Podtech’s Strategy

NewTeeVee talks to Podtech CEO John Furrier:

The key to reaping rewards from programs on niche topics like automotive news10 is appealing to microcommunities, Furrier said. Advertisers want to put their content in front of audiences that they know are contextually and behaviorally what they want. By involving and engaging a particular community, he said, lines of communication between the advertisers and the influencers can be opened up. It will be interesting to see if the same principles will apply to the entertainment and comedy channels Podtech is planning on adding soon.

Were not really publicly talking about it. Were just out there doing it, he said. Were creating a media network, in a new way, in a different way. By treating media creators more like software developers, letting advertisers directly access potential customers in a compelling way and giving their users what they want, Podtech could do just that.

RSS Reader for Rich Media

SplashCast reviews 10 RSS Readers. The dream: “If I could piece together the various options available to me now, what Id like is this. Id like an online reader with the speed and media handling of Google Reader and the river of news functionality of Newsgator Online. Id like it synced with a desktop reader that combines the stability, 3rd party tagging and river of news of NetNewsWire with the aesthetics of FeedDemon and the media handling of RSSOwl. I dont believe that anyone has yet nailed the cross platform mobile reader that syncs with web and desktop readers.”

RSS and Newspapers

Mark Cuban writes:

If Google or Yahoo are immediate gratification for everything and anything globally, Newspapers can be the library for everything and anything locally. The attraction of Youtube isnt the quality of its content, its the breadth. You can find anything and everything. Your website can be the same. Its what we did at broadcast.com . We drowned them with volume and alternatives. We didnt care if it was audio or video of a cat screeching, 2 people playing bridge or a cousin telling jokes. We figured if there was enough choice, people would come back out of curiousity to find out what was there. Only your newspaper can do the same thing locally.

Put in URLs around reporters/columnists/whatevers along with the orangamajiggi, and teach your users that your newspaper is now putting up everything and anything that they do. Get it first, get it best with the Heralds LiveLink. Just go to this webpage, click on the Yellow and then click on Bookmarks Toolbar Folder. The Herald will then automatically send you headlines of every story we put on the net by category. We bring the news to you ! No more having to search through Google News, or searching for the latest stories, we bring it to you !

Newspapers and Techies

Kevin Maney asked techies how to reinvent newspapers:

Other than getting out of paper, the techies almost universally came up with two main suggestions: turn newspapers into models of Web 2.0-style open media, and go super local, essentially becoming the town Yahoo.

Newspapers are wading into both strategies, but the techies would dive in whole hog. Early this month, Gannett — which owns USA TODAY– announced a major initiative to quickly turn its community newspapers into “Information Centers” that can deliver content to any device or medium 24/7 using multimedia information-gathering tools and more content generated by readers.

“The media brands that will be successful will open their content to the masses and participate heavily with everyone else, including their competitors,” Hot or Not’s Hong says. “I would do everything I could do to embrace the new world rather than fight tooth and nail to protect my old business models.”

Reading Feeds

Marshall Kirkpatrick provides some insights: “RSS feeds make it possible to consume far more information at a faster pace than would otherwise be possible for the human brain. That said, many people experience a new level of information overload once they begin reading feeds. Here’s an overview of how I read thousands of RSS feeds without breaking a sweat.”

Blogging as Business

The Economist writes:

Now, however, a third category is emerging: the mom-and-pop blog. In the old days, we used to be called newsletter publishers, says Om Malik, a technology writer who quit his job at Business 2.0 magazine in June to work full-time on his blog, GigaOm. He has hired two other writers, and his blog now attracts about 50,000 readers a day, generating tens of thousands in monthly revenues. Costs, including salaries, are around $20,000 a month.

One big reason why his blog works as a small business, says Mr Malik, is that an ecosystem of support is appearing. Like Ms Armstrong, he farms out advertising sales and administration to a firm called FM, launched last year by John Battelle, who once ran magazines such as Wired and the Industry Standard. In his old business of magazines, says Mr Battelle, the cost of acquiring an audience was stupendousat Wired it was about $100 per subscriber. The cost of building a readership for a blog, by contrast, is nil. Once you have a lot of readers, however, the bandwidth costs become significant, and most medium-sized blogs cannot afford to hire the sales people needed to generate sufficient revenue. So FM’s 15 sales people negotiate with advertisers on behalf of blogs they represent, keeping 40% of the resulting revenues.

Best Blog Posts

Google Blogoscoped has a collection of some of the best blog posts ever: “I asked several bloggers about their most popular, or one of their most popular, blog posts the kind that made an impact on people, had skyrocketing traffic numbers, or triggered a meme or changes. Here are their answers.”

Corporate Blogging

From an article in Business Standard:

Corporate blogging, though in its infacy, has got a shot in the arm with this post. It is estimated that 40 Fortune 500 companies publish corporate blogs, allowing CEOs, employees to bypass the public relations department, journalists and industry analysts and speak directly to the public. Amazon, Cisco and Oracle were early adopters with AMD, Dell, Kodak, GE, Intel, Microsoft, Sun, Yahoo and Xerox following suit.

Not much is happening in India on this front, though. Of course, Infosys has its weblogs called infosysblogs.com and Rajesh Jain (one of the pioneers of the Internet in India) has his emergic.org. But we dont have a Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani or an Azim Premji blogging like Schwartz.

Digg Changes

BlogHerald writes:

It appears that Digg has changed their stance towards their economy.

The Digg economy is the reward system for the users who contribute to the website by submitting content. This ultimate reward is the glory by way of user rankings, calculated as a function of total stories submitted by a user that made it to the front-page.

Keeping this economy in mind, you could say that the recent algorithm upgrade at Digg is actually a shift from a capitalist free market state, to a socialist state of equality.

Prior to this change, the Digg economy was a capitalistic one. One that emphasized fairness and allowed each individual user to create his own fate. Under this system, each user was rewarded appropriately, based on their level of contribution to the system. This economy has now become a socialistic one (not to be confused with communistic economies), which emphasizes equality over fairness.

Consumer RSS Readers

Read/Write Web writes in the context of Pluck deciding to shut down: “Consumer RSS Readers are rapidly becoming commodities and will soon be next to worthless – the real business is white label and enterprise solutions. So Newsgator for example is well positioned. And Bloglines and Rojo both got out while the going was still good, via acquisitions. Although it must be said that niche RSS Readers will still have their place – for example FeedDemon (owned by Newsgator) will continue to get an adequate number of subscriptions…As a standalone company, it’s no longer possible.”

Engagament Metric

Robert Scoble writes:

Why should engagement matter to an advertiser?

Well, as an advertiser I want to talk to an audience wholl actually DO something. Yeah, Im hoping to get a sale.

Yesterday Buzz Bruggeman CEO of Active Words, was driving me around and told the story of when he was in USA Today. He got 32 downloads. When he got linked to by my blog? Got about 400.

My audience was (and is) a lot smaller than USA Today, but the engagement of the blog audience got his attention.

How could we measure audience engagement?

We Think, The Book

Smart Mobs points to a new book by Charles Leadbeater:

Google is on the verge of bidding 1bn for Youtube, a business little more than a year old. Wikipedia continues to draw more traffic than much more established media brands, employing hundreds more people. Open source programmes such as Linux insistently chip away at corporate providers of proprietary software. Immersive multi user computer games, such as Second Life, which depend on high levels of user participation and creativity are booming. Craigslist a self help approach to searching for jobs and other useful stuff is eating into the ad revenues of newspapers. Youth magazines such as Smash Hit have been overwhelmed by the rise of social networking sites such as MySpace and Bebo. What is going on?

We-Think: the power of mass creativity is about what the rise of the likes of Wikipedia and Youtube, Linux and Craigslist means for the way we organise ourselves, not just in digital businesses but in schools and hospitals, cities and mainstream corporations. My argument is that these new forms of mass, creative collaboration announce the arrival of a society in which participation will be the key organising idea rather than consumption and work. People want to be players not just spectators, part of the action, not on the sidelines.

Peer Production

[via Veer] CTheory.net has an article by Michel Bauwens: “Not since Marx identified the manufacturing plants of Manchester as the blueprint for the new capitalist society has there been a deeper transformation of the fundamentals of our social life. As political, economic, and social systems transform themselves into distributed networks, a new human dynamic is emerging: peer to peer (P2P). As P2P gives rise to the emergence of a third mode of production, a third mode of governance, and a third mode of property, it is poised to overhaul our political economy in unprecedented ways. This essay aims to develop a conceptual framework (‘P2P theory’) capable of explaining these new social processes.”

Perils of UGC

Rashmi Bansal writes about the problems with user-generated content:

The idea of ‘user generated’ content is a great one. And it works when you have millions and millions of people contributing such content – like at youtube.com. From a mountain of boring / mediocre trash you find a few gems and the system is designed such that users push these gems up to the top of the pile.

But when the number of users you attract is fairly low… you don’t have enough gems. And the trash attracts more trash and repels people who actually have quality content. Because you haven’t created an environment where the ego-driven creative types would like to showcase their work.

DIY Content

DIY Media Weblog has a post on a talk by Mizuko Ito on “Amateur Cultural Production in the New Networked Age.”

As part of last year’s Networked Publics program at the Annenberg Center, Ito and her research colleagues have been examining the changing relationship between cultural production and consumption. They have looked at the ways that many-to-many distribution, peer-to-peer social organization, and the availability of low-cost digital authoring tools have lowered thresholds to cultural production “manifest in public culture as increased visibility and mobilization of those actors traditionally associated with cultural consumption.” They see three domains “growing in salience with the turn toward networked public culture: 1) amateur and non-market production, 2) networked collectivities for producing and sharing culture, 3) niche and special-interest groups, and 4) aesthetics of parody, remix, and appropriation.”

RSS Topic Subscription

Read/Write Web writes about ZapTXT:

With the messy demise of PubSub, I’ve been looking for a decent keyword and topic subscription service to replace it. ZapTXT could very well meet my requirements, except for the odd fact that it doesn’t output in RSS (more on that below). You can currently only receive alerts as an email, IM or SMS.

Other than being sans RSS, ZapTXT’s latest release does offer a range of good features. You can now create a monitoring task across multiple feeds or URLs for specific keywords – they call this “task monitoring”, as opposed to per feed monitoring. It also enables you to refine your feedset for any given keyword search, there’s a Zap It! bookmarklet for your browser, a publisher ‘chicklet’ to allow bloggers to let their users receive notifications on interesting topics, nice OPML import/export options, a tag based system around feeds, and more powerful search (for example create a ZapTask using your trusted feeds with Apple, Cisco, Microsoft AND upgrade, downgrade, merger as keywords. You’ll get an alert every time any of these companies make the headlines for an upgrade, downgrade or merger).