It's already a busy week for acquisitions in the search market -- and it's only Sunday. IAC/InterActiveCorp, the Barry Diller conglomerate, is close to purchasing the search company for $1.9 billion. It's an interesting exit for a company that has been outmatched by the online advertising clout of Google and Yahoo. Will IAC give the search giants a run for their money? With Diller at the helm of IAC, and Terry Semel at Yahoo, this is shaping up to be a Hollywood showdown.
See Christine Rosen's essay in the New York Times Magazine about the perils of "ego casting" technologies such as the cellphone and the DVR. While we're on the subject, let's add a few new media tools to the mix.
Is the on-demand economy wreaking havoc on existing and important social norms? Is there anything we can do to reverse the trend?
The near future promises even more of these ego-casting technologies, which offer us greater control and encourage the individualized pursuit of personal taste. Soon we'll carry cellphones that double as credit cards, toll passes, televisions and personal video cameras. At home, we'll merge the functions of these many technologies into a single streamlined machine that will respond to the sound of our voice, like the multimodal browser being developed by I.B.M. and Opera. This expansion of choice and control will foster the already prevalent expectation that we can and should be able to have anything we want on demand.
This is not a world without costs. Having our every whim satisfied at the touch of a button might encourage a childish expectation of instant gratification and could breed intolerance for the kinds of music, film and literature that require patience to enjoy fully. As we use these technologies to increase the pace and quantity of our experiences, we might find that the quality of our pursuits declines. Nevertheless, whatever ambivalence we might feel toward these technologies, we end up buying and using them anyway, not only because they make life more convenient but also because everyone else uses them and so we must as well. The traveling businessman without a cellphone will not have a business for long.
See Matt Hick's recent article on tagging in eWeek. He provides a clear summary on a new approach for helping people find and organize related content across different services on the Web. And he reports on one of the newest terms to emerge in the hyper-linguistic blogosphere:
Even the new term "Folksonomy" has emerged to describe the potential for user-defined tags to organically develop structure out of what might appear to be chaotic collections of information.
A message for web site owners: Web sites should be optimized for the user not for a searchbot. Invest in making your web site more relevant to its intended users/customers. After all, your goal is to boost revenues and that is done by creating relevant and compelling web sites for customers.
In this emerging Internet 2.0 world transparency is what is valued. Talk the talk and walk the walk and you will be rewarded.
If you do that, the googlebot will award you with a better ranking, but more importantly, your customers will become your evangelists. Value is always recognized and shared on the Internet.
See The Nation'srecent excerpt from the January conference on blogging at Harvard University. Dave Winer's eloquent talk about the journalists-versus-bloggers debate appeals to a common cause:
I think I can speak for most, if not all, of the bloggers in the room when I say that we have never woken up thinking about how we can get rid of professional journalists. If anything, we have worked hard to bring them in.
If you want to understand the blogger mentality, think of us as evangelists. We're zealots. We want to bring you in. We want you to use our tools. We want you to learn what we have learned and then make the world a better place. We are the idealists. We are into, you know, truth and justice and so forth. We have a passion for news, and maybe that can act as a reminder to the professionals that somewhere deep inside of your core is that same passion. That's the thing that unites us. That's the bond that we share.
Rather than looking at it as an adversarial relationship, let's look at the ways we can help each other, because God knows we have much bigger problems to solve. Look really, really seriously at how you can adopt practices of blogging in what you do. For example, providing full transcripts of every interview that you do would be something that a lot of your readers would appreciate.
The international news wire is suing Google for crawling and republishing copyrighted material. This may become one of the more interesting Internet legal battles in 2005, the year of the lawyer.
Has the AFP been wronged, or is it out of step with the rest of the publishing world? Google spokesman Steve Langdon: "We allow publishers to opt out of Google News but most publishers want to be included because they believe it is a benefit to them and to their readers."
The Washington Post's Amy Joyce takes boring executive blogs to task. Tip: beware the temptation to edit yourself into mainstream marketing speak -- it totally defeats the purpose.
Although corporate blogging gives many readers what they want from a company -- an avenue to listen to and talk to decision makers -- it also loses that edgy, voyeuristic feel of personal blogs about bad bosses, annoying roommates and flings. As much as personal bloggers blithely ignore the conventional boundaries of etiquette, corporate bloggers edit themselves to avoid disclosing a company secret or representing an organization in a way not intended by the marketing department.