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Archives: February 2010

Hitwise: ABC Family’s American Teenager Makes Its Move

According to Hitwise, ABC reclaimed its position as the top-ranked broadcast-network Website for the week ending Feb. 20, dropping CBS to second place.

The top three broadcast-network-show Websites were unchanged from the week of Feb. 13: Fox’s American Idol, ABC’s The Bachelor, and CBS’ Survivor.

Comedy Central’s South Park maintained its grip on the top spot for cable networks (adults only), with Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club moving up to No. 2 and ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager settling in at No. 3.

When combining broadcast and cable networks, the top three were unchanged from the week of Feb. 13: Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants, South Park, and Idol.

There were no fast risers on the broadcast list.

Cable’s fast risers were MTV’s 16 and Pregnant (to No. 7 from No. 22) and Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins & Dives (20 from 32).

Fast risers among the top 25 Websites were Nickelodeon’s The Penguins of Madagascar (8 from 19), Fox’s America’s Most Wanted (9 from 20), Nickelodeon’s iCarly (10 from 22), and 16 and Pregnant (17 from 50).

Click here to see the report.

10 Ways To Generate Business Leads On Twitter

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-Twitter Logo-While big businesses such as Target, Coca-Cola, and Dell are already using social media effectively, small business owners are just starting — often “because they should,” not necessarily because they have a plan for generating business leads. Other owners who do have a plan don’t necessarily know how to measure social media ROI. If you’re still learning, pick a social medium, say Twitter, and consider the tips below.
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TheAtlantic.com Unveils Redesign

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TheAtlantic.com rolled out a site redesign Friday, dividing content into seven topics — politics, business, culture, international, science/tech, national, and food — and introducing new features including “Other Works of Genius” and “The Interns Recommend,” as well as new commenting technology and rollover navigation previews.

The new design also allows easier integration with the site’s content through RSS feeds, email newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, iPhone applications, and e-readers.

TheAtlantic.com said advertising revenue grew 69 percent in January versus January 2009 and traffic rose 60 percent to 21 million page views and 3.7 million unique visitors for the month.

TheAtlantic.com editorial director Bob Cohn said:

Our main goal is to better organize the vast amount of quality content we’re producing each day. Now users will be able more easily to access all the journalism we produce — blog posts, online dispatches, magazine stories, videos — on one of our seven subject-matter channels.

The Atlantic and TheAtlantic.com vice president and publisher Jay Lauf added:

TheAtlantic.com’s sustained growth is fueled by demand for sharp, credible analysis and opinion that helps readers understand a complex world and by our rapid-fire, Web-speed take on that world. With our improvements to the site’s navigation, accessibility, and infrastructure, we expect TheAtlantic.com to enhance its position as a must-read site; it increasingly is becoming a must-buy for advertisers.

How Apple Handicapped The Amazon Kindle App

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Unsurprisingly, Apple wants its e-commerce experience to be the only seamless one available on the iPhone–and, soon, on the iPad. Business Insider ran a surprising article today about how Apple made things much harder for Amazon and other competitors who also sell digital goods. Basically, Apple won’t let any company but itself sell digital goods (like music, and, once iBooks launches, eBooks) inside an app–everyone but Apple has to link out to Safari. If you’ve ever used the Kindle iPhone app, you know about this little hassle, and you’ve wished you could just get your Kindle books using one app.

The most interesting detail the BI article points out is that Amazon originally submitted with Kindle app with an in-app e-commerce solution, and Apple rejected it and told them to scrap the in-app purchasing. Here’s a bit more from the article: “it’s okay to use an iPhone app to buy physical goods — as you can in Amazon’s main iPhone app, or the Fandango app, etc. And developers are welcome to use Apple’s in-app purchasing system — and give a 30% cut of revenue to Apple — to sell digital goods within apps.” Obviously, Amazon would rather keep its 30% and trust users to link out to Safari and buy their eBooks.

But, once iPad and iBooks launch, Apple will have its own seamless way to sell eBooks. Whether Kindle users stick with the Kindle app on the iPad will depend on a handful of things (it will be very cool, truthfully, to have access to Kindle books on a large-screen Apple product), including Amazon’s ability to keep the price of eBooks down, and whether Apple can match Amazon’s selection. Whatever happens, Apple remains the coolest tyrant around.

Link TV to Launch ViewChange.org Portal

Nonprofit satellite-TV channel Link TV, which focuses on news and documentaries about global change and the developing world, will launch a Web portal aimed at raising awareness of global development issues and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ViewChange.org, according to GigaOM.

Link TV founder Kim Spencer told GigaOM ViewChange.org will use “the latest semantic tools” and offer videos, news articles, opinion, commentary, and links for users to get involved in global development. Method, which designed sites including Fancast and TED, will be responsible for designing ViewChange.org, GigaOM reported.

ViewChange.org will use Metaweb Technologies‘ Freebase structured data platform and Thomson ReutersOpenCalais semantic engine, according to GigaOM.

Link TV board member, United Nations ambassador and actor Danny Glover previewed ViewChange.org in the video below:

Write a Story About a Feat of Wonder

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Protagonize, the Vancouver-based online writing social network is sponsoring a contest in honor of the Olympics currently going on in its hometown. The site is a collaborative and communal story-telling site, so the contest involves writing an original story featuring “feats of wonder,” which Protagonize defines as “Acts both large and inconsequential [that] can have their impacts felt, as long as the conditions are right.”

Here’s more on the contest: “To enter the competition, authors must pen a tale in which a feat of wonder occurs, leading to some kind of unforseen conclusion. An feat of wonder can consist of many things, and doensn’t simply represent a feat of extraordinary strength or agility. It could also be genuinely caring gesture, a triumphant act of kindness, a noteworthy deed of bravery, daring sleight of hand, or a particularly worthy exploit of any kind. We’ll leave the classification up to our authors, who will also rate the submissions.”

These are indeed days of wonder. Aren’t they? You’ve got till Sunday (when the contest closes) to prove it.

The Customer Is Always, Um…

FootInMouth.jpgCNET shared a tale of customer service at its worst that ended up spawning two Facebook groups.

Sarah Kohl-Leaf of Taylors Falls, Minn., wrote a letter to Evergreen Entertainment, which operates a chain of movie theaters, complaining about her bad experience at the St. Croix Falls Cinema 8 in St. Croix Falls, Wis., CNET reported. Kohl-Leaf’s issues included the cash-only purchase of movie tickets, the lobby ATM being out of cash, and having her ticket stub checked during the film. She also said in her letter, “I would rather drive to White Bear Lake, where they obviously know how to run a theater, than have this experience again.”

The response from Evergreen vice president Steven Payne, as reported by CNET:

Drive to White Bear Lake and also go fuck yourself. If you dont have money for entertainment, get a better job, and don’t pay for everything on your credit or check card. You can also shove your time and gas up your fucking ass. Also, find better things to do with your time. This email is an absolute joke. We don’t care to have you as a customer. Let me know if you need directions to white bear lake.

Likely after coming to his senses, Payne sent the following apology email, according to CNET:

Mrs. Kohl-Leaf, I tried to contact you via a phone call to issue this apology personally and was unable to reach you. I sincerely apologize for my inappropriate response to your email yesterday. As vice president, I should never have reacted that way, no matter how I felt about your email. At Evergreen Entertainment, customer service is an important part of our business, and that clearly was not reflected by my use of profane language.

Kohl-Leaf created a Facebook group, BOYCOTT St. Croix Falls Cinema 8 (Evergreen Entertainment LLC), which had more than 4,400 members at the time of this posting.

Of course, every story has two sides, hence the creation of rival Facebook group We Support Steven Payne — VP of St. Croix Falls Cinema 8, but the latter group is losing the popular vote, having rounded up just 86 fans at the time of this posting.

iPad Rumor: Leaked List May Be Core iPad Debut eBooks

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TUAW posted a list of eBook titles yesterday that it thinks might be the lineup of titles Apple will use to promote iBooks upon launch. It’s got books by Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell and Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s over 100 books, ranging in price from $14.99 to free.

Here’s more info from TUAW: “These titles are sampled from a list of ebooks that one of our tipsters turned up; we were then able to confirm that it was sourced from Apple, and it was found with other assets used to populate the iTunes store UI. It’s not immediately clear whether the 112 titles listed are truly destined for sale on the upcoming iPad book store; we thought it might be a list of titles used for the device’s launch demonstration, but there are books seen in the video that are not on this list, and vice versa.”

What’ most interesting about this is not the titles themselves–everyone’s got the same books (though there are apparently none from blabbermouth McGraw-Hill), but the fact that Apple might launch iBooks and draw attention to $14.99 eBooks. Goodbye $9.99…

Acer Halts eReader Plans

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Earlier this week computer manufacturer Acer announced that it would halt its plans to launch an eReader. It was only in January that Acer said it was working on an eReader, so this is a quick reversal.

According to RegHardware, a UK-based blog, Acer feels uncertain that eBooks will advance beyond a niche market and that Acer is waiting to see what happens before getting involved, though they’ve got the hardware ready to go.

Niche market? Really? Still? C’mon. One thing’s for sure, we don’t need another eReader. Unless it’s really cheap.

Palm Stock Plummets – Business Week Says Palm Has Enough Cash for 15 Months

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Graph courtesy of Yahoo! Finance: Apple (blue), Palm (red), Nokia (green)

Palm has about $590 million cash available according to Yahoo! Finance’s balance sheet information about the company. That sounds like a lot. But, according to Business Week, this cash can only keep Palm running about 5 quarters (15 months).

Palm Under Pressure After Sales Shortfall

So, what can Palm do in 15 months? Some speculate it will be bought by another company. This doesn’t seem likely to me. What would this purchase bring to the buying company? Engineering talent? That can be done without buying the entire company. Technology portfolia? webOS is a nice platform. But, it isn’t exactly a world beater. Palm could introduce a new product that sets the mobile world on fire. Possible, but I haven’t read any rumors to indicate that. And, 15 months is not a lot of time to develop a whole new technology base. Palm could simply fade away with interesting bits and pieces bought by IP (Intellectual Property) companies who look to control patents.

I have no idea which of these scenarios is most likely to play out. Although as I said, I don’t see the buy-out/merger route to be as likely as others might.