If you are in or near New Orleans this week, check out the next BrainJams event on Thursday, May 4, 2006. There are a number of people and organizations that are responsible for organizing these, and three of them are Chris Heuer, Brian Oberkirch and the new search engine HuckaBuck.com. Attend if possible, and consider sponsoring or donating to this great non profit if you can’t.
If you haven’t heard about the blogger who’s been sued for criticizing the state of Maine’s tourism promotion efforts (among other things, the state’s advertising agency created draft advertisement that included a phone sex number which, frankly, deserves to be criticized). The plaintiff is the advertising agency. The defendant is a blogger named Lance Dunston.
Here’s Lance’s side of the story (more here). Here’s information on the ad in question. This is the complaint that was filed. This is the Plaintiff.
Scott Johnson, founder of Feedster and Ookles, defends the plaintiff but provides few details as to why (he spoke to the ad agency and came away impressed). James Robertson and Robert Scoble disagree with Scott. Lots of chatter on Memeorandum about this from other bloggers.
John Palfrey has a paticularly intelligent writeup on this:
My view is that a lawsuit of this sort should have to clear a very high bar before a court awards damages to the design firm, especially where the core discussion is a matter of political speech in which a citizen is commenting on the activities of a state agency of his home state.
I’m an attorney, and I say this: Our legal system is not an appropriate venue to handle disputes between deep pocketed plaintiffs and one-man defendants. The lawsuit itself is generally enough to destroy a person because they cannot affort proper legal representation. Warren Kremer Paino, the plaintiff, should be ashamed of itself for taking this to court, and their reputation, as well as that of their client, the state of Maine, will certainly take a hit for this.
Based on the facts as I understand them right now, this lawsuit is ridiculous. I’ve cancelled my plans to attend Pop!Tech this year, and I will not do business with any of the advertising agency’s clients or write about them. I will also contribute to a legal defense fund if Lance sets one up. All of these opinions are subject to change if different facts come to light (if for example, Scott Johnson posts additional details supporting his position), but as of right now, I will do everything I can to support this blogger’s first amendment right to speak his mind.
Twenty or so bloggers, academics and entrepreneurs met with 2004 VP Candidate John Edwards today in Palo Alto, and I was lucky enough to be invited.
He seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say. The first half of the meeting was a discussion, dominated by Dave Winer, Danah Boyd and Mary Hodder, about ways that Senator Edwards could use technology to help him spread his ideas in the upcoming election, if he were to run. Frankly, I was more interested in talking about how Washington could help Silicon Valley (or more precisely, get out of our way), and steered the conversation towards immigration/visas, privacy concerns around new, highly efficient privacy destroying business models, the RIAA mess and net neutrality.
I came away impressed with the man and his platform.
My pictures are here. Dave Winer also took a few
Tom Raftery reports that China is blocking Technorati. I agree with Tom, the search engines need to group together to figure out a “China strategy”, and take into account China’s human rights violations in their quest for profits.
Bill Thompson at BBC calls TechCrunch “delightfully upbeat” and also writes a pretty damned good article on some of the companies I’ve written about.
Also I will be in London from May 18-23 and look forward to meeting everyone in person that I’ve gotten to know online. I’ll keep my schedule updated here on events, dinners, pub crawls, etc.
The first Third Thursday Event was a lot of fun. I was invited to speak about blogging and PR in front of the 80 or so attendees. Thanks to Mike Manuel, Jeremy Pepper, Giovanni Rodriguez and Phil Gomez for putting on this event – I look forward to the next one. Jeremy’s pictures from the event are here. Jeremy also has a podcast of the event up on his blog.
Oh God, more about this at Valleywag.
The WSJ debate between Jupitermedia’s Alan Meckler and Jason Calacanis left a bad taste in my mouth, and it’s getting worse. My own thoughts on it nearly mirrored Om Malik’s (“A cheap way to generate page views for WSJ”), but I decided this was a debate I’d watch from the sidelines, not one I’d jump into. Alan was wrong in my opinion (as well as a bit condescending), but he was entitled to his opinion.
My instincts to stay on the sidelines were probably right, because Alan Meckler has started getting personal in his responses to those who’ve criticized him: “Now I know why Om is journalist and not a businessman”, he says.
Om responds by noting that some blogs (he uses TechCrunch as an example) are starting to equal or exceed the page views of established online news sites.
I’m with Om on this one, naturally. Anyone who doesn’t see that blogs are taking page views from more traditional news sites is in denial. The trend is only getting started. And the shrillness of Alan’s personal attack on Om tells me that he knows it, too.
Frank Gruber’s latest post on TechCrunch is a feature-by-feature comparison of the online mapping services (Live.com Local, Yahoo Maps, Google Maps, etc.). Representatives from a couple of the companies have already weighed in with suggested additions and corrections. Check it out, and let us know what other services you’d like to see compared.
This just released Gillmor Gang was the most fun I ever had on a podcast. Hugh MacLeod joined us and we went on and on (85 minutes total). Lots of talk about his famous cartoons.
One benefit of “structured blogging” is that it allows you to tailor the look of your post based on the content. So a post reviewing a movie looks different than a post describing an item you are selling. Structured Blogging also ensures that the data included in your post is structured properly, allowing non-humans to quickly parse the data and understand what everything is.
The best resources for getting a better understanding of all of this is the newly redesigned StructuredBlogging.com and the Microformats site.
If you want to get involved as a blogger, the best way to start is to download a plugin to whatever blogging platform you are using. There are links and instructions in the sidebar of the main StructuredBlogging site.
Disclosure: I have a bunch of friends working on this and I want to support their efforts. They are doing this partly or in some cases entirely without compensation and for the good of the web. A company I co-founded, edgeio, also fully supports this initiative.
In his second post for TechCrunch, Frank Gruber takes a look at the Online Music Services.
Here’s one of the reasons that I love blogging. There are a couple of errors in the post. First, the table has a typo that’s actually my fault and was a result of my formatting his work. Second, I edited out eMusic for reasons stated in the post. Third, a couple of services were missed.
And all of these were quickly pointed out (slammed) in the comments. Frank and I can now iterate the post and get it completely buttoned up, just hours after initially posting. It’s hard to take user comments sometimes, but at the end of the day it makes your writing better.
Did we really need a study to tell us that everyone skips ads when they DVR shows?
A very hot show like CSI makes about $.50 per viewer in advertising. Now, I did this calculation on the back of a cocktail napkin while drinking beers with a CSI executive producer one evening, so I admit it isn’t likely to be very accurate. But really, that isn’t that much revenue to make up. They can make more money via paid downloads and in-show product placements anyway, so they should just stop with the ads. No one likes them. And soon, no one will be watching them at all.
Congratulations to Jason Fried and 37 signals – their ebook Getting Real, which sells for $20, has sold nearly 6,000 copies in 30 days and has generated $120,000 in revenue.
Getting Real details the business, design, programming, and marketing principles of 37signals. The book is packed with keep-it-simple insights, contrarian points of view, and unconventional approaches to software design. This is not a technical book or a design tutorial, it’s a book of ideas.
The ebook in pdf format is available here. Alternatively, just paypal me $10 and I’ll email you my copy (kidding, kidding).