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Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 23/2009

This weekly round-up comes with a built-in 24 hours of delay, as the author was extremely busy during the last weekend launching the Austrian Internet Council [site in German]. This was an amazing proof of the power of social media: within the short time span of 5 days we our project was the cover story on ORF FutureZone, Austria's biggest Tech News site. Crowdsourcing is great, but it can be quite time-consuming, especially when there's a lot of interest and involvement. So, without any further ado, let's jump right into this week's hot social media topics!

Ignore everybody!

breas! Hugh Macleod of Gapingvoid published his first book titled Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity. Just ordered my copy – I'm looking forward to some inspiring quotes and cartoons:

The first rule of business, is never sell something you love. Otherwise you may as well be selling your children.

The Real Pip-Boy Deal

The Pip Boy saved me various time – while I was strolling through the post-nuclear wastelands of Fallout 3. But the nifty little arm-computer might soon enter real life: Engadget shows pictures of an impressive flexible OLED-Display:

The 4-inch organic electroluminescent display sports up to 1.67 million colors, QVGA (320 x 240) 100ppi resolution, and can be bent to a curvature radius of about 2 inches. Hopefully, this doesn't become a must-have fashion accessory any time soon: while it's perfectly appropriate attire for post-apocalyptic wastelands, we don't know how well it'll fly at the sorts of high society social events we normally frequent.

Seesmic Desktop: no Air required

TechCrunch interviewed Seismic founder Loic LeMeur – and the most charming Leena Rao managed to make the man talk:

According to Le Meur, Seesmic will soon be offering a browser based client. This offering is actually appealing, considering that Adobes AIR platform has some strange UI bugs and quirks and tends to use a good amount of resources on computers. And Seesmic will also launch an iPhone app, which is currently under wraps along with the web-based product.

Jeremy's own Affiliate-Network

Jeremy Shoemaker has been writing about affiliate marketing for quite some time; but recently he launched his own affiliate-network and published a post about his experiences. I'm really curious about his plans:

Sure I hear you your thinking “Why the hell would you pay people to sign up for a free course?” It's a great question and I think when the dust settles around the shoemoneyx.com program I will write all about it, why I did what, and what exact effect it had. I do have a method to my madness but it's not as many have guessed. We will see if it works but that is for another post

Twitter is becoming infrastructure

Regular Geek posted an interview view on twitter – his main point: Twitter is shifting from an online service to a basic infrastructure upon which early adopters are constructing an eco-system:

So, why is marketing and economy so important to Twitter becoming infrastructure? Without an economy building on top of Twitter data and functionality, Twitter would just be a toy. With people researching the data that is generated from Twitter, it becomes much more important. In order to monetize the system, they can sell the data, but monetization becomes much easier when you become ubiquitous.

Can't argue with that – with all the various mash-ups and the growing interest in real-time search, it seems that Twitter is here to stay. At least for now.

Bing beats Yahoo

Microsoft's new search engine hat a great start: TechCrunch reports that Bing overtook Yahoo – now the question is: will this trend last or will the wearer of the ancient headband #2 leap for a comeback?

The companys analysis for Thursday finds that in the U.S. Bing overtook Yahoo to take second place on 16.28%, with Yahoo Search currently at 10.22%. For the sake of comparison: Googles U.S. market share is pegged at 71.47%, and its worldwide share at a whopping 87.62% (vs. 5.62% for Bing and 5.13% for Yahoo).

Content ain't king

“The idea that ‘content is king' in blogging is total bullshit” says Viral Garden:

Every day I read hundreds of blog posts. And every day, I see dozens of truly GREAT posts that get no comments. Every day I see dozens of pretty good posts that get dozens of comments and have vibrant conversations.
The difference? Most of the bloggers that write those pretty good posts are also pretty good about leaving their blog and interacting with people on OTHER sites. They comment on their reader's blogs. They tweet their links on Twitter. They are ACTIVELY social with social media.

Interesting thesis… I'd say that both factors come into play. Social media spamming will just piss people off unless you got some stories that are actually worth watching your moves.

Pic of the week

I admit: I just couldn't decide between these two beautiful shots. A direct path was taken by eyesplash Mikul, it's a free-handed shot. The seconded picture portrays a female lying wolf in the zoo of Zrich and was taken by Tambako the Jaguar:

picweekbird

picweekwolf

Video of the week

Boats are only people – pretty unreliable ones, to be exact. These love boat passenger are in for a wet treat – feel the pain of these great sailors:

This is the end – of this week's round-up. Thanks for stopping by and offering me some of your Whuffies. Let's do it like this: I'll keep posting and you'll keep coming back and drop a dime from time to time :mrgreen:

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you'd like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don't hesitate to contact me! Of course I'll include a backlink to your original story.

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Contenture – Support the sites you love

Usually, I don't get too excited about new ad networks – but since Contenture has been developed by the team behind Clicky, I'm quite sure that this service deserves a closer look. The idea is simple: by paying a monthly flat fee to Contenture, users help webmaster make their sites sustainable. Via a JavaScript-Snippet, the Contenture networks measures users' visits to participating sites and spreads the money accordingly.

Basically, Contenture is reversing the classic ad model: instead of generating indirect revenue streams via AdSense and affiliate banners, webmasters profit from their regular users. I think that Contenture enters the stage at a quite early time, but basically the financial sustainability will become one of the key questions of the future web. There are some caveats involved though: such a network can only bring benefit to its webmaster if enough users are willing to pay – since most surfers are even reluctant to pay for online-services, I doubt that the big rush will take place instantly.

contenture anti-ad network

But the team has obviously kept that challenge in mind and came up with a *very* tempting idea:

Contenture is a new way to monetize your web site. Ad revenues are poor, unless you're a big name – and even then, they're still not that great. With Contenture, you make money for every visit to your site from a Contenture user. Furthermore, Contenture makes it dead simple to add premium level features to your web site with very little work. Think of it as a way to take your site Freemium. For example, you could give paying users priority access to new articles, exclusive access to your archives, an ad-free experience, and more. These features are built right into Contenture, but you can do even more with a little work on your end.

Now what's so special about that? Think about it this way: during the last weeks, a number of big affiliate networks – especially Clickbank – have got into a struggle with several kinds of malware-clean-up software: once those programs start deleting CB-cookies, the fun part is over. Contenture offers a much more stable system and establishes a monetization system which doesn't require any ongoing user actions. Once a couple of popular bloggers start posting mini-tutorials or premium contents (Twitter reports are still pretty hot), Contenture will experience a massive grow:

Contenture offers web sites the ability to (optionally) add premium level features to their web site. One of these features is to remove ads, but that's just one of many. For example, a site could give paying users priority access to new articles, exclusive access to their archives, special commenting abilities, and more. These types of features are built right in to Contenture. In other words, we're bringing the Freemium business model to the masses.
Here's another way to look at it. Contenture is the first that lets content providers create premium “micro services” throughout their sites. This is a crucial variable that other micropayment services have failed to implement.

And this is just the beginning – there are more features to come, like pay-per-article, tools for subscription-based models and much more. In this respect, Contenture not only is the first “anti-ad-network” but at the same time a valuable toolkit for developing micro-payment models.

The pricing seems rather reasonable to me – the minimum fee is $6,99. Users can pay more on an optional basis. Contenture keeps 20% of the revenues, which is very low compared to the standard 50% of most ad networks. Contenture works with all types of sites, but there are plugins for WordPress and Drupal – the integration is one in two minutes. There is no approval system, but Contenture reserves the right to delete accounts.

Conclusion: Contenture arrived a little early, but the idea is great and from my two years of Clicky experience, I definitely know that these guys understand how micro-traffic analysis works. There are no downturns involved – I activated the Contenture plugin on datadirt today and I'm not expecting a massive income stream yet, but I expect this to grow quite big. So it's probably a good idea to jump on the band-wagon as soon as you can.

More reviews:

Stefan Jacobasch on Contenture [in German]
Micropayment-Based Freemium Models For All. (If People Use It.) on TechCrunch
The anti-ad network
Monetize content without ads?

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 44/2008

Yup, I jump into your rss reader completely unexpected and start a ritual on my int'l blog that I've been diligently following on the German langue version datenschmutz for almost two years: from this very Sunday on I'll publish a weekley report on current events in the blogosphere. Of course there will be international and US news, but with a special focus on “good old Europa”, as information exchange between the two continents is not working as well as one might imagine in the era of communication worshippers. It's not a 1:1 translation of my German weekly-roundup, but the title will also include the word “Blogistan” (my kinda-Russion-sounding nom du guerre for la Blogosphere). So enjoy my first English weekly blogistan round-up, it reads a little something like this:

This week in goold old web 2.0 Europe…

Ernerst & Young teamed up with Burda Media to conduct a study [in German] on monetization/feasibility of web 2.0 services. In short, the conclusion offers nothing new: customers are not yet willing to pay recurring fees, traditional mdoels make more money than the social web and future ads will be a lot more personalized. Like I said: nothing new in here.

But this connects smoothly to the next news: Facebook might be needing money sooner than expected, as the social network is growing “too” fast while not even making enough money to cover it's monthly costs, left alone development. Good luck with that: may the hope for better times be with FB! In times like these investors favor short-term return strategies. But Dubai might offer a solution, and that's where CFO Gideon Yu travelled recently – probably not just to ride the camel.

In Other News

Consulting in times of crisis: Consulting Pulse interviewed marketing legend Seth Godin on the difficult topic of “consulting in times of crisis”. btw: you can't satisfy them all.

The MTV conspiracy: CrunchGear reports a strange case of civil un-disobedience: MTV is seriously bleeping out the names of filesharing networks when playing Weird Al Yankovich's “Copyright Song”. Hey, once you had an impact on pop culture – lighten up! Bittorrent, E-Mule, Kazaa… that was not so hard, ey?

Le video du week

Vote, vote, vote. Or don't vote? Or what the heck is Stevie Spielberg trying to tell the public in his new short movie? Work of a genius, check it out and watch till the end:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX40RsSLwF4[/youtube]

This week it was like that / and that's just the way it was. Thanks for your priceless attention, read me again on Monday.