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Feb 21, 2009

CLIP Facebook Gets Into The Widget Business With New Comments Box

by Jason Kincaid on February 19, 2009

Facebook has just launched its first widget for Facebook Connect, its recently-introduced platform that allows users to authenticate themselves using their Facebook logins. Dubbed ‘Comments Box’, the new widget allows site owners to integrate a comments section into their webpage. But unlike normal commenting systems, comments left in Comments Box will be relayed back to the users’ Facebook profiles, where the conversation can continue (users can also choose to receive notifications through Facebook whenever someone responds to their comments on other websites).

Until now only developers have been able to take advantage of Facebook Connect. This new widget represents the first time anyone, using a small snippet of code, can include some of the functionality afforded by the new platform. They’ll still need to create an account (as demonstrated in the video below), but compared to the effort required to fully implement Facebook Connect, this should be much easier.

Also important to note is the fact that Comment Box retains the Facebook ’style’, which for the first time will begin creeping beyond the borders of the social network. It’s also the first substantial widget created by Facebook, and the first in what will likely be a suite of similar widgets that could begin to encroach on the likes of JS-KitIntenseDebate (recentlyacquired by Automattic) and Disqus (some of which have already enabled Facebook Connect into their commenting widgets).

At this point it’s unclear how much blog owners with other commenting systems already installed will benefit from the new widget. According to Facebook’s blog post, “via [Facebook] APIs, you can access related comments made on Facebook as well to bring the conversation together”, which could help drive more comments. But in the end all of this content is going to be going to Facebook, which established blog owners and publishers are not going to like. It’s also bringing Facebook one step closer to becoming the universal standard for social content across the web - an idea that may alarm advocates for open standards like OpenID.

The Top 21 Twitter Clients (According To TwitStat)

Some readers took issue with our list of Top 21 Twitter Applications (According To Compete), wherein we tried to gauge which Twitter Web apps were gaining the most benefit in the form of trickle -down traffic from Twitter. Most Twitter apps don’t even register on the majority of site measurement services. We chose Compete because at least they had stats on a good many of them. We figured even if the absolute numbers are wrong, at least we’d get an interesting ranking.

What Compete does not measure very well is Twitter traffic from desktop and mobile clients. One service that tries to measure that is Twitstat. So take your pick, clients versus Web apps. Which is the stronger list (meaning which list has the most companies likely to amount to something)?

Below are the top 21 Twitter clients from its bigger list of 99, ranked by percentage of users who opt for that method of Tweeting. The Web ranks No. 1 with 32 percent (presumably that is Twitter.com itself), followed by Tweetdeck and Twhirl (there, are you happy Loic?), with 16 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Twitstat also counts services such as Ping.fm (no. 12) and FreindFeed (no. 14) as Twitter clients, although they do a lot more than just support Twitter. But then again, the majority of activity on those services is Twitter, so you could argue it either way.

Rank Client % of users Tweets/user
1(1)web31.99 %3.93
2(2)TweetDeck16.07 %5.14
3(4)twhirl6.85 %3.73
4(3)twitterfeed6.09 %2.81
5(5)Tweetie3.66 %2.38
6(13)TwitterBerry3.50 %2.20
7(8)txt2.89 %1.63
8(6)twitterrific2.59 %1.79
9(11)TwitterFox2.51 %2.79
10(10)TwitPic1.98 %1.42
11(7)mobile web1.90 %2.04
12(12)Ping.fm1.68 %1.27
13(9)TwitterFon1.68 %5.45
14(14)FriendFeed1.68 %3.59
15(15)Power Twitter1.52 %2.55
16(16)Brightkite1.14 %2.07
17(22)HootSuite0.53 %2.00
18(26)twitthat0.46 %1.17
19(30)DestroyTwitter0.46 %2.83
20(24)Twittelator0.38 %3.80
21(21)m.slandr.net0.38 %2.60

Feb 20, 2009

How to Reach Baby Boomers with Social Media

Ed: Please check out:

new report from Forrester Research revealed some surprising information: apparently Baby Boomers aren't exactly the technology Luddites that people think they are. In fact, more than 60 percent of those in this generational group actively consume socially created content like blogs, videos, podcasts, and forums. What's more, the percentage of those participating is on the rise.

In 2007, the percentage of Boomers consuming social media was 46% for Younger Boomers (ages 43 to 52) and 39% for Older Boomers (ages 53 to 63). By 2008, those number increased to 67% and 62%, respectively.

The number of Boomers reacting to content posted online, as opposed to just passively consuming it, is also trending upwards. For example, the proportion of Older Boomers reacting to content doubled from 15% in 2007 to 34% in 2008. According to Forrester, this is now a percentage that's high enough to target this group with a social application.

Joining social networks is also becoming a widely popular among the Younger Boomers. Today, almost one in four Younger Boomers are active in social networks, up from 15% in 2007.


The one thing that Boomers are less likely to do in the online world is actually create content - outside of updating their online profiles and leaving blog comments, that is. Boomers are still not involved heavily in writing blog articles or creating videos and posting them online. In 2008, 16% Younger Boomers were involved in content creation (up from 12% in 2007) and 15% of Older Boomers did so (up from 8%). Although both groups saw an increase, it's still the least popular activity.

What This Means

For companies wanting to reach out to the Baby Boomers online, this data shows that spending at least a portion of your budget on social applications for the group isn't entirely a waste of time and money. The group isn't as active online as younger generations are, but their participation levels are now moderate and increasing.

The best bets for getting Boomers interested in your content is to create blogs or videos that relate to the life or work-style of Boomers, Forrester suggests. And if you're looking for feedback and contributions from the Boomers themselves - like comments or criticisms - make that process dead simple. Don't introduce overly complex sign up forms or processes. Instead, encourage low-effort contributions such as star ratings.

Marketers can also look into reaching Boomers through social networks now - specifically those favored by this generation like Classmates OnlineEonsBOOMj.comTeeBeeDee, and even the AARP's online community. There is some participation in these social spaces now, but even more growth is expected over the next 12-month period.

Twitter debate on how to fund newspapers - Live @

Posted by Emma Heald on February 19, 2009 at 5:17 PM
Everybody's talking about Twitter: the social media tool that is being embraced by journalists and politicians amongst others for its professional potential. Today an impassioned debate on how to fund news has been taking place on the site. Participants have been addressing many issues, from micropayments to crowd funding, non-profit journalism to the value of advertising  agencies. Host Alexandre Gamela, a Portuguese journalist and media blogger posed questions such as "does no one want to pay for anything anymore?" and "what can newspapers learn from the music industry?" See source link to follow the feed, and Journalism.co.uk for more commentary.

There was great debate over whether anybody will be willing to pay for online news, and whether it is even appropriate that they should be asked to pay. The general agreement seemed to be that people will not pay for news if there is an option to get it free: a logical conclusion, and one which newspapers should definitely make note of if they are to progress down the paid online content road. 

Feb 19, 2009

CLIP When Will Comcast Need To Worry About Hulu?


Comcast, the biggest U.S. cable company, is losing TV subscribers. Last quarter, for instance, it lost 233,000.

Why? Two big reasons: The housing market stinks and competition is heating up from phone companies like AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ).

But Comcast has another problem, too. It's starting to get disrupted by online video sites like Hulu, which provide most of the shows worth watching on cable -- without the $80 monthly bill.

Anecdotally, many of our friends have cut the digital cable cord in the last year, and we have too. Why? One reason is to save $80-$100 a month -- digital cable with HD, DVR, etc. is just too expensive. But a second reason is that most of the shows we want to watch are now online for free on Hulu or for cheap on Apple's (AAPL) iTunes.

We are in our 20s and 30s, live in big cities, aren't really TV people, and don't spend much time at home. But we used to pay $80 per month for cable. And now, when we do want to be entertained, free services like Boxee and Hulu (and cheap services like Netflix) do just fine.

Comcast said today that sites like Hulu haven't become a major problem yet.

"We're not seeing large numbers of people dropping their television service due to either financial hardship or the fact they can get video increasingly on the Internet," Comcast COO Stephen Burke said on this morning's earnings call.

Why not? We think that while some people are happy watching some TV on their computers, most people still want to watch on their TVs. This is where Comcast and other cable operators have an advantage: Digital set-top boxes in millions of homes -- capable of accessing much of the same content that's on Hulu.

Comcast, for instance, had 17 million digital cable customers at the end of last year, which had an average 1.6 digital set-top boxes per home. And, as Burke bragged, Comcast's video-on-demand service (VOD) has "a huge amount" of the "very attractive product" that's on Hulu and other video sites, such as NBC, ABC, and CBS shows. Cable companies like Comcast also have some other advantages, like live sports and a pipe devoted to video that they own.

But they're also at risk for disruption. So far, none of the services out there -- Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, etc. -- offer everything cable does. But they're getting closer. And when you're Comcast (CMCSA), and 60% of your revenue comes from selling cable TV, that could become an expensive problem.

CLIP Twitter Moving To Make Real-Time Search More Central

Twitter is starting to test ways to put its real-time search front and center. It is just bucket-testing the change right now with a few randomly selected users, so you might not see it. But you should expect it to be rolled out to everybody eventually. The search and trend features, which currently exist on a separate page, are being placed on the home page of the test accounts.

Twitter’s search technology comes from its acquisition of Summize, so its integration into Twitter is taking time. But it is a major plank of Twitter’s business strategy. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone writes:

Searching over Twitter messages is like a filter for what is happening right now—it’s an interesting look into the real-time thoughts of people and organizations around the world.

It is more than interesting. Real-time search is a potential game-changer. I tried to explain this in a post on Sunday, “Mining the Thought Stream”. Here is the gist of that post:

What if you could peer into the thoughts of millions of people as they were thinking those thoughts or shortly thereafter? And what if all of these thoughts were immediately available in a database that could be mined easily to tell you what people both individually and in aggregate are thinking right now about any imaginable subject or event? Well, then you’d have a different kind of search engine altogether. A real-time search engine. A what’s-happening-right-now search engine.

In fact, the crude beginnings of this “now” search engine already exists. It is called Twitter, and it is a big reason why new investors poured another $35 million into the two-year-old startup on Friday. . . . For thoughts and events that are happening right now, searching Twitter increasingly brings up better results than searching Google.

By making search more central, Twitter will capture even more of those what’s-happening-right-now searches. I wonder how many Twitter users right now even realize that you can search it. The search feature is not easy to find (it is a link at the bottom of the page). This is an obvious move. It will open up new ways to explore Twitter for users and train them how to do real-time searches on a regular basis.

Feb 18, 2009

Right Brain Search, 1000 Festival Channels, and Twitter Top 1000

We're moving at light speed.

Here's what's new.
  • Festival Preview has released embedded video play - essentially enabling 1,000 video channels. It's addicting. 
  • Right Brain Search lets you find, learn from photos and videos, and chat with relevant twitters on any topic.
  • Twitter Top1000. Find, learn from the best of social media captains, and talk over twitter. 
  • Media Life - Top1000. Find, learn about the media leaders, and talk over twitter or facebook.
More coming. Stay tuned.

Don't forget to use Facebook Connect in the bottom bar.

STATS Restaurant Industry Mostly Stable in 2008, Dips in Q4

The restaurant industry remained stable for most of 2008, with visits and dollars up over the previous year, but traffic dipped in the fourth quarter, yielding the industry’s slowest traffic and dollar growth since the recession of 2002-2003, according to The NPD Group (via Retailer Daily).


Foodservice traffic advanced 0.2% year over year in the 12 months ended November 2008, and consumer spending grew 2%, according to NPD’s Consumer Reports on Eating Share Trends (CREST), which tracks consumer usage of commercial foodservice.

Visits to quick-service restaurants (QSR) and deal promotions bolstered the industry, NPDfound.

“Despite this past year’s extremely weak economic conditions, the restaurant industry as a whole managed to keep its head above water for most of the year,” said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst and VP, and author of Eating Patterns in America.

“Strong promotional activity on the part of chains, and growth in breakfast and lunch visits to quick-service restaurants, contributed to the slight gains the industry experienced this past year.”

Promotion-related visits supported all commercial foodservice gains, as deal visits increased 6% and non-deal visits slipped by 1%, according to NPD.

For the annual period ending November 2008, 23% of all traffic involved some type of consumer-recognized deal. Over 90% of the increase in deal visits came from QSRs.

While QSR traffic growth slowed in 2008, the segment fared better than full-service restaurants. The modest growth at QSR offset losses at midscale restaurants. Deal-related traffic kept QSRs in a positive position. Casual dining traffic was stable for the year; however, trends weakened n the latter half of the year with a 2% decline in traffic for the fall quarter.

As consumers took advantage of discounts at lunch, lunch traffic increased after realizing no growth in 2007. However, visits to restaurants for supper continued to trend down. Morning meal and snack-related occasions slowed over the previous years’ growth, but did experience positive growth in 2008.

“There will be no recession in eating; there will just be winners and losers. The restaurants that deliver value and make it easy to get food cheaper, in new and compelling ways, will win,” said Balzer, who has been observing how American eat for 30 years.

The number of restaurants opening was balanced out by the number of restaurants closing, resulting in no growth in total restaurant units in 2008, according to NPD .

CLIP Apple Employees Drink the Kool-Aid; Motorola’s Don’t

In a twist on customer satisfaction surveys, Glassdoor, an online site that tracks employee satisfaction, has asked employees at mobile handset makers and carriers what they think of the executive they work for and the products and services their workplaces offer. The folks at Apple are cultishly loyal to CEO Steve Jobs, giving him a 91 percent approval rating. They like the iPhone, too, assigning it a rating of 3.8 out of five. The survey seems to indicate some correlation between good leaders (as judged by employee satisfaction) with good products — bad news for Motorola. (see the table after the jump)


CLIP Survey Of Insular Social Media Elite Says: Twitter Is Better Than Facebook For Businesses

If you were to ask “over 200 social media leaders” which social media site they would pay for if they had to, as Abrams Research recently did, Facebook would come out on top, with 32.2 percent saying they would pay for it. (Yeah, right). LinkedIn was second, Twitter was third, and MySpace and Digg tied for last place (with only 1.5 percent of respondents saying they’d pay for those services).

But if you ask, which one would they recommend for businesses to pay for (if they had to), Twitter beats Facebook by more than two to one (39.6 percent vs. 15.3 percent). LinkedIn again comes in second. Why did Twitter come out on top. It is seen as an efficient way for companies to get their marketing messages out there. One typical response:

It’s the quickest way I’ve seen to spread information virally to a wide scope of people attached in a lot of random ways.

The survey was taken at Social Media Week 2009 and included “founders, bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs and members of the Twitterati.” Basically it is the opinion of the insular social media elite. So what they say may just be wishful thinking, but the results are good fodder for discussion nonetheless.

Abrams also asked which social media service is most likely to die first. ImInLikeWithYou is given the worst odds of survival, followed by Bebo, and FriendFeed. Below are the questions and the results. Pipe in with your own answers in comments.

1. Which social media service would you be most likely to pay for?
Facebook 32.2%
Linkedin 29.7%
Twitter 21.8%
YouTube 13.4%
MySpace 1.5%
Digg 1.5%

2. What social media service would you advise a business pay for?
Twitter 39.6%
Linkedin 21.3%
YouTube 18.8%
Facebook 15.3%
Digg 3.0%
MySpace 2.0%

3. Which social media service will be the first to die?
ImInLikeWithYou.com 41.1%
Bebo 12.4%
FriendFeed 8.9%
Meetup.com 8.4%
Flixster 6.9%
Digg 5.0%
Last.fm 3.0%
Other 14.4%

4. Which corporation has done the best job of using social media? (Respondents were asked to choose
one; these were the most popular choices, ranked accordingly)
1. Zappos (online shopping site)
2. Obama (campaign and presidency)
3. CNN
4. Comcast (“Comcast Cares”)
5. Jetblue
6. Dell
7. Burger King
8. NPR
9. New York Times
10. Ford

Feb 17, 2009

Festival Preview introduces lineups, artists and video feeds

Submitted by druby on Mon, 02/16/2009 - 17:46. 

Check out our three cool new features at Festival Preview. Together, they provide an unmatched capability to browse videos and photos of performers appearing at 2009 music festivals.

• Lineups. We have artist lineups available for all the top festivals that have announced their 2009 lineups. You can browse among festivals with lineups, click a link to see just the lineup or go to the festival page and see the lineup in place. Headliners and acts with major billing are given prominent display. Check out Coachella as an example, or pick your favorite from the list.

• Artists. For the first time, Festival Preview introduces artist pages, one for every artist booked at one or more 2009 music festival. The artist page displays an ordered list of festivals where the artist is booked, including performance dates where available. Here is a list of all artists. We've also added an Artists link in our main navigation.

• Photo and Video Feeds. FP artist and festival pages come alive with photos and video sourced from Google, Yahoo and other search engines and displayed inside the Festival Preview environment. Here is an example of a video feed for Neil Young, who was just announced as the festival closing act for the upcoming New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Hover your cursor over any thumbnail image to view the video.  Read more »

CLIP Social Atoms and the Twitter Ecosystem

twitter-birdWhen Twitter first hit my radar screen sometime back in 2007, I (like many others) immediately dismissed it as a gimmicky little time-waster with no real value. I mean, a message limit of 140 characters? Lame. And what was it for? Nothing, apparently. It was like the Facebook status message, but all by itself, with no other services or features around it. What could possibly be the point?

In particular, I wondered why the Twitter team didn’t include more features, and left it up to external services to do things like search (which they eventually brought in-house by buying Summize). But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the lack of features is actually a positive, not a negative. What Twitter did was strip away all the clutter found on so many social networks and pare things down to their essence. A tweet is like the smallest possible unit of online interaction — the atom of social media (an idea I wish I could claim, but one that appears to have occurred to others as well).

By using those atoms as building blocks, other services have built larger structures. While many Twitter users might be happy to just post random “tweets” (a term that users came up with themselves, according to Twitter co-founder Evan Williams), eventually some of them are probably going to want to track some of their followers in groups using a “dashboard” type of app such as Tweetdeck, or export their messages using Tweetake, or track the most popular tweets through something like Tweetmeme or Retweet. They might want to filter messages using “hashtags” or keywords, using something like Tweetgrid. And then there’s the universe of URL-shortening services like Bit.ly (which has some interesting tracking features) and TinyURL, which got a huge boost from Twitter.

The number of Twitter-based services has continued to explode. There’s Stocktwits, from Howard Lindzon and Soren Macbeth, which lets you track stocks and trading; Mr. Tweet, which recommends Twitter users based on an analysis of the people you are already following; TweetLater, which lets you schedule future messages; TwitPic, which turns Twitter into a kind of Flickr-like photo-sharing service (and was used most famously to post that photo of Flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River); and some rather unique ones such as Follow Cost, which lets you check a particular user’s activity to see whether it will be time-consuming to follow them. There’s a list of some great services and tools here (in fact, the “15 Great Twitter Apps” type of post has become a staple of the blogosphere).

Of course, these aren’t really services at all — they’re features. In the normal kind of software or web-service environment they would have been part of the offering from the start, or the company would add or acquire them. Not so with Twitter (other than Summize). Instead an ecosystem of sorts has sprung up around it, with features disguised as stand-alone services all competing for attention in a kind of Darwinian process of evolution. So now that Williams and co-founder Biz Stone have raised $35 million that they didn’t really need, will they go on an acquisition spree? Possibly — although it’s not clear whether that would make the core service more appealing, or disrupt the ecosystem the company has created.

From a “business ecology” point of view, it’s also worth wondering whether an ecosystem that grows up around a single company or service — even one as great as Twitter — is sustainable over the long term. One way or another, it’s a fascinating process to watch.

Feb 16, 2009

CLIP Letterman; SI.com/Swimsuits; Netflix

imageCBS pushes Letterman clip online for more buzzThe clip of actor Joaquin Phoenix's odd behavior on the Late Show with David Letterman made the rounds on the web at least an hour before the show hit the airways—a sign that CBS execs knew it would generate some online buzz—and possibly attract more on-air viewers. NewTeeVee notes that the clip didn't drive an immediate improvement in ratings, but that its online popularity (an unauthorized clip had gained more than 500,000 views on YouTube before being taken down) was a boon in itself.

Swimsuit launch nets SI.com record video trafficSI.com amassed more than 5.7 million video views in the first two days of the launch of its 2009 Swimsuit issue; that tops the 3.3 million video views the site got in the six weeks surrounding the launch of the 2008 issue. The record also extended to SI's YouTube channel: it garnered more than 1.8 million video views in two days this year, compared to 2.1 million views for all of Febuary 2008. The company attributed the growth to better quality video and a new player, as well as more prominent placement of clips throughout the site.

Netflix' 10 million subscribers: The movie rental service said it had added more than 600,000 subscribers since January 1, bringing its total subscriber base over the 10 million mark. Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) said the growth surge stemmed from the expansion of its streaming video service to devices like the Xbox 360 and new TiVo DVRs. Release.

CLIP At Least Half Of Kid-Related Ad Dollars Going To Non-TV Sites

The share of online ad dollars going to TV-related sites appears to be dwindling, unidentified sources tell Mediaweek, eroding the domination by Nickelodeon, Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Cartoon Network. Competition against the TV-centric media companies have been rising from companies such as ad network Betawave (formerly GoFish) to the iPhone. As kids' spend their online time outside the larger companies sites like Disney.com, Nick.com and CartoonNetwork.com, between 50 percent and 75 percent of online advertising is being directed at sites that aren't tied to TV programming.

It's not that the major sites are seeing less traffic— in January Disney.com had 3.6 million unique kids 2-11, as CartoonNetwork.com attracted 1.7 million and Nick.com drew 1.4 million. The shift reflects that kids likely spending more time online in general and perhaps less time watching TV. The major companies say they've been getting the message for awhile, as Nickelodeon has sought to build up its gaming offerings, much of which has no direct tie to its cable programming, while Disney has been expanding its international reach with a Russian cable TV joint ventureand its German division's recent purchase of Mamily, a community site aimed at mothers. Still, Disney is not cutting the ties between its web ventures as a promotional device for its TV offerings, as last week, the company unveiled its boys-oriented DisneyXD.com, which coincided with the relaunch of the Toon Disney cable channel.


Apture Packs a Lot of Media Into a Little Pop-up

The most obvious feature of Apture is that it is a pop-up technology. Apture is a Javascript plug-in for publishers that adds contextual information to links - via pop-ups which display when users hover over or click on them. However, because of its association with pop-ups, Apture thinks it's gotten a bad rap. Many people dislike other pop-up products such as CoolPreviews, Snap and a new Microsoft product we covered recently called Gaze. Why? Because pop-ups can disrupt a user's browsing experience and are sometimes even regarded as a nuisance. We spoke to Apture co-founder and CEO Tristan Harris, to find out what makes Apture different.

Here at ReadWriteWeb, we've been skeptical of how pop-up technology has been used over the years. But we're also optimistic about the potential for pop-ups to present rich contextual information to readers, as long as it's done in an unobtrusive way.

Apture is a similar service to Panels.net, which pops up useful contextual data about companies and people. Probably what differentiates Apture is that it makes great use of rich media, such as video and audio. The product was created by 4 Stanford computer science graduates and it is very much targeted at media publishers, from small bloggers to big media companies. One of the customers using Apture is WashingtonPost.com, which we will take a look at in this post.

Examples: Washington Post & Brand South Africa Blog

Apture enables publishers to offer extra third-party content on their website, without the user having to leave the host site. For example in the screenshot below Washington Post has a link to Senator Amy Klobuchar - when the reader hovers over it, up pops up a new window with not only biographical information about Klobuchar, but details on what she's voted on and financial disclosures. Many of the links in the pop-up lead to more information presented inside that same window (the only links which open a new browser window are the blue official website links). It's rather impressive how much extra information is offered in just one little pop-up.

What stood out most to us about Apture though is its ability to present - and manipulate - multimedia. Not only can publishers add links to videos inside an Apture pop-up, but they can select which point in the video to jump to. For example if there's a quote from a Barack Obama video that is relevant to readers, and it starts 5 minutes and 10 seconds into the video, you can link to and start the video at that 5:10 mark. Below is an example from a government blog in South Africa. You can also see that it opens a separate Apture window for the video - you can have multiple Apture windows on the same page.

Human Choice Trumps Algorithms

Another interesting aspect about Apture is that it relies on publishers to make the ultimate decisions about which media items to add to a webpage. In other words, algorithms don't do all of the work - although they do select the sources for the editors to select from. This is a point of difference from products such as Snap and Adaptive Blue's SmartLinks, which are both fully automated. How Apture works from the publisher's perspective is that editors (at e.g. Washingtonpost.com) select related content, as suggested by Apture's algorithms. The editing work is currently done post-publishing, because Apture hasn't yet found a way to easily integrate into multiple CMSs - although it is working on solving that issue. Right now though, Apture works as a javascript plug-in on the host site, and editors can add pop-ups via their Apture account.

According to Apture CEO media Tristan Harris, Apture has "lowered the cost of inserting a [multimedia] link". He said that the majority of journalists are not technical, in terms of HTML and related web technologies, but that Apture is simple 'point and click' and so it makes it very easy for them to add multimedia. We asked Harris if there is much Semantic technology happening in the back-end. He replied that they do some "semantic guiding" - e.g. when on a book page, Apture pushes up book content in the results presented to editors. But overall, Harris likes to think of Apture as a "hyper-relevant web" technology, rather than semantic web.

Conclusion: Useful and Visually Appealing

We came away impressed by Apture, because of the amount of multimedia that can be packed into such a little pop-up. Also the end-user experience is sophisticated - readers on washingtonpost.com and other Apture sites can see rich, relevant, contextual content from the likes of Wikipedia, YouTube and Flickr without leaving the host site. Apture is positioning itself as "more than a pop-up site". Actually we still think it's a pop-up technology, but we have to say that it's a sophisticated and useful application of it!

Apture is free for bloggers and works via one line of javascript at the bottom of your site. Although Apture's business model was initially advertising, now the company has turned its attention to premium offerings for big media companies. It is looking for monthly subscription fees from large media companies, in exchange for premium services.

Tell us what you think of Apture - and indeed pop-up technologies in general - in the comments.

Ed: Instead of pop-up, a link to page with more info.

<a href="mysearchdest?q=term">term</a>

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