Google +1

Google  has an interesting new tool in beta (see USAToday article, plus the Google Blog post), called +1 buttons, and here’s my video on that (click here). This is of  great interest if you have a lot of friends in the Google network or you have a local business that could use some support from your friends network. In the future they may get access to a wider set of your social network contacts, via Facebook, et al. It’s a sort of friend recommendation overlay of web search.

That is sort of intriguing, because Google searches themselves are a sort of recommendation engine of complete strangers. If a business or service has an additional wave of positive strokes from people that you actually know, it could make a search result quite a bit more fascinating.

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The Daily

We know that… that is…. we UNDERSTAND that (how to say it?)… You might not have (not sure why), an iPad. No, it’s okay, really, it’s okay. Not everyone has to have one, it’s really okay, no need to apologize, or what’s worse, refer to Ned Ludd, etc.

Not having an iPad simply means: this article is not for you. Unless, of course, you would like a glimpse into the shiny new future in which you DO own an iPad.

I say this only because of the recent (today?) launch of the first daily newspaper app launched on the iPad (really, it’s a multimedia extravaganza, camouflaged as a “newspaper”), as described today on

If it is not immediately apparent to you why it is ironic to have such an announcement by USA Today, let me give you  a little historic perspective, since when USA Today came out there was no national newspaper in the US.

It was an enormous logistical challenge to produce copies of USA Today at multiple printing presses all around the country to get delivery first in a number of test markets, and then to make it available everywhere. Only a really large newspaper organization, Gannett, could pull that off.

And now USA Today is a fixture of national life, and in retrospect seems more or less to have been an obvious, sensible idea. (I know, I just mentioned the birth of USA Today in my last post, but it’s still true).

The austerely named “The Daily” could have the same fate, in that it has staked out new territory that also simply makes sense, in the online/ontime/iPad space.

The Flipboard magazine app, which came out some months ago does a good, if somewhat diffuse job of providing compelling visuals and text, but The Daily is more topical, and includes mutimedia content in a compelling, reasonably well organized and engaging (and tactile) way.

More telling, the ads on The Daily are, in general, engaging multimedia experiences. I just had tears in my eyes from the hilarious Johnny Depp-enhanced trailer on the making of the upcoming movie Rango.

But it’s not just the ads. There is an article in today’s issue in which two Harlem Globetrotters demonstrate how to spin a basketball on your finger, something that my father (now deceased) could do but never actually taught me to do. Gotta have that trick, and the video in that article showed me how.

From a journalistic perspective, the articles in The Daily are feature articles, i.e. – the kind of articles that journalists like to write but don’t very often get to, as opposed to hard news. Even so, they are using the expanded potential of a handheld mutimedia device to the max, at least in the current state of technology.

There are some things that could be better. It’s not entirely obvious where all the articles are within each subject area. When you scroll to the  right through the articles within a topic area you sometimes enter a dark space and suddenly end up in a full page ad. Maybe more use will make it clearer.

And there are still some missed opportunities, but they are being missed in web browsers as well, such as a tool or capability to click on any term or name in articles and have it defined or at least link to a Wikipedia definition.

That you are not really in a web environment within the app is a curious feeling, of course, and the avid web user may feel a little guilty just consuming text and images, when they should be interacting, managing and multitasking their media experience (e.g. – by looking things up), but The Daily is still an engaging step forward, and at least a first mover and a potential precursor to an emerging NewsApp media genre.

It’s free for two weeks, and then either 99 cents a week or $39.99  a year after that

The latter is an 11.49 savings annually, which, if you go out and get a $499 iPad right now, will pay for your iPad in 43.4 years. Maybe you can use that to justify getting one (good luck explaining that to your wife).

See also:

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Website Magazine

When USA Today came out people wondered if a national newspaper would even work. It hadn’t been done before. Answer: BIG yes.

A similar question might have been asked about Website Magazine, i.e. – why start a magazine about websites when you could have (drumroll…)  a website? It does seem odd, and in some ways it IS odd. After all, they have a print magazine about websites, and a website about their print magazine about websites (

But despite all that, I still am starting to think that you may not be totally serious about web marketing if you don’t subscribe (or get the free issues) of this mag. I read my incoming issues cover to cover, and even dog-ear certain pages that have things I should either do or investigate.

It’s not that often that I find things (or have time for all the things) that stretch me as a web marketing guy, but I find something of that nature in every issue of this publication.

Just in the February 2011 issue I bent over the corners of (or at least read with  interest) articles on:

  • Why the smart money is on Paypal [I’m interested in micropayments, which the artcle discusses]
  • Exploring the Yahoo Contributor Network [more on this later]
  • The 50 Top social media solutions [I should look at them all, I know]
  • 2011 SEO checkup
  • Dealing with findability disasters [damage control when customers flame you]
  • Advertising exchanges [emerging online ad model]
  • The Yahoo/Microsoft Merger [tweaking your new Bing account]
  • 10 Golden Principles for a Successful Web App [I have SOOO many app ideas]
  • LinkedIn Secrets to Success [still a slacker here]
  • HTML5 and CSS3
  • Tips of Successfully Managing a site redesign [lily to be the story of my year here at MUM]

All useful stuff. Most intriguing, however, was the article on the Yahoo Contributor Network, which is posted on their site. I hadn’t realized that there were such robust technologies in place to empower and pay content contributors, i.e – writers. That’s me.

And doesn’t that just look like a fun retirement activity, if by retirement you mean you can do whatever you want, live anywhere and just write a little bit now and then for movie money via residuals.

There is still something to be said for aggregated, edited, high quality content. Getting it all in a print publication is both retro and quaint, in a way, but gives the material a focus that is often quickly diffused online.

It’s working for me.

See also

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Marshall McLuhan, still in the conversation

Anyone old enough to remember the intellectual exchanges of about the year 1970 has at least a mental word cloud that includes a fairly large representation of the name Marshall McLuhan.  Even now people are still trying to come to terms with the fact that we have more or less lived out his cultural and media insights and concerns in the online media space.

A recent article on the New York Times website, “Marshall McLuhan, Media Savant” riffs on all of the potential implications of that title, with its parallel to idiot savant, as well as a sincere implication of the core meaning, in reviewing “You Know Nothing of My Work!” by Douglas Coupland.

The article gives a sort of quirky handle on a quirky book about a brilliant but quirky man. A sort of quirky to the third power experience, but very much worth it to at least get some kind of grasp on a  personality that was always intriguing, sometimes illuminating, but also baffling at times, especially at that time.

Word Cloud
By the way, here’s the word cloud for this page (not including this sentence, however):

Word Cloud of this article

Thanks to

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Google Places affects page position of your core site

The addition of Google Places listings above search results may affect the visibility of your core site first  of all by pushing it down below the fold or even off the first page (see article). The lesson? Make sure you get your Google places listings in place if you have locations, and optimize even harder either way.


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GoDaddy Marketplace

GoDaddy is adding a marketplace. Normally I wouldn’t think much of it, but GoDaddy is a big player, IMHO, so it may mean something for product driven websites.

BTW if you have such an animal, you should also consider adding to your traffic generating schema. It’s a cool tool that can give you a presence you on multiple product aggregation locations, including Google’s.

Usually there is a Pay Per Click element, but you’re into that already, aren’t you?

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Also day one: Tracking you down

A recent article discusses a fairly sophisticated website activity tracking method whereby marketers may be able to track whether users are home or not:

They won’t know where you live, but they’ll know you are away from home, and so might provide travel related ads.

This type of stuff doesn’t bother me. I just find it intriguing.

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Day 1 – Avatar Enhanced Virtual Improv

Today I like this article at USA Today about motion gaming, not so much because of the gaming function, and because the Wii just got upstaged in their own category, but because IMHO this is the tip of a very cool iceberg that is slowly floating our way in the form gesture based interactions with media.

Gestural interaction with your computer is one thing, but I’m predicting:

WMZ Business Idea #1:

Avatar enhanced improv games where you interact with other virtual players and create a virtual show, with lurker lounge/green room capability for players who want to get onstage next. This could get pretty diverse and be free for all, or monitored, or even MC’d. Plus you could rehearse and practice both improv and actual theatre, and even do staged readings.

This is December 20, 2010 (my birthday, by the way). You saw it here first.

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