Facebook’s new keyword ad system

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Facebook has quietly launched a keyword advertising system to rival Google’s AdSense. Disguised as a simple upgrade to Flyers, its system for selling cheap ads on a self-service basis, the new system charges per click and lets advertisers target by city, gender, age, relationship status, employer, educational level, political views, and keywords. Facebook has the data, generated by its users and the new system will have “detailed reporting”.

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House style killing US newspapers?

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When I wrote for a US-owned magazine (The Industry Standard), the house style on almost any story, for example about a company closing, was like this: “John Smith looked at his watch. As the seconds slowly passed, he knew it was time to step up to the plate and tell the board what was going to happen in the next six months. But something stopped him… yada yada.”

This was totally different to the British style which was basically: “CEO John Smith today told employees they would be out of a job inside 6 months.” Now I notice a great letter to The Washington Post, which basically suggests that in the age of the Internet, mobile phones and a plethora of digital media we now no longer have time to sit down and read what in journalism we call a ‘drop intro’. To quote:

“Newspaper circulation in the United States has been sliding for about 20 years. I have an idea that might help these papers get back on track. If the average paper has about 200 stories and the average reader has about 20 minutes to read it, he can spend only about six seconds on each story. But stories are often written in the meandering style of William Faulkner. If the headline reads, “Bridge Set to Close Down for Repairs” the story might begin with: “Bob Wilson gazed down at his empty coffee cup and listened to the patter of rain falling gently against his window pane.” Then, after reading about two paragraphs of fluff like this, the reader is told to “See BRIDGE, C21, Col. 1″ to learn when the bridge will be closed. We clearly need a newspaper digest that will get to the point more quickly. I’m sure that it would be a huge hit for any publisher smart enough to offer it.”

There’s no doubt that blogs now offer that fast filter, which is perhaps why they took off so well in the US – where readers became tired of the Faulkner style, and have not been so dramatically big in the UK, where…. ahem… the media tends to get to the point a lot faster. As in the The Sun’s “Gotcha”…. I rest my case…

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Is The Standard coming back?

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Comingback

The Industry Standard, my former magazine, appears to be considering re-launching. Its six years since the death of the “newsmagazine of the Internet Economy�, but at least it left a good looking corpse. Many people still respect the kind of in-depth investigate coverage it brought to the Internet industry.

Quite why owners IDG are considering bringing it back is beyond me. Time-Warner pulled the plug on Business 2.0, a similar title, only last week.

A web-only format is more likely than a print magazine. And since blogs are now ‘the thing’, it would be odd not to incorporate those., We’ll see….

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Digital design event

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If you are interested in current digital technology and creativity developments, or have something to contribute about the importance of good design principles in interactive media, then check out iDesign: design for life on September 18th, at London’s Southbank Centre, Purcell Room as part of this year’s London Design Festival. There’ll be an exhibition and debates to examine the impact of digital interactive media on all of our daily lives, and how our collective digital future will pan out. Tickets can be bought here.

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Standard coming back?

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Comingback

The Industry Standard, my former magazine, appears to be considering re-launching. Its six years since the death of the “newsmagazine of the Internet Economy”, but at least it left a good looking corpse. Many people still respect the kind of in-depth investigate coverage it brought to the Internet industry.

Quite why owners IDG are considering bringing it back is beyond me. Time-Warner pulled the plug on Business 2.0, a similar title, only last week.

A web-only format is more likely than a print magazine. And since blogs are now ‘the thing’, it would be odd not to incorporate those., We’ll see….

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New-ish pastures

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You may have picked this up elsewhere, but here’s a brief announcement for mbites readers. I am the new Editor of TechCrunch UK & Ireland. Some may know that I helped launch the site for the first time late last year. I also resigned after what I perceived at the time to be unnecessary editorial interference from the US site in a UK editorial issue. It’s hard to explain it all now, but all I can say is, hell, you had to be there…

However, after a long “time out” I am back again and happy to say that TechCrunch has decided to show its firm commitment to this market and to editorial independence. For my part, it’s great to be editing the site and I want people to be re-assured that TechCrunch UK & Ireland is here to stay.

The other sites I have been working on recently – including mbites.com – remain personal projects, but I will do all my ‘news breaking’ and heavy blogging about the Web 2.0, tech and startups business on TechCrunchUKI. I’ll also be contributing to TechCrunch US.

To contact me:

Email: mike [at] mbites dot com

Twitter:: @mikebutcher

Mobile: Ask first.

Skype: mikegbutcher

More info on me: http://mbites.com/contact

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My talk at PSFK London

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Last May, at the PSFK Conference London 2007 I gave a talk on how media owners are on a race for survival against technology companies that put the power to publish in the hands of the ‘audience.’ Here it is, including my embarrassing stall half way through where I need to go get some water:

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

PSFK are running some much better speakers than I at the PSFK Conference Los Angeles on September 18 2007 in West Hollywood – www.psfk.com/psfk-conference-los-angeles so check it out if you can.

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This week I am mostly at…

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I HATE blog posts that apologise for the lack of updates. Like, who cares?! Either blog or don’t blog. Just don’t apologise. However, I do find that these days I update my Twitter microblog more than this blog! And I have been working on other stuff other than blogging lately. And thinking. However, I will be writing about the Brunch Bites event last week soon. This week I have been working with Seedcamp to help young Web 2.0 and Mobile 2.0 startups get off the ground and doing a lot of writing to profile the startups involved. It’s been a fascinating experience. I’ll publish more info later…

Posted in General, mbites, Tech | 1 Comment

Mashup Demo in October

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mashup, which runs ‘digital’ events, is launching Mashup Demo on Oct 2nd. It’s been put together to provide startups and growing companies in the digital sector with a platform from which to demo their services to an audience of investors, corporates, bloggers, journalists and industry influencers. This allows them to overtly sell and flaunt their products and services, gain feedback on concepts, develop or find partners, seek investment, practice the pitch, test the proposition, refine the model or simply find customers. If you’d like to be considered for the event email a brief overview and maybe a YouTube video pitch to demo@mashupdemo.com.

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Notes from Edinburgh TV Unfestival 2007

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On the weekend I went to the TV Unfestival, an “unconference” about TV, which is a sort of Fringe even to the Media Guardian TV Festival.

Although the event was typical of a tech/geek gathering in the unconference format – lots of healthy debate, discussion and networking – there was often a disparity between the ‘open rights’ and open source culture of the tech world and the locked-down, “copyrighted up to the eyeballs” culture of the TV world.

There was also not a great deal of talk about funding and where the money was going to come from to fund the brave new ventures online which TV firms will need to make to capture their audiences which are ebbing away. TV people are used to hearing about commissions, advertising, subscription models. They are not used to – or at least have yet to be convinced – that user generated content and ‘video ad insertions’ into online video clips will replace the millions in cash currently available to them in the traditional networked TV world. And to an extent, one can’t blame them. Its a brave new world we are entering.

Talking to the very few (I suspect they are not into unconferences!) number of real TV producers and the “geeks” at the event I got an unexpected difference in opinion. The TV people often felt they were at the cutting edge of the new world. And although the atmosphere was overall positive, some “Geeks” meanwhile would express frustration to me that the over-riding culture of the tech world was going to have a very hard time communicating what they had to offer to traditional TV.

In other thoughts from the event…….

• We had a presentation from Sclipo.com, a user-generated ‘skills sharing’ site. Users can sell teaching videos ebay-like or revenue comes from ads. Along with the usual ‘how to’ video there is one quite impressive feature where users can pay for lessons from a teacher literally live streamed via webcam, and there is an in-built payment mechanism. What’s the betting that’s going to be used for nefarious purposes fairly shortly? Based in Barcelona, they are looking for staff so if you want a warmer climate and can do flash, php, Web2 style stuff then get on to them.

• A Joost guy (unnamed) told me that they thought building legally ratified stuff – as in not going the ‘open rights/creative commons’ route – is ‘the way forward’ because it means building on stuff which doesn’t get taken down by the lawyers later on.

• The man with the most zeitgeisty name in the Web business “Paul Pod” demo’d a full-blown working site for Tioti which so far is still in closed Beta. They plan to have an API coming out in a month of so, which will show info on shows and TV characters. He also insisted TIOTI is not a ‘recording service in disguise’.

Posted in Events, MediaBites, TV | Leave a comment