January 25, 2005

Microsoft in trouble with Spaces name

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Microsoft may be facing a threat to its use of the name “Spaces” for its blogging service, if Detroit Free Press reports are correct and Tor Hough, of Rochester based firm Edict, which has being selling a CMS – come – blogging tool called “Spaces” for the last couple of years, can find funding for legal action.

The report states that Hough wonders why Microsoft chose the name his company uses.

“The day after Microsoft announced its Spaces, we started hearing from our customers asking us what happened, had we sold out to Microsoft?” Hough said. “I thought the first call was a joke. But when I looked and found Microsoft’s service, I was stunned.”

Negotiations with a number of venture capitalists have stalled over the name dispute.

Hough has reportedly written letters to Microsoft officials and legal advisers but hasn’t received a response.

“Microsoft has very, very deep pockets,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is end up in court over this. But this is our name. We carefully researched it two years ago, and we’ve been building our name and reputation with it.” said Hough.

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My MSN launches RSS feeds service: serious concerns with Moreover

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It works
News from Microsoft that they have now officially announced the ability to read RSS and Atom feeds within the My MSN service.

The Microsoft Search Blog states that users can add an individual blog’s feed on the site.

On problem though: type in the name of your favourite blog and none of the results will show you the blogs feeds directly.

The search only shows results from reconstituted feeds held by Moreover.

Whilst shifting bandwidth demands from content originators to Moreover may be welcomed by some, the arrangement strips the ability for Bloggers to know who or how many people are reading their feeds, and potentially gives over control to Moreover of the feeds, giving near total power to a private company in the dissemination, or censorship, of feeds utilised on the service.

Direct links from the feeds at My MSN to stories from blog feeds are via a Moreover URL address, which we presume is for tracking purposes, which then redirects to the actual post on the blog.

For example a link from a feed from The Blog Herald at My MSN pointed to http://c.moreover.com/click/here.pl?r32628677b&w=2280172 not directly to the post at the Blog Herald. The Moreover URL then re-directs directly to the Blog Herald, presumably after recording the readers interest.

In testing (typing in “Blog Herald” into the search box), a number of feeds for the Blog Herald appeared at My MSN, all provided from Moreover, and remarkably, showed content from different points in time, with one feed showing the latest postings, and another 24 hours out of date.

Two other well know sites where tested, Dave Winer’s Scripting News (search: “Scripting News”) and Ensight.org from Jeremy Wright (search:”Ensight”). Both search results provided only reconstituted feeds provided by Moreover.

Further, an initial attempt to link directly to a Blog Herald feed was met with a “No content found” message. Strangley though, and attempt exactly 37 minutes later to http://www.blogherald.com/wp-rss.php was successful, and the times of the posts listed on the feed all indicated that they had been posted 37 minutes before. The only thing that we can presume from this is that our initial search initiated an indexing by MSN, which whilst no means successful for the initial search, logged the feed in their shortly thereafter.

Interestingly, the Moreover site brags that it is not a syndication provider, but an aggregator and “As part of the Weblog Content Pack, you can access more than 1,000,000 blogs including techdirt.com, gizmodo.com, kuro5hin.org, reiter.weblogger.com, econlog.econlib.org, argmax.com, knowledgeproblem, blogspot.com, winterspeak.com, institutional-economics.com…”

Basically, Moreover appear to be selling access to feeds from blogs, which they re-label on their own servers, controlling the access to the content, and Microsoft, who are trying to promote a Blog friendly service, are being a little sneaky about its abilities: you can link to an individual blog’s feed, but you’ll more likely end up with an indirect Moreover feed that will be tracked and recorded by Moreover, not the contents originator.

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Blogs create Buzz at Yahoo!

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Yahoo! has reported that Searches on “blogs” and “blogging” are surging and are up over 10% over the past week. Trends upwards included Blog Videos, Diet Blogs, Celebrity Baby Blog, Anime Blogs, Au Pair Blogs, Scrapbooking Blogs, Neopets Blogs, Photo Blogs, Knitting Blogs and NFL Cheerleader Blogs.

Most top blog-related searches at Yahoo! revolved around blogging tools, with searches for “free blog,” “create blog,” and “blog templates” rank near the top of the blog charts.

(via Steve Rubel)

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Mena on Blogs: create a wine group or talk about families

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Strange times when SFGate can run a story titled “Web logs come of age as source of news” and the President of arguably the largest blogging company in the English speaking world, Six Apart President Mena Trott, makes negative comments like this:

“As for blogs’ growing role as an alternative source for news, Mena Trott, who co-founded Six Apart, dismissed the possibility that blogs will ever supplant the mainstream media. She can count only a handful of stories that blogs broke, nowhere near enough to make a name for most of the thousands of news blogs.
“One thing that’s detracted from blogging is the idea that it’s trying to replace journalism,” Trott said. “Most people are going to use it to create a wine group or a place to talk about their families.”

Mena is wrong.

Blogs are already supplanting the mainstream media on thousands of topics throughout the blogosphere. Micro and niche content are the way of the future, and indeed on many accounts, the way of the present.

Mainstream media will continue to exist, but for an ever growing number of people, blogs are becoming the medium of choice for the dissemination of media tailored to their interests and beliefs.

Are blogs trying to replace journalism? A strange comment in an age where the blogger/ journalist line continues to be mixed. Blogging won’t replace journalism, but will become a part of journalism, the terms citizen publishing and citizen journalism are being used more and more frequently. Interestingly the second definition of Journalist at Dictionary.com is “One who keeps a journal”.

Whether her comments are indicative that SixApart intends on pursuing the fast growing consumer blog sector (literally the journal keepers) at the behest of the more mature tech and professional blogging market is yet to be seen, but potentially denigrating the strongly held beliefs of any number of the users you are hosting is interesting business practice from a company that seeks to be a leader in its chosen field.

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Memo to media establishment: Ignore blogs at your peril

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An AP Wire story from Frank Bajak with a great headline and some classic quotes:
“If you don’t know what blogging is by now and you’re reading this in a newspaper please fold it up and boot up your computer. You’re missing a revolution. ”
“Web publishers and bloggers are already stealing readers, advertisers and classifieds. Particularly for young people, journalism has become, in the words of NYU professor and PressThink.org blogger Jay Rosen, more of a conversation than a lecture. ”

Just so I can use the word twice in a week: snaps to Frank.

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January 24, 2005

Cymfony Launches Digital Consumer Insight to Analyze Blogs

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Cymfony, Inc., today announced the launch of “Digital Consumer Insight”. Cymfony, a company specializing in automated media measurement, market research and business intelligence has developed Digital Consumer Insight to assist companies understand digital influencers.

Cymfony’s latest solution in the Dashboard series helps marketing, branding, research, marketing communications and competitive intelligence professionals analyze consumer discussions, trends and sentiment expressed in blogs, message boards, customer feedback sites, consumer emails, usenet groups and other consumer content to gain immediate market intelligence.

Digital Consumer Insight analyzes over four million postings per day delivering valuable insight about what potential and existing customers, competitors and employees are discussing that may have significant effect on a company’s products, reputation, people and sales. This product brings advanced capabilities for prioritizing, organizing and analyzing multiple types of spontaneous and unsolicited consumer commentary. Cymfony helps companies proactively evaluate this information to gain real-time market intelligence and to measure how their company is perceived in the blogosphere.

“Increasingly companies are finding that blogs and other forms of consumer-generated online communications can have significant and far reaching impact on their sales and corporate brands,” said Cymfony CEO Andrew Bernstein. “It is not an either/or choice. Companies must monitor and analyze consumer-generated media alongside traditional media whether positive or negative. It’s about listening to consumers who are communicating online and being better able to enter into a conversation with them. Cymfony is helping companies understand what is important to bloggers, who represent some of the most intelligent, passionate and influential consumers.”

“Branded media will never go away, but consumer-generated media is here to stay,” said Sam Whitmore, media analysis expert, blogger and editor of Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey, based in Beverly, Mass. “Cymfony is smart to give its customers equal access to what all of us out there are saying, not just the anointed few in the press.”

“Our clients are increasingly looking to the online influencers as a first line of contact with consumers,” said Ian Kirk, partner with 1827 Consulting. “The ability to quickly, easily and accurately monitor attitudes and opinions provided by Digital Consumer Insight is critical information when evaluating a company’s reputation in the market.”

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iUpload Partners with Pheedo to Bring RSS Advertising to Branded Blogs

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Today, at the Blog Business Summit in Seattle, iUpload, a content management and corporate blogging solution provider, announced a partnership with Pheedo, a company that offers a set of tools to create, promote, analyze and optimize advertising in their weblogs and content feeds.

Pheedo’s blog and feed advertising server manages, serves and reports on ads in feeds while allowing bloggers to easily monetize their syndicated content. The partnership brings integrated ad serving capabilities into iUpload’s content management and blogging platform providing a number of features to advertisers including: the ability to easily create, manage and track rich advertising campaigns in websites, blog communities and RSS feeds; self service ad purchasing; and flexible revenue models that can extend options to run ads out to even include individual blogs.

“Working with Pheedo brings a valuable ad serving and management module to our content management and branded blogging platform,” said Robin Hopper, CEO of iUpload. “By integrating our platform with Pheedo’s blog and RSS ad serving network, iUpload customers can run targeted ads to communities, which turns into revenue for companies and for bloggers.” iUpload customers gain integrated campaign management and reporting, simplifying the process of serving and tracking web and RSS ads and providing clients with a variety of new revenue opportunities.

“I am very impressed with the suite of tools iUpload is delivering. They are an innovator in the corporate weblog market and we are excited they have chosen Pheedo to provide their customers with our RSS and weblog marketing tools,” said Bill Flitter, Pheedo’s Chief Marketing Officer. “The partnership with iUpload will enable their customers to harness the power of weblog and RSS advertising as well as provide our advertisers with even more niche content, and hyper-targeted weblog and RSS advertising possibilities,” Flitter adds.

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Influence of Web pundits raise questions about ethical standards

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An article from Anick Jesdanun of AP popping up all over the place on Blog Ethics, this one at the Houston Chronicle. A reasonable rap showing two sides to the story.

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NSU professors among growing number of bloggers

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What they can’t say in the classroom, they share on the Internet reports the Aberdeen News, with two Northern State University political science profs becoming the newest members of the Dakota Blog Alliance.

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Senators trying new communications tool: Blogs

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The Grand Forks Herald reports on the emergence of Senatorial Blogging, noting that there are six US Senators now blogging, Mathern, Trenbeath, Seymour, Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo, Dick Dever, R-Bismarck, and Tony Grindberg, R-Fargo

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