Thursday, May 31, 2007

Headlines for 31 May 2007

Trends
Bancrofts Open Door To a Sale Of Dow Jones
WSJ Online*
Bancroft Family Statement
BusinessWire
Developers Press Google on Future YouTube Features
PC Magazine
How U.S. policy can help reduce the broadband gap
Mercury News
AP CEO says Internet hasn't changed news gathering fundamentals
AP via The Mercury News
Apple says YouTube coming to Apple TV
AFX via Content Agenda
YouTube makes a deal with EMI
Reuters via USA Today
iTunes Plus DRM-free, not free of annoying glitches
Engadget
Book Expo America 2007: The State of EBooks
Gearlog

Best Practices
Social Software And Its Possible Future Uses
Robin Good
Open Text Applies Social Networking to Connect Corporate Content with Customers
Social Computing
You Can't Fake Real Content
Search Engine Land

Cool Tools
Freewebs Launches a Widget Bank
Mashable
Real Networks announces new offline player for YouTube
PodTech
Hewlett-Packard Will Offer Printing Kit for Web Sites
Bloomberg News

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
Attributor Is Tapped by The Associated Press to Track Use of AP Content Across the Internet
BusinessWire
NEWS Corporation/NBC Universal Joint Venture Inks Deals with Troupe of Premier Content Partners
CNW Telbec
AskMeNow to Introduce Natural Language Wikipedia Desktop and Mobile Search
MarketWire
ebrary Signs Five New Publishing Partners Including ABC-CLIO and Temple University Press
BusinessWire
Advanstar Announces Completion of its Acquisition by Veronis Suhler Stevenson for $1.14 Billion
BusinessWire

Products, Markets & People
Blinkx indexes 12M hours of Web content
DM News
LexisNexis Introduces Concordance(TM) 2007
BusinessWire
New Information Portal Makes Business Intelligence More Accessible
eMediaWire
New Platform, Products from Gale
Library Journal

Aloha, Mahalo - A New Twist on Human-Filtered Search Results

The native language of Hawaii has given us words like "aloha" that have slipped into general use as well as more other terms like "wiki" that have been appropriated for new uses. Add to that list of appropriations the Hawaiian word "mahalo," which means "Thank you" in everyday conversations and now refers also to Mahalo, the new user-driven search portal under development by Jason Calacanis. "Mahalo's goal is to hand-write the top 10,000 search terms," goes the boilerplate on its page templates, an objective that's being lead by ex-Anchors from Netscape and like-skilled guides. Visitors to Mahalo can suggest links for inclusion in the service. How does this all work? As an alpha-level product you have to give Jason some slack but in truth it's not something that you're going to figure out as a user in a few seconds. Thank goodness for the FAQ.

On one level Mahalo is quite simple: type in a search term, get either a page of information and links that's been largely edited by a Mahalo guide or something that's been generated automatically for terms that they haven't populated as of yet. Being day two there are lots more pages that are misses than hits, but a listing of the top 20 searches appears on each search results page to give Mahalo visitors a sense of who's looking at what. You can also enter questions in a natural language style, which will provide results that look a bit like an amateur's version of Answers.com (partnership, anyone?). An example of a topic page more fully populated by Mahalo guides is Apple, which lists a "Mahalo Top 7" links for the term, disambiguation (Did you mean: "Apple, the fruit? Apple, the Beatles' record label?"), financial information, products, news, blogs and fansites, information and reviews, upgrades and support, photos and videos, competitors, and "culture". Items that Mahalo guides really dig get a little icon. In theory users can make comments on Mahalo pages, but in my short tour I haven't seen any yet.

Well, this is certainly...innovative. Or utterly derivative, depending on your point of view. I know from personal experience that there is one huge brain between Jason's ears and it seems as if every idea he ever had or absorbed about the content industry exploded all at once from his noggin onto the pages of Mahalo. From one angle what we have here is About.com with user input: docents put together some light content that surrounds links. Okay,we know that works. Kind of. From another angle we have a dot-com era version of Hoovers, a light assemblage of business and product info to guide the initially curious. Interesting, but who is this aimed at? From yet another angle we have Wikipedia, a catch-all encyclopedia format that tries to catch a wide variety of facets about a given topic. Digg and other social bookmarking services enter into the picture with Mahalo Top 7 bookmarks, but there's not a strong sense of how useful the first seven results will be: social bookmarking services don't rank relevance all that well. And of course there's the analogy to Answers.com, one-stop answers to questions from the best sources available. Except we really have to trust someone called a "guide" as to his or her judgment on sources.

Finally, there's the question of when I will know when to go to Mahalo. Will it be when I have a question that's one of the top 10,000 search terms? Oooh, is what I want to find maybe number 15,000? I dunno. Try "most popular," Jason, people will be able to get their heads around that more easily. Do I go there to get the latest news? Hmm, they have news feeds from Fox and other partners but but why would I get them here rather than other places - and why aren't the guides lending a hand with filtering and updating the news? While Wikipedia may be in the hands of "those darn users" I have a fairly high level of confidence that information on almost any popular topic will be updated within minutes, if not seconds, of something happening in the real world across a huge array of topics. I also know that Google will insert hot news at the top of my search results and that user-generated sites will help me to find the really cool news pretty quickly. I don't know how true that's going to be of any well-intended editorial staff covering tens of thousands of topics every day - even with help from users. Will I go there for shopping? Probably not, services like eBay and Google will scrape together the information that I need more effectively. Will I go there for reference information? Maybe, but with such a generic approach to content organization I'd probably prefer to type in a term on Google and branch off to Wikipedia, Answers.com, Hoovers or other key sources that it finds so easily. Will I go there to browse their taxonomy? Probably not, I've gotten too used to getting information on any topic level with one phrase and a click.

So, when DO I go to Mahalo? That's something that Jason needs to work on a little more. There are a lot of very interesting individual features and there's definitely a need out there for something between algorithmic search engines and the chaos of social bookmarking, but I am wondering whether this is more about a product vision or more about what to do with all of those ex-Netscapers who were inspired by Jason. If it's more the latter then it's not clear that a fairly limited and relatively anonymous editorial staff is going to have the horsepower or the respect within a given topic arena to build relevance creds. It gives Jason the control over writers that he desires, but in specific topic domains it may take more editorial talent to pull this off than he can afford.

There are so many ideas forming at once in Mahalo that it's far too early to write it off as a mish-mosh of interesting concepts - especially since people are growing tired of the "gaming" of search results. Calacanis could put initial feedback to good use, form more useful partnerships and come up with a tool that really stands out for an increasingly sophisticated online audience. But at this point my bet's against it. With Google's "Universal Search" capabilities beginning to phase in and more pure user-generated content plays becoming more disciplined and deep it's not clear that the features in Mahalo will ever mature to the point where they'll gel into a useful product in comparison to more established search and reference plays. At the same time there's far too little a sense of online community in Mahalo to make people passionate about online content feel that this product is really "theirs" in any strong way. In between these approaches there's probably room for a product that combines the best of search, editorial skills and user input to create marketable context for popular topics. But for now I don't think that people will be saying "thank you" to Mahala for its attempts at filling that need.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Headlines for 30 May 2007

Trends
Apple iTunes Plus Borders on Spyware
Yahoo! Tech
Apple Will Bring YouTube Videos to Its TV Service
Bloomberg News
Bancrofts urged to sell Dow stake to Murdoch
FT via MSNBC
iTunes 101: Apple brings college to the iPod
CNET News
Jason Calacanis Launches Mahalo: Human Powered Search
TechCrunch
Mass deletion sparks LiveJournal revolt
CNET News

Best Practices
Donations on Blogs - Do They Work?
ProBlogger
User-Generated Visual Content -- Understanding the Supply-Side Motivations
MarketWire
DIY PR: Bob Villa Doesn't Always Know Best
Micro Persuasion

Cool Tools
Google Mapplets and Google Gears announced
PC Authority
Give a content key for Xmas
Engadget

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
eBay Acquires StumbleUpon
BusinessWire
LexisNexis(R) Martindale-Hubbell(R) and Spot Runner Team Up to Deliver First Local TV Ad Program
BusinessWire via TMCNet
Over 250 Autonomy Partners Rally Behind Meaning Based Computing
PR Newswire
Dow Jones Wealth Manager Solution Now Available on Salesforce.com's AppExchange
PR Newswire
CBS to buy Last.fm social network
LA Times via Content Agenda
Google To Acquire Panoramio
Mashable

Products, Markets & People
Former Cisco Exec Mike Volpi In Line To Be New Joost CEO
paidContent.org
infoUSA Launches Salesgenie.com/Lite for Sales Executives on a Limited Budget
BusinessWire

AP on its Own: News Unplugged from Distribution Partners? - UPDATED

AP reports on the new Microsoft Surface PC which provides a touch-friendly tabletop interface to a Vista PC - kind of like playing PacMan in a bar back in the 1980's, I suppose - but the real item that I wanted to highlight is that the link above goes directly to the AP site where an ad-supported version of the story can be found. That's right, AP.org provides a content portal platform for its syndication partners who want their AP content served up from AP's own host facilities. This is something that's not readily evident from the front page or site map of the portal, nor is it really exposed in search engines, but it's clear from the layout of this page that AP is now able to deliver a general news site comparable in general terms to Reuters and other wire services. AP's position as an association wire service prevents it from advancing this capability, no doubt, but it opens up some intriguing options for AP should it decide to deliver news more directly as a part of its business model. With destination portals losing market share and AP's content being embedded successfully in a wealth of mainstream and social media destination content sites, though, it's doubtful that AP really needs such a site to advance its current business goals. Ironically AP's positioning as a pure-play syndication service may have been the ideal positioning for it to weather the changing environment for monetizing online news.

CLARIFICATION: Jim Kennedy, AP Vice President for Strategic Planning, posted this comment:

I'm a great fan of Shore, but this post needs clarification. The "destination" portal you think you landed on is actually nothing of the sort.

Since 1996, AP has hosted general news pages for many of its subscribing members. The pages are generally branded for each member and carry each member's look and feel.

In this case, you found your way to an unbranded page, which we use for in-house and demo purposes.

No change in strategy here. We're not interested in creating a destination. We are doing just fine as a B2B supplier.

Thanks for the information, Jim, I understood this to be a service for AP members but I don't think that this came through clearly enough in the original post. I think that what happened is that one of your partners was using the hosted service with a frame and not a "skin", so it was easy to pop the article out of the frame and to see the hosted site in its demo form. I see this not as a budding strategy from AP but an interesting example of what AP could have done but did not do as a result of its positioning as a membership-driven syndication service.

Algorithmic Trading Challenges Content Services in Fixed Income

Advanced Trading notes how the introduction of more automated quotes and trading interfaces from the New York Stock Exchange for bonds and other fixed income securities and more widely available fixed income pricing from NASDAQ's TRACE service are helping to drive a more algorithm-driven fixewd income marketplace. This premise is a stretch at best in terms of the current reality: NYSE supports trading for only the most liquid corporate bonds, leaving private markets to find their own buyers and sellers through more conventional channels for the vast ocean of debt beyond NYSE's trading operations. But it's fair to say that the sophistication of pre-trade evaluation tools for fixed income analysts and portfolio managers outstrips the ability of people using those tools to execute on their analysis effectively.

With such low liquidity in most fixed income markets it's not likely that improved trade execution channels alone are going to be enough to drive demand to the point where we'll see the kind of sub-microsecond automated algorithmic trading opportunities that we see in equities markets any time soon. But the levels afforded by improving execution technologies appear to be rising to the point that there are new opportunities appearing for decision support services. Most of these opportunities, though, are not likely to form around typical desktop technologies or back-office trading systems.

Instead what we're likely to see are systems that allow participants in the fixed income marketplace to quantify more effectively "soft" marketplace factors such as market sentiment and likely ratings changes. These factors are important in equities markets as well but in the more leisurely world of fixed income markets they have the ability to impact actual execution factors through human analysis far more effectively. We'll be hearing more about how automated trading systems are going to "revolutionize" debt markets but expect the real revolution to come in pre-trade support services that enable niche markets to understand the human-influenced trading landscape.

News Analysis - The Quality Gap: The Race for Context Pushes Content Quality to the Sidelines


"Quality is as quality does" may not be a saying that came out of Forrest Gump's mouth but it's a simple formula that seems to be proving itself on the Web as traditional sources of quality content lose audience share to search engines and social media sites. At the same time, though, the ever-increasing popularity of social media sites does not always seem to be balanced by mature quality control. But don't mistake immature techniques with inadequate potential: the techniques used to generate social media are carving out a new path to content quality that's here to stay.

Click here to read the full News Analysis

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Headline Summary for 29 May 2007

Trends
Marketers Cozy Up to NBC Program Chief
WSJ Online*
Google Universal and Its New Navigation
Information Today
Opportunity for STM publishers in Facebook
Really Simple Sidi
FCC, cable set to collide; Industry: Feds are overreaching
Cox Washington/ Content Agenda
Facebook is Microsoft Office of Social Apps
Infectious Greed
Should Google Subsidize Journalism?
Publishing 2.0
Tribune debt may force asset sales
LA Times
BusinessWeek explores 'Business YouTube venture
BtoB Online
Selling Web Advertising Space Like Pork Bellies
WSJ via Content Agenda

Best Practices
Can History Survive The Internet?
InformationWeek
FISD Announces Release of MDDL 3.0 Beta
PR Newswire via EarthTimes

Cool Tools
Google Launches Street View Maps
Read/Write Web
Fatdoor introduces you to your neighborhood without stepping outside
Download Squad
The 3D Maps Are Coming: EveryScape and Virtual Earth
Read/Write Web
Garmin Publishes API Library Opens Communication Between Third Party Websites, Garmin GPS Devices
GIS User

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
Ovid Partners with Springer Science+Business Media to Add Ebooks
Information Today

Products, Markets & People
Exalead Enhances One:Search Platform With Vertical Search Capability
Web IT PR

Weekly Headline Summary for 29 May 2007

Trends

As online advertising storms into a leadership role in marketing as the rising tide lifts electronic boats...
Online Ad Revenue Sets Record
Information Week
Advertising's Brave New World
WSJ Online

And sinks others...
San Francisco Chronicle layoffs
O'Reilly Radar
Gannett, Lee Enterprises, Ad Revenues Down In April
Editor & Publisher

Microsoft beefs up its ad infrastructure to compete with Google as speculation rises about a Yahoo alliance...
Microsoft buys aQuantive for $6 billion
CNN Money via Content Agenda
Microsoft Has "All the Pieces" for Its Ad Business
Bloomberg News
Microsoft Deal Makes Yahoo Buy More Likely, Noto Says
Bloomberg News

Google pushes on aggressively into new venues and relationships for advertising...
Google Testing AdSense for Videos
Mashable
AOL The First In Google Search Ad Network Allowed To Sell Own Ads
Content Agenda

And pushes further into being a universal search source that tests proprietary barriers...
Keeping Up With Google. Universal Search: It's Still About Relevance
Creative Search Media
Google Gets Trendy
Read/Write Web
Google stands firm behind News search site
InfoWorld
Google Denies Content Re-Use Deal With UK News Publishers
paidContent.org

In the battle for business information supremacy SaaS may prove to be the route of greatest efficiency...
Google, Salesforce.com Weigh Alliance to Battle Microsoft
WSJ Online*
Salesforce.com Announces AppExchange Venture Network
PR Newswire
Prepare for the Combination of BI and Search
Intelligent Enterprise

Personalizing online content is a powerful business model but it's a dance to do it respectfully...
Google outlines data collection plans
Evening Standard
eBay to Serve Targeted Ads Based on Users' Information
Auction Bytes

If a picture's worth a thousand words what's the value of text services in the face of millions of videos...?
Can video save the book-publishing star?
CNET News
Joost hires scouts to lure Hollywood programs
Reuters via CNET News

Technorati finally "gets it" - it's not about blogs but about everything that can be called social media...
Technorati Relaunches: "Everything" Search
Read/Write Web

Who is who on the web? Inquiring governments want to know...
MySpace to turn over names of convicted sex offenders to AGs
Computerworld
China to decide against forcing 'real name' blogs
The Scotsman

Note to business information companies chasing user workflows: talk to the machines about what they want...
Algorithms Finding A Foothold In Fixed-Income Markets
Advanced Trading

As media companies wrestle with sustainable online business plans who's minding quality standards...?
Where is U.S. Journalism Headed?
ePluribus Media
Wikipedia Revisited
TechNewsWorld
Welcome to the era of gullibility 2.0
CNET News
Apple's hype phone
Pop Matters

Like sands through the hourglass - so are the days of our deals...
News Corp. bid for Dow hits wall
Variety
Dow Jones's Bancrofts Set Private Meeting Over Offer
WSJ Online*
Judge Won't Stop Sam Zell Deal For Tribune Co.
Editor & Publisher

They had chamber music on the Titanic, Ann; calmness is no assurance of our fate...
Ann Moore: 'Everybody Stay Calm'
Advertising Age

In other major trends in content this week...
The Inside-Out Web
Forbes
Madison Avenue Says Hello to 'Hello,' Again
The New York Times*
Politicians weigh renewal of Net access tax ban
CNET News
SignOnSanDiego Deploys Wiki Community for AmplifySD, San Diego-Oriented Internet Radio Station
BusinessWire
U.S. is home to a surprising number of Luddites
The Gazette
Doing More Than Just Twittering Our Lives Away
MediaShift
Google loses China search partnership
VNUNet via Content Agenda
Page Six Covers Itself, a Bit Painfully
The New York TImes*

Best Practices
Print vs Online -- Should Your Marketing Have the Same Content Online and Off?
Marketing Sherpa
Making Money From User-Generated Content
ClickZ Network
A Public Library Tries LibraryThing
Library Journal
Libraries of Alexandria burn all the time
Contra Costa Times
Copying HD DVD and Blu-ray discs may become legal
InfoWorld via Yahoo! News
How User-Generated Content Drives In-Store Sales for Grocery Chain
Marketing Sherpa
In a Web 2.0 World, Who Gets the Credit?
InformationWeek
The Unblogosphere
The RSS Blog
5 Ways Twitter Can Make You an Industry Expert
Free Resources Network
Study Finds Increasing Global Internet Censorship
CIO Today
Will Steve Arnold Scare IT Into Taking Search in the Enterprise Seriously?
Gilbane Group
Standing Up for Open Access
Inside Higher Ed

Cool Tools
FlickrSlidr - Embed Flickr Slideshows into Your Blog
Mashable
Pandora brings internet radio to Sprint cellphones
Download Squad
Next version of Windows to be 'fundamentally different'
CNET News
Facebook Spins Out Widgets; Spins Everyone
paidContent.org
Google's Translation Engine Now Live
Mashable
Microsoft takes on Yahoo Pipes with new Popfly web app
Ars Technica
Google AdSense Preview Sandbox 1.0
Download Squad
Buzka: Social Bookmarking With a Business Function
TechCrunch
Google Coop Embeds Gadgets in Search Results
Micro Persuasion

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Acxiom Corporation and Acuity Mobile Partner to Power Targeted Mobile Marketing Solutions
PR Newswire
Business Objects Buys Inxight, Upgrades EPM
CIO
WallStreet Direct, Inc. Partners With Answers Corp. to Enhance Content With 1-click Reference Information
PR Newswire via PR Inside
ProQuest CSA Partners with LexisNexis for Genealogical Data
Information Today, Inc.
CBS Partners with Meebo, RockYou, YourMinis, Slide, VideoEgg and More
Mashable
CBS News and the CBS TV Stations Group Team Up With Voxant to Distribute Viral News Clips and Feeds
PR Newswire
Forbes.com Launches New Stocks Application on Facebook(R) Platform
BusinessWire
Buzznet Lands $6 Million Round of Financing Led By Redpoint Ventures and Anthem Venture Partners
PR Newswire
CNN, Internet Broadcasting Enter Strategic News, Advertising Relationship
PR Newswire/ EarthTimes.org
Amazon.com Buys Brilliance Audio, Maker of Audiobooks
Bloomberg News
Zacks Investment Research Chooses RealTick(R) as a Preferred Real-Time Market Data Partner
PR Newswire
DRM-free music giant EMI agrees to takeover
Playlist
PennWell acquires 'Utility Products'
BtoB Online
YuMe, somagirls.tv in First-Ever 'Any Device' Ad Distribution Deal
PR Newswire via PR Inside

Products, Markets & People
Mark Logic Announces Mark Logic (UK) Limited
MarketWire
Compete API Open For Business
TechCrunch
Wolters Kluwer Health to Launch The Patient Later This Year
PR Newswire
Viyya Technologies Readies Web 2.0 Product Release for Business
BusinessWire
Journal Of Nuclear Medicine Releases New Research Faster
Medical News Today
Bango eliminates final hurdle to selling on mobile with free "Starter" service
Phone Content.com
Wiki Inventor Ward Cunningham Joins AboutUs
PR Web
Thomson Learning and Gale Under New Management Following Sale
Information Today, Inc.
Vivísimo Introduces Mobile Search Solution
Information Today, Inc.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Headlines for 24 May 2007

Trends
Advertising's Brave New World
WSJ Online
Online Ad Revenue Sets Record
Information Week
News Corp. bid for Dow hits wall
Variety
Keeping Up With Google. Universal Search: It's Still About Relevance
Creative Search Media
Can video save the book-publishing star?
CNET News
Judge Won't Stop Sam Zell Deal For Tribune Co.
Editor & Publisher
Madison Avenue Says Hello to ‘Hello,’ Again
The New York Times*
Politicians weigh renewal of Net access tax ban
CNET News

Best Practices
Copying HD DVD and Blu-ray discs may become legal
InfoWorld via Yahoo! News
How User-Generated Content Drives In-Store Sales for Grocery Chain
Marketing Sherpa
In a Web 2.0 World, Who Gets the Credit?
InformationWeek

Cool Tools
Facebook Spins Out Widgets; Spins Everyone
paidContent.org
Google’s Translation Engine Now Live
Mashable

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
CBS Partners with Meebo, RockYou, YourMinis, Slide, VideoEgg and More
Mashable
CBS News and the CBS TV Stations Group Team Up With Voxant to Distribute Viral News Clips and Feeds
PR Newswire
Forbes.com Launches New Stocks Application on Facebook(R) Platform
BusinessWire
Buzznet Lands $6 Million Round of Financing Led By Redpoint Ventures and Anthem Venture Partners
PR Newswire

Products, Markets & People
Journal Of Nuclear Medicine Releases New Research Faster
Medical News Today

Walk Calmly to the Lifeboats, Please: Ann Moore Puts on a Good Show

You've got to hand it to Time Inc.'s Chairman and CEO Ann Moore: she's a brave soldier who puts out a strong story. Echoing her presentation from the SIIA Information Industry Summit at a recent MPA breakfast (Ad Age coverage) Ann Moore quipped "You know, everybody stay calm," she suggested. "This is a great business we're in." Cheerleading aside there's only moderate cheer for Time's core print brands, in spite of a successful reclaiming of their management from AOL. Online revenues for Time properties are expected to represent about 18 percent of Time's 2007 revenues according to Moore; that's only about par with other comparable print brands these days - it's not exceptional. But Moore has provided strong brand management skills that have allowed Time.com to hold its own in a tough market for online general news content and that have propelled People.com from an online also-ran to a far more competitive position. It could have been a bloodbath given Time's slow transition into online delivery but it's turned out pretty well overall. "If you're going to spin me off, you better get a good price," she said.

Good may be good enough in today's market for deals driven by private equity: the spreadsheets will hold up long enough to justify a decent sale for a few months at least. But after that, all bets are off for print-dependent properties. With a likely recession looming freely available online content is going to make it easier for consumers to make budget decisions against print subscription products. Add in and recently raised postal rates putting the squeeze on magazine margins and all but the most efficient print distributors are going to be feeling major additional pain in the next six to twelve months. But even with these gloomy clouds on the horizon Moore does have some justification in feeling bullish about Time's potential. With a broad base of mass market publications Time has the potential to become a leader in mass-customized print delivery - allowing consumers to cherry-pick the types of articles that they'd like to see in print from Time's family of publications. As important as brand management can be in this era of look-alike online and print publications a rethinking of the ability of print to aggregate brands may be the ultimate salvation of execs with portfolios like Time Inc. For the rest there's always private equity - or perhaps Google Magazines.

Inxight Absorbed by Business Objects: When Content Technologies Can't Differentiate

Inxight has provided content organization and visualization tools for many years and picked up federated search tools along the way to provide more content value to enterprise and publishing clients. But like many content technology companies Inxight has had a very difficult time differentiating its capabilities from a broad pack of similar services aimed at similar clients. So after several reorgs and repositionings it's probably a good thing that Business Objects has announced its acquisition of Inxight to round out its broad portfolio of enterprise business information services. As enterprises focus more on solutions that deliver measurable results for specific business functions they have had to view unstructured content assets from inside and outside their own organization as key inputs for their business intelligence efforts. Inxight's ability to process and organize unstructured content adds enables Business Objects to compete more effectively with business information vendors focused on building insights from news, social media and other unstructured content.

Coming on the heels of Reuters' acquisition of ClearForest this signals a ramp-up of the battle between content technology providers and traditional publishers and aggregators for the lead in providing value to enterprise accounts. The content side of this equation prides itself in understanding the business objectives of their clients more clearly, but if the history of financial content vendors is at all instructive it's the enterprises equipped with the technology tools to give them proprietary advantages in market insight that will win the majority of budgets spent on content services. Will content vendors become more adept at delivering technology solutions more quickly than technology companies will become more aware of how those solutions add value to business information? This is going to be a race to the finish - with enterprises wanting to get more value for their content investments the clear winners.

The only losers will be publishers and technology providers that fail to see that their futures depend on them putting on both content and technology hats to deliver high-value solutions to their clients. The era of stand-alone technology features and stand-alone content services is coming to a close rather quickly as businesses try to leapfrog over the inefficiencies of both traditional I.T. solutions and traditional subscription database solutions to gain insight from wherever it's available.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

Google-Salesforce.com Alliance: Carving Out Context for Value-Add Business Information

On one level the news from WaPo and others that Salesforce.com is discussing an alliance with Google to integrate Google's office applications, messaging and other key components into their offerings has to be welcomed at business information providers' offices. Many business information services companies are already taking advantage of Salesforce.com's AppExchange service to integrate their content and functional capabilities into SF.com's increasingly popular sales and marketing platform, so SF.com's success will help to enhance their successes as well through on-demand content services sales. But this development must be absorbed along with the announcement of SF.com's launch of a venture funding network to accelerate the development of business information services through their platform. Put the two of these together and you can see a perfect storm brewing for business information providers that have assumed that their investments in enterprise software to drive content sales will flourish indefinitely.

Why be worried about SF.com and Google? The key factor is that bit by bit the enterprise's information base is being absorbed into proprietary Web databases. That's likely to turn out to be a good thing for many enterprises trying to compete in a cost-conscious global environment: the "pretty good" infrastructure of SF.com is increasingly more than just adequate to perform crucial tasks, especially when extended by third party services through SF.com's AppExchange services. Add in the "pretty good" Google office automation services and you can envision a day not too far down the road when many enterprise users will be using the combination of Google and SF.com services for 80 percent or more of their day-to-day business information generation and use. Throw in Google's Web and enterprise search services along with their robust and open development APIs and you can imagine more than a few of those SF.com venture dollars funding business information solutions that will make solutions like Factiva's SalesWorks look fairly limp by comparison.

While a stronger SF.com is in the interest of business information providers who want fast inroads into sales, marketing and management teams in enterprises this ally is beginning to recognize the gravitas that its platform-independent approach to business solutions has to provide leverage over these same vendors. As publishers thirsty for new revenue channels open up more to enabling access to premium content through Google search interfaces the combination of SF.com and Google could spell trouble for traditional licensed database services over the next few years. If SF.com and Google own the development and marketing environment and publishers no longer require traditional subscription services to leverage their content into enterprise applications then it is going to be a far more competitive environment for business information services providers who count on aggregated subscription services for their revenues.

There will be more good news than bad news for a while out of this impending alliance but business information services will be well-advised to sharpen up their strategies as to how to preserve and accelerate revenues through this alliance. Nimble competitors are likely to do quite well if they adjust quickly - but odds are strong that more than a few business information providers will stumble along the way.

Headline Summary for Week of 14 May 2007

Trends

About all those little betas - they add up now into one stunning central contextual content product...
Google's search engine goes universal

AP via Yahoo! News
Google Book Search becomes more comprehensive
Google Blog

As Yahoo searches for the soul of a content company in an era of passionate user-generated content...
Yahoo’s search for itself
ZDNet
Yahoo Can Bring Differentiation To The Social Web
Seeking Alpha
Yahoo!'s New Mission: It's About the People
Read/Write Web

Ad-supported online video is the hot ticket but nobody really knows how to do it effectively yet...
The Race to Conquer Video Advertising
Read/Write Web

The Thomson/Reuters merger is on track to reinvent business information in the image of Wall Street...
Reuters agrees 8.7 bln stg Thomson takeover bid
Thomson via Hemscott
Thomson's $17.2 Billion Pact For Reuters to Face Reviews
WSJ Online*
Tom Glocer: “This may scare some of you…”
FT.com

By contrast, Murdoch must tread lightly to appease ownership that's concerned about change...
Murdoch Hones Pitch to Bancrofts
WSJ Online*
Dow Jones Board Won't Act As Bancrofts Deliberate
WSJ Online*
At Journal, Slim Margins Open Door to Murdoch
The New York Times*

As the newspaper industry searches for an elusive formula for long-term success...
New York Times Revenue Declines in April
AP via Yahoo! Finance
Briton Bullish on Buying Small Newspapers in Europe
The New York Times*
Panel discusses future of the newspaper
Stanford Daily

Social media challenges publishers and aggregators to come up with more compelling contexts for content...
MySpace launches video channels
AP via Content Agenda
NBC Jumps on the MySpace Train
Mashable
Are Social Bookmarking Sites Better at Search than Google?
Read/Write Web
The most important blog on your newspaper's website
USC Annenberg OJR
Twitter Founders Thrive on Micro-Blogging Constraints
Media Shift

But even when you find a valuable context is the hunt for search engine positioning compromising quality...?
Forbes: Revolt of the Page Slaves?
The New York Observer

In content as in real estate it's all about location, location, location...
Positioning phones to create new social networks
Reuters
BBC Bets Its Future On Location-Based Services, Names New Mobile Content Head
Moco News

The U.S. government seeks out stringent controls for intellectual property but fair use prevails in the courts...
Justice Department Focuses on Efforts to Protect Intellectual Property Rights
Media Newswire
Google wins part of photo suit
LA Times via Content Agenda

EMI's DRM-free strategy will unfold at an Amazon search result near you...
Amazon.com to Open DRM-Free Digital Music Store
TheStreet.com / Content Agenda

The moral of the story: "helping" audiences to build news that agrees with your outlook usually backfires...
Why is MySpace News a ghost town?
ZDNet

OK, time to chill out on the social media, we're going on maneuvers now...
Military blocks MySpace, YouTube

IT News
YouTube pioneers challenge Pentagon
AP via Yahoo! News

In other major trends in content this week...
Reuters Media Summit Roundup: Lagardere’s Acquisitions; WPP Digital; AT&T Ads; Sling Broadband
paidContent.org
infoUSA Calls on Shareholders to Reject Hedge Fund’s Baseless Allegations
BusinessWire
Ebook Readers Grow Up
Library Journal
Viacom CEO: no "splashy" purchase in sight
Reuters
New, searchable index of more than 5,000 vintage LA news photos
BoingBoing

Best Practices
How Scoble Reads 622 RSS Feeds Each Morning
Tim Ferriss
Web 2.0 'neglecting good design'
BBC News
Why founders should be part of their community
Bokardo
Bloggers and the Church-State Wall
Micro Persuasion
iProspect Survey Reveals Nearly Half of Search Marketers Place Content on Social Networking Sites
Promotion World
Saving Our Digital Heritage
Washington Post
the Uncanny Valley of user interface design
Bill Higgins
Search Friendly CMS Does Not Equal Search Optimized One
Search Engine Land
InfoWorld study finds social media still in early stages for b-to-b
BtoB Online

Cool Tools
uStream.tv Beta 2 Launches Tomorrow
Mashable
14 Great Ways You Can Use OpenID Right Now
Mashable
Bibme Launches an Automated Bibliography Creation Site
Mashable
JumpKnowledge an annotation tool
Really Simple Sidi
WordPress 2.2 has arrived
Download Squad
Watch live photo uploads with flickrvision
Download Squad
MetaCarta Partners With Clickability to Make Web Content Location-Aware
MarketWire
mCompanion Announces iGliss - A Breakthrough in Internet Media Content Sharing
Newswire Today

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

AOL Acquires Mobile Ad Firm Third Screen Media
ClickZ Network
TechTarget, Inc. Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering
BusinessWire via TMCNet
Voxant, the Viral Syndication Network, Adds Select Content From The Huffington Post
PR Newswire via Broadcast News
WPP agrees to buy 24/7 Real Media for $649 billion
BtoB Online
USNews.com Joins With Clinicahealth To Offer Online Health And Wellness Communities
Adotas
Healthline Selected to Power Intelligent Health Search Across the HealthCentral Network
BusinessWire via Syscon
Informa Investment Solutions to be a One-Stop Provider of Wealth Management Solutions
BusinessWire
FAST and Criterion Systems to Support Convera RetrievalWare for Federal Government
BusinessWire via Epicos
RSuite CMS Selected to Manage SAGE Publications’ Journal and Reference Content
BusinessWire
PennWell Acquires LEDs Magazine
PR Newswire via PR Inside

Products, Markets & People
Copyright Clearance Center Launches Enhanced Copyright.com Site
BusinessWire
Nielsen debuts first suite of Nielsen Connect services
BtoB Online
Autonomy Delivers Proactive Legal Protection With IDOL ECHO
PR Newswire via EarthTimes
Mark Logic Unveils MarkLogic Server 3.2: Provides Powerful New Content Search and Analysis
MarketWire
Launch of Amazon Podcasts Brings Customers Closer to Celebrity Authors, Actors and Musicians
WebWire
TiVo Launches New Universal Swivel Search
TMCNet
Penton's Supermarket News Launches Redesigned Web Site
BusinessWire via Broadcast News
Vignette Delivers Next-Generation Knowledge Sharing and Management with Collaboration
IT Wire
Mark Logic Announces MarkLogic Server OEM Edition
MarketWire
Bango eliminates final hurdle to selling on mobile with free "Starter" service
Mobile Europe
ebrary Launches New eBook Databases for Corporations
BusinessWire

Enterprise Search Summit 2007: Trying to Make Search Work

The New York Hilton was again the setting of this must-attend conference for search professionals focused on implementing search in their organizations. Opening keynoter, Susan Feldman, Research VP of Content Technologies, IDC, framed the dilemna well. Search is hot, and the vendors happy with over 30% growth, busily rolling out new product features. But as the use of search within the enterprise grows, integration with other applications is more important. So enterprise search companies are repositioning as Business Intelligence platforms, rather than solely search. At the time time, other companies in the Business Intelligence (BI), Enterprise content Management(ECM), Knowledge Management (KM) spaces are integrating more search capabilities.

For attendees looking to buy their first search engine, Theresa Regli, CMSWatch, described the infrastructure analysis that needs to be done prior to establishing the evaluation framework. She emphasized selection of a search engine involves more than a checklist of features. Jennifer Whalen, Portal Manager, Deloitte, spoke to lessons learned about working with a currently installed search engine (Sharepoint), and no budget for a replacement.

A common themes in the speakers was that search is more than technology. Content and business rules determine successful implementations. Content includes what should be indexed, as well as content types. It comes in the form of unstructured content created at the desktop, but also as structured content found in databases. And increasingly, content includes images, and video content (included in over 20% of current search applications according to the Shore/Information Today report, Enterprise Search, Deployment, Usage and Trends). This was reinforced by the booming attendance at the co-located Streaming Media Conference right next door to Enterprise Search.

Underlying search are the bigger issues of security and compliance. The implications of the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedures (FRCP) which went to effect on 12/1/2006 were clearly explained by Prudence Zalewski, Software Synthesis. The financial costs involved in the discovery process mandate risk management planning, particularly for email retention! These developments will force a more explicit role and responsibility for search and records management within the organization, and demand for experienced search professions....see you next fall at Enterprise Search West!

Headlines for 21 May 2007

Trends
Microsoft buys aQuantive for $6 billion
CNN Money via Content Agenda
Microsoft Deal Makes Yahoo Buy More Likely, Noto Says
Bloomberg News
Google, Salesforce.com Weigh Alliance to Battle Microsoft
WSJ Online*
Google Denies Content Re-Use Deal With UK News Publishers
paidContent.org
Wikipedia Revisited
TechNewsWorld
Welcome to the era of gullibility 2.0
CNET News
Apple's hype phone
Pop Matters
eBay to Serve Targeted Ads Based on Users' Information
Auction Bytes
SignOnSanDiego Deploys Wiki Community for AmplifySD, San Diego-Oriented Internet Radio Station
BusinessWire
U.S. is home to a surprising number of Luddites
The Gazette
Salesforce.com Announces AppExchange Venture Network
PR Newswire
Doing More Than Just Twittering Our Lives Away
MediaShift
San Francisco Chronicle layoffs
O'Reilly Radar
Prepare for the Combination of BI and Search
Intelligent Enterprise
Gannett, Lee Enterprises, Ad Revenues Down In April
Editor & Publisher
Page Six Covers Itself, a Bit Painfully
The New York TImes*

Best Practices
Print vs Online -- Should Your Marketing Have the Same Content Online and Off?
Marketing Sherpa
Will Steve Arnold Scare IT Into Taking Search in the Enterprise Seriously?
Gilbane Group
Standing Up for Open Access
Inside Higher Ed

Cool Tools
FlickrSlidr - Embed Flickr Slideshows into Your Blog
Mashable
Buzka: Social Bookmarking With a Business Function
TechCrunch
Google Coop Embeds Gadgets in Search Results
Micro Persuasion

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
Acxiom Corporation and Acuity Mobile Partner to Power Targeted Mobile Marketing Solutions
PR Newswires
YuMe, somagirls.tv in First-Ever 'Any Device' Ad Distribution Deal
PR Newswire via PR Inside
WallStreet Direct, Inc. Partners With Answers Corp. to Enhance Content With 1-click Reference Information
PR Newswire via PR Inside
ProQuest CSA Partners with LexisNexis for Genealogical Data
Information Today, Inc.

Products, Markets & People
Viyya Technologies Readies Web 2.0 Product Release for Business
BusinessWire
Bango eliminates final hurdle to selling on mobile with free "Starter" service
Phone Content.com
Wiki Inventor Ward Cunningham Joins AboutUs
PR Web
Thomson Learning and Gale Under New Management Following Sale
Information Today, Inc.
Vivísimo Introduces Mobile Search Solution
Information Today, Inc.