Tuesday, January 31, 2006

IE 7 Beta 2 Available for Download

Microsoft has just released their Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2, bugs and all.

The lastest rev of the popular Web browser works with Windows XP Service Pack 2 and boasts a number of Web 2.0 features including tabbed browsing, a toolbar-integrated search box and RSS support.


New Search Engine Indexes TV News Clips

A morning tip has led me to TVEyes, a free, ad-supported search engine that purports to index TV news content.

According to a company spokesman, the site will allow users to "search for any phrase of interest and then instantly play snippets at every point where that phrase is mentioned to ascertain relevancy" - without having to download and review the entire file.

They have an interesting array of products and services and are currently entertaining demo requests for those interested in poking around. Personally, I'd like to know more about their Podscope, a service that indexes audio content and makes every podcasted word searchable.

Oh, and their Media Monitoring Suite sounds pretty sweet, too.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Online Entertainment's Growth Fueled by Broadband

According to a new Park Associates study, continued high-speed adoption will cause the online entertainment industry to grow from $2.4 billion in 2006 to nearly $9 billion in 2010.

By that same year, they predict that...
  • broadband users will number approximately 360 million globally;
  • 135 million households will be using data networking equipment; and
  • 70 million will have subscribe to IP multichannel video services (IPTV).

Quote of the Day

"Web 2.0 is a way for certain marketing people to claim they invented stuff that they didn't invent, without actually claiming they invented it," Dave Winer, as quoted in today's San Francisco Chronicle.


My New Favorite Site: PortableApps.com

Like many of us, developer John T. Haller has a thing for portable apps. This guy's got dozens of thumbdrive-sized goodies to his credit, including Portable Firefox, Portable Thunderbird, Portable OpenOffice.org, Portable AbiWord, Portable NVU, Portable Sunbird, Portable FileZilla and Portable Gaim.

He's also created an environment where knowledge and development efforts can be centralized and shared - cool!

Thx for the tip, Mark!

State of the Union Coverage Gets Kicked Up a Notch

Coverage for tomorrow's State of the Union Address will be "a truly interactive and multi-platform experience," says ABC News Digital's Executive Producer, Michael Clemente.

Today, his organization announced a plan that will pair his resources with those belonging to AOL News.

Offered as part of ABC News Now's line viewer-generated programming, "The People's State of the Union" campaign will include live blogging, post-address analysis, public commentary in video and text form.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Search Engine Trust Put to the Test

While far from scientific, 48% of those who've taken InternetWeek's current homepage poll say they "don't trust any of them," when asked about search engines and how they're dealing with the collection of personal data.

According to statistics checked this evening, 45% feel good about Google, whose refusal to remit to the the Justice Department's subpoena undoubtedly impacted their score.

Not so for the cooperators, however - only 7% responded in favor of MSN, Yahoo! and AOL.

RSS Gains Steam As a Way to Pimp Deals

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a colleague that sounded an awful lot like Bob Tedeschi's piece in today's New York Times.

It started with a simple question: "what's RSS and how is the travel industry using it?"

"For starters," I said, "a growing number of the biggest related Web sites are using feeds to promote deals and special offers, virtually in real time."

A discussion about potential applications went on from there, I won't bore you with the details.

Suffice it say, I'm personally hooked and think just about anyone can benefit from RSS - thx Bob, for reminding me to revisit the topic.

An Ounce of Protection

If one thing comes out of Google's decision to play nice with the Chinese government, it's this: there really is no place to hide on the Web. And if you think Big Brother's the only threat, well, think again.

When it comes to protecting one's privacy online, understanding how to work around search engine trackers is just part of the puzzle, says Search Engine Watch's Danny Sullivan - his thorough list of safety measures is the best I've seen.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Super Bowl Bloggers Mark XL Countdown

Football fans are a vociferous lot, especially this time of year. The impending clash between Seattle and Pittsburgh has both sides blogging, and I think that's pretty cool.

Even the Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger is in on the action.

In traveling this week, I came across an interesting article featured in this month's issue of American Way, the in-flight magazine published by one of our clients.

Written by Chris Wessling, the piece takes a look at what the author believes to be some of the best Super Bowl commercials. Some real winners made his list - maybe I'll post those later. For now, I thought I'd share these game-related factoids, clipped from the article's sidebar.

Did you know that...

  • the NFL once considered calling the event "The Big One" or "The Final Game"?
  • tickets to the very first match-up ranged in price from $6 to $12?
  • every Super Bowl - with the exception of the first - has sold out?
  • scalpers are currently getting more than $7,500 for premium seats?
  • the game will air in more than 180 countries?
  • roughly 7% will tune in just to watch the ads?
  • shoppers will spend more than $50 million on food that weekend?
  • more of it will be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other, besides Thanksgiving?
  • viewers will go through approximately 43.5 million pounds of guacamole?
  • more pizza will be sold on that day than on any other?
  • 35% of those who attend the game will write it off as a "business expense"?

How many gallons of beer will be consumed is anyone's guess.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Nearly 90% Send-to-a-Friend

89% of the 1,071 Web users surveyed by Sharpe Partners in late 2005 were found to pass along content to others via email. 75% shared messages with many as six other recipients, some weekly (63%), some daily (25%).

Humorous content - "clearly the golden child of viral marketing," according to CEO Kathy Sharpe - was found to have the highest share index (88%), followed by news (56%), healthcare/medical info (32%), religious/spiritual material (30%), games (25%), business/personal finance information (24%) and sports/hobbies (24%).

CEO Kathy Sharpe reminds us that when distributing marketing messages, subtlety is key. That said, only 7% of the respondents said that they wouldn't share branded content. 19% said branding actually encouraged viral activity, while 75% said that it had no impact on their decision whatsoever.

So who's sharing?

According to the study, the demographic most likely to share - and share widely - is women between the ages of 35 and 43 who live in the South or Midwest: 64% confessed to doing it at least once a week.

Very interesting...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Traffic Building Needs Strategy Too

A tip from LifeHacker led me to fellow blogger Steve Pavlina's informative post detailing ten best practices for building and sustaining a highly-trafficked Web site (or blog):
  1. Create content that's valuable
  2. ...original
  3. and timeless.
  4. Write for humans, they're your audience.
  5. Know why you want (or need) traffic.
  6. Be real.
  7. Share your POV and learn to live with the consequences.
  8. Treat visitors like humans.
  9. Keep money in its proper place.
  10. Focus on genuinely helping people

And "the rest," he says "will take care of itself."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

How to Know What's Being Said

As of this post, Technorati claims to be tracking 26.3 million active blogs. And those are just the public ones. Experts believe that 10,000 new blogs are launched each day; some say that as many as 30% of all won't see the end of the year.

The challenge of keeping up with blog-chatter in an ever-shifting landscape was the subject of a recent BtoB article. Because it's impossible to track every single conversation, they recommend using a number of tools "from keyword searchers to sophisticated analytical engines," designed to assist with monitoring.

Here are some of the services that made their hitlist:

Who's got favorites?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

24-Hr. Mobile Music Video Channel Gets Ad Support

Yesterday, SmartVideo Technologies Inc. launched the first free music video channel for Web-enabled cellphones, PCs and other media-capable mobile devices.

According to AP, the GA-based wireless firm will support 24-hour programming with imbedded ad units.

"We're going to experiment with different formats," said Richard Bennett, the company's president and chief executive, "to find out what they'll tolerate."

With thousands of clips already in their arsenal, the service features a handful of mini-networks dedicated to urban, dance, rock and other genres.

Sounds like they might be onto something, huh?

Thinking Outside of the (Idiot) Box

Before the identity of Nip/Tuck's sociopathic "Carver" was revealed, marketers behind the villain used MySpace to give him a voice and, as FX vice president Stephanie Gibbons put it, to extend the viewer experience beyond television.

For the News Corp.-owned cable network, tapping into the one of the Web's largest communities made perfect sense. The acquisition by their shared parent company gave them access to over 48 million registered users. Say what you will, but ignoring an audience that large would have been, well... dumb.

In creating original Web content, writes Leo Juarez of ABC News, TV execs are looking to new channels like blogs as a means of "creating buzz and involving audiences in a whole new way." And it's a trend that's not unique to television. In fact, an increasing number of popular consumer brands like Captain Morgan, McDonald's, and Barbie are exploring this gray area, for better or for worse.

In my view, there are at least three questions you should ask yourself before heading down this shady path:
  1. Can a blog based on a fictitious character be worthwhile?
  2. Can it be authentic?
  3. Can it be sustainable?

If you can honestly answer "yes" to all of the above, then I say go for it. Personally, I'd think twice before making this kind of recommendation to a client you'd like to keep.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Back in the New York Groove

Just in from Orlando, where last week, I joined close to 500 marketing, advertising and PR practitioners gathered to discuss the dramatic changes that are impacting our industries.

Despite our disparate POVs, we all seemed to agree on a number of points - among them, that 2006 would be the year that word-of-mouth tactics finally got their due.

Through expert panels, workshops and keynotes dedicated to blogs, podcasting, message boards, viral marketing and more, one clear point was made: the ad models of old are at risk.

But don't take my word for it - even the New York Times agrees.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wiki?

If ever there was a medium where Bob Garfield's Chaos Scenario applied, it's wikis.

When the very first wiki launched nearly a decade ago, it was with little fanfare. Back then, wikis were used by geeks, primarily as research tools. I don't think anyone, scientist or communicator, could have predicted the impact they'd come to have ten years on - or the social media explosion, for that matter.

Today, experts believe that there are thousands of wikis out there. Thousands of open, collaborative networks dedicated to just about every topic under the sun and serving nearly every industry, including our own.

"There's good and bad news in this for marketers," says Paul Gillan, a community journalism consultant whose views appeared in a recent BtoB article. "Common sense says that a wiki should degenerate into chaos - but done right, it works remarkably well."


Because truth has a way of rising to the top. Reports of vandalism and admitted imperfections didn't change our opinions of wikis as viable channels. We still see them as opportunities to build and sustain our companies, brands, products and services.

Just as we've seen in our exploration of blogs, active discussions about us and our clients are already happening on wikis. Here are ten tips for discovery:
  • go to Wikipedia
  • search for your industry, company, brand, product or service
  • if your search nets zero results, add a relevant entry (or entries)
  • write clearly, in an authoritative voice and avoid self-promotion
  • if articles already exist, scan them for errors and correct them if you find any
  • where appropriate, link to other articles in the archive
  • create watchlists and monitor activity - do this in multiple languages for the best results
  • remove copyrighted material - wiki content should be in the public domain
  • explore other public wikis
  • bookmark those that are popular and watch those, too

Again, it all boils down to participation: be proactive, know what's being said and join the conversation in an honest, ethical and, of course, transparent way.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Apple Behaving Badly... Again

According to NewsFactor, testers have found that Apple's IPhoto 6 deviates from a number of podcasting standards, a fact that has many in the RSS community scratching their heads.

At last week's Macworld unveil, Steve Jobs claimed that the program would adhere to existing practices. Mark Pilgrim, one of the software developers who participated in the hands-on test, says this latest discovery proves that Apple "does not understand the first thing about HTTP, the first thing about XML or the first thing about RSS."

"Strictly speaking," the article states, "Apple is not doing anything wrong. RSS is not an official standard governed by a standards body, and anybody can make changes and introduce new elements and extensions."


I say bad form, Steve - what were you thinking?

Friday, January 20, 2006

What's So Great About Your Blog?

According to WOMMA's WOMBAT playbook, "a great blog tells your story, opens your doors and becomes a bridge to real consumers - a bad one is just another corporate mouthpiece."

"Creating Great Blogs That Get People Talking" was the focus of a lively session that teamed CooperKatz' Steve Rubel with Hass MS&L's David Binkowski and Jason Woodmansee of TaylorMade.

Moderated by GM's Michael Wiley, the conversation launched with the following definition: "blogs are an open, honest conversation about great products and interesting topics that people want to talk about, discussed by a strong author."

According to the panel, the best blogs:

  1. speak in an auth entic, consistent voice;
  2. have something to say;
  3. are clear and up-front about source and intent;
  4. strive to remain current and update frequently;
  5. allow readers to comment;
  6. include trackbacks;
  7. feature RSS feeds;
  8. use permalinks;
  9. cite sources;
  10. support their community through links; and
  11. keep innovating.

Well said!

Oh, and I spoke, too.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Washington Post Disables Blog Comments

A "significant" increase in the number of "objectionable comments" posted on The Washington Post's blog has forced executive editor Jim Brady to do away with that function, at least for the time being.

The right to ban attacks deemed personal, hateful or profane is detailed in the company's feedback policy, which now includes a number of revisions.

"It's a shame that it's come to this," said Brady. "Transparency and reasoned debate are crucial parts of the Web culture, and it's a disappointment to us that we have not been able to maintain a civil conversation, especially about issues that people feel strongly (and differently) about."

Too bad.

WOMBAT Spotted in Disney World!

"Ethics" seems to be the theme of the day, as I enter this post from sunny Orlando, host city to WOMMA's Word-of-Mouth Basic Training conference, aka WOMBAT.

Among the many views discussed so far, a sense of agreement seems to have emerged around one topic in particular: the need to stamp out unethical word-of-mouth marketing practices.

According to WOMMA's CEO Andy Sernovitz, "we're on the brink of a new age, and these deceptive tactics simply cannot be allowed to continue."

So if you endorse stealth campaigning, shilling, infiltration, using automated software to post, vandalizing to promote, SPAM or out-and-out falsification, look out!

There's a WOMBAT on your tail!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Report Claims Web Usage Declined in 2005

According to Bridge Ratings, Americans between the ages of 25 and 49 spent 11.5 hours a week tapping into "alternative media" outlets in Q4 of 2005, a .75 increase over the same period last year.

Overall Web usage was down for '05, they claim, while increases in "traditional" (AM/FM) radio usage, TV viewership and MP3 consumption were noted.

I'll bet the elder half of their segment skewed those results big-time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Consumer-Generated Content Helps Bridge Generational Gaps Online

As many of us noted in our year-end recaps, 2005 was a boom-year for blogging, tagging, social networking, broadband and video search.

In a recent article, Leann Prescott of Hitwise took a closer look at the increasingly "smaller divide between content creators and content consumers." Tools offered by the likes of Google, Yahoo!, AOL and MSN are at the heart of this shift, she says, as are generational differences.

Like Prescott, many of us have seen a growing number of older Web users adopting "new technology and new practices like tagging with enthusiasm," while their younger counterparts continue to choose peer-generated news over that being served by the more "established, authoritative sources."

It's a trend that will undoubtedly continue in 2006, as this list of 2005's fastest growing sites strongly suggests:

Fastest Growing Sites of 2005

Monday, January 16, 2006

New Press Release Submission Service

By providing affordable (and sometimes, free) tips to webmasters, authors, marketers and SEO experts in the field of writing, submitting, distributing and promoting content, Article Networks hopes to build their very own version of the best of the Web.

The Web site's still a little rough around the edges, but you can sign up for a basic membership account submit your press release or article free of charge - what could it hurt?

Oh, and if strategy's your bag, check out their blog.

In the UK, Sky News Continues to Aim High

Last week, British Sky Broadcasting - the UK's largest digital cable provider and parent of Sky News - announced the launch of two new content-on-demand services, Sky by broadband and Sky by mobile.

Today comes word that they've also entered the world of video podcasting with "7 Days," a program covering fluffier topics.

By keeping the initial offerings light, BSB's marketers are hoping to give the format a more mainstream bend and inspire a larger number of downloads. They're also banking on the continued support of this audience when meatier installments are introduced later this month.

It's an interesting play at adoption - think it'll work?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Social Networks and the 21st Century Generation Gap

In many ways, the teen blogging discussion reminds me of the violence in video games debate. This morning, the much-maligned topic reared it's ugly head once again in the form of a CBS News article penned by Larry Magid.

In it, he touches upon a fundamental difference between the younger set and their parents. "Most adults," he says, "define their community in geographical terms: the people who live nearby," while teens, empowered by the Web, "live in virtual communities that have no geographical boundaries."

While there's nothing too earth-shattering in his piece, Magid's matter-of-fact views on both sides of the argument did get me thinking: given the number of community-active teens, shouldn't we be focusing more on the positive aspects of platforms like blogging rather than harping on the dark side?

As parents, educators and enablers, we have the opportunity to guide our young friends down a path of responsibility, without limiting their creativity. Teens will be teens and are going to explore while grown-ups will continue to struggle to understand - it's rock n' roll all over again.

Bottom line: accountability. Magid gets it - that much is clear.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

New PBS Blog to Explore Digital Realities

Save the date: on January 18th, PBS will officially launch the MediaShift blog, a resource that will examine the ways in which blogging, RSS, podcasts, citizen journalism, wikis, news aggregators and video repositories are "dramatically changing American society and culture."

Tech-journalist/host Mark Glaser is "looking forward to covering the topical subject of how technology and the Net are transforming the media."

I'm sure lots of us are looking forward to his take.

The Shape of Things to Come?

Here's an interesting find by way of The Blog Herald:

Beginning next month, content from Startlog, a dutch blog network, will be reprinted in tabloid form - now that's a first, so far as I know.

When it launched nearly a year ago, Startlog was little more than a linkfarm, arranging dozens of of blogs in categories like sports, cars, music and games.

Today, it serves as the gateway to hundreds.

Startlog's publishers are hoping to fund their latest endeavor with guilders Euros gained from advertisers, funds that they say will enable them to pay bloggers whose work appears in the color weekly.

Given the format, will content ever be fresh enough? Further, will anyone care?

Who knows, but they'll print 30,000 copies initially, and like crack, the first hit's free.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Sometimes There Really Is No Place Like Home

For years now, repressive regimes in Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Zimbabwe have filtered, interrogated, tortured and imprisoned "dissidents" for criticizing their govenments online, says Curt Hopkins, project director of Spirit of America’s Anonymous Blogging Campaign.

His organization, a non-profit that promotes the pursuit of freedom, democracy and peace abroad, has just launched BlogSafer: The Anoniblogging Wiki, a resource dedicated to protecting bloggers in countries where scare-tactics are used to counter free speech.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's Better in the Bahamas

On Tuesday, I was given the opportunity to speak before an audience gathered for National Tourism Week in the Bahamas.

My presentation - "Digital Realities and Their Growing Impact on Tourism" - was covered by the Nassau Guardian.

This is what they heard, warts and all.

Citizen Journalist Or Envious Competitor?

In browsing through PRWeb this morning, I came across an interesting claim that was featured in a press release announcing the launch of a new SERM blog.

It seems to confirm what many of us have long suspected: that a staggering percentage (over 50) of the negative blog and forum posts that are directed at our biggest brands and products are the handiwork of "the competition."


Anyone come across a formal study I could cite?

Dr. Phil Gets Real Online

Beginning today, Match.com will play host to a new premium content channel featuring video advice from relationship "expert," Dr. Phil McGraw.

"The service," reports AP, "launches with about 50 clips, covering topics such as communication, making good first impressions and having meaningful conversations on a first date."

Forgive me, but I seem to have lost count: is this the third or fourth sign of the Apocalypse?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

From Zero to Blogstorm in Sixty Seconds?

You know you're busy when you miss something like Technorati Mini, a new search tool that delivers results via a pop-up window that automatically refreshes every minute.

I know - it isn't PR, but I like it.

I dig the disclaimer, too.

Innovation Gives Young Americans Hope

While careers in the arts and medicine most appealed to the teens who participated in MIT's recent "invention index," all agreed that technology would play a vital role in the resolution of the world's biggest crises, reports AP.

Over the course of the next ten years and beyond, said respondants, breakthroughs will help solve issues like unclean water (91%), hunger (89%), disease (88%) and pollution (84%). They'll also force the disappearance of gas-powered vehicles (33%), desktop PCs (22%) and terrestrial telephones (17%).

Merton Flemings, head of the program that conducted the survey, finds these results encouraging. "It's the young people who are going to have to do it," he says.

So long as the have the tools, say I.

FTC Offers Online Shopping Protection

Five federal agencies and thirteen privately held security firms have banded together to form OnGuard Online, a Web-based coalition that offers protection against malware, keystroke loggers and phishing.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Breakin' the Law, Breakin' the Law

Anonymous attempts at rabble-rousing on the Web or via email could result in jail time and a big fat fine according to Section 113 of a new federal law enacted last week.

"Preventing Cyberstalking" of H.R. 3402 (aka Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005) suggests that in order to annoy someone online, you must first reveal your true identity.

Here's a befuddling excerpt, nicked from CNET:

"Whoever... utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person... who receives the communications... shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

Doesn't bode well for these guys, does it?

And another world crisis is solved.

Monday, January 09, 2006

More on Boomers and the Web

For those who asked, I've finally located the source material that Burst Media cited in their recent boomer study - enjoy.

Weber Shandwick Grabs Eleven PRWeek Nods

Congratulations to my Weber Shandwick colleagues on scoring the following PRWeek Awards nominations:
  1. PR Agency of the Year
  2. Promotional Event of the Year: Dark Chocolate M&Ms Launch, Masterfoods USA
  3. PR Innovation of the Year: Blogwatcher: Applying PR Wisdom to Blog Monitoring
  4. Best Use of Broadcast: Now That's Hot TV Coverage, Carl’s Jr.
  5. Best Use of Broadcast: Making a Household Name "Pop," Sealed Air
  6. Product Brand Development: Making a Household Name "Pop," Sealed Air
  7. Product Brand Development: Hole-y Matrimony at Dunkin' Donuts, Dunkin’ Donuts
  8. Investor/Financial Relations: Xlence in Redefining Big and Tall, Casual Male Retail Group
  9. B-to-B Campaign of the Year: Raising the Profile of a Quiet German Giant, Siemens
  10. Hi-Tech Campaign of the Year: A Retail Revolution: Finding What Fits, Intellifit
  11. Consumer Launch of the Year: Monster Thickburger Launch, Hardee’s

Awesome news!

Where's Google's Video Store?

Following Friday's announcement, I had hoped to deep-dive into Google's new Video Store over the weekend - but bugs prevented that from happening.

The launch is expected this morning - I can't wait to see what they've come up with.

LATE EVENING UPDATE: looks like they're finally up and running - woo hoo!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

RSS Goes Both Ways

I admit it: I'm an RSS-addict. Without it, my efforts to stay in the know would easily overshadow my job as a PR practitioner, making my true charge - client service - suffer.

News unfolds at the same break-neck speed at which most of us operate. To stay connected (and let's face it, entertained), we arm ourselves to the teeth with iPods, Blackberries, PDAs, smartphones and a growing arsenal of mobile devices, many of which are capable of supporting RSS.

Before long, we'll all be using these toys not only to retrieve, but to share personal data through feeds. Simple Sharing Extensions will make all of this possible. Just as RSS collects data from a variety of feeds, SSE will enable the replication of data across a variety of sources. With it, says Microsoft, any number of endpoints (i.e., applications and devices, thus users) will be able to "mutually publish and subscribe" to another's RSS feed.

"When changes are made in one endpoint," they say, "they are propagated to the other and vice versa."

Sound familiar?

Matt Terenzio is also banking on bi-directional RSS taking off. His SkinnyFarm is a shared system for creating two-way feeds that can be used in community discussions, personal communication, shared resources (i.e., calendars) or whatever else we fellow geeks marketers can invent.

Take a second to register - I think you'll find it's pretty cool too.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Cross-sell, Yes, But Test, Test, Test!

E-retailer services that refer related products based on categories or keywords are only as good as the developers and programmers behind them.

Just ask the good folks over at Walmart.com. They recently had to disengage their system after a blogger discovered an indexing flaw that linked "The Planet of the Apes" DVD to titles bearing African-American themes.

A little QA could have saved them an enormous headache - thank goodness they also sell aspirin - ha!

Same Data, Different Wiki?

The New York Times has reported the launch of a new Wiki intended to serve as a directory of Fortune 500 companies who are actively blogging.

I guess they all missed the list over at the NewPR Wiki.

Yo, Client - Need Another Reason to Blog?

While blogging may not be for everyone, here's yet another reason for brand leaders to consider the medium: improved search engine rankings.

It worked for Ice.com, says executive vice president of marketing, Pinny Gniwisch - she calls blogs a "blessing in disguise."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Yahoo! Unveils Go, New Service for Smartphones

The next batch of Nokia's Series 60 smartphones will ship with Yahoo!'s Go application pre-installed.

The new mobile content service, announced this morning by Yahoo! Chairman and CEO Terry Semel (and guest Tom Cruise), will also be promoted by Cingular Wireless, AT&T and, if all goes well, Motorola, who appears to be in talks with Google as well.

"We have listened to consumers and are excited to give them what they want," said Marco Boerries, senior vice president of Yahoo!'s Connected Life group, "a single way to simply connect to all of their information and content while on the go."

Support for java-based cellphones - like mine - is further down the pike.

The theme for this year's CES really does seem to be "convergence," huh?

I'm sorry I missed it.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Adding Trackbacks Wiped All Comments

Wish I'd seen this in HaloScan's Terms of Service before installing - anyone have a fix?

Microsoft Steps Up to the Plate

Amidst severe criticism, Microsoft has fast-tracked the release of their highly-anticipated WMF patch.

The fix - which was expected to made available on January 1oth - was automatically delivered to enterprise customers this afternoon. General consumers were told to grab theirs here, or wait for this month's planned security bulletin due next week.

They've also scheduled a webcast to address customer concerns.

A for effort, or...?

"Evolutionary" Changes Afoot at Wonkette

So says AP.

Oh, and congratulations to departing editor Ana Marie Cox who today sees the release of her new book - can't wait to read it!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Will 2006 Be the Year for Metasearch?

That search was a much-discussed topic in 2005 is no secret. For months, the giants of the space have been scoring enough press to make Paris Hilton night-vision green with envy.

A related area that continues to pique my interest is metasearch. In doing some digging, I was suprised to learn that metasearch held such a small share of the market - the largest player reports less than 1% of all internet searches.

Disclosure time: a group of my Weber Shandwick colleagues have been working with Dogpile, a service who's held metasearch dear to their hearts for a decade. To celebrate the milestone - and demonstrate the concept of combined search to those less familiar - they have compiled this list of the best and worst combinations of all time.

Clever, now back to my topic... or in this case, question:

Why, amidst all the chatter about growth and partnerships among the biggies, have we not heard more about metasearch? Given the vast number of searchers, I find that hard to believe... or did I miss something?

Media Mix-up Blamed on "Miscommunication"

Media officials are playing the blame game today after the sad, then glad, then sadder news of the fate of twelve West Virginia miners broke.

Here's how the tale unfolded through AP headlines:

11:59 PM... Families Say 12 W. Va. Miners Found Alive
12:34 AM... 12 Trapped W. Va. Miners Found Alive
02:49 AM... Singing Erupts After Miners Found Alive
03:06 AM... Families Say 11 of 12 W. Va. Miners Dead
04:08 AM... Miners Reported Alive After Blast Are Dead
05:26 AM... 12 Confirmed Dead in W. Va. Mine Blast
06:58 AM... Feds Vow Full Probe of W. Va. Mine Blast
07:20 AM... Jubiliation Turns to Anger, Outrage


Google Partners Breath Collective Sigh of Relief

From the CES floor, Stuff reports that the recent rumors surrounding a Google-created PC and operating system are just that.

So much for the "Big Bad Wolf."

Google Seeking Payment for Streaming Video?

In the absense of an official statement, there is some talk this morning about Google going PPV. A flub reported yesterday in the delivery of several video clips asked viewers to cough up some dough to access the complete streams.

The glitch has since been corrected, but seriously, who didn't see this coming?

Holmes Report Blog Launched

Paul Holmes doesn't want us to think that he spent the holidays "goofing off," and to that end, wants to draw our attention to his firm's new blog.

"The launch," says Holmes, "is part of a broader initiative to integrate (our) newsletter into our website."


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

J.D. Lasica Launches Real People Network

New media guru J.D. Lasica, author of New Media Musings, Darknet and Social Media, has launched a vlog aptly named Real People Network.

Today's entry features an interview with BlogHer founder Lisa Stone who talks about the "next wave of business opportunities for blogging."

Well done!

WMF Crisis Getting Uglier Every Day

Chatter continued today as antivirus and security experts endorsed the use a third-party patch to protect against the latest Windows flaw.

The recommendation, says CNET, is not supported by Microsoft whose authorized fix is still a week away.

The workaround, meanwhile, is said to have some issues of its own.


Networks Resolve to Engage in 2006

In the year ahead, says USA Today, we can expect the three networks to "work harder at giving viewers their news whenever and wherever they want."

"The winners will be the ones who stick to smart plans and the right people," says former CBS Evening News producer, Jim Murphy. "The losers will be the ones who think they are being bold or daring but sacrifice their traditional audiences."

My prediction? As it has for 10+ years, TV news viewership will continue its steady decline as audiences young and old, lured by all that Web 2.0 promises, shift their attentions elsewhere.

It doesn't take a rocket-scientist to see that.

27 Million Boomers Online

The 55+ set is using the Web more today than they did a year ago, according to a new report published by BURST! Media.

60.7% of those surveyed said they'd rather get their information online than through traditional media - very interesting, indeed.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Milblogs Continue to Draw Fire

With blogging gaining popularity among servicemen, the Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy have resolved to continue their supervision of active-duty bloggers citing "security violations" as the impetus behind mandatory registration and the creation of special monitoring units, reports Newsday.

Like this guy, one has to wonder about the content that "they" will actually let through. Have clear policies beyond "don't readily give up information that would endanger US troops" been defined or are issues being dealt with on a case-by-case basis?


Today's Cool App: Videora Converter

iPod, TiVo, XBOX 360 and PSP fans can now use Videora Converter to download, convert, manage and copy video to their favorite devices.

Finally, a PSP podcasting solution worth tinkering with - best part: it's FREE!

Thanks for the tip, Lifehacker!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Here's to 2006...

Happy New Year, everyone
Tab, The Calgary Sun

Happy New Year, everyone.