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Archive for August, 2005

New stage in logo development

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

As I’ve noted on the logo submission page, we’re now publishing new submissions live, as well as any previous ones the creators would like to get feedback on. We’ve had some tremendous submissions and, in the interest of experimentation and social brainstorming, would like to see what happens if/when the public and other creators can look over each other’s shoulders. You can see the latest submissions here. To date, we’ve gotten 145 submissions, 26 of which are now public.

Focus and execute and focus

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Jonathan Glater wrote a great obituary yesterday for Coudert Brothers, one of the law industry’s most brilliant and swashbuckling firms. Its an amazing sstory of how a brilliant bunch of people, peddling exactly what their competitors peddle, manage to make 1/10th the money. The moral of the story — brilliant people and ideas are important ingredients in success but not sufficient. “We were really great pioneers, and really not good settlers,” said one partner.



by henrycopeland
Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Eery words from a radio show in September, 2002:

Do you expect this kind of hurricane’this kind of flooding’will hit New Orleans in our lifetime?

“Well I would say the probability is yes,” says Suyahada. “In terms of past experience, we’ve had three storms that were near misses’that could have done at least something close to this.”

Basically, the part of New Orleans that most Americans’most people around the world’think is New Orleans, would disappear.

A new Blogads logo (and maybe make $1000 or $300 for you)

by henrycopeland
Thursday, August 25th, 2005

UPDATE: Please note that this contest is over and we have selected a winning logo as of Fall 2005. You can see it on the top of this page and any other page on Blogads.com.

Yesterday on the phone Doc Searls expostulated, unsolicited, that the current Blogads logo is “butt ugly.” He’s not the first to complain.

The logo was actually a mistake. Three and a half years ago, unhappy with the creepy corporate logos a professional designer kept proposing, I scribbled in my notebook an inkling of what our logo might look like. As a placeholder, we scanned that scrawny image and stuck it on our prototypes… where it has lived ever since.

In the spring, I asked some blogger friends about inviting the blogosphere to help create a new logo. I fantasized about a piece of graffiti or something hand-drawn — some graphic incarnation of blogging’s hand-crafted joy and social richness. But their feedback was mostly negative. Blogging friends in the ad industry said “do an RFP, hire a pro, draft a creative brief, hammer out a brand identity… do it right!” Demotivated by that feedback and with lots of other projects bubbling, we put the idea on the backburner.

Well, with the third anniversary of Blogads’ first sale looming and a new programmer on staff but not yet locked in the madhouse of Blogads 3.0 coding, we’ve decided to FINALLY adopt a new logo. Please help us do better. Here’s the link to more information and the logo submission form.

Gossip and socialization

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, August 17th, 2005


Gossip has long been dismissed by researchers as little more than background noise, blather with no useful function. But some investigators now say that gossip should be central to any study of group interaction.

People find it irresistible for good reason: Gossip not only helps clarify and enforce the rules that keep people working well together, studies suggest, but it circulates crucial information about the behavior of others that cannot be published in an office manual. As often as it sullies reputations, psychologists say, gossip offers a foothold for newcomers in a group and a safety net for group members who feel in danger of falling out. …

Long-term studies of Pacific Islanders, American middle-school children and residents of rural Newfoundland and Mexico, among others, have confirmed that the content and frequency of gossip are universal: people devote anywhere from a fifth to two-thirds or more of their daily conversation to gossip, and men appear to be just as eager for the skinny as women.

Sneaking, lying and cheating among friends or acquaintances make for the most savory material, of course, and most people pass on their best nuggets to at least two other people, surveys find.

This grapevine branches out through almost every social group and it functions, in part, to keep people from straying too far outside the group’s rules, written and unwritten, social scientists find.

August is the culest month

by henrycopeland
Monday, August 15th, 2005

We went to the dog beach just south of Kure, NC Saturday and Taco slowly got interested in bouncing around the in the waves. We found lots of shells and saw two rays in the water. In the twilight before driving home, we walked out on the Kure pier and saw two pelicans.

Thursday we went to see the Durham Bulls. Down by 2 with one out in the ninth they came back to win by a run.

We spent yesterday painting the dining room. White!

Last weekend, we did some of the Looking Glass Rock hike, saw the Pisgah Fish Hatchery then waited for an hour for the thunder to pass and put us on Sliding Rock. The water at the bottom was shockingly cold and current-ripped and one kid had trouble keeping his head above water. They’ve added life-guards since I was last there 30 years ago.

Who’s your parasite?

by henrycopeland
Monday, August 8th, 2005

As my three faithful readers know, I’m always peeved when bloggers are called parasites on the body of the fourth estate. The contention is that the press does all the hard work and the bloggers just link and smirk.

I’m offended because the press is itself, after all, a parasite on the other three estates, and the blogs are just an online embodiment of their collective (or factionalized) thought processes.

So I get a special chuckle (starting deep and ending in a cackle) when the press blatantly leeches on the hard work done by bloggers. As far as I can tell, the word blog was used seven times in this Sunday’s NYTimes, twice as the source for stories. How many stories from the paper did the bloggers quote Sunday?

Get the scoop on Philly from bloggers: “After weeks of frustrating obscurity, the case of Mr. Figueroa’s daughter, Latoyia Figueroa, 25, has finally captured the national news media’s attention, spurred by the persistent nudging of Philadelphia-based Web logs and a city councilman distantly related to the Figueroas.”

Or travel.

Buying more

by henrycopeland
Friday, August 5th, 2005

One of the great joys of organizing Blogads.com is that I get to talk with some of America’s coolest writers and advertisers. Earlier this week, I got a call from Chug Roberts, who runs a specialist publisher focusing on legislative processes called TheCapitol.net. The firm has been buying blogads over the last twelve months and Chug wanted some feedback on their ads and to share some ideas about improving Blogads.com.

Chug also said a bunch of nice things about Blogads, and after we hung up, he put some of his praise in writing:

“Having experimented with Blogads last year, we’ve devoted a much-increased portion of our marketing budget to your service this year. Blogads is a great service, simple to use and control. For a niche publisher like our company, Blogads has been a fantastic resource for reaching potential customers we couldn’t otherwise hit at affordable prices. I talk Blogads up whenever I can.”

Thank you Chug! I’ll be putting your testimonial up on our front page later this month.

WPO publishing profits down 28%; blogs boom

by henrycopeland
Friday, August 5th, 2005

As the NYT’s editorialists trivialize blogging as “a closed-circuit video camera that catches a glimpse of you walking by an electronics store window filled with televisions,” WPost’s second quarter was rocky:

Washington Post Co. (WPO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Friday said quarterly profit fell 7 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, as higher costs weighed on its newspapers and its television unit suffered from less political advertising.

The publisher of The Washington Post newspaper and Newsweek magazine said second-quarter profit fell to $78.8 million, or $8.16 a share, from $84.9 million, or $8.82 a share, a year earlier.

The earnings came in well below the average forecast of $9.64 a share among analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.

After the earnings report, the company’s shares fell nearly 5 percent.

Revenue was $897.6 million, up 10 percent from $818.4 million a year earlier, helped by stronger results in the educational division.

But income declined in the Washington Post’s newspaper, cable and television units.

With higher newsprint and payroll costs, newspaper division operating income declined 28 percent.

Does Buffett have the heart to desert his buddies on the WPost board? (A prior post on Buffett/WPO.)

Here’s an graph of the last 10 days trading:

As interest rates swivel higher (the returning 30 year bond, the floating RMB, oil grinding to $100/barrel), what’s the over-leveraged American consumer going to do?

More text of the NYT editorial:

Earlier this week, Technorati, a Web site that indexes blogs, released its semiannual “State of the Blogosphere” report. It records a steady, and astonishing, growth. Nearly 80,000 new blogs are created every day, and there are some 14.2 million in existence already, 55 percent of which remain active. Some 900,000 new blog postings are added every day – a steady increase marked by extraordinary spikes in new postings after incidents like the London bombing. The blogosphere – that is, the virtual realm of blogdom as a whole – doubles in size every five and a half months.

If the blogosphere continues to expand at this rate, every person who has Internet access will be a blogger before long, if not an actual reader of blogs. The conventional media – this very newspaper, for instance – have often discussed the growing impact of blogging on the coverage of news. Perhaps the strongest indicator of the importance of blogdom isn’t those discussions themselves, but the extent to which media outlets are creating blogs – or bloglike manifestations – of their own.

That is the serious side of the blogosphere. But blogs are often just a way of making oneself appear on the Internet. It’s like a closed-circuit video camera that catches a glimpse of you walking by an electronics store window filled with televisions. There you are in all your glory, suddenly, if not forever, mediated. Starting your own blog used to require a certain amount of technical expertise. Now you can do it from within popular Web portals like MSN and AOL, using tools that make it almost as easy as sending e-mail. These days, a surprising number of people write home by posting to their blogs – that is, by writing to everyone on earth.

It’s natural enough to think of the growth of the blogosphere as a merely technical phenomenon. But it’s also a profoundly human phenomenon, a way of expanding and, in some sense, reifying the ephemeral daily conversation that humans engage in. Every day the blogosphere captures a little more of the strange immediacy of the life that is passing before us. Think of it as the global thought bubble of a single voluble species.

Is anyone other than me amused by the press’ niave trumpetting of the “14 million blogs” number? Gee, actually only “55% remain active.” So 7.5 million is the number of actual blogs right? But what is active? Well, if you read Dave Sifry’s actual (excellent) report , “About 13% of all blogs are updated at least weekly.” So now we’re down to 1.8 million. But that isn’t so exciting for an NYT editorial. What about at least 5 times a week? Maybe that would put us at 100,000. What about 5 times a day? That would put us maybe at 10,000.

And those 10,000 are the bloggers journalists quote constantly, the bloggers with more than 500 readers a day, the bloggers who are disrupting connventional media.

Hey, wait, I’m a citizen journalist! I’m going to drop Dave Sifry an e-mail asking these questions since the rest of you are too hype-hopped to bother.

New bottles

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

Welcome Henry!

And don’t miss Matt! (In steady decline since 1991.)

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