Thursday, August 23, 2007

Youtube Ads are coming soon

From the NYT:

Now Google believes it finally has found the formula to cash in on YouTube's potential as a magnet for online video advertising and keep its audience loyal at the same time.

The company said late Tuesday that after months of testing various video advertising models, it was ready to introduce a new type of video ad, which it said was unobtrusive and kept users in control of what they saw.

The ads, which appear 15 seconds after a user begins watching a video clip, take the form of an overlay on the bottom fifth of the screen, not unlike the tickers that display headlines during television news programs.

A user can ignore the overlay, which will disappear after about 10 seconds, or close it. But if the user clicks on it, the video they were watching will stop and a video ad will begin playing. Once the ad is over, or if a user clicks on a box to close it, the original video will resume playing from the point where it was stopped.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

How An Unholy Alliance Could Topple Google

According to different stories, Wikipedia's founder is planning on giving Google a run for its money by building peer-to-peer applications to shoulder the load of search indexing.

Wales told a conference of software developers in Portland, Oregon, that his commercial start-up, Wikia, has acquired Grub, a pioneering Web crawler that will enable Wikia's forthcoming search service to scour the Web to index relevant sites.

"If we can get good quality search results, I think it will really change the balance of power from the search companies back to the publishers," said Wales, chairman of San Mateo, California-based Wikia. "I could be wrong about this, but it seems like a likely outcome."

Swell. The problem-- there's no reason to do it. Google is powerful because everyone wants a search engine. Wikipedia is powerful because everyone wants a free encylcopedia. Nobody but a zealot, a geek or a Wikia employee would install a peer-to-peer search indexing tool.
The trick is force everyone to index for Wikia.
How? You build a search function into a web-browser-- one that does two functions. First, it gives you quick access to a great search engine. Second, it uses up some spare cycles doing this distributed computing work that Wikia needs. That's easy. You can add it to Firefox. That idea has a couple of problems: Firefox is in Google's back pocket; Firefox has a minority share-- 5-15% depending of who's math you believe. Even if Google weren't tied to Firefox, adding this tool to the next install of Firefox would be like installing it on all Macintoshes.
The trick would be to form an unholy alliance between Wikia and the maker of the #1 web browser, Internet Explorer: Microsoft. That would be unlikely because Microsoft is like the Borg: they don't make alliances, they assimilate. If the leading web browser were to add in this double-barrelled tool, one that makes searching easier for users and for the search engines, it would be able to amplify the capabilities of the search engine in step with the growth of Internet usage. Searching is Google's bread-and-butter. While they make their revenue from AdSense, Google with the search leadership would be like Microsoft without the OS leadership.
Microsoft has a mediocre search product in its MSN search. They are also keen on centralized power and control. Wikia's idea is a good one and Microsoft could have it for very little cost if they could surrender one of two concepts: their need for centralization or their hunger for assimilation.
If Microsoft could do that, they could kick their search rival off of the top of the hill.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

From the Very Interesting Files

This from Bay Partners:

APPFACTORY

A fast-track program supporting entrepreneurs dedicated to developing applications for the Facebook® Platform

When Facebook announced its platform, a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) and services that allow outside developers to inject new features and content into the Facebook user experience, Facebook, in essence, became the Social Operating System. Historically, the creation of an operating system, or a platform, has led to a new economy which includes a marketplace of applications.

The AppFactory provides funding, technical and business resources to help entrepreneurs identify, build, and monetize the next generation of applications. Since AppFactory investments are really bets on people and concepts, Bay will use an aggressive timeline and fast-track approach to awarding AppFactory funding. An entrepreneur's time is best spent developing the application and experimenting with variables that affect adoption, virality, and usage, while exploring reasonable theories about monetization.

Bay Partners is targeting tens of investments from $25,000 to $250,000 using a flexible, fast-track approval process. In addition to the dollars, Bay commits technical and business resources, and a community of "Factory Entrepreneurs," all part of a program designed to ensure the business success of these application entrepreneurs.

Bay's "AppFactory" program is being led by Salil Deshpande and Angela Strange. Entrepreneurs interested in applying for Factory grants should contact Deshpande or Strange at appfactory@baypartners.com.

How to Apply

To learn more, please visit our FAQ.

To Apply, please send an application (maximum 2 pages) to appfactory@baypartners.com

  • A brief bio of you and your team (if applicable)
  • Your vision for your Facebook Application
  • How your idea adds value to the user
  • Your competitive advantage
  • Why it's more appropriate for your app to leverage Facebook’s platform, rather than take a destination-site approach
  • Your ideas for how your app could potentially be monetized
  • Your ideas for how your app will become viral
  • Your capital requirements and use of proceeds
I like the "Social Operating System" or as I like to call it: "SOS"