Yahoo! TV Gets A New Do

December 1, 2006

Yahoo! redesigned their TV listing
site
this week. Certain bloggers have expressed their displeasure with the makeover. I think it looks good but certainly could be more functional.Most Yahoo! pages are getting Flash-ier so it was time for the TV listing page to go under the knife. Some complaints have been that the Ajax interface slows it down but that wasn’t my experience.

The problem is not the “cool” new color scheme. The problem is the design placement. The most pertinent information is not close enough to the top. I have to scroll down too far from the Scrubs, Ugly Betty, and Grey’s Anatomy promos before I get to the “My TV” grid, which is the reason I would go to this site in the first place. They’ve also placed “TV News,” “Juicy Gossip,” and “Latest Recaps” before the actual listings. I’ll go to the PerezHilton blog if I want that crap.

I don’t think this is another example of Yahoo! spreading its peanut butter. I think this is Yahoo! giving itself the makeover it needs but maybe trying to hard to be cool. Function before fashion, Yahoo! Learn from Meevee.


Forbes Video Interview With Digg CEO

December 1, 2006

Michele Steele at Forbes Video Network interviewed Digg CEO Jay Adelson to discuss site usage and acquisition rumors. The video was posted on November 22, 2006.

Steele asked Adelson about the size of the Digg audience (Digg has claimed 20 million uniques a month, v. 1.3 million that Comscore reports). He responded by saying that Digg sees about 1.5 million uniques per day when RSS readers are combined with website traffic, and he claims that third party website monitoring tool are flawed (I agree).

Steele also asked Adelson about the recent rumors that Digg was close to selling for $150 million. He denied the rumors and stated flat out that Digg is not currently in acquisition discussions with anyone.

My favorite exchange is when Steele asks Adelson “What will keep Digg from being a one trick pony?” His answer – “community.”


Is Google Adding Blog Search to Google.com?

December 1, 2006

Once-a-month blogger, occasional web designer and UK based family guy Andy Boyd has posted a screen capture of blog search results appearing on the front page of a regular Google web search. A number of other bloggers have picked this up but no one else has been able to reproduce Boyd’s experience. It’s a believable scenario because Google recently added blog search to Google News last month and to Google Alerts four days later. The UK, where Boyd lives, is frequently a testing ground for new Google features right around the corner.

Obviously real estate even on the very bottom of the first page of Google results would be great for the blogosphere. If Google Blogsearch can’t get rid of all the splogs in its search results though, it could lead to some level of backlash against blogs in general. I don’t know anyone who’s as good at excluding splogs as Ask/Bloglines – they only display blog search results from blogs that at least one Bloglines user has subscribed to and they have algorithms to prevent gaming of that safeguard as well.

If Google really does take the bold step of including blog search on the front page of its web search results, it will be the first major search engine to do so. Blogs are included in general search results (see the search results for gay men social networking for example) and may have such good search engine optimization natively that they don’t need a special place on the page – but it could only help broaden exposure to the medium.


The ‘iPhone’ Coming Out January 2007

December 1, 2006

CNN and Reuters is reporting that the rumors of Apple introducing an iPhone are no longer an “IF” but a “WHEN”. Speculation is as early as January 2007 at the MacWorld Conference.

Since Apple’s introduction of the iPod five years ago, the company has sold more than 67 million of the devices and more than 1.5 billion songs from its iTunes online music store. Now, Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Apple are poised to roll out what has been dubbed the “iPhone,” perhaps as soon as January next year at the Macworld conference that kicks off every new year, analysts say. “From a technical standpoint, the phone is pretty much done,” said American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu. “It’s a big endeavor and we believe it’s beyond speculation.”

Speculation has simmered since even before the introduction of the ROKR phone from Motorola Inc. that uses a slimmed-down version of the iTunes digital music jukebox to play 100 songs. But sales were lackluster as users complained the phone did not hold more songs.

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Marketing Your Business with a Blog

December 1, 2006

Brian Brown on Work.com provides a guide on how to use blogging as an effective way of marketing your business and staying in touch with your customers. The transparent nature of blogging allows you to connect, communicate and inform your current and potential customers in a way you just can’t through glossy brochures and slick corporate web sites. A blog can be a very nice compliment to your current marketing mix and costs virtually nothing to start up – just a change in a mindset from trying to be the keeper and protector of information to the sharer of it.

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Revolutionary Pen-Size Computer Uses Bluetooth Technology

December 1, 2006

A revolutionary new miniature computer is being worked on in Japan that comes in the shape of a pen that you can slip in to your pocket. It projects a monitor and keyboard on any flat surface that you can begin using like any regular PC computer. With its Bluetooth technology, it recognizes your key-presses and inputs as per usual. See the photos below. I’m trying to find out more about it and when it is expected to be available to the masses. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 


How to Use Digg to Drive Traffic to Your Site

December 1, 2006

Guy Kawasaki on his blog today wrote about Neil Patel of Pronet Advertising who put together a beginner’s guide on how to use Digg to drive traffic to your web site. If you are not familiar with Digg, it’s a site where users can submit links to stories they find on the net they think are worthwhile. The Digg community can then vote on the story and “Digg” it or “Bury” it depending on what they think of it. Stories that receive the largest number of votes get promoted to the front page or “most popular” page. This can have a dramatic impact on the amount of traffic going to your site in a relatively short period of time, if the community likes your page. For more details on how Digg works, click here.


Is Your PR Only Bringing You 15 Minutes of Fame?

December 1, 2006

Mark Stevens, best-selling author of “Your Marketing Sucks” (one of my favorite books) wrote a post on his blog about how your public relations efforts can turn out to be a huge disappointment when not aligned with your sales goals. After all the anticipation, all you get is 15 minutes of fame and nothing to show for it. Your photo showing up in the paper may seem great at first, but if the coverage doesn’t drive action, it’s nothing more than just your photo showing up in the paper. Today, businesses and PR firms staying on top of today’s technology (and in-tune with today’s reading habits) are leveraging news SEO, channel sites, and bloggers to push out their message to intended viewers. According to Pew Research Center, the audience for online news has jumped from 2% to 31% of Americans and the audience for nightly network news slipped from 42% to 28%. 75% of journalists search the internet for previous stories on their subject.


Profitably Running an Online Business in the Web 2.0 Era

December 1, 2006

One of the things I’m doing this week is preparing for a presentation at Web Builder 2.0 on how to monetize mashups in Las Vegas next week.  Consequently, I’ve been pulling together notes, talking to mashup creators, and studying real-world examples of how companies are applying innovative ways of generating revenue with Web 2.0 applications and open APIs.  Though there are all sorts of interesting emerging stories, such as the new Second Life millionaire, product developers are increasingly trying to explore the options beyond the obvious: namely big value acquisitions ala YouTube or the often fickle, if mostly workable, online advertising route.   But the biggest question that comes up is that if you let your users generate most of your content and then expose it all up via an API, how can a profitable business be made from this?

 

This has been the question from the outset, and though you can build enormously successful sites in terms of numbers of users and amounts of content using Web 2.0 techniques, the best means of monetizing this remain a larger unproven endeavor.  I wrote a while back on the struggle to monetize Web 2.0 where I explored in detail the strategic and tactical methods for making next generation Web sites financially viable, even successful.

If you refer to my original article on monetizing Web 2.0, I identified three tactical means for generating revenue (advertising, subscriptions, and commissions) and a series of strategies that can support them.  While it’s usually fairly clear how the direct revenue models work, it’s usually less clear to people how the indirect strategies can directly influence the opportunities.

Strategies for Making the Most from Web 2.0 

    • There are direct (the 3 items above) and numerous indirect ways to monetize Web 2.0 that often go unappreciated
    • Some of the indirect ways which lead to revenue growth, user growth, and increased resistance to competition — which in turn lead to increased subscriptions, advertising, and commission revenue — are:
      • Strategic Acquisition: Identifying and acquiring Web 2.0 companies on the exponential growth curve before the rest of the market realizes what it’s worth (early exploitation of someone else’s network effects.)
      • Maintaining control of hard to recreate data sources.  This is basically turning walled gardens into fenced gardens:  Let users access everything, but not let them keep it, such as Google providing access to their search index only over the Web.
      • Building Attention Trust – By being patently fair with customer data and leveraging user’s loyalty, you can get them to share more information about themselves that in turns leads to much better products and services tailored to them.
      • Turning Applications into Platforms: One single use of an application is simply a waste of software.  Turn applications into platforms and get 5, 50, or 5,000 additional uses (Amazon has over 50,000 users of its line of business APIs) for example.  Online platforms are actually very easy to monetize but having compelling content or services first is a prerequisite.
      • Fully Automated Online Customer Self-Service: Let users get what they want, when they want it, without help.  Seems easy but almost all companies have people in the loop to manage the edge-cases.  Unfortunately, edge cases represent the The Long Tail of customer service.  This is hard but in the end provides goods and services with much tighter feedback loops.  And it’s also a mandatory prerequisite for cost effectively serving mass micromarkets.  In other words, you can’t directly monetize The Long Tail without this.

Lying directly in the primary tenets of Web 2.0 however, are a series of two-edged issues from a revenue perspective.  Though the concepts and ideas are powerful when applied appropriately, they can also pose significant short-term and long-term challenges.  Below are the basic principles of Web 2.0 along with the positive and negative revenue implications for most companies on the Web today, even ones that aren’t fully embracing it yet.

 Revenue Implications for Web 2.0 Principles (not meant to be exhaustive)

  • Principle 1: Web as Platform
    • Upside:  Revenue scalability (1 billion users on the Web), rapid growth potential and reach through exploitation of network effects
    • Downside: Competition is only a URL away, often requiring significant investment in differentiation
  • Principle 2: Software Above a Single Device
    • Upside: More opportunities to deliver products and services to users in more situations
    • Downside: Upfront costs, more infrastructure, more development/testing/support (costs) to deliver products across multiple devices
  • Principle 3: Data is the Next “Intel Inside”
    • Upside: Customer loyalty and even lock-in
    • Downside:  Lack of competitive pressure leading to complacency, long-term potential antitrust issues
  • Principle 4: Lightweight Programming & Business Models
  • Principle 5: Rich User Experiences
    • Upside: More productive and satisfied users, competitive advantage
    • Downside: Higher cost of development, potentially lower new user discoverability and adoption
  • Principle 6: Harnessing Collective Intelligence
    • Upside: Much lower costs of production, higher rate of innovation, dramatically larger overall content output
    • Downside Implications: Lower level of control, governance issues (increased dependance on user base), content management issues, and legal exposure over IP\n
  • Principle 7: Leverage the Long Tail\n
    • Upside Implications: Cost-effectively reach thousands of small, previously unprofitable market segments resulting in overall customer growth
    • \nDownside Implications: Upfront investment costs can be very significant, managing costs of customer service long-term

I hope that helps. I\’m barely on track for 4pm, but let\’s talk anyway and review the latest…\n
\n\n”,0] ); D([“ce”]); //–>: Much lower costs of production, higher rate of innovation, dramatically larger overall content output

  • Downside: Lower level of direct control, governance issues (increased dependence on user base), content management issues, and legal exposure over IP
  • Principle 7: Leveraging The Long Tail
    • Upside: Cost-effectively reach thousands of small, previously unprofitable market segments resulting in overall customer growth
    • Downside: Upfront investment costs can be very significant, managing costs of customer service long-term
  • While a great many startups are not generating revenue in huge quantities yet, the companies that have been diligently exploiting open APIs such as Amazon and Salesforce are in fact generating significant revenue and second order effects from opening up their platforms and being careful not to lose control.  This is actually a large discussion, and as large Web 2.0 sites continue to emerge, we’ll continue to keep track of what the successful patterns and practices are.

    What other implications are there by putting users in control of content generation and opening everything up?


    Putting Web 2.0 in Perspective

    December 1, 2006

    Jiyan Wei, Vice President, Online Media, v-Fluence Interactive Public Relations

    At a recent conference, I overheard one communications professional ask another, “What is our Web 2.0 strategy?”

    I wondered what exactly they meant by a Web 2.0 strategy, despite my background and experience with the Web and new media, and, soon after, decided to register for the official Web 2.0 conference, set to take place November 7-9 in San Francisco to learn more. I visited the conference Web site and found a quote from Ross Mayfield, “Web 1.0 was commerce. Web 2.0 is people,” as well as an impressive guest roster featuring a mix of voices from both traditional and new media firms. However, when I went to sign up, the $3,000 event was sold out. I then began to search for a comparable event and stumbled upon the Web site for ‘Web 2point1,’ where I learned that the non-profit organization running the site had chosen that particular moniker after being threatened with legal action by O’Reilly Media (who coined the term Web 2.0) and CMP.

    I couldn’t help but note the irony that the Web 2.0 conference was cost-prohibitive to most ordinary folks, and that a non-profit had been sued by the organizers of the Web 2.0 conference for attempting to use the same name. After all, isn’t Web 2.0 supposed to be about participatory media and collaborative development? Isn’t it about people?

    What exactly is Web 2.0, and will it replace what we now know as the Web and the way in which we all communicate, as many seem to claim? |inline