Disable Snap

From Blork, a great follow-up to my complaints about Snap.com the other day: How To Disable Snap Shots on Blogs. Step-by-step instructions about how to spare your readers from this annoying “feature”.

An open message

Dear users of Snap.com,

Please stop!

It is annoying, provides me (your reader) with no benefit, and in fact makes it radically less likely that I will read your post – the stupid pop-up windows obscure your text and make it difficult to read the pearls of wisdom you are trying to communicate.

Best,
Michael

Clicks and online advertising

This morning Danah Boyd published an interesting enquiry into online clickthrough advertising: Who clicks on ads? And what might this mean? on her blog, apophenia. The crux of the question stems from the fact that most “savvy” internet users routinely deny ever clicking on ads, and not just loosely-targeted banner ads but contextual text ads as well. The difficult paradox, then, may be that the population of “clickers” may be composed of groups that are well outside the target audience of the advertising, which would call the whole model into question. The most important fact in the piece, though, has to do with the question that there isn’t much data available to test any hypothesis in this area.

Beacon and Privacy

Dare Obasanjo digs into the new advertising platform launched by Facebook: Facebook Beacon is Unfixable. I have enjoyed Facebook a great deal, but this kind of thing is pretty bad.

Google and the Social Graph

In my feed reader just now I noticed a brief mention by John Battelle: Paid Links, Selling Links… Not Good. When you click through to the article and to the Google help page – and remembering the commotion a couple of weeks ago about some complaints that people’s Page Rank had suddenly dropped – a very encouraging pattern is starting to emerge.

Google has always taken the soundness of their systems very seriously, but I don’t think it’s coincidental that Google seems to be addressing some of the issues surrounding paid links and the like more seriously now that Facebook has made some aggressive strides into the advertising world. I think someone at Google realizes that alongside and within its ranking and presentation via search of the whole web, they also – without Orkut or OpenSocial or anything else – already have a “social graph” embedded in their databases – and one that has already proven to be more valuable than closed social networks’ social graphs.

The initial promise and reality of blogrolls (say, pre-2003), after all, was that they served as a way to declare, publicly, that such-and-such a blogger was someone you either knew or respected personally. That is the social graph right there, and Google’s always had it. The best part? There was a cost to adding someone to your blogroll (time, dilution, etc.), which served (somewhat) to pare down those lists and make them more accurate representations of bloggers’ personal preference.

The important thing about the social graph is that to be valid and useful as a commercial endeavour, connections must accurately reflect a person’s authentic relationship, whether that be with a friend, an issue-related BOF, a colleague, or anyone else. To date this has been the strength of Facebook – they made it easy for people to add friends, but through the News Feed (among other things) added a cost to doing so – which has (so far) tended to “purify” people’s contact lists in a way that MySpace’s and others’ lists never were.

Facebook is winning (by some measures) because users’ networks more closely resemble real-life relationships – Facebook isn’t, by-and-large, a friend-adding contest. Anything Google can do to ensure their results are accurate and reflect authentic relationships is likely as important in the long run as anything they do with OpenSocial. (Now if only they would do something about all of the spam blogs on Blogger).

Q3 2007 Internet Ad Revenues

The IAB and PwC have released revenue survey results for Q3 2007.

Internet advertising revenues exceeded $5.2 billion for the third quarter of 2007, representing yet another historic high for a quarter and a $1.1 billion increase, or 25.3 percent, over Q3 2006. The results, published in the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, are nearly 3 percent higher than Q2 2007, itself the last record-setting quarter. All three quarters in 2007 have set new highs—Q1 at $4.9 billion, Q2 at $5.1 billion, and now Q3 at $5.2 billon. Revenues for the first nine months of 2007 totaled $15.2 billion, up nearly 26 percent over the $12.1 billion recorded during the first nine months of 2006.

Mary Meeker’s Annual Internet Roundup

I’m not a guy who hangs on the proceedings of every big confererence and schmooze-fest. But… Today at the Web 2.0 Summit, Mary Meeker, a long-time internet investment analyst at Morgan Stanley, presented her annual Technology / Internet Trends report. Check it out if you’re interested in a macro look at the key trends affecting the internet economy. If you can’t wade through the original slides, Richard MacManus at Read/Write Web has posted a very nice summary.

The big media news yesterday

is that the New York Times will stop charging for TimesSelect, offering the whole paper free online. They say the subscription program was a success, but that they noticed the potential of advertising growth to be greater than subscription growth (which is what most said two years ago, but whatever – better late than never). The key to this, of course, is that the Times still does reporting, unlike most regional or city newspapers that have largely abdicated this function to the wire services.

This (on the right) is just a test,

at least for now. I’ve signed up for Google’s AdSense program and I’m going to experiment with having a few ads on this site. I don’t expect that they will remain there indefinitely, but hopefully they won’t be too intrusive.

Comments are always welcome, pro or con!

I’m just back from

a vacation to BC and now I see that Powazek has written a very apt post: I suspect that I am part of a teaser campaign which will certainly be of interest to the families of the people whose marriage we went to help celebrate!