The Term “Netcast” is Awful

Leo Laporte is using the term “netcast” in his podcast. So much so that he is using it in the intro to his show!

In TWiT Episode 72 Leo even states that the term is:

“…getting some traction”

This is going to be a short post. Not from me mate, I host a podcast, Okay. The term “netcast” is bloody awful and I swear I will never use the term in reference to my podcast.

Drop it Leo, I hate it and I think there are others that agree.

Ugh… please no more traction

Am I on my own here?

UPDATE: I need not worry, I found this on Wikipedia:

“It should also be noted that Netcast is a trademark of Netcast AG, a research firm of Switzerland.”

So basically the term has no future what so ever. Leo is suggesting a term that is already trademarked and could end up getting sued himself!

Will Google Buy YouTube?

Rumours are flying that Google and YouTube are talking turkey. Or is it just hype?

Google is probably one of the few Internet heavy-weights capable of pulling it off. The 1.6 billion dollar price tag is out of my reach, but not Google. In addition to the price tag you would have to assess your ability to pay the 2 million dollar bandwidth bill every month. So in part it makes sense when Google has the infrastructure and the capital to prop up YouTube. However, there are other considerations that any investor is going to have to think about before signing on the dotted line, such as profitability and copyright problems that seem to follow YouTube like the plague.

To say that YouTube is:

…notoriously unprofitable…

Seems a little misguided as you need to be trying to make money in order to be labeled unprofitable. I have long maintained that YouTube is making poor effort on this front, great for users not much good for paying the bills. Without a doubt YouTube has huge potential for profit and marketing opportunity. With over 100,000 downloads per day, excluding straight “hits” to the homepage; there has to be the potential to be profitable. With Google’s extensive advertising base they have the tools, knowledge and skills to make it happen. Perhaps where there has been no substantial business model Google sees “virgin” opportunity and dollars, maybe enough to fight off the lawyers that will turn up.

The copyright problems that are plaguing YouTube at present are a definite deterrent to any potential investor as they would inherit these problems. We all know that there is bugger all on YouTube that is not copyright in one way or another and with record companies saying things like:

“…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.”

Investors are going to be more than cautious about snapping up YouTube if it means inheriting a lawsuit for millions of dollars. Having said that they also inherit a deal with Times Warner that could lead to bigger and better things. I’d love to put that into perspective but the details are still a big secret.

So rumour it might be at present, but that is my take on what it all might mean and only time will tell as to if Google will shake on any deal with YouTube.

Check out The Global Geek Podcast this week as we touch on YouTube and it’s future.

CREAMaid: Word of Mouth Marketing

CREAMaid LogoCREAMaid is a new site, cue beta tag here. Companies are starting to see the marketing power of bloggers and the weight that their recommendations or reviews have on readers. CREAMaid aims to capitalize on this and generates blogging “buzz” using the service. Bloggers are requested to blog about products and services,  if their post is accepted then they are paid a royalty. Smart marketing or cash for comment? You be the judge.

There is no registration process, bloggers are invited to participate with the click of the mouse. You are presented on the right hand page a selection of topics to blog on or the “Recently Updated” list. Listed is the topic or service, with a link to the widget. The royalty that will be payed and the number of remaining posts that will be accepted in that “campaign”.

How Does CREAMaid WorkClicking a topic opens up a flash generated widget that has all the details of what the marketer is requesting of the blogger. At this time there were only four topics listed, but the site is new so that is understandable. But there other ways to find topics that are listed on CREAMaid:

 

  • In the wild: finding a blog post that is talking about the conversation
  • Virally: on another bloggers post

The one that I looked at requested that the blogger visit their page, choose a product, write about it and include pictures. Reasonable enough request, especially since fulfilling the requirements and subsequent approval will get you $5. However, for a quick easy buck I think that it could encourage people to make blog posts that are not truthful. Such as saying that they actually purchased the product and proceed to writeParticipate in CREAMaid a glowing review; really knowing nothing about the product. However, the embedded code that the blogger puts in the post places the widget from CREAMaid on their post when published. So it is obvious to the reader that it is a paid comment. I think this may in many instances erode the creditability of the blogger, regardless of who they are. A comment that is made by a blogger is respected because it is an independent opinion not based on economic gain.

Once you have written your blog post, you return to the site and the widget and lift off some HTML code that you are required to embed in your post. Currently the supported services are all the usual suspects, WordPress.com included. But also: Blogger, TypePad, MySpace, Live Journal, Windows Live Spaces, Xanga Blog, AOL Journals and all user hosted blogs to name but a few. As well as embed the HTML you are required to submit an email address via which they will inform you if you have been selected.

CREAMaid RoyaltyAs soon as your post has been selected you are sent an email. The email includes a verification code and a link you can visit to collect your royalty payment via PayPal. You are payed directly as soon as you have done this.

There are a few rules (“promises”) that must be followed in the post that is to be submitted and the suggestion is that you will more than likely be payed for your post as every effort is made to accept all posts made, as long as you follow the rules. So almost a guarantee that you will be payed. The responsibility of the payment is that of the marketer, which CREAMaid kindly refer to as the “Conversation Starter”.

The business model in this instance seems sound in that CREAMaid charge for the PayPal service and for the beta period; no more than the cost of this service provision.

“During the beta period, CREAMaid will not take any fees except for the PayPal fee (5.6%, for receiving and sending the money) required for running the Service itself. However, we plan to change this policy after the beta period is over. “

Given that fact it leaves the opportunity open for them to actually charge “Conversation Starters” a percentage of the royality offered, not that it will mean less for the blogger but rather the marketer. At this point in time that is cheap marketing.

The service that this site offers is a well thought out process but it leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth as I feel it takes advantage of the community of bloggers that review products and services for free and because they want to. This service is already available to companies. If you have a good product, bloggers will talk about it and review it honestly.

This process has creditability right now, no one is payed and if they are they make a point of saying it in the post! They avoid their readers thinking that what they are saying is “just a payed comment from X company”. Creditability for the post = zero if they find out and you don’t tell them in addition to being trashed all over the blogosphere! I know from my own experience that there are companies, coders and developers out there that believe in their product and ask me to include it in the podcast for review. They believe in the process, one that is very much survival of the fittest application or product or book etc. If the product is rubbish it will die a natural death. But I agree there are those products out there that fail to gain traction and exposure that deserve to. Would I submit my service to CREAMaid? I think a good couple of days approaching willing bloggers and podcasters with good reputations will get you further.

I say this because I think the above statements reflect the feeling of most consumers and readers of blogs, once you submit your product or service to a marketing service that makes no secret of the fact that bloggers are payed to comment, the product itself looses credibility with the post.

CREAMaid looks slick, easy to use, simple and a low cost marketing alternative. The site is very well implemented and executed. However, in my opinion it will be very difficult to make a marketing engine work on payed comments because of consumer trust and creditability. Not only that this is a system that is already in place and works well, without any cash changing hands. Although I will admit that that is not a guarantee, I would argue that at this present time a rarity.

Facebook Privacy Issues: I Don’t Get It

This last week saw a huge problem blow up at Facebook the social networking site “…an on-line directory that connects people through social networks”. Basically two new features were rolled out; “News Feeds” and “Mini Feeds”. From what I can gather they are like any News Feed aka: RSS type of deal, as you might have for a blog. These features allowed users to see what their friends were up to such as; items added, pictures, comments and the like. What Facebook did not realise was the outrage this would cause from users.

So these new features were rolled out and there was a revolt. Here are some of the actions taken by users:

In my effort to try to understand what all the fuss was about I have found some of the reasons that users have issued as to why the new features are unwanted. I do not have a Facebook account myself so this is all I have to go on: Here are various quotes taken from a few sources and since they seem to be talking for the masses…

“It damages what privacy was left on Facebook. Before Feeds, it was already easy enough to stalk anyone at your school, and everyone on your friends list; but with the advent of Feeds, it is now nearly impossible not to be “stalked” or to “stalk””

“Without even trying an individual now knows the changing relationship status of individuals on their friends list”

“It is almost impossible now to keep your information to yourself…”

“Before Feeds there were steps that could be taken to prevent your information becoming everyone’s property; now there is literally no option to prevent your information from going completely public.”

“This feature was not requested by the users”

“People that I have spoken with are perturbed by the overwhelming collection of personal information that is displayed about friends, acquaintances, and other Facebook buddies.”

“Despite the fact that this does not “violate the privacy policies already in place,” we feel that it is invasive and directs us to information that we are not normally interested in.”

While not ranking too high on the priority list, there were issues raised about the aesthetics of the additions.

“There are other reasons users are complaining, ranging from the fact it takes away the time-wasting aspect of Facebook to aesthetic complaints about the new look.”

I am not sure if this is truly representative as there are 9.5 million users of Facebook. But there are reports that there are 100 thousand users belonging to the “Students Against Facebook News Feed” group. So that is a fairly large representation and not to be ignored. So I will assume that the anti-feed lobby is a fairly universal feeling among users.
This all created a huge buzz, resulting in an issue that has become much talked about until steps were taken to subdue the masses on Facebook. Indeed the CEO himself responded personally to the negative reaction that the features received.

The issue seems to be resolved in so much as the Facebook people have developed a bunch of privacy controls to give the user control over what is put into feeds, if anything; and who can see them. That sort of thing anyway.

While I do not criticize users for the way that they feel. I would also argue that any company should put the users first and listen to them. I would also say that if they feel this way, even with the exaggerated responses that are inevitable that there must be truth in their concerns and these should be addressed.

But here is the bit I just do not get. News feeds within the blogging community are valued and relied upon as a useful tool and an accurate indicator of just how many real readers you have. It also helps you disseminate information. For me I would be devastated if I lost the feed from my site. Indeed the changes were reviewed favourably by some. But to me the reaction by Facebook users flys in the face of contemporary feeling and sentiment of the Internet community and information sharing. To me it is the equivalent of me asking WordPress to allow me to have privacy controls over my RSS feed and allow some people to access it and not others. Sure this can be done with secured RSS feeds that require passwords but I have not set up a public blog to do that. Maybe that is not the case on Facebook.

I am not criticizing the users of Facebook for the way they feel. Certainly there looks to be a generalised fear of “stalking” and harassment. Perhaps even assault in real life, but this was not stated. This may be a genuine fear and well founded. However it does seem a little “school playground” type mentality in so much as they seem to want to stick to their “clicks” and groups and maintain their privacy within those groups. This is a strange concept to me, seeing it in on-line communities. It could be argued that it comes accross as immature, but that is from the outside looking in. Not sure if this is a reflection of the demographic or not but I would expect that there was a large school-aged user base, given that these are the groups where Facebook started; colleges, schools, areas, regions etc.
Adding to that it looks like you could belong to a group within Facebook that was your school. I can see how some information getting out could be damaging to an individual at that level. However that in turn would cause me to ask why is that people are putting that sort of information in a public space on the web.

So that is what I see and how I have seen the whole Facebook fiasco. I am quite open to being corrected in regards to the finer points of Facebook. However, I am looking at it from an information sharing and the comparison to RSS feeds and the differences that can make in a tight community. The prompt action and changes made by Facebook are to be commended.

First Impressions of AllPeers

AllPeers LogoI have download and installed AllPeers, the much anticipated P2P file sharing extension for Firefox. While I am still excited about the possibilities I am somewhat disappointed with the application and it does need some work. I know that one of my contacts is removing the extension until it improves.

The application does tend to dominate Firefox in some undesirable ways. Such as when you close Firefox it stays open until you close Firefox from the system tray. This proved especially annoying when we were in a Skype call last night and some annoying music was playing in the background because one of the call participants did not realise Firefox was still open although they had closed it from view.

It would seem that there are some registration and logging on problems in LINUX. The long and the short of that issue is that if you use LINUX you can’t use the application. The other thing is that once you have registered, it would seem that you never have to log on again, nor do you have the ability to change your details or your password.

You are able to close the toolbar that AllPeers installs so it doesn’t take up space on your screen. I found that most of the needed functions are able to be executed via the icon in the top right of the Firefox screen. The fact that to fully interact with the AllPeers interface takes up the entire screen is annoying. Everything could be scaled down in size. The current size on a 19 inch monitor means that some crucial buttons are located a long way from the screen they are associated with. It took me a while to find the “share” key for example.

The interface itself while seeming to be easily navigated, does seem buggy. One transfer we did of a file did not open and might have been corrupted in transit as the second attempt worked.

It would be good to be able to specify a directory where the shared files end up on your computer. I had to search for the files until I found out that from your default download directory it creates a folder for each contact that you have in your AllPeers list. The files are saved in the appropriate directory associated with the user.

I do not like the fact that AllPeers is in an “always connected” state. I would like the option to “switch it off”. As other users have indicated, some of us do not have the bandwidth to spare when doing certain activities. Same goes for me. I don’t want anything else using my bandwidth when I am uploading the podcast for example.

The transfer speeds are what might be expected and better then I thought they would be. Of course the speed is somewhat restricted by your own connection. I was satisfied by the speed.

Many of these issues are known to the developers and they are working on them. The help section has also stated that there are plans for a stand-alone version, which will be nice. The issues as far as it’s integration with Firefox are also being looked at.

That said this application is a beta, it would seem that some users are expecting full-version functionality. It works and there are bugs and things that need to be assessed and modified. This is what I would have expected. Perhaps the quality of beta builds has in the past been high and people now expect a lot more from them. But I always expect the beta status to have issues and if they don’t then I am surprised. The extension and development of it looks exciting. I am sure that with further modification and design it is going to be a valued application/ extension. We just need to give it time and enjoy what we have now, as for me this is better than I had before.

UPDATE: For some reason the comments for this post were turned off. This was not intentinal and I have switched them on. Sorry to those I missed in their travels that wished to leave a comment.