Archive for May, 2007

Has RSS Gone Mainstream?

Monday, May 21st, 2007

RSS IconNot even close. The technology is status quo among bloggers and the blogosphere alike. It is even used by the majority on online news agencies and portals. But it has yet to reach widespread adoption among the general public.

This question came about when I pondered whether RSS was now common knowledge or whether it still lived in the web 2.0 echo chamber as we know it…

So I tried my ‘web 2.0 test’ on a couple of friends. I asked if they knew what RSS was and what RSS stood for. In all case, the first answer was ‘no’ and the second was ‘no idea’. This proved to me that RSS has not broken into the mainstream and has a long way to go.

So why is taking so long to reach a critical mass?

My guess is not because the technology is overly sophisticated or complicated to use. It is more of a question of perception. The ‘perceived’ complexity of RSS is what intimidates people and dissuades them from using the technology. The concept of ‘pulling a content feed’ is not difficult to grasp. The terminology and context placed around the system is what deters most people.

If an attempt can be made to humanize the technology and make it more user-friendly, my guess is that the adoption rate will skyrocket as people begin to realize the true benefits and advantages. The day my parents can understand the notion of ‘pulling a feed’ or even ‘feed reader’ will be the day I know RSS has made it.

Joost Adds New Channels

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Joost logoIn an e-mail message from the company, Joost states that they are adding over 40 new channels in the next week. A small sampling of channels to come includes:

  • National Geographic
  • Adult Swim
  • Spike TV
  • Heavy
  • Hasbro

Already accessible is content from MuchMusic, Virgin, and Alliance Atlantis to name a few.

Joost reiterates that they will be adding new channels on a weekly basis, so stay tuned. This bode well for the viewer, as well as the company. It creates a more “sticky” experience and drives users back. This, in turn, generates loyalty and residual traffic, and eventually, ad revenues.

I can’t wait for a ridiculous acquisition offer from a company with deep pockets, looking to break into the new-web space… Microsoft?….

Ad Network Acquisition Fever Continues…

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Ad network acquisition fever is reaching epidemic levels. This widespread phenomenon is sweeping the web landscape like a hungry flock of locusts. Just yesterday I wrote about the 24/7 Real Media acquisition by WPP Group. Then today, the last of the big three search engine players finally made a move - Microsoft acquired aQuantive for $6 billion.

This just about cleans out the entire ad network space. It appears as though no big Internet powerhouse wanted to be left behind with the big 3 and AOL all grabbing a piece of the pie.

And I always thought that the Internet signified freedom and diversity… This consolidation of sorts further solidifies the foundation of the big guns. Now, with less reliance on outside ad networks, these monoliths can focus on internal systems and strategies to expand the business.

What strikes me as funny in this situation is the order of events. Google usually strikes first, snatching up the biggest player in the industry. This not only provides solid positioning for Google with the industry, but also provides the best PR bang-for-buck. Yahoo jumps second, buying a secondary player at a slightly higher valuation. Some PR exposure may ensue, but this is usually drowned out by initial move of Google. Finally, Microsoft lags and lethargically purchases a tier-two firm at a huge premium. In most cases, the takeover turns out to be nothing more than a copy-cat action by Microsoft with little or no positive outcome.

Microsoft definite lags with respect to its Internet strategy. Saying it is weak is putting it mildly. The company needs to step up and start making smarter, more strategic moves in a more timely fashion.

Yahoo needs to focus on services. Trying to dethrone Google from the top search engine spot will be next to impossible. Maintaining a similar level of search engine quality is necessary, but innovation and re-invention should not be a priority. Yahoo needs to focus on core areas such as finance, travel, and shopping among other things.

And Google… well… Google just needs to be Google…

WPP Group Buys 24/7 Real Media

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Acquisition fever in the online ad space continues as WPP Group acquires 24/7 Real Media for $649 million. This deal comes on the heels of three other big deals in the same space, involving the Internet’s biggest players. Here is a look at the recent deals:

Talk about hype in a sector. We haven’t seen this much attention paid to one area since the ad-gaming got snapped up recently. In any case, I expect the chaos to die off and tranquility to return to this industry of middlemen.

Is Digg Back to Normal?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Digg logoIt’s been two weeks since the self implosion, AKA Digg revolution, occurred. Mark May 1st on your calendar. It will forever be known as the day social media broke.

I can’t think of a more heart-breaking dilemma than what the Digg crew was subject to. Remove the content or be sued. Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation for the company. They chose to do what was in the company’s best interest, as opposed to the users’ best interest. This caused a quasi civil war within the site and a backlash like we’ve never seen before.

Now, two weeks later, has everything returned to normal? Not even close.

Though Digg is not deleting submission, they are taking on more subtle, less obvious approach. Stories with objectionable content (i.e. potential lawsuit material) are being intentionally ‘buried’ by the company to avoid site-wide exposure. Though not official, this process is likely to be occurring as many blogs are reporting its existence. See posts at DeepJive Interests, Pronet Advertising, and Social Media Club.

Users are genuinely pissed off. Two weeks ago, they were slapped in a more obvious manner. These new rumours and allegations come as another blow to the already-shaken social news community. This is exactly what they DON’T need right now.

Add to that the potential lawsuits that are predicted to come about. What about the loss of trust within the community? This is was the entire basis for the site.

I’m not even sure the best PR team in the world could shed a positive image on this net powerhouse at this point. Damage control seems beyond its grasp. Digg really needs to assess their priorities and re-evaluate their values. The long-term prospects look weak at best. But who knows… a site that has risen and fallen so quickly could very well blossom and rise from the distrust ashes once again.