We’ll be closing the JuiceTorrent service…

Sadly… we’ll have to do it. We were not able to jump start the service in a meaningful way.

We should have formulated the service and the value proposition in much, much simpler way… starting perhaps with an API only. But we did not have the energy, resources, and perhaps the smarts, to do it.

I already removed the JT widget from this blog. Consider doing the same if you happen to have it on your blog.

I still believe that we’ll see some implementation of the JT basic idea. Google Adsense could do it in a heartbeat. But they don’t seem to listen to me.

Read more about the JuiceTorrent idea here.

What To Do About Contextual Ad Blunders – “Opinion-Based” Advertising

I blog about the elections – meaning my support for Obama – only to get ads from McCain’s campaign right there with my post. Bummer.

The current capability in Google AdSense to block specific domains from serving ads is not practical in so many ways.

Here is an idea – a (self-service) positioning matrix… that could be implemented by contextual ad services like Google Adwords/AdSense. Here is how this might work:

  1. Start a list of hot topics/issues (crowdsource the list)
  2. Let publishers (in AdSense) browse/search the list, look up the topics/issues of concern to them and position themselves along dimensions like “love/hate,” “for/against,” “approve/disapprove,” etc…
  3. Let advertisers (in Adwords) do the same.

The result:

  1. Ads matching the attitudes of publishers and their audiences
  2. Possibility for advertisers to differentiate between “converted” and “non-converted” audiences… and eventually try to selectively engage those who admittedly don’t like their message/product/cause. Something like – “We know many people don’t like {whatever}. But we work hard to change this. Gives us a chance.”

UPDATE (March 2009):

Google introduces “interest-based” advertising… good, but still missing the point of “opinion-based” advertising.

May be I should start a category “free ideas to Google” … here is another one…

Ads On This Blog… And JuiceTorrent

Here is what Fred Wilson says back in June 2006 in a post on his blog titled “Ads on this blog“…

“I don’t like leaving money on the table. This blog does around 2 million page views per year on the web and another million plus views in my feed.

Those page views are worth real money and while I don’t need it, someone does.

[...]

I hope to generate $40,000 this year to charity with this blog. I am certain I’ll generate at least $25,000.

That’s real money that will get a tribeswoman in Africa a cell phone or a underprivileged child a scholarship.

So that’s why I run ads on this blog. I hope you agree that its a good cause…”

Fred is a “star” blogger with a big audience. So he makes a meaningful chunk of money (let’s say $36,000) to donate at the end of the year to charities.

Now… let’s assume that a typical unknown blogger could make an average of $12/year (that’s $1/month) in ad revenue from AdSense.

You’d have to put 3,000 such bloggers together to achieve what Fred does with his blog in terms of ad revenue. And you’d have to wait over 8 years before Google releases the $100 min checks to each of these bloggers… and you’d have to remind these bloggers and their audiences that the money was intended for charity. Not very practical… nobody does it.

Enter JuiceTorrent (see the JT widget in left column of this page)

With JuiceTorrent, 3,000 regular (non-star) bloggers (like me and most of you) can create and maintain a monthly revenue “torrent” of $3,000 flowing directly into the account of a charity… or multiple charities. No waiting for months or years, no writing of checks, no “donation” accounting (who cares about a receipt for a $12 yearly donation anyway). Added benefit – being part of an online community of supporters and actively promoting the causes you care about.

Without JuiceTorrent – we leave money on the table. With JuiceTorrent – we can pay for a scholarship for an underprivileged child. All it takes is embedding a few snippets of code on our blogs.

Personal notes:

  • I really, really can’t care less about the aesthetic implications of having ads on my blog (JuiceTorrent is set for now to serve text ads only though). Looking “sleek,” “clean,” or “non-commercial” (read “anti-commercial”) somehow doesn’t make it even close to the top of my priorities. Finding new ways to make the web meaningfully social does.
  • I don’t want to wait for the “ad-free” web of the future that may come or may not come about any time soon. If NPR and WGBH can put car dealers’ ads on their websites – for a good cause – so can I.

Read more about JuiceTorrent:

Editing Obama…

Original text: The First Presidential Debate

What follows is my editing of Obama’s answers:

===================

LEHRER: Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?

OBAMA: Well, thank you very much, Jim, and thanks to the commission and the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss, for hosting us tonight. I can’t think of a more important time for us to talk about the future of the country.

You know, we are at a defining moment in our history. Our nation is involved in two wars, and we are going through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

And although we’ve heard a lot about Wall Street, those of you on Main Street I think have been struggling for a while, and you recognize that this could have an impact on all sectors of the economy.

And you’re wondering, how’s it going to affect me? How’s it going to affect my job? How’s it going to affect my house? How’s it going to affect my retirement savings or my ability to send my children to college?

So we have to move swiftly, and we have to move wisely. And I’ve put forward a series of proposals that make sure that we protect taxpayers as we engage in this important rescue effort.

Number one, we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got oversight over this whole process; $700 billion potentially, is a lot of money.

Number two, we’ve got to make sure that taxpayers, when they are putting their money at risk, have the possibility of getting that money back and gains, if the market — and when the market returns.

Number three, we’ve got to make sure that none of that money is going to pad CEO bank accounts or to promote golden parachutes.

And, number four, we’ve got to make sure that we’re helping homeowners, because the root problem here has to do with the foreclosures that are taking place all across the country.

Now, we also have to recognize that this is a final verdict on [What happens today is due to] eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain. a theory that basically says that we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down.

It hasn’t worked. And I think that the fundamentals of the economy have to be measured by whether or not the middle class is getting a fair shake. That’s why I’m running for president, and that’s what I hope we’re going to be talking about tonight.

[...]

LEHRER: All right, let’s go back to my question. How do you all stand on the recovery plan? And talk to each other about it. We’ve got five minutes. We can negotiate a deal right here.

But, I mean, are you — do you favor this plan, Senator Obama, and you, Senator McCain? Do you — are you in favor of this plan?

OBAMA: We haven’t seen the language yet. And I do think that there’s constructive work being done out there. So, for the viewers who are watching, I am optimistic about the capacity of us to come together with a plan.

The question I think, that we have to ask ourselves is, how did we get into this situation in the first place?

Two years ago, I warned that, because of the subprime lending mess, because of the lax regulation, that we were potentially going to have a problem and tried to stop some of the abuses in mortgages that were taking place at the time.

Last year, I wrote to the secretary of the Treasury to make sure that he understood the magnitude of this problem and to call on him to bring all the stakeholders together to try to deal with it.

So — so the question I think, that we’ve got to ask ourselves is yes, we’ve got to solve this problem short term. And we are going to have to intervene; there’s no doubt about that.

But we’re also going to have to look at, how is it that we shredded so many regulations? We did not set up a 21st-century regulatory framework to deal with these problems. And that in part has to do with an [the] economic philosophy [of George Bush and John McCain] that says that regulation is always bad.

[...]

LEHRER: Do you have something directly to say, Senator Obama, to Senator McCain about what he just said?

OBAMA: Well, I think Senator McCain’s absolutely right that we need more responsibility, but we need it not just when there’s a crisis. I mean, we’ve had years in which the reigning economic ideology has been what’s good for Wall Street, but not what’s good for Main Street.

And there are folks out there who’ve been struggling before this crisis took place. And that’s why it’s so important, as we solve this short-term problem, that we look at some of the underlying issues that have led to wages and incomes for ordinary Americans to go down, the — a health care system that is broken, energy policies that are not working, because, you know, 10 days ago, John said that the fundamentals of the economy are sound.

LEHRER: Say it directly to him.

OBAMA: I do not think that they are.

LEHRER: Say it directly to him.

OBAMA: Well, the – John, 10 days ago, you said that the fundamentals of the economy are sound. And… [Why?]

==================

This is too much fun… I may do the whole debate later. Only Obama though – don’t want to help McCain.

Democratic Presidents Make Us All Richer; Republican Presidents Make Us All Poorer

Well… Read the title of this post again. Then read this article. Then take a look at the stats (from the US Census Bureau):

And then, when voting next time for a Republican President, just tell me – what are your reasons other than:

  1. the right to own a military grade machine gun at home to compensate for a small d-k,
  2. caring more for future children than for those already living because the yet unborn do not need health care and good education – like NOW,
  3. having a President who will act like a “father” to you – because you want to be a “child” forever… or may be because your dad was not there when you needed him (he had to work two full time jobs to make ends meet, remember – correlate with the stats above),
  4. having a President who will need a “Higher Father” to make his decisions – so that he doesn’t have to take full responsibility for them (you like your President to be like you, don’t you?),
  5. having a President who will share your own negative opinions about those other 50% of Americans… those who are NOT real Americans or good people altogether according to your strong beliefs.

Update:

Read a more dispassionate and much more educated discussion on WHAT MAKES PEOPLE VOTE REPUBLICAN? by Jonathan Haidt (found via Jean Russell).

However, at this stage of the political fight for the White House, understanding Republican voters (while absolutely necessary) is not enough. We’ve had enough of analysing why Republicans dominate the political landscape for quite some time already. We need more people to confront them. This country is our country too! Society is not “as it is”… it is what we make of it.

JuiceTorrent Is On!!!

Yeah… !!! We (at People Networks) did it!

The points about JuiceTorrent:

  1. Gives organizations and individuals (we call them JT stars) the possibility to start their own self-expanding ad networks through the blogs and websites of their fans and supporters.
  2. Gives people (fans and supporters) an easy way to start and manage micro-streams of ad revenue from their own blogs and websites – and join them into meaningful “torrents” going directly to entities (JT stars) they choose to support.
  3. Gives the JT stars a fast and easy way to plug into and test/compare contextual ad markets (Google AdSense, YPN) without the hassle of changing ad code and micromanaging ad placement.
  4. Makes (ad)sense out of the largely unused micro-pools of ad space controlled by the new class of (personal) media owners and publishers – “the people formerly known as the audience.”
  5. Creates a new category of social vectors across the online identities of people and organizations – adding the moral and material dimension of “supporting” to the existing “linking,” “friending,” “visiting,”and “following.”
  6. Separates “utility” advertising from “high quality” content while keeping the economic link between them. Mortgage ads on my blog where I rant about home prices will support the independent star blogger/journalist/artist I admire and read daily… or the Red Cross… or both. JT “stars” can stay as high minded, ad free, and/or commercially non-viable as they wish – while the ads on my blog can be trivial, pedestrian, useful, and indeed effective.
  7. Gives musicians a possibility to establish ongoing flows of exchange – streaming music for streaming support - as opposed to the discreet consumption/transaction models of the industrial era past.

See how JuiceTorrent works…

We are now actively looking for candidates for JT stardom – nonprofits, star-bloggers, musicians – to start them up with JuiceTorrent.

Please, contact me – in comments here… or by email (emil at sotirov dot com).

Big Thoughts from Small Minds

Here is a guy who’s (in his own words) “supposed to be thinking ‘big thoughts’ all day as part of a fellowship program that recruits PhD-level scientists into public service with the federal government.”

And here is one big thought he produced:

“But at a fundamental level, studying complex behavioral and genetic networks in animals is not so different from understanding human social networks.”

Oh yeah… on a fundamental level… we’re all animals. So heartbreakingly true.

But here is the scary part:

“So to some extent, when it comes to explaining social software to military policymakers – I’m the perfect guy for the job.”

Read more… 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn Dies

Never read “The Gulag Archipelago“… but loved “One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich“… always remember his advice from “One Day…” about how to survive in tough conditions – do everything slowly.

There was a joke back then… in the Soviet times… about a Russian boy… from the 21st century… asking his father: “Dad… who’s Brejnev?”… and the father: “Hmmm… I think he was a politician from Solzhenitsyn’s time.” Not a joke anymore.

Hope Obama Doesn’t Become an “Engineer” Once (if) Elected

In a recent (really interesting) NYT article, Jodi Kantor tells us how Obama’s students (at the University of Chicago Law School) call him “a contextualist, willing to look past legal niceties to get results.”

This reminds me of two older NYT articles (both by David Brooks) which I commented in two older posts – one about “Relationship Blend” vs. “Productive, Rational Behavior” and another about Progressive Realism.

Politically, I identify with the “ecologists” (contextualists) and Robert Wright’s “progressive realism”…

Now, here is the thing (by David Brooks) I am referring to in the title of this post:

“Most politicians are ecologists who turn into engineers once in office.”

JuiceTorrent… Make Your Own Ad Network

First, let me state the obvious: all I do – is co-doing… with my partners, team, my wife and the people I meet, read, and follow. This post was, in fact, suggested by one of my partners. So here it is…

December 1991 – I write (in this paper) that “There is no … author/audience … no text, but always, and only, a con-text.” Seventeen years later (July 2008) – Umair Haque is almost there (with this strategy note)… by telling us “There is No Consumer” and by suggesting UGC should, in fact, mean “User Generated Context.”

April 2005 – I co-found Aidpage Inc (aidpage.com) – with the tag line “People Helping People.” Three years later (July 2008) – a Deloitte study (by Beeline) concludes: “The tribalization of business is all about ‘People Helping People.’”

March 2007 – I co-found People Networks Inc. About a year later (February 2008) – Dave Morgan, founder of Real Media and TACODA (acquired by AOL in July 2007), says – in a post titled “The Future: People Networks” – “To me, it’s all about the growing role of “people networks“… promptly followed by AOL announcing (May 2008) the creation of a new business unit called “People Networks.”

Currently – we work on a web service called JuiceTorrent with a tag line “Create Your Own Ad Network.”

Hours, Days, Months, Years… Are God’s Tags (Google’s Labels)

I hate calendars – never used them effectively. Don’t want to manage time. If I had the power, I’d ignore time. If there was God – he probably would have ignored time (my guess).

I often think of Google with their refusal to manage 20% of their own time. Might this be a “Beta”… precursor of how Google may start non-managing 100% of their time. Now, that would be a God-like behavior.

I use Google Calendar(s)… don’t know of anything better. But still, in most cases - I just cannot realistically assign a duration value to whatever I enter there. So, I use it mostly for the easy way to drag my “To Do” items from day to day.

Now, I am trying to start using Google Notebook(s). You can enter items in notebooks (and sections within them) through an extremely easy interface. You can label each item. There is the easy “suggested” menu of existing labels. So, I have a label “1 Emil” – the “1″ is there to put this label in a easy first alphabetical position in the “Labels” menu. The label pulls a good full screen of all notes across all notebooks labeled “1 Emil”… And, here comes the good part – this screen has an URL. So, I put this in my “home” set of tabs in my browser. Now, I have an instant view of the notes I need – sitting on a tab in my browser. I don’t even mention the “search” and “share” functions – after Google, we think nothing of these.

However, there is no sharing of labels. Why I wonder. I cannot figure out a reason. Shared labels would work as the “days” in the Calendar(s).

Now, for any faithful user of Google Calendar(s), this description of Google Notebook(s) might be simply boring. But for me, Google Notebook(s) is a way out of the tags which I cannot and would not control – the minutes, hours, days, months, and years. They’re sooooo totally pre-set, fixed, written in stone… and most importantly, soooo shared… with soooo many people… that I still wonder why someone would even try to manage them.

The goodness of asynchronicity (being loosely connected in time) – a good subject for another post.

Reading Blogs and Articles About Our Health Care System…

…written by people who know a thing or two about the subject… as opposed to listening to our presidential candidates.

Running a Hospital (blog)
by Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston

Repairing the Healthcare System (blog found via Brad)
by Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

The Health Insurance Mafia
(article in today’s Wall Street Journal found via Stanley Feld)