Tag: michael_arrington

Ad supported Office in the works?

I see Microsoft are following Google into the Advertising business with their announced purchase of aQuantive for $6bn.

Advertising definitely seems to be where the money is at right now – as Michael Arrington put it earlier on TechCrunch:

Google bought Doubleclick for $3.1 billion in April. Later that same month, Yahoo acquired competitor RightMedia for $680 million. Just yesterday, WPP Group acquired yet another company in this space, 24/7 Real Media, for $649 million.

Just as an indicator of how seriously Microsoft is taking advertising as a revenue stream, this is Microsoft’s largest acquisition to-date. Look to Microsoft to start generating more and more income from advertising and less and less from the traditional software licencing model.

I suspect that we will see an online version of Office, developed in Silverlight, free to use and ad supported in the next 12 months.

Yak4ever is Allfreecalls.net relaunched and re-branded

Pat Phelan is persistence personified!

He launched Allfreecalls.net earlier this year to some considerable acclaim only to have to shut it down after legal action by AT&T!

Pat has been plugging away in the background ever since trying to get the service back up and running again.

Yesterday Pat announced that Allfreecalls.net is back up once more, this time re-branded as Yak4ever.com.

Unlike the Allfreecalls service, Yak4ever users need to register their number and have to enter a list of (up to 10) numbers they will be calling. This is for legal reasons according to Pat.

Michael Arrington has removed Allfreecalls from his Dead Pool (for now, he says!).

Irish and UK readers should note that this relates to the US service only, Allfreecalls.ie and allfreecalls.co.uk continue to operate as previously.

[Disclaimer: I host these sites for Pat]

Yahoo's open hackday

Yahoo’s first open Hackday is starting this coming Friday (29th) in Sunnyvale California. Upcoming.org has more details including details on how to register.

Michael Arrington
is MC’ing the event and good friend Salim Ismail is one of the judges.

Apparently there is a surprise band showing up as well – no I can’t confirm it is U2!

Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 to be abandoned?

Microsoft has announced today that Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 is available for download.

In the Microsoft announcement, Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer development at Microsoft, said the timeline for further releases is:

Windows Vista Beta 2, and then Beta 3 of IE7, release candidates, and then a final release before end of year.

In a review of IE7 Beta 2, Mich Arrington of TechCrunch pointed out that:

The key features are tabbed browsing (including “Quick Tabs�, a way to see multiple web pages on a single tab), a continuation of the minimalist approach on the UI and toolbars, and enhancements to the RSS reader built into the browser. The team says they’ve made significant improvements in CSS rendering as well, a problem I noticed in the previous beta version.

Co-incidentally (I think!) John C. Dvorak has an article in PC Magazine today where he calls on Microsoft to abandon the browser! John reckons that:

All the work that has to go into keeping the browser afloat is time that could have been better spent on making Vista work as first advertised.

All of Microsoft’s Internet-era public-relations and legal problems (in some way or another) stem from Internet Explorer.

John’s solution is that Microsoft should:

pull the browser out of the OS and discontinue all IE development immediately…. Then, Microsoft can worry about security issues that are OS-only in nature, rather than problems compounded by Internet Explorer.

I wonder if Dean Hachamovitch and the IE team are worried about their jobs now that John has put that sugestion out there. Somehow I doubt it! John’s idea, while superbly timed and very well argued is destined to be ignored by Microsoft. Giving up and conceding defeat is not the Microsoft way.

IE7 Beta 2 caveats – According to Microsoft’s IE Group Program Manager, Tony Chor,

there is no supported way for IE6 and IE7 to install side-by-side

IE7 is beta software – install it at your own risk!

Sneak peek at edgeio!

I received an invite to take a sneak peek at edgeio this morning – edgeio is Michael Arrington of TechCrunch fame’s latest startup. The tagline for edgeio is “Listings from the edge” so the name comes from the word “edge” and “io” (input/output?).

The idea behind edgeio is that people can advertise items for sale from their website or blog and if they include the “Listing” tag with the post, the edgeio site will automatically find the post and List it on edgeio. Edgeio will therefore become a free version of Ebay (you won’t have to pay to be listed on edgeio, you simply post on your site including the “listing” tagin your post) where you maintain ownership of the data!

This is very similar in theory to the structured blogging concept Salim Ismail of PubSub talked about when I interviewed him here last December. I haven’t talked to michael about edgeio (yet) so I don’t know if edgeio will read and display structured blogging metadata.

I tried out a posting this morning on my WordPress.com blog (I don’t think posting for sale items on this site is appropriate to its content to date) and sure enough it showed up on edgeio – it took a few attempts to get it to show up but I think that was down more to my ineptitude than to any problem on the edgeio side!

You can claim your website/blog on the edgeio site so all future postings on your site are associated with your profile and you can link your profile to other services like LinkedIn, Flickr etc. You can also associate your profile with where you live in the world, which is handy obviously – esp when selling large/heavy items like I posted this morning.

Edgeio also have a sidebar you can add to your site, listing your posts on edgeio (and other people’s posts if you have very few) – edgeio say that this function:

can add useful content to your website and in the future can be the source of income.

Edgeio sidebar widget

As you can see below edgeio allow you to add tags to your listing and also metadata like price and status

Edgeio edit listing page

However, I couldn’t find the pricing or status info I added anywhere
Edgeio listing page

Overall, I think this is a fantastic idea (I have listed several items on Ebay and never sold any of them!). It needs a bit more work (I couldn’t find currency info for example) but this is still very early days for this application so I have no doubt it will only get better and better.

UPDATE:
I tried adding the sidebar widget to this site but it doesn’t appear to be functioning yet – what appears in the sidebar is the edgeio homepage! Also, I have just realised that the posting I put up on my site never received a trackback from edgeio – still it is listed in edgeio so I can’t complain.

FURTHER UPDATE:
I added the tags “Cork” and “Ireland” to my edgeio listing – anyone posting from Cork or Ireland should do likewise so we’ll be easily able to find each others items.

trackback.at

Michael Arrington Podcast

As I mentioned previously, I interviewed Michael Arrington of TechCrunch last week as part of my ongoing series of recorded and podcast phone interviews. Michael really impressed me in the interview with his humour, his obvious intelligence and his humility.

This is definitely one of the most stimulating interviews I have recorded yet – despite stiff competition from Robert Scoble, Shel Israel and TJ McIntyre.

These are the questions I asked Michael and the times in the interview they were asked:

  • Michael, for anyone who is not familiar with your name can you start off by telling the listeners who is Michael Arrington? What is it that you do? – 0:15
  • How long has TechCrunch been running now? – 3:58
  • I was interviewing Robert Scoble last week and he said he’d never heard of TechCrunch 6 months ago – now it is the first site he looks at every day – 4:09
  • Feedburner reports Techcrunch has 15020 subscribers – to what do you attribute the success of techcrunch – 4:46?
  • Since TechCrunch is a success you must be really busy, is it a full-time job? – 7:29
  • You don’t have ads on the site – how do you fund it? – 9:32
  • You have recently joined John Battelle’s Federated Media Publishing – can you explain what that is and how do you see this changing TechCrunch? – 11:46
  • How is it different from Google’s AdWords? – 12:54
  • What’s the story with the BBQs? how did that tradition get started? – 13:13
  • TechCrunch is part of the Web 2.0 Workgroup – What is the web 2.0 workgroup? – 15:50
  • What is Web 2.0? Is it just another catchall buzzword like ‘interactive’ designed to grab the attention of vc’s? – 17:14
  • What web 2.0 app(s) could you not live without? 19:56
  • Ad supported sites seem to be becoming the norm – is everything headed that way? do you think we will one day see an online version of Office/Windows supported by ad revenue? – 21:27
  • Are you a Mac or PC user? – 23:27
  • What kind of world do you want your kids to grow up in? – 27:27

The full interview is 29 minutes and you can listen to the interview here (6.6mb mp3).

How to make your website more indexable by search engines

I see Michael Arrington has a post on TechCrunch today about Dipsie dCloak – this is a product which is supposed to help websites make their content more indexable by search engines.

That sounds laudable enough I hear you say – but wait a minute, I know two words which can help you do that without the aid of any product – the words? Web Standards. Build a site which is web standards compliant and search engines will have no problems indexing your site – also, you site will load faster, will be cross browser compatible and will work predictably on most mobile browsers!

Don’t know if your site is web standards compliant – check it out using the free validator on the W3C site.

Michael Arrington interview

I was talking to Michele Neylon last night and he was in great form noting that the number of subscribers to his site had passed the 100 hundred mark – I’m afraid I punctured his balloon when I mentioned I had just been interviewing Michael Arrington – Michael only set up his TechCrunch blog reviewing Web 2.0 products last June and he already has over 15,000 subscribers! That’s right, 15,000 subscribers in less than 6 months!

I had a fascinating chat with Michael – he spoke about his background before TechCrunch, his famous BBQs, and his plans for the future. Michael really impressed me with his breadth of knowledge of what’s hot and more importantly what’s coming down the line – he was easy to talk to and generous with his knowledge and time.

As we are coming up to the American holiday season (Thanksgiving), I am going to hold off on publishing this podcast until next Monday – put it in your calendars! Oh! and for those who thought the previous interviews were a shade long, this one comes in at a shade under 30 minutes.

Upcoming podcasts – get your questions in!

Great news! I have some extremely interesting podcast interviews coming up soon that I am very excited about – in the next few days I plan on recording interviews with:

If you have any questions you’d like me to ask any of these interviewees, feel free to leave your questions in the comments and, as always, I’ll ask them for you during the interview.

New Audible podcasting format – why bother?

I have recently started to take an interest podcasting again – I produced a few podcasts during the summer to dip my toes into podcasting but I had to stop when the soundcard on my PowerBook blew.

Recently, I have recorded a couple of my talks and podcast them with generous help from FrankP and NearFm and even more recently, Robert Scoble has agreed to let me record and podcast an interview I will do with him by phone tomorrow evening.

So I have been following the world of podcasting with increasing interest and was surprised to see a war breaking out there over the weekend!

The war is about what audio format to use in podcasts – traditionally the audio format has been mp3 files but a company called Audible has proposed a new .aa format. According to Mitch Ratcliffe (an Audible consultant), the main advantage of the .aa format seems to be that it is possible to audit how often they have been downloaded – this is, of course, important from a monetisation point of view! However, Mitch rather lost the head (and thereby the argument) when not everyone agreed with him.

As Michael Arrington put it:

Instead of embracing the bloggers that would normally talk about this, Mitch Ratcliffe (an Audible consultant) went on an unmitigated, unprovoked character assasination romp (with follow up attacks) against Dave Winer (â€?he’s willing to stealâ€?), Om Malik and others. This sure is an interesting way to engage the sneezers. As Om puts it, Mitch “goes after the dissenters with a verbal baseball batâ€?…. If you find yourself on the other side of a debate with Dave Winer, Om Malik, Doc Searles, Jeff Jarvis and others, maybe you should rethink your position. Because it is very likely you are wrong.

Doc Searls, Dave Winer, Michael Arrington and others have been mounting a robust defence of mp3’s.

In my own case, I don’t see myself shifting away from mp3s any time soon. As far as I can see from reading about Audible’s new format, you upload your podcasts to Audible’s servers, they convert to .aa and host the podcast there. It is a paid service.

My podcasting is pretty basic – I record the sound, convert to mp3, upload to archive.org (free hosting and bandwidth) and then link to the archive.org file from within my wordpress blog. WordPress recognises the .mp3 file as an audio file and creates the correct enclosures transparently for me so I don’t need to worry about the tech side of the podcasting. How would WordPress deal with .aa files? I have no idea. I suspect, it wouldn’t recognise them as audio and therefore podcast subscribers (listeners) wouldn’t know you had published new podcasts.

I think Audible’s strategy is wrong here – I think they would have been far better served coming up with a mechanism for measuring stats on mp3s rather than coming up with a new proprietary file format. What do you think?

UPDATE:
Post updated after comments from Mitch and Pete informed me that .aa is not a new format – sorry ’bout that guys.