Friday, August 31, 2007

Syndication Brands Challenged: CNN Boots Reuters News and Video Content

Reuters reports the news story on CNN's elimination of Reuters as a major supplier of news and video footage, but the story behind the story provided on the Reuters MediaFile weblog gets to some of the meat of the matter. An internal CNN memo surfaced by MediaFile from Editorial Director Richard Griffiths details the sudden and troublesome transition that CNN must manage. The termination of using Reuters content is immediate and global and must include purging clips of Reuters video footage from archived video segments. Though the official story from CNN that it is deciding to make "significant investments" in its own news gathering operation to counter the loss of Reuters content there is some speculation that this is more of a cost-cutting measure or a "play tough" negotiating stance on the contract for syndicated Reuters content.

The truth is probably somewhere in between these two stances. It's hard to imagine that CNN, which has relied strongly on Reuters content for most of its existence, is going to be able to fill the gap easily for coverage lost through dropping Reuters, especially as it impacts their archives so deeply. If this is a strategic move, then one would think that the strategy would have accounted for these losses more smoothly.

To some degree the claim that news feeds and video footage from suppliers such as AP can help to fill the gap may be a major part of the CNN strategy, but the larger factor seems to be how the increasingly context-dependent nature of Web content is changing how content brands are managed online. In dropping a major syndication source such as Reuters CNN is acknowledging that aggregating content from other premium branded suppliers does not necessarily help a publisher to score well in metrics managed by comScore and other audience measurement services that look increasingly at how content gets consumed away from a portal.

This is underscored by portals such as CNN making more aggressive use of their own feeds to users via RSS, search engine positioning and other techniques that are putting their content into on-the-fly contexts that users value more. In this sense, a content brand is built around what it does for an audience in the contexts that they care about most - which may or may not be the brand's parent portal.

While this gives Reuters a bit of a bloody nose in the short run it's also an acknowledgment that their strategy of using Web syndication partners sparingly is paying off to some degree as its own brand begins to gain more prominence through search engines and its increasingly sophisticated portal. However CNN's willingness to stick with content from AP and other wire services may also indicate that Reuters' once-dominant international position in news gathering is eroding to the point that it is becoming harder to position its news effectively in consumer markets. Reuters has also lagged behind AP in seeking out social media partners to build context for its content, and unlike AP does not have the advantage of a membership-driven network that relies on AP in many instances to drive branded news portals in many local markets.

All of this begs a very delicate question: is the Reuters news brand going to be strong enough to survive alone in an era in which traditional syndication is experiencing major challenges? By moving its consumer Web operations away from partners such as CNN over the past few years Reuters has tried to innoculate itself against this very question through its quest to build up non-syndication revenues through advertising and other types of business deals. But with more global news sources than ever before and a surge of user-generated content gaining more authority it is becoming ever-harder for Reuters to define that brand, a move that may be complicated by the eminent takeover of Reuters by Thomson.

Consider, for example, the fact that the far more interesting analysis of this particular story appeared on the Reuters MediaFile weblog. MediaFile is an excellent blog, but it's hardly the only one of its kind. Being able to define their brand effectively online whilst contending with both traditional and non-traditional competitors that can be exposed the the global communications afforded by the Web is going to be an ongoing challenge for Reuters and other major wire services. For now consider CNN the winner in this battle as it gains more freedom to build its brand through online channels for its text and video content, but consider both parties having to scramble to make their news strategies fly in a world of contextual content branding.

Headlines for 31 August 2007

Trends
CNN to stop using Reuters news service
Reuters
CNN to Reuters: buh-bye
Reuters MediaFile
Would You Share Your Search History? Google Lets You Do it On Facebook
Read/Write Web
Amdocs' Qpass Digital Commerce Solution Reaches $2.5 Billion Milestone
PR Newswire
S.F. citywide Wi-Fi plan fizzles as provider backs off
The SF Chronicle via SFGate
Why Are Microsoft Execs So Active on Facebook? Plus: Is Bill G. Hot, or Not?
TechCrunch
Florida Papers Post Searchable Database on FEMA Aid
Editor & Publisher

Best Practices
Americans Blogging Habits
Web Pro News

Cool Tools
OneSite.com - Software for Building Social Networks
Killer Startups
Can data be stored on single atoms?
CNET News

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
SpiralFrog Licenses Universal Music Publishing
BusinessWire
EBSCO Publishing Acquires Ten Print Indexes from SAGE
PR Web

Products, Markets & People
Dodge leaves ‘BusinessWeek’ to join Salesforce.com
BtoB Online

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Headlines for 30 August 2007

Trends
Defend Fair Use Initiative
Google Blogoscoped
IMS, Wolters Kluwer and Verispan Challenge Laws Restricting Access to Critical Healthcare Information
PharmaLive
Yahoo’s New President Oversees a Shake-Up
The New York Times*
Yahoo Reorg: Sue Decker’s Memo
paidContent.org
Magnify.net Launches Video Focused Ad Network
TechCrunch
Yesterday’s news tomorrow: Wall Street catches up with print realities
Reuters MediaFile
Google: censorship is not up to us
Times Online
Open source court ruling impacts debated
Content Agenda
TiVo, hurt by writedown, swings back to net loss
Reuters via CNET
FTC Clears News Corp.-Dow Jones Deal
AP via Forbes
News Corp and NBC Universal name video site Hulu
Reuters

Best Practices
Using Research And Experience Keywords To Avoid Customers Design Ambitions
Robin Good
Does Google Apps own your content?
CNET News
Web 2.0 content sites are better for marketers
BizReport
On the Advantages and Disadvantages of BI Search
Enterprise Systems

Cool Tools
ProfileBuilder Launches Profil.es with More Control Options for Your Online Presense
Mashable
FeedM8: Access web content through your mobile handset
Emily Chang
What would the iCar be like?
Engadget

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
GoFish Partners With adap.tv to Deliver Integrated Online Video Ads
BusinessWire
Tele Atlas Partners with Zagat Survey to Deliver Ratings and Reviews to Consumers 'On the Go' PR Newswire
MSNBC.com, CondeNast in partnership
MarketWatch*
Phone book maker teams with Yahoo
The News Observer
NBC Buys TV Group Overseas
The New York Times*
Scripps to Sell Albuquerque Paper
WSJ Online*

Products, Markets & People
Web Content Resource, Helium Marketplace, Expands Network
Web Site Host Directory

Portals Passe?: Publishers Adjust to Metrics that Reward Contextual Content

CNET News covers the first major ratings results from its revised audience ratings methodology at comScore's Media Metrix unit and the results are not altogether rosy for major portal providers. According to CNET under ComScore's new qSearch 2.0, Yahoo lost market share from a year ago and is now at 23.5 percent for July, while Google gained share, reaching 55.2 percent market share. The New York Times notes also a fall in Forbes.com's audience measurement from 15.3 million in its original February data to a revised figure of 13.2 million.

One of the key factors aiding Google in the new measurement system is comScore's inclusion of search queries initiated via Google's infrastructure through search partners, as well as queries into "universal search" categories such as news or images from a search engine's home page initiated off of an initial query.

All of this builds audience share, which despite protests from other portal providers about quality audiences is still a major factor. The difference now, though, is that ratings companies are recognizing that in a world of embedded content, OEM relationships and mashups the "here" of content is less about who comes to your site and more about how your content gets in front of audiences in many venues. Jeff Jarvis notes in a "portals are past" rant that it doesn't matter if you get 10,000 impressions on a site with an audience of 100 million impressions or from multiple sites with smaller audiences, which is somewhat to the point but misleading.

With advertisers focusing increasingly on conversational marketing and contextual ad placement the new audience metrics are rewarding publishers whose content can engage those audiences in as many finely defined contexts as possible. The issue is less the total size of a portal's audience and more the ability of a portal to define the right audiences for advertisers. It isn't so much a matter of "big is bad and small is good" as it is getting the right context for your audience no matter where they congregate.

This is where Google has done itself an enormous favor over the past several years in encouraging the use of its content via mashups, Google Co-Op and other tools that make it easy for both professionals and amateurs to use Google content in so many different contexts.
There is a lot to be said for the strategies of portals such as Yahoo! and Ask.com to engage audiences more deeply at their own destination sites to build quality audience engagement but they have lagged behind Google in defining unique contexts for content beyond their portals that may be less heavily branded but of equal value to advertisers. At publisher sites such as Forbes.com the problems are not so different, with a preponderance of traditionally syndicated content building up clicks but failing to produce enough unique content that can make a dent through their own syndication strategies to take advantage of new audience metrics.

In all of these instances Google gained an advantage by focusing on syndicating context rather than content, avoiding the expenses and lethargic pace of traditional content licensing deals in favor of making it easy for people to find anyone's content in the right context and to build additional and unique content around it. This can happen on large portals or small portals - it matters not to Google, as long as it keeps growing.

We've long held that portal strategies were topping out, so none of this comes as a terrible surprise, but it's interesting to see how advertisers in search of meaningful metrics are now one of the key drivers that are showing the way to online publishers who may have doubted the value of Google's strategies to advertisers. Traditional portals will continue to be important as branding mechanisms for content producers and marketers but the highly portable value of context is beginning to to carve away at the bottom line of portal producers.

PRISM Promotes the Interests of Scientific Publishers: Is it Better to Lobby or to Change?

Wired Science has the most in-your-face coverage of the formation of PRISM, an advocacy group formed by scholarly publishers to stem the legislative movement towards free access to government-funded scholarly research. This in and of itself is not a surprise, but Wired claims that the site is an example of astroturf advocacy, meaning an organization that tries to position itself as a grass-roots movement when in fact it is created by others wanting to appear to have grass roots support. PRISM is the creation of the Association of American Publishers, so one assumes that the roots of this organization are more likely to grow in the yards of scholarly publishers than the scientists providing the research. But is Wired's angry attitude towards PRISM justified?

The primary problem with PRISM is that it seems to be advocating on a range of issues which, while valid in their own right, are more about fear, uncertainty and doubt - those familiar sales tools - than the real issues at hand. Let's take a brief look at sme of the points that PRISM feels will result from unpaid access to government-sponsored research:
Undermining the peer review process by compromising the viability of non-profit and commercial journals that manage and fund it
This seems to be somewhat disingenuous, in that there may be alternative methods for supporting effective peer review that have not been explored by scientific publishers. Certainly a government-mandated publishing of research for free that doesn't take into account how that research is produced has the potential to be an unfunded mandate that could place an undue burden on scientific publishers. This is a real issue, but the answers to the issue may not lie with the government itself - they may lie with addressing how the peer review process is funded in general.
Opening the door to scientific censorship in the form of selective additions to or omissions from the scientific record;
There are certainly recent instances in which government research has been interfered with by political appointees in government agencies, but the bulk of this has been aimed towards communications with the public and legislators, not towards scientific papers. PRISM raises a valid concern but by conflating it with proposed government mandates to require public access to peer-reviewed publicly funded research they are playing more on sentiment than on actual evidence. Surely politics should stay out of science, but there's no indication at this time that the government would have the ability to influence the peer review process politically through these proposed mandates any more than it does today.
Subjecting the scientific record to the uncertainty that comes with changing federal budget priorities and bureaucratic meddling with definitive versions
There may be legitimate concerns raised in this point based on experience with the U.S. government's implementation of its current voluntary public access program, but PRISM seems to have conflated a number of issues under one banner. They would do better to call out the specific issues for people to understand their concerns and to reduce the emotional component of this appeal.
Introducing duplication and inefficiencies that will divert resources that would otherwise be dedicated to research.
While this is a legitimate concern also, in fairness inefficiency is nothing new to the process of producing scholarly research, as are difficulties in dealing with publicly funded research programs. What this is really saying is "It's going to cost us publishers and we're not being given a penny for it."

If the purpose of PRISM is to convince legislators that there is an advocacy group that supports the publishers' goals then my sense is that they are going to fail. The site is not very convincing and lacks information about its supporters or any input from them that would influence people into thinking that there is a broad base of support for PRISM's views. PRISM does raise some important issues that need to be addressed in the rush to make access to government-funded research public, especially in how to support the peer review process realistically in an era in which public access to research is becoming a given. But the broader outlines of the solutions to many of these problems would seem to lie in how the scholarly publishing community has resisted changes in publishing technologies that disrupt their traditional business models.

With some added focus and some sponsorship of honest debate between government research sponsors, scientists and publishers PRISM may yet serve a positive and constructive purpose as an advocacy group. But if PRISM remains little more than an "astroturf" organization that defends the commercial interests of publishers then it's not likely to gain the needed respect from any of the parties that it needs to influence in this debate. Publishers in general are reluctant to engage their markets in a more conversational manner, but if scholarly publishers can position PRISM as a tool to build an honest conversation about the future of commercial and non-commercial scholarly publishing then they may be able to make some headway. At the moment I wouldn't bet on that happening, but you never know.

Headlines for 29 August 2007

Trends
Astroturf Spreads to Science Journals: Publishing Industry Forms PRISM
Wired Science
Nielsen Finds Drop In TV Usage Is Real, Not Methodological, Heavy Viewers Impacted Most
MediaPost
Media stocks and the credit crunch
CNN Money
Waiting for Google to Exhale
Search Engine Watch
Afternoon papers, the handyman’s dream
Reuters MediaFile
Google is working on a mobile OS, and it's due out shortly
Engadget
Slide Users Adding One Million New Widgets Daily: That’s a Lot Of Widgets
TechCrunch
Yahoo files to dismiss China human rights suit
CNET News
Business Media Ad Revenue Slips Nearly Two Percent
FOLIO: Magazine
Changes at Google Scholar: A Conversation With Anurag Acharya
Information Today

Best Practices
Windows Genuine Advantage Crashes: Everyone's a Pirate
Stephen's Web
The Tangled State of Archived News Footage Online
MediaShift
16 Core Observations of Social Design
Borkado

Cool Tools
Your Content Is Calling
MediaPost
Contest aims to reward mobile 'mash-up' entrepreneurs
The Boston Globe

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
'Wash Post' and CBS News to Share Campaign Content
Editor and Publisher
Knovel Announces New Content Partnership with Brill Academic Publishers
PR Newswire
CNN.com Inks Multi-Year Advertising Agreement with Google
BusinessWire
NewspaperARCHIVE.com Partners With World Vital Records, Inc. for Access To A Half-Billion Records
SBWire
blinkx Announces 28 New Media Partnerships to Serve Niche Audiences
PR Newswire
R.H. Donnelley and Yahoo! Local Expand Relationship
PR Newswire via CNN Money

Products, Markets & People
Yahoo Adds Features to Popular E-Mail
AP via Forbes
Thomson Scientific Launches the New Face of Research
PR Newswire
Google CFO George Reyes retires
Download Squad
LexisNexis Launches Lexis(R) Back Office Powered by PCLaw 9 to Help Law Firms Improve Cash Flow
BusinessWire

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Headline Summary for 28 August 2007

Trends
Google's ability to power applications anywhere with unique content is helping it to grow beyond its portal...
Google gains, Yahoo loses under ComScore changes
CNET News
Big is over, portals are past
Buzz Machine

As ad-driven revenues and open source content overshadow paid content models in media...
A Quest to Get More Court Rulings Online, and Free
The New York Times*
The Hollywood Reporter, ESQ calls it quits
LA Observed
Free Newspapers Lead Way Online in Europe
MediaShift

Contextual advertising takes on a new twist with Google's opt-in video ads...
YouTube Reinvents Video Ads
Mashable

As Google gets ready to twist people's expectations for mobile content services...
Google 'probably' to bid for 700MHz spectrum
CNET News

Publishers focusing on maximizing the value of their inventory turn to systems delivering broader demand...
PubMatic Aims to Maximize Revenue for Web Site Publishers
Read/Write Web

University presses are falling behind as journals seek out more sophisticated channels for marketing...
Publishing and Values: Is AAA's Move from UC to Wiley Hurting Less Profitable Science?
Inside Higher Education
Two Studios to Support HD DVD Over Rival
The New York Times*

Social media is becoming the content platform of choice for knowledge-intensive applications...
CIA 'launches Facebook for spies'
BBC News
Crowdsourcing Reaches Facebook Users in First Collaborative Online Course
PR Web
Stocks.us: A TechMeme Clone For Stock News
TechCrunch

As traditional sources turn to social media channels to gain relevance and audience share...
Internet news: alternative sources growing fast, but big brands dominate
Ars Technica
Entertainment Biz Now Uses P2P For Branding
GigaOM
In the Cut and Paste Era, Traffic Happens Elsewhere
Micro Persuasion

These days the biggest winners in traditional media deals may be the ones who didn't play...
Tribune-Deal Worries Remain Despite Approval
WSJ Online*
Investor Doubts Put Deals in Jeopardy
WSJ Online*

In other major trends in content this week...
An update on Google Video feedback
Google Blog
Viacom And NBC Inject Themselves Into Online Video Litigation
TechCrunch
infoUSA Gains $11.2 Million Litigation Settlement
BusinessWire

Best Practices
How Will Universal Search Affect SEO?
ISE DB

Cool Tools
Vlingo, a new voice-to-text service launches
WebWare
Blogger Ads Inline AdSense Widget
ProBlogger
SolutionBase: Build your own CMS with TikiWiki
Tech Republic
Hitchhikers Guide to Google Sky
PC World

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Business Objects, Thomson partner on SaaS
InfoWorld
Elsevier to Sell MDL to Symyx Technologies
Information Today
ebrary announces partnership with YBP Library Services
DM Asia
Amazon Consulting, LLC + eChannelLine Publishing Form Alliance for First IT Channel Specific Job Site
PR Newswire
Fraunhofer Society Signs Multi-Year Contract With Thomson Scientific's ISI
PR Newswire
Former Cygnus Execs Acquire Healthcare and Medical Communications Company
FOLIO: Magazine
'Stars and Stripes' Buys Atex Content Mangement System
Editor & Publisher
Vivisimo and Datawatch Enhance E-Discovery and Compliance with Integrated E-Mail Archiving Search
BusinessWire

Products, Markets & People
Interwoven Introduces Universal Search for Professional Services Firms
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Zagat Launches ZAGAT.mobi Advertising-Supported Mobile Website Brings Free Content to Mobile Phones
PR Newswire
Bankrate.com Content Offered on CNBC.com
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Ask.com debuts TV ad campaign to promote Ask3D
BtoB Online
CrossFire Beilstein Database Exceeds Ten Million Compounds
PR Newswire via PharmaLive
New LexisNexis(R) CaseMap(R) Enhances Strategic Link between Discovery and Case Assessment
BusinessWire

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Headlines for 26 August 2007

Trends
Teen 'unlocks' iPhone from AT&T network
AP via Yahoo! News
Google phone coming in two weeks?
WebWare
Google Patent Points to Marriage Between Search and E-mail
InformationWeek
Facebook plans to offer targeted ads
USA Today
Yahoo!, Microsoft ink web pact with Chinese government: 'The end of anonymous blogging'
The Register
Vint Cerf, aka the godfather of the net, predicts the end of TV as we know it
The Guardian
Lawmaker proposes piracy warning
Content Agenda
The Internet is Dead and Boring
Blog Maverick
The Internet Is As Dead And Boring As You Want It To Be
A VC
Internet Radio Saved - For Now
Read/Write Web
FM Raises Another $4.5M; Are They Having Difficulty Filling Inventory?
CenterNetworks
First year of Google WiFi
Google Blog
'Second Life': The promise and paradox
CNET News
Google Adding YouTube Video to its News Site
The Alpha Marketer
Grim Outlook: Ziff Davis Quarterly Revenues Down 30 Percent
FOLIO: Magazine
NYTimes.com makes ‘My Times’ available to all users
Editor & Publisher

Best Practices
Online Video Advertising And Monetization Guide
Robin Good
Copyright Protection To Move From Cable To In-Home Networks
GigaOM
A Report on Scholarly Publishing Gets the Web 2.0 Treatment
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Cool Tools
Google’s Blogger Adds Support for Video
NewTeeVee
Google May Start New York Transit Guide to Boost Ads
Bloomberg

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
Hearst loses shares to investors Corp.: Had offered $600 million for TV stock
Variety
IntelliSearch and Groxis Form Strategic Partnership Enabling Discovery-Oriented Enterprise Search
PR Newswire
JISC members from Higher and Further Education libraries to access Knovel engineering knowledge
Information World Review
Wolters Kluwer to Buy Dealer Tech Firm AppOne
BankNet360

Products, Markets & People
Wikipilipinas founder aims for ‘long tail’ effect
Inquirer. net

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Moving Beyond DRM to Open Markets: Is Watermarking a Solution?

These are not the salad days for many Digital Rights Management providers, with major music producers such as Universal eschewing proprietary copy protection in an effort to blunt efforts by Apple and others to control music distribution and pricing. But just because you are enabling open copying doesn't mean that you have to give up on copyright. PC World covers a new digital watermarking technology from Activated Content that enables music producers to track copying of music via standard audio file formats. The technology in Activated's watermarking algorithms is very powerful, but because it does not prevent access to the music itself there's very little motivation for the average music consumer to crack the code. This is very much along the lines of what we've been encouraging for some time, analogous in some ways to what Attributor is doing with hypertext-based digital content.

The key to success in digital content distribution in an era that values the context that content finds itself in as much as the content itself is to not use access control as a mechanism for copyright enforcement. For those such as movie producers who have not yet come up with effective contextual monetization models DRM will be with us for quite some time, though, as evidenced by the prevalence of Blu-ray format DVD discs driving HD video sales. When your focus is more on an uninterrupted performance with a high-level technology component DRM may still be able to carry the freight. But as contextual advertising makes its way into video distribution as well (pre-rolls as in move theatres today) we may begin to see some loosening of DRM for video also, especially as it will find itself competing more with increasingly ad-driven game content for audience attention. All content producers concerned about copyright in an era that increasingly values user-initiated content distribution need to consider how watermarking technologies may be able to help further revenue streams beyond their traditional models.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Headlines for 20 August 2007

Trends
Google gains, Yahoo loses under ComScore changes
CNET News
Viacom And NBC Inject Themselves Into Online Video Litigation
TechCrunch
Big is over, portals are past
Buzz Machine
Internet news: alternative sources growing fast, but big brands dominate
Ars Technica
Entertainment Biz Now Uses P2P For Branding
GigaOM
The Hollywood Reporter, ESQ calls it quits
LA Observed
Crowdsourcing Reaches Facebook Users in First Collaborative Online Course
PR Web
Free Newspapers Lead Way Online in Europe
MediaShift
In the Cut and Paste Era, Traffic Happens Elsewhere
Micro Persuasion
A Quest to Get More Court Rulings Online, and Free
The New York Times*
Investor Doubts Put Deals in Jeopardy
WSJ Online*

Cool Tools
Vlingo, a new voice-to-text service launches
WebWare

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
'Stars and Stripes' Buys Atex Content Mangement System
Editor & Publisher
Elsevier to Sell MDL to Symyx Technologies
Information Today
ebrary announces partnership with YBP Library Services
DM Asia
Amazon Consulting, LLC + eChannelLine Publishing Form Alliance for First IT Channel Specific Job Site
PR Newswire
Fraunhofer Society Signs Multi-Year Contract With Thomson Scientific's ISI
PR Newswire
Former Cygnus Execs Acquire Healthcare and Medical Communications Company
FOLIO: Magazine

Products, Markets & People
Interwoven Introduces Universal Search for Professional Services Firms
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Zagat Launches ZAGAT.mobi Advertising-Supported Mobile Website Brings Free Content to Mobile Phones
PR Newswire
Bankrate.com Content Offered on CNBC.com
PR Newswire via CNN Money
CrossFire Beilstein Database Exceeds Ten Million Compounds
PR Newswire via PharmaLive
New LexisNexis(R) CaseMap(R) Enhances Strategic Link between Discovery and Case Assessment
BusinessWire

Headline Summary for 20 August

Trends
It's an online-first world for most content consumers today...
OPA Study Reveals Shifting Internet Landscape: Content is now King
ComputerWorld

As major media producers commit to getting online right this time...
Big media hunts for Web cred, again
CNET News
Hearst Uses Startup Mentality in Revamp of Magazine Sites
MediaShift

But communications companies still seem fixated on old models for content distribution...
How many trees did your iPhone bill kill?
USA Today
iPhone data roaming charges exceed $5,000!
AT&T Horror Story

Shrinking and vanishing print titles hit more markets and niches as fewer ads support less content...
Chicago Tribune Narrowing Pages
AP via Yahoo! Finance
Why newspapers are not screwed
Virtual Economics
Celebrity Magazines Gain, but Not Industry Circulation
The New York Times*
Ziff Davis Won’t Make Interest Payment Due Today
FOLIO: Magazine
Dow Jones could pay more to refinance debt
Reuters via The Hollywood Rptr

As social media powers more personal and business networking the audiences and dollars follow...
VideoEgg: Suddenly They’re A Facebook Ad Network
TechCrunch
TripAdvisor drops $3 million for a Facebook application
Download Squad
Mashable Launches the Web 2.0 Marketplace: Free for 48 Hours
Mashable
Why Twitter will change the way business communicates (again).
FastCompany
Opening up the Social Network Graph
O'Reilly Radar

Not that everything is ducky in startup land either...
Bolt.com Shuts Down, After Failed Acquisition By GoFish
paidContent.org

While Google focuses on enabling technologies other services focused on users are gaining leverage...
Yahoo beats Google in customer satisfaction survey
CNET News
The demise of Google: Niche search services could herald hard times ahead
InfoWorld
Yahoo puts the yokel in Local
WebWare
Dr. Google and Dr. Microsoft
The New York Times*

As blog content becomes more mainstream blog-specific services are hard-pressed to stand out....
Technorati Founder Resigns as CEO
WSJ Online*

Wikipedia's openness to manipulation by corporations and governments comes under fire...
Wikipedia and the art of censorship
The Independent

No so fast, FAST - being all things to all people is a strategy that requires excellent execution...
FAST realigns after operational failures
CBR

Copyright continues to be a battleground but technologies are making it easier to do the right thing...
Consulting firm pays $300K for illegally using copyrighted content
Computerworld
Could Audio Watermarking Help Make MP3s Free?
PC World

China's inconsistent approach to censorship makes it difficult for media companies to do business...
China Announces Media Crackdown
The New York Times*
Companies need guidance to face censors abroad
CNET News

Memo to television producers: don't get your hopes up for online distribution without a new business model...
Is the Future of Television Online? Not Yet
MediaShift

In other major trends in content this week...
Google helps LA Times redefine 'defensive'
Reuters
Lawsuit Challenges Google’s Keyword Ads
The New York Times*
BBC iPlayer wreaking havoc on ISPs
Download Squad
Lead Generation: Hot Online-Marketing Niche Cools Fast
WSJ Online*
Ebooks and Text Adventures Come to the iPhone
Wired Blog Net
A Common Misconception Regarding Video Advertising
MediaPost
Alexa Says YouTube Is Now Bigger Than Google. Alexa Is Useless
TechCrunch

Best Practices
Why Full Text Feeds Actually Increase Page Views
TechDirt
Scan This Book! In the race to digitize the public domain, is the future of the library at stake?
Library Journal
What Is the Return on Your Investment in Social Media?
The Blog Herald
Copyright is Not a Right
P2P Foundation
Google Penalization: Text Links, Redirects Not Likely Causes
Robin Good
RSS feeds begin to bleed into enterprise applications
ZDNet
Fading away: The problem of digital sustainability
ANU
True behavioural targeting means more than segmentation
E-Consultancy
Wiki becomes textbook in Boston College classroom
Computerworld
Facebook: Signing Your Life Away or Being Immortalised?
AllMedia Scotland
Survey Finds Librarians Agree on Accessibility as Main Draw of eBooks
EContent Magazine

Cool Tools
Movable Type 4.0 Launched
Read/Write Web
Trueveo - The Most Relevant Video Search Engine That Indexes All Video Clips
Digital Inspiration
Google To Release Embeddable Maps
O'Reilly Radar
Skype on iPhone. No, seriously.
GigaOM

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Tensleep to Become New Media Company Aggregating Branded Sports Content for
PR Newswire via EarthTimes
Adobe Partners with Telnore, to Deliver Mobile Content Services
Web Site Host Directory
CBS Mobile, Verizon Wireless and MediaFLO USA Team Up to Stream Footage
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Money Talks News Joins Voxant's TheNewsRoom.com to Syndicate Video Advice
PR Newswire
Decades of Historic NBC News Archives Released in HotChalk's Digital Learning Environment
PR Newswire
Reprints Desk to Deliver Articles from Oxford Journals
PR-GB.com

Products, Markets & People
Capital IQ Doubles Client Base to 2,000 in Two Years; Expanding Business Globally
PR Newswire via CNN Money
InvestorIdeas.com Features Podcasts, Audio Content and Audio Ads in Environment and Water Sector
PR Minds
Authentidate's Inscrybe Office to Bring Trusted Document Exchange to Enterprises and Mass Market
PR Newswire viaCNN Money
User-Generated Content Appears in National TV Ad Campaign for VEGAS.com on Travel Channel
BusinessWire
Management Shuffle at Facebook
All Things Digital
Kohler Web Site Next-Generation Video Player Offers a Wealth of Product Information and Design Ideas
PR Newswire via EarthTimes

Friday, August 17, 2007

Headlines for 17 August 2007

Trends
Technorati Founder Resigns as CEO
WSJ Online*
Lawsuit Challenges Google’s Keyword Ads
The New York Times*
Dow Jones could pay more to refinance debt
Reuters via The Hollywood Rptr
TripAdvisor drops $3 million for a Facebook application
Download Squad
Wikipedia and the art of censorship
The Independent
Consulting firm pays $300K for illegally using copyrighted content
Computerworld
FAST realigns after operational failures
CBR
Why Twitter will change the way business communicates (again).
FastCompany
Google helps LA Times redefine 'defensive'
Reuters
Opening up the Social Network Graph
O'Reilly Radar
Chicago Tribune Narrowing Pages
AP via Yahoo! Finance
Ebooks and Text Adventures Come to the iPhone
Wired Blog Net

Best Practices
What Is the Return on Your Investment in Social Media?
The Blog Herald
Copyright is Not a Right
P2P Foundation
Google Penalization: Text Links, Redirects Not Likely Causes
Robin Good
RSS feeds begin to bleed into enterprise applications
ZDNet
Fading away: The problem of digital sustainability
ANU

Cool Tools
Trueveo - The Most Relevant Video Search Engine That Indexes All Video Clips
Digital Inspiration

Deals, Partnerships and Sales

Adobe Partners with Telnore, to Deliver Mobile Content Services
Web Site Host Directory
CBS Mobile, Verizon Wireless and MediaFLO USA Team Up to Stream Footage
PR Newswire via CNN Money

Thursday, August 16, 2007

iMoan: AT&T's iPhone Billing Policies Point to Needed Lobbying Pressure from Publishers

You have your choice of horror stories to choose from as AT+T sends out its first service bills for Web access via Apple's iPhones. USA Today covers an active text messager who had her 300-page bill delivered in a box (YouTube video below) while a design consultant who got socked with roaming charges for Web access had to cough up USD 5,000 to settle his everyday use of the mobile web. The culprit in both instances is message units, with AT&T's by-the-byte metering making single-page Web downloads as much as USD 20 per page or more in some instances. With rates like this one can only wonder what mobile Web carriers would have in mind if they decided to start adding on fees for high-traffic Web sites as some of them are proposing for general Web access.

While AT&T dismisses these as extreme examples of billing charges the fact of the matter is that it's indicative of how little phone carriers have come in accepting what creates value in content access today. We have had more than a decade of flat-rate Internet access services and increasing use of free or flat-rate telephony to accelerate the growth of electronic publishing but still the major carriers want to play by the old rules - to the long-term detriment of publishers. The most likely consequence of this early application of inflexible metered billing is to heighten the appeal of proposals before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to make new frequencies available for broadband wireless access more open to competition and transparent access to content and supporting services.

The same threats to revenues faced by publishers as telecommunications companies try to impose tariffs on land-line Internet access are already in place in a mobile marketplace that will represent an increasingly significant portion of publisher revenues - if we can get beyond USD 20-per-page Web downloads. AT&T's clumsy handling of billing may back-handedly do publishers a great favor by letting them see both the promise of a device like the iPhone and the inordinate restrictions for its use to access the Web. Publishers know already that print revenues will no longer fill the bottom line as before: it's time for publishers to push aggressively in the U.S. Congress for a more open, flat-rate approach to mobile Web access that will help them to build online revenues as quickly as possible and to promote more accessible and profitable mobile services that will help them to do that more effectively.

Headlines for 15 August 2007

Trends
Big media hunts for Web cred, again
CNET News
How many trees did your iPhone bill kill?
USA Today
iPhone data roaming charges exceed $5,000!
AT&T Horror Story
Hearst Uses Startup Mentality in Revamp of Magazine Sites
MediaShift
Yahoo puts the yokel in Local
WebWare
Could Audio Watermarking Help Make MP3s Free?
PC World
Bolt.com Shuts Down, After Failed Acquisition By GoFish
paidContent.org
A Common Misconception Regarding Video Advertising
MediaPost
BBC iPlayer wreaking havoc on ISPs
Download Squad
Companies need guidance to face censors abroad
CNET News
Ziff Davis Won’t Make Interest Payment Due Today
FOLIO: Magazine
China Announces Media Crackdown
The New York Times*

Best Practices
Scan This Book! In the race to digitize the public domain, is the future of the library at stake?
Library Journal
True behavioural targeting means more than segmentation
E-Consultancy
Wiki becomes textbook in Boston College classroom
Computerworld

Cool Tools
Movable Type 4.0 Launched
Read/Write Web
Google To Release Embeddable Maps
O'Reilly Radar

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
Tensleep to Become New Media Company Aggregating Branded Sports Content for
PR Newswire via EarthTimes
Money Talks News Joins Voxant's TheNewsRoom.com to Syndicate Video Advice
PR Newswire
Decades of Historic NBC News Archives Released in HotChalk's Digital Learning Environment
PR Newswire
Reprints Desk to Deliver Articles from Oxford Journals
PR-GB.com

Products, Markets & People
InvestorIdeas.com Features Podcasts, Audio Content and Audio Ads in Environment and Water Sector
PR Minds
Authentidate's Inscrybe Office to Bring Trusted Document Exchange to Enterprises and Mass Market
PR Newswire viaCNN Money
User-Generated Content Appears in National TV Ad Campaign for VEGAS.com on Travel Channel
BusinessWire
Management Shuffle at Facebook
All Things Digital

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Grokking Spock: A Meta-Directory of Personal Profiles Powered by Technology and People

CNET interviews Jaideep Singh, the CEO and Co-Founder of the newly launched personal profile search engine Spock, and reveals insights into what is perhaps the hottest online content product launch this year. The Spock team has already assembled about 100 million tagged personal profiles of both living and historical people, including high profile people from the past like Diana, Princess of Wales and somewhat more mundane people from today like, well, me. Spock has carved out a very clever niche for itself, providing bone-simple search and navigation features like Google, personal profiling and networking as found in social media services such as LinkedIn and Facebook, content tagging, bookmarking and voting features like Digg and del.icio.us and content embedding features like PhotoBucket that enable a Spock profile to appear on Web pages beyond Spock.

There are all too many instances of features checklists like the above that could result in tragically bad content services but that's not the case with Spock. Through its system of content tagging and linking Spock winds up being a very powerful tool to research people who might have something to say on a given topic or to find out people who may have a connection to someone who you need to research. For example if you try a Spock search on "global warming" you get to no one's surprise a Spock profile of Al Gore as your first entry, but it's followed closely by Bill Clinton's profile (listed as "global warming advocate" [sic] as well as having a relationship link to Al Gore) and then by profiles of numerous global warming skeptics, including Rush Limbaugh. These are interesting and highly relevant search results that Google, as good as it may be from its own perspective, simply cannot duplicate.

Anyone can tag a person's profile returned on Spock with additional keywords that may be relevant to the person or add a vote for an existing tag. This is an exciting combination of content categorization and user feedback that provides the ability to create more relevance for a given person's relationship to a tagged topic without having to rely on evaluating external content sources. However Spock does quite a bit of external content evaluation as well, using patented algorithms to determine relevance, personal links and profile information. This information may be verified and edited by a person logging in to the Spock service and claiming their profile, much as in the Zoominfo online directory of professionals. In building a profile one can add links to existing personal profiles on social media services or links to relevant Web pages. Others may add links to your profile as well and vote on them, so there is a social media aspect to profile building also.

There's very little redundant information in Spock, it's mostly links to relevant information found elsewhere, as with other search engines. But the social media features, profile links, user tagging, bookmarking and personal profile validation features combine with straight search capabilities to create a truly unique experience with very useful information. Given that people have been "Googling" people for a long time you'd think that a major search engine like Google would have come up with Spock-like features to add value to personal searching, but Spock found that need and has filled it very nicely. While it may lack some of the strong business oriented capabilities of finding professionals via services such as LinkedIn, Jigsaw or Zoominfo the Spock method seems to try to be a Switzerland of sorts for social media profiles: have as many as you want wherever you want them and Spock will use them as useful input for building yourself an all-encompassing profile and content directory on their own service.

The mixture of both solid results and fun exploration is sure to make Spock a very popular and useful service for people in both personal and professional roles, a factor that is likely to encourage people to build and maintain a high profile via Spock's search services. Spock helps to fill in the area between purely automated searches that fail to incorporate personal wisdom on both people an topics and does so in novel ways that challenge both conventional search engines and more traditional directory services to consider how people can be exposed most effectively to audiences searching for both information about people and both personal and professional relationships with people. It's still early days for Spock, of course - performance is so-so at times and there are still some bugs to be found in basic features such as profile claiming - but as a tool to probe into people within the framework of key topics expect Spock to become a trend-setter for some time to come.

Headlines for 14 August 2007

Trends
OPA Study Reveals Shifting Internet Landscape: Content is now King
ComputerWorld
Dr. Google and Dr. Microsoft
The New York Times*
Why newspapers are not screwed
Virtual Economics
VideoEgg: Suddenly They’re A Facebook Ad Network
TechCrunch
Lead Generation: Hot Online-Marketing Niche Cools Fast
WSJ Online*
Is the Future of Television Online? Not Yet
MediaShift
Mashable Launches the Web 2.0 Marketplace: Free for 48 Hours
Mashable
Alexa Says YouTube Is Now Bigger Than Google. Alexa Is Useless
TechCrunch
Yahoo beats Google in customer satisfaction survey
CNET News
The demise of Google: Niche search services could herald hard times ahead
InfoWorld
Celebrity Magazines Gain, but Not Industry Circulation
The New York Times*

Best Practices
Why Full Text Feeds Actually Increase Page Views
TechDirt
Facebook: Signing Your Life Away or Being Immortalised?
AllMedia Scotland
Survey Finds Librarians Agree on Accessibility as Main Draw of eBooks
EContent Magazine

Cool Tools
Skype on iPhone. No, seriously.
GigaOM

Products, Markets & People
Capital IQ Doubles Client Base to 2,000 in Two Years; Expanding Business Globally
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Kohler Web Site Next-Generation Video Player Offers a Wealth of Product Information and Design Ideas
PR Newswire via EarthTimes