Posts from May 5, 2004

Home again

Home again
: New Jersey’s favorite blogger, Debra Galant, is back home from the hospital and back online. Thank goodness.

The distributed marketplace

The distributed marketplace
: Clay Shirky rightfully and ruthlessly ridicules a “deeply crazy attempt to solve dating” called Socialgrid: You answer a questionnaire, which spits out code (XML/FOAF) you put on your blog so others can find you via Google. This execution is, well, cause of execution.

But there’s something bigger (and for some of us in some businesses, scarier) bubbling up here: The distributed marketplace. Forget sex (for the moment). Think jobs: Employers find employees via Google. Or think the distributed eBay: Who in the world is selling a used iPod or Mustang right now? Or real estate: The distributed roommate finder. Or Yellow Pages: The Google dream of local. Whenever one person wants to find another for a transaction of any sort, can the distributed network bring them together?

I don’t think Socialgrid — or Google — will own this ultimately. Other, more specialized efforts will create their own search engines or, like this one, piggyback on top of Google’s data base. And they will add value (anonymization; bidding for services; communication; content).

All of this is an extension of FOAF and of David Galbraith’s one-line bio and I’ve talked about it before; so have many others (who should take a look at the haughty intellectual property warning Clay quotes).

This is a step (or misstep) in a fundamental shift in society:

Bit by bit, marketplaces will decentralize.

The Daily Stern: Afternoon edition

The Daily Stern: Afternoon edition

: THE CHILL REACHES NEWS: See the earlier post today about Fox fearing FCC fines for airing the funeral of a war hero because the F word aired.

Now see this. CBS is threatening to take news off the air because, hey, news is live and unscripted and what happens if somebody says a bad word (when you have no list of the bad words that could get you fined):

CBS affiliates are telling the Federal Communications Commission that unless it changes its ruling about profanities on-air, many will have to stop doing news outside of the 10 p.m.-6 a.m. safe harbor for indecent speech.

Noncommercial stations, meanwhile, argued that the decision has caused them to significantly self-censor for the first time….

“Live newsgathering outside of the safe harbor will be a risk that many licensees can’t take,” the affiliates wrote the Federal Communications Commission.

That dire warning came in comments to the FCC as CBS Affiliates and major public TV stations joined the swelling chorus of boos for the FCC’s decision that it may now find the F-word indecent regardless of context, and fine broadcasters and artists potentially millions of dollars for saying that and other profanities on air.

In its petition, the CBS affiliates warn that the indecency crackdown will “fundamentally alter the manner in which local broadcasters engage in newsgathering.” (Already some stations, though not necessarily CBS stations–are buying equipment to delay newscasts. And on Monday, some Phoenix stations reported pulled the plug on news coverage of football player Pat Tillman’s memorial service when friends let forth with some locker-room language.)

The CBS affiliates also argued that they frequently don’t have the ability to alter programming provided by the networks. Even if the networks indemnify them financially, that will be little consolation if they have their licenses revoked, as the FCC has threatened to do for repeat offenders.

In a separate filing, the American Association of Public Television Stations as a group and the major noncom program producing stations, also expressed their concern over the decision’s affect on news, documentaries and cultural programs. They say that, for the first time, producers are engaging in “significant self-censorship out of fear of government penalty.

For instance, stations have deleted language from “Prime Suspect” on Masterpiece Theater (and been criticized for the deletions by viewers) and even had to consider whether to edit our a nude lithograph from Antiques Roadshow, even though the show had aired months before with no complaint….

The chill is on.

: WHAT IT IS: Ernie Miller calls Michael Powell cynical.


: I am away from my pc but I see in my comments I got taken in by the fake Google alerts pitch. I sit corrected.

: Now I’m at a desk and a landline. Thanks to the commenters for setting me straight (though certain of you you needn’t drip with such attitude, you know).

If I were Google, I’d sue these guys forthwith. They certainly fooled me into thinking they were a Google service and, as I said below, it sucks. It reflects badly on the Google brand.

And, yes, if this were a newspaper you were holding, you’d have to wait 24 hours to get a correction. Here, the readers corrected things immediately and I corrected from the road on my Treo.

Pay Google?

Pay Google?
: Google is trying to charge for its GoogleAlerts — up to $19.95 per month.

Only problem is, I’ve found that GoogleAlert sucks. I’ve subscribed for a long time and I consistently fine that it misses tons of stuff.

Technorati beats Google’s pants off.

But Google is overdependent on advertising and for its IPO it’s following Yahoo’s lead and trying to eke out consumer revenue where it can.

I won’t buy it.

See correction above.