Archive for June, 2006

Matt McAlister » Why (and how) the online ad model needs to change

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Quoted from http://www.mattmcalister.com/blog/2006/06/13/63/why-and-how-the-online-ad-model-needs-to-change/:

Matt McAlister » Why (and how) the online ad model needs to change

Users would see ads for things they want to buy. Advertisers would sell more product. And media vehicles would earn more from the revenue share.  Where’s the down-side?

More anecdotal support for Purchase Process Feeds.

BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Advertisers: You’re next

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Quoted from http://www.buzzmachine.com/index.php/2006/06/25/advertisers-youre-next/:

BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Advertisers: You’re next


The greatest challenge for advertising today is relevance.

BloggerCon Nostalgia

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Quoted from http://www.rolandtanglao.com/archives/2006/06/22/bloggercon-nostalgia:

BloggerCon Nostalgia | Roland Tanglao’s Weblog

Had great conversations with Susan Mernit, Deeje Cooley and Scott Johnson over Indian food.

Good times! We talked about the future aggregators, I think.  How much, and how little, has changed since then.

Too bad I’m so swamped… couldn’t get to any of the events here in town this week.

Don’t sit on ideas

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Terry Heaton wrote:

Out of the mouths of babes

I never assume that I can sit on my ideas, because somebody else is always touching the unbroken web, or, as Alexa puts it, “Pluto.”

I’ve lost count of the number of blog entries I’ve started but not finished and then deleted, because someone else published the same basic jist before me.  Years from now, I bet there will be scientific studies of this kind of social phenomenon.

Engage customers thru discussion around your brand

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Ryan Stuart over on the Read/Write Web blog has a great review of the NoteTag release from the Kiwi Project:

Read/WriteWeb: What Adobe’s Kiwi Project is about

Imagine companies being able to actually engage with their customers instead of just pushing ideas at them. With experience at the forefront, companies can be encouraged to share more and their customers will be inclined to participate – eventually becoming stakeholders in the brand and products. RIAs allow for an incredible level of branding, that when combined with content, makes for an enticing place for customers to share ideas. Currently you see high-experience flash websites for things like movies and cars, but there is no "write" component to them. Take that branding, add the write component and you will be able to engage with customers in revolutionary ways.

Exactly right.  Then add a "take it with you" desktop angle to it, and that engagement can become even more rewarding for everyone.

Consumer Purchase Process in a Web 2.0 World

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The Doc Searls Weblog wrote:

Get down & dirty about coming clean

Shel Israel is testing The Intention Economy with a query about washers and dryers. For the next couple of weeks, we will want to know everything about washers and dryers.

Shel is pushing the existing framework of what is called the "consumer purchase process".  The consumer purchase process is taught in B-schools and marketing degrees to explain how people go about buying things.  The phases look like this:

  1. Need Recognition = person identifies a need
  2. Information Search= person discovers potential solutions
  3. Evaluation = person compares solutions
  4. Purchase Decision = person acquires a solution
  5. Cognitive Dissonance = person uses solution and evaluates decision

Today, we use web browsers and search engines for #2, #3, and often times #4.  That, in itself, was a powerful transformation of the marketplace.

With the advent of the read/write web, we now use blogs and wikis to share our post-purchase experiences (#5) with others, thus greatly influencing the search and evaluation activities (#2 and #3) of people earlier in the process.  I’m sure many of you are immediately thinking of Jeff Jarvis’ influence on people considering Dell products.

What Shel is trying to demonstrate is how our online presence, and the tools and services we use to manage that online presence, can further enhance the purchase process, starting with information search.

He’s asking for help from the LazyWeb, but at some point the LazyWeb can and should be more automated.  Here’s how I’d like to see it happen:

  • What if Shel could enter his questions into a search engine, and request a feed of matching content for 2 weeks?
  • Better yet, what if the search engine subscribed to Shel’s blog, and automatically slipstreamed relevant information into a permanent RSS feed just for Shel, based on the things Shel writes about and asks for?
  • What if Shel could rate the information returned, so that the query/queries could be refined over time?
  • What if Shel could indicate that he’s ready to purchase, dramatically changing the search results from information providers (manufacturers, magazines) to potential sellers (distributors, retailers).
  • And once the purchase is made and indicated, the search results feed should once again change to provide information that supports and enhances the purchase experience (user groups).

For lack of a better term, I’ll call this a "Purchase Process Feed Engine", which produces a feed of information that dynamically changes its content depending on where you are in any given purchase process.  Obviously, a purchase process feed will be more effective for big-ticket items (e.g. washing machines, cameras, computers, cars, and houses) that have long time-spans for each phase.

Managing Comments and Threads

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Kevin Burton’s Feed Blog wrote:

My Kingdom for an OS X TypePad Comment Approval App

I’d KILL for a comment reading and threading mechanism with easy approval of comments.

This seems like a great extension opportunity to Atom and the Atom Publishing Protocol…

Metaphors for HTML and RSS

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James Snell’s weblog wrote:

We can name it later

Tim Bray: “The Web isn’t a platform or a database or an API or an OS a cloud or aclickstream or any other of those things.In fact, the Web isn’t even a thing,it’s a mesh of agreements with a nice straightforward engineering rulebook.Play by the rules and you can be part of it and build something great,struggle against them and you’ll look lame and you’ll fail. But don’t try to analogize it; sometimesthe world has new things in it and you just have to deal with them as they are.

+1.

Sam Ruby wrote:

Elevator Pitch

Tim Bray: Stop the Metaphors!

Fully Disagree.  Metaphors are perfectly good thing to have, in a P.T. Barnum sense.  And, it is working.  Go with it.

And when people are trying to grasp what the web is if it isn’t a bunch of web services, remind them that the web isn’t a service (i.e., a verb) at all, it  fundamentally is a space (i.e., a noun).

Metaphors help us learn new things, but shouldn’t limit us from creating new things.

I’m reminded of this every time I present emerging market analysis around RSS.  I start by explaining that we think of HTML in terms of "pages", because it was a metaphor we could understand and extend. For instance, we see the front page of the New York Times either on paper or in a browser.

RSS, OTOH, really does change our perspective, because it removes the presentation information from all the "stories" on that front page, allowing clients to render them in new, interesting ways.

Optimizing RSS Delivery

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My colleague Darrick asked during lunch if there was any market interest in "push" technology for RSS subscriptions, rather than the somewhat hockey "pull" that all aggregators do today.

My first thought was that most end users don’t really know or care how their aggregator is getting data, it all looks like push to them, and so any change in the underlying technology will be obscure and viewed as without value.

But setting that aside, we talked about how good aggregators and blog servers are using conditional GETs today to minimize wasteful bandwidth usage.  Then we talked about how a true "push" model would imply a persistent connection, which is really what the Atom over XMPP proposal is all about.  But going from pull to push is a fairly big leap, since it requires a lot more server and a lot more client.

Fortunately, there is another potential optimization that I will call conditional deltas, which basically means that for itemized data streams like RSS, an HTTP GET can indicate that it only wants changes since the last successful GET.  (Bob Wyman calls it RFC3229+feed, but try saying that in a conversation!)

The beauty of a conditional delta GET is that the bandwidth used to transport an RSS feed is never more than the size of the RSS feed, no matter how many requests or changes are made.  Today, when you read this blog entry in your aggregator, you should note that your aggregator probably had to download the entire RSS feed again and manually parse it to determine this was the new entry.  With a conditional delta GET, each entry is transported exactly once, saving oodles of bandwidth.

At the end of our lunch conversation, I was struck by the fact that major blog hosting and RSS serving vendors really should WANT aggregators to support conditional deltas.  Companies like Google (Blogger), SixApart (Typepad, LiveJournal), FeedBurner, MySpace, and eBay collectively serve up millions of RSS feeds over and over again when just one new entry triggers the conditional get.  Sure they support conditional GETs today, but if aggregators supported conditional delta GETs, these RSS servers could save tremendously on bandwidth costs.

As it turns out, more and more aggregators and blog servers are supporting conditional deltas, including WordPress, FeedDemon, Bloglines, and Vista.  So, what are these RSS servers waiting for?

Geffen Brings Feeds Into Its Marketing Plan

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Quoted from http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3611291:

Geffen Brings Feeds Into Its Marketing Plan

Geffen Records is turning to RSS feeds… to improve its online marketing and artist promotion efforts.

…a redesigned Web site which will include FeedBurner-managed RSS feeds for more than 50 of its artists… FeedFlare … will [integrate] direct links to rate albums at iTunes, join a band’s group at MySpace, or explore related music at Pandora, for example.

“…early trials indicated that the feed is one of our most loyal communication vehicles.”

Based on early tests… Geffen found subscribers to RSS feeds … four times as likely to convert than average site visitors and e-mail subscribers.

Another example of how RSS is transforming the relationship between producers (artists) and consumers (audience).