26 Feb

How Not to do a Corporate Weblog

Alan Meckler really gets how *not* to write a corporate blog. Let’s see:

  • Disparaging the competition for silly reasons.
  • Claiming to be a leader when it’s obvious you’re jumping on a bandwagon. This is 2003, not 1999. Weblogs aren’t new, even for marketing purposes.
  • Not connecting with anyone in the outside world. This isn’t a blog you’re doing, it’s a collection of ranting columns.
    He’s even claiming the proper spelling for "weblog" is "Weblog" and making a fuss about it. Hint: nobody in the blogosphere capitalizes the word. I guess Meckler learnt of blogs in the NYT and got the awkward spelling from them. What a good collection of worst practices to point at. Jupitermedia is organizing a conference on weblogs, in case you want to benefit from their obvious expertise in the field.
    Update: now with links! (Thanks to Scoble, who was kind and patient enough to explain.)

  • 26 Feb

    Microsoft Hangs Up on Vo-IP in Messenger


    "Back in 2001, when Windows XP was being positioned as a clearinghouse for Internet-based services, VoIP firms jostled for placement on the platform, but, with Microsoft pushing its own .NET Voice Services, the ability to make phone calls from the instant messaging application will be removed.
    For XP users still interested in VoIP services from the third-party providers, they can keep MSN Messenger running at the same time as Windows Messenger. A users can be signed in to both MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger at the same time, but not with the same .NET Passport account."

    I’d like to know more but I can’t find any other source on that story right now. I’m confused, I thought MSN Messenger didn’t support VoIP (I thought only Windows Messenger did.) Callserve for one has a calling application. I’d rather see it integrated in Outlook than Messenger by the way.

    26 Feb

    Microsoft Gets a Clue From Its Kiddie Corps

    Newsweek is giving away all pretense at editorial integrity, while CNet is not far behind ("a radically new instant messaging and communications product"). These "articles" are just big infomercials for the latest Microsoft yawner, too bad the target audience won’t read them. I’m a music freak, I spend a fair amount of time in IM, yet I wouldn’t even touch that piece of junkware with a ten-foot pole.
    The ability to override your friends’ desktops with visual spam is now a feature. What’s wrong with you guys? And you mean it’s like a party I go to, but I can’t copy the music that’s being played on? Then, it’s not even as good as sneakerware (the kind of stuff you’d know young people do if you hadn’t locked them for study like animals in a zoo). And it works only with the MSN buddy list. What’s with all that noise about interop we heard three years ago? How about working with Yahoo if AOL won’t hear about it? Oh, and there’s no streaming by the way, you need to complete downloads first. Junk software gleefully reported about in junk media.
    Please someone tell me, how is this going to raise the price of the MSFT shares I hold? As if this was going to drive XP upgrades, or finally get some ROI on the billions wasted in broadband investments. Microsoft will need to try harder to make its "Groove for Teens" work, starting with a feature set that doesn’t reek of compromise and focus group marketing.
    02/26/03 update: threedegrees — ha ha ha ha ha.

    12 Feb

    Obsessive Compulsive Fusion

    So says this review of Polytown. Though I don’t think it’s that tough to listen to, it’s true it’s hard to do anything else beside listening to this album. Terry Bozio on drums and Mick Karn on fretless bass, something tell me these guys could flawlessly play their record, note for note, in a live setting. They can’t be human.

    12 Feb

    More on Nick Denton’s Pro Blogs

    Dan Gillmor:

    "Denton doesn’t want to make too big a deal of it, but I think he’s onto something important. He’s pushing the boundaries of niche journalism in logical ways, making the most of the Net’s ease — and low cost — of publishing, as well as the advantages that seem to accrue to pioneers.
    In just a few months, he says, traffic has been doubling about every two months at Gizmodo, the first of his sites. The weblog is written by a professional tech journalist, Pete Rojas, and had almost a quarter-million page views in January, according to Denton, who takes pains not to over-hype what he’s doing or the relatively modest short-term financial potential."

    Nick has an incredible talent to get attention and be talked about. But some people who wrote about Gizmodo as something new displayed their tremendous lack of knowledge about independent niche sites. There are web sites in Gizmodo’s space that have been hanging around for 5 years or more. They look like weblogs, they started out of dorm rooms or basements, they’re run on inexpensive or free software. They have advertisers and make money off affiliate marketing as well. And they pull 10 to 200 times as much traffic as Gizmodo (Tom’s Hardware Guide: 45M page views per month, Gizmodo is about the size of its Turkish subsite.) They’ve always been there, dot com bubble or not. Nano publishing is news only to traditional journalists who don’t hang out online too much and think niche online publisher meant TheStreet or Salon. It’s like CNN suddenly discovering Fox breathing on their neck.
    Nick is smart in trying to reach other target markets beyond geeks and online veterans. He’s taking the web to the Hamptons, and that’s savvy marketing, but there’s hardly any "pioneering" in it from a media standpoint. Now, exposing the conversations that bounce from blog to blog, in a way that makes it easy to read them and contribute to them, that’s something else…

    10 Feb

    Vote France Off the Island


    "Why replace France with India? Because India is the world’s biggest democracy, the world’s largest Hindu nation and the world’s second-largest Muslim nation, and, quite frankly, India is just so much more serious than France these days. France is so caught up with its need to differentiate itself from America to feel important, it’s become silly. India has grown out of that game. India may be ambivalent about war in Iraq, but it comes to its ambivalence honestly. Also, France can’t see how the world has changed since the end of the cold war. India can.
    Mr. de Villepin also suggested that Saddam’s government pass "legislation to prohibit the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction." (I am not making this up.) That proposal alone is a reminder of why, if America didn’t exist and Europe had to rely on France, most Europeans today would be speaking either German or Russian."

    The fact that France is still a permanent Security Council member is an anachronism, and an insult to India which has about 18 times the population, and nuclear weapons, too. France accounts for 1% of worldwide population, it’s aging, and its economy isn’t getting any better (until very recently when Chirac campaigned on French decline to unseat the Socialists, most French officials conveniently forgot to use purchasing power parity to make GNP comparisons between countries, in order to convince the electorate that we’re still the 4th economy worldwide.) There is no reason France should have or even aspire to such a prominent place in international politics. Believe it or not, the rationale brought up by politicians here is that France has a Universal Message inherited from the 1789 Revolution and the Humanist "Siecle des Lumieres." Talk about building our credibility on a swamp: the revolution was a fraud and Rousseau didn’t even take care of his own children.
    02/12/03 update: Plague of Frogs, Dubious Council.

    07 Feb

    How Much Time to Earn ‘Classic’ Status?

    Hip-hop from the late 80’s is now 15 years old. Take Boogie Down Productions’ By All Means Necessary for instance, ain’t that a true classic? There’s nothing I like so much in rap than these early records. How about NWA’s Straight Outta Compton, or Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back? Allmusic calls that rap’s golden age, but I’m not even sure it stretches to the early 90’s.

    07 Feb

    Product support 404

    Heiko Hebig:

    "Inktomi Enterprise Search is now called Verity Ultraseek (as much as Raider is now called Twix). So far so good. Why bother? Well, the inktomi.com web site used to be the host of all support and FAQ pages for the search product. And no one at Verity seems to care that all support links from active Inktomi Search installations now end in 404 nirvana. A tiny little redirect would do the trick and make everone happy. One line of code."

    Who wants to trust such people with their Intranet search business?