Stupid Idea, Has a Life of Seconds

Found out today that there is a new company called The Pudding in private beta. Nothing new there. They are offering free PC based calls. I can only presume that this implies PC to landline calls. Great, excellent. But we all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. But sure we can put up with the odd advert or pop-up if the product is worth it. But the product better be good. In this instance I don’t think any product would be good enough.

The price of the free calls is that you agree to let the company listen into your conversations and then deliver contextual advertising based on what you are talking about. What the heck are they thinking? This has got to be the worst business model I think I have ever heard.

In this era where people are as paranoid as ever about issues such as privacy and identity and all that goes with it, a company has decided to “bet” that people are going to be willing to give all that up for what? Free phone calls! Stupid idea. It just is not going to happen. That opinion comes without even exploring the idea of advertising which quite frankly I could do without and would rather pay for a service that comes ad free. But that is me.

Stupid name stupid idea, and that is going straight into the broken egg pile here at the chicken coop.

The Pudding Screenshot

Via: Silicon Alley Insider


New Advertising Service for Blogs

bloglinkr LogoI like this concept. Bloggers advertising their blog on other blogs with minimal outlay. Nice idea, not sure if it will take off or that it will have the returns that they say it will but it is a good idea that might be of interest to bloggers who don’t have the A-List on their side or the cash for a marketing plan.

From the looks of their soon to launch site, this service is a replacement for Adwords or similar advertising scheme. Instead of targeted advertising related to the page contents to products that may or may not interest your readers. Bloglinkr advertises blogs on your blog. Not just any blog, the advertised blogs shown in your posts are in categories that you choose. I read that to mean that they are on certain topics or themes. For instance if you had a Mac blog then you could select to show links to other Mac blogs. Great to think that you could recommend other blogs that would definitely interest your readers. You also have a much better chance at getting an income of some description. Also better than seeing that “Casino” Adsense Ad and knowing the site that is being advertised is dodgy to boot.

The next best thing is that you get paid for the click through’s. You also get paid for clicks on blogs that are referred to the service by you. I see this a a sort of commission payment, but that is good and probably a good way to build the service.

So where does the money come from I hear you say. Well this is not a free service. Yes, you have to pay for it. However from all the signs it looks like it is aimed at bloggers and they know we are strapped for cash. They claim that for as little as $25 (I presume US) you can get started. That is not that bad and I might consider doing it myself. Although it is probably some Java script thing that is not allowed on WordPress. But that is certainly affordable to most bloggers. There are probably “premium” plans that cost more. That will become clear when the service opens.

I would question their claims that you could:

… recieve hundreds of backlinks, clicks and visitors every month.”

There is no way that they could know this when the service has not even started yet. I think they could sell the idea to bloggers without unsubstantiated claims. They may well be using data from other services but I think that is a reach. It slumps a little into the “hard sell” with statements like that.

However I think that it is a good idea with what looks to be a sound business model and has potential. There are over 55 million blogs out there. At $25 bucks minimum per blog, even if they only capture 10% of that; you do the math!

bloglinkr Screenshot

Google Acquires YouTube

YouTube LogoThis is hot off the press, I am listening to the conference call press release as I write this. It was announced today that Google has indeed acquired YouTube.

It has been reported that once finalised YouTube will retain it’s unique brand identity. YouTube willGoogle Logo continue to be based in San Bruno, CA, and all YouTube employees will remain with the company. There is a lot of talk in the conference call press release about the advertising potential of YouTube and the reach of the YouTube brand.

Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Google:

“The YouTube team has built an exciting and powerful media platform that complements Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,”


“Our companies share similar values; we both always put our users first and are committed to innovating to improve their experience. Together, we are natural partners to offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers.”

Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-Founder of YouTube:

“Our community has played a vital role in changing the way that people consume media, creating a new clip culture. By joining forces with Google, we can benefit from its global reach and technology leadership to deliver a more comprehensive entertainment experience for our users and to create new opportunities for our partners…”

This was a stock deal and the final number of Google shares that will be distributed is yet to be finalised.

“The number of Google shares to be issued in the transaction will be determined based on the 30-day average closing price two trading days prior to the completion of the acquisition.”

Also announced are new relationships with big brands like SONY, Universal and CBS along with existing deals with the likes of Warner. The aim is that these partners will be to track their content with digital fingerprinting and taging. We have been advised to expect keyword and content searches within one month. As to how these partners will be involved with YouTube was not disclosed. I also thought it ironic considering Universal’s opinion of YouTube.

“…Universal Music Group has taken a rather dim view of YouTube’s activities. CEO Doug Morris has painted YouTube and MySpace with the copyright-infringer brush, saying that they “owe us millions of dollars” for infringement.”

Perhaps they are going to make it up to them, a sweetener perhaps?

Integration of powerful searching within YouTube is touted as one of the benefits of a relationship of YouTube and Google. This was repeated numerous times in the press release conference call and it appears that it will be one of the priorities in the development of YouTube.

Google’s response as to why they have acquired YouTube when they already have video: Google video is doing very well and maintains good partnerships, volume and content that will be enhanced with YouTube. Added was the fact that YouTube offered a more social community that was being done in a way that was unique and open to further development. This hints that it may come to pas that YouTube content will be available on Google Video. The attraction of the social aspect of YouTube is one that certainly appeals to Google as they have executed social networking quite poorly in the past.

In the last twenty four hours the two parties have formed a long list of potential integrated changes, these ideas were not made public. However, advertising systems and the expertise that Google will bring to the deal in this regard was mentioned repeatedly. Google’s advertising platform would create a new model for content delivery and that video offered an excellent opportunity for advertisers. It was clarified that much experimentation is required in regards to advertising strategies and making YouTube a profitable business. Don’t look now but this clearly states that we can expect the advertising to be far more aggressive on YouTube with this acquisition that previously. But will Google do it right? Time will tell.

When asked where is the bulk of profit was expected to come from after the deal has been finalised: No comment.

When asked what the expected revenue share or outlook as to partners benefiting from the deal: No comment.

When asked as to the valuation of the deal: No comment.

Copyright came up only once during the press conference. It was asked what influence copyright had on the acquisition for Google. The stock standard answer was regurgitated from both parties. That they respect the rights holders rights and they will focus on it with the added resources that Google brings, working with content owners to protect their work. Nothing further. They also “protected” both Google video and YouTube under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The act is a large document but they are referring to the section that protects them as hosts of user submitted material. That means that the business or host of the material is not liable but the infringer of copyright is, that is the person that put it there. This response seems to suggest that the status quo will remain and that content will not be torn down. Having said that, if it was taken down I doubt that there would be much left.

It is reported by Google that the deal will close within this fourth quarter as all approvals have been meet and there is nothing preventing the deal going through.

YouTube has long said that it is not up for sale and that they are not in talks, when questioned about this they responded by saying that they wanted YouTube to remain independent and develop it to be better for users in the way that they wanted. Google they believe and the structure of this deal will enable them to “…sharpen focus”, and the combined experience and resources of Google would give them what they needed to accomplish this goal.

When asked about the integration of Google with YouTube they responded very strongly that the brand “YouTube” would remain as it was a known brand that brought with it power and strength. It was this that added value to the community, users, and advertisers, said Google. I suggest you to add to that advertising potential and with it money.

In closing I was taken by the phrase referring to the deal that this was:

“…next step in the evolution of the Internet.”

It might be Google’s next step and at this time both parties are quite excited about the potential. But with the rather large stick that Google wields, I would suggest that YouTube has changed forever in ways that only time will tell. according to the press release, expect something within the next month. But it might not all be good.

Marketing Our Podcast: A Challenge Issued!

TPN LogoWe are having some trouble at The Global Geek Podcast HQ! We need some kick-arse marketing strategies and quick. No, I am not doing what my brother suggested:

“…Tattoo the URL to your penis, photograph it, then post it on your blog, digg the article.”

While this strategy might spike some interest and probably work; it was not really what I had in mind when I asked him if he had any ideas about exposure! So I am asking the faithful readers of my blog to do a couple of things that will help.

  • If you have not checked out the podcast, head on over to The Global Geek Podcast homepage and at least have a listen to the show, if you like it SUBSCRIBE to the RSS feed.
  • If you like the podcast or you think someone else might then tell them.
  • If you have a blog then why not give us a bit of a plug or put the podcast in your blog roll or links. I can get you a logo or graphic if you want it to look good.
  • We reviewed a site called Folkd in the last podcast it is a great “Digg” type site but very, very good and looks awesome, I have posted our podcast on there so that it can be voted on. If you like the podcast then Register and give it a Folkd! (vote/”digg”).
  • Same for Shoutwire and Newsvine
  • If you have a Digg account then why not Digg the latest episode? (doesn’t look so good if we do it…)
  • Let us know what else we might do to spread the word about the podcast.

I think that we have a reasonable podcast and that our content is good. So now we need exposure. We are trying to do that but we need your help! If you listen to the podcast and reckon other people should as well then tell them, or at least another two people, then tell them to do the same. It is greatly appreciated.

So I also issue a challenge! Read on…

If one person truly blows me away by something that they do to give us some major exposure (that we can see results from – like more downloads), I will personally fund a prize for that person! That’s right I’ll send you clobber. Don’t expect anything too amazing, we are not making money you know, but it will be cool and practical – cause that’s what you do when you don’t have much cash!

And you are on the show (if you want to be) to tell everyone what you did!

If there are any podcasters out there or anyone else for that matter with some great ideas then let me know by dropping me a comment or you can also send us email at The Global Geek Podcast. Thanks everyone I appreciate it and so does The Podcast Network!

The Global Geek Podcast:

RSS Feed:

What’s with “Link Dumping” and Invisible Advertising?

I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds. I have noticed a bit of a change lately and I am not sure I like it. I am not sure if it is because people are stuck for things to write about in their blogs or they are just using a new feature. But what I am seeing is the practice of “link-dumping” getting a bit out of control. It is almost RSS spam.

Every other post that some bloggers are doing is just a list of links. While these links are usually related to or something similar and related to their area of interest and maybe mine. I just do not see the point. I am not really that interested in what they have bookmarked for the week or day. In addition if I was interested in what people are bookmarking I can always subscribe to their feed. As this is usually the tag that is added. Why cross post their links on their blog and

It does seem like an excuse to post rather than something useful to say. I realise that they think they are providing their listeners with useful information or curious content, I would rather no post than a “link dump” thanks. It would seem that the proverbial social bookmarking phenomenon is taking over the world.

Something else that angered me this week was a nasty trick that some RSS feeds seem to be employing. It might be an error but it has occur more than once and I am starting to think it a ploy. What has been occurring is “invisible” adverts. In other words an embedded ad that you can not see but if you hover over it there is a link there in the feed-reader screen display. I think that for most the temptation to click would outweigh leaving it alone. While there is nothing wrong with clicking the ad – who wants to? In addition yesterday I accidentally clicked one and I was so annoyed at myself for doing it. But perhaps they are banking on that too.

Adverts in RSS was always going to happen but when companies try to trick people into clicking their ads I believe that to be wrong and uncalled for. The best way in my opinion to combat this as users is to not click anything, make the ploy ineffectual or boycott the feed until they shape up. I don’t mind the advertising but please lets be sensible and abstain from trickery and nasty ploys of entrapment.

YouTube & NBC Make Friends

YouTube LogoI had to pinch myself when I read this article today via RSS about a partnership between YouTube and NBC. I must be psychic.

Today it was announced that NBC and YouTube are getting into bed with each other. And yes the same NBC that sent a cease and desist letter to YouTube regarding content from NBC being available on YouTube.NBC Logo

The deal is said to be a mutual back-slapping affair with NBC placing “promotional clips” on the Tube for up and coming and returning shows. In return NBC will promote YouTube on air. Not sure why the users are not allowed to do it but it is Okay for NBC, but I guess they own the content. There is talk of on-line competitions being run in conjunction with support from NBC.

That said, I wonder how well it will be received on YouTube. If it is just a case of running ads disguised as “clips” then that is going to upset the user base. But if NBC place content that can not be seen anywhere else, now that would be smart marketing. It remains to be seen just how the implementation goes and if it is executed well.

There is no mention of money changing hands so it fails to address the problem that I illustrated yesterday in that what these sites are offering is costing a lot of money and they have to find some way to pay for it. In essence what YouTube has done is possibly exacerbate the problem by potentially increasing their traffic and not addressing the revenue issue.

Capitalism in the Face of Content

I have often thought about this issue and I think it has even come up on Global Geek Podcast. How are all these lovely looking “Web2.0” websites going to make money? At this present time most of these sites look great, they have minimal advertising; if any. They look a million dollars due to the sleek web design and neat Ajax applications that they are employing. Or to use what has become a social term: these sites look very “Web2.0”. But today I see that this is changing.

Shoutwire is what people would term a “Web2.0” site. It is an on-line community that works a little like Digg in that news stories are submitted by the community and are “shouted” or “liked” by the users. In this way articles get X number of “shouts” which promotes that story up the ladder. I guess that you could say it a form of voting. Users can submit comments and have discussions about the stories as well. Great idea, news that the community decides is important gets promoted and read by more visitors to the site. There is also an RSS feed that you can subscribe to for the front, page much like Digg. The site when I joined was slick, pleasing to the eye and easy to use and it was fun. Although being a new site at the time the community was small. I don’t know how big it is now but if they continue wrecking their “look” they are going to scare people off in droves.

I had not visited Shoutwire for a while and I had some time free so I decided to swing on over to their site. To say that I was appauled is an understament. Sure there were some sort of syndicated adverts along the top, making up part of the header. Fine, a lot of sites have that or something similar. But the wart on the face of beauty was an overly large, flashing, obnoxious, irritating, badly placed advert right in the middle of the submitted article pane, right at the top. Absolutely disgusting.

Shoutwire Screen Shot[Click thumbnail for bigger image] Not only does this make the once slick site look cheap; it was also probably one of the most badly placed ads I have ever seen, but yes, I noticed it. I hated it, I am not even sure that I want to go back and I most probably will not. In addition to that is the fact that the type of advert that the editors (or whoever decides this stuff) have used; just does not look like it belongs on the site. It looks like they were desperate for money so they stuck up whatever they were offered. I don’t care if this type of advertising works, if it was me making these decisions it just would not have happened. It would be like a flashy magazine like Vanity Fair placing ads that you might see in Picture Magazine (Australian soft porn magazine) in the featured story. I am not sure if they realise that is how the selection and placement of advertising comes across or not but I would be interested to find out what other people think. There is another “choice” advert along the right side of the main page but at least it is not in your face. But it is one that I would not have expected to see, it just does not fit with the “flavour” of the site.

That said I have always maintained that these flash sites that we are being spoilt with are going to change and some like Shoutwire for the worse. The services and the nice looking sites, to say nothing of the bandwidth do not come for free. Something has to give here for them to be able to continue to operate and maintain the services that they offer.

We are going to see some things happen. These sites that promote traffic are going to have to decide how they tackle the revenue problem. Decide to fall on their sword and die a dignified death. Or they advertise. The only other alternatives is to charge a subscription to be able to contribute to the site or perhaps to even enter it. They would have to be pretty confident of their product for that to occur. But I can see the advertising thing happening. But please do it with class and good taste, Shoutwire is a great example of what not to do.

One nasty trick that some companies might be considering is that of building a user base that is highly involved and somewhat reliant on what they offer, like Odeo for example, then start to charge people to use it. I am not saying that I have heard that Odeo is considering doing this but I must say that if I would suspect a site for maybe doing it, it would be Odeo. You ask why I hear. Well; what Odeo are doing is transferring heaps of data in the form of podcasts and sent odeo messages to their user base and anyone else that wants to just listen to podcasts. That aspect alone would be costing them a lot of cold hard cash. Up until this point in time I have seen no advertising, except for themselves. But then again they might get their funding from somewhere else I don’t know.

Another site that comes to mind is YouTube, again huge bandwidth, big dollars, huge active user base and to top it off they are as popular as you might be able to get. Are they loosing money? I know they were for a while but they might not be now.

I would pay for both access and use of a site if a few conditions were meet. One is that I would have to rely on the service that they were offering and it would have to be good and reliable. Or alternatively I would have to very much enjoy being a part of that community. Secondly, I would expect that a subscription was payed in lieu of having to put up with Odeo Logoobnoxious advertising. For example, if Odeo said to me that I would have to pay to be able to recieve Odeo messages into my inbox for the podcast, I would agree to it. The reason being is that the service is a great one, it works, it is reliable, it is of high quality. But I would expect this fee to be reasonable as well, I won’t pay through the nose either!

So it remains to be seen if companies and websites will maintain the look and feel of their websites while meeting the need to raise revenue in order for the site to exist. I can see the need for both. But what I do not see the need for is the example of Shoutwire. It will be interesting to see what route these companies take over time as the pressure increases with more competition. Given Shoutwire, I am sure some will opt for cash and capitalism over content. In the meantime I am going to Newsvine, they look like they are doing something right.