Posts filed under ‘Web 2.0’
I was pretty miffed not long ago when a splogger jimmied my posts (several to boot) without any credit to me nor permission. WP’s stats allowed me track this unsavoury character–you should read the forum about splogging at WP. To a certain extent I can relate to Viacom since I felt the same sense of violation. I did not lose dollars per say BUT someone enriched themselves at my expense. And frankly to have my content placed in these junk-sites is an embarrassement.
It is theft in the purest sense to seemingly create value from stolen content.
Blogwerx offers tracking software, Sentinel, that will catch the thieves redhanded. I like it. Hopefully it will be fast and remove the content from the thieves’ blogs. Blogwerx say they offer a fast scanning algorithm. The basic solution is free–worth a try.
With those caught red-handed Sentinel sends a DMCA warning and after three strikes are black-listed. But I’m still not clear on how it blocks sploggers before the get-go.
But I like it.
I wrote about The Venice Project on December 21st, declared today as the covert name for Joost. Frankly, you can’t say too much for secrecy in the valley–it can be key to success.
The videos will be managed from desktops providing a richer viewing experience than the pixelated, crowded YouTube browser experienced. There was a place for this player and Joost has just made a home run! Just feast your eyes on the thumbnails above–these are full screen experiences. But it is still in beta phase.
Internet TV is coming into focus with Joost; hosted video and “streaming video” are fading.
I have reviewed all the new apps, most from start-ups, many from big players like Adobe and Seagate, and all were impressive. Kudos to all the inventors–they are defining our future. The Web 2.0 meme is alive indeed! Here is a list of what I see as the top dozen favorites in the buzz network (not prioritized):
- Zink (inkless printer that fits in your pocket!)
- Eyejot (the best of email video)
- eJamming (voip for musicians)
- Apollo (Adobe) (web apps to the desktop-not hosted!)
- Mobio Networks (mobile 2.0 mashups paltform)
- Jamman (high-def feature films from all over the world)
- Scram (Ceelox) (embeds info behind images for security)
- Sentinel (blogwerx) (tracking blog plagiarisers, sploggers)
- Zoho’s Notebook (multiple sources of content into one)
- D’Fusion (Total Immersion) ”augmented reality”
- Shipwire (affordable browser based warehousing & shipping-could launch a new legion of home-preneurs!)
- Me.dium (follows people’s web surfing)
Frankly, it’s unfair to leave any out; but, we all suffer from a collective attention-deficiency. Merit should be given to Teleflip, Vringo, DesignIn, Seagate’s Crickett, Boorah, Blinkx, Aggregate Knowledge, SplashCast and Boston-Power’s Sonata. Everyone has favorites. I tried to blend those of the pundits.
An interesting point is that few are monetized via advertising-it’s all pay-as-you-go or straight-forward buys.
Apparently, the Demo 2007 was crawling with VCs. Plexus 2007: The Web Marketing Conference & Demo will be populated with real buyers from the marketing and ad world. VCs are welcome.
The very successful “demo” event model applies to every innovation even if from Yahoo, IBM or Adobe. It moves quickly. It’s dynamic, invigorating. And you get the big picture, the value, quickly. Reportedly, attendees just love it! Chris Shipley, head of Demo 2007, has been inundated with praise for her excellent execution of this demo-styled event.
Video sharing in a blink! is Eyejot’s trademark mantra. This online video sharing platform requires no downloading of an application to use. Users can create and receive, no ifs, ands or buts. You can start using Eyejot immediately, with any browser and in any platform. And it integrates with mobile devices and iTunes too.
Imagine now instead of keying in a message to your Valentine, you can belt out a dirge on your knees and send it via email. You don’t have to get hosted at YouTube for this! This is an emoticon killer!
I love it. Love it. Love it. Get this on Oprah’s favorite things.
Is Microsoft picking the lint out of its navel?
Well the moment has arrived. A few days ago Viacom demanded that YouTube remove 100,000 videos from its service, throwing down the gauntlet with 100,000 spam messages to cease and desist. For producers and artists whose revenues have been altered by digital squatting, there seems to be no end in sight. Distribution is everything right now. Just last week content producers in Hollywood threatened to hold back delivery to theatres in Canada if they could not get control over copying while movies play; apparently Canada (according to US) is mecca for this practice. Content producers are digging theirs heels deeper.
In a new clever move last January, YouTube has offered to compensate home grown video producers for their material. That will prevent claims from rising, perhaps class actions, to countless numbers.
Frankly, this is not about whether YouTube or other services have erred; it is about a new digital economy defining itself. Growing pains. There will be ambulance chasers who will enter the courts with old world patent and copyright laws for windfalls notorious of large court judgments. And it will be the Googles and the Yahoos they will pursue. Maybe even the Flickrs and Technoratis. But strangely enough this problem cuts both ways.
There is new impetus for claims against the common user via EULA (End User License Agreement), a contract between end user and producer of software. For software purchased at retail these are referred to as “shrink-wrap agreements” and on-line, “click through agreements”. Few read them following through with agreement by merely using or clicking “I agree” on-line. The agreements are ridiculously long and their meaning, difficult to comprehend. But, there is increasing debate about whether these agreements are enforceable.
Some of these agreements allow the licensors to snoop into the users’ computers and in some cases to remove existing software. In many cases the user cannot even “criticize” the product. This goes completely against the new consumer democracy all tech players purport to be purveyors of. Is this not the height of hypocrisy? Yet, EULA is now on steroids, ”overwritten” with TOS (Terms of Service ) contracts, to lock-in and control innocent users. We know the corporations (and you know who you are) who indulge. Start-ups driven by VCs (who love “lock-in” software) are no stranger to this TOS practice. The relative absence of these could be a brand building feature!
In the grander scheme of things, is this wise? EULA must be reformed. Firstly, licensors must have a good hard look at their actions and recognize that they are taking basic rights under our collective constitutions away. Ambulance chasers (patent attorneys) see an opportunity; but, truly when rights in constitutional preambles come into play what are their chances? The public will become aware, perhaps stop clicking, stop buying. It’s not inconceivable. Software producers must rely on the copyright law that protects them well enough and enjoy the benefits of their works. Et tu?
Software creators must look at their values—-publish and espouse them. In this, there is brand affection and loyalty in a sea infested with (name your predator here). Rethink.
I gave LinkedIn a tough post many moons ago but now…I am starting to see value. I came to LinkedIn in 2006 as a result of an invitation from a brainiac colleague in Massachussetts who specializes in FMRI (equipment that reads blood flow to the brain in response to stimuli). I never knew about LinkedIn ’til then. I accepted the invitation; the proviso was that LinkedIn HookedMeIn. I never liked lock-ins (not a good cue). I could not partake in his network at the time. It was all not clear to me what they were all about and I had zero time to check it out. However, last month I went and enhanced my profile vowing to leverage its value at a later date. Perhaps now I should move forward!
Just yesterday (these people work on Sundays) LinkedIn announced it raised another round of funding i.e. $12.8 million US (nice to see the investments are beginning to creep above the 2006 rounds of $3-$10 million).
Linked In declares it has 9 million users and is gaining 100,000 new members per week. Ouch! My skepticism seems to be challenged. I am still a Member but now I am paying attention.
What’s the money for? Well I suspect LinkedIn Answers was a driver to this investment. This service allows you to ask your personal network professional questions and get answers now. LinkedIn Experts launched on January 4 ’07 takes Answers a step further. A question will render the top five experts to answer a question–the answer comes from the selected expert at $500 per hour. LinkedIn keeps $250. If this model takes off, it could become the norm for the procurement of “soft” goods; however, it is not threat to enduring consulting relationships. It is rather an entry point. A chance to hasten “the pitch” process. Or at its core, get a quick answer without the consulting fees customary of think-tanks in the five figure range.
In 2006, LinkedIn generated revenues just over $10 million US; yet, it is valuated at $250 million. For bubble-mongers this does sound familiar; but it is widely accepted by pundits that business networks such at this one are faring well. Xing, its Europeean competitor, is reporting similar revenues. This is a space to watch. Business web apps were slow to get going; but now I delight in the flurry of web offerings to businesses. Just last week Big Blue (IBM) launched it own awesome web app (see post below). The growth on the web is now turning to biz.
It’s called Lotus Connections and was announced yesterday at its Lotus conference in Florida. I don’t believe it’s available in beta yet; but it is due to be launched sometime this year. It rivals Microsoft’s SharePoint insofar as it is entirely web 2.0 enabled. (Frankly, SharePoint has not made a big dent in business sectors–yet.) The Lotus platform is more pointedly described as “collaboration” software rather than “social networking” where business feared to tread.
While we have seen breakthrough social networking platforms enjoy unprecedented participation on a global scale, business dragged its heels. But now IBM stands a chance to make its mark–again–as a leader in the most lucrative market.
The web as a platform is still fairly unchartered for business. The fear of loss of security and control are the root cause, holding corporations back. But now with the new Lotus, the conversation will increase. My hope is corporations will be quick to embrace a platform that will enable employees and associates to exchange information easily and quickly on the web, without the annoyances of lock-in software.
I am so glad the Big Blue is providing impetus for business to leverage what the web has to offer. Now let’s see how this pans out. Watch for a flurry of web apps. And certainly a competitive response from Microsoft. Quelle surprise!
What’s most fantastic about Apple is not its brilliant innovations. Or its aesthetic breakthroughs. Or even because it brought back Steve Jobs. Apple is brilliant because it keeps it eye off the competition in terms of defining itself and it products.
In the corporate world, Apple is the rugged individualist (although sleeker). The world is increasingly held captive wondering, “what will they do next?” Apple never disappoints. Ultimately, Apple competes with itself. How will they top the iPhone in 2008? I am setting my brain’s Tivo to a January launch of something not thought of yet. Apple makes it harder on themselves to be great. Now that all competing eyes are on them, Apple has the leading advantage: they know what they are up against.
Seems getting a payment from Google Adsense is not what you’d imagine. And even if you are a top world blogger the revenues are so small that I quote Chris Anderson (of Long Tail fame), “Don’t give up your day job”. When a prolific web 2.0 thinker and serial entrepreneur like Guy Kawasaki warrants (according to Google) revenues as low as $200 + per month for his blog with an average of 6,200 page views per day…the revenue is inane. That is simply discouraging to all bloggers seeking revenue. There are now several paid advertising networks like PayPerPost that render far greater revenues for your blogging time. And Guy has moved his ad management from Google Adsense to Federated Media.
Time is money. That will never change. The internet is no longer about pennies. The value of a page view is high compared to traditional media and far greater in value than set by Adsense at less that 1 cent per view. Remember we are talking about viewers who actively come to your site or blog–not intrusively interrupted by an unrequested message. This is where the gold is. Everyone is asleep at the wheel on this. Guy Kawasaki’s blog: High, high value. Top 100 blogs too. Top 1,000. Top 10,000. And then there are the niches who don’t make the top but have an unshakable following. I’ve been in the ad biz all my adult life and I stake my livelihood on it.
The industry needs to rethink! The distributors need to take a smaller cut and compensate quality content producers for their real value. There’s not a moment to waste here. If left unchecked, the outcome will be the attrition of quality blogs. The Kitty Liner magazine (parody-dont’ go looking for the URL) and The New Yorker are not at the same page price. Value must be reflected. Time for a market correction. Now.
The Venice Project, another creation by the founder of Skype, Janus Friis, is in beta. It’s the long-awaited internet TV beginning to sprout! Although systems require gobs of ram (512mb) and good video memory (48MB) and 600 mhz of speed, most PCs can now easily accomodate. The interface is nice and crisp and allows you select channels, programs, etc… with ease. Does this spell the end of the top box? Apple is delivering its own this January (last I heard). If so, Yahoo! (no pun). I once heard the word streaming is outdated–”internet TV” is indeed the cool new term. And it’s getting more real and real close.
For advertisers, this spells a new medium, targeted and affordable. Since Venice is aimed at delivering free TV, advertising is how it will monetize itself and compensate the content producers.
Question is, how will service providers kick-up their offerings to accomodate internet TV? This is surely a satellite TV killer which bundles unwanted offerings at a high cost. Now customers can customize their their programming selections with ease. That’s authentic one-to-one marketing offering brand relevance to advertisers as never before. We are in for a luxurious gondola ride in Venice.
BitTorrent increased its play in the entertainment industry today. BT has struck a deal with an impressive array of production companies and networks to deliver entertainment digitally to the masses. Among them MTV, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. BitTorrent is known within silicon valley for its leading peer-assisted digital delivery plaftorm. Scary for theatres is that BT can deliver content before theatrical dates. Cineplex/FamousPlayers plans to be “the Google of entertainment”. Note the word “plans”. At present, seems only BitTorrent is capable of delivering these massive files over the internet. It is reported that BT accounts for 40% of the traffic on the internet. And once broadband services and their appliances are up to snuff this should spell the end of theatres as we know them, placing the experience first and not the content. That means theatres will have to start cleaning their bathrooms, changing their light bulbs when they burn out, provide snacks that you won’t make you ill, shorten the line-ups and acknowledge you when you walk-in. Or else the seat price will never bear the brunt of this diverted access to entertainment. Not to mention, they are losing their key teenage audience. I muse on how this will change the face of TV programming very shortly. In the last few days, our major networks appeared hat-in-hand at the CRTC to obtain the right to levy a fee to their satellite and cable licensees and in turn begin charging consumers for programming–because in fact revenue has dropped at the hands of digital delivery to PC and mobile appliances. Try to explain that to viewers of the Lawrence Welk show! (Isn’t the cost of living high enough?) The CRTC said “no”. Wouldn’t a fee shrink the audiences further? Could these fees offset the increased loss of ad revenue as audiences shrink? This is short-sighted. Bean-counters must be involved, pandering to shareholder nerves. Like the dailies, TV networks simply don’t have a Plan B. Or is that Plan BTorrent.
Orb Networks are launching their new software this week (is that today?). It enables users to view, search and create videos and direct it onto their cell phones from video services like YouTube. Mind you a fancy phone like Motorola Q or Nokia N80 is required–not your garden variety cell. This small company of 35 employees founded by Joe Costello is now effectively a leader in mobile entertainment. Orb is not new to the game; it already had 400,000 users of its previous digital media software. This is a company to watch.
The idea that we can be ubiquitously empowered, untethered, is tantalizing. The hairs in the back of my neck barely ever have a chance to recoil! Everyone is getting into the game. Even Robert Redford is producing original shorts just for your PDAs and cellphones (granted there is a cost obstacle for users but they will come). There are phones that read bar codes. Image search tools where you point at an object (like a stranger’s hat), click and get info about that hat. Tools that tell you where your friends are within inches. You can shoot photos and videos and publish them on the heels of their recording. Wireless wikis keep your office team at peak productivity almost rendering emails useless. It’s all about Web 2.0–with that everything is possible. The Mobiplex (where mobile and wireless are concentrated in the Demoplex) at the Plexus 2007, (perhaps the world’s largest web 2.0 event) will hog much real estate. Mark my words, “your hair will raise”.
Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! have agreed to support the SiteMaps protocol today, upgrading the quality of search results under the stratosphere. Finalement! This spells a death challenge to crawl algorithms which until now controlled searches. Now SiteMaps enabled search engines look for content on web sites–it’s that semantic thing that’s blossoming on the web. It’s about the way humans function and not scripts. I love it. Kudos to our behemoths. This standard offers site owners one simple way to share information with all search engines simply by publishing a site map (I am belting out instructions to our programmmers as I post!). It’s free and that should make its adoption viral by developers everywhere.
Nowadays if you call 611, help, customer support, the wait is long and the answer is even more disappointing. Bell, Sympatico, Vonage and the throngs have been lured to call centres in places where cultures and language pose a failure to communicate. An insider tells me, “[customers are up in arms and now ask respondents as the dialogue opens]“, “where are you located?” Invariably it is India. But it can also be the Philipines or some other place. These people are endowed with grace and tolerance but for the caller who is anxious and has big problems like no connectivity for instance, the response is far from meeting our North American cultural lexicon, communications and emotional needs. The communications corporations claim, “it’s to save costs”. Here is the primordial question, is it worth the customers’ frustration and perhaps their migration to a competitor? The waits are longer too because corporations are clamoring to engage these call centres (who in all likelihood underpay their employees and benefit from untoward labor practices abroad). There are so many issues here; but the immediate issue is the side-show that takes place when you need help. Personally, I have spoken to India at least 6 times in the last week. I love a good curry. I love that India is thriving. I love the genius that is coming from India on technology. But when I am destabilized and have urgent needs, I do not wish to be handled by someone who I can’t understand and who in turn asks me repeatedly to repeat myself armed with a limited capacity to even state the question. Aaaaaaaargh. Let’s get real. Those of you who indulge are giving out cues to customers, “we really don’t care about you”, “we are so minimizing our care that we are relegating you to Babel”. Those of you contemplating the savings, contemplate the experience. And the consequences. Find somewhere else to cut costs, like excessive executive packages.
Google is rumored to be courting YouTube (not yet profitable but it does broadcast a reported 100 million videos each day) for $1.6 billion as we speak. No doubt this will be its biggest acquisition yet. But don’t reach for the Rolaids yet because Rupert Murdoch, Yahoo, Viacom and Microsoft, also have their eyes on YouTube. By all accounts, Google seems ahead of the race. Until 2006 Google was on a steady diet of smaller start-ups that provide turn-key features to Google’s various tools. But the YouTube ten-course meal is a good one. For Google who has had some difficulty with building communities via video sharing, YouTube will prove useful. And for YouTube, tormented by claims of intellectual property, Google could be its salvation. It will be interesting to see how Google integrates this complex platform and content into its own, never mind the difficulties of merging itself. Google’s steady diet could slow its innovation especially when we hear Sergey Brin repeatedly admonishing his organization to not develop any new products but rather, improve on the products they have. This in the same year staff functioned within a culture of innovation, where 20% of their salaried time was freed to start something new. Slowing innovation… True to the nature of a corporate behemoth.
Yahoo’s appetite is no less sizeable as it negotiates to buy Facebook, a social networking site, for over $1 billion. The feasting has undoubtedly been fueled by Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of MySpace (a rivalling social network of sorts to Facebook) for $580 million. It is now valued at $2 billion.The conglomerates want to buy before this type of valuation escalation uhh… escalates! Gosh this sounds more and more like the bubble of the recent past: sky-high valuations on unmonetized properties. For social networks only advertising will provide revenue and unlike the bubble there is now a keen and mature interest by advertisers since audiences (especially youngs ones) have grown up on new media and are virtually absent in traditional media ratings. I just can’t understand why traditional media are never at the bargaining table. It will be their undoing. Is Rupert Murdoch the only player with neurons firing?
A fun parody on VOIP (another use for the acronym). When technology enables interactivity without touch. Talk about user generated content. Have some fun with art. This is why YouTube has great value and a huge following.
Tagworld, the creation of serial entrepreneurs Fred Krueger and Evan Rifkin, is yet another social network launched in 2005 which boasts app. two million users, a paltry sum compared to the 72 million+ users of MySpace. But Tagworld’s functionality is beyond compare as of this date and 100 million users is within radar range. It is said to be the “MySpace killer” (the “killer” term bugs me because no one has to die to make another successful – the incumbents only have to evolve). Let’s see a gigabyte of storage, a music player that plays your tunes, photo, video and bookmark sharing (that’s flickr,YouTube and del.icio.us all in one!), classifieds (Craigslist was bound to get more competitors)–all tagged with your own semantic descriptives and generated in real time. User generated content is far from reaching maturity on the web. You have not seen anything yet and Tagworld is the latest model. And for advertisers the pay-per-click model that monetizes most of the web is alive and well in Tagworld. But what’s even more outstanding about Tagworld is the information back to content providers as to who is using, viewing their content–that kind of feedback to all users is social networking to the power of ten. Everyone is talking more because everyone is saying “I’m listening”. That feels good. Blogs don’t quite do that.
The court ruling in Belgium last September 5th has me ferklempt. They have ruled that Google must pay a fee to newspapers from Germany, Belgium and France for the stories and images it has (partially) published on its Belgium site. The claim is that it takes traffic away from their newspapers. Huh? The fact is, it benefits these publishers greatly since you have to click-through to the newpapers to get the whole story. Hopefully, Google will get forensic accountants and valuators to look at the value Google click-throughs bring to these papers. In the meantime Google has to publish the judgment on their web site!! Copyright claims will run amuck! A dark view of a future at the hands of old-world adjudicators: information for a fee will cease to be accessed and nullify the value of the web. Memories of Napster…
Platform creators and services must stride carefully when entering other nations and societies. Google are going back to the battlefront this November 24 in Belgium. But this is not a battle for Google–everyone will be affected. It is our battle. Brothers and sisters in silicon valley lend your minds to this one. This could change the playing field. A fundamental shift. It is time to address copyright in the new world by new world standards!! What are those? Where’s Al Gore when we need him?! Al? Al?
Semantic web assuredly is the big wave about to hit, slowly buzzing its way into conversation. At at time when we are still digesting user generated content and “the long tail“, ”semantic web” is an irrevocable reality. Don’t confuse this with mashups, an application which enables you to use content from many different sources to create new sites or services; this is already well on its way. You can call semantic web the “anti-application” web. This may annoy many an app developer; but progress cannot be stopped. Such is the circle of life and semantic web may be in the not too distant future, “the minnow that swallowed the whale”. Semantic web is about sharing of data without being constricted by applications. Not sharing in the way you may think. Think outside the app box. Read on because this entirely blows wide-open the capabilities of the web. Standards (OK, “recommendations”) are being developed by no other than W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium), an organization founded and led by Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web. W3C released the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the OWL Web Ontology Language (OWL) as their “Recommendations”. W3C states, “RDF is used to represent information and to exchange knowledge on the Web. OWL is used to publish and share sets of terms called ontologies, supporting advanced Web search, software agents and knowledge management.” If this seems g(r)eek to you, keep going. Taken directly from W3C verbatim, here is an explanation of semantic web:
The Semantic Web is a web of data. There is lots of data we all use every day, and its not part of the web. I can see my bank statements on the web, and my photographs, and I can see my appointments in a calendar. But can I see my photos in a calendar to see what I was doing when I took them? Can I see bank statement lines in a calendar?
Why not? Because we don’t have a web of data. Because data is controlled by applications, and each application keeps it to itself.
The Semantic Web is about two things. It is about common formats for interchange of data, where on the original Web we only had interchange of documents. Also it is about language for recording how the data relates to real world objects. That allows a person, or a machine, to start off in one database, and then move through an unending set of databases which are connected not by wires but by being about the same thing.
Read Testimonials from early adopters of W3C RDF and OWL from organizations like Adobe, Boeing and Mozilla. When we talk about the next wave at Plexus 2007 semantic web will be high on the Agenda. Plexus 2007 would not be about Web 2.0 without it.