At least Vivisimo demonstrates that search engines still can be improved. Remember Alta Vista? Four years ago I thought they would own the world. Today, Google looks like that. Four years from now will Google be on top?
Let's try a search on, say, Dave Winer. Awesome, huh?
Scratch that. I almost signed up, figuring I'd get a free couple of issues and maybe stay on for a month, but they force you to enter a credit card just to try it for two weeks. They know that I'm a lazy (and busy) son of a bitch and probably won't cancel my account for a couple of months at least. I hate offers like this.
I don't need more complications to my life. They need to prove to me that they are better than the weblog and existing journalism markets first before they get access to my credit cards. Sorry Mary Jo, but I guess I ain't gonna read you.
It's deeper than that.
Journalists need to "sell" their article ideas to editors in order to get published. This is the goal of every journalist (I even needed to do it when I was on my college newspaper at San Jose State).
Now, what "sells" a dumbshit editor better?
"I got an article on UserLand and how it is building Web services."
"I got an article on Microsoft (or Sun, or IBM, and how it is building Web services."
I know from experience that most people who aren't in the computer industry don't have a freaking clue about UserLand.
The problem is that journalists just are damn lazy and don't want to cover the waterfront. I've never understood this.
Whenever I play journalist, I look the other way from where the "masses" are looking. That's usually where the real story is going on.
Microsoft and Apple and Sun have done a lot of stealing (or buying) of ideas from other places. Didn't this entire industry once exist at Xerox Parc?
So, look at where Microsoft and Apple and Sun are getting their innovations. Hint: a lot of times it comes from smaller companies.
Study your history. Look at where things like ICQ, FrontPage, DOS, Hotmail, etc. came from. Hint: they weren't invented at AOL, Microsoft, or Apple.
Another problem? Journalists know where their paychecks come from. (Why weren't there many negative articles about tobacco companies in newspapers in tobacco-growing regions?)
Journalists tend to cover only companies who can buy advertising.
Webloggers, for the most part, are free of such financial constraints (although, I'll be the first to admit, that I probably won't be the first to break any news on the company that pays my paycheck, which currently is NEC, particularly if that news is negative).
Maybe Dave should have asked "why, are only companies big enough to buy advertising worth covering?" I wonder what the answer would have been.