Topsy: The Twitter Search Engine

Topsy: Twitter Search Engine
Topsy: Twitter Search Engine

Topsy: Twitter Search Engine

Thus far the trend we see in this “not so new” media involves building a community of sorts, allowing that community reach a critical mass, defining a way to organize that community’s information based on interest — and finally, building a business model around it.

Right now, a service called Topsy is allowing Twitter to move from the third step towards the fourth. Not that @hashtags were useless, but a search engine for any sort of information inside Twitter is something anyone can appreciate. Not only does it do hashtag and keyword searches, but it also acts like a “Twitterati” (a Technorati for Twitter) identifying Tweets that have your @username ID and how many times you were quoted by other users.

Bloggers can make money from Kindle subscriptions, not available for everyone

And all you need is a blog with an RSS feed. Amazon has opened their platform to bloggers with a US bank account. Defining yet another way to make money through blogging, Amazon allows blog publishers to keep 30% of the income generated from blog subscriptions on their Kindle reader. That’s roughly USD 0.60 cents per subscriber per month if it costs USD 1.99 to subscribe your blog.

To sign up, you will need a separate account from your regular Amazon account. This service is still in Beta, so we’re bound to see some changes in the rates in the future. Of course, subscribing to feeds should be free (because it is free everywhere else), yet we’re also interested to see how this new business model develops for Amazon and bloggers.

We do wish that this service opens up to the rest of the world, as it alienates non-US based bloggers who want a hack at monetizing this new platform. It is indeed a sad reality that the Kindle isn’t available outside the USA in the same way that buying intellectual properties such as audiobooks, eBooks and music from Amazon (and iTunes) is very much restricted. Maybe it is time for a second version of the Florence Agreement?

Philippine blogs use Twitter to cross market the Book Blockade Controversy

UPDATE: The tax on books has been lifted thanks to the supporters who mobilized through the blogs, Twitter, Facebook and rallies!

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo ordered yesterday the Department of Finance to scrap the taxes imposed on imported books and reading material.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the directive was prompted by a torrent of criticism on the move of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), which is under the supervision of the finance department, to impose the duties.

“President Arroyo ordered the immediate lifting of the customs duty on book importation,” Remonde said in a text message to The STAR.

“The President wants books to be within reach of the common man. She believes reading as an important value for intellectual formation, which is the foundation of a healthy public opinion necessary for a vibrant democracy,” he said.

David Archuleta. “Eat Bulaga.” Philippines. The “Book Blockade.” As of this writing, these are the current trending tags on Twitter. A very interesting thing is happening in the Philippines as I post this — American Idol runner up David Archuleta just appeared on “Eat Bulaga” a noontime variety show which caused a huge soar in trending topics for the word Philippines.
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Plurking to 100 Karma .. and then what?

Microblogging service Plurk may not be as popular as Twitter, but it does have a strong presence in South East Asian countries, and has even been banned in China.

What sets Plurk apart is the Karma system that rewards users with new emoticons and features the longer they use the service. It has hit that point since Plurk’s launch last year where more and more users have reached the 100 Karma cap. This is essentially a reward in itself, as once you cap 100, your Karma no longer goes down (apparently Karma decreases when you leave the service untouched for a period of time).

I did send an email to the developers asking if there’s anything beyond 100 points of karma, but alas I failed to receive a response after they told me to send the questions over. It’s been weeks.

The rollout of rewards for increasing your karma includes being able to change your theme CSS layout, a ton of new emoticons, and being able to embed photos and video on your timeline. I just think that after all that, there needs to be a nice reward that culminates such an innovative feature.

iBlog 5 on Live Stream

If you’re half way around the world and still awake, you can catch the 5th iBlog conference right now on live stream. Currently on its 5th year, iBlog is the longest running conference in the Philippines that brings the entire blogging community together. Morning sessions are usually dedicated to niche blogging topics such as blogging basics, photo blogging, video blogging, mobile blogs and SEO tips.

The afternoon session discusses more about the local blog industry including blog advertising, viral marketing campaigns, and the role of bloggers in the Philippine political scene preparing for the 2010 presidential elections.

Live stream link.

Monetizing Manny Pacquiao

Over the weekend, the streets of Manila were pretty much empty. Which is a rare case to consider. The malls had no people. Sunday lunch out was pretty much dead — a whole nation was glued to the television watching the Pacquiao vs. Hatton fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. With 8 seconds to spare in the second round, Pacquiao landed a stunning left blow into Hatton’s lower jaw sending him to sleep, and a TKO.

But Pacquiao wasn’t the only winner that evening — dozens of Filipino bloggers cashed in from page views netting thousands of dollars from the search engines:
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Celebs on Twitter still see a one way street?

When Twitter broke the mainstream, Eric Weaver from the Brand Dialogue made a valid observation. When there is finally a chance to interact with their fans in ways unimagined before, celebs in general still don’t want to listen. If you look at the chart of followers vs. following ratio, most hard hitting celebs are following much less than 10% of their audience.

Yet that’s how many Twittering celebrities are using the site: as one more one-way communication channel. Some seem to be taking the time to respond to fans, but most appear very uni-directional.

Is it the inconvenient truth therefore, that when mainstream takes over, the conversation always becomes a one way street?

Telcos may soon be in the business of selling keywords

I had a revelation today as I met with Ray Tsuchiyama, the marketing director for Tegit Communications (these are the guys behind the famous T9 predictive text recognition in almost all the phones in the world). I was expecting a regular press interview for their new T9 Nav technology but I was surprised to hear something much more interesting than their on-device search. Apparently, the other half of T9 Nav is developing a service that will be out in the latter part of the year, roughly called Off Site Search.
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Yahoo! shuts down GeoCities, pushes paid Web Hosting Service

I remember my first blog website. It was on Geocities. Sad to hear that Yahoo! is pulling the plug. But it is more of the nostalgia that adds to my sentiment. It is finally time to lay GeoCities to rest. Yahoo! does not mention an exact date, but there are always references to the latter part of the year:

Existing GeoCities accounts have not changed. You can continue to enjoy your web site and GeoCities services until later this year. You don’t need to change a thing right now — we just wanted you to let you know about the closure as soon as possible. We’ll provide more details about closing GeoCities and how to save your site data this summer, and we will update the help center with more details at that time.[Yahoo!]

What I find rather funny is how Yahoo! pushes the “award winning Yahoo! Web Hosting Service” which is an all in one paid service as the prime option for GeoCities migration. I have nothing against this — but obviously they’re not telling the public of other perfectly good (and FREE) services such as WordPress and Blogger.

Closing geocities forms part of their strategy to streamline all their services and eliminate those that don’t seem to fit in the scheme of things (i.e the closing of JumpCut in June ’09).

Farewell, Geocities. We knew thee well.