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Wertheim am Main, by Vilmos PERLROTT-CSABA (1923) Hosted by
Wertheim am Main (1923)

I'll be in Germany 'till Tuesday.

Have a great weekend,

Thursday, April 27, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Jedi Breakfast

Thursday, April 27, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Survey Shows the Blogosphere is Breaking Out

The long tail is growing appendages. A new survey released today of over 36,000 readers of blogs shows different segments of blog readers have distinct characteristics. Conducted by the Blogads network, the study breaks out blog audiences into four categories: readers of political, gossip, mom and music blogs.

Blogads reader survey results
Blogads blog


Thursday, April 27, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Share. Find. Play.

That's the BBC's new strategy summed up in three words. reports on Ashley Highfield's presentation, Beyond Broadcast, in which he outlined a three-pronged approach to refocus all future BBC digital output and services around three concepts - 'share', 'find' and 'play'.

The BBC director of new media and technology also announced proposals to put the corporation's entire programme catalogue online (back to 1937) for the first time from tomorrow in written archive form, as an "experimental prototype", and rebrand MyBBCPlayer as BBC iPlayer.

Mr Highfield said the share concept would allow users to "create your own space and to build around you", encouraging them to launch ther own blogs and post home videos on the site.

As always, Ben's post is spot-on, even if his headline ("London Calling") is about as original as Dolly the Sheep: For information providers, it's better to charge for access to the community you develop around your data, not the information itself. ... The BBC's announcement is a milestone event. Based on rampant evidence that an open model of content creation -- in which content spurs content creation -- can be strong generator of reach and influence, the BBC is smart to democratize its own online network of content. Advertisers will follow. There may be skepticism from some media planners, but they'll come around.

Read/Write web comments on 2.0

Over on Paid Content, Rafat claims that BBC's Creative Future Initiative "gives into all he buzzwords ever invented."

Details from BBC's official releases can be found here, here and here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     1  comments

For MySpace, Making Friends Was Easy. Big Profit Is Tougher.

A ton of discussion is floating around the blogosphere with regards to Saul Hansel's thought-provoking piece in the Times.

Over on the Church of the Customer Blog, Ben has a nice summary and looks at How MySpace saved Chris DeWolfe's marketing soul: Effective direct marketers focus intently on what works and what doesn't through constant testing and adjustment. They launch, measure then adjust. Measure again and adjust. And never stop.

However, not everyone is as impressed.

Many, in fact, are critical of MySpace's numbers and business model. For starters, check out Scott Karp's fantastic piece What If Media 2.0 Is Less Profitable Than Media 1.0?. Quote: But what happens if big company brands realize that they no longer need a media middleman to connect with consumers? Why, for example, does a brand need to set up a page on MySpace in order for MySpace users to link to that brand’s online presence? If a brand succeeds in creating compelling and entertaining content that speaks directly to consumers and creates immediate value for them, why not just set that up "for free" on their own site and use the viral power of social networks to spread the word?

Umair thinks Scott is asking the wrong question and suggests that discussions of CPMs are not what this is all about. Quote: Now, the MySpace example is also flawed. Scott is using CPM to value MySpace. MySpace's success is predicated on shifting the industry away from the flawed assumptions and logic of CPM, much like Google has done. MySpace's challenge is to do the same thing for branding - to create a hyperefficient form of interaction, much like it's already done with sponsored profiles.

Techdirt takes issue with MySpace's traffic: Inflated MySpace Page Views Explain 10-Cent CPMs. A previous article along the same lines is here.

Mike Davidson does an excellent job at looking at the site's traffic and usability in his great post, Unstoppable Force or Unnecessary Click Factory? Here Mike's the "before" and "after" graphs of MySpace's traffic, if they were not generating so many unnecessary clicks:

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Link to the NYT article and quote:
MySpace now displays more pages each month than any other Web site except Yahoo. More pages, of course, means more room for ads. And, in theory, those ads can be narrowly focused on each member's personal passions, which they conveniently display on their profiles. As an added bonus for advertisers, the music, photos and video clips that members place on their profiles constitutes a real-time barometer of what is hot.

For now, MySpace is charging bargain-basement rates to attract enough advertisers for the nearly one billion pages it displays each day. The company will have revenue of about $200 million this year, estimated Richard Greenfield of Pali Capital, a brokerage firm in New York. That is less than one-twentieth of Yahoo's revenue.

Monday, April 24, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

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A Family Vacation in London, Guided by Scrooge

In addition to this lead article, The NYT published an entire series on "affordable Europe" articles.

Quoted from NYT:
Live well, spend less. It’s a nice concept — but one that’s often hard to pull off when you are an American tourist traveling through Europe and struggling to find ways to offset the weakness of the dollar. Here is some help: money-saving tips on everything from hotel rooms to cultural events from New York Times correspondents and contributors in 16 major European cities.

Monday, April 24, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Are you ready, Europe? on Jupiter's new Consumer Created Content report:

The growth of consumer-generated content has already had a disproportionately wide influence and may seriously impact on brand communications. This is despite the fact that most Europeans are 'passive' surfers who don't publish their thoughts online.

"Organisations ignoring community-based influencers face the danger of small-scale disgruntlement being exposed to a mass audience, resulting in a disproportionately large-scale public relations problem that can directly affect their bottom line," writes report author Julian Smith.

Thanks for the link, Steve.

Thursday, April 20, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

TV Execs: Online Vid Numbers Insignificant

Over on Micro Persuasion, Steve Rubel has an excellent recap and post about an AdAge panel he attended. The Upfront Conversation was moderated by Jonah Bloom and included a mix of execs from the TV networks, large advertisers and advertising agencies.

It struck me during the panel discussion that the TV networks - despite their recent initiatives - still do not live in a long tail world. They're largely focused on reaching mass audiences. Shaw's comments indicates that the nets are not seeing an opportunity to augment their huge reach by using the Web to help marketers build a deeper level of engagement with select slices of micro audiences who tell the larger group what to watch.

The marketers, meanwhile, are far along in their "getting it." For example, Andy Jung, Senior Director of Advertising and Marketing for Kelloggs, and Tony Pace, SVP and CMO for Subway, both said that while the numbers of digital viewers are small compared with TV, they are hugely important and influential. Jung in fact said it's time to "throw the fifty yard pass" and get involved.

Thursday, April 20, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Can Bloggers Make Money?

In an email exchange published in the Journal, Alan Mekler and Jason Calacanis debate the merits of the blogging business model. Mekler seems pretty convinced that - at for small blogs - there is little hope of creating sustainable income. Calacanis backs the "blog network model" and points to his own success with Weblogs Inc./AOL as an example for other companies to follow.

The debate in the blogosphere is as good as the article itself, and Om Malik sums things up nicely. Opinion and commentary ranges from the hideous to the sublime, and somewhere in between, Hugh MacLeod reminds people to consider the indirect benefits as well as the ad revenue: "The other major way to make money with the blogging platform is to use it to market your Global Microbrand, like Thomas did with English Cut. That to me is far more useful to far more people, yet it gets no mention in the Journal article. ... As I'm fond of saying, blogs are good for making things happen indirectlyetc."

Quoted from WSJ: While many blogs remain little more than amateur diaries, several bloggers have tried to parlay their online ramblings into branded businesses. One, Jason Calacanis, co-founded Weblogs Inc., a network of blogging sites that was acquired last year by AOL. Mr. Calacanis has been an outspoken proponent of blogs as business vehicles, arguing that quality content can drive enough traffic to attract advertisers.

Other discussion and links: Technorati, Memeorandum
Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection;Alan Meckler vs. Jason Calacanis, Can Blogs Make Money?
Mark Evans:Blogging for Fame....and Maybe Fortune; Publishing 2.0: Good Blogging = Good Publishing = Good Business; IP Democracy: Do Blogs Follow the Traditional Publishing Model?; Alan Meckler vs J-Cal at the WSJ; Bloggers Blog: How Much Can Bloggers Make Per Month?; Digital Inspiration: Do Blogs translate into profits ?;Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed: Bloggers Making Money; Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing: Can bloggers make money?; ben barren: "BlogPalMe@Paris Sidekick 3 for Last Weeks CPM"

Thursday, April 20, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

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State of the Blogosphere I

David Sifry from Technorati reports on the State of the Blogosphere. In Part 1, he looks at the growth of the blogosphere:

* The blogosphere is over 60 times bigger than it was only 3 years ago.

* 75,000 new weblogs created every day

* 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created

* Original content greatly outweighs the fake or duplicate content listed on spam blogs

* Daily Posting Volume tracked by Technorati is now over 1.2 Million posts per day

Thursday, April 20, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 16, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

TimesSelect: 465,000 subscribers in 6 months

Back in September when TimesSelect launched, many people asked Is Paul Krugman Worth $49.95? ... That's the way Business Week posed the question. Half a year later, TimesSelect has approximately 465,000 subscribers, of which 62 percent are home subscribers and about 38 percent are online-only.

Umair might not think it is a good idea in the long-term, but I still think this is their best effort to date to convince people to pay for content.

Paid Content on the latest NYT earnings release:
A newsy earnings release from the New York Times Company today, including word that the company’s internet businesses now account for 7.5 percent of overall reven ues, up 4.5 percent over 1Q05. The dollar amount: $62 million. The growth in revenue relevance is attributed to strong organic growth and the acquisition last March. The 1Q06 earnings were skewed by a pre-tax gain that pumped up 1Q05; NYTCO turned in an operating profit of $68.3 million, down from $208.1 million.

Saturday, April 15, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Yahoo! FareChase integrates and innovates

Yahoo! has upgraded their travel service, blending search and travel-specific features from across their netowrk.

Clearly stepping up its challenge to dedicated travel sites, Yahoo FareChase allows consumers to receive instant airfare and hotel price comparisons, satellite overview maps and user reviews of restaurants and tourist destinations, features that previously existed in different corners of the Yahoo network or elsewhere across the Web.

Yahoo! Search Blog:
Yahoo! FareChase (which is now in general availability) is a travel search engine that searches across many airline sites like, hotel sites like, and on-line travel agency websites such as and, to give searchers a comprehensive set of prices and availability for flights and hotel rooms that is available on the web. Now with a simple web search, you can see what’s available across multiple sites without a separate visit to each site. And, the new satellite imagery we just launched in maps is also available on Yahoo! FareChase. :-)

Social Patterns:
FareChase resembles offerings from similar services like Kayak but does not poll as many sources. Here’s a list of some of the travel sites that FareChase searches. Compare that to Kayak’s airline and travel lists.

Even more exciting is the release of Yahoo APIs for the new services. You can use the APIs to search for public trips by keyword or place a FareChase box on your site. By combining user generated content (trip guides and plans) with search, Yahoo is doing what other search engines aren’t - smart search with community input.

Nathan Weinberg:
Yahoo, fresh off unveiling a top-flight local search product, has unveiled another one, one that leverages the first: Yahoo FareChase. FareChase appears much like Google’s OneBox results; if you search for something that sounds like a travel search, like “flights to new york”, you’ll see a Yahoo Shortcut asking you for a little more info. Unlike Google, though, you aren’t passed off to Orbitz or Travelocity, but to FareChase. ... There’s also a new Trip Planner site, where travelers can share their plans and see what others think of them.

Somewhat Frank
Yahoo had a big day today (April 12, 2006) unveiling some improvements to its current map beta and to its travel search offering. The mapping improvement adds global satellite imagery to offering which is a feature that is currently offered by most of Yahoo's direct competitors with the exception of .

Stuart MacDonald thinks it kicks butt. News today on the Yahoo! blog of the new-and-improved Yahoo! FareChase. I just checked it out and have one word: Wow.

Reuters offers a pretty comprehansive, if not flat, review of the new service including some good quotes.

"Industry-best prices will actually show up in Yahoo search results," said Jasper Malcolmson, director of Yahoo Travel. "We have created a search engine both for best prices and destinations."

"What Yahoo has and the travel agents don't have is user generated content," Forrester Research analyst Henry Harteveldt said. "Travelers will change their behaviour based on what they see from other consumers."

Thursday, April 13, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

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Could be good, at least for the networking.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Quoted from Edge Perspectives:

The rebundling of media is one of the consequences of the growing relative scarcity of attention – anyone who can help audiences connect with the most relevant and engaging content will be richly rewarded.

As content proliferates, branding in the traditional media business is going to change profoundly. The most powerful brands in the media business will be held by successful intermediaries that help to consistently improve return on attention for audiences. In the process, the nature of the brand promise will change in a profound way. It will be a massive opportunity for media companies that understand the shift in economic and competitive dynamics and that focus on the rebundling plays required to build these brands.

- John Hagel, continuing the discussion of Disney's plan to offer ABC TV shows free on the Internet. Fred and Jeff are on one side, Umair is on the other. John splits the difference ... but leans towards Umair.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Kennedy: Create a new feed syndication platform at Microsoft

Niall Kennedy (of Technorati fame) is headed to Microsoft to create a new team. They're creating a feed syndication platform which is to be integrated it into Windows Live. And, it seems that Live will become the default homepage for IE7 and Vista (in addition to several other products and services already mentioned by MS). Richard MacManus predicted this a while back and has some excellent related comments today on his blog.

Quoted from Niall's blog:
" is the new default home page for users of the Internet Explorer 7 and the Windows Vista operating system. will be the first feed syndication experience for hundreds of millions of users who would love to add more content to their page, connect with friends, and take control of the flow of information in ways geeks have for years. I do not believe we have even begun to tap into the power of feeds as a platform and the possibilities that exist if we mine this data, connect users, and add new layers of personalization and social sharing. These are just some of the reasons I am excited to build something new and continue to change how the world can access new information as it happens.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

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Not so Lost? ...

Disney to Offer ABC TV Shows Free on the Internet

"The evolution of is just one piece of our comprehensive, digital multiplatform business initiative," said Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group. She said in a statement that the overall objective was to make a variety of information and entertainment "available to consumers whenever and wherever they choose."

ABC is leading the the mainstream effort to deliver media via alternate platforms, including iPods, cell phones,' and now over the internet. In Italy, you can get Lost on your Vodafone, for example.

The blogosphee is buzzing, and while Fred, Jeff and many others agree that this is a big move, not everyone agrees, just in case you were wondering. If you can put up with playing buzzword bingo (terms like "the reshaping of the media value chain," "the rethinking of media orthodoxy," "edge competencies," and "plasticity,") Umair does make a couple valid points.

Quoted from the WSJ:
As part of an effort to engage the online community, viewers from around the country will be able to gather in "rooms" online to watch an episode of, say, "Lost" and chat about it. Disney will also promote the creation of fan sites for various shows. "We want to tie all of these fan sites closer to our brand," says Albert Cheng, executive vice president of digital media for the Disney-ABC Television Group.

The ads won’t look like typical TV commercials. For starters, instead of five commercial breaks during an hourlong episode, there will be three breaks lasting a minimum of one minute each — all of them from the same advertiser…. viewers will have a choice of what type of ad to watch — for instance, a traditional video commercial or an interactive 'game' commercial.

Quote from arstechnica:
ABC's move is the boldest by far of the major networks. NBC appears to be headed in a similar direction, as Jeff Zucker, CEO of the NBC Universal Television Group has called on producers to rethink how they market their shows.

Offering full programs online is part of Disney's "rich media destination" strategy. Disney, which owns ABC, is making its content available through a number of delivery methods at varying cost to the consumer.

They can catch them when they first air or watch them online the day after for free, but with commercials. If they want to watch them on the go, individual episodes without ads are available from the iTunes Music Store for US$1.99 each, or they can purchase a season-long "multi-pass" for US$34.99 (about US$1.40 per show). There's the on-demand cable option for about US$1.00 a show, also without ads. Of course there's the most expensive option: the DVD, which will doesn't do much for immediate gratification as it won't be available until after the season concludes.

Quoted from Good Morning Silicon Valley:
Features like that will no doubt present an interesting value proposition to advertising planners, who are fast losing confidence in the effectiveness of traditional ads and looking for new ways to reach potential customers. Indeed, AT&T, Ford, Procter & Gamble and Toyota are all participating in the trial. If it's a success, we'll undoubtedly see other networks following suit. with serious implications for the cable industry, which could see its on-demand services challenged before they're ever rolled out, especially as the connection between the Net and the living room entertainment center get easier.

Quoted from Church of the Customer Blog
As a proponent of creating fan communities that reside largely within a brand's online network, I'm encouraged by this tactic. It's relatively low-risk, a natural buzz-generator and will probably generate bundles of research data.

But let's hope ABC/Disney encourages the community to largely govern itself rather than imposing an omnipotent, brand-centric autocracy. ABC has given the community the keys; now it has to trust it enough not to crash it into the lake.

Quoted from the Washington Post:
"Going direct over a broadband (Internet) connection is a very smart business and I think you'll see other broadcasters follow suit," said Rich Greenfield, analyst at Pali Research.

"This just continues to bolster our view that you should be investing in content and programming over pure distribution" like cable operators, he said.

Quoted from the New York Times
Advertisers that are expected to sponsor the Webcasts include Proctor & Gamble, Toyota, Ford, AT&T and Unilever, the company said. The advertisements, it added, will be interactive and "will take many and will be seen within each episode."

Quoted from
It will be interesting to see whether people eschew the freedom of paid downloads for tethered streams of these shows. My guess is they’re two different crowds.

Ten advertisers will support Disney’s latest online initiative: a two-month trial streaming "Desperate Housewives," and "Commander in Chief," and the full season of "Alias." The group includes AT&T, Cingular, Ford, P&G, Toyota, Unilever, Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures. The announcement includes a nod to affiliates. Alex Wallau, president, operations and administration, ABC Television Network, from the release: "Our ultimate goal is to find an effective online model, one in which our affiliates can take part. To that end, we'll be sharing information from this two-month test in our discussions going forward, and working on ways for them to participate in this new method of delivering ABC programming."

Quoted from
The strategy is the first time a broadcast network will give away full-length TV shows online and illustrates the pressure on networks to increase their audience amid competition from cable and Internet services. Viewers won't be able to skip commercials and Disney said AT&T Inc. and Ford Motor Co. will advertise.

Shares of Disney rose 44 cents to $27.97 at 11:43 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares increased 15 percent this year through April 7.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

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The State of Web 2.0

Two mainstream news sources try to make sense of Web 2.0, and then blogs makes sense of them. If you're following 2.0 stuff, you shouldn't miss this.

Quoted from Slate
Newsweek's April 3 cover story finally gives checkout-stand placement to "Web 2.0," everyone's favorite new tech buzzword. You've probably seen the phrase before—in the blogosphere, in the New York Times' coverage of dot-com executives seeking a second act, or in Wired's profile of Tim O'Reilly, the tech publisher who envisions a Net that entices us to contribute as well as consume. But like its predecessors, the Newsweek story pussyfoots around the most important question about Web 2.0: What the hell is it?

Quoted from Dion Hinchcliffe:
Now that Web 2.0 has had its mainstream media coming-out party in both Newsweek and Slate recently, I thought I'd take some time this afternoon and try to get a real sense of the prevailing winds.

By the way, my short post on the older Newsweek piece is here, or you can skip straight to Rafat Ali's excellent summary.

Monday, April 10, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

Nihilist Job Resume
McSweeney's Internet Tendency

Have an excellent weekend,

Friday, April 07, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

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A Point/Counterpoint worthy of Aykroyd and Curtin

There are some exceptions, but generally speaking I am very much in favor of registration. It has benefits that far outweigh the costs, both to the consumer and company. saw the number of posts grow while the proportion of bad posts shrunk after taking down registration for comments on their site. I believe that this is either an exception to the rule, or as I suspect, it is too early to see the true impact of their decision.

In the end, the value of the registration data to the business should not be underestimated. For those looking for a volume model, I suggest TV.

A List Apart: Anonymity and Online Community: Identity Matters

Anonymity Can Wreak Havoc in a Community
Anonymity allows people to hide behind their computers while saying whatever they want with little ramification. Pair (online) disinhibition with anonymity and you have a recipe for potential disaster.

Freedom to the Masses
Free, but registered = higher quality. See: Wikipedia.

Member versus Visitor
When you establish a relationship with members, you’re more likely to get valuable, useful information and responsible behavior from them.

Membership, Old School
Membership systems are pretty well understood in the old-fashioned Web world. Most are three-tiered: Visitor, Registered user (or "member"), Administrator or moderator ("privileged user").

Membership is a Filter
If membership systems were so onerous to complete, no one would do it. People happily and willingly engage in such a registration when they readily understand the value given to them for registering.

Six Steps to Better Online Community Through Membership
1. Know thy users
2. Simple registration is not a burden
3. Segment your registration system
4. To verify or not?
5. Provide a rating or reputation system
6. Keep the communication flowing

Counterpoint: and Shiichan Anonymous BBS

Registration keeps out good posters.
Imagine someone with an involving job related to your forum comes across it. This person is an expert in her field, and therefore would be a great source of knowledge for your forum; but if a registration, complete with e-mail and password, is necessary before posting, she might just give up on posting and do something more important. People with lives will tend to ignore forums with a registration process.

Registration lets in bad posters.
On the other hand, people with no lives will thrive on your forum. Children and Internet addicts tend to have free time to go register an account and check their e-mail for the confirmation message. They will generally make your forum a waste of bandwidth.

Registration attracts trolls.
If someone is interested in destroying a forum, a registration process only adds to the excitement of a challenge. One might argue that a lack of registration will just let "anyone" post, but in reality anyone can post on old-type forum software; registration is merely a useless hassle. Quoting a 4channeler:

Trolls are not out to protect their own reputation. They seek to destroy other peoples' "reputation" ... Fora with only registered accounts are like a garden full of flowers of vanity a troll would just love to pick.

Anonymity counters vanity.
On a forum where registration is required, or even where people give themselves names, a clique is developed of the elite users, and posts deal as much with who you are as what you are posting. On an anonymous forum, if you can't tell who posts what, logic will overrule vanity.

Thanks for the links, Jeff.

And remember, the best thing to say about any Point/Counterpoint is, "Jane, you ignorant slut."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

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The New Age of Discovery

Ever wonder what distributed social networking pathways look like in the networked world? It makes much more sense when you break it down to the discovery process and think about how it works. Here is one example:

I read a great post on a blog I trust: Church of the Customer Blog

The post sparks a visit to a viral site:

the site leads to watching a cool video: Secret

The video is made by an interesting young director: Adria Petty

The director used equally cool music: The Like

Which I just blogged, and you just read and can now comment on and share.

I've used tell-a-friend on MySpace and on the Converse Gallery site to send a couple messages about what I found. The Like's music is streaming in the background as I write this, and I'm downloading two tracks. I'll probably check out Adria's VW videos later.

Where does it go from here?

Quality plays an important role in the process. At any point in the journey, if the quality of the information, content or experience is sub-par, the discovery weakens or stops. My propensity to spread messages also significantly decreases.

In the Church of the Customer Blog, they compare recent viral efforts made by Chevy and Converse and suggest that "the congregation is smarter than the carny. Appeal to the evangelists."

Limiting efforts to selected groups is one way to ensure quality, but I think there is room for both mass and targeted efforts, depending on the marketing objectives. Can't Chuck Taylor and a Subservient Chicken co-exist in the networked word? I think so.

Also worth noting: Adria Petty is Tom's daughter, and The Like have equally interesting family trees: Z's father being former Geffen A&R man/record producer Tony Berg, Charlotte's father as producer Mitchell Froom and Tennessee's father Pete Thomas, longtime drummer for Elvis Costello. It should come as no surprise that media people and artists get it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

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Gnarls Barkley set new chart record with 'Crazy'

This is well-deserved. No stranger to internet distribution and buzz, Danger Mouse is the producer/DJ behind "The Grey Album" - the fab mash-up of The Black Album (Jay-Z) and The White Album (Beatles). You can listen to Crazy on the band's official site or their page on MySpace. It is a great track.

From NME.COM: Gnarls Barkley have made UK chart history on April 2 as their single 'Crazy' has become the first to go to number one on download sales alone.

The duo - producer Danger Mouse and hip hop star Cee-lo - sold 31,703 digital downloads this week, knocking last week's chart-topper Ne-Yo down to number two. It is the first time a song not available in the shops has managed the feat.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     0  comments

A Letter to Our Readers

The New York Times unveiled a new layout and some features today, and Leonard M. Apcar, the's Editor in Chief explains it. With the jury is still out on Times Select, this is the latest move from the NYTimes to keep itself from becomming old news.

The good:
~ The site is faster.
~ The page is wider and displays content in a more organized way.
~ Multimedia is front-and-center and works well.
~ Blogs are promoted on the front page.
~ Seems to be search and RSS index-friendly.

The bad:
~ The font, while readable, is common.
~ The layout is boring and lacks brand impact.
~ There is too much information on the front page to digest.
~ Times Select, their paid service, takes up way too much real estate.

The ugly:
~ A few sites, including The Guardian, mentions the MyTimes service ... which isn't available yet. I can understand promoting a beta, but since when is it smart to promote a service which doesn't even exist? This is an uncommon move fr the Times, and I'm very surprised. Given all the other things that could generate buzz and excitement, why promote something people cannot even test drive? The Times is not a delayed Microsoft OS or a long-overdue video game.

~ For whatevever reason, I could not get the "most emailed, blogged and searched tabs to work." Not like I'm using some crazy set-up or something: I'm using Firefox on a PC. There is no excuse for this, if indeed this is not a problem on my side.

~ Maybe it is just me, but I think the Times has lost some of its personality with this redesign. It just looks more like other sites. Is it just me? At their last major redesign (5 years ago, I think), I remember thinking that they added to the user experience (much better navigation and better use of photography and breaking news, for example) but they did not take away the feeling that I was on the New York Times site. Other than the masthead, I'm not sure if I still feel that way. This could be the Wash Post or Herald Tribune. They're great publications and sites, don't get me wrong. But the Times is the Times and this new design does not reinforce that.

Other opinions:

Anil Dash is very positive about the new design and suggests that "there’s a few lessons for bloggers to learn from the redesign, as well as some evidence that the Times itself has been learning from bloggers." Given the six column design and weight given to blogs, RSS and 2.0-type navigation, it isn't hard to see why Anil likes the new look.

He mentions Khoi Vin’s Subtraction as an example of the type of design that the Times might have been emulating. Makes sense, since he had been recently named Design Director of the Times. While some (like me if truth be told) might think that Khoi led this redesign, the editor’s note makes clear that things have been in the works for over a year. Anil also points to Khoi's blog where he "offers up some details on what the process and team look like."

Dave Winer is unimpressed: I'm not very excited about the redesign of the NY Times home page because it ignores most that has been learned about reading news on a computer screen, and instead models the front page of the print pub. Not a good use of the screen, it ignores the fact that they can produce a new document for each user every time they visit.

Generally speaking, it looks like Jeff Jarvis isn't that thrilled, either. See: Not quite, Times.

Robert Scoble likes "that the redesign uses the Georgia font, developed by Microsoft. That font was developed for high readability and it sure does help make the NYT look great."

Over on the Guardian, they like the apparant gain in speed and point out the following: The main difference is that it's wider, but the menu system has been greatly improved, and the unweildy drop-downs have, thankfully, gone. Video works a treat. But the best thing of all -- and one that nobody seems to mention -- is that it's blisteringly fast. Here, switching sections (eg from Sports to Arts) takes less than two seconds. Subjectively, it seems about twice as fast as the Guardian, maybe more.

Arrington's opinion is pretty favorable: First, they now have a dedicated area of the site to show video clips. And more importantly, they have a "most popular" area that includes most emailed, most blogged, and most searched articles. I like the directions the Times is going - and I also note that they are now experimenting with linking to blog posts directly from articles.

Here's the link to the Rake's interview with NYTCO Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. on Times Select, just in case you're interested.

Monday, April 03, 2006   permalink to archived copy   DiggIt     2  comments

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