Posts about web2005

Web 2.0: Exec bloggers

Tim O’Reilly asks Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz about being probably the highest ranking corporate blogger. Says Schwartz: “Transparency is a competitive weapon.” He says that competitors spend a fortune on marketing and spend time on one-on-one interviews with the press; he prefers the blog. O’Reilly asks whether Sun’s attorneys read the blog before he posts; he says they wish they did but they don’t. O’Reilly confesses that he sometimes worries when he blogs that he’ll be telling his competitors too much, so he meters himself.

: Neglected to put up a link to Schwartz’s blog; it’s atop the list of Sun bloggers here.

Web 2.0: Advertising

Red Herring covers my ad panel yesterday. I’ll be writing up reflections later.

Web 2.0: Yahoo

Yahoo head Terry Semel, being interviewed by John Battelle, says: “Is this a technology company or a media company? You must be great at both.” Interesting echo of what media execs said at the MT&R event last week: They need engineers and technologists as much as they need

: Yahoo “is all about content,” he says. He sees three ways to generate content: user-generated content via Flicr, 360, local; licensed, aggregated and partnered content where Yahoo is a distribution platform; and “designing the future of content… in this broadband world.” He says media companies should look to Yahoo as a distribution platform. That is very much Semel’s strategy: He’s trying to build Time Warner without the shackles of its heritage and deals.

So Yahoo is very much a Media 1.0 company: It’s all about content and distribution. I say it’s not.

: Battelle asks Semel about Yahoo’s behavior in China: “How do align your idea being in the news business and being a service provider?”

Semel prevaricates enough to make his media trainer proud: “Ninety-nine percent if not a hundred percent of what we do is aggregate other people’s news….” He’s trying to say he’s not in the news business and paints the hiring of Kevin Sites as an experiment more than an entry into the news business. And then he says that any international company that operates in China “you’re going to have to unfortunately observe the laws of those countries and they’re stated, they’re not secret.”

: Asked about Google, Semel says that its No. 1 in search but now that it is expanding into news and shopping and services — as Yahoo did — it’s a portal and as a portal “it’s probably No. 4.”

: Asked whether he’ll give a feed of HotJobs to a Google job service, Semel says, “we’ll always be more open than they are.”

: “We think the big change is not just getting more and more unique users to things…. As we go forward, it’s all about deeper engagement, more time spent, more satisfacory experience for users and advertisers.” That’s exactly the buzzlanguage in the ad industry and Semel’s if nothing else cagey about that. It’s a 1.0 media empire. That’s not a bad thing. It will make big money. The question is whether it is built for the future, any more than Time Warner or Disney is.

: He’s asked whether, in five years, he’ll make more money off of user-generated content than media-generated content. He sings the praises of user-generated content (what we know as sharing). Then he says that content will get more and more important on the internet with the spread of broadband. He says that doesn’t mean we’ll spend time on old media in the new medium. But the man loves content. And then he prevaricates and doesn’t answer the question.

: Here’s the funny thing about Yahoo building this gigantic castle of content: I never go there.

Web 2.0: Launchpad

13 companies in 90 minutes.

Zimbra: An open-source collaboration suite. Lots of Ajax. Everything is Ajax. He’s getting lots of awws from the crowd for allowing you to see where an appointment is or what you have on a date without having to leave the email. Ajax and Google map mashup and Skype mashup. Can’t lose, eh?

Nevermind my ajax gags. This really looks wonderful: very smart use of interface to let you get around your data (show me just the emails from the guy between these dates that have this kind of attachment; show me a FedEx tracking number and go ahead and get the status dynamically, and so on). In six minutes, it looks like a winner. Best of the bunch. Everybody in the audience wanted it.

Flock: A social browser. The web is not just content or shopping but a stream of events among people, they say. So they built a browser opensource on top of Mozilla; the first, alpha release comes in a few weeks.

It combines favorites and RSS feeds: you click a star on the address bar and it’s a bookmark and you’ve subscribed if there’s a feed. With a story on the page, you can take content and drag it onto a “shelf” (the demo devil is bedeviling them). There’s also a “blogging top bar” within the browser — important for bloggers — that allows you to open a blogging editor and drag content from a page onto your post. Very nice.

Zvents: “Takes the search approach to events.” It’s live for the Bay Area. They’re trying to do deals with old-style local publishers, which is smart, since local sites tend to suck at this. They have what-where-when searches that deliver into maps, lists, and calendars. And the lists are exportable to your blog; it’s distributed.

Socialtext: Ross Mayfield says that Socialtext, the first wiki company, will go open-source. It’s coming full-circle: Wikis came from open-source and now a wiki company goes open-source. He says that wikis are happening inside companies at larger scales than before; organizations are sharing information. “Now we’re giving it all away.” Marc Canter screams: Awwright.”

Wikiwyg.net, the wysiwyg open-source for wikis, is the first step (I think it’s quite neat). Then they add SyncroEdit.com: real-time synchronous editing for the web. Now add in Atom and microformats for offline editing.

Rollyo: Dave Pell, big blogger: “This is going to be the shortest nonsexual performance of my life.”

He shows Rollyo: roll your own search engine. I’m on the beta list: you add a list of the sites you want to search on a regular basis. You can also get people to come to your personal search engines. And you can explore others’ search rolls.

Orb: Shows you all your content from home on any web-connected device anywhere. Works only on PC now; Mac by the end of the year. Very nice.

Wink: Combines search with user interactivity: “people-powered search.” (Well, in a sense, Google is just that, eh?) You can tag search and add that into tags on Delicious et al. They say this means it’s spam free (if tags don’t get spammed, I suppose).
Joyent: A network suite of applications with email, calendar, contacts, files and binders. The data is tagged and smart filtered and can be turned into RSS feeds. The data is open and transportable. It’s focused on small groups of 2-20 people. So, for example, you can overlay other people’s calendars onto your own. So far, I shrug.

Bunchball: It tries to solve the “social application gap” and the “replication of reality.” Didn’t know I had those problems. He’s saying that entering into new social applications is hard because there’s an investment. It’s a platform for starting social applications. I suspect this is a bad-timing award against the announcement this week of Mark Andreesen’s Ninq.

RealTravel: “Real travel. Real advice. Real experiences.” It enables people to put up travel journals and ratings. Not sure what’s different from TripAdvisor, which is already huge.

Knownow: It’s a Kleiner-funded company that’s about dynamic distribution of content. I don’t know what that means yet. It’s a notification service using RSS. I frankly don’t get it.

AllPeers: A web development platform based on Firefox.

Structured Blogging: From the PubSub guys comes a plug-in to Word Press that gets people to publish structured data. It basically adds prepopulated tags — not loose-form — to get people to add the fact that this is a restaurant review, for example. Wish it would work; we’ll see whether it does. I think the key is that people will do this if it helps their stuff be discovered — e.g., to get a restaurant review on your blog aggregated with all your neighbors’ restaurant reviews.

: A slicker version of this report over at Lifehacker, where I’m flattered to be reporting.

Web 2.0: O’Reilly

Seth Godin summarizes Tim O’Reilly’s bullet points about Web 2.0. Says Seth:

This is by no means a complete list, but it represents a way to think about what you build online (and, imho, offline as well.) And it reminds me of big thinkers like David Weinberger and Lisa Gansky. Web 2.0 isn’t new, but it’s now.

Web 2.0: Diller

Barry Diller is always entertaining. I’m not exactly sure why he’s often interviewed at these events.

He at first says that, yes, blogs matter. And then he disses the notion that people who haven’t been discovered as talent by the gatekeepers of media can really have for surely they would have been discovered. Very old Hollywood attitude.

J.D. Lassica goes after him, nicely: “It sounds more like you’re speaking as a media than an internet mogul…. Why are people peeling away from the mainstream media… and going to these smaller, ‘insignificant’ experiences?”

Diller says: “We’re talking about mass audiences.” Haven’t you heard? Mass is dead, replaced by the mass of niches. He says “there is simply not enough talent.”

Yup, he’s still Media 1.0.

Web 2.0: Tagging

At Web 2.0 for the tagging session: SRO.

Tony Stubblebine of O’Reilly says they are the first customer to use Del.icio.us data to find out more about their content. That is precisely the right use of Del.icio.us for media/content sites.

Josh Schachter, founder of Del.icio.us, says he sort of starting the tagging thing when he called tags tags instead of keywords.

The first question: “I use Del.icio.us, but I’m not sure I get it.” Familiar applause from everybody in the audience. Fred Wilson, who invested in the company, has said that he didn’t get it either until I sent him a feed of somebody’s tags of media stories. Then he bought into the razor company.

I confess that I now get Del.icio.us but I don’t get how to tag well because you can tag just for yourself or for the world or to find stuff, you can tag micro or tag macro. Caterina Fake says: “Isn’t it because we’re overthinking it?” Josh says it is split up by use or intent: tagging for others (Technorati) or for yourself (Delicous) or a combination (Flickr). Jeff Veen says that’s not quite right; he uses Delicous [I'm giving up on the damned dots] as a publishing tool.

We’re at that cusp of geekcool to peoplecool; the world will make sense of it. I told Josh before the session that Delicious should go mainstream now and take down the velvet rope, as a VC described the hard-to-grok UI of the service. Josh said there is no intention to have a velvet rope. It’s a geek rope. And they’ll change it.

There’s now a research lab at Yahoo and Berkeley Research Labs working on automatic tagging. Josh says Ojos (he thinks) is working on tagging via face recognition.

Someone says that a key benefit of tagging vs. metakeywords on web pages is that they are visible and you can see whether they are credible and not spam and manipulation. Similarly, Google chose not to use metakeyworks but instead gave weight to the words inside a hyperlink and that’s better because it’s visible, not invisible. So we find out what the world thinks content is about instead of what the author thinks it is about.

It’s not just tags, then. When you link to something and describe it in that link (which means you should pick your link words carefully) you create data about the meaning of that to which you link. Ditto tags. That’s transparent. And anybody can do it.

Catarina talks about a new metric Flickr uses: interestingness, which tries to capture how much people have seen, tagged, linked to something. And she says you can pivot that around a person or a social group: What interests them? Add that to the metrics we as an unmedium need to capture and deliver: Where’s the good stuff? That’s where we want to be (and advertisers, too).

Someone asks about using tagging in a closed corporate environment. Wisely, the group tends to shy away from the enterprise trap. Josh says it’d be interesting for a company to find the people who find good stuff first. O’Reilly says that’s the customers.
At Web 2.0 for the tagging session: SRO.

Tony Stubblebine of O’Reilly says they are the first customer to use Del.icio.us data to find out more about their content. That is precisely the right use of Del.icio.us for media/content sites.

Josh Schachter, founder of Del.icio.us, says he sort of starting the tagging thing when he called tags tags instead of keywords.

The first question: “I use Del.icio.us, but I’m not sure I get it.” Familiar applause from everybody in the audience. Fred Wilson, who invested in the company, has said that he didn’t get it either until I sent him a feed of somebody’s tags of media stories. Then he bought into the razor company.

I confess that I now get Del.icio.us but I don’t get how to tag well because you can tag just for yourself or for the world or to find stuff, you can tag micro or tag macro. Caterina Fake says: “Isn’t it because we’re overthinking it?” Josh says it is split up by use or intent: tagging for others (Technorati) or for yourself (Delicous) or a combination (Flickr). Jeff Veen says that’s not quite right; he uses Delicous [I'm giving up on the damned dots] as a publishing tool.

We’re at that cusp of geekcool to peoplecool; the world will make sense of it. I told Josh before the session that Delicious should go mainstream now and take down the velvet rope, as a VC described the hard-to-grok UI of the service. Josh said there is no intention to have a velvet rope. It’s a geek rope. And they’ll change it.

There’s now a research lab at Yahoo and Berkeley Research Labs working on automatic tagging. Josh says Ojos (he thinks) is working on tagging via face recognition.

Someone says that a key benefit of tagging vs. metakeywords on web pages is that they are visible and you can see whether they are credible and not spam and manipulation. Similarly, Google chose not to use metakeyworks but instead gave weight to the words inside a hyperlink and that’s better because it’s visible, not invisible. So we find out what the world thinks content is about instead of what the author thinks it is about.

It’s not just tags, then. When you link to something and describe it in that link (which means you should pick your link words carefully) you create data about the meaning of that to which you link. Ditto tags. That’s transparent. And anybody can do it.

Catarina talks about a new metric Flickr uses: interestingness, which tries to capture how much people have seen, tagged, linked to something. And she says you can pivot that around a person or a social group: What interests them? Add that to the metrics we as an unmedium need to capture and deliver: Where’s the good stuff? That’s where we want to be (and advertisers, too).

Someone asks about using tagging in a closed corporate environment. Wisely, the group tends to shy away from the enterprise trap. Josh says it’d be interesting for a company to find the people who find good stuff first. O’Reilly says that’s the customers.

We see Consumating.com, where people tag themselves.

Esther asks about time and the decay of popularity. Josh says that Delicious cares about the vector: It’s not interesting that 10,000 people tagged “google” but this tag is hot now; Catarina says the same for the hot tags on Flickr. She says Yahoo research labs will have something on this later.