Newspapers are reacting in different ways to the shrinking revenue pie, some have launched blogs, many have twitter accounts, and some newspapers like the NYT keeps content behind a registration page. Today, the Guardian has launched Open Platform, a feature that will allow content be repurposed in a variety of ways. Those who participate in this affiliate content network will be an ad partner, extending the Guardian’s monetization model to these third party sites. Their API will allow third party developers to create new ways to tap into their story stream, and extend it beyond the walls of the Guardian website.
I can think of half a dozen applications (as I was thinking aloud in Twitter and kicked off a conversation) that could be built that could make it interesting, here’s what I could think of:
1. Social apps that build stories based on what your real friends have read –and vote for
Make it social. Someone will develop an application that will tap into your social graph, and suggest stories that your friends are reading, or stories that your friends recommend, or stories that other people with similar traits as you have read.
2. Mobile app that provides relevant news depending on where you are.
As location devices improve, mobile devices in the future may serve up content based on where you are located at. Traveling to a new city? This device could serve up stories that are interesting to the local news palette. Or, make news stories based on where you’re at, I’d love to hear news stories about a store or industry that I’m near by, say, the financial stability of a electronics store or auto dealer before buying.
3. Deliver stories based on time of day and day of week
Reading habits may vary depending on time of day or day of week. Expect a developer to build stories related to your work industry as you’re riding the subway to work. Lunch time stories could be related to leisure activities such as style or sports. For the single, reviews of the local eateries or lounges would be appropriate on Fridays, and entertainment and movie reviews would be most importantly on a Saturday morning
4. Suggests stories based on your historical behavior –or related to page you are on
Go behind ‘recommended’ stories. Imagine a developer building a secured Firefox or Flock plugin that will suggest stories to you based on the other browser behaviors. If you’ve liked stories about the NY Giants in the past, you’ll likely like stories about the Red Sox, or weather and team info as the Giants are at away games. Or, take it a step further and suggest Guardian stories based on the actual page you’re on.
5. Build new visual interfaces for the Guardian
Imagine a developer building a new site for the Guardian, they could design and develop new visualizations to view stories by frequency, map overlays, by people, or topics. They should draw inspiration from Digg’s visualization tools.
6. Allow citizen journalists to submit stories Perhaps the most bold, but a new system could allow tweeters, bloggers, and Youtubers to submit not only commentary about stories, but create new stories themselves –feeding the Guardians news stream with real time content from the crowd. Of course, the challenge with all ‘amateur’ media is that a certain threshold of quality will need to be met.
7. You dream: submit your ideas
That’s all I could come up with at 5am in the morning, I’d love to hear your ideas. Leave a comment.
The raves are coming in, the community likes the weekly social networking digest I put out every Wednesday. What is it? A fast summary of what you need to know about the space. Here’s all the recent ones. Organized, prioritized and succinct it delivers the details of this industry that you may need to know about…and what I’m covering as an analyst. If you’re working at a company in this space, this is a good way to get into my head and poke around.
If you’re a mediasnacker, and just want this weekly digest without the rest of my blog, (although I wish you’d subscribe to the whole thing, I realize it’s a lot to consume for the busy person)
Thank Amyloo for the feed URL, she let me know that one of the default features (a hidden easter egg, really) is that wonderful WordPress can provide a feed for ANY category or tag. How? you just add “feed” at the end of the URL of the page that renders all the tags/categories.
What’s another way to get snackbytes from me? you can find me on Twitter (I’ll add you back), which has become a chat room, and I often link out to what I’m reading in near-real time with commentary. Don’t like Twitter? you may side with David, who I just had this podcast debate with.
Communication on the web is getting faster, smaller, more distributed, and mobile.
Ted Tom Conrad of Pandora (a website I’m a big fan of and needs our support right now) told me today at the CommunityNext conference here in Sunnyvale that I’m one of the people he feels he knows really well because of how much I share on Twitter. I could be considered a spammer, but he can unsubscribe anytime he wants, so I’m not worried about it.
Lane Becker (who’s launching Get Satisfaction) told me that he’s subscribed to my shared feed but not my blog feed, I suggested the content may be better than my blog feed.
Here’s a few ways you can subscribe to Web Strategy:
This is one of my all time favorite video blogs, at first, I was worried this would be just a series of one-offs, but Lee has created a handful of “web in plain English” videos called the Common Craft Show. There’s something to say about an expert who can communicate to anyone. Update: Lee has thanked his fan base, and I’m at the top of the list.
Really easy to understand, very succinct, and very helpful. If only consultants and lawyers could speak so clearly.
If you get caught up in a feedreader for hours a day, and are getting distracted a work, I recommend that you subscribe to my colleague Robert Scoble’s link blog. He subscribes to hundreds of feeds and filters through all the junk every day and then shares them using Google Reader which he calls his link blog –you should subscribe. In fact the google reader team confirmed he consumes the most feeds on the entire planet of google reader users.
Why? You can subscribe to this shared link blog, and save yourself time. A lot of these pieces are the highlights of the day, and the fact that he is sharing these are ‘gestures’ that carry nearly as much weight as a link. Of course, I also show up in his shared feeds #23 this month, but if you’re already reading my blog you’ll just get a double dose. He also suggested that some are getting more traffic from this shared link feed.
Tim Ferriss, author of the best selling book the Four hour work week, interviewed Scoble to figure out how he consumes so many feeds. Robert and I don’t always agree, we had a civil discussion about the future of corporate websites, while I feel they will share the voice of the customer, he suggested that’s the wrong direction, marketing is shifting completely off to blogs –I saw it’s an “and”. We’ll see.
In any case, it’s a privilege working with Robert, I get asked a lot “what’s it like working with Scoble”. I always say, he’s one of the hardest working people in the tech industry I’ve ever met, it’s true…he never stops.
Portals are Dead. Portals are Dead. = the mantra of Web 2.0, content is distributed, open, and amorphous.
The Web Portal, which gained fame in the late 1990s was a web application that was intended to keep eyeballs on one page by providing all the information in a dashboard type style at once. From 2000-2003 I was the UI designer on the MyExodus customer portal, it was a lot of fun.
An Aggregator, like a feedreader, techmeme, page flakes, netvibes, and myyahoo (and now facebook) is designed to collect all the information you want on to one page. If you think about it for a moment, Google search results is actually an aggregator too.
So what’s the difference between a Portal and an Aggreagtor? Not much, if you ask me. So if portals are dead, then are aggregators too? While sure, the resources required to create the modern portal/aggregator or low, the strategy is the same: bring all the resources to one page.
Conclusion: Portals aren’t dead, we’ve just renamed ‘em.
I’m pleased to see that Adobe has moved closer to creating internet applications in addition to their amazing web suites. myFeedz was launched and is a filter. Yahoo launched their filter called Pipes a few weeks ago, (as I remember the antiquated myYahoo) which I’m starting to see a few examples emerge here and there, such as this interesting feed of Upcoming events of a trusted network
I'm not going to join either Pipes or MyFeedz until I start hearing more voices in my trusted network having success with it (that's my trick by the way, I'm a second generation adopter with new technology, I let the first adopters try it out).
I'm curious however, aside from the interesting interface and tagcloud, what's the strategic benefit of myFeedz? I can do a keyword query in bloglines by IAC, what benefit does myFeedz offer in addition to that?
I use Google Reader most of the time, (you can see my shared feed) and see a tremendous amount of opportunity, which I’m sure the Reader team is already working on.
Here’s my ultimate reader:
I enjoy the Google Reader interface, the hotkeys make it easy to scream through content (Scoble taught me some tricks) , keep the sharing ability.
Quantify and highlight multiple entries and keywords: Sometimes I see duplicate items come through my feedreader, those items should be somehow indicated they are ‘hot’
Intelligently look for other feeds that show similar characteristics from my trusted network (that may be hard to figure out)
Intelligently learn how to filter out the junk, look for patterns
If your website at your company doesn’t have Syndicated feeds on your website, please send this to your web team, I’m here to help.
What you should know about Syndicated Feeds for your Corporate Website
Yesterday, a respected PR professional asked me some excellent questions on Syndication deployment, usage, and tactics. Given her background is not web, this is an excellent question, and I’m glad she asked. This post is intended as a basic primer, and I’m going to avoid any technical discussions. As you hopefully know, I use this blog to answer questions that I get from prospects, customers, friends, and family about the web.
Syndicated feeds such as RSS, and Atom and other feeds are becoming increasingly popular primarily due to the blogging explosion, (Syndicated content is a default feature of nearly every blog) and is starting to take hold on non-blog sites as well.
How it works
Websites, blogs, and other tools offer syndicated feeds. Users can tell it’s available on the page as there are icons on the webpage, and some browsers indicate this (see orange icon on browser). Users can then subscribe to the feed from a feedreader or from their subscribe feeds section on the browser. This let’s the user be alerted when there is information changed on the website, and they can consume the content when they want, and how they want.
Adoption levels for those that are actively using a feedreader, but the adoption trend will continue to grow. Since the next version of Outlook (a staple of many corporations) it will have a built in feedreader in the Inbox. Feedreaders will be mainstream just like email, so please start your planning now.
You want your users to subscribe to your content, this means they are signaling they want more content, and an indicator they are a highly relevant, targeted audience, don’t let them down!
Modern Web Marketing is giving to users
If you run a website for a company or organization, I would encourage you to deploy an syndicated feed program for your site, it will give the visitors of your site the opportunity to subscribe (only if they want to) to your content so they can consume it when and how they please. In marketing, this is an opt-in model. For this to be effective you’ll want to keep the feeds updated.
The tech industry is often the testbed for adopting new technologies, and there are many companies that have RSS right on their homepage. You can see a prominent RSS icon on the Hitachi Data Systems site, and PodTech has quite a few.
It makes sense to segment your content and cut it as many ways as possible, look for content that is frequently updated such as press releases, updated collateral, white papers, and even your email newsletter. Since it’s native to podcasts, blogs, and other social media tools, be sure to put all of these on one page, making it easy for users to select from the ‘menu’
Don’t have RSS on your Corporate Site?
It’s not hard to implement this, you can use a free blog (go to wordpress) and create this account. Then you can send the feed into feedburner which will provide you with metrics. Add the RSS icon to your homepage, and then populate the blog with updated content: news, new media, or to be as so bold as to blog. If you’re more technical, you can find an RSS generator which could be a way to deploy everytime your website updates. I’m sure all of the above recommendations are free, time and a bit of know how is all that is needed.
Deploying RSS on your corporate website, (say maybe one feed) should cost no dollars, it should primarily be labor, consult your developers for more details. Many of the tools I’ve suggested have zero dollar cost. Since content is already updated on your site (news, press, new collateral, etc) you don’t have to create new content, just use this as a vehicle for extended reach.
1) Get educated, I’ve provided some links below
2) Get a feedreader, There’s a ton here, I happen to use Google Reader, and have also used Google Homepage, MyYahoo, and Bloglines. My feedreader saves me time.
3) Subscribe to some feeds (start with mine)
4) Create RSS for your own site, test it out
5) Grow: Segment content, find better tools, make it part of your integrated marketing approach
I expect CMS systems in this year to be offering a wide multitude of RSS output features, and even create engines that allow users to create their own customized feed.
I also recommend you consider offering RSS on your site, as there are ‘scraping’ technologies appearing that will take your content off your site and convert into RSS, even if you don’t want it to. This may not be ideal for you, as the content that it’s scraping may not what you want to serve up to your highly relevant audience. A way to subscribe to content will eventually be on every single webpage whether the creator likes it or not.
I noticed a trend in several RSS articles and posts being published, I’ve collected a few of the more helpful ones, including the primer from Wikipedia up front. Feel free to leave comments with additional resources.
Primer: Wikipedia on RSS
Don’t know what RSS is? As a Marketer, Web Professional, or communicator, being knowledgeable about RSS is important in this current web era.
RSS for the People
Although I’ve always thought the BBC version of explaining RSS was classic, this version explained by Paul Kim leverages what the LA Fire department has figured out. It’s truly a pro-consumer point of view.
Who’s using what for RSS
Analysis of which feedreaders are being used and usage of RSS. It doesn’t answer “who” is using RSS, but research this time last year from Yahoo suggested that it tended to be younger technology folks. No surprised there. 42 uses of RSS and Atom Feeds
Really Simple Syndication is a protocol, a vehicle, and a tool that can be used to meet a variety of purposes. This brain stormer gives some practical applications of using RSS and the applications currently avaialble. My suggestion: create a feedreader on your enterprise Intranet to assist with creating customized homepages.
RSS Subscription for Podcasts low
A few days ago I covered that podcast subscription may be low, but it’s quickly growing according to Pew internet research RSS finally taking off, thanks to IE7 and Firefox?
Now that both dominant browsers (IE is massively the lead) and Firefox both offer feedreader abilities, not to mention most web mail and the future Outlook12 will this be the tools needed to take RSS mainstream?
Oh, one other confusing thing: I hear people describing RSS as a Push, and a Pull medium, in your opinion, which is it?
I’ve already asked several web experts to give me their questions they would want me to ask the team, (could range from IT deployment, security, user experience, standards, css, features, feeds, market share, whatever) if you’ve any specific questions, please leave a comment.
I wonder if IE7s use of feeds could replace feedreaders for common users. The tabbed feature should improve productivity. If the browser has a fully functioning ‘tagging’ feature this could be helpful within the enterprise or personal bookmarking.
More news about the release from Kevin Dean. By the way, I love the fact that Microsoft is reaching to the web and blog community for a product release. Smart, very smart.