Seems that Amazon.com is growing their stake in books as they have recently acquired Shelfari (one of the biggest online book community). Â While it’s widely known that Amazon has been involved with Shelfari since its early beginnings, it is a natural course to solidify the relationship.
Amazon has been a long supporter of Shelfari. Theyâ€™ve worked closely with us as we introduced readers, like you, to our global community of book lovers. Theyâ€™ve been there each step of the way as we brought forth new features, like the cool Facebook application and our virtual bookshelf. And now Shelfari and Amazon will work hand in hand to continue to grow our dynamic community and create innovative new tools around the books you love.
The acquisition terms were not made public but it seems that Amazon is indeed cornering the online book cloud. Â This same month it has also acquired yet another massive online book community, AbeBooks.
What are all these you may ask? Â My personal opinion in these acquisition series points to the strength of online networks and communities. Â It would appear that market studies have added an additional “source of influence” for consumers. Â I remembered a good laugh late 2007 when a marketingÂ questionnaireÂ included the question “Would you change your (beauty product) if a person in your online network suggests you should?”.
Back to Shelfari… I would be interested to see what comes out of this news. Â While I read that there would be no significant change right now… Amazon must have something up its sleeves. hmmmmm….
Social bookmarking site Ma.gnolia.comÂ is opening its doors to the open-source world. Â They have announcedÂ at Gnomedex 2008 that they would soon distribute their code publicly, akin to how WordPress.com has done for WordPress.org, the latter being a website that the public can download freely the full WordPress code.
This is a much anticipated move for the Ma.gnolia.com team as developments in technology are striding faster than the Ma.gnolia core tech team can handle. Â With their move to open-source, we will soon see a much improved service offering. Â Ma.gnolia’s Larry Hallf at Gnomedex 2008 says the following:
Some of the things to look forward to in this next version include:
A new stream view that shows you the freshest bookmarks of people you’re friends with on one single page.
Support for bothÂ OAuthÂ andÂ OpenID, with the latter making it easier for people to sign into hosted builds of Magnolia.
The open-source version won’t be available to developers until sometime in September, with a beta version (read: consumer friendly) on track for December and into the first part of 2009. In the meantime, if you’re a developer looking to get your mitts on the code it will be made availableÂ here.
I love Del.icio.us, I’ve been a loyal user of this well-loved social networking site.Â Today, I think I will love it even better.Â I just heardthat they’ve made my life a little better.Â I really had trouble entering their URL like, forever!Â I’d go deli.cio.us or de.licio.us or deli.cio.usÂ arrgghhh… only to find out I’ve mixed the dots for the millionth time.Â NOW, I just head-on and put www.delicious.com …. now isn’t that easy.Â C’mon, I know it’s NOT JUST ME.Â (I know, I know, delicious.com has always forwarded to del.icio.us anyway, but hey, now the reverse is true! Yay!).
Delicious has a bold new design that is more powerful and easier to use, along with a revamped search that’s faster and more robust. It’s also full of useful features that people have been requesting for years.
The new site is LIVES(!) and now has softer blues and was reported to have a more user-intuitive interface.Â It’s now presented with the general public in mind vs. before when it mainly just made a mark on the techies.
Read an article from Yahoo’s internet sectionregarding China’s censorship of websites for the duration of the olympic season.Â China’s internet lawÂ includes even foreign journalists, teams and even tourists… they would all find it a little hard to open what once was just accessible sites.
OpenNetÂ InitiativesÂ published a studyon China’s internet censorship lawÂ based on the 2004-2005 period.Â While access was restricted to basically blocking topics that are political by nature, sensitive and controversial, it has evolved to include many other topics a little less trivial.
“China’s Internet filtering regime is the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world. Compared to similar efforts in other states, China’s filtering regime is pervasive, sophisticated, and effective. It comprises multiple levels of legal regulation and technical control. It involves numerous state agencies and thousands of public and private personnel. It censors content transmitted through multiple methods, including Web pages, Web logs, on-line discussion forums, university bulletin board systems, and e-mail messages. Our testing found efforts to prevent access to a wide range of sensitive materials, from pornography to religious material to political dissent. Chinese citizens seeking access to Web sites containing content related to Taiwanese and Tibetan independence, Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama, the Tiananmen Square incident, opposition political parties, or a variety of anti-Communist movements will frequently find themselves blocked. While it is difficult to describe this widespread filtering with precision, our research documents a system that imposes strong controls on its citizens’ ability to view Internet content. ” – from OpenNet
What I am curious of right now is how this will all work with a worldwide media event.Â Traditional media is one thing, the blogging media is another.Â Tourist flocking the games will surely be a little frustrated that they may be restricted to visit their own blogs to post their time in China.Â That is, IF their blogs have phrases or keywords that the Chinese government deem as “controversial”.
I would be interested to find out the impact to the blogging world.Â I would probably venture a “free the blogs” campaign in the offing?Â Who knows, it is likely to happen.
You can see more info on China’s internet policy here, here and here.
I’ve heard a few leaks (here and here) about WordPress setting to release it’s very own native application for the iPhone.Â Glorious that they’re tweaking it to work with WordPress.com and the standard installations. And quite frankly, with the current trend of iPhone prices vis a vis its features, I think the addition of a “WordPress-able” feature will set the icing on that great cake.Â I really like the tag “WordPress and the iPhone… your blog everywhere”.
It’s bringing your blogging craves anywhere… anytime!Â Got the urge to write about that sunset you’re viewing now, well just pop out your iPhone and write about it.Â Publish it in seconds alongside that sunset picture too (!) no problemo.
I know, I know… pro-bloggers who blog like crazy may find the interface a little (ok, MUCH!) on the downside.Â I’d imagine myself typing a 200-word blog post in say about 15-20 minutes VS. the 5-minute usual post publishing I do.Â BUT STILL, you’d agree that the iPhone-WordPress merge does have it’s own sweet advantages.Â I chuckle when I imagine popping out my notebook to blog about the sunset AND THEN running off to find a hotspot to publish it. Hee hee.
Oh, it’s not available yet, no release dates have been said, all I saw was the video below… check it out!
Just a few steps to create that blog post eh?
Type in the blog details (the title)
Type the actual post
Add pictures from your iPhone or media library
Type in blog settings like (categories, published date, password protection etc.)
Multiply.com has introduced its Premium Membership Account last June 25.Â Now, due to the millions of hi-res photos and videos they receive everyday, they are now charging US$19.95 for unlimitted storage space.
Here is a comparison between the free and premium membership accounts of Multiply.com in relation to storage space:
For free accounts – album sized photos are still free, and stored forever.Â But for hi-res/original photos it will only be stored free within 30 days.Â After that, automatic deletion.
For Premium Members – album sized photos, hi-res/original photos are stored forever.
Multiply.com has explained this move clearly right here.
As a Multiply.com user myself, I would understand Multiply.com’s move to start selling “idle property”.Â True that most users would choose to store the original hi-res photo versions just because the opportunity is there.Â I would likely agree with Multiply.com too that most of those hi-res photos aren’t viewed… ergo aren’t generally useful to the user, or the public.Â I guess not everything in life is or will remain free… except WordPress! (of course)
Multiply users post millions of photos and tens of thousands of videos a day, and that’s a lot of stuff to store and manage… which costs money and resources. We’ve also learned that an overwhelming majority of the original photos and videos are never even viewed! Clearly, for many Multiply users, the album-sized photos and Flash videos are good enough.
So rather than spend resources supporting something that isn’t used, we feel it makes more sense to focus on making the site faster and better for everyone, improving the features that are used, and adding more features. For free. But if your original content is important to you, you have the option of sharing and storing that indefinitely by upgrading to Multiply Premium.
I just met a small town mayor here in South East Asia.Â He’s the mayor of a small agricultural city, rural as rural can be.Â I think I stood out of the crowd being naturally city-folk(country folks CAN tell). And it being a really small city, he heard from a friend that I was a computer person.Â Â He set up a meeting with me to pick my mind regarding “blogging”.Â I was a little confused with what he wanted to do (I thought he wanted to know what blogging meant) UNTIL he told me that he wanted municipal events, activities and other municipal news blogged.Â His primary audience?Â Former town residents who are now spread all over the globe. This mayor knew what blogging is and he had a specific project for it.
The mayor wanted former town residents to know what’s going on with their old town.Â He wanted to let them know what’s new… AND what they can do to help their roots develop in this new cyberworld.
I smiled… literally smiled wide!Â This is the kind of mind that aims at progress.Â Blogging about their small city is a great progressive step.Â He’s going to pass this project on to the youth council, who seem to be gungho about the entire thing.
I’ll probably start by dropping a few URLs about blogging and see where their interest brings them.Â I for one can probably demo what and how setting up a blog site is.Â Do you know any URLs that can help them?
Funny how blogging is taking its aim at even the rural communities of South East Asia.Â It’s the grassroots communities that, I think, can benefit from blogging.Â Tons of things may happen if they keep telling people about their small town.Â Opportunities, change, development… progress.
Keeping my fingers crossed that this will press on!
According to TechCrunch, Adobe has come up with a solution to the nagging problem of content within an SWF or Flash file from being indexed by search engines. Adobe has announced that they have released their solution to Google and Yahoo allowing them to crawl the content within these files. As for Windows Live Search, no dice! Since Flash is licensed by Adobe and is not an open standard, Adobe has the privilege of releasing this sort of technology to whom they see fit. A bummer if you ask me. Furthermore, Adobe has created a special flash player especially for these search engines which will aide in crawling the content.
It’s not that SWF files are not crawlable, as the article points out that there are over 73 million SWF files out on the web, it’s the text and links within the SWF file that has escaped the search engine spiders. It will be interesting to see the various articles from SEO experts out on the web which will explain the best ways in which to optimize your Flash content. (I bet they thought this day would never come)
You know, if this were to occur a few years ago back when Flash was ‘cool’, this would be huge news. Now, Flash is an annoyance on the web. I hate web sites that are using all sorts of different flash elements that I have no control over. The last thing I would want to see is a SWF file showing up as the first item of a search. Hopefully, Google along with Yahoo will create a filter for this type of content. That’s not to say I hate Flash entirely, as YouTube, Ustream.TV and other web services have made good use of the technology.
So, will you be optimizing your Flash files? How much content do you think is hidden within these Flash files that would be considered of use to the web?
Forgive me if this post will sound very naive. Â It was just now that I noticed that WordPress is in use by the biggest online names in the planetÂ CNN,Â Yahoo,Â Sony,Â The New York Times,Â People, Â Ebay,Â b5MediaÂ … just to name a few. Â It is quite an achievement. Â While I’m not trying to belabor the obvious, I’d like to flip the coin a bit to ask… “is there anything close to WordPress at this point in time?” Â There was a very old poll made by a company which lists the top 13 blogging platforms to date. Â Here’s that list in order of popularity:
I’d like to stress that this list isn’t current, but it’s the most “believable” list I found while searching for a blogging platform poll thru Google. Â I think it’s time to run a poll right now don’t you think? Â I’ll see if we can do something of that goal right here.Â Â Blogger.com seem to be the closest runner-up to WordPress. Â I wouldn’t be surprised. Â Much of the blogging community seem to trust “turn-key” solutions to their blogging needs. Â Blogger.com and WordPress.org/.com have found a dear niche. Â Like fast-food, they knew what menu would click the most. Easy setup is the key. Â Anything less to that is just second best.Â Â Â Are you wanting to find out what the best blogging platform for you is? Â I’d suggest that you hit www.wordpress.com and www.blogger.com . Â For now.Â Â Â Â Â
I just heard today that Google is developing a web video series.
Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy
It’s 2 minutes per episode, much like a cartoon (Dilbert, Happy Tree Friends, etc.) BUT will be the first written for a series on the web. They are initially producing 50 2-minute episode to start with and they’ve tapped “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane to work on an original series that Google will distribute via its AdSense advertising system. This is according to a report filed by The New York Times. More of that story, right here. People from Hollywood have commented that this project , even if it will be exclusively avaialble on the internet, will be groundbreaking and will be a huge success!
Target audience??? Young men. Distribution method??? Thru “Cavalcades” of video clips replacing static Google advertisement.
Advertising will be incorporated into the clips in varying ways. In some cases, there will be â€œprerollâ€ ads, which ask viewers to sit through a TV-style commercial before getting to the video. Some advertisers may opt for a banner to be placed at the bottom of the video clip or a simple â€œbrought to you byâ€ note at the beginning.
Mr. MacFarlane, who will receive a percentage of the ad revenue, has created a stable of new characters to star in the series, which will be served up in 50 two-minute episodes.
I think the most innovative part of this project is the way it is distributed… via the web thru Google’s AdSense system. But a spill-over to traditional distribution will likely take into being as well. This being the first of its kind will surely be writing new books for the next generation of producers, film makers the entire biz.