Neat: Winer has created a feature that allows folks to see who subscribes to their blogs via RSS. I’ve always wanted to know who cares enough about Searchblog to check it regularly via RSS. In fact, I think such a connection is one of the cooler things about blogs and the web – the two-way conversation is declared and nurtured, the community is known. It’s like an email subscription, but more intimate. But some folks prefer anonymity with their RSS habits, and I respect that as well. How do you all feel about it?
This is not confirmed by any parties, but Bloomberg claims to have an inside source. If this means the bakeoff is final, then the IPO is 90-120 days away, maybe sooner depending on the SEC. Exciting times for all concerned, and possibly and end to all this speculation. WR Hambrecht (the Dutch auction folks) is named as a banker on the deal, but not as a lead, and there is no immediate news on whether an auction or online distribution scheme will play a part in the deal. Slashdot has hundreds of comments on the deal already, for those of you with a lot of time on your hands…(Thanks to Ross for the tip!)
According to this Register story, which quotes a new study from broadband researcher Point Topic, the answer is yes. In under four years, broadband has reached more than 100 million installs worldwide, which beats cell phones – they took over five years. (Funny, but I recall having DSL before 1999, but…never mind). If you want to read the study, it’s here… Of note: China is poised to eclipse Korea in broadband growth…if you want to track China and tech, I highly recommend China Digital News – I was one of several midwives to it at Berkeley last semester…
Salon has some fun at Google’s expense.
Shopping.com doubled its holiday traffic this past season, DM News reports today. Execs from the site are quick to claim that online shopping (or, as I like to call it, the shopping search vertical) has hit critical mass. It’s hard to argue. From the piece:
The San Francisco company doubled the number of unique visitors in the 2003 holiday season to 58 million and the number of shopping sessions to 69 million. Leads referred to merchants listed on the site grew 123 percent in holiday 2003 to 29 million, and sales for them rose 132 percent to $181 million. …
…Shopping.com … stood fourth among U.S. multi-category e-commerce sites for November in terms of unique monthly visitors, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, trailing only eBay, Amazon and Yahoo Shopping. Walmart.com, target.com and BizRate.com followed. …
….five years down the road, we’re seeing a rapid uptick of consumer awareness, interest and acceptance. In a sense, we’ve hit the tipping point, or critical mass. Major branded merchants have seen the market mature and are now interested in selling online.” ….
…”It’s been a landslide … and it shows no sign of stopping. Online shopping sites are no longer marketplaces of technical equipment for technical people. We’ve attracted and are repeatedly serving a much broader audience and general merchandise category mix.” …
I was going to let this one slide, but I thought, what the hell, this is what a blog is for. So perhaps some of you readers might have an answer to this query and its associated hypothesis (as yet unproven or even tested), and, if true, the related problem I have with it.
Query: Why, on New Year’s Eve, which my wife and I spent blissfully housebound with a newborn and our two other young’uns, were NONE of the news channels, not NBC, not CBS, not ABC, not even CNN or MSNBC, running the traditional “New Year’s Around the World” fare? The stuff you see every single New Year’s Eve? You know – It’s New Year’s Eve in Paris (ooh – fireworks behind the Eiffel Tower!), then New York (the ball drops!), Chicago (revelers drinking), etc? This stuff is usually shown live around the world. It was very very odd to see re-runs of Aaron Brown’s evening program on CNN, instead of live shots from world capitals. And on the networks, only ABC had a New Year’s special, and it was clearly canned and overly produced (Dick Clark, from beyond the grave), with no live shots (at least, not to us in California).
Hypothesis: It seems to me that this had to do with the heightened terror alert level. I can’t think of any other reason. Television news didn’t want to potentially broadcast an attack live to the world, and wanted terrorists to know that the opportunity to strike live on television would not exist.
Problem: If this is true, it seems to me that it’s a violation of broadcast news’ responsibility in any number of instances, but most significantly, in the news outlet’s duty to the viewer to keep them informed as to why they are or are not seeing what they are seeing. This reeks of baby steps toward collusion beteen the press and the government (don’t worry, we know what information is good for you). It disturbs me greatly to think that the entire television news corps decided, collectively or not, to abandon its long-held tradition of reporting New Year’s Eve as a live news story – and then simply not tell us they were doing so. It strikes me as doubly troubling if they did this at the behest of the Department of Homeland Security, and then didn’t tell us about it.
My only possible proof of this hypothesis was a piece I saw on New Year’s Day. I forget which channel it was, but the perky reporter said “Now that New Year’s Eve went off without a hitch, we can show you some pictures from around the world….”
I’m not against the premise of this – that the network news, in times of crisis, collaborates with the government to help prevent a terrible tragedy (though I could argue this was not such an instance). I am, however, against the idea that the public is not informed about such a collaboration, and that journalistic watchdogs aren’t at least discussing the implications of same.
Did I just miss something? Did all the networks run disclaimers before I tuned in? Was there a widely publicized New Year’s Eve Media Blackout that I missed word of? Did the NYT or anyone else run a piece on this I missed? I can’t find a thing about this on Romenesko…if this were in fact true, one would think journalists would at least have a robust debate about it, right? Does this bother anyone else, or am I rambling wildly off the mark? I’m going to email my friends in network news and ask em, but I figured the blogosphere would probably have a better answer, quicker…so let me know!
Via Jeff Jarvis today I came across Plink, an experimental “people link” search engine built on the “Friends Typelist” and/or blogrolls of Moveable Type users. It is explained by Anil Dash in the Six Apart blog here. This is a neat implementation of search based on FOAF ideas. Basically, Plink (cool name) lets you search for people you know, and then see who they know, and who knows them. To be included, you have to create a FOAF file, which I have not done, and honestly, am not sure I want to deal with. Those that have, however, are pointing the way for applications that eventually will do it automatically. Might this auger the future of Friendster or LinkedIn, where the intelligence and relationships built into those closed networks become part of the open platform of the Net?
I suppose it had to happen. “Ungoogle” is a meta-search engine is that uses the “major search engines besides Google.” I can’t find anything else on the site to tell me who is behind this, save a reference to the “Hound Internet Family of Search Engines” which a quick Google search shows will return you to the same page with a few different URLs. (Found via the Google Blogoscoped site.)