Social Networking For Obese People?

For those suffering from the “disease of obesity,” there is a social network geared towards helping members overcome their overweight issues, as well as seek out medical experts for advice.

(PR Web) “The entire profile system has been revamped to make it much easier to use and customize,” explained Loi Tran, ObesityHelp Inc. Chief Technology Officer. “The new features provide members with the opportunity to create their own personal web space and to communicate with their friends without logging onto their email accounts. Members will not need to understand HTML in order to jazz up their profiles. Our new point-and-click tools will allow members to personalize their profiles in minutes, by making it simple to upload backgrounds and change fonts, colors and borders to make their profile uniquely theirs.”

ObesityHelp comes across as a mesh between MySpace (done right) and LinkedIn, as it provides an interesting connection between the business world (doctors, medical professionals, etc.) and the personal (everyday people).

Although only boasting over 340,000 members, the site is already drawing a steady stream of traffic which may translate into huge profits via Ad Sense (since medical ads generally earn more per click than most other types, at least to my knowledge).

But Will Stephen Colbert Abandon YouTube?

With the recent takedown of the Colbert Report and Daily Show clips by YouTube at Viacom’s bidding, the good folks at PBS’s Media Shift sure hope he doesn’t.  The flavour of the “open letter” to Stephen Colbert is a bit tongue in cheek, but the character’s steadfast support and use of new media isn’t.   He’s supported the green-screen challenge (culminating in a light sabre duel with George Lucas), asked his supporters to get a bridge named after him in Hungary (and nearly succeeded, if he wasn’t dead that is) through on-line voting, and coined the phrase “Wikiality” (the number of African elephants is increasing over the past decade!  Look it up! :))

But whyturn to YouTube to enjoy the Colbert Report?  The letter puts it succinctly:

Nice idea, but one problem. When the Colbert Nation goes to YouTube to trade clips or watch them, it’€™s an easy interface, simple to use, simple to watch. When they go to Comedy Central’€™s Motherload, guess what they’€™re in for? A bloated interface, with little control over what you want to watch, and you have to download a special software plug-in if you use the Firefox browser. If you have a Mac? Forget it. No ‘€œColbert’€? for you!

The light hearted attempt at humor is also buttressed by some solid commentary and on-going updates about the state of Comedy Central clips (which are still there on YouTube).  For further details hit up the MediaShift blog.

Bot Expose

This month’s Wired magazine has a fascinating article one of those things you hear about, perhaps worried about, but never really understood.  Hey, I’ve worried about my own PC’s being zombies in disguise  (hey, its Halloween — got to throw in a goulish reference some how) — yes, its a great look at bots.  Those automated programs that sit silently on a PC, and are responsible, after an appropriate signal from “command and control”, for spam, click fraud, and all host of web evils.  Amongst other things:

Bots can also monitor keystrokes to collect passwords and other sensitive data for identity theft and credit card fraud. In one 2005 case, bots spread spam purporting to contain pornographic attachments. When a recipient opened the file, it installed a keystroke logger that captured, among other things, LexisNexis credentials. Using that information, the hackers compromised 300,000 accounts.

A pretty eye-opening article on some recent history of bot attacks (on Six Apart, no less), the spammers who profit from them, and the stalwart few who are trying to do something about it.

Flipping Websites

Uncommon Business writes about flipping websites and shares some good advice on improving and reselling web properties:

Last August, Jones paid $1,000 to buy, a website about all things hip-hop. He beefed it up–added some forums about fitness and health, for example–and managed to boost traffic by a couple thousand unique visitors, to 7,000 a month. Then, in late March, Jones put the site up for sale on a marketplace called SitePoint. He was bombarded with offers, quickly closing a deal for about $13,500. “I spent less than an hour a day on the site,” Jones says.

Along the same lines, Blog Herald columnist David Krug has penned a

Why I want you to pimp that Dashboard (and crash the Shuttle) just got a new Dashboard and it looks nice. It’€™s a brushed up version of the original Dashboard that we all have learned to love, err, use at least. Nothing fancy, but an improvement which I like.

I also like Tiger Admin, a plugin for WordPress that makes most of your admin interface look cleaner and nicer. Some functionality is lost however, and I have experienced quite a few visual mistakes. Actually, the lost functionality is the visual mistakes come to think of it. I run Tiger Admin on my personal blog, but not in any of my other projects so far. Anyway, the Dashboard in Tiger Admin is good and I can imagine that Matt & Co. has looked a bit on it when doing the new Dashboard over at

As have the Shuttle project, the next generation (sorry) admin layout for WordPress. I still don’€™t like it very much but perhaps it’€™ll get better.

[Read more…]

BBC joins the user contributed content gang

Pete Clifton, head of BBC News Interactive, has spoken on user contributed material coming for BBC in the future.

“It’s about having a place on the site where you can bring it all together, a ‘Your News’ place where we can really showcase the best of what we have.

Read more over at

This is, of course, not chocking news. BBC is usually pretty forward when it comes to their websites and it actually surprises me somewhat that they haven’€™t ventured into this in a serious manner before. Communicating with their users is nothing new though; I remember a nice videogames subsite that did that nicely. It might still be around…

YouTube Now a Tool of Local Elections as Well.

No longer the providence of the American political machine that is currently rampaging througout the states for Mid-term elections, it seems that politicos of all stripes, no matter how big or small you are, no matter where you are, are also embracing YouTube.  A piece in the Toronto Star discusses how the run for the mayorship of Toronto has all three leading candidates using YouTube:

Mayor Miller’s posting on YouTube looks and sounds like a slick TV commercial. It was actually produced for and screened at his campaign launch in the spring, and one of his staffers later suggested posting the item on YouTube, a website that had 19 million visitors in August. As of last night, Miller’s campaign video had been played 1,933 times

Mark Evans, however, makes a great point: 

The key questions are whether these videos raise the profile of elections to affect turnout, and whether these clips resonate with young people, who are showing less faith in politicians and little interest in voting. I would argue technology is just one piece of the puzzle.