links for 2009-11-28

  • Indy zombie video series! First episode.
  • Let’s say a newspaper executive opens a store. They put some story headlines up in their shop window.

    Now one of those old fashioned newskids comes along. You know, the type that you’d see in movies selling papers on the street. Let’s call the kid Google.

    Google reads the headlines and then scampers off down the street, shouting out to people things like “Senate’s debating health care!” or “1 out of 4 homeowners are in the red!”

    Some of these people are interested. They ask this Google kid for more information, and Google sends them back to the news store.

    At the store, the news exec owner greets visitors by asking them what the hell they want. Perplexed, they visitors say they heard about these stories and wanted to know more. The exec shouts at them. “Get the hell out of my store, you freeloader! This is for members-only. We don’t need riff-raff like you in here.”

  • "Once upon a time, I blocked Google from being able to index (or even access) Associated Press stories from our local newspapers' websites. It was not a stupid thing to do.

    "At that time, we were not participating in any national ad networks. Every pageview delivered to anyone outside a newspaper's geographic market was a net loss in two ways: One, it consumed some server resources (not a huge deal, but servers do have costs). Two, when the ad server delivered a local ad to an out-of-market user, it reduced the effectiveness of that advertising campaign in measurable clickthrough per thousand pageviews.

    "Now We're participating in national networks. We can serve nonlocal ads to nonlocal Lookie Lous. We can — and do — sell and deliver behaviorally and demographically targeted advertising, and provide anonymous targeting data to national networks. So we don't block Google, and in fact we're working aggressively to optimize our sites for searchability."

  • "Context. I want to suggest abandoning the article for the constantly updated topic page (a la Wave). The problem with an article online is that it has a short half life and gathers few links and little ongoing attention and thus Googlejuice. It’s for this reason that Google’s Marissa Mayer has been advising publishers to move past the article to the topic. Abandoning the article for some living, breathing news beast yet to be defined may be a bit too radical for today’s publishers. So instead, I suggest, at least place the article into a space with broader context – archives, quotes, photos, links, discussion, wikified knowledge about the topic, feeds of updates; make the article a gateway to anything more you’d want on its subjects. Daylife (where I’m a partner) is working on something like that."

links for 2009-11-25

links for 2009-11-24

  • "Some of the hype over Google Wave has died down over the last few weeks, in no small part because most people have absolutely no idea how to use it (no, the 80 minute long video demo doesn’t help). Now it looks like the Wave team has another idea up their sleeves to show people the power of Wave: they’re using it to recreate famous documents.

    "This time they’re reconstructed the Declaration of Independence, complete with edits and comments from the founding fathers. My US History is a bit fuzzy, but there are plenty of obvious jokes nestled in here, and I’m sure the Googlers have included a few more subtle ones as well. Unfortunately, it looks like you’ll have to have a Wave account if you want to witness the creation of one of the United States’ most important documents. But we’ve tried to grab a few of the key moments in the screenshots below."

  • Handy skill if you need your own copy

links for 2009-11-19

How Facebook Apps Can Compromise Your Privacy, & How to Fix (Maybe)

I never liked Facebook, and I still don’t, which is why I don’t use it much. My main gripe has always been its badly designed interface which always leaves me confused about where to look and what to do.

But now I have an even bigger gripe about Facebook: How it compromises your privacy via its application programming interface (API).

Continue reading

links for 2009-11-17

  • Demand Media is a database of human needs, and if you haven’t stumbled on a Demand video or article yet, you soon will. By next summer, according to founder and CEO Richard Rosenblatt, Demand will be publishing 1 million items a month, the equivalent of four English-language Wikipedias a year. Demand is already one of the largest suppliers of content to YouTube, where its 170,000 videos make up more than twice the content of CBS, the Associated Press, Al Jazeera English, Universal Music Group, CollegeHumor, and Soulja Boy combined. Demand also posts its material to its network of 45 B-list sites that manage to pull in more traffic than ESPN, NBC Universal, and Time Warner’s online properties (excluding AOL) put together. To appreciate the impact Demand is poised to have on the Web, imagine a classroom where one kid raises his hand after every question and screams out the answer. He may not be smart or even right, but he makes it difficult to hear anybody else.

links for 2009-11-13

  • "We've received lots of feedback from Wavers that the public waves they read were clogging up their inboxes. Today, we've introduced a new concept to Google Wave–"following" waves. Now, clicking on a public wave no longer causes it to appear (and stay) in your inbox; you have to explicitly choose to "follow" the wave."
    (tags: Google-Wave)
  • "Apple’s rejection letter notes that the app contains content that “ridicules public figures.” If you follow the link above, you will see that these drawings are not defamatory nor ridiculing. They are simply caricatures. Big heads, exaggerated features. Do we really think that lawmakers, who deal with talk radio, bloggers and TV talking heads calling them all sorts of heinous things day in and day out, really care about a drawing?

    "This looks like a private company protecting public officials by refusing to allow drawings of them to be shown on mobile phone devices. Apple is lobbying Congress on a number of issues and has already spent over $1 million. Perhaps, they are treading too lightly to keep from disrupting their legislative activities."

  • It could be argued that the disclosure of lobbyist contacts could lead to further disenchantment with government in the eyes of the public. Decontextualized information can often lead the acceptance of insinuations. Some may interpret any lobbyist contact as a corrupt activity, but this simply isn’t the case. What we need is a fuller picture of who has influence in a given lawmaker’s office. This doesn’t imply corruption, just who has influence. The later actions of a lawmaker will provide the context that reporters and others can research to find the actual context of a contact.

links for 2009-11-12

  • Because some people have more than one phone line, they end up being double-counted. This results in overstated audience figures and penetration rates that approach and eventually exceed 100% of the population. For marketers, the number of mobile users is a more useful figure because it more accurately describes the audience, and thus potential reach.

    How big is the actual US mobile audience? Taking into account people of all ages, eMarketer estimates that mobile penetration is 76.5% in 2009, or 235 million people. This is expected to rise gradually to 255.4 million in 2013, or 80% penetration.

    Predictably, this estimate is much lower than figures from CTIA – The Wireless Association, which measured 276.61 million mobile subscribers (subscriptions) as of June 2009. Using data from the US Census Bureau, this equates to 90% of the total US population.