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Archive for May, 2005

Hiler returns

by henrycopeland
Friday, May 20th, 2005

After a year and a half hiatus, John Hiler, one of the geniuses behind Xanga, is back blogging about what he calls microcontent.

The wages of blogging

by henrycopeland
Thursday, May 19th, 2005

Hmm, looks like the stakes in web publishing is rising. In France, a blogger gets sued by the mayor for “les critiques incivique.”

And in NY, my old hack-mate Nick gets cream pied. Here’s another view:

And Virginia Postrel in todays NYT looks at bias in the news business as “a feature not a bug:”

But one person’s contradiction is another’s market niche. Those differences help answer an economic puzzle: if bias is a product flaw, why does it not behave like auto repair rates, declining under competitive pressure?

In a recent paper, “The Market for News,” two Harvard economists look at that question. “There’s plenty of competition” among news sources, Sendhil Mullainathan, one of the authors, said in an interview. But “the more competition there has been in the last 20 years, the more discussion there has been of bias.”

The reason, he and his colleague, Andrei Shleifer, argue, is that consumers care about more than accuracy. “We assume that readers prefer to hear or read news that are more consistent with their beliefs,” they write. Bias is not a bug but a feature.

In a competitive news market, they argue, producers can use bias to differentiate their products and stave off price competition. Bias increases consumer loyalty.

Via Glenn Reyonlds.

And don’t forget blogebrity, a brilliant idea.

Weekend notes

by henrycopeland
Monday, May 16th, 2005

Friday night we wandered around Carrboro, ducking into galleries. Played Ms. Pacman at Italy 3 Saturday night. 41,700 versus 17,900. We sang the chorus from “day by day” in church yesterday, something I haven’t sung in 25 years. I looked in the hymnal for my favorite song (beside Amazing Grace), but couldn’t find it.

Coming soon

by henrycopeland
Friday, May 13th, 2005

Watch this space.

NYC bound

by henrycopeland
Friday, May 13th, 2005

I’m excited to be in New York next week, participating Monday in the Personal Democracy conference and Tuesday in the Syndicate conference.

Monday, I’m hoping to have a drink or two with some of the New York blogad federates.

Tuesday night, I’m seeing Thom Pain based on nothing with three of the smartest advertisers using Blogads.

More Audi3 speed

by henrycopeland
Friday, May 13th, 2005

Yoouweeh! Audi3’s Speedracer-meets-Maxxim ad campaign continues with a combination of a daringly obscure image and links to bloggers who’ve joined the conversation about the narrative itself. Click to see the next act.

Barnako stays ahead of the pack

by henrycopeland
Friday, May 13th, 2005

Frank Barnako at MarketWatch covers the launch of what headline-meister Jeff Jarvis dubs the “tofu” network.

I prefer “zeitgeist factory” myself.

For those of you keeping track, watch for three more mininetworks to launch next week. And maybe the conservatives too. (Wondering what headline Jeff will concoct for that.)

Strange encounters of the 6th degree

by henrycopeland
Friday, May 13th, 2005

Having breakfast last week, I looked up and saw a middle aged guy wearing a Gogol Bordello t-shirt. Now, I only know of the Gogol Bordello band from reading blogs by New Yorkers like Rick Bruner.

I thought, “wow, a hipster in our biscuit joint.”

I said, “great t-shirt — are you a fan?”

“No, man, I got this in a dumpster over in Raleigh.”


by henrycopeland
Thursday, May 12th, 2005

Jim Treacher came up with the word “we-dia” a few weeks to describe the weird p2p communications that are swamping corporate media.

Well here’s a prime example of wedia: the liberal blog advertising network, 44 of America’s biggest liberal blogs, all ads buyable on one web page. One million impressions a day. How many political page impressions does the Washington Post do each day? (Will some intrepid reporter dare to call Post.com publisher Cliff Sloan and ask?)

Introducing The liberal blogs advertising network.

As the liberal network’s description puts it: advertisers now get a unique opportunity to “reach the people who manufacture the liberal and progressive zeitgeist.”

Information that used to take a day or three to ascend one side of a corporate ladder (from source to journalist to editor) and then down the other (from layout to production to printing press to teamsters to newstand to coffee table) now passes directly from person to person in real time. Zappo. And networks like this let advertisers tap directly into that p2p mosh-pit… mainlining right into the beating heart of the zeitgeist.

To tally up: there’s NYC, Philly, TV, North Carolina, Economists, LA, food bloggers, New England arts, Evangalicals, baseball, gay and sports networks. (Yes, there’s a conservative network percolating.)


by henrycopeland
Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

Nashville was a blast. Along with many old faces, I enjoyed meeting La Shawn Barber , Les Jones , Staci Kramer , Robin Burk, Jeffrey Henning, Donald Sensing, BL Ochman, Tom and Red, Dana Blankenhorn and Bill Hobbs Bill Hobbs.

There were many memorable moments, including Dave Winer’s, to me, off-key suggestion that the event kick off by singing Dixie. Instead we settled on America the beautiful. The “disagreement” session was the ultimate in synecdoche, summed up here and with an overview here. This could be a best-seller — where are the podcasts?

The highpoint for me was meeting aspiring blogger John Jay Hooker, a 75-year-old lawyer who showed up at the conference and, as the session “disagreement” reached one boiling point, said things like as “sometimes you can’t call a son of a bitch a son of a bitch without calling him a son of a bitch” and “you have to learn to disagree without being disagreeable.”

Later, a bunch of bloggers spent a couple of hours imbibing with Mr. Hooker. He told us about a) founding HCA, the company that has put Bill Frist on track for the White House b) making STP a profitable company and c) his friends Jimmy the Greek, Warren Beaty, Bobby Kennedy and Mohammed Ali. Fantasist or voluble multi-millionaire? Here’s his bio:

In 1961, he was appointed Special Assistant to Robert F. Kennedy which led to his involvement in the Baker v. Carr case. In 1962, Hooker became general counsel for the Nashville Tennessean. Also in that year, he was endorsed by Senator Kefauver and the Nashville Tennessean to run for Governor against Frank Clement for the Democratic nomination. Hooker chose not to run in that election, but did run and lose in 1966 against Buford Ellington for the Democratic nomination.

Moving away from politics, Hooker started Minnie Pearl’s Chicken in 1967. This venture proved to be disastrous. Promoters had used the country singer’s name to sell area franchise agreements, then reported millions in uncollected fees as revenue to drive up their stock price. The business failed amid several lawsuits.

In 1968, Hooker founded the Hospital Corporation of American along with four other individuals. Continuing with his political career, Hooker secured the Democratic nomination for Governor in the 1970 race, but lost to Republican Winfield Dunn. Moving on with his business pursuits, he became chairman of the board of STP Corporation in 1973. He remained in the position until 1976, when he left to run for the U.S. Senate. Hooker lost to James Sasser in the Democratic primary.

In 1979, Hooker organized the sale of the Nashville Tennessean to Gannet Corporation. In this deal he put together a syndicate that bought a part interest in the Newspaper Printing Corporation which owned the Tennessean and the Banner. He also became the publisher of the Banner. In 1982, Hooker sold his interest in the Banner and became chairman of the United Press International. Two years later, Hooker again made a foray into fast food and opened Hooker Hamburgers. In 1986, just two years later, he sold this business.

Some Hooker yarns: “My father liked to entertain and he liked to drink whisky. If you’d have come over to call on him, he’d put a quart of Jack Daniels in front of you and a quart in front of himself. That was OK, because he was a 1/3 shareholder in the company, so he was keeping it in the family. Now my father’s doctor was Dr. Frist, Bill Frist’s father. Dr. Frist told my father, ‘you have two choices, you can either stop drinking or you can die.’ My father told him, “Doctor, I have a third choice: I can get a new doctor.'”

Hooker said running a profitable venture was a lot like fishing, “first, you need to find the right fishing hole. Then you need the right fishing partners. Then you need the right bait.”

He went on a stem winder about the glories of blogging and its future immense impact on the business of marketing. “A lot of money will be made from this, I tell you.” (Several people were filming him — I hope the video will surface. Here are a couple of photos of him at the bottom of this post: http://www.webraw.com/quixtar/archives/2005/05/blognashville_saturday_pictures.php )

So: is blogging the next HCA or another Minnie Pearl’s Chicken? Given the number of calls Blogads fields these days from avaricious VCs and investment bankers, I fear the latter.

Here are some photos by Donald Sensing.

Glenn Reynolds, self-professed dilettante and rabid early adopter of new media tools and techniques, shot video throughout, then edited and posted within hours after the event closed. Here are some links to various feeds.

Asked by videographer Reynolds whether there’s a business model for blogging, Dan Gillmore offered this poignant response: “There better be a business model, or it will be community theatre for the whole world.”

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