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Aug 23, 2008

STATS: Widgetbox Posts

Widgetbox Posts

I recently posted two blog posts on theWidgetbox blog and wanted to share them here.

As you know, I am five months into my role at Widgetbox and the posts cover some of the reasons I am so excited about our prospects.

The first post responds to a recent CNET article that speaks to the risks of being a social media application, while the second post comments on the attached image - ie that while the web is fragmenting, a the top 10 sites continue to dominate ad spend and how/why that needs to change.

Mr. Cowen's My Internet Law

My Internet Law

The time and money required to produce (design, develop, secure, test, launch, scale) a typical data-oriented form application on the web drops in half every 2 years.

This seems to have held true since the public emergence of the web in 1994. Do you agree? I don't have much hard data, but McCain proposes new internet laws with far less. 
For example, I recall the large systems integration firms charging as much as $20 mlllion to completely outsource development of a web application. (I forget the name but I recall a DFJ-backed pay-me-to-advertise-to-me startup that spent as much in 1996 with someone like Perot Systems and the app still never worked.) Is there any doubt that most apps today can be launched with as much scalability for $300,000? The implied factor of improved efficiency is 0.5 to the sixth power over a 12 year period. 

Cheaper hardware (Moore's Law) accounts for only a small fraction of this effect. The real gains seem to come from decoupling and automating specific steps of the process. Major disruptions that come to mind: Microsoft FrontPage, SSL, Exodus hosting, Apache, Java, ActiveX, Javascript, Shockwave, Flash, load balancers, PHP,  XML, Ruby on Rails, web service APIs, AJAX, Amazon S3, DIY communities (Ning).

You forgot open source. Judicious use of reliable code reduces your $300k to $3k. Careful mastery of social networks reduce marketing costs to nil. Dozens of projects have scaled without funding. 

Perhaps 50% every 1.2 years is more accurate, i.e. .5 to the 10th power.

Adnets Weekend

Online Ad Networks Grow Reach, Appeal
eMarketer, NY - 7 hours ago
Even the biggest Websites do not have the reach of advertising networks. Google, viewed by 70% of US Internet users, was just ninth on the list of top ...
Online Ad Outlook Positive Through 2008 ClickZ News
all 2 news articles »
Healthline Networks Now Ranked as Second Largest Health ...
Earthtimes (press release), UK - Aug 21, 2008
The Healthline Media Network is the only advertising network to leverage HealthSTAT(TM), a contextual ad targeting technology that broadens ...
Battery backs ‘anti-ad’ network Adisn
Mass High Tech,  USA - 10 hours ago
By Mass High Tech Staff Battery Ventures has led a $1 million Series A round of funding in a California-based online advertising network operator, ...
LookSmart AdCenter Named "Best Search Engine Ad Platform" by ...
MarketWatch - Aug 19, 2008
In addition, Jonathan Ewert, general manager of advertising networks at LookSmart, was a speaker on the "Everything but Google: Alternative Search ...
The New Look of LookSmart FOXBusiness
LookSmart Unveils Professional Services Business Wire (press release)
Internet trackers getting to know you Business Day
BtoB Magazine
all 31 news articles »  LOOK - TSCC
VERTual Media Begins Using ClickFacts Ad Network Management Tools
Market Wire (press release) - Aug 21, 2008
ClickFacts Ad Network Management Tools allow advertising networks to dramatically reduce the potential of delivering malicious code or inappropriate content ...
Trading Markets (press release), CA - 8 hours ago
It operates out-of-home advertising network using real-time mobile digital television broadcasts to deliver content and advertising on mass transportation ...
BUYINS.NET: ABH, CUK, DSW, JAH, NWK, PLA Have Been Added To Naked ...Trading Markets (press release)
all 10 news articles »  OTC:CMTX - AMR - DSW
Tribune Co. Faces 'Real Possibility' Of Debt Default
Editor & Publisher - 2 hours ago
"Given the acceleration of declines in newspaper advertising revenue and cash flow at Tribune and no evidence from any participants in the industry ...
Alyst Acquisition Corp. Announces Agreement and Plan of Merger ...
MarketWatch - Aug 18, 2008
China Networks, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Advertising Networks Limited and through certain contractual arrangements entered into under PRC law, ...
China SPAC Goes Operational: Alyst Acquisition Corp. (AYA) 24/7 Wall St.
Alyst Acquisition (AYA) Agrees to Merger with China Networks MediaStreetInsider.com (subscription)
all 9 news articles »  AYA
An insider's view of Web advertising, from autos to remnant networks
The Industry Standard, CA - 5 hours ago
The Industry Standard: Can you describe the ad network that you sell for? Ford: I sell for a "local media advertising network." We sell ad-space/inventory ...
US Addressable TV Advertising - Subscription TV Networks Are ...
MarketWatch - Aug 21, 2008
-Nationwide Broadcast Networks and Subscription TV Networks will continue to be the best delivery vehicles for mass market TV advertising...

Social Media Weekend

CarsDiva.com Creates Social Media Network Site Aimed at Ford Flex ...
MarketWatch - 3 hours ago
The social network has been created specifically for consumer enthusiasts, retailers, and manufacturers of the new Flex Crossover vehicle, ...

Tutorial Offers Social Media 101
Adrants, MA - 5 hours ago
Jennifer Jones has produced a brief, helpful tutorial, How to Build a Social Media Campaign, to guide markers considering swimming in the social media pond. ...
Brands See 'Social Media Lift' During Olympics Adrants
all 2 news articles »

Echo chamber: Social media strategists are talking to themselves
ZDNet - Aug 21, 2008
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about social media as an industry. Or as a field. It’s very new. We’re still finding ourselves. We’re trying to figure out ...
Gnomedex 8.0: Using social media for good causes with Beth Kanter
Film Crunch, WA - 20 minutes ago
She experiments with all types of social media tools. Things like Facebook, FriendFeed, Flickr, Qik, etc. Today Beth is going to talk about how she has ...
Media Advisory: Human Resources and Social Development Canada
MarketWatch - 5 hours ago
Minister Solberg will be available to answer questions from the media following the announcement. Media representatives will also be invited to tour the new ...
News media leveraging on social media
Malaysia Star, Malaysia - Aug 20, 2008
By OON YEOH We’ve all heard about how some politicians and even some companies have started to leverage on social media. It’sa natural thing to do since a ...
Social Media Marketing: What is it and What is it Good For? Search Engine Roundtable
Messaging & Collaboration Facebook, Twitter Use in The Enterprise ... eWeek
Social Media Marketing for Beginners
ClickZ News, NY - 20 hours ago
"Five of the top 10 sites are social media. You need to go where the people are," said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon, a social media marketing agency. ...

Cool Tools - JealousBrother.com joins the socnet rivalry
ZDNet - 9 hours ago
Social Media Jobs - Here to Stay vs. Social Media Jobs - On Their Way George W. Bush - Dubya vs. Richard Nixon - Tricky Dick Michael Phelps vs. ...

CSRwire.com (press release)
Ten Ways that Social Media and Sustainability Align
CSRwire.com (press release) - Aug 21, 2008
That’s how we feel about social media and green living ie sustainability. There is nothing inherently green about social media. The Web 2.0 revolution is ...
Social Media is Flawed, Imperfect and Unique
SBWire (press release), WI - Aug 21, 2008
What businesses are finding out, however, is that social media success is, first, not that simple and second, they’re not sure “what” social media success ...

Blog Weekend

New York Times
Jason Sobel's Barclays blog
ESPN - 9 hours ago
Thursday's blog: Ryder Cup implications, playoff beards and more. • Wednesday's blog: The playoffs, family over money and more. ...
Jason Sobel's Barclays blog ESPN
Jason Sobel's Barclays live blog ESPN
all 51 news articles »

BBC News
Adrian Sudbury's leukaemia blog goes into print
HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk, UK - 11 hours ago
by holdthefrontpage staff The blog written by reporter Adrian Sudbury who died of leukaemia this week will be turned into a book. Adrian, who chronicled his ...
Adrian Sudbury: blog posts Telegraph.co.uk
‘Adrian led a crusade which will save lives for years to come’ Huddersfield Examiner
Campaigning UK journalist dies of cancer at age 27 The Associated Press
guardian.co.uk - Liverpool Daily Post
all 136 news articles »
How not to get banned from this blog
Dallas Morning News, TX - 6 hours ago
There's an easy way to remain a commenter in good standing on this blog: Make your points without nasty personal attacks on others who post here. ...
Search this blog
ScienceBlogs - 4 hours ago
will tell you about the origin of the blog name. Please feel free to contact me off-blog by e-mail to abelpharmboy (at) gmail (dot) com. ...
Weekend blog: Olympic spirit not enough
Sofia Echo, Bulgaria - 1 hour ago
Everyone who thought Bulgaria would do this badly at the Olympics, please raise your hands. Given how criminally underfunded sport is in Bulgaria, ...
Weekend Blog: Where to ride my bicycle?
Sofia Echo, Bulgaria - 1 hour ago
Again, the question of when the residents of Sofia will celebrate a new, modern bicycle lane remains unclear. The first one is planned to appear in Sofia by ...
Eworldwire (press release), NJ - 6 hours ago
All she has to do is click over to Faith & Family Live -- online at http://faithandfamilylive.com -- a new, content-rich blog produced by the same trusted ...
coverage now comes at blog speed
MSNBC - 4 hours ago
... was ‘no news,’” recalled Abcarian, a veteran Los Angeles Times reporter and columnist who contributes to the paper’s “Top of the Ticket” campaign blog...
7 Must-Read Stock Blogs
Motley Fool - Aug 21, 2008
Among its features, CAPS enables members to blog about their picks, investing strategy, market view, yesterday's lunch... or whatever else floats their boat ...

Weather Blog
2TheAdvocate, LA - 6 hours ago
By DAVE NUSSBAUM Short Term: On this Friday morning it is pretty warm and muggy with partly cloudy skies. Temperatures are in the mid 70s. ...
Video: Raw Video: Fay Drenches Jacksonville AssociatedPress
Tropical Storm Fay warnings, hurricane travel tips, interactive ... Los Angeles Times
Weather Blog 2TheAdvocate

Aug 22, 2008

The OpenSocial roadmap - Myspace, Orkut, Friendster, hi5; Facebook Leads

The OpenSocial roadmap

On November 1, 2007, Google launched OpenSocial, a set of APIs that leverage JavaScript and HTML for creating applications that access friends and update feeds from any compliant social network. Nearly 10 months later, Google is touting the maturation of the OpenSocial specification and growing developer and user adoption.

At this juncture OpenSocial version 0.7 has an addressable market of more than 300 million social network users, including the social networks that have delivered OpenSocial applications or are actively developing them, according to Joe Kraus, Google's director of product management.Friendster, which claims 75 million users including 55 million in Asia, recently unleashed OpenSocial for its developer community. Hi5 has more than 1,800 OpenSocial-compliant applications and 66 million installations, according to platform architect Paul Lindner. Hi5 has nearly 60 million users, with 80 percent outside the U.S., according to ComScore.

Overall, Kraus said that there are more than 4,500 OpenSocial applications and 150 million installs. In comparison, Facebook, which has so far eschewed OpenSocial, has more than 30,000 applications and 700 million installs.

"We expect to reach 500 million OpenSocial users by the end of the quarter. It's also very international, as social networking is a global phenomenon," Kraus said.

(Credit: Google)

The latest version of OpenSocial, 0.8, adds a number of new features that extend beyond its original JavaScript roots. "When we launched OpenSocial JavaScript was the center, but the community wants more choice. We agreed upon a RESTful API that gives access to the social bits and is already implemented in Apache Shindig and deployed by hi5 in beta," Kraus said. The OpenSocial RESTful API specification defines how servers, mobile devices, and desktop computers interact with OpenSocial containers without the need for JavaScript or direct user interaction.

"Hi5 launched with OpenSocial very early--January 1, 2008--and we ended up building the system, which had a lot of undefined pieces," Lindner said. "We had a lot of custom work with the REST endpoint so that applications could contact our server directly. As time went by all participants came up with one-offs, but now we are bringing it all together in the community with common types of solutions for these problems. Standardizing on a single specification will allow application developers to write code once and it will work on all different containers. We are already seeing others build on REST specification. Plaxo, for example, has enabled privacy-enabled exchange of contact info."...

Aug 21, 2008

US: Time users spend on top 30 newspapers sites decreased since July 2007

Ed: Newspapers have small gains from online revenues; but online use is growing 33% yoy; newspapers losing share; and time spent per user. Of course, legacy revenue from print is eroding rapidly.

US: Time users spend on top 30 newspapers sites decreased since July 2007

The average time spent per person on nearly half of top 30 US newspaper websites in July 2008 has decreased year-on-year, according to Nielsen Online data. 

The figure for the Houston Chronicle increased from 14 minutes to 25 minutes and from 12 minutes to 16 minutes for the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate.com. Growth was also seen atNYTimes.comUSAToday.com and the Wall Street Journal website. 

The average time spent per person at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution site dropped from 23 minutes to 10 minutes and from 18 minutes to 9 minutes at Boston.com.

From Editor and Publisher, here is a list of average time spent per person in July 2008 on newspaepr sites, ranked by the number of unique visitors per site:

Time per Person (mm:ss) July 2008 vs. July 2007

NYTimes.com -- 32:03 -- 27:21
USATODAY.com -- 16:17 -- 11:48
washingtonpost.com -- 14:31 -- 17:55
LA Times -- 07:39 -- 08:26
Wall Street Journal Online -- 18:28 -- 12:17

New York Post -- 08:13 -- 09:00
Boston.com -- 09:01 -- 18:37
SFGate.com/San Francisco Chronicle -- 16:04 -- 12:17
Daily News Online Edition -- 05:18 -- 05:04
Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- 09:55 -- 23:09

Ottaway Newspapers -- 03:34 -- 06:13
Chicago Tribune -- 08:11 -- 15:55
Newsday -- 03:29 -- 03:30
International Herald Tribune -- 02:39 -- 01:48
Chicago Sun-Times -- 07:04 -- 06:32

The Houston Chronicle -- 25:21 -- 14:20
Politico -- 06:56 -- 06:14
DallasNews.com - The Dallas Morning News -- 04:50 -- 03:29
NJ.com -- 06:09 -- 08:21
Village Voice Media -- 04:58 -- 04:45

Philly.com -- 05:27 -- 06:58
The San Diego Union-Tribune -- 05:33 -- 04:44
MercuryNews.com -- 03:49 -- 04:32
Seattle Post-Intelligencer -- 14:48 -- 13:02
Baltimore Sun -- 09:43 -- 10:20

Star Tribune -- 36:39 -- 22:36
Kentucky.com -- 02:02 -- NA
Boston Herald -- 05:35 -- 05:15
The Detroit News -- 09:35 -- 14:09
OregonLive.com -- 04:27 -- 08:46

Newspaper Roundup: AP; McClatchy; Media General

-- AP: As expected, some newspapers are pulling out following the much-discussed rate changes for the co-op. At the same time, even papers getting a rate break are looking at the AP as one place where they can save costs. The Spokesman-Review is trying to decamp before its required two-year notice the paper would save $32,000 a year but wants to drop the nearly $400,000 spent annually. E&P has the details. AP's Sue Cross tells E&P so far the number is "pretty small" and that "positive feedback has outweighed the negative."

-- McClatchy: Another rough month for The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), as July revenues fell 16.4 percent on ad revs that were down 19.3 percent. The only bright spot: a 12.8 percent gain in online ad dollars. McClatchy is one of the few newspaper companies lately not to experience a slowdown on online ads: in July 2007, the company posted web ad growth of 8.4 percent. Looking at the past seven months, total McClatchy revs declined 15 percent as ad sales slid 16.5 percent.Internet ads grew 11.7 percent during that same period, thanks to strength from online national ads (up 160 percent), though online job ads fell 27.1 percent . Release

-- Media General: Revenues at the Interactive Media Division rose a tepid 5.7 percent, boosted by higher local ads—up 47 percent—and revenues from the March acquisition of DealTaker.com. July's online gains were striking compared to Media General's (NYSE: MEG) interactive rev growth for the same month last year, when ads grew 37.4 percent. Still, it wasn't enough to offset a 13.8 percent decline in total revs, held down by weakness on the classified side, which was down 32.5 percent. Release

Microsoft Ad Team: Crispin Porter + Bogusky

What is the deal…with Seinfeld as a pitchman for Microsoft?

MG Siegler

I can hear it now: What is the deal with Apple? They don’t sell Apples. Why call themselves that? … Yes, ladies and gentleman, Jerry Seinfeld is Microsoft’s new pitchman.

Microsoft is still being very secretive about its new $300 million advertising campaign that it plans to unleash shortly, but Seinfeld will play a key role in it, the Wall Street Journal has learned. He apparently will appear in commercials alongside the recently retired (but apparently not-so-retired) Bill Gates. And he’ll supposedly earn $10 million for his troubles.

Microsoft Ad Team: We'll Sell Vista, But We're Using Macs

mac-and-pc.jpgMicrosoft has hired Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ad industry's hottest shop, to improve its battered image. So what's their plan?

Step 1: A weird candid camera commercial. Step 2: Paying Jerry Seinfeld $10 million. Step 3: Convincing its own staff to use Microsoft products instead of Apple's. From Fast Company's Crispin Porter profile earlier this year:

In April 2007, long before the Microsoft account came Crispin's way, Bogusky had told me that"Crispin sort of exists because of the revolution in desktop publishing that the Mac brought about. You could be a small shop and compete against Madison Avenue for the first time because all the tools were in your computer." That may explain why Keller and Reilly are today using their team as an early focus group for learning how to persuade Mac lovers to embrace Windows. "You've got a lot of passionate Mac people in here, and they've got to get their head around this thing -- why Windows is genius," says Keller. He and Reilly have outfitted their shared office (inherited from Bogusky) with an Xbox 360, which they've been using as a wireless hub. But their joint desk also holds two ultrathin MacBook Airs. When I ask if they're making their team get rid of their iPods and PowerBooks, Reilly responds, "It's not a matter of forcing people. It's getting them to want to use it. If you can't, you're not going to do great advertising."

See Also: Microsoft Hires Seinfeld To Make It Cool. But Is Seinfeld Still Cool?

Google Takes U.S. Share From Yahoo In July; Baidu Now Third Largest Search Engine In The World (ComScore)

Global Reach - Game of Risk Among Developing Nations 

Google Takes U.S. Share From Yahoo In July; Baidu Now Third Largest Search Engine In The World (ComScore)

Google keeps gaining search market share in the U.S., but its global dominance is not as great as previously indicated.  Last night, comScore released its search market share and query growth numbers for July and Lehman Brothers reported the numbers in a note this morning.

Here are the main search market share percentage numbers in the U.S. from comScore:

Company—–July search share—Change from June, 2008

Google:                    61.9                           +0.4

Yahoo:                     20.5                            -0.4

AOL:                          4.5                           +0.2

Microsoft:                  8.9                          -0.3

Ask:                           4.2                           +0.1

According to the latest search query and market share numbers from comScore for July, Google’s U.S. market share inched upward to 61.9 percent (from 61.5 percent in June).  While Google gained 0.4 percentage points in market share inJuly, yahoo lost the same amount.

And its search query volume in the U.S. held steady at a healthy 33.2 percent year-over-year rate (and accelreated slightly to 11.7 percent on a quarter-over-quarter basis).  That quarter-over-quarter rate is what caused investor concern earlier this year, when it troughed at -0.3 percent in February.  Since then it has re-accelerated every month to 4.4 percent in March, 6.1 percent in April, 9.9 percent in May, 10.0 percent in June, and now 11.7 percent in July.

Woldwide, Google’s search share declined from 67.9 percent in June to 64.1 percent in July. This drop was largely due changes in the way comScore measures search and Web traffic in China, Brazil, and Russia.  As a result, Baidu’s global search market share went from 7.7 percent in June to 12.9 percent in July (based almost entirely on its strength in China alone).  That makes Baidu the third largest search engine the world after Yahoo.

What the recalculation highlights is that Google faces more challenges to its dominance abroad than in the U.S.  Baidu’s global quarter-over-quarter search query volume grew 98 percent in July, compared to 3.2 percent global growth for Google.


  • USA and Western Europe represent 10% of global population. Developing nations account for 90%. If Comscore adds India and Indonesia to the study mix, Google's share erosion could be worse.
  • USA search growth is 33% yoy. Revenue is 38% yoy, but mostly from international growth. Volume growth of search hides reduced CTR from Nov 2007 click policy change.

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