Why Hasn’t Podcasting Caught On Yet?

March 4th, 2008 | Categories: blogs, marketing, networks, social media, trends

[Why Hasn’t Podcasting Caught On Yet?] - When “podcasting” emerged a few years Podcastingback, enthusiasts quickly proclaimed it to be the next big thing. As is the case with the so-called “semantic web”, podcasting has failed to live up to expectations. But why? The benefits are obvious and publishers are going to great lengths to be heard.

The first thought that comes to mind is time. Maybe people just don’t have enough time in their day to incorporate podcasting listening. Maybe their routine is simply unable to accommodate podcasting.

My second thought focuses around hassle. The requirement of a podcast download, followed by the transfer it to a portable device, may be enough to turn some away.

My last thought centers around the technical aspect of podcasting. RSS is not a mainstream term. In fact, it is rather intimidating to some. Even the term “podcasting” itself may seem daunting. This may seem silly to many of us who live and breathe the web 2.0 world, but sometimes we must take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. Maybe the terminology is just too overpowering and potential users simply shy away.

I can’t see price as being an issue, as most podcasts are offered free of charge. Most publishers seem content with a captive audience - money doesn’t seem to be the key motivator or driver.

Apple has done a lot to bring podcasting mainstream. After all, the company does produce the most dominant podcatching client available on the market, iTunes. Very few other companies have really done much to push the podcasting industry forward.

I have yet to really pinpoint why podcasting hasn’t caught on yet. I do believe it is only a matter of time, but how long? An explosion within the space has been touted for quite some time, yet we’re all still waiting…

Do you have any thoughts as to why podcasting hasn’t caught on yet or reached a more mainstream audience?

The Overuse of Graphics

March 3rd, 2008 | Categories: design, launch, off topic, strategy, trends

[The Overuse of Graphics] - SplatterSome web designers can’t help incorporating a myriad of graphics and images into anything and everything they do. Sometimes I feel that rather than enhancing the experience, they are simply determined to showcase their design prowess. Let it be known that I am highly critical when it comes to the use of graphics. I’m not saying that they should be outlawed, but they do have a time and place. I’m the type of person who admires a designer who can create a compelling, usable experience without the use of any graphics at all.

Obviously a photo-sharing site will be littered with images and photos. Icons and screenshots may also add to the usability of a given site. Often though, useless stock photos of office environments and happy workers do nothing to add to the overall experience. In fact, they do the opposite.

The two big downfalls of images are:

  1. Increased page load times
  2. Increased clutter and distractions

The focus should be on content. Think Craigslist, Wikipedia, Reddit, Kayak, 37signals, Digg, del.icio.us, etc… If an image fails to enhance the experience, then it shouldn’t be used. Exceptions include artsy sites, band sites, or any site where the art or design(s) may increase business.

What do you think about images/photos/graphics? Do you think they’re overused, underused, or used just enough in the grand scheme of things?

Direction of the Web

February 29th, 2008 | Categories: blogs, design, networks, off topic, social media, trends, video, wikis

Directions sign[Direction of the Web] - It is unclear to me where the Web is headed in the very near future. The big guys (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) seem to be a bit lost. In addition, no clear trends or “hot spaces” are emerging. Social networking seems to have cooled down a bit and micro-blogging, though still rising in popularity, seems to be taking a breather.

A few categories are showing promise, but lacking overall direction. These include online video, wikis, podcasting, and personal finances (to name a few). It seems that interest in these areas is present as many players continue to enter the game. Having said that, no-one seems to know how each space will play out. Everyone is providing their own take on the situation, choosing a different audience, vertical, or worse yet, generalizing.

What I’m surprised about is the lack of focus around local. I truly believe this to be the most lucrative niche by far. After all, it relates to real people - think Craigslist or YellowPages. Let’s be honest with ourselves - blog aggregators and social bookmarking sites preach the choir.

With local, a revenue model is not only achievable, but feasible. It’s also sustainable as people can relate (and understand) the business model. Whether income is generated via targeted advertising or premium directory placement, local is an area that needs to be explored more thoroughly.

What do you see in the near-term future of the Web? What sectors will catch fire and which will fizzle out?

My Health Status

February 26th, 2008 | Categories: off topic

As most of you know, I haven`t written a blog post in almost two weeks, which is highly uncharacteristic of me. What most of you probably don`t know is that my life has changed quite a bit in the past week and a half.

While on a family reunion in Mexico, I hit my head on the ocean floor during a diving accident. My head snapped forward and I cracked my C2 vetebrae. Fortunately, I was able to make it to shore where I went into shock and fell unconscious for several minutes. I woke up on a spinal board on my way to the ambulance…

To make a long story short, I took two ambulance rides to two hospitals. I had CT scans, MRIs, numerous X-rays, blood test, electrocardiograms, etc… I spent two days in ICU and one in recovery. In the end, they (luckily) found no internal bleeding on the brain. I simply had a swollen neck and a cracked disc.

Today, I am counting my blessings. Though I am in a full neck brace for several months, I am able to walk and move all parts of my body. Most are not so fortunate after such an accident. Rehabilitation is necessary, but it is the least of my worries. My changed lifestyle, which includes very little physical activity and a lot of rest, is what lies ahead. In any case, I feel very fortunate to be where I am and I would like to thank everyone for their continuing support and encouragement. I`m anxious to make a full comeback to blogging in the next week or so, so watch for new posts.

In closing, people have been asking me what they can do or how they can help. I say this: tell your family and friends you love them. You never know what tomorrow may bring. What you take for granted now may not be there tomorrow.

What Does The Future of Yahoo Look Like?

February 14th, 2008 | Categories: acquisitions, networks, strategy

Your guess is as good as mine. The future of Yahoo remains yet again the topic of manyYahoo logo discussions. The recent rejection of Microsoft’s takeover attempt once again leaves the search giant without a concrete plan, wondering what to do next.

Simply put, Yahoo is losing ground against Google in two very important areas - search and advertising. These two areas are key to Yahoo’s future success and strength as a portal.

The management shake-up and subsequent appointment of Jerry Yang as interim CEO have done little to turn this story around. Strategic hurdles are prevalent and unresolved. I also sense a bit of an identity crisis as the company struggle to estabish priorities. May I add ”urgency” as a theme?

What about all the recent acquisitions? No-one has been able to identify a pattern or determine a logical strategy behind Yahoo’s sporadic purchasing of web properties.

All these questions leave me (and others) wondering, “What now?” I truly believe that Yahoo needs to develop strategic plan very quickly or it will lose serious ground against Google - and other rivals.

What do you think Yahoo should do? Is there anything Yahoo shouldn’t do?