Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Headlines for 31 October 2007

Trends
Details Revealed: Google OpenSocial To Launch Thursday
TechCrunch
Google Talks Up GPhone to Verizon
PC Magazine
Am I Really Worth $300 as a Facebook User?
MediaShift
Do-not-track lists to shield Net surfers
CNET News
Thomson, Reuters Request 10-Day Extension for European Regulator to Review Acquisition
Candian Business
Driving Traffic Online: Social Networking
FOLIO: Magazine
Hulu to Threaten Cable TV, Not YouTube
TheStreet.com
Traffic Jam: Users at Newspaper Sites Still On Rise
Editor & Publisher
Yahoo: 'IP Rules'
Internet News
eBooks making same mistakes as music industry
PC Pro

Best Practices
Pay Per Click Is Popular, But Results Vary
eMarketer
Africa: ICT/Web No Longer Luxury for Citizens
AllAfrica.com
Well paid at The Wall Street Journal
Reuters MediaFile
Hitwise offers reports on new and returning visitors
BtoB Online

Cool Tools
Sneak Peek: Seekler Community List-Building
Mashable
A Cloudbook on the Horizon
The New York Times

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
Best Buy Launches Mydeo-Powered User-Gen Video Portal; Takes Minority Stake
paidContent.org
PodShow to Create 'Searchertainment' - Selects blinkx to Power Breakthrough Rich Media Search
PR Newswire
The Nielsen Company to Participate in Forbes Leadership Networks
BusinessWire
Generate Signs Three Leading Publishers to Deploy gClick Technology
PR Newswire
Fair Isaac, Think Partnership join forces on new ad marketplace
BtoB Online

Products, Markets & People
AOL takes Truveo online video search international
Download Squad
Wolters Network Now Includes SEC Comment Letters
Metropolitan Corp. Counsel

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Google Readies Embeddable Social Media Platform: Will "Maka-Maka" Make Inroads?

UPDATE: Google's launch of the codenamed "Maka-Maka" project will take place Thursday, details at TechCrunch.] With Silicon Valley sprouting more Hawaiian-esque words for social media products than a Trader Vic's menu it's only appropriate that Google should be betting large on a social media with a new project code-named Maka-Maka. As detailed by TechCrunch Maka-Maka is an effort to bring social media capabilities and other Google content applications to any Web platform and application rather than trying to create just another standalone portal. To some degree this may seem like sloppy seconds after having lost a bidding war for Facebook to Microsoft, especially as Google's own Orkut social media portal has barely dented U.S. markets. But there may be some strengths to Google's methods if they can get them rolled out in a timely fashion.

The general Maka-Maka concept is to use social media as the principle platform from which one accesses other Google applications and which in turn can be embedded on other media platforms, in essence turning any Google application or other application into a social media-enabled application, complete with Google's own library of widgets already enabled through the iGoogle personalized interface. Add in Google's contextual ad capabilities and there's the potential for a new type of universal distribted platform for consuming content that puts social contexts at its focal point. Instead of locking people into a particular portal Google provides a trusted login, core functionality and the ability to embed a common framework for conversational content anywhere.

Then again, it could turn out to be what it seems to be at first glance: an after-the-fact attempt to pull together on a patchwork basis a very disparate group of Google applications that were never constructed with social media in mind. Facebook has its own ideas for a social media operating system as well, mind you, but at least it would start with a viable community built around bona-fide relationships at the center of its capabilities rather than having to wish that network into being.

But there's one key aspect to Google's gambit that may help it to propel its plans for Maka-Maka forward more quickly than may be envisioned at first: mobile markets. With a strong mobile platform about to be launched and powerful content and applications built off of Google Maps that are naturals for social networking there's every reason to think that Maka-Maka may be first and foremost the gateway into mobile social media that can bridge together voice conversations, messaging, email ecommerce and user-generated content far more rapidly than any other mobile provider. With Facebook under Microsoft's wing there's going to be an already established mobile platform on which Facebook's network of users could be deployed rapidly, so this is going to be a race with many dimensions - many of which could just as easily favor Microsoft's increasingly savvy online strategy.

Much of this will become more clear over the next few weeks as Google reveals more about both its mobile capabilities as well as its social media plans, but expect the initial announcements about Maka-Maka to be underwhelming until Google's mobile plans become more explicit. Once those kick in Maka-Maka may just turn out to be a very interesting way for the world to carry on its conversations in more online and mobile venues than any other provider - if it can finally manage to draw a critical mass of audience share for its social media efforts. Google's efforts to date don't augur well for that likelihood, but as Google seeks to open up mobile markets to more universal and cross-network access it may yet get the upper hand on truly universal social media.

Headline Summary for 30 October 2007

Trends
In a world in which social media's power has become as ubiquitous...
Online Citizen Journalism Now Undeniably Mainstream
Read/Write Web
California Wildfire Coverage by Local Media, Blogs, Twitter, Maps and More
MediaShift

As its hype...
Second Life continues to soak up the media's attention
ValeyWag

Has Silicon Valley lost interest in anything except the funding race...?
The Web 2.0 World is Skunk Drunk on Its Own Kool-Aid
Micro Persuasion
Microsoft invests $240 million in Facebook
AP via CNN
Why Private-Equity Firms Are Suddenly Smitten With Digital
AdAge
After Succeeding, Young Tycoons Try, Try Again
The New York Times

While slow-to-move media companies accelerate their efforts to provide more openness...
Yahoo opening up home page to outside sources
CNET News
Mercury News Tries To Catch Up, After Being In the Perpetually Poised Position For Social Media
paidContent.org
First Look: Hulu Combines Ease of Use, Content, Advertising
Wired

Google readies a new social media platform to embed its content and applications everywhere....
Google’s Response to Facebook: "Maka-Maka"
TechCrunch

Media CEOs vie for best underperformance excuses...
Time Warner shares rise on CEO exit speculation
Reuters
CE-Oh no he didn't! Part XLVII: NBC Universal chief says Apple "destroyed" music pricing
Engadget

Or come up with new ones in the making...
Hearst pays $317 million for MediaNews stake
Reuters
In Canada, a New Newspaper Faces Off Against a Well-Established Family
The New York Times

As Washington rattles sabers more loudly on leveling the online playing field for content delivery...
Senators Threatening Telcos With Probe Over Net Neutrality
TechCrunch
Senate passes Internet tax moratorium extension: 7 more years tax-free
Ars Technica
Coming next week: A tax on your e-mail?
CNET News
FCC member requests formal inquiry into News Corp.-Dow Jones deal
BtoB Online

European regulators manage to open up Microsoft's platforms for more content and application access...
Microsoft to EU: You win, we'll change
Download Squad

Memo to publishers: it's not nice to try to make Google's organic search results sponsored content...
Yes, Google Admits Torching Your PageRank
Web Pro News

Hmm, a slowly dying distribution idea for a slowly dying distribution idea...?
Maghound: a Netflix for Magazines?
AdAge

Kinda makes you realize why all of those TV ads for love life products try so hard to get our attention...
Loving the Internet Survey: 24% of Americans say the Internet could replace a partner for a while
Computerworld

In other major trends in content this week...
OCA To Scan Orphan Works; Publishers Float Orphan Works Solution
Library Journal
TheStreet.com Steers A Long, Bumpy Road
IBD via CNN Money
ManiaTV Cancels User-Generated Content
BusinessWeek
Yahoo’s China Syndrome: Alibaba IPO Lifts YHOO
GigaOM
Why Facebook employees are profiling users
ValleyWag
Best Practices
The Google Page Rank Pendulum Swings…. Again
ProBlogger
Rich Media, Social Networks, Dynamic Content, and On-Demand
CMS Wire
Copyright Wars and Higher Education
The Cornell Daily Sun
Microsoft blocks FairUse4WM v2 after 3 months of DRM free music
ZDNet Blogs
Social Media Demographics Defined - Marketing to the Users Generating the Content
4Hoteliers
Mr. Know-It-All: Medical Blogging, Facebook Hustling, Email Policing
Wired Magazine

Cool Tools
iMooch: Social Networking Meets Content Marketplace
iMooch
Terabyte nanotech thumb drives around the corner?
Engadget
Mindtouch rising in the open-source wiki market
CNET Blogs
WikiPediaVision: Watch Realtime Wikipedia Edits
O'Reilly Radar
Skype and 3 announce Skype Mobile phone
Download Squad
News Flows, Consciousness Streams: The Headwaters of a River of Words
The New York Times
Search Aggregated Social Media Networks And Selected Content Sources With Lijit
Robin Good
Bridgestone shows off ultrathin, full-color e-paper
Engadget

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

Agence France-Presse Signs With Teletrax for Global Analysis of Video News Content Usage
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Gannett to Join Tribune and Partner on National Network of Local Entertainment Sites
PR Newswire
Wiley-Blackwell Journals Contribute To Council Of Science Editor's Global Theme Issue
Medical News Today
Tribune to Sell Two Papers In Connecticut to Hearst
WSJ Online*
National Geographic and MetaCarta Introduce CartaLens Geospatial DAM Solution
Marketwire
INSAR and Wiley-Blackwell to Publish Autism Research
Trading Markets

Products, Markets & People
Another Yahoo Exec Departs
All Things DIgital
MySpace exec gets the heave-ho
ValleyWag
Mansueto Launches Business Social Networking Site IncBizNet
FOLIO: Magazine
AviationWeek.com Launches Vertical Search Engine for the Aerospace & Defense Industry
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Acxiom board approves repurchase of up to $75M in stock over the next year
Thomson Financial/CNN
ScienceDirect Maximizes Research Capabilities, Enhances the Research Process
PR Newswire

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Headlines for 28 October 2007

Trends
Yahoo opening up home page to outside sources
CNET News
FCC member requests formal inquiry into News Corp.-Dow Jones deal
BtoB Online
Time Warner shares rise on CEO exit speculation
Reuters
Microsoft invests $240 million in Facebook
AP via CNN
Mercury News Tries To Catch Up, After Being In the Perpetually Poised Position For Social Media
paidContent.org
Senators Threatening Telcos With Probe Over Net Neutrality
TechCrunch
Online Citizen Journalism Now Undeniably Mainstream
Read/Write Web
Senate passes Internet tax moratorium extension: 7 more years tax-free
Ars Technica
Coming next week: A tax on your e-mail?
CNET News
TheStreet.com Steers A Long, Bumpy Road
IBD via CNN Money
Loving the Internet Survey: 24% of Americans say the Internet could replace a partner for a while
Computerworld
California Wildfire Coverage by Local Media, Blogs, Twitter, Maps and More
MediaShift
Maghound: a Netflix for Magazines?
AdAge
After Succeeding, Young Tycoons Try, Try Again
The New York Times

Best Practices
The Google Page Rank Pendulum Swings…. Again
ProBlogger
Microsoft blocks FairUse4WM v2 after 3 months of DRM free music
ZDNet Blogs

Cool Tools
iMooch: Social Networking Meets Content Marketplace
iMooch
Terabyte nanotech thumb drives around the corner?
Engadget
Mindtouch rising in the open-source wiki market
CNET Blogs
News Flows, Consciousness Streams: The Headwaters of a River of Words
The New York Times

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
Agence France-Presse Signs With Teletrax for Global Analysis of Video News Content Usage
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Wiley-Blackwell Journals Contribute To Council Of Science Editor's Global Theme Issue
Medical News Today
Tribune to Sell Two Papers In Connecticut to Hearst
WSJ Online*

Products, Markets & People
Another Yahoo Exec Departs
All Things DIgital
MySpace exec gets the heave-ho
ValleyWag
Mansueto Launches Business Social Networking Site IncBizNet
FOLIO: Magazine

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Microsoft Stakes Facebook to Get a Finger in Social Media Platforms

Let's face it, for an enormous company Microsoft is not lining up many hits today. Its Vista operating system has had tepid reception at best, the EU has brought it to its knees on monopolistic practices, its Zune portable is praying for a second life this holiday season and the Xbox's shaky quality record makes a win for the new Halo 3 game a must to be kept in contention with competitive platforms. Ouch. But with oodles of cash and a well-focused online advertising strategy Microsoft is gearing up to exploit the gaps in Google's game plan that will give it a leg up in online content markets.

One of Google's key gaps to date has been social networking. While its Orkut platform has been successful in Brazil and certain other countries and rumblings of a greater social networking plan for Google grow larger, it's Facebook that's attracting both college-age folks and seasoned professionals who are willing to hang their hats up online on Facebook's increasingly robust social media platform. As noted by The New York Times and others, then, Microsoft's USD 240 million investment for a mere 1.6 percent of Facebook ownership is a significant win for Facebook and an opportunity for Microsoft to regain some sorely needed lost ground. The transaction scales Facebook's ultimate market value to a breathtaking but highly speculative USD 15 billion, making Rupert Murdoch's USD 583 million investment in MySpace seem like a bargain basement transaction in retrospect.

The New York Times article notes that the initial investment will secure Microsoft a platform for its ad network's growth, which is certainly a key component of making sure that it can leverage the highly valuable contexts available in social media. With the high level of personal endorsement and interaction available in Facebook Microsoft advertisers will be very pleased to find an alternative to search engine results and typical media outlets through which to build relationships with their markets. But the real underlying move by Microsoft is to have a dibs on Facebook's evolving social media-oriented computer operating system environment, a must-have for Microsoft in light of Google's evolving plans to have a Web-oriented OS of its own that will help drive its social media plans.

With more people than ever using the Web as their primary repository for both personal content and their own publishing endeavors Microsoft is at a dangerous juncture in its evolution, perhaps even more dangerous than when Netscape's browser began to threaten the supremacy of Microsoft's PC platform as a staging ground for content applications. Facebook has demonstrated with its rapidly growing array of embeddable applications that whole classes of content infrastructre that are at the heart of Microsoft's long-term cash flow may be rendered moot by social media environments such as Facebook's that enable people to build and share highly personalized portals with no or limited technical expertise. Applications such as its Business 3.0 module enable B2B communication that may provide a new way for businesses to develop 1-to-1 relationships via Facebook in ways that will make today's B2B advertising and supply chain management seem very ill targeted over time. All in all, Microsoft needs to get a revenue stream from social media badly - far moreso than either Google or Yahoo.

Will Facebook wind up being the dominant social media platform for both personal and business personal publishing? Once people set up shop in a social media environment there's a certain entropy that sets in which is likely to discourage any radical shifts: you want to keep your "peeps" around you as much as possible, and Facebook offers an increasingly compelling environment to enable open publishing and content integration. Most importantly unlike some other social media environments Facebook is designed for people's true identity as opposed to any number of avatars or pseudonyms that they may use in other social media environments. The emphaisis in Facebook is on knowing who you know, not gaming them for PR or other ulterior motives. This makes environments such as Facebook and LinkedIn that enable people to present their real selves the hottest marketing environments available in social media. By contrast, what's the value of selling to someone wearing green wings and fishnet stockings in Second Life? Good for a quick buck, but not relationship selling by any degree.

Realistically Facebook is by far the greater winner in this deal, having established an awesome figure for its market value and strong leverage for any other subsequent deals to help it gain market momentum. It's perhaps not as one-sided as the deal that Bill Gates cut with IBM to get rights to sell Mircosoft's PC operating systems on other platforms, but it's about equally clear who's behind the curve and who is able to help them get back in the game. And like that earlier deal this may be a sign that Microsoft is waning in its ability to influence electronic publishing effectively. But with an advertising strategy that is well-adapted to playing on multiple platforms to service multiple ad networks the Facebook deal is as good a shot a any that Microsoft is likely to have to use social media as a leverage point for future revenues. Don't expect miracles from either partner as a result of this alliance, but to expect their competitors to sweat it a little harder to get a foot in the door of compelling online communities.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Seeking Common Ground for Copyright: Will Publisher's Principles Avoid Legal Action?

As Google tries to trumpet its new YouTube system for identifying copyrighted video materials you'd think that they would be getting some slaps on the back from commercial video producers. Instead Google's YouTube initiative, which was eagerly awaited only a few months ago, constitutes in the minds of many media companies only a partial and proprietary solution to the question of how to manage copyrighted materials in social media outlets. Google itself recognizes this when it notes in its description of its new service:
No matter how accurate the tools get, it is important to remember that no technology can tell legal from infringing material without the cooperation of the content owners themselves. This means that copyright holders who want to use and help us refine our Video ID system will be providing the necessary information to help us recognize their work. We aim to make that process as convenient as possible.
So how best to handle managing copyrighted materials across social media environments? Several media and technology companies have joined together to define "User-Generated Content Principles," an online document that provides a general framework of requirements for managing copyrighted materials in social media services. Although not a binding legal document the language of UGCP is clearly legally oriented, with the typical onerous one-sided expectations that any corporate legal team is likely to insert in terms of unconditional legal surrender. Moreover, if one tries to abide by this framework a social media service provider must consider the following claim in the UGCP:
Copyright Owners should not assert that adherence to these Principles, including efforts by UGC Services to locate or remove infringing content as provided by these Principles, or to replace content following receipt of an effective counter notification as provided in the Copyright Act, support disqualification from any limitation on direct or indirect liability relating to material online under the Copyright Act or substantively similar statutes of any applicable jurisdiction outside the United States.
In other words, even if you do everything that we ask you to, don't expect that copyright holders still won't give you a hard time. There's comfort for you.

The main rub in the UGCP document is that while it is broad enough to provide a general requirements framework to develop more universal copyright management services it does nothing to ensure that copyright holders will provide any significant standardization of copyright identification technology, filtering processes and reference materials referenced in the document. In essence it suggests to social media sites that they must be ready to institute whatever technologies that any number of publishers find to be acceptable to their needs. Given that Microsoft is one of the technology companies that has signed on to the UGCP one can imagine that there may be some proprietary interests in play on this front.

The UCGP document does cite some good best practices for managing copyrighted content in a social media environment, but it's far from clear that it brings the content industry any closer to a significant agreement on how copyright should be managed in online materials. Even as Google gets slammed by some for rushing to get some sort of filtering and identification system in place on a rapid basis we are no closer to copyright holders agreeing to a common framework for them taking on some reasonable portion of the burden of implementing tools that will make the universal identification, filtering and referencing of copyrighted materials simple and reasonable to manage.

To some degree the rise of digital watermarking and identification schemes that eliminate onerous DRM packaging are pointing towards a more workable solution. Being able to allow publishers to identify their content using reports from social media sites and their own scanning tools can help them to determine when the reuse of copyrighted materials is worth pursuing as a legal matter or as a business development opportunity. But until these technologies are implemented more broadly it's unrealistic to expect social media outlets to respond aggressively with their own solutions if the see Google getting slammed by UGCP members for its efforts. We seem to be creeping towards open solutions that will enable publishers to get around the copyright conundrum without huge proprietary investments but don't expect the pace to pick up until some publishers have proven how to do it cheap, simply and in a way that won't be irksome to the creative talents that are driving online content value.

Headline Summary for 23 October 2007

Trends
Google's earnings soar on new ad channels as traditional channels for ads weigh how to build profits...
Google quarterly profit swells 46 percent
Reuters via ZDNet
Google Adsense Exploring Games
GigaOM
Magazine ad revenue up 5.6% through third quarter
BtoB Online

But impatient investors are tiring of traditional media earnings that disappoint as an ad recession looms...
Sulzberger 1, Elmasry 0: Morgan Stanley Sells of its New York Times Stake
Reuters MediaFile
Gannett Reports 11% Drop in 3Q Earnings
Editor & Publisher
Media General Profit Plunges 88 Percent
AP via The New York Times
Five Reasons Why a Pay Per Click Recession Looms
Micro Persuasion

Social media posts gains in authority and use...
Blogs as reliable as mainstream media - ACCC
AAP via News.com.au
Power Of Altruism Confirmed In Wikipedia Contributions
Science Daily
Current TV expands limits by having users create broadcast content
San Francisco Chronicle

New and old channels for publishing vie for the attention of friends in high places...
Plan Would Ease Limits on Media Owners
The New York Times
Democrats take aim at un-'friendly' wireless carriers
CNET News
Recipe for killing Internet in India
The Times of India
US Congress: Bloggers Are Journalists Too
Read/Write Web

Web 2.0 is enjoying the latest Silicon Valley bubble but there is more focus lately on deals than value...
Web 2.0 Summit 2007: Mary Meeker and Internet Trends
Read/Write Web
WordPress and Federated Media Being Hawked Seriously; Velocity Among Others In The Mix; WP Buys
paidContent.org
John Battelle wants to hike his rates
ValleyWag

As Web 1.0 companies reposition themselves for more a more open era in online publishing...
Yahoo Shedding Entertainment Baggage in Order to Gain Relevancy
Beta News
Yahoo! Making Strides in Search Marketing? A Result of Panama?
Read/Write Web
AOL to Trim 2,000 Jobs in a Continuing Overhaul
The New York Times
EBay's Founder Bets on 'Participatory Media'
WSJ Online*

The battle to protect copyrighted content moves towards cooperative enforcement using open tools...
CBS, Microsoft, and MySpace Unveil Copyright Guidelines
PC World
YouTube-Viacom lawsuit looms over antipiracy plans
CNET News
Led Zeppelin to sell music online
Reuters
Apple drops price of DRM-free iTunes
Webware
Can Google's Video ID System Secure YouTube?
Internet News

Facebook continues to gain momentum as a social media content platform that adults can take seriously...
FaceForce: Facebook Meets Salesforce.com
Programmable Web
Facebook to Crash the Online Advertising Party
eWeek
Has The MySpace To Facebook Switch Begun?
TechCrunch
Has Microsoft snagged a Facebook stake?
ValleyWag
Google News Now Available in Facebook
Read/Write Web

As competitors step up the pace to create competitive platforms for social media content and applications...
MySpace Founders Re-Up at News Corp.
Portfolio
News Corp. May End WSJ.com Fees; Opens MySpace Code
Bloomberg News
Napster to launch web-only music service
Download Squad

But the pace of traditional content markets migrating online challenges traditional producers...
Online TV Viewing Doubles, Replaces News as Top Web Content
Media Buyer Planner
NBC pulls YouTube channel
ValleyWag

While Google gets its mobile platform ready for launch competitors brace for a more open era...
iPhone, you'll be a computer, soon: Apple opens it up to developers
CNET News

If EPIC 2015 was science fiction to some a few years ago we should be disabused of that notion by now...
Futurists Envision the Newspaper in 2020
World Ass'n of Newspapers
News director wins newspaper of future contest
Aiken Standard

In other major trends in content this week...
Startup launches intellectual property site for scientific research
EE Times
Books clearing out to make way for Internet, computers on campus
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Candadian Copyright might follow U.S. model
National Post
More of us seek medical information online
Raleigh News & Observer
Guardian and Observer to launch online archive
The Guardian

Best Practices
The Google Way: Give Engineers Room
The New York Times
Information Design Principles For Web 2.0 Design: Simple & Social
Robin Good
Publish or patent -- or both
Business Review of W. Michigan
Sue the libraries - they're letting people get content on the cheap
The Guardian
How Many Site Hits? Depends Who’s Counting
The New York Times
TM Forum Members Unite to Deliver Content Commerce Standards
BusinessWire
RSS Ad Response Tops E-mail
Internet News

Cool Tools
Graphwise: Search the web for data
Emily Chang
Microsoft Launches Drag-And-Drop App Builder Popfly
TechCrunch
New App Merges Facebook and Second Life
Mashable
Radar Networks' Twine: Semantic Web meets information overload
WebWare
Microsoft launches social bookmarking/GTD/wiki service Listas
WebWare
Moo now offers postcards
Download Squad
ProgrammableWeb Embraces OpenSearch
Marketwire via CNN Money
Xerox Demos 'Intelligent Redaction'
eWeek
SpiralFrog DRM Issues
PC World

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

USA TODAY and Tribune Media Services to Launch New Weekly Edition of USA TODAY Abroad
PR Newswire via CNN Money
ALM Deploys Mark Logic for Enterprise Content Repository
Marketwire
AskMeNow Powers Answers for Ask Frank's Mobile Q&A Service
Marketwire via CNN Money
JargonFish(TM) Adds Publisher Partners
BusinessWire
Wolters Kluwer unit to acquire TeamMate from PricewaterhouseCoopers
AFX via Forbes
Yahoo's profit falls, but beats expectations
MarketWatch
The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C. Sells Daily Racing Form LLC
PR Newswire via JRJ.com
E.W. Scripps to Split in Two; Scripps Networks Interactive to be Spun Off to Shareholders
paidContent.org
Financial Firms to Benefit from Reuters and TIBCO Spotfire Partnership
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Facebook Users Can Now Create a Wetpaint Wiki to Collaborate
Marketwire

Products, Markets & People
TechTarget Launches ITKnowledgeExchange.com
BusinessWire
MedBioWorld Portal Significantly Expands Resource Content
BusinessWire
Mobile search service by Truvo
Let's Go Mobile
Dow Jones Significantly Increases Operating Income Again in Third Quarter 2007
BusinessWire
IDC Launches Green IT and Digital Marketplace Research Practices
ARN
Blackwell Boss to Quit
Oxford Mail
Yahoo marketing chief to leave
CNET News
McGraw-Hill Profit Up 18 Percent
Reuters via The New York Times
AME Info responds to Middle East business demands with launch of new dedicated Arabic content
AME Info
BBC to Cut 1, 800 Jobs as It Confronts Digital Age
Reuters via The New York Times
InfoWorld Editor Resigns Following CEO, Top Sales Exec
FOLIO: Magazine

Friday, October 19, 2007

Headlines for 19 October 2007

Trends
Google quarterly profit swells 46 percent
Reuters via ZDNet
YouTube-Viacom lawsuit looms over antipiracy plans
CNET News
Plan Would Ease Limits on Media Owners
The New York Times
Web 2.0 Summit 2007: Mary Meeker and Internet Trends
Read/Write Web
When the A-List Gets It Wrong: Scoble/Rubel
Center Networks
WordPress and Federated Media Being Hawked Seriously; Velocity Among Others In The Mix; WP Buys
paidContent.org
US Congress: Bloggers Are Journalists Too
Read/Write Web
CBS, Microsoft, and MySpace Unveil Copyright Guidelines
PC World
Recipe for killing Internet in India
The Times of India
Futurists Envision the Newspaper in 2020
World Ass'n of Newspapers
John Battelle wants to hike his rates
ValleyWag
Google Adsense Exploring Games
GigaOM
News Corp. May End WSJ.com Fees; Opens MySpace Code
Bloomberg News
Facebook to Crash the Online Advertising Party
eWeek

Best Practices
Publish or patent -- or both
Business Review of W. Michigan

Cool Tools
Microsoft Launches Drag-And-Drop App Builder Popfly
TechCrunch
Moo now offers postcards
Download Squad

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
AskMeNow Powers Answers for Ask Frank's Mobile Q&A Service
Marketwire via CNN Money
JargonFish(TM) Adds Publisher Partners
BusinessWire

Products, Markets & People
MedBioWorld Portal Significantly Expands Resource Content
BusinessWire
Mobile search service by Truvo
Let's Go Mobile
Dow Jones Significantly Increases Operating Income Again in Third Quarter 2007
BusinessWire
McGraw-Hill Profit Up 18 Percent
Reuters via The New York Times
Media General Profit Plunges 88 Percent
AP via The New York Times
BBC to Cut 1, 800 Jobs as It Confronts Digital Age
Reuters via The New York Times

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SIIA Panel December 5th - Users as Editors: What's the Key to Quality Social Media Content?

I will be chairing a panel at the next SIIA Brown Bag event in New York City on Wednesday, 5 December, recruiting now for speakers so if you want to get on the short list let me know now. The topic is timely, here's the summary:
Social media is one of the most influential types of online publishing today, but many still doubt its ability to generate quality content. Yet publishers from a widening array of market segments can actually be the key drivers for content quality, and can enable social media members to contribute to key editorial functions. How does quality content bubble to the top in social media, and what are the best practices that publishers can follow to generate and manage the quality of social media? This panel will look at content that's being generated for consumers on the open Web, and content for business information consumers that is becoming good enough to license as the "golden source" to enterprise customers.
Register now to attend and add your thoughts in the comments to this post as to what questions you'd like to see asked or who you'd like to hear speak!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Headlines for 17 October 2007

Trends
Democrats take aim at un-'friendly' wireless carriers
CNET News
Yahoo Shedding Entertainment Baggage in Order to Gain Relevancy
Beta News
Online TV Viewing Doubles, Replaces News as Top Web Content
Media Buyer Planner
Power Of Altruism Confirmed In Wikipedia Contributions
Science Daily
Has Microsoft snagged a Facebook stake?
ValleyWag
Sulzberger 1, Elmasry 0: Morgan Stanley Sells of its New York Times Stake
Reuters MediaFile
iPhone, you'll be a computer, soon: Apple opens it up to developers
CNET News
MySpace Founders Re-Up at News Corp.
Portfolio
Gannett Reports 11% Drop in 3Q Earnings
Editor & Publisher
EBay's Founder Bets on 'Participatory Media'
WSJ Online*

Best Practices
Information Design Principles For Web 2.0 Design: Simple & Social
Robin Good
TM Forum Members Unite to Deliver Content Commerce Standards
BusinessWire
RSS Ad Response Tops E-mail
Internet News

Cool Tools
Graphwise: Search the web for data
Emily Chang
ProgrammableWeb Embraces OpenSearch
Marketwire via CNN Money
Xerox Demos 'Intelligent Redaction'
eWeek
SpiralFrog DRM Issues
PC World

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
ALM Deploys Mark Logic for Enterprise Content Repository
Marketwire
Wolters Kluwer unit to acquire TeamMate from PricewaterhouseCoopers
AFX via Forbes
Yahoo's profit falls, but beats expectations
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Evaluating Bubble Talk: What's Real and What Isn't?

The New York Times covers some of the recent surges in Silicon Valley startups getting massive amounts of funding and, in some instances, handsome rewards for private investors backing online content plays. RightMedia's acquisition by Yahoo for a cool USD 850 million and microscopic startup Ning's USD 214 million valuation on USD 44 million of private equity investment are just some of the highlights in today's parade of bets by investors who seem to have the pocketbooks of major media companies at their disposal on a regular basis.

It's easy to see why many are saying that the bubble fever of the dot-com era is beginning to surge again, and in some ways the bubble doubters have a lot of credible evidence that points to many more losers than winners in the push to come up with valuable contexts for content. First and foremost is the inventory problem: with social media helping to multiply the outlets available for advertising at a nearly Malthusian rate there is way too much available inventory for advertisers trying to tap into online audiences. Just as advertising was supposed to float every business plan in 2000 regardless of the available demand there's sure to be a shakeout as reality begins to catch up with the inventory issue. Also having a familiar feel is the availability of interesting but all-too-similar technology plays that have little chance at building audiences at a rate that could justify reasonable returns. How many it's-like-Facebook-with-Skype-and-who-knows-what-else ideas can the marketplace absorb? The pocketbooks of major media companies, the presumed exit points for most of these plays, are not going to support these types of tools endlessly.

But there are some major differences this time around that might help to make more of today's bubbles a little longer lasting:
  • Contextual advertising. While there's an abundance of inventory generated in part by social media there is not an abundance of specific audiences for specific goods and services. The dot-com bubble burst largely before contextual advertising had begun to take off to enable a different kind of economics for the long tail of content that can benefit from high-margin goods and services that match up with niche interests. While contextual ads still place a lot of pressure on online publishers to come up with the goods that attract the best ads, their ability to service lucrative niche markets very cost-effectively will make the landing for many online publishers a little softer as the economy cools off.
  • Finite mainstream media. Even as social media has expanded rapidly the ability of mainstream media companies to create inventory has not changed significantly over the past seven years. While content management, mining and other production tools have enabled publishers to develop more engaging content, with the exception of video there's not a lot more out there. In fact, with cutbacks, consolidations and increased competition from social media outlets one could say that there's less mainstream text inventory online than ever to absorb the advertising budgets of major corporations that crave their content. What has increased, though, are the syndication efforts of publishers to get their content out into new contexts via embedded content services such as Voxant, user feeds and via new mobile platform partners. The need for more usable inventory will keep demand for new content sources high - and multiples relatively lofty - until overall advertising demand softens.
  • The creativity factor. While media companies on both the consumer and enterprise side of the content business are great at managing tightly defined content products they have proven time and again that the corporate cultures that thrive off of control-oriented values are very poor at coming up with new ideas for online content products that thrive on today's softer concepts of value created through collaboration and contextualization. Many so-so ideas will still come and go in Silicon Valley but as a whole the price that media companies are paying for failing to re-invent their own cultures to encourage more risk-taking with new ventures will be regular trips down Highway 101 to fill their needs for innovation with maturing venture-backed companies. You'd think that after seven years it would be different, but we're probably at least five years away from media companies having made enough of a transition into more innovative internal cultures to make those trips less frequent for those who survive the shift.
  • The impending return of premium content. While advertising gains the spotlight in most business plans the push of services such as Near-Time to build profits from private communities of social media and the repositioning of print magazines as community-building tools are increasing the promise of online publishers to build new streams of revenue from relatively small amounts of content. People are also willing to paystill for events - and more content is likely to be positioned as premium event content online in ways that will complement ad-supported channels rather than conflict with them. Look for a broadening array of business models that include new premium elements that could soften the downturn of ad cycles.
Mind you there are just about as many technologists as there ever were with the ability to code and not a clue as to how to be real publishers who will keep the winds of blarney blowing up from the Bay as fresh as ever. Fools will come and fools will go, but as a whole the frontiers of online publishing are still raw enough to warrant independent investments along the scale of today's efforts for several years to come. Probably the biggest factor for determining how healthy that growth curve stays is the ability to get more people more access to electronic content. We're at the beginning of a growth gap in which mobile access to Web content is hobbled by poor network access and costly access plans while land-based access is stalling in U.S. markets.

At the same time high-speed access in overseas markets is exploding, creating more opportunities for new non-U.S. players to carve their own segments out of the global content pie very rapidly. The sooner that publishers can recognize that there's more to be gained globally by pushing more open online publishing models the more opportunities they will have to get their fair share of global online markets. With contextual content and advertising breaking down traditional boundaries for monetization publishers need to think more aggressively as to how to profit from content that knows no borders.

With so much of today's content under development being funded privately it's hard for any exit to the doorways to get a stampede effect going in the same way that IPO-oriented investments in the dot-com era got out of hand. But until mainstream investments begin to offer more attractive returns there is likely to be a steady stream of private investors willing to dabble a bit of their fortunes in potentially high-yield content plays that will put them in an even richer gravy train. As many of these people have already made at least one round of successful investments there's always the chance that smart money can follow smart money indefinitely. Then again, most of us are only as smart as our last good decision. Perhaps Mr. Darwin will be taking on Lord Malthus' math sooner than we think.

Mashups Meet SaaS: Facebook's Integration with SalesForce.com Makes Networking Simple

Given that LinkedIn's professional social network content has been available through SalesForce.com's AppExchange service for nearly six months is it really a big deal that there's now a Facebook interface as well? As seen in Programmable Web's flash demo it's a fairly rudimentary integration: if you add a contact you can select their Facebook profile for inclusion in your SFDC desktop and use many of Facebook's functions and applications to communicate with people in their social networks. That's hardly rocket science but it's an excellent indication of the strengths that can be gained from using a social networking content service as a drop-in module in a software-as-a-service desktop environment.

Most importantly, though, it's an indication of how quickly two content services can benefit from one another's mutual presence in SaaS very rapidly with virtually no integration requirements. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel with social networking SalesForce.com enables its clients to tap into the networks that matter most to their sales efforts. With Facebook's more multi-dimensional view of people's personal and professional lives it's possible that sales professionals will get a different kind of introduction than one might get from a LinkedIn referral. LinkedIn provides excellent professionally-oriented networking tools but there's something about telling someone, "Hey, I saw your profile on Facebook, I see that you're into sailing" that's a little more personal and conversational. Moreover it's a window through Facebook's programming interface into functionality that they have on their own platform that in essence gives one embedded applications within an application that's embedded in a SaaS platform. That's powerful content integration that can work to extend the value of both the hosting platform and the embedded platform as valuable contexts for content very rapidly.

While Facebook is having its ups and downs in terms of traffic, personal content exposure issues and integration complaints the growth of its use in professional circles over the past several months has been extraordinary. Although it's mostly a few brave people that venture beyond the basics of Facebooking, professionals are becoming much more used to the idea that their professional lives count increasingly on their ability to project their value and depth as a multi-dimensional person, rather than just a set of skills that can be marketed as useful but disposable labor. The old adage "it's not what you know but who you know" is taking on a new twist as online networking creates a new hook into effective business relationships.

At the same time most business information companies are standing still in comparison to companies like Salesforce.com and Facebook when it comes to encouraging on-the-fly content integration with their products. With a strong focus on traditional integration of content into structured databases the opportunity to provide a looser level of integration into a workflow-centric platform. There are strong opportunities for such integration in major market verticals, so expect this to happen over time. But with Salesforce.com pushing its Force.com initiative to provide "platforms as a service" for various corporate functions the time to move on such initiatives is now, not later. We may not be seeing Facebook as a networking tool on Bloombergs any time soon but there are plenty of markets where such rapid content integrations will benefit companies trying to put content in the most valuable context possible.