Sunday, March 22, 2009


Build your own Drudge Report using

So the Drudge Report isn't really cutting edge technology, but its simple three column design has endured many years now. It has even been imitated by the likes of Huffington Post and The Daily Beast.

Now you can create a similar news page on any topic by using Most Recent lets you create pages using a simple drag and drop interface and pages get hosted right on the site. You can even make money by using advertising if your page becomes popular.

Check out the video to see it in action.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


My First Web 2.0 App: Joe's Goals

Check out Joe's Goals. It is a little application I put together to help me better track my goals. It uses Spiffy Corners, FamFamFam icons, and Yahoo's Javascript library (all very cool stuff, thanks guys!). Let me know how you like it and if you run into any bugs.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Digg: the innovators, the imitators, and the rip-offs

Will someone please put scooop out of their misery? This of-the-people-by-the-people mildew has been left to fester long enough, it’s not a party if no one shows up! They are almost as bad as TalkRadioDaily. Man, we need to get those guys some help. Where is the right wing demography? The clever banter? The allusions to Ted Kennedy’s excellent breast stroke? Politics is boring without a little fun mixed in.

I do have to give it up for NewsVine though. Nice job making your application more complex than the Space Shuttle! Its like being caught in a Star Trek turbolift and spending hours trying to figure out which snazzy button opens the blooming door! Oh, it’s the little X in the top right corner. My mistake.

If you are in to lighter fare (Lindsay Lohan Q&A, Britney’s Baby, etc) then there is Staralicious. With its bright blue background and cotton candy taste you have to ask yourself, “Do I feel like throwing up today?” Well, do you? Ahh kick it. Actually, please don’t. Whatever you don’t kick it! It’s like reddit without the intellectual-nazi-my-poo-don’t-stink-I-could-launch-a-starup-if-I-wanted-to mentality.

Listen, people! Please! Just because you can come up with a clever word (like, say, blink, or bump, or, heaven forbid, don’t feel compelled to launch a service to show your cleverness. I don’t want to be forced to visit to Slap It! or to Squeegee it! It’s bad enough having to Shout It! all the time. Just ask my coworkers, they really have tough time understanding why I suddenly shout things like “Bears Eat Monkey At Zoo!

There are lots of niches out there. Xbox fanboys can delay their puberty yet a few more months thanks to xBoxKicks (enough with the kicks already!). Investors can get excellent summaries of mediocre information thanks to the efforts of diggstock (now there is a name that took a lot of thought). And for all you bloggers out there you can..well…blog I guess. If you want you could use blogreporter or wobblog, but then there is always normal behavior too. You know, things like finding a girl, getting married, having kids, taking bathroom breaks, etc.

If all else fails you can always digg. And then digg some more. And then undigg. And then complain about digg. And last but not least, use the handy digg “friends” feature. It is like a well architected handle. It isn’t quite a hammer; it isn’t quite a suitcase; but man how cool it would be if it was attached to something mildly innovative or useful. “Oh look! I can track what digg users are digging! Just like regular digg! Oh rapture!”

Anyway, that is the rounded up the chief pretenders. If you know of any other digg rip-offs please feel free to post them to the comments so that I may sleep peaceably at night knowing that a handful of nobodies are anxiously posting and voting for links to make the world a better place.


Google, Microsoft and Adobe - The battle for the new operating system

Good read about the ongoing trend toward internet based software. The one thought I had was that it is likely that the big kingpin in online “software” really hasn’t shown up yet. Right now the geek community is all abuzz with Digg and Ajax, but ten years ago they were creating pages on geocities that are essentially the same as those currently being created by the public at large on MySpace. As soon as someone creates a couple of apps (beside search) that people will use every day and successfully market those apps to non-geeks I think we will see a dramatic shift to a new player. I don’t know what that might look like (maybe some kind of social life planner with bill pay, calendar, mail tools, notepad, goal management, etc) but if it is simple and slick enough to attract a more general audience then we could have the start windows/office type dynasty.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Nintendo down?

Looks like Nintendo is having server problems. Big update coming? E3?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Does Ajax mean less revenue for Google?

There is an interesting discussion going on around the web about how Google’s (and other Web 2.0 companies') streamlined approach to design and use of Ajax tools to decrease number of page views may actually be hurting their revenue growth. The basic idea being that having more page views means showing more ads which means making more money. Ajax means less page views (and quicker sessions) and so therefore is a bad thing (even if it helps you get bigger market share).

Here is an excerpt:

We've looked at ten different ideas for AJAX and we've decided to keep all the AJAX on the publisher side of the business and 'force' the users to deal with page reloads so we can make (or not lose) money.

I must say I disagree. Having fewer page reloads doesn't mean lost earnings.

As I see it, only advertising breaks down into two categories:

ModelShow paid ads to a user who area already interested by virtue of their searchShow ads to a network of users in order to increase interest in product or service
Featured NetworksGoogleMySpace
Featured AdvertisersE-Commerce, Lead GenerationMovie Launches, Brand-conciece
Featured AdvertisersE-Commerce, Lead GenerationMovie Launches, Brand-conscience
Real World EquivalentWalmartClear Channel

The reason Yahoo, MSN, and Google continue to dump fistfuls of cash into search marketing and advertising networks is because the work. They convert and a very traceable price and the growth is almost unanticipatable. This won’t end the demand by advertisers to have billboards along the side of the road or banners hovering over profiles on MySpace, but value ads are a heck of a lot more valuable. Think about it, would you rather buy a visitor who thought the girl on your banner was sexy? Or wouldn’t you prefer to buy someone who just looked up your product in a search engine?

The only problem is that there are a limited number of people who are looking for what you have to sell at any given time. But there are a seemingly endless number of people chatting or trying to make friends on social networks who glance at the banner at from time to time.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


All Marketers are Liars video

Video of presentation by Seth Godin (website), author of All Marketers are Liars (among other things), given at the Google Complex. See the original video here.

Digg | Reddit

Tell a story
Seth makes a number of good points about online and product marketing and, indirectly, the nature of Web 2.0. The most significant thing you will walk away with is a better grasp of the “story” nature of effective online word of mouth campaigns. Virtually every successful Web 2.0 product has found success based almost exclusively upon the buzz they generated through blogs and places like They did this by telling a story.

In fact, they weren't successful because they had the best layout or the best technology, they were successful because they were the first one in their niche to get their “story” right.

37 signals
One of the best examples of this is a little company by the name of 37signals, makers of Basecamp and Backpack (among others). The reality is that their products aren't particularly new or profound (just don't try and tell that to a 37siginals evangelist) but they were the first people in their particular niche to get the story right. People are sold on it. Now when they release a new product there are hundreds of bloggers and early adopters who rush to try it out, review it, and tell all their friends about it. You can't buy that kind of publicity.

Brand is meaningless
One of the interesting by-products of this new kind of story based marketing is that brand is relatively meaningless. A clear example of this can be seen each time one of the big three (Yahoo, Google, and MSN) introduce a new product. While it is easy for them to create some buzz and get a bunch of initial signups, they've had increasing difficultly converting enough power users to make it a success.

An example of this trend is when Yahoo launched MyWeb 2.0 to mixed results before turning around and buying Google also launched Base which is, to date, a spam filled poor man's craigslist (and you thought craigslist was the poor man's craigslist). Why can't these big companies muscle in and take over these markets with all of their marketing dollars and dedicated programmers?

The simple reason is that early adopters and power users are much less interested in technology than they are in being a part of something unique or meaningful. A story is something that makes you feel a certain way when you use a product. You're using something cutting edge (even if you're not), you're fighting the man (even if the website is actively trying to get bought out by the man), you're part of an elite club of users who read the product's blog and enthusiastically share your (probably meaningless) opinion.

Character based advertising
After watching the video and doing some extensive reading on online startups, I'm really excited to start focusing on marketing based around persons or characters. A classic example of this is Jared Fogle, who become the face of Subway after losing over 200lbs in a year. Other great examples include Craig from craigslist, Sergey Brin and Lawrence E. Page from Google, Steve Jobs from Apple, and, of course, the Donald. On any level I think that getting power users to adopt early and sell your product to their friends will have a lot more to do with creating compelling story and personality than being first to market or even best in market.

Although, on the other hand, retired Jeeves because he clearly wasn't pulling his own weight. Now is a serious search and research platform for adults, not simply a cartoon character. At least, that is the story they tell.

Monday, March 13, 2006


URL naming and search engines

"How important is it to have the product name or
description in the URL? Is it important, borderline,
or not important?" - Chris

The understanding I came away from the people at this
years Search Engine Strategies conference was that it
is really important to put information in the URL.
Google (at least) uses it as one of the factors in
determining page rank. I think it is more valuable if
your website domain contains the key term, but file
name is important too. Also, don't forget that people
can see the URLs. As I understand it, some folks did
some tests using google adwords where they showed ads
using just the normal domain name ( and then
showed a url using the domain plus keyword
( The one with the keyword in the URL
had the better click rate.

Hope this helps!

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