Thursday, November 29, 2007

Headlines for 29 November 2007

Trends
Adobe, Yahoo test running ads inside PDF documents
Reuters
Is CondéNet's Web Approach Paying Off?
WSJ Online*
The CNN/YouTube Republican Debate
Google Blog
TechPresident, 10Questions Put Spotlight on ‘Voter-Generated Content’
MediaShift
Another Googler gone: Is Google's brain being drained?
ValleyWag
Google Experimenting With Digg Style Voting On Search Results
TechCrunch via OriginalSignal
The future of media
Silicon Republic
Apple faces challenges with iPhone in Europe
CNET News
Pluck hooking up media outlets with social networks
The Globe and Mail
Dow Jones May Sell Community Newspapers
AP via Motley Fool
EU pushes for open access research
The Scientist
Is Google Headed in the Wrong Direction?
eWeek
NY Times Announces Layoffs, Hiring Freeze
New York Observer
Wall St Journal's New Glossy to Go Global
AdAge
Once a Mainstay of Magazines, Cigarette Makers Are Dropping Print Ads
The New York Times

Best Practices
Business Lessons from Kiva
Read/Write Web
Social Media Releases & Meatball Sundaes
Web Pro News
The Launch Dilemma: Print or Digital First?
FOLIO: Magazine
Google to Enter Renewable Energy Business
InformationWeek
Study: More Than 60% Don't Trust Campaign Coverage
Editor & Publisher

Cool Tools
Cellfish Provides Mobile Media Conversion With AddToPhone
TechCrunch
Yahoo! concocts a spicier new version of Widgets and Konfabulator
Download Squad
Plaxo adds Windows Mobile calendar and contacts sync
Plaxo
Microsoft Challenges the iPod (Again)
The New York Times
AT&T CEO outs 3G iPhone: "You'll have it next year"
Engadget

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
MuseGlobal's Integration and Mark Logic Work Together as Ultimate Content Management System
eMediaWire
Hearst-Argyle Television and Google Strike AdWords Reseller Agreement
PR Newswire via CNN Money
InsideView Buys TrueAdvantage
Private Equity Hub
Dell To Sell Google Enterprise Search Products
CNN Money

Products, Markets & People
Forbes Launches Online Advertising Network
FOLIO: Magazine
Variety Publisher Koonves to Step Down
Variety
IBM Updates Free Enterprise Search Tool
PC World

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Headline Summary for 28 November 2007

Trends
Social media is becoming an irresistible force drawing together media and enterprise content markets for professionals...
Source: Yes, LinkedIn and News Corp. are working on a deal
Venture Beat
OpenSocial Has Been Good To Plaxo
TechCrunch
Widgets make a big splash on the Net
USA Today

Memo to just about everyone: in a Google-shaped world is any business model safe...?
Yes, Google Is Trying To Take Over the World
Slate
Google Magazine?
TechCrunch
The Google Set-Top Box (Think Android For TV)
TechCrunch
Google Plans Service to Store Users' Data
WSJ Online*
Google and Other People's Content
BusinessWeek
Google U.S. Web search share jumps to 58.5 pct
Reuters

Facebook's surge in attention doesn't mean that it's totally tuned in to what works in social media...
MySpace Chief: Facebook "Substantially More Entertaining"
Reuters MediaFile
Facebook Stealing Google Employees At An Alarming Rate
TechCrunch
Facebook: We’re More Annoying than MySpace
Mashable
Facebook faces UK data probe
The Register
The Problem with Facebook's "Beacon"
Web Pro News
Cory Doctorow: How Your Creepy Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook
InformationWeek

Amazon's Kindle gets off to a quick start but is likely to hit a wall as its limitations become more apparent...
Kindle sells out in on Amazon in 5.5 hours
Engadget
Amazon’s Kindle ebook not so kind to reading rights
P2P Foundation
eBook’s future isn’t ebooks: the makings of Apple’s tablet
Gadgetell
5 Arguments For the Continued Viability of the Book
PC World
Tango Founder: Print Not Dead, But Going ‘Yearly’
FOLIO: Magazine

Ann Moore's Time Inc. plays hard to get at it tries to position itself as an online cash cow for its parent...
Time Inc. Bolsters Digital Brands
AdWeek

But Rupert Murdoch is focusing on developing the ability to reach far more contexts than traditional editorial output can create...
News Corp builds online ad network
Reuters

Yahoo is tuning up more competent me-too Web offerings, while AOL focuses more on mobile messagers...
Yahoo! launches stealth beta of myM: A Meebo competitor?
Download Squad
Yahoo deal lets users upload, edit music; Catching up with Google is impetus for new video deal
Chronicle via Content Agenda
AOL launches mobile assault
Mad.co.uk

Search engines that cannot adapt to delivering more specialized content are falling by the wayside...
Feedster Quietly Slips into the Dead Pool... So Which Blog Search Engine Do You Use?
Read/Write Web
Search 3.0: The Blended & Vertical Search Revolution
Search Engine Land

Slowly the music industry emerges from kicking and screaming at its customers to giving them what they want...
DRM-Free Classical Music: Deutsche Grammophon Launches Online MP3 Store
TechCrunch
IPhone Must Be Offered Without Contract Restrictions, German Court Rules
The New York Times
Criticism of Cdn pro-P2P study was sponsored by recording industry
BoingBoing

Good enough to use as a source of plagiarism, in any event...
Part of an Oil Book Relied on Wikipedia
The New York Times

One month's darling gizmo becomes another month's source of frustration...
Browsing With iPhone Is Abject Faliure
Web Pro News

Deck the halls with boughs of...emails...?
CyberMonday: A Gimmick Becomes a Real Trend
The New York Times*

In other major trends in content this week...
Making Social Connections and Selling Cookies
The New York Times
SCImago: a new portal ranking journals and countries
Really Simple Sidi
Wolters Kluwer €175 Million Share Buy-back Program
ABN Newswire
Study: Web Will Slow by 2010, Video a Culprit
USA Today
Newspaper Advertising Fell 7.4% in Third Quarter
WSJ Online

Best Practices
Online Video Ad Model Mimics TV Sales Approach
MediaWeek
Seth Godin's Meatball Sundae: How the Internet Changes Marketing
Web Pro News
Are You Sabotaging Your Social Stories?
Blogging Experiment
Wikis While You Work: Using Wikis in the enterprise requires a careful balance of freedom and control
eWeek
The Rise Of Hyperlocal Information
Read/Write Web
European vs. American Texting Cultures
Zephora.org
Books versus documents: what's wrong with so-called "e-books"
Ars Technica
An Important Lesson About Grassroots Media
Editor and Publisher
Digital Music Startups: Asking Permission vs. Begging Forgiveness
GigaOM
Losing the Journalistic Security Blanket
MediaShift
Could a Billion TinyURLs Go 404?
Micro Persuasion
Facebook To Drop 'Is' From Status Updates
Read/Write Web

Cool Tools
First Look: Amazon’s Kindle Reader: The Gap Between Description and The Device
paidContent.org
Flux Adds Content Sharing And Embedding
TechCrunch
Upload a Batch of Images to Flickr.com from the Desktop
Digital Inspiration
Screenshots And Details On Upcoming MySpace "News Feeds"
TechCrunch
Live Documents to Challenge Microsoft Office, Google Apps
eWeek
NBC Direct Sucked…Your PC Resources
NewTeeVee
SeeToo: Broadcast yourself. To one other person.
Download Squad
Google Maps goes wiki-style
Monsters & Critics
GPhone Pics! Open-Source 'Bug' Can Run Android
Silicon Valley Insider

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

SAGE and Hindawi announce landmark open access agreement
First Science
British Library Selects Apex CoVantage as Digitization Partner in Expanding the Repository of UK Pub
PR USA
Sony Attracts Dubai Cash
WSJ Online*
Dow Jones Renews Longstanding Licensing Arrangement with Bloomberg
PR Newswire via CNN Money
ABC News, Facebook Partner for Political Content
All American Patriots
Enterprise Communication Solution integrates with Facebook.
ThomasNet
Intuit Finally Buys Homestead for $170m
Read/Write Web
Lionbridge Launches CMS Alliance Program With Top Tier Content Management Partners
PR Newswire via CNN Money
blinkx Partners With Kiplinger.com to Bring Trusted Personal Finance Advice to Users Worldwide
IT News
Acxiom acquires MKTG Services
BtoB Online
Macrovision Buys Rights to Blu-ray Disc DRM Scheme
Daily Tech
The New York Public Library and Kaltura Team to Enhance Online Collaborative Rich Media
Marketwire

Products, Markets & People
Copyright Clearance Center Adds Blogs to its Licensing Programs
Ad-Hoc News
Reed Construction Chief To Advise Service Provider
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Elsevier Expands ScienceDirect College Edition
PR Newswire via IT News
Elsevier Announces Launch of 2collab, New Research 2.0 Platform
CNW Group
OCLC Enhances WorldCat.org
Weekly News Digest
RightNow Focuses on Customer Outreach With Syndication Widget
CRM Buyer
ProQuest Introduces Marketing Toolkit for Academic Libraries
PR Newswire via EarthTimes

KM World 2007 Adds Enterprise Search Summit West: Solving Your Findability Dilemma

The annual KM World & Intranets 2007 Conference / Expo in San Jose keeps growing, adding a West Coast version of the successful Enterprise Search Summit (ESS) held in May in New York. The co-location of Taxonomy Bootcamp and Streaming Media West creates a dynamic interplay between different aspects of the information business, from technology to enterprise content.

Attendees voiced the value of the range of tracks from strategic management of knowledge to the practical aspects of selecting and living with search software and applications, down to the nitty-gritty of taxonomy implementations. Traffic was good in the vendor booths of the Expo area, as technologists and content managers mingled over receptions, meals and seminars.

The opening keynoter for ESS was Susan Feldman, Research Vice President, Content Technologies, IDC. describing a market in flux with many competing technologies. Search is the missing piece for enterprise software, and large software vendors are entering the market. SaaS options are good solutions due to the complexity of search technology, and need to have the latest version.

The keynote was a nice lead into the session that I chaired on "Solving the Multiple Search Engine Problem" addressing approaches to the proliferation of departmental search vendors within organizations. Rennie Walker, Wells Fargo, described "waking up one morning with the multi-search engine blues", resulting in creating a Search Center of Excellence (COE). Swetswise uses a federating search software, Museglobal, to deliver a subscription delivery product incorporating multiple search indexes. Miles Kehoe, New Idea Engineering, identified the challenges of maintaining distributed search engine indexes--a practicality not addressed by vendors.

Security, ediscovery and regulatory compliance were themes in other presentations. Search across multiple repositories brings the thorny problems of access control to the underlying content. Depending on the application, different levels of security may be necessary, down to the sub-document level. Choices include "early binding" vs. "late binding" options for access. Additional challenges include the changes in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure of 12/1/2006, making risk management of the enterprise search environment more critical.

Steve Arnold, highly regarded industry expert on search engines chaired a keynote panel originally entitled "Giants Do Stumble: Are Google and Microsoft in Decline?" modified in the final program to "What's Next for the Search Engine Giants", questioning product managers from Google and Microsoft, who provided little new insight. Both companies are relative newcomers to the enterprise search space, and had vendor booths in the expo, joining traditional vendors. Arnold, in a later session, honed in on Google and his analysis of their patents to predict new directions.

Findability is more than keyword search in full text documents, a message which came through in both the sessions and vendor presentations. Sessions on semantic search indicate progress in actual implementation, which is closely tied to classification and taxonomy systems. Improved navigation, particularly faceted search, are another approach to improve the user experience, and improve findability.

Niche software vendors on the exhibit floor, demonstrated other approaches to improving findability. Siderean uses a relationship approach which intuitively fits research and discovery processes, to improve findability. Cognition was demonstrating their linguistic search software with great promise for in depth research, particularly in scientific and technical literature, with a plethora of potential search terms. Deep Web Technologies showed the power of federating search software, as implemented at science.gov and scitopia.org.

Enterprise search and management of organizational intellectual capital have become mission-critical. The challenge is finding the right approaches for the organization, then the technical tools for implementation. Increasingly, behavioral and linguistic aspects are being recognized as essential factors in the process of adding value to the organization. Search is not easy, and delivering answers to people is not straightforward. It's finding the right combination of solutions that challenges the attendees at these conferences..there is no one-size-fits-all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mining Business Networks: Murdoch Pursues LinkedIn

TechCrunch picked up over the Thanksgiving holiday on a rumor that Rupert Murdoch is pursuing the acquisition of the LinkedIn social network, a rumor later denied by News Corporation in The Telegraph but which has more than a grain of strategic sense in it nevertheless. [UPDATE: VentureBeat provides comfirmation with details that parallel our original post.] With Fox Interactive Media head Peter Levinsohn confessing in a Reuters interview that he finds Facebook "substantially more entertaining" than their own MySpace, there's an acknowledgement that MySpace is more about traditional media in many ways than it is about the multi-dimensional networking that Facebook enables for adults in professional and personal roles. While MySpace's upcoming personal feeds will no doubt give MySpace a little more boost against the rapidly growing strength of Facebook it's clear that Murdoch has many fish to fry when it comes to attracting adults who are at the core of many of his holdings' revenue streams.

A LinkedIn acquisition would help News Corp to fill in not only dwindling business-oriented classifieds revenues as more jobs and services are posted and found on social media networks but as well give them a well-established network of professionals that could become the focal point of hard-core business information services that bridge media and enterprise markets. It's not likely that Murdoch's Dow Jones division will come up with a social network on its own to compete with financial communities on Bloomberg and Reuters networks, but with LinkedIn they would have the ability to have a key tool to help professionals network and execute enterprise business well beyond investment bank trading floors. That's likely to bolster revenues as Factiva database subscription revenues face tough times in a softening economy.

To some degree this might also help to solve some of the question marks as to how best to leverage the highly valuable network of Wall Street Journal subscribers, many of whom no doubt are LinkedIn members as well. What better way to give this elite business publication a powerful business social network than to equip it with the most popular business networking tool available to date? It's doubtful that the WSJ crowd would ever take MySpace seriously as a social networking environment, no matter how much News Corp tries to re-engineer it, so why waste time building one from scratch as potential rivals gear up their own efforts for business-oriented social networking? All of a sudden the idea of premium content takes on a whole new meaning in this context that can transform the WSJ community into an elite social networking community. In the meantime LinkedIn infrastructure can be repurposed to give MySpace some more adult angles as well for younger people who are looking for a Facebook alternative.

There are realistic options for LinkedIn other than News Corp, but few that would be able to leverage all of LinkedIn's value to its maximum potential. It's a logical and potentially powerful marriage of social media via an organization that understands both media and enterprise content value fluently. Murdoch is one of the few old-line publishers who really understands that the value in publishing is already way beyond the inventory that any one newsroom can create. In an era in which user-defined context is king, consider LinkedIn a key acquisition plum that's likely to be pulled out by a major player like NewsCorp sooner rather than later.

Headlines for 27 November 2007

Trends
Is Rupert Murdoch eyeing LinkedIn?
The Telegraph
Google Plans Service to Store Users' Data
WSJ Online*
News Corp builds online ad network
Reuters
Widgets make a big splash on the Net
USA Today
Browsing With iPhone Is Abject Faliure
Web Pro News
Search 3.0: The Blended & Vertical Search Revolution
Search Engine Land
SCImago: a new portal ranking journals and countries
Really Simple Sidi
MySpace Chief: Facebook "Substantially More Entertaining"
Reuters MediaFile
Cory Doctorow: How Your Creepy Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook
InformationWeek
DRM-Free Classical Music: Deutsche Grammophon Launches Online MP3 Store
TechCrunch
Yahoo! launches stealth beta of myM: A Meebo competitor?
Download Squad
Wolters Kluwer EUR175 Million Share Buy-back Program
ABN Newswire
Tango Founder: Print Not Dead, But Going ‘Yearly’
FOLIO: Magazine
The Problem with Facebook's "Beacon"
Web Pro News
CyberMonday: A Gimmick Becomes a Real Trend
The New York Times*
eBook’s future isn’t ebooks: the makings of Apple’s tablet
Gadgetell

Best Practices
European vs. American Texting Cultures
Zephora.org
Books versus documents: what's wrong with so-called "e-books"
Ars Technica
An Important Lesson About Grassroots Media
Editor and Publisher

Cool Tools
Screenshots And Details On Upcoming MySpace "News Feeds"
TechCrunch
Live Documents to Challenge Microsoft Office, Google Apps
eWeek

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
Sony Attracts Dubai Cash
WSJ Online*
Dow Jones Renews Longstanding Licensing Arrangement with Bloomberg
PR Newswire via CNN Money
ABC News, Facebook Partner for Political Content
All American Patriots
Enterprise Communication Solution integrates with Facebook.
ThomasNet
Intuit Finally Buys Homestead for $170m
Read/Write Web

Products, Markets & People
Reed Construction Chief To Advise Service Provider
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Elsevier Expands ScienceDirect College Edition
PR Newswire via IT News
Elsevier Announces Launch of 2collab, New Research 2.0 Platform
CNW Group
OCLC Enhances WorldCat.org
Weekly News Digest

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Headlines for 22 November 2007

Trends
Google U.S. Web search share jumps to 58.5 pct
Reuters
Kindle sells out in on Amazon in 5.5 hours
Engadget
Google and Other People's Content
BusinessWeek
Making Social Connections and Selling Cookies
The New York Times
Feedster Quietly Slips into the Dead Pool... So Which Blog Search Engine Do You Use?
Read/Write Web
Amazon’s Kindle ebook not so kind to reading rights
P2P Foundation
AOL launches mobile assault
Mad.co.uk
Yahoo deal lets users upload, edit music; Catching up with Google is impetus for new video deal
Chronicle via Content Agenda
Facebook Stealing Google Employees At An Alarming Rate
TechCrunch
Facebook: We’re More Annoying than MySpace
Mashable
IPhone Must Be Offered Without Contract Restrictions, German Court Rules
The New York Times

Best Practices
Seth Godin's Meatball Sundae: How the Internet Changes Marketing
Web Pro News
Are You Sabotaging Your Social Stories?
Blogging Experiment
Wikis While You Work: Using Wikis in the enterprise requires a careful balance of freedom and control
eWeek
The Rise Of Hyperlocal Information
Read/Write Web

Cool Tools
Upload a Batch of Images to Flickr.com from the Desktop
Digital Inspiration
NBC Direct Sucked…Your PC Resources
NewTeeVee
SeeToo: Broadcast yourself. To one other person.
Download Squad
Google Maps goes wiki-style
Monsters & Critics

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
SAGE and Hindawi announce landmark open access agreement
First Science
British Library Selects Apex CoVantage as Digitization Partner in Expanding the Repository of UK Pub
PR USA
Lionbridge Launches CMS Alliance Program With Top Tier Content Management Partners
PR Newswire via CNN Money
blinkx Partners With Kiplinger.com to Bring Trusted Personal Finance Advice to Users Worldwide
IT News
Acxiom acquires MKTG Services
BtoB Online
Macrovision Buys Rights to Blu-ray Disc DRM Scheme
Daily Tech
The New York Public Library and Kaltura Team to Enhance Online Collaborative Rich Media
Marketwire

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Headlines for 20 November 2007

Trends
Google Magazine?
TechCrunch
Study: Web Will Slow by 2010, Video a Culprit
USA Today
Part of an Oil Book Relied on Wikipedia
The New York Times
Facebook faces UK data probe
The Register
5 Arguments For the Continued Viability of the Book
PC World
The Google Set-Top Box (Think Android For TV)
TechCrunch
Time Inc. Bolsters Digital Brands
AdWeek
Yes, Google Is Trying To Take Over the World
Slate
OpenSocial Has Been Good To Plaxo
TechCrunch
Criticism of Cdn pro-P2P study was sponsored by recording industry
BoingBoing
Newspaper Advertising Fell 7.4% in Third Quarter
WSJ Online

Best Practices
Online Video Ad Model Mimics TV Sales Approach
MediaWeek
Digital Music Startups: Asking Permission vs. Begging Forgiveness
GigaOM
Losing the Journalistic Security Blanket
MediaShift
Could a Billion TinyURLs Go 404?
Micro Persuasion
Facebook To Drop 'Is' From Status Updates
Read/Write Web

Cool Tools
First Look: Amazon’s Kindle Reader: The Gap Between Description and The Device
paidContent.org
Flux Adds Content Sharing And Embedding
TechCrunch
GPhone Pics! Open-Source 'Bug' Can Run Android
Silicon Valley Insider

Products, Markets & People
Copyright Clearance Center Adds Blogs to its Licensing Programs
Ad-Hoc News
RightNow Focuses on Customer Outreach With Syndication Widget
CRM Buyer
ProQuest Introduces Marketing Toolkit for Academic Libraries
PR Newswire via EarthTimes

Monday, November 19, 2007

Headline Summary for 19 November 2007

Trends
Even as Google prepares to launch into a strong mobile stance...
Google Readies Wireless Bid
PC World
Google to acquire Sprint Nextel for Mobile WiMax?
Engadget
Google turns to X Factor's Fuller for push into TV
The Guardian

It is challenged to defend the value of search as it tries come up with the right mix of services for social media...
Google makes moves to protect organic relevancy
Scobelizer
Google Wiki, Where Art Thou?
eWeek
Inbox 2.0: Yahoo and Google to Turn E-Mail Into a Social Network
Bits - The New York Times
Connecting the Social Graph: Member Overlap at OpenSocial and Facebook
Compete

Amazon's new Kindle mobile platform debuts with eBooks, magazines and other downloadable content in tow and a $399 price tag...
The Future of Reading: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader Debuts in Time for Christmas Shopping
Newsweek

Yahoo trims its portfolio as it begins to shift more earnestly towards partners and platforms that will help them to expand...
Yahoo Launches Open Source Program for Distributed Computing
ResearchBuzz
Yahoo Could Close Poorly-Performing European Properties; Third Party Search Partnerships Coming?
paidContent.org
Yahoo Adds 17 Newspapers To Online Publishing Group
WSJ Online*
NY Daily News Joins Yahoo Newspaper Consortium; Wants HotJobs Hookup
paidContent.org

As portals begin to aggregate micro-brands as well as familiar mainstream content sources...
Portals Think Small for the Latest News
WSJ Online*

Mainstream media companies begin to learn how to participate as members of a social media community...
John Markoff is Kicking Your Butt on Facebook
ValleyWag
Facebook Sponsored Pages Add Feeds: NY Times Gets it First
Mashable

In the love/hate relationship with social media audiences and marketers are still struggling to find effective ways to engage one another...
Content is Dead, Community is King?
Search Engine Watch
Facebook SocialAds - the missing feature
Deborah Schultz
New Facebook Ad Techniques Raise Privacy Concerns
PC World
It's official: I'm sick of Facebook
Connecticut Bob
IBM Predicts the End of Advertising as We Know It
IBM
Shelfari and the New Social Contract
O'Reilly Radar

They were for the war on consumers before they were against it - and now have to play catch-up to have some part of the online market...
Music boss: we were wrong to go to war with consumers
PC Pro/Macuser
NBC Direct launches: NBC's kind of lame video download service
Download Squad
DRM-Free Music Boosts Online Album Sales
PC World/ Macworld

The last major bastion of online subscription mass media is moving carefully to a more open model...
Murdoch: News Corp. Strong, WSJ.com Should be Free
CNBC
Free WSJ.com: Behind the math
Reuters MediaFile
Kevin Rose makes Wall Street Journal free for Digg users
ValleyWag

As newspapers race to balance old and new profitable models for online content...
Newspapers and ads: Missed delivery
CNET News
News aggregator one-stop-shops stay strong
IT Week
McClatchy on review for downgrade on declining advertising revenue - Moody's
Thomson Financial/ CNN

Database publishers still pour huge sums into new interfaces but will they really buy more use and productivity...?
Companionship is good:Thomson's new WebPlus web search engine
Really Simple Sidi

Time, Inc. sits pretty on a handful or elite content brands...
Ann Moore, CEO,Time Inc.: Bankers ‘Lust’ For Spinoff But Don’t See It Happening
paidContent.org

Circle the wagons, boys, there's only newspapers, television and radio left for ammo...
The Daily Show: FCC's Chairman Martin Argues for Consolidating Media Ownership
The New York Times
Media companies want more from the FCC
Reuters MediaFile
FCC Moves to Place Restrictions on Cable TV
Washington Post

Admitted that we were powerless over the Web, that our lives had become unmanageable...
In Korea, a Boot Camp Cure for Web Obsession
The New York Times*

Hey, mom and dad, why can't we get holiday presents like her kids do...?
Google Options Make Masseuse a Multimillionaire
The New York Times

In other major trends in content this week...
EMC opens Documentum up
eChannelLine
Overseas markets for information could outpace those in the Americas by 2010
BtoB Online
Why Are Founders and Execs Leaving Second Tier Social Networks?
TechCrunch
rssHugger Avoiding Technorati’s Pitfalls?
Mashable
What WebMD Can Teach Brands
AdWeek
STM publishers and Online Ad Spending
Really Simple Sidi
Yahoo, Jailed Journalists Settle Lawsuit
AP via SFGate

Best Practices
How Can Open Source Software Open Up Facebook?
SmartMobs
Microsoft Word Plug-in Will Aid Visually Impaired
eWeek
Leveraging the Power of Blogs in an Overcrowded Market
ProBlogger
Beware Dr. Google
San Francisco Chronicle
Internet users spend 47% time visiting Content
Virtual Cocoon
Banned User Abused Factiva
The Harvard Crimson
Google is Changing the Definition of a "Click" on AdSense Ads
Search Engine Roundtable
Newspaper Industry Group ABC to Change Circulation Rules
Bloomberg News
Implicit Web: a brief introduction
ZDNet Blogs
Wikipedia: University study explores content, editing
Shakopee Valley News
Survey: Users Trust Information On Social Networks Strongly
Web Pro News
The nautilus: where - and how - Open Access publishing will actually work
The Scientist

Cool Tools
VideoEgg Hatches Ad Platform for Publishers
Beet.tv
Social Networking Meets Video Microblogging On Seesmic Upcoming Platform
Robin Good
Google Android SDK is Live: Video Demo from Google
Mashable
Leveraging the Power of Blogs in an Overcrowded Market
ProBlogger
A breakthrough in database translation
PR Leap
OpenSocket Facebook app released in beta enables OpenSocial to run on Facebook
OpenSocket
Connect Google Talk With Yahoo! or Windows Live Messenger
Digital Inspiration
Jango Pumps Up the Social Radio Volume
eCommerce Times

Deals, Partnerships & Sales

AOL Acquires Israeli Social Search Start-Up Yedda
paidContent.org
Dow Jones Announces Distribution Agreement with InfoNgen
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Voxant, the New Media Network, Adds illumistream health to Growing Catalog of Fully Licensed Health
PR-USA
Edmunds.com Hops Into the Driver's Seat with Digital Element
BusinessWire via PR Inside
Springer And Portico Join Forces In Electronic Archiving For Scholars, Researchers And Students
Medical News Today
SirsiDynix Partners with Brainware, Inc.
Library Journal
Yahoo! Delivers Compelling Products and Services Designed for the Mobile Consumer in Asia
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Facebook Sponsored Pages Add Feeds: NY Times Gets it First
Mashable
A breakthrough in database translation
PR Leap
OpenSocket Facebook app released in beta enables OpenSocial to run on Facebook
OpenSocket
Zillow.com(R) and 11 Newspaper Companies Form Online Real Estate Partnership
PR Newswire via CNN Money
Mobifusion Releases Suite of Mobile Content Applications with Dialog Telekom
TMCNet
Aptara Announces $29 Million-Plus Contract Extension With Bowne & Co.
Marketwire via CNN Money
Sirius, XM shareholders approve deal
MarketWatch
IBM to buy Cognos for $5 billion
Blogging Stocks
ProQuest and Gale Reach Agreement
eContent Magazine
Forbes acquires Clipmarks, creates network of sites
BtoB Online

Products, Markets & People
Alacra Launches Alacra Content Marketplace
PR Web
Voxant, the Media Network, Extends Advertising Reach
Taxi
Bebo Launches 'Open Media' A New Vision for Social Media and Entertainment
PR Web
Google Starts Russian Version Of Video Web Site YouTube
The Moscow Times
Daily Kos Founder to Join Newsweek
Mashable
Baidu Debuts a Financial Information Service
Trading Markets.com
World's First Travel Bookmarking Site Launches
PR Urgent
Ascend Media shutters three medical titles
BtoB Online
Attributor Launches Online Content Tracking Subscription Service
Information Week
Wolters CEO not in market for major new deal
Reuters
AOL Uploads Tacoda's Morgan
Silicon Alley Insider

The Platform is the Marketplace: Amazon's Kindle Joins Microsoft, Apple and Google in Mobile Race

The image of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on the cover of Newsweek clutching his new Kindle as if it were "the new, new thing" is designed to get us thinking that the new portable device from Amazon is going to revolutionize the way that we use books, etc.

In short, it's not.

The article in Newsweek is filled with gushing praise for Bezos' efforts to "revolutionize" book reading as we know it, but little of what it promises requires a Kindle to make it happen. As the article acknowledges eventually:
In 2007, screens are ubiquitous (and less twitchy), and people have been reading everything on them—documents, newspaper stories, magazine articles, blogs—as well as, yes, novels. Not just on big screens, either. A company called DailyLit this year began sending out books—new ones licensed from publishers and classics from authors like Jane Austen—straight to your e-mail IN BOX, in 1000-work chunks.
In other words it's fair to say that the cat has been out of the bag for books on mobile platforms for quite some time and that from a book perspective there's not much new to say about Kindle other than it's another new device for eInk technology and a good way for people to view Amazon-scanned books in a proprietary viewer. Other than that, you're looking at an Apple Newton with built-in wireless that costs $100 more than a comparable eBook reader from Sony.

Ah, but that wireless. Probably the most interesting things that the Kindle can handle have less to do with books and a lot more to do with other content and marketing opportunities via its wireless capabilities. The Kindle will be able to download newsstand content such as newspapers and magazines as well as books via a wireless system that can use both wireless hotspot technology and broadband wireless. While at launch time the downloads are going to be coming from the Amazon online store, there's the potential in this platform to be a device that could interact with "bricks" environments as well as "clicks." When the Newsweek article says:
Amazon has designed the Kindle to operate totally independent of a computer: you can use it to go to the store, browse for books, check out your personalized recommendations, and read reader reviews and post new ones, tapping out the words on a thumb-friendly keyboard. Buying a book with a Kindle is a one-touch process.
it means Amazon's Kindle Store online site. Not exactly Buck Rogers stuff.

But what if instead the Kindle were a device that you could use to point at items in a retail store to learn more about them and then click on the Kindle to enable immediate purchasing of either a physical or virtual version of that item? What if you were reading an interesting eBook at your favorite coffee shop and then picked up a hard copy of it at the counter from their print-on-demand machine while you ordered up your second latte? Or, better yet, if you're in Toys 'R Us you could browse online reviews of toys and games on your Kindle and use in-store electronic purchasing via the Kindle to speed up the checkout process. Given the enormous investment that Amazon has in retailing all kinds of manufactured goods you'd think that they'd focus on how to improve margins across their entire catalog of merchandise via an electronic gadget.

Given the premium price tag for one of these units it's not clear that there's going to be much of any thunder at the cash register for Kindles this holiday season. Consider this a modest step by Amazon to get into the mobile platform business in a way that could position it in a very interesting way over time as an alternative to Microsoft, Apple and Google - a positioning that would make Amazon more attractive as an acquisition target for a publisher-friendly online service. Say, like, Yahoo? With Yahoo's brand-friendly approach to content, it would be a natural fit. So consider Kindle less of a revolution in eBooks and more of an evolution of Amazon towards a marriage that can bring its investors to a new level in the marketplace via acquisition.

Headlines for 19 November 2007

Trends
Google Readies Wireless Bid
PC World
The Future of Reading: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader Debuts in Time for Christmas Shopping
Newsweek
Yahoo Could Close Poorly-Performing European Properties; Third Party Search Partnerships Coming?
paidContent.org
VideoEgg Hatches Ad Platform for Publishers
Beet.tv
It's official: I'm sick of Facebook
Connecticut Bob
Yahoo Launches Open Source Program for Distributed Computing
ResearchBuzz
Google makes moves to protect organic relevancy
Scobelizer
Music boss: we were wrong to go to war with consumers
PC Pro/Macuser
Yahoo Adds 17 Newspapers To Online Publishing Group
WSJ Online*
Companionship is good:Thomson's new WebPlus web search engine
Really Simple Sidi
Free WSJ.com: Behind the math
Reuters MediaFile
In Korea, a Boot Camp Cure for Web Obsession
The New York Times*

Best Practices
Leveraging the Power of Blogs in an Overcrowded Market
ProBlogger
Beware Dr. Google
San Francisco Chronicle
Internet users spend 47% time visiting Content
Virtual Cocoon
Banned User Abused Factiva
The Harvard Crimson

Cool Tools
Facebook Sponsored Pages Add Feeds: NY Times Gets it First
Mashable
A breakthrough in database translation
PR Leap
OpenSocket Facebook app released in beta enables OpenSocial to run on Facebook
OpenSocket

Deals, Partnerships and Sales
Voxant, the New Media Network, Adds illumistream health to Growing Catalog of Fully Licensed Health
PR-USA
Edmunds.com Hops Into the Driver's Seat with Digital Element
BusinessWire via PR Inside
Springer And Portico Join Forces In Electronic Archiving For Scholars, Researchers And Students
Medical News Today
SirsiDynix Partners with Brainware, Inc.
Library Journal

Products, Markets & People
Alacra Launches Alacra Content Marketplace
PR Web
Ascend Media shutters three medical titles
BtoB Online

Friday, November 16, 2007

Trouble at TrueAdvantage: Danger Signs for Sales and Marketing Content Services?

I heard from a colleague yesterday who mentioned that TrueAdvantage, one of the early leaders in advanced sales lead generation tools, is in the process of being dissolved. No callback yet from TrueAdvantage or one of its key investors, but it sounds as if this is probably one that's for real. If so then it's not good news for the dozens of content and technology companies that have been focused on providing value-add tools for sales and marketing automation. TrueAdvantage's focus seemed to be spot-on: analysis of a wide variety of published and enterprise content sources to identify companies that are highly likely prospects for very specific types of products and services. With nearly seven years of refinement you'd think that this would be a strong winning formula for a subscription service.

But there are two factors that may have been putting extra pressure on TrueAdvantage: rapidly evolving content technologies and an increasingly crowded marketplace for value-add sales and marketing tools. Tools such as Generate are providing a higher level of semantic analysis of content to not only filter general characteristics of companies and products but as well specific analysis of content to identify where a company is in the overall acquisition process. At the same time there is a widening array of major business information vendors that are building far more sophisticated filtering tools themselves: what was a sophisticated, advanced tool for business information a few years ago is becoming an expected filtering feature for standard business information databases.

Which brings us back to an all-too-familiar theme for many content technology companies: if what your company is building is a feature in search of a marketplace you're in a deadly race against the clock to turn that feature into a real product. Many patient private investors hope that through careful cultivation they can build their sales base to the point where a feature can survive on its own as a product but without raising the fundamental question of whether there is a broad enough business problem being solved to justify this optimism. Content technology companies need to think more like electronic publishers from the start and to look beyond their software expertise to the business problems that need to be solved first and foremost. At the same time, though, publishers need to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of new content technology companies and learn how to experiment with new capabilities that might indicate an opportunity for new products and services.

But even with all of the right buttons being pushed we may be reaching a saturation point for value-add sales and marketing tools. Return-on-investment arguments premised on sales efficiency don't always add up collectively: that is, if you have ten solutions that promise a 25 percent improvement in sales efficiency, purchasing all ten of them is not likely to improve your sales efficiency 250 percent! Content technology companies need to focus more on 10x-scale solutions that will change dramatically to make any sort of major impact in a market for sales productivity tools that's facing a softening economy. Good solutions will continue to do well in this environment, but investors should be prepared to challenge the speed with which deals can be closed and expect pilot programs to play out longer as customers try to milk advanced technologies for as long as they can on the cheap before considering full-blown commitments.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Astroturf Wars: The New Rules for PR in Social Media are Still Evolving

It's no secret that just about every pore of the Web that can be filled with bogus links and endorsements has already been equipped with astroturf content, stuff that's meant to seem like it's been posted by "just plain ol' folks" but which has been generated in fact by public relations firms or corporate hirelings. Astroturfing has long been associated with politicians and major PR firms trying to build the appearance of grass roots sentiment for products and people, but increasingly it's becoming a rallying cry for the censure of online publishers who are trying to build up traffic and revenues.

A spate of recent blog posts, for example, highlighted alleged astroturfing and social spamming by Shelfari, an online book discussion community. Posts on Gawker, O'Reilly Radar , competitor LibraryThing, Book Patrol and others detail how a Shelfari intern was pumping out synthetic kudos on blog comments and how a feature that enabled members to invite friends to Shelfari was rather ambitious in its use of their address books (you wanted to invite everyone, right?). Shelfari apologized for the astroturf comments on the Book Patrol blog and has announced a quick redesign of their signup process - as well as additional staff to help them with this and other growing pains.

It's not easy being an up-and-comer against established players, so perhaps a little benign neglect on Shelfari's part can be excused in passing. But if your product's whole rationale is to be a leading social media gathering place you'd think that you'd be extra-careful to make sure that you were playing by the unwritten law of social media: thou shalt not abuse personal trust for the sake of of commerce or ulterior motives. The "why" of this maxim is clear when you look at research from Faves.com, which indicates that at least weekly visits to social media sites jump to 90 percent when someone has at least moderate trust for a site's members, compared to about 34 percent for people with less trust. The formula for social media demands trustworthy intentions in order to scale effectively for advertisers.

While social media's growth is impressive the continuing challenge for social media outlets is to rein in the temptation to build traffic volume via less-than-genuine social contributions. It's not too different than the ongoing battles that search engines face with "link farms" that some publishes have used to simulate interest in content to play with page ranking algorithms, except that with these social media ploys the deception is much more direct in its abuse of people's personal endorsement power. In some ways what we're seeing is a generation of Web developers who have been trained on building "clicks" needing to adjust to a social media personal networking environment in which the power of personal endorsement amongst trusted peers carries a weight that is built one relationship at a time. Facebook's new ad and marketing services begin to rectify this trend somewhat by making it easier for commercial relationships to be defined in social networking environments in a way that honors the value of one's personal network while also honoring the value of commercial content and relationships.

Maintaining the boundaries of personal and commercial online relationships effectively is still a new science and art form. The good news is that social media has enormous power to build public relations, but the bad news is that people still think that good PR in social media is based on manipulation rather than constructive and authentic relationship building. While traditional PR by third-party firms will continue to thrive via mass media and single-voiced social media outlets such as weblogs, in social media outlets that rely on networks and conversations are going to require a different kind of PR investment - an investment based on authenticity and real relationships. There are different kinds of knobs to twist in social media to create amplification; hopefully traditional PR firms can learn how to do this more effectively as new firms learn how to master the art of social media PR.