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

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Nice Job Wal-Mart

The screenshot below looks like crap. It is Wal-Mart’s entry into the competitive world of on-line video downloads.

Wal-Mart FF Version

It is crap because the screenshot was taken from Firefox. So why is it crap? Well it looks fine in Internet Explorer so in essence it isn’t but it is crap but because the mastermind that wrote the code failed to test it in Firefox makes it crap on more than one level. He or she just isolated about 30% of users. I hope that coder got the boot.

The other thing is that it has been this way for a few days. If I was Wal-Mart I would have fixed it pronto, nope. Double black mark. It is rather ironic is that the user that is going to utilize this service is more than likely an early adopter. Who are early adopters? Usually geeks. What do geeks browse with? Usually Firefox. So potentially they have just isolated a lot more than 30%.

Stupid oversight that could cost them dearly.

Render in IE for Optimal Viewing:

Wal-Mart in IE Screenshot

Proposed Copyright Law Changes in Australia

Despite the fact that 99% of the time I listen to podcasts in the car, I often listen to the news on the way to work sometimes. This morning I heard that there were some proposed changes to copyright law happening this week during the parliamentary sitting. I get home tonight and I read about the response to these propositions, I find that things are not good in the blogOsphere’s response to the changes …

I was not surprised to see this headline:

“Google Explains How To Kill The Internet In Australia: Just Make Proposed Changes To Copyright Laws”

While I do not fully understand the proposed changes. Basically the idea is that every website that is indexed has to have permission from the site or content owner. This is basically a stupid idea. I can see what they are trying to protect and that is the illegal copying and distribution of owned content. Effectively it would mean that search for Aussies would be useless and we would essentially have our access to information crippled.

“If such advanced permission was required, the Internet would promptly grind to a halt,”

– Google’s senior counsel and head of public policy Andrew McLaughlin

That is just bloody great…

Also that the changes would:

“… condemn the Australian public to the pre-Internet era and will place them at a serious competitive disadvantage with those in other countries who have such access,”

That is something to look forward to… [add sarcasm here]

As usual the Australian government has no bloody idea about how the internet works and how information is disseminated through it. surprising considering that they are saying the new laws are to:

“… Australian government says the new laws are designed to keep up with the fast pace of technological change”

As usual in the governing bodies attempt to be “hip” they are potentially leaving us behind in the digital dark ages!

If these changes were to go ahead the effect it would have on Australian online business would be devastating. We all know just how important the Google ranking is to a website. Things like promoting our podcast would be very difficult. At least the servers are offshore!

As I said initially nothing surprises me as far as the governments approach to things they really do not understand. After all I reckon the average age of an Australian polly would be about 50! In addition I don’t even know of one that has a blog. Well not one that they are willing to let on about.

Maybe they should ask someone that knows what they are talking about before making rash decisions.

Another Potentially Stupid Statement

I could not pass this up, the guys that are at the wheel of MySpace are really quite full of their success and are trying very, very hard to look stupid. Although this statement from the CEO of MySpace might not be on the scale of his colleague, he runs the risk of being wrong – in a big way.

This from Mashable:

“News Corp. CEO and chairman Rupert Murdoch says that he expects MySpace Video to overtake YouTube in 60 to 70 days. The statements, made at the Communacopia XV conference in New York…”

Now that is a big call. Sure not entirely beyond possibility but a big call all the same. If he is wrong it just makes him look stupid. He should have read CEO Tip Number 1 before sprouting that statement.

The statement was made with reference to a YouTube like service being introduced to MySpace. As I have said before I think that users have made their choice and it will take something really special and big to make a difference. Good luck Mr Murdoch… I hope you don’t end up with egg on your face. Which given my opinion is highly likely.

Mashable has the take on the whole statistics being very confusing and contradictory, so only time will tell in the long run.

He said What?!

Peter Chernin, CEO of MySpace’s parent company, Newscorp unbelievably said this early this week:

“If you look at virtually any Web 2.0 application, whether its YouTube, whether it’s Flickr, whether it’s Photobucket or any of the next-generation Web applications, almost all of them are really driven off the back of MySpace.”

Needless to say that I think he might have his head up his arse. This is the most self indulgent and ignorant, self righteous things I have ever heard a CEO say… well in recent memory anyway. Clearly said without knowledge or forethought.

So what these companies would be nothing without MySpace? I don’t think so, they are successful because the users have decided to support them, as is the case with MySpace. That support can be fickle as well. So just be careful about saying just how good you think you might be. Tomorrow you not be on the “hot” list. Especially if users think you are full of your own self importance, they tend not to like that very much.

In my opinion I think that MySapce is popular with the demographic that they appeal to and that’s it. Right now that is the biggest driving force of any company, market, trend and dollars; the young, hip, trendy youth market. I think it has very little to offer the adult serious blogger or tech-type person. Although some will visit to see what is on offer and maybe have a space to get exposure. This is a powerful market force for lots of obvious reasons and the source of the confidence in Peter Chernin’s comment. They can also turn on you like a rabbid dog. The YoYo was hot once too. They have to concentrate on how they keep this audience interested, not on how they are going to global domination wielding this possibly temporary power that can be here today and gone tomorrow.

These comments were made with reference to the fact that if MySpace were to build a similar service to YouTube for example and make the videos accessible to MySpace users to “embed” in their pages then they would use that instead of YouTube. I think that is a reach. Convincing users to drop what is “cool” or the “service of choice” in favour of an alternative is a tough job. They would want to be offering a much better service or something to make them stand out. I don’t think they can do that. Plus you have to crack the brand loyalty of users to YouTube, good luck mate!

CEO Tip Number 1: engage brain then speak otherwise you will look stupid. Stupid.