are just the tip of the social media iceberg. Toss in everyone that's posted a MySpace, Facebook or Orkut profile along with the explosion of Wikis and the growth social media encompasses far more rapidly expanding demographics.

In the meantime most publishers are just beginning to get comfortable with the idea that weblogs are an acceptable publishing tool for serious content. As more and more social media outlets make it easy to create highly targeted public and private audiences via professional-grade content technologies more and more page inventory that is outside the reach of their potential advertisers and subscribers is being generated. The good news is that there's nothing to stop a smart publisher from grabbing their own space in this growing mix of content technology platforms for social media - or to make a smart acquisition. Ning is still in its very early days, as are many other more sophisticated self-service publishing technologies, but expect it to begin to make waves as digital natives tire of the same-old same-old from large-scale communities and Johnny-one-note technologies and begin to define communities that are both more under their control and more interesting to their members.

Microsoft's Blast Against Google: Is Copyright or Fair Use the Bogie?

CBC News reports along with many others on recent comments by Microsoft general counsel Thomas C. Rubin, an associate general counsel at the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers in New York. Key quote: "Companies that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the backs of other people's content, are raking in billions through advertising revenue." This is, of course, just the kind of sabre rattling that the AAP membership wants to hear, so they got their money's worth from Microsoft's more publisher-friendly approach. Google seems to want to keep out of direct confrontation on this issue as much as possible: offered the chance to send a representative to this week's ASIDIC 2007 Spring Meeting to talk about how to position premium content in search engines Microsoft picked up the challenge to speak to this publisher-friendly audience but Google declined.

Rubin's "red meat" speech grabbed plenty of headlines but it did little to advance any new concepts in the debate as to how publishers should approach copyright in a search-oriented online distribution environment. As a major holder of copyrighted intellectual property themselves Microsoft gains strong allies with publishers at their side in arguing for upholding strong commitments to eliminating any threats to existing business models leveraging highly protected intellectual property.

While wanting to play to a partisan crowd is an understandable temptation the characterization of Google as the copyright bad guy is oversimplified. Google's real challenge to publishers is not around copyright, which it claims it protects carefully, but rather centered on U.S. fair use policies for copyrighted content. Google has been walking a line in exposing "snippets" of copyrighted content that they claim are in line with fair use doctrines in U.S. copyright law. Their aim, they say, is to protect the right of people to know what original works of authorship are available for their use, not to duplicate those works of authorship for consumption. Immense productivity gains - and significant increases in revenues going to many publishers - stem from search engines such as Google exposing copyrighted content via fair use guidelines.

By contrast Microsoft and other publishing partners have been hard at work developing technologies designed to protect copyrighted content without fair use capabilities built into their designs. The results so far are not working well, as admitted even by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Typical DRM packages ignore fair use rights under copyright and hence circumvent the real purpose of copyright: to ensure that society is serviced by innovative ideas that will reward both those receiving those ideas and those creating those ideas.

As the U.S. Congress considers a bill introduced by representatives Rick Boucher (D-VA) and John Doolittle (R-CA) to make some nominal concessions in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act on copying content for personal, non-profit and journalistic uses there is a glimmer of hope that technologists will recognize the fundamental importance of fair use and move away from attempts to choke it off. All this can do is to stifle innovation - and hence create a less productive society that has fewer people able to afford proprietary intellectual property. Let's hope that Rubin's remarks are just the echoes of an outlook from a fear-based approach to new outlets for intellectual property and that innovators continue to respect both copyright and fair use as means to progress a profitable and effective publishing industry.