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Archive for December, 2002

Froogle launch critiques

by henrycopeland
Thursday, December 12th, 2002

Some healthy intramural mind-butting going on at Marketing Fix.

Robert Loch raves about Google’s new shopping interface (called Froogle!). Olivier Travers reviews Froogle’s taxonomies and pronounces them DOA. “Maybe throwing Nuclear Physics PhDs at an online retail/merchandising issue is not such a bright idea. People at Amazon and eBay will see this and feel very comfortable,” he says. He concludes: “there’s no vacuum to fill in like Google did in web search.”

I agree with Robert, who counters: “How can you say that there is no ‘vacuum to fill’ ?!? I’m guessing that Google has worked out [there’s] a hell of a vaccum to fill, by noting how much people use Google search to search for products and services…. I bet if you had access to Google’s full search data you’d find a black hole, never mind a vacuum.”

Goliath lashes out at digital Davids

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, December 11th, 2002

Attempting to disparage free online business publications, WSJ.com has constructed a garish straw-site called Biz-o-rama and built a television and web ad campaign skewering the “publication,” reports Internet News. (Via MarketingFix.)

With the era of VC-funded loss-gushing online competitors as dead as the Millennium bug, this campaign seems to be from the last war, one the Journal already won.

Or is it prescient? Could WSJ.com be worried now that Mindles Dreck has joined forces with Jane Galt? BTW, if you can’t afford to drop a couple grand on a WSJ.com ad, why not spend $30 for a month’s exposure on JaneGalt.net?


by henrycopeland
Wednesday, December 11th, 2002

Almost 250 years passed between the invention of the movable type printing press and the first daily newspaper. Technology didn’t cause the delay — individuals and institutions had to evolve in tandem to demand and supply the new service.

By this standard, today’s weblogs — frequently updated, highly networked individual or group-written chronicles — are still in their infancy.

Sullivan blogs new media, peddles old

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, December 11th, 2002

In his new campaign for donations to support his blog, Andrew Sullivan says “we’re working hard for ad dollars, but the landscape is still bleak.”

Sullivan is in the brilliant editorial vanguard of p2p media, but he’s still emulating big media by “working hard” for advertising and “big sponsors.”

Big media advertising is all about tortured negotiations, murky metrics and bloated prices… it’s hard work for everyone. Likewise on AndrewSullivan.com, potential advertisers need to burrow through the site to find contact information. The site offers no rate card and makes no pitch to advertisers. When Sullivan sold an annual sponsorship 18 months ago, it cost $7500. With his traffic up 4-fold, the same sponsorship might cost $30,000 today.

Sullivan won’t begin to find a steady commercial audience until buying ads on his blog is as easy, transparent, affordable and automated as blogging itself.

If he’s going to succeed as an Internet entrepreneur, Sullivan needs to serve other Internet entrepreneurs. There’s ample evidence that the web empowers entrepreneurs who buy and sell (eBay) or advertise (Google.) Sullivan should sell blogads clearly and prominently, automate ordering and price CPMs at 1/100th of NYTimes.com’s rate.

Black hole

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, December 10th, 2002

Olivier Travers, in a post titled “Decentralized My Ass,” notes that Kevin Werbach’s $2000 a head conference in Palo Alto about “decentralization” debunks its own premise that “intelligence is moving to the edges, through networked computers, empowered users, shifting partnerships, fluid digital content, distributed work teams, and powerful communications devices.” As Olivier puts it: “I hope the irony doesn’t go unnoticed by those who attended.”

Who toppled the Times?

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, December 10th, 2002

Harvard media analyst Alex Jones, a former New York Times employee, says that the paper’s final decision to publish sports columns contradicting its editorial position confirms journalism’s ability to correct its own mistakes.

Not so fast. Am I the only one to wonder whether the Times could have safely ignored the criticism of employees and press peers had bloggers not kept the story bubbling? Certainly Times managing editor Gerald Boyd’s Stalinist memo defending the column spiking would have gotten far less attention had it not been republished by Jim Romenesko.

I bet the Times could have successfully dismissed the issue as “inside baseball” but for the relentless stoking by bloggers like Andrew Sullivan, Fritz Schranck, Glenn Reynolds, Mickey Kaus and countless others.

If the Times’ about-face is a victory, it’s a victory for the new order, not the old.

Life at the crossroads of culture and commerce

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, December 10th, 2002

Talking about his company’s roots in the perfect store, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar observed that “throughout history… commerce and civilization had always developed alongside each other. The first markets arose at crossroads, where traders came to reach the largest number of potential customers. If sales at the crossroads were good, the merchants stored their wares there permanently. If they were the best in the whole region, traders brought their families and settled there. In time, they put up walls and built an infrastructure, and commerce transformed the lowly crossroads into a city.” In the same way, commerce and culture are entwined. Each evokes the other.

Media bubble-boys

by henrycopeland
Monday, December 9th, 2002

Is “the media” out of touch? The short answer is yes. Sunday’s LATimes has the long answer:

“As recently as 1971, only 58% of newspaper journalists had college degrees; now 89% have degrees, according to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. But only 15.5% of the total population age 25 and older have finished college. The median annual salary for “experienced reporters” working at newspapers with more than 250,000 daily circulation — the 40 largest papers in the country — was about $56,000 last year, according to a newspaper industry study. Pay for “senior reporters” — and for top reporters and editors at the largest of these papers — is substantially more. But median income for all U.S. workers over 15 is about $31,500.”

I know that more than a few major bloggers don’t have college degrees. Project for a rainy day: tabulate demographics of blogdom.

Gawker on the launch pad

by henrycopeland
Monday, December 9th, 2002

More thin media coming soon: Gawker, the NY gossip blog.

Behind its spirited name, Gawker has a fierce team. The site is edited by Elizabethe Spiers, designed by Jason Kottke and published by .

(Via [url=www.bruner.net]Rick Bruner.)

Popdex joins the fray

by henrycopeland
Sunday, December 8th, 2002

Welcome to Popdex, the newest contender in the continent being explored by Daypop and Blogdex.

Popdex’s template, like its name, shares many elements with Blogdex. But, proving that it is never too late to tweak a good idea, Popdex emphasizes tiny but helpful info-nuggets like the total number of sites crawled (10,693) and unique links (317,676).

As of 9AM EST Sunday, Blogdex’s #1 URL has 22 links, Popdex’s has 25 and Daypop is tops with 44.

Although the site includes a first person blog, there’s no “about us” or person’s name attached to the site. The fantastic URL was only registered days ago by this similarly anonymous company.

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