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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Techmeme Killer?

As an interim entry for the annals of the Annual Internet Infinite Regression Awards, I note Best News Site Prediction of Its Own Demise (This Week) -- Techmeme on the new Google Blog Search. Will have to check it out. Old Google Blog Search was so bad and so spammy.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Friday, December 21, 2007

Dave Winer Was Right - A Long Time Ago!

Advocating blogs back in 2002, Dave Winer reportedly made a bet about blog entries appearing higher in SERP's than New York Times articles on the top news stories of 2007.

This account suggests he only narrowly won. (The author also says that trusted journalists have been displaced in the SERP's by "nameless, faceless amateurs who don't have to prove their expertise." I say BS to that claim, given that plenty of media stories show up along with thoughtful, useful blog posts.)

But the old search engine trick is in play here, isn't it? What queries are chosen to be the objects of study?

"Mortgage crisis" was one of the top five, and without even looking at official journos' lists, that was the number one story I could think of for the year.

But the query I used to search on it - subprime fallout - wasn't the "official" one. On the subprime fallout query, I discovered that Winer was very right! Blog entries took the #1 and #5 spots, with Econbrowser showing up first and Seeking Alpha at #5. 2, 3, and 4 were CNN, The Boston Globe, and something called MoneyWeek.

On this query, The NYT didn't make it into the mix on Page 1 - they weighed in at #15, beaten by the New York Post (#13).

Also counter to Cadenhead's post: on my query, Wikipedia proved not to be a factor - not appearing in the top 50 results.

Isn't search funny? The results are highly query-dependent, and generic queries perform differently from more specific or unusual ones.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Thursday, May 10, 2007

Everything's Moving Online: Gates

To those of us who have been toiling away trying to explain the benefits of targeted, measurable, interactive advertising: Bill Gates is on our side.

He pulls no punches, and believes that the shift will be ahead of schedule, and not smooth.

Yellow Pages: doomed.

Newspapers: doomed.

Traditional TV ad models: doomed.

And all sooner than people think.

While his linebacker, Steve Ballmer, might have said as much already, the point is important, and worth driving home. An excerpt:

"When you say something like 'plumber' the presentation you get will be far better than what you get in the Yellow Pages," Gates said. "After all, we know your location and so we can cluster [results] around that. ... Yellow Page usage amongst people in their, say below 50, will drop to near zero over the next five years."

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Saturday, April 07, 2007

Jason Calacanis: "Sam Zell is going to lose billions and the Washington Post has no idea what their talking about"

Calacanis reminds us that snippets (especially opt-out available snippets) aren't stealing. As for newspapers themselves being on the decline, no question.

The longer debate is which old media companies are reinventing themselves at a reasonable pace. Most large companies have diversified holdings - why would newspapers be any different, and what is stopping them from restructuring, reinventing, investing, and thriving? Nothing, of course.

It appears troubling how frequently the big media (not just newspapers) have misjudged, misinvested, failed, and divested, in Internet stuff that just didn't catch fire.

I'm not sure what the difference is between success and failure here - is it startup culture? Or do most of these new ventures fail -- whether they emanate from old media, the major online players, or startups? That's probably more like it.

Now I'd love to see a list of what counts as stupefying success on a large scale with online content or local news and listings, on a par with newspapers of any size in their era. If it's The Drudge Report, then we're really just talking about cultural trends and a fascination with a bunch of "hits" on a website... not a major economic powerhouse.

To be sure, there's a reliable list of a dozen or so major online properties like Google, and big time startups like YouTube.

And yes, Craigslist, et al.

About.com? Ahem, bought out by the New York Times.

Great companies like Trader Media, now owned by Yellow Pages Group, started out in print, and they're moving over to online. But right there is proof that a traditional migration does make sense, and a traditional company, not a startup, created the majority of wealth for shareholders.

From an economic standpoint, the direct analogs of (or rhetorical competitors to) newspapers -- your world's hugest blog networks, for example -- only throw off a few million in cash a year at best. One of the most notorious ones sold for all of $25 million. Nick Denton, a leading blog tycoon, has said there's really no serious money in it. Some of the startups, like NowPublic, are cool. But until proven, they're hobbies or quick flips to Yahoo/Google/IAC, etc.

Newspapers and the diversified media companies that own them, somewhat analogous to Chrysler, may be old and crusty, but they're BIG. Other than Google, and the other 20-30 or so big online plays worth mentioning, most of the folks involved in newspaper-hating startups are longshot bettors. Are they sitting on a goldmine so rich that it makes sense to taunt traditional media conglomerates? The jury's out. Broadcast.com, Youtube, etc., all got out and acquired (for Yahoo/Google billions) before they had to prove up their biz models with serious revenues or profitability.

Conclusion: if Zell's smart, he can have his cake (sexy new media acquisitions) and eat it (trustworthy old media cash flow and editorial integrity & quality) too. And the startups that matter and thrive will seriously consider taking investment from old media; they're not averse to cake + cake themselves.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Monday, March 26, 2007

Newspapers Can Do Lots of Things

On changing media consumption patterns...

I've noticed it's fashionable for folks to say they "don't read newspapers" nowadays. Yes, it's a sign of your generational correctness. And sure, I see where you're coming from. Info today just ain't the same.

But I'd like to ask what percentage of these newspaper-haters are married. Then, a couple of years later, I'd like to ask those who say yes, if they still are.

What we have here is info-hubris, I fear.

You got a couple of consenting adults in the same room, first thing in the morning, on a weekend. Now a good percentage of those a.m.'s, maybe it's acceptable to ignore your spouse by answering email or checking out your feed reader, or cuteoverload.com or survivorsucks.com or Google Finance or the box scores or whatnot. But there are times when tapping away on that sucker is going to be the source of considerable tension.

A newspaper is a tried & true spouse-ignoring tool. The practice has been honed over centuries. You can even use a book, though due to its compact size it doesn't do as good a job of covering up the drool that comes with that adorable bedhead. Nor will it effectively muffle the crunching of cereal.

Mark my words, as Aunt Gertrude would say: no good will come of this anti-newspaper fad!

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




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