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Preview: Corante Web Hub - Editorial Section

Corante Web Hub - Editorial Section

Last Build Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 12:16:33 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2006

Notable & Quotable: Niche media, the transformaton of the Web, IE7

Wed, 18 Oct 2006 12:16:33 -0500

Matt McAllister: "Quality editorial is not a growth position for a media company. It may be a competitive advantage. And it will surely be a brand differentiator. But it won�??t by nature expand audience or increase revenues... Of the many great things the Internet has done for media, it has failed to value trustworthiness enough. Instead, it values speed, plasticity, and access. Information is rewarded when it is first to appear, maleable and distributable in numerous ways, and available through multiple channels �?? links, feeds, indeces �?? and through other people...

"How is a niche publisher to compete? First, catalyze relationships with and amongst people. Second, leverage the value chain as it is to your advantage... This is the strategic play that makes the MySpace acquisition seem even smarter than I think Fox was aware of at the time."

Robin Good, meanwhile, is home to an article by Josef Kolbitsch and Hermann Maurer entitled "Blogs, Wikis, Podcasting, Social Networks And File Sharing: How The Web Is Transforming Itself." From the introduction to this seven-part piece: "Oftentimes it seems to be necessary to introduce hierarchies in order to make large amounts of data and complex structures manageable and comprehensible. Hence most information systems, as computer-based environments or systems in the engineering sciences in general, have hierarchical structures. Examples are filesystems, web-sites, newsgroups and e-Mail systems..."

Picking up the thread, later in the article: "Technological advancements in recent years have yielded systems with entirely new qualities. Although similar applications have existed in the past, the new developments have amalgamated distinct features of their 'precursors' and enable entirely novel applications..."

Chris Messina, in a post entitled "The beast has awoken; or, The beginning of Web 2.0", on the launch of IE7: "And that is where we are today �?? in the middle of an uprising from within �?? lead by folks like Kim Cameron, Ray Ozzie and others �?? on the opening lines of Web 2.0. What�??s lead us here so far has only been the precursor in what will be a very long and very gradual change in our cultural and technological environment. But the launch of Internet Explorer 7 represents the true beginning of Web 2.0 because the vast majority of folks who have been living on borrowed time, using the spyware prone and popup-riddled previous version of IE, now have a capable browser�?� one that�??s just as fast as what the rest of us are used to, with tabs and support for feed and CSS standards. And it�??s delivered automatically, without a thought or a care necessary. So what comes next is where things get interesting."


Winds of the Web - 08/02/06

Wed, 02 Aug 2006 16:18:47 -0500

Interesting thoughts, notes, and comments from around the Web -

Chip Griffin recently hammered out ten themes of Web 2.0. I like what Chip did here because it's a very conceptual approach to Web 2.0. You could discuss these ideas with non-blogosphere friends and they'd "get it":

3. Empowering Individuals to Become the Media. A variety of tools have come together to enable virtually anyone to become part of the media. Podcasting, blogging, vlogging, and even consumer review sites put the power of publishing in the hands of average users. Services like Lulu even allow people to easily and affordably enter book publishing. And the traditional media has taken note and now uses these web publishing platforms for themselves - and the consumer generated content as information for its stories.

Jerry Bowles, a seasoned writer, has been busy at work over on his blog Enterprise Web 2.0. Recently, he took a look at Jotspot:

The latest version of his company�??s flagship wiki product�??JotSpot 2.0- -cleverly brings the wiki metaphor (collaborative webpages editable by team members) back into most users�?? comfort zones by adding a suite of familiar Microsoft Office-like tools that allow them to venture into new territory accompanied by trusted old friends. JotSpot 2.0 comes equipped with a fully functioning word processor that works just like Word, as well as simple applicatons for creating spreadsheets, calendars, file cabinets, and photo galleries. From the user�??s perspective, it�??s business as usual. No messy HTML, no sense of creating webpages. There are several other applications that can be added as needed, including a tidy project management app and a decent blog.

I recently came across a post by Ann Handley, where she examines the biggest lies behind blogging from the perspective of other seasoned bloggers:

So I started to wonder, what other misconceptions are there about blogging? What have some other bloggers, more wizened than me, found to be the biggest lies? So I asked my friends and colleagues, �??What the biggest lie about blogging?�??


Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing Blog and Blogger Stories

"It's not totally a non-geek medium. The more involved you become with blogging the more you want the bells and whistles included on your blog which takes some degree of tech/geek expertise. One of my biggest surprise-delights having 'geek' friends. I can not begin to tell you how kind and generous these guys have been to me."


MySpace Woes Continue

Fri, 28 Jul 2006 17:40:22 -0500

Earlier this week, MySpace was experiencing some serious issues due to a power outage. But it looks like issues are now continuing, this time due to "database problems". Growth is usually good but are these problems going to make MySpace be Friendster 2.0? (on an aside, one of my younger siblings just slapped her hand down and said, "Seriously....get fixed now!")


Om Malik has a poll up asking what social networking service is going to win out - comparing MySpace against Cyworld and Bebo. Right now, Cyworld seems to be in the lead. I think my sister would disagree.


Debbie Weil and The Corporate Blogging Book - "Just Do It"

Tue, 25 Jul 2006 17:56:18 -0500

(image) Debbie Weil is standing up on a chair at the 4th Estate Grill (with her shoes off), talking about her new book The Corporate Blogging Book. She's surrounded by a captive audience of what appear to be future bloggers. A couple of those she interviewed for the book are standing next to her.

Her advice about blogging, "just do it" (she stole that one from Nike). Her point though is that it's more important to get started then to have every policy and strategy detail perfect.

There is an interesting crowd here but for the most part they do seem very non-bloggy. Despite the echoes we often hear in the halls of geek-dom, the blogosphere is not saturated yet. There are many, many more voices to come, blogging on everything from diverse as finance to real estate, to yes, even air conditioners. And I know, because I've met them this afternoon.


The Open Source Revenue Model

Mon, 24 Jul 2006 20:51:01 -0500

Matt McAlister has a really interesting piece examining an Open Source CRM (SugarCRM) versus He observes a trend through the lens of SugarCRM that is happening more and more - companies focused around Open Source software that drive revenue from services alone:

They�??ve done a really clever thing which is to build a revenue model around the added services rather than try to charge for the core software. You can download the same app that everyone else uses and install it yourself for free. But if you�??re not up to the installation challenge, you can let them host it for you and get started in about 5 minutes for a $40/month usage fee. They charge more for additional services that larger groups may require.


However I just can�??t help but I wonder if SugarCRM is in a position to do to what once did to Siebel, undercutting on price and extending efficiencies further out to the edge. The edge used to be self-serve style software as a service. SugarCRM went further and took the edge all the way out to the open source community.

In related news, Peter O'Kelly points to Socialtext's release of the first commercial Open Source Wiki:

Based on the same great product, Socialtext Open is released under a standard open source license, and contains all of Socialtext's enterprise grade code aside from enterprise management and enterprise integration tools.


For organizations that require technical support, consulting and developer services for Socialtext Open, Technical Professional Services are available under a service contract for a flat rate of $240 per hour.

Socialtext Technical Professional Services complement Socialtext Professional Service options such as training, adoption consulting and management consulting available at variable rates.


Gizmo Project - Call 60 Countries for free*

Fri, 21 Jul 2006 19:40:48 -0500

One of the things people are missing with Gizmo Project's All Call Free program is that in order to take advantage of it both participants of the call need to be registered and active Gizmo Project users. That's a fairly important *.

Is it cool still? Yes, for sure. But is it as convenient as simply using SkypeOut to call anyone for free in the U.S. and Canada? Nope.

Gizmo has a specific goal with this move - grow the userbase. Skype has a tremendous first mover advantage. Indeed, I've always liked Gizmo Project's approach, technology, and client more than Skype. The problem is that I didn't know anyone who used Gizmo - and that makes all of the difference.

But there is more than simply a network advantage on the consumer side of things. There are a tremendous amount of vendors who make products specifically for Skype (Netgear, D-Link, and others) whereas Gizmo seems to just utilize generic VoIP accessories.

The vendor point is actually quite important. Vendor adoption actually spurs greater consumer adoption because it makes the app, which is in this case Skype, that much more valuable. For example, I previously have written about how I use my D-Link DPH-50U to make Skype calls from a traditional telephone. It lets me free myself from a headset and gave me access to a speakerphone. Now that I've made an investment into a piece of technology specific for Skype, I'm much less likely to walk away from it.

Gizmo is facing two different uphill battles and with this move, they are making things interesting, even if it is with an *.


Jason Calacanis - Web Pioneer or Web Bamboozler?

Wed, 19 Jul 2006 14:28:02 -0500

Jason Calacanis did well for himself with Weblogs, Inc.. Yes, he had a business plan before it was bought out by AOL. And that is what probably made it so attractive.

Calacanis is up to his tricks again, this time in striving to ensure that Netscape does not become New Coke. He's offered $1000/month to lure top social bookmarking performers from Digg, Newsvine, Delicious, etc. over to the new Netscape portal.

If you couldn't guess, this offer has caused some bloggers to throw up red flags. Writes Mike Arrington:

At the end of the day, the Netscape product is a soulless reproduction of one of the most interesting cultural experiments occuring on the web right now. It was thrown at millions of mainstream Internet users (previous Netscape portal users) who don't understand Digg and probably don't care (yet). If anything, my bet is that total page views at Netscape have dropped since the changeover, possibly substantially. Buying users from Digg won't change that one bit.

Of course, Mike and Jason don't appear to the best of friends. Interesting side drama, if you ask me.

Rich Ziade of (via techmeme) makes this observation about "selling out" to an articifical Digg environment:

Maybe I'm just being sentimental. It's sort of like when you're annoyed that your favorite band (that you're quick to point out that you discovered) finally "sold out" and signed up with a major record label. Next stop: Starbucks compilation CD's

Point well taken and yet, $1000/month for doing something you already love to do, is still a pretty sweet deal.


Winds of the Web - 7/17/06

Mon, 17 Jul 2006 17:16:31 -0500

Interesting thoughts, notes, and comments from around the Web -

» FeedBurner on FeedBurner acquires Blogbeat

In our quest to provide our publishers with a comprehensive picture of how content is distributed and consumed, we liked the fact that Blogbeat uses the feed to gather additional information about the blog. We have been interested in expanding our combined site/feed view since FeedFlare got going some months ago, and Blogbeat will give us the ability to provide publishers with a more thorough statistics picture.

» Richard MacManus on Wufoo and DIY web apps

With Wufoo you can create your own online form and integrate it within your blog or website, or create a separate form page (which you can style). Other features include ability to email the form to people, RSS feeds to track usage, and a Report Manager.

» Dead 2.0 on 11 Suggestions for Not Being a Dot-Bomb 2.0

With all the 2.0 hype, I think it�??s unfair to unanimously declare all new Internet startups as 100% junk. It can�??t be much more than 95%. So I thought it would be an interesting diversion to switch the tone of my writing for a change. Here are some tips I have for these would-be entrepreneurs to thrive and survive the next 24 months

» Om Malik on Jangl This

And it is no surprise that start-ups are beginning to throw their hat in the ring. You are all too familiar with iotum, a company I have written in the past. iotum is like the swiss army knife of presence, but there are others who are taking a more niche type focus - such as consumer centric Jangl, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based start-up that just raised $7 million in funding from Cardinal Venture Partners, Storm Ventures and Labrador Ventures. Jangl has raised $9 million in two rounds so far.


Winds of the Web - 7/14/06

Fri, 14 Jul 2006 16:47:18 -0500

Interesting thoughts, notes, and comments from around the Web -

» Rob Hof on Dailies Strike Back

My colleague Jon Fine has an interesting column this week that breaks news about discussions between Yahoo! and newspaper publishers MediaNews (owner of the San Jose Mercury News) and Hearst (owner of the San Francisco Chronicle) to help each other boost traffic and get more ad revenue from search.

» Steve Rubel on Trendspotting with Google Suggest for Google News

One of my favorite marketing/PR tools is one that really wasn't created for this purpose. It's Google Suggest for Google News. This special version of Google News, which launched earlier this year, brings back the most common search queries related to yours. You can really learn a lot about how people think about news by seeing how they search.

» Umair Haque on Laws of the Post-Network Economy: Strategy is a Commodity

30 years ago, thinking strategically about business was revolutionary. It allowed visionaries to shape value creation in entirely new ways. The result was the death of conglomerates and the birth of the modern transnational.

Today, the average corporation is packed to the gills with strategists. It's up to it's ears in strategy consultants. The language, vocabulary, and ideas of strategic thinking permeate it.

And that's no surprise - strategy is a very useful way to think about commerce (art, life, etc).

But that also means that everyone and their grandmother knows how to pick profitable markets, segment them, price goods and services, analyze competitors, understand industry economics, etc, etc.

Strategy itself, in a very real sense, is becoming a commodity.

» Stowe Boyd on Rocketboom 2.0 Daily With Joanne Colan

Rocketboom was one of the few video shows that I actually turned to frequently, and it had grown on me. Just like I don't think the Daily Show would be the same without Jon Stewart, I feel the same about Amanda and Rocketboom 1


Hub Happenings - 7/13/06

Thu, 13 Jul 2006 16:37:42 -0500

Interesting thoughts, notes, and comments from network contributors -

» Randy Charles Morin on Interactive Map of the Blogosphere

Too cool for words. Go and check it out! The image (sic) is simply a screen print of the actual map. I found three blogs in the map. Can you find your blogs? (note: The map was created by contributor Matthew Hurst)

» Emily Chang's eHub on Devshop

Devshop - Project management and collaboration for software projects.

» Robin Good on News Aggregation is Online Independent Publishers Natural Next Step

There are also a growing number of blogs, news sites, search engines and other bad and good online resources that provide information on the very topic you have originally chosen to cover. Many, and an increasing percentage of them carry only garbage, fake, cloned and stolen content with no links or credit to the original source. Lots of time is wasted going through this junk and to weed out the bad and outdated stuff from the new, good quality content.

This is the main reason why talented niche bloggers and online writers with noteworthy competence in some specific areas need to scale themselves up to a new level of participation and contribution.

Scaling yourself up means transforming your role from one of contributor, writer to one that is more focused on being a filter/collector/aggregator of news from other sources.

» Matthew Hurst on Growth of Typepad Comments

If you look at the URL for a Typepad comment (a comment on a Typepad blog), you can see that it has an id: for example, this URL from a comment on The Amateur Gormet

As far as I can tell, these ids are global, so if we sample them, we can plot the ids (let's assume that id N represents the Nth comment globally in the Typepad universe). Taking data from The Amateur Gormet blog, and Micropersuasion, we can get a graph reaching from 2004 to the present day.

» Otis Gospodnetic on The Digg Advantage

I noticed Digg uses AdSense. Not only does it use AdSense, but the AdSense ads on Digg look different. The ad format is different. The structure of the ad is different. They often have an elegant frame around them, and sometimes the banner-shaped ads actually contain 3 nicely separated ads in them.

So I decided to email AdSense customer support and find out what that's all about. It turns out, this ad formats that Digg carries are not available for other AdSense users/publishers.


To Date or Not to Date? That is the Internet

Tue, 11 Jul 2006 12:19:02 -0500

MatchActivity is activity-based dating. Writes Pete Cashmore:

The idea is extremely simple: users post an activity - coffee at Starbucks, for instance - and wait for others to respond. If nobody responds in time, your activity expires. Think of it as eBay for online dating.

Pete also makes a good point about online dating sites in general:

MatchActivity is going up against newcomers Consumating and VerbDate, as well as established players like Although ostensibly not a dating site, MySpace could also be considered a rival. With such fierce competition, dating sites often do better when they pick a niche - Consumating, for instance, targets the geek crowd. With that in mind, I wonder if �??activity-based dating�?? is unique enough to set MatchActivity apart.

Meanwhile, SiliconBeat reports that - "the Internet dating company which gets your friends to help pitch prospective dates for you" - just raised $5 million in a first round of funding.

Even in consideration of this funding, Matt Marshall of SiliconBeat just isn't sure how is doing:

It is difficult to tell how well this company is doing. We haven't seen any signs of major pick-up in's traffic, at least via the unreliable data offered by However, the company tells us it has over 200 percent growth in month over month new registrations (April, 270%; May; 202%; June; 267%), and Alexaholic show traffic hitting more significant levels most recently.
(image) - Just Plain Innovative

Mon, 10 Jul 2006 23:14:43 -0500

I'm on Amazon just about every day - and it's just about everyday that I see some new feature. Today, I clicked the "Search Inside" link for Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life, after reading this article in Time magazine. What I then saw was a brand new Amazon Online Reader.

Now, supposedely, this feature launched just over a month ago (via Lifehacker) but I've not seen it to this point. And that's probably because it's not available for all books. Lifehacker also notes that "what's more interesting is that after purchasing an Amazon Upgrade on eligible books, you can read, highlight, bookmark, tag, and print the book from any computer as soon as you purchase it. Upgrades look like they cost around $5, which doesn't seem too bad."

Other features I've seen recently include Plogs (personalized weblogs - for authors to dialog with their customers) and ProductWikis, where customers can add product information about specific products.

If you remember back in March, there was a little dust-up about Amazon and its approach to blogging - seems like they are "getting it" now.


activeCollab - Open Source Project Management

Fri, 07 Jul 2006 15:19:25 -0500

TechCrunch reports on activeCollab, an open source project management tool developed by Ilija Studen. activeCollab was inspired by a post on Paul Scrivens blog entitled Being 37signals for free.

Will Basecamp (37signals' approach to project management) be hurt by this open source alternative? Some interesting thoughts in the comments sections.

Pat writes:

This will not hurt Basecamp at all. People that use Basecamp and other hosting services don�??t want to host the software themselves. They want to subscribe, pay a monthly fee, get the support they need, and not have to worry about the hardware and software headaches. That doesn�??t mean that there isn�??t a market for free software, but I don�??t think it will hurt 37 Signals or their competitors�??believe it or not, even they have some of those.

Jared White was impressed by this project:

Wow. This one guy, Ilija, has developed an entire Ruby-on-Rails-like framework from scratch to power this puppy. It�??s very good, clean, OOP code...Assuming he doesn�??t give up now (unlikely) and let this project wither on the vine, this could grow to be a MAJOR success and a significant blow to 37signals. Hmm.

Also some thoughts from Jason Fried.


Winds of the Web - 6/30/06

Fri, 30 Jun 2006 12:49:46 -0500

Interesting thoughts, notes, and comments from around the Web -

» In light of the blogosphere craziness regarding the launch of Google Checkout, Om Malik provides some much needed analysis:

This move impacts three companies mainly - eBay, Yahoo and Amazon - because these are the three premier gatekeepers of online point-of-sale info. Google doesn�??t have the information, and needed it. If (bold for a reason :-) ) Google can make the Checkout work, the three giants suddenly have lost their advantage over Google.

Having said that - Amazon and eBay are more at risk. Despite having a large number of �??proprietary eyeballs,�?? they lack their own advertising system, and need to depend on third party. Both should have built one, but they didn�??t. Costly mistake perhaps, since they have existing merchants & eyeballs, and could certainly monetize their own traffic if they did.

» What interests me most about SixApart's new Vox service, is the ability to specify who can actually view your posts. I've asked for that sort of filtering in the past. Heather Green of BusinessWeek writes:

But the next step is allowing you to create filters around who sees your posts. And what's intriguing about this is how it can lead to a different use of voices within the same blog. This idea appeals a lot to me. Right now, I feel like I have one set, determined voice. But if I were writing for my close friends, it would be different. And if I were writing for my family, it would also have a difference tone.

» Mark Evans on Skype's Strategic and Monetization Potential

Skype is a high-margin $200-million, profitable business (unlike Vonage) that is growing as it becomes more of a mainstream tool with a variety of premium services. Second, Skype is starting to be more integrated in eBay's e-commerce operations. This will generate soft benefits such as better customer service and more efficient transactions, as well as hard benefits such as revenue from premium services.

» Postbubble is a new blog about will "float and will sink in the Web 2.0 space. Check out their recent post Teaching an old dog 2.0 tricks, where they comment on ConnectBeam, a new effort to bring social collaboration to the enterprise.


Hub Happenings - 6/29/06

Thu, 29 Jun 2006 22:17:11 -0500

Interesting thoughts, notes, and comments from network contributors -

» Robin Good on Online Payments: Google Checkout is Here

For online publishers and content distributors Google Checkout is a checkout process that you integrate with your website, enabling your customers to buy from you quickly and securely, using a single username and password. You can use Checkout to charge your customers credit cards, process their orders, and to receive payments directly in your bank account.

Google Checkout helps you increase sales and process them for free when you advertise with Google.

» Alex Barnett on IE7 Beta 3 (more RSS goodness)

Microsoft's RSS team blog has this news.

IE7 Beta 3 is here! We�??ve snuck in some goodies in the feed reading user experience based on your Beta 2 feedback"

The post provides details on the new RSS-related features.

» Peter O'Kelly on Oracle's Content Management Plans

"'Content management is $4 billion today and expected to grow to over $10 billion in the next few years,' says [Oracle's VP of Global Technology] Shimp. That would put content management close to the entire database market in size, and Oracle doesn't want to let the opportunity go. Shimp sees an opening based on current implementation dynamics. 'The bulk of CM is still flat-file systems,' he says. 'We provide a database-backed solution.'"

» Emily Chang's eHub on Pipeline Interview

Storing all critical pieces of information for a deal in one place minimizes business risk in case of personnel turnover or a changing of duties. The amount of time businesses lose each year in getting new employees �??up to speed�?? is very high. When someone new comes in to manage a deal and/or relationship, normally the contacts are in the previous person�??s Outlook. Related files are on the intranet �??somewhere�?? and �??organized logically�?? according to the last person. Notes are equally hard to find or gone.

Pipeline puts it all in one place and provides today�??s business with a safe and secure way to protect the most vital aspect of their business - their revenue-driving business deals.

» Smart Mobs on The world cup and text messaging

The BBC reports "mobile phone users in the UK sent a record 3.3 billion text messages in May, figures show.

The Big Brother TV show, the FA Cup and Champions League finals all helped boost numbers, according to the Mobile Data Association (MDA)..."