Category: free ideas to Google

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.

Personal Media = Personal Control Over Ad Revenue

A flurry of stuff in last few days about media, news, web links, news, revenue models, etc:

Here is about who owns what (control)… and gets what (revenue)… in the new world of web-mediated media.

Here is about new media companies not being able to monetize through advertising:

Here is about “Models for Preserving American Journalism”:

Here is what Craig Newmark sees as one of the pillars of trust:

“…a clear separation between reporting and financial needs.”

And something Fred Wilson says:

“If you are a content owner, the front door to your content has moved to a place you don’t control.”

Notice the common thread – separation – of:

  1. Content from revenue
  2. Content from consumption

Now, after having done my “selecting” and “linking” – here is what I think.

  1. The link economy is here to stay. Linking (along with selecting) are the two (yes, only two) basic generative mechanism of all we humans do.
  2. The current business of aggregating will also lose – to end users – the function and value of “selecting” and “linking” it now offers.
  3. Offering of infrastructure for “selecting” and “linking” will be the only business left – with a relatively diminished role in the processes of connecting production with consumption (compared to old media).
  4. End users will own and control the bulk of the media space – think of all kinds of personal (web-enabled) interfaces – blogs, microblogs, start pages, streaming services – that’s where most of the “selecting” and “linking” will be happening. That’s where most of the programming will be happening. That’s where most of the context creation will be happening. That’s where most of the content creation will be happening. That’s where most of the media consumption will be happening.
  5. We (as content consumers) will have full control over how, where, when, and what of our own consumption. We will be doing the bundling (classifieds no more supporting the news reporting, OK?).
  6. We (as content creators) will lose control over how, where, when, and what others consume.

The revenue model for content creators will change – from transactional “paying” to relationship-based “giving”. Yes, sounds like NPR – however, we will not need NPR – it will be more like PPR – where “National” is replaced by “Personal”. Remember the infrastructure of “selecting/linking”…

Just some thoughts… no real ending, sorry.

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:

JuiceTorrent Is On!!!

JuiceTorrent Diagram

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.

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).

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.

New Tagging Service from Google

I want such a service. Google should offer such a service.

Give me a feed of keywords from your search index corresponding to the page I serve… so I can display them as a cloud of “search tags” … working as predefined automated searches.

A few days ago I was reading/commenting a post on A VC’s blog – where Fred Wilson talks about his “learning from Flickr.” The last of his ten points caught my attention: “Machine tagging (autotagging) is the next big thing in web 2.0.”

My first reaction was – what’s the big deal about machine tagging – thinking about some sort of automated tag extraction at the moment of inputting a piece of content into a system – how would that be much different from semantic search engine indexing?

Only later did I realize that Fred had in mind – mostly, it seems – the behavioral tagging occurring when a site records and displays user gestures in context – ala Amazon’s “customers who viewed this… also viewed…”

But misunderstanding being often the way of creative thinking – the idea came to me about a new type of web service from the likes of Google.

Why not have Google’s index out in the open, on my web pages – as a contextualized self-updating interface to related content – perfectly in synch with our common AdSense based interests. A simple click on a “related” keyword (close to the main content) is 10 times (my educated guess) easier than having to come up with good search words (too much thinking) and typing them into a search box (too much work) somewhere else on the page.

Web links are THE web interface… not search boxes.

We had “aidjumps” (my partner Ivan coined the term) on Aidpage since the very beginning in 2004. We would take user created tags and offer them also as preset Google searches. (We had to take these “aidjumps” down because of a conflict with the AdSense terms of service. For another unrelated reason, you won’t even see tags now on Aidpage… we’re working on a major upgrade.)

The idea is that Google may offer such a free web service to anybody quite easily – as an additional discovery interface. In a way, it sounds fair – I allow Google to index my pages but I want Google to give me back the results of the indexing – as tags that I can put back on my pages.

The whole Google index returned back to the periphery… exposed in the original contexts from which it was extracted… feeding back traffic to Google. Each such tag is an immediate Google search… much easier than using a search box… sending people to Google search results – what could be better for Google, or for any search engine for that matter.

People tend to forget that Google’s engine is not some sort of a super smart AI based meaning extraction machine. The smart thing about Google’s search engine was always the relatively simple recording and computing of the original human social gestures on the web (a.k.a. web links). Web links are the original social bookmarks too. It is this early social Web2.0 thing inside Google that made Google great… and hugely profitable.

Add to this the personal bookmarks Google now collects through their toolbar…

So, if Google’s greatness relies mostly on the social and personal bookmarks collected from my web pages and my browser, why wouldn’t Google give me back free RSS feeds of my tag clouds – on my web pages, my browser, my RSS reader…

I want to know what Google knows – immediately – without the cumbersome search box between us.

The exploration/discovery experience would gain much if we combine user generated tags (author self-tagging + social bookmarking), local behavioral tags (footprints, etc), and search tags from the likes of Google with their machine power and global view of the web.

UPDATE (October 2009):

Well… Google just did what I suggested here almost three years ago – see Google Related Pages and Search Words.

Thank you Google… 🙂

Have Syke and Bod – Will Compute. The Near Future of Personal Computing.

About the wanna-be-buzz words

“Syke” I derived from “psyche” and is pronounced the same way. “Bod” is simply an obscure (at least for those of us non-natives) English word for “body”. You be the judge of my marketing lingo creativity.

Syke

My syke is my digital “soul.” My syke is everything digital I own – identity, profiles, operating system, applications, configurations, preferences, and data.

Bod

A bod is a digital “body” – a computer with processing and storage capabilities. Bods are as small as to be easily portable in bags and even pockets, interchangeable, cheap, and retailed as widely as batteries. I need a bod to run my syke.

Periphery (display, input devices, etc) is like furniture. I expect to find periphery everywhere (including in cars, planes) – the same way I expect to find chairs when I enter a room. I just “plug” (wirelessly, of course) my bod and start using my syke.

All I have to carry is my bod. Not that I couldn’t use another one, but at least for the foreseeable future it will still be somewhat inconvenient to download a whole syke. A syke could be many, many gigabytes.

Security

Instances of my syke are stored in (1) my bod and in (2) a secure digital bank. Whenever I connect to the Net, my syke is synchronized.

I am the only person that can start and run my syke – the bod recognizes me via some bio stuff (finger, eye, dna, etc…). Forget passwords… don’t need them. Criminals need my bio body to crack my syke – nothing new about this. There’s a long tradition in bio body protection – it’s not a computer problem.

That’s it.

Ah… one last thing. For those of you who pretend doing something with a computer outdoors… just wait for the cool periphery coming: clothes with keyboards “painted” on them, sunglasses with microdisplays, and other such stuff.

Disclaimer
I’m not a computer scientist. I’m simply a knowledgeable present day computer user (“user” here is very close to being a euphemism for “slave”).

Update January 2010… five years later:

Just saw a good anti-Apple essay by Paul Graham from November 2009 in which he writes:

“Could anyone make a device that you’d carry around in your pocket like a phone, and yet would also work as a development machine? It’s hard to imagine what it would look like.”

And then Paul goes on by putting out an RFS (Request for Solution) on Y Combinator:

“There seems a reasonable chance that handheld devices will displace laptops as development machines in the same way that laptops displaced desktops… Maybe you’d have to make significant innovations in input and display devices. The real test is whether you can create an acceptable development environment on something small enough that you’d be willing to use it as a phone. Whatever the solution turned out to be, the result would end up being useful to more than just developers.”