Archives: March 2008

The Problem With Techmeme

I spend a lot of time writing about things related to the social web and frequently those issues are being discussed among a number of individuals who are also listed on Techmeme. I honestly spend way too much time reading Techmeme as my source of information. I think it’s a great tool but I saw something today which brought me pause for a minute. While many of you may be on Facebook chances are most of the readers of this site are not active members of hi5.

Honestly, most of the people reading this blog are not members of hi5. That doesn’t mean that hi5 launching a platform isn’t significant though. hi5 is the largest social network next to Facebook according to Alexa and is light years beyond Bebo in terms of traffic. The fact that close to 100 million people have created a profile on hi5 means it’s significant. For some reason Techcrunch, the leading site on Techmeme, decided not to write about it today.

Instead, the top of Techmeme is about Scott Karp’s Digg for journalists. Umm, isn’t that called a newspaper website? While not a completely ridiculous idea, the fact that this story got so much coverage just furthers the concept that Techmeme is filled with a bunch of people that have similar interests and not an unbiased source of new information. While I enjoy much of the content displayed on Techmeme (and enjoy anytime I’m on the site), I’m realizing where the system falls short. Then again, I don’t see the story on hi5 in the Wall Street Journal.

While I don’t intend this to end up a part of what M.G. Siegler calls Bitchmeme, I am curious as to what people use as an effective tool for filtering information. Everything has a bias but maybe the best source for new information should come from my Google Reader, the place where I have created my own little center of information that I’m interested in.

It goes to show how powerful Techmeme is though for people that read and write about technology and social media. What do you do to filter information? Is social media the most effective tool for finding relevant information?

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Verizon Wireless Adds Touchscreen Phone and Some Others

Verizon Wireless unveiled a handful of new phones on Monday, including its own branded version of the HTC Touch, previously only available from Sprint. The other handsets include the Motorola Q9c, the LG enV(2) and the Samsung Alias.

Verizon touch.jpgAccording to Engadget Mobile, the Q9c is the business-user model of the consumer-oriented Q9m that came out last year. The enV(2) is the next-gen of the popular enV with two screens and a flip-up QWERTY keyboard.

iPhone fans who don’t want to switch to AT&T or Sprint can check out the XV6900, complete with HTC’s TouchFLO interface and Windows Mobile 6 Professional software.

The Alias is the follow-up to the Samsung SCH-u740 dual-hinge handset that can open either vertically or horizontally. In addition to a much better name, the Alias has a cool silver finish and an updated QWERTY keyboard that’s supposed to be easier to use.

All four will be out in April.

RealNetworks’ Glaser on Bundles, Ads and More

mocoNews has some snippets from RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser‘s speech at Mobile Entertainment Live this afternoon, ranging from content bundling to advertising and mobile content open networks and, of course, the iPhone.

Glaser said that in areas where Real can bundle a ringtone, a ringback tone and a full song download and sell them at a discount, sales immediately rose. He also warned the industry to be careful with their advertising and mobile content because there are still a lot of phones with small screens running on slow networks out there.

You can read what else Glaser had to say here.

Veveo Launches vTap Video Search

Video search start-up Veveo has launched its vTap Web video search offering that “lets you search, browse and pinpoint the exact Web video you’re looking for – from sources all over the Internet – and play it on any supported device.”

Users can personalize the service by creating their own “vTap Feed” that crawls the Web looking for video clips that match the defined parameters, Mobile Entertainment reports. They can also link the feed to their social network pages

Supported devices include the iPhone, other video-capable cell phones and ultra-mobile PCs.

Sony’s C-Spot Promises Original Web, Mobile Comedies

Sony Pictures Television has launched C-Spot, an ad-supported multiplatform comedy channel that promises new programming developed specifically for the Web and mobile. C-Spot will feature original short-form comedy series with continuing story lines. Sony intends to program the channel year-round starting with a 13-week season for six initial series.

crackle.jpgSo far it looks like Verizon Wireless’ V CAST video service is the only way to watch C-Spot on a cell phone, unless you have one that can handle full Web sites. Online, it’s available on Sony’s, YouTube, AOL Video, Hulu and direct to Sony Bravia TVs via the Bravia Internet Video Link.

The first batch of shows on C-Spot include “Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show,” “The Roadents” “Hot, Hot Los Angeles,” “The Writers Room,” “Gaytown” and “Best of Penn Says.”

For a detailed description of each show, click continued.

Read more

AOL Mobile Adds Cellufun Free Games

OrionsBeltScreenshot72dpi.jpgAOL has joined the free mobile games party through a deal with Cellufun.

The erstwhile ISP will offer all of Cellufun’s WAP-based titles through its mobile portal (

According to IntoMobile, although Cellufun will power the site and deliver the games, AOL will take care of the advertising through Third Screen Media, the mobile ad network it acquired last year.

MyShow Lets You Create Mobile Slideshows from Anywhere

MyShow-Phone.jpgMobile content portal FunMobility has unveiled MyShow, which it says is the first user-generated mobile slideshow publishing application. MyShow is accessible both on the Web and on mobile, so users can browse content, create slideshows and share their “life stream” from anywhere.

The app lets users automatically put together a slideshow around pictures stored in a camera phone, personalize a mobile slideshow with text and background music and upload pictures from the MyShow Web site to add to a mobile slideshow or create the slideshow on a PC. There’s also a MyShow widget that they can embed on their Facebook, MySpace or other social networking site.

FunMobility said MyShow will debut with a U.S. carrier by April 30, but it didn’t specify which carrier that would be or when other operators might pick it up.

Myxer: Ringtones + Branding = BrandTones

Advertisers have a new and interesting way to connect with potential customers – using customized ringtones as part of an ad campaign. This is made possible by the new BrandTones program from Myxer, the mobile content company that lets users create their own free, ad-supported ringtones.

BrandTones are free, customized ringtones that “enhance the traditional digital marketing components” of a campaign, the company said. Adidas, Lowe’s and Volkswagen have already created campaigns using BrandTones.

You can hear an example of how home improvement giant Lowe’s is using BrandTones by texting LOWES1 to 69937(MYXER).

A Vision of a Microhoo Future


Kara Swisher of AllThingsD also noticed the quiet before the storm with the Microsoft-Yahoo merger we reported on last week. She went further, though, suggesting a number of possible scenarios for the upcoming deal.

“A raise in price is the most mentioned option, from $34 to $36 a share, but other things that could happen include everything from upping the cash versus stock ratio, to larding up retention packages to key Yahoo employees to giving Yahoo more independence as part of a deal,” Swisher said. “But actually, if you really analyze what a post-Yahoo/Microsoft world would look like if the companies merged, Yahoo could and probably should remain a lot more independent and in control than it might appear.”

She goes on to do a step-by-step run-through of the various departments in each portal and what may happen to them—a considerable task, given the two Internet behemoths in question—but surprises the most when she suggests that Yahoo would win out, “hands-down,” on the media side. Yahoo’s digital media portfolio is considerable, with Yahoo Autos, Yahoo Finance, and more, but we’re not sure that Microsoft would just fold up all its MSN (or MSNBC, for that matter) properties and replace them with Yahoo versions.

Mobile is also still a huge question mark, as each portal’s mobile offerings are tightly woven into their desktop products (Hotmail, Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Mail, Windows Live Maps, and so on).

AdAge: 2008 Isn’t Mobile’s Year, Again

Here’s one thing we can agree on with AdAge—mobile media still has a ways to go before it reaches its full potential.

“Each year since about 2000—and maybe even before—has been wrongly touted as the year of mobile marketing,” AdAge reporter Alice Z. Cuneo wrote. “And this year won’t be it either, despite the we’re-not-kidding-this-time rhetoric being spouted by mobile-marketing boosters converging for telecom’s big powwow in Las Vegas this week.”

That would be CTIA, the wireless industry’s biggest trade show that runs twice a year. Cuneo goes on to list five things wrong with the wireless industry: the fact that most mobile customers don’t yet have data plans (and therefore can’t partake in mobile media), the lack of good metrics tools, the technical complexity (with dozens of handsets, operating systems, and carriers), the blind acceptance of mobile as just another medium to place display ads on, and the lack of a killer mobile media application or service that makes advertisers all take notice.

Cuneo also lists proposed fixes for these issues. The article is obviously focused on the advertiser, rather than the consumer or content provider. But it’s still worth reading as it touches on a lot of the same problems we report on (and joyously complain about) here.