Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up
Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up, 25 Apr - 1 May 2005.
This week: Google turns up the heat, Yahoo burns to be a media bigco,
Microsoft's 64-bit light at the end of the tunnel, blogging media empires warm their
hands by the advertising fire, Craigslist - GoogleMaps make a combustible combo.
Google's Preemptive Strike
In the Mojo Cold War, Yahoo took the initiative from Google at the start of 2005 and
the propaganda machine has been in full force since then (backed up by solid products, it
has to be said!). This week Google released two major updates to their online advertising
services, which account for 97% of Google's
revenue. This no doubt launched a rocket up Yahoo!
i) Firstly Google
gave advertisers more control over their ads. Advertisers can now select which sites
get to carry their ads (Google calls this "site targeting") and advertisers can make
better use of graphics. Some punters took the latter to mean Google is becoming a banner advertising
company. Google is also introducing an auction-style system for determining what
advertisers pay to have their ads shown.
While the changes obviously benefit advertisers the most, small niche-focused Web
publishers may find it increases their revenue too. Probably the group with the most to
lose is big publishing and media companies, because advertisers can now bypass the bigco sales reps and buy site-specific adverts direct from Google.
ii) The second big Adsense news of the week was that some sites are now testing Google
Adsense in RSS feeds. Ironically a Microsoft
Longhorn blog was the first on board, but blog-publishing company Weblogs Inc wasn't far
Advertising in RSS feeds is a contentious issue. Some people don't want RSS feeds to be sullied by capitalism, while others think RSS Aggregators will enable users to filter out ads anyway. My own view is that RSS feeds
are a first-class content citizen on the Web, like HTML, and so essentially there's no difference between
putting ads in RSS and putting them on a webpage.
Yahoo Eyes Media Market
As well as competing with Google for online advertising business, Yahoo is busy on
another front - Hollywood. In a
recent interview with MediaPost, ex-Microsoft MSN honcho and now VP of "content
operations" for Yahoo, Scott Moore, outlined his vision for Yahoo Media. His job is to
develop content strategies for Yahoo, under Lloyd Braun, so what he says is a good
indication of where Yahoo is headed. Moore pinpointed storytelling and
user-generated content (e.g. blogs) as two key areas of Internet media.
Moore talked about harnessing such content "in a way that allows the highest-quality
content to rise to the top." That's consistent with my own (market) view of blogs and
user-generated content, so I'm encouraged to hear this coming from a media
Microsoft Hypes 64-bit Computing, Longhorn
Lately the Microsoft PR corps has been wheeling out its big tech guns, Bill Gates and Jim
Allchin, in order to hype up Longhorn - the next generation Windows OS. Allchin mingled with bloggers a
couple of weeks ago to preview Longhorn. And he recently fronted a press release that
waxed lyrical about 64-bit computing, Longhorn, and the history of Windows.
If you're curious what 64-bit computing is... don't be. It basically translates to
enhanced computing performance, which according to Jim Allchin "makes a big difference
for digital content creation and editing scenarios."
I feel a bit guilty for focusing so much on the Big Internet Companies (Google, Yahoo,
MS). There's so much great innovation happening in Web 2.0 currently. From now on I will
try and pick a 'niche' in Web 2.0 and highlight it in my Weekly Wrap-Up. I'll start with
an easy one... blogging media empires. PaidContent.org mentioned a slew of them in a
recent post - and not just the usual suspects (weblogs inc, gawker, etc).
One thing PaidContent.org didn't mention though was the humble individual Blogger,
many of whom are making a decent living (usually via online advertising) and building
their own solitary brand of "media empire". Darren
Rowse from Australia is one of the more successful of that breed. It's similar to the
Alone Journalist concept that Chris Nolan wrote about recently in PressThink, which
Pressthink owner Jay Rosen defined as "the self-sufficiency of the individual provider,
made plausible by the Web." If that isn't Web 2.0 (Web as Platform), I don't know what
Techie Post of the Week: Craigslist - GoogleMaps combo
You've gotta love the enthusiasm in Josh Porter's post
about Paul Rademacher’s Google
Maps and Craigslist Combination (which btw needs a funky name).
"This could be the most important interface we’ve yet seen in the early Web 2.0.
While the APIs created by Amazon, Google, and eBay are cool in and of themselves,
it’s combinatory interfaces like this that really shine. Note that anybody could
have done this!"
All I can add to that is: Holy Remix Culture, Batman - you're right! ;-)
One More Thing
Happy 50th birthday to Dave Winer! Dave was probably my biggest inspiration when I started Read/Write Web, his Two-Way Web theory in particular. So enjoy today Dave :-) [Read/Write Web]