Various Wonderful Links

NYC SES Pictures:
Stephen Turcotte took some pics. There is a pic of me wearing a FireFox T shirt standing next to AussieWebmaster, and there are lots of other pics.
link looted from PeterD's blog.

Buying the Best:
CGI Holdings snags Mike Grehan. It is unbelievable how many companies they have acquired recently.

Ad Spend:
UK online ad spend increased ~ 50% in 2004. Europe SEM spend is expected to increase 65% in 2005.
Has dropped their subscription fees. Good stuff.

Why VCs Suck:
A Unified Theory of VC Suckage - its how they get paid.

Tension on the Web:
Adam Bosworth riffs about privacy and sloppy folksonomies. He also states breaks make everything more clear when you come back to work.

Seth Interviews:
Hugh email interviews Seth & Clikz does too

Seth also has another seminar coming up soon. If you work at a small company it only costs $400. If you are a charity you might be able to go free.

Our Media:
our media launches. free media storage. cool.

new SEO tool site from Chris Ridings. his first tool creates a topical OPML file

You Gotta Love:
how blunt Rob Frankel is

The widespread ignorance of branding is a scourge on the economy

2005 SXSW Interactive Conference

Review of the first couple days of the South by SouthWest conference. It does not much relate to search, but if you like other web, design, and interactive media stuff it might be worth glancing at. Friday, March 11

Ducking Bullets and Blowing Up Barriers
Thomas Fulp talked about independant game design. He runs the flash website Newsgrounds and recently launched Alien Hominid. His game looks cool enough that I am debating buying a Playstation 2.

He talked a good amount abut how being independant helped the creative process. I think I am a good bit more creative and efficient without structure and barriers real jobs and employers provide.

Saturday, March 12

The Imagination Challenge: Points of Departure for Design in the Knowledge Age

Alexander Manu talked about how the industrial revolution split work and play. He stated that play is where most of the creative ideas come from. Being a grown up child makes it far easier to expand the limits of technology & creativity.

Yet another presentation that makes me want to go out and buy some more video games. ;)

Ramblings from the Ranch
Chipp Walters and Michael McGar, a couple well known vets from the Austin tech scene talked about some of the trends they have seen in industrial design.

As time passes artificial intelligence and genetic algorithms will become more and more intertwined into the design process. They also stated that one thing that really helped Austin take off in the tech scene is that many of Austin's early industrial design firms openly shared their work and products with one another.

Zeldman gave the Opening Remarks Saturday keynote. His The Daily Report site is rather popular and he also works on A List Apart and The Web Standards Project.

He was a funny speaker who ended his speech with a which one of these things is not like the other game. He emphasized the importance of having fun, meeting people, and social interaction at SXSW. He also brought up Matthew Mullenweg to explain how South by SouthWest helped Matthew create WordPress.

How to Hot-Wire the Creative Process
Curt Cloninger gave what I thought was generally a kick ass presentation. He pointed out some of the ideas he uses and encourages his students to do to think up creative ideas.

a few of the concepts he stressed were

  • people should use processes but they are not universal or one size fits all

  • as designers we are editors. nobody really starts from "scratch"
  • we should all have test sites to practice and learn on. if you do not want to make a formal connection you can annonymously publish it.

a few of the cool resources he pointed out were

He also posted his presentation online.

Blogging Without Borders: Bridging the Digital Content Divide
Panel talked about the effects of weblogs in emerging countries and how they affect social and political conditions.

They talked about raising money after the recent tsunami and how some people crossed large plots of land to bring their ideas to portions of the country which still had web access.

In the Q&A section Hossein Derakhshan, a popular blogger who covers Iran, was asked what was the biggest worries with Iran country going forward. The response was the worry of war destroying the recent buildup in the country. He also stated that the country has some semi democratic processes and the corporate controlled government in the US may not compare all that favorably to it.

He also stated that most of the youth in Iran is not politically active. He said what would really help the country move forward is if they could get a journal of a 50 yr old Iranian who was politically active when he was young and upload those entries to the web each day.

Sunday, March 13

Malcolm Gladwell gave the keynote speech. He primarily discussed some of the rapid cognition and inherant natural predjudice concepts in his book Blink. He has rather strong carisma and is a great public speaker.

Later he was signing books and I got a signed copy of The Tipping Point - a key pickup as it is one of my two favorite books.

We The Media
After Gladwell's keynote Dan Gillmore was the next speaker I watched. He covered concepts which were in his We The Media book and talked about various points in the history of online media where he felt that he noticed a shifting in media.

He pointed to

  • an email a random guy in Florida sent him during a conference - which allowed near real time feedback

  • September 11 coverage - where many pictures came from the web first and vivid accounts such as now I know what a burning city smells like.
  • feedback he found on the Interesting People newsletter
  • coverage of the Challenger space shuttle entry
  • coverage of the tsunami
  • coverage of the 2000 election - and how he was getting great coverage by mixing and matching to roll his own news

He stresses that if you are a journalist no matter what you know your audience will know more than you and that presents a huge opportunity for journalism.

After his speech I think I was the first person to get a signed copy of Dan's book and I think I also overheard him say that his speech will be on IT Conversations.

How to Build Your Brand with Blogs
Panel hosted by Jason Fried, DL Byron, Molly Holzschlag, Jim Coudal, and Robert Scoble.

They stated that blogs are not for everyone and that if you don't have something interesting to say there is no reason to expect people to read it.

One of the most important things for writing is to be authentic.

Scoble ever so slightly talked about SEO (primarily saying that people should use descriptive title tags). He also stated that he uses PubSub to track various post topics for MicroSoft.

In the Q&A section someone asked about clients who may not like you for comments you may make on your blog. Jason said that you should not want clients who would be upset by you writing your opinions. He said he is well known for dropping the f-bomb and the s-bomb and that he you should not change who you are for clients.

Being fake kinda undermines the whole point of the web. With the Long Tail there is a market for just about anything so long as it appears honest and thoughtful.

I got a pre signed version of Jason's book. I wanted to wait and get one signed in person and have him put F-bomb in the autograph.

That is probably a good link building idea for whoever does it first, create a logo for people who support gratuitous amount of F-bombs in their content.

The Web Awards occured after the conference on Sunday. I sat next to a MicroSoft employee and chatted search a small amount. I was stoked to see TheMeatrix amongst the prize winners at the show. Moophius came on the stage and claimed the prize.

After going to NYC and seeing how many people are covering search coming here and seeing that the Interactive portion of this conference probably only has about 1,000 people seems amazing.

With the breadth of the topics covered here and the quality of the speakers and visitors you would expect many more people to be here, but I guess it just goes to show how new the web is. From what I have seen there are few marketers here and I have not seen much discussion about search or broad based marketing, but then again there still are a couple days left in the conference and there is a panel called how to make money with online ads Monday.

Various Web Links

I still need to shower and pack and be on a plane in less than two hours...I am going to South by Southwest. I just browsed through the old feed reader and posted links to all the stuff that was cool.

If I can get on the web in Texas I will, and if not I will be back Wednesdayish.

I heard they have really big broadband down there. :) Google News:
Customize your Google News. Jeremy Z remains eternally unimpressed by the lack of a login feature.

MSN RSS Aggregator:
Beta Prototype

An aggregator that learns with you:
ChameleonReader. it probably does not seem like that big of a deal right up until you find yourself subscribing to about 150 - 200 blogs.

eBay launches international Craigslist competitor by the name of Kijiji

Google Cloaking:

We inadvertently showed additional information on product support pages to both Google's site search crawler and Google's main web crawler - Google spokesman Barry Schnitt

So do you think your workers are incompetent or your search algorithms suck? How do you accidentally keyword stuff those titles and not notice it?

More Bill Gates on PR:
British Workers: liars. You got to wonder if he makes the "free culture = communist" and "British worker = liar" type statements just to watch the reactions.

Starting a Company?
How to Start a Startup. Mitch Ratcliff is running a diary about his new company. Ross Mayfield talks about relationships over transactions. 5 years ago the stock market crashed. It seems as I get older the years are going by way faster.

neato found on Blogoscoped

Search is a Platform
Negotiating Trust

Social Networking, Copyright, & Economics

Lawrence Lessig - The Comedy of the Commons (1.61 hr audio)

Mitch Ratcliff is to launch a social network mapping product.

Online Social Networks conference 2005 - not sure how I missed it but it looked cool.
New Media Ecosystem Flowchart
Deception Detection Techniques for Journalism

Secrets of Journalism Success. Jon Stewart style (mov file)

Berkshire Hathaway 2004 Annual Report (PDF) - not related to search, but probably some good investing and economic tips.

Yahoo! Netrospective, Lycos Powered by Ask Jeeves, Political Linking

1 decade down:
Yahoo! Netrospective: 10 years, 100 moments of the Web

Lycos now powered by Ask Jeeves

the $35,000 link:
Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over. I will likely be moving or going to jail before I pay taxes for linking to other sites.

Problems with Google Print, SMA UK to launch

Google Print:
Recording history, 1 digitized Anglo-Saxon book at a time

to launch soon

Funny Jon Stewart Clip:
on blogs

More Malcolm:
Malcolm Gladwell on IT Conversations again (about 20 minute audio clip).

Malcolm is also going to be at the South by Southwest festival, which is looking rather appealing. I am thinking of going and seeing if I can snag is autograph on my copy of The Tipping Point or Blink. Anyone ever went to South by Soutwest? What did you think of it?

New York Times Co buys

NYT Company buys for $410 million

Problems with's Ugly Ads:
Last year at NYC SES (which is coming up again in a week) I remember hearing Jennifer Laycock (then Web Search Guide for express disappointment about the layout of the pages, but she could do nothing to change it. She now is an editor at SearchEngineGuide.

I do not know the current Web Search guide much, but I do know I read that site less than I did a year ago.

Leveraging a Market Position:
Some of the blog & guide networks gain significant distribution and credibility by being part of a large cross linked and heavily referenced network, but that also has limits.

Is Overpriced?
The NYT Company paid about $410 million, which is a value of around a million dollars per channel, which seems a bit expensive to me. Here is why:

  • With the decreasing cost of publishing one wonders how many people will start their own niche sites instead of being glued to a company that can change its advertising and publishing policies any day.

  • As search gets more sophisticated it is likely that being part of those large networks will not provide as much of a benefit as it does today.
  • RSS readers are still rather primative. As they get more advanced people will be better able to subscribe to ideas instead of just subscribing to channels.
  • Sites like Topix and Google News make it easy for me to collect a variety of views about a story without commiting to any particular site.
  • Contextual advertising programs such as Google AdWords make it easy for any person interested in a topic to write and sell ad space, even if they had no idea what their ad space is worth.
  • Cheap / niche topics may be prohibitively expensive to cover using the business model. As an individual I can create a few different channels about various niches I am interested in.
  • As ideas become hot market competition increases and strongest brands and most original or useful sites seem to rise to the top.
  • Large networks present a limited personal branding opportunity. Creating your own site allows you to create a much stronger personal brand than conglomerates do. With that brand and market position you can sell many other products or services which would not fly if you were stuck purely in an editor position at some conglomerate site.
  • Editorial guidelines may prevent people from displaying how human they are. It is much harder to subscribe to the ideas of a robot than a person.

Personal Experience:
In the past I signed up to be a guide at other similar networks, but I was too lazy to write it.

It seems to me that so long as you are interested in a topic it is not that hard to start a blog of your own, and so I did ;)

Even if your blog sucks off the start (which I am sure mine did and many will argue that it still does) you can gain a wide readership just by participating in the community you write about.

Mitch Ratcliffe has a good article about what is to come with the convergence of large media and personal publishing technology.

[added: I just noticed Andrew Goodman has a wish list for]

Usability, Syndication, Spam, & Open Source

On the Usability Front:
The Biggest Web Design Mistakes of 2004
Steve Krug Interview (found on Web Words)

On the Syndication Front:
I finally added syndication buttons to the site :) thanks to Andy Hagans for making them.
Why Bloglines Sold: It's Not a Business

On the Spam Front:
Pfizer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. teamed up to target e-mail spammers who peddle phony Viagra

On the Open Source Front:
Ask Jeeves may want to open source their desktop search, may create a browser
Google may host Wikipedia. This artilce states they may want to control the information to block other search engines. I seriously doubt it, I think they are smart enough to do it for good karma points alone.
Is MSN Dying?

Yahoo! Firefox Toolbar, Google Investor Day, & Cold Calling

Yahoo! FireFox Toolbar:
released, reviewed by Danny Sullivan.

Wonder when Google will do the same, they are likely missing out on some amazingly valuable data by not having an official one.

Cnet creates an online aggregator that will compete with Bloglines & Rojo

Brand Pyramid:
Good post about building products and services at various price points. Also, Rob Frankle on how CEOs screw up branding.

Google Investor Day:
was yesterday. slides and audio if your into that sort of stuff. some of the sides:

  • 60: their revenue was split nearly 50 / 50 between and their partner network.

  • 72: the top 20 markets have a 17.6% web penetration.
  • 73: shows 66% of revenue was domestic.

This guy thinks they will be worth a trillion dollars in 20 years.

In 20 years nobody will remember his prediction, but Battelle gave him a link yesterday and I gave him one today. Random arbitrary predictions are a good way to gain free links ;)

site search provider gets snarfed up by WebSideStory. More people should use the word snarf.

Google's Search Results are Crap?
Danny says people should not be so quick to discout the opinions of SEOs.

Ammon Johns is hiring.

Cold Calling:
is evil. Nick W has some tips on how to cold call. My personal goal when people cold call me is to ensure I drastically increase the likelihood they will have a bad day, and to hopefully lead to eventual attrition at their work place.

Own any domain exploit, no defense exists

Just a friendly exploit reminder as phishing will surely take off in a hurry with this one.

Vulnerable browsers include (but are not limited to):

Most mozilla-based browsers (Firefox 1.0, Camino .8.5, Mozilla 1.6, etc)
Safari 1.2.5
Opera 7.54
Omniweb 5