Is Yahoo becoming a social services giant?

As usual, there’s tons of great stuff over at Micropersuasion (is that the laziest post intro ever?), including this long, descriptive post about Yahoo’s new 360 mega-social networking service.

Apparently, 360 will combo blogs, profiles, photos, and more into one uber-service, which goes public March 29th. Related item: as part of yesterday’s Remaindered Links feed, Jason Kottke tossed out this bone regarding some recent Yahoo! aquisition rumors:

Looks like Yahoo! has created its own version of Livejournal (blogs + social networking)…Flickr will fit into this nicely. ; )

NY Post keeps highly unpopular IntelliTXT service afloat

AdJab’s Tom Biro (subject of an NL Interview last week) is reporting that the New York Post is the latest publisher to adopt the highly unpopular “contextual” adversiting service IntelliTXT.

In its extremely questionable push to mix advertising and editorial content, IntelliTXT links certain keywords in an article with related advertising that displays in a when you hover over the link (see the image at left for an ironic example of the IntelliTXT link).

The IntelliTXT service has come under serious scrutiny within the blogosphere in the past (see Tom’s AdJab post for some great links), and the service suffered a major blow last year when dropped it. Now that it’s back, some interesting questions have resurfaced:

1) Does the general public care as much about contextual advertising as bloggers? (My guess on this one is yes- but it just takes them a bit longer to become aware of it.)

2) Can ad advertising model like IntelliTXT survive despite an avalanche of negative feedback? (My guess on this one is a big no.)

Firefox developer joins Google

Steve Rubel, one of this blogs’ favorite bloggers, reports that Firefox lead developer Ben Goodger has joined Google, as Goodger wrote on his blog:

As of January 10, 2005, my source of income changed from The Mozilla Foundation to Google, Inc. of Mountain View, California. My role with Firefox and the Mozilla project will remain largely unchanged, I will continue doing much the same work as I have described above – with the new goal of successful 1.1, 1.5 and 2.0 releases.

Rubel asks the million dollar question: What, if anything, does this do to the rumors that Google is developing a web browser based on Firefox?

A flash constituency

Glenn Reynolds has a great new article up on TechCentralStation about the power of horiztonal knowledge and how it has changed the world in the past 10 years-

With email, weblogs, bulletin boards, etc., I could, if the topic interested enough people, put together an overnight coalition – a flash constituency – without leaving the restaurant. (And in fact, some folks did pretty much just that recently, and succeeded in killing the “”super-DMCA”” bill before the Tennessee legislature.)

TCS: Glenn Reynolds: Horizontal Knowledge

Don’t be too sure of parity

With today’s news that the FCC would allow further deregulation of the media industry, effectively allowing fewer companies to own more media properties, it’s interesting to note a similar, if ironic trend, going on with the Web.

It’s conventional wisdom (for whatever that’s worth) that in traditional media, the fewer the companies the worse the user experience. For example:

  • Clear Channel owns thousands of radio stations, therefore only a handful of watered-down, corporate-approved songs make it into 60% of the nations radio market.
  • AOL/Time Warner owns several TV networks in addition to its movie studio, meaning that simple economics dictate crappy bomb movies will be shown over and over again on Comedy Central and TBS simply because they’re cheaper to buy and air repeatedly.
  • ..and you get the idea.

The irony here is that this situation- the few owning the many- is in the best cases a very good thing for the Web. Notice:

The best companies on the Web are focusing on the user experience, and they’re winning. There’s only a small handful of them right now, but it’s no coincidence that three of the top 5 Web companies are also three of the most popular, well-known Web sites in the world.

Amazon has expanded its simple, powerful interface to a new Web index, Alexa, which is still taking off. The biggest mystery of all is why the parent hasn’t reshaped their child in their award-winning image, considering it’s easily the best, most widely used and referenced movie & TV database online.

That’s not to mention the offline and online retailers who have moved under Amazon’s banner, and not the reverse- including CDNOW, Target, Toy’s R Us, and many others.

Google, the most popular search engine, is revolutionizing the online news habit with it’s , a smash after less than a year in existence. Though Google doesn’t own any subsidiary companies of note, they are a monopoly on search, the most user-centric tool on the Web, and they’re creating new usable ideas almost every week, from the news to text ads.

And there is one recent purchase of note that has made Google a parent company- Blogger, the first ever Weblog tool, was snapped up by Google last February. Though the once-leading Blogger is now sagging far behind the much more confusing, elitist MovableType software, it still says a lot about Google that they made the purchase, signaling an important trend towards the categorization and indexing of the disparate, dynamic blog culture.

Finally, there’s Ebay, the online auction site. Setting the pace with a clean, text-based design heavy on content and superior features for free, eBay strattles the lowest common denominator in an accessable way that attracts power users and alike, clearly the key to its brilliant strategy.