Now That is Spin

Today I saw an advertisement for The Gilmartin Group, a San Mateo real estate company, that made my head turn. The voiceover began with:

“Negative media confusion has created a buying opportunity…”

and went on unconvincingly about how this is the best time to buy real estate yada yada yada, you could almost smell the fear coming through the television. I wish I could find that video on youtube so that you too could enjoy it in it’s spectacularly cheesy glory.

At any rate, apparently the troubles in the real estate market are all much ado about nothing and the fault of the media, nothing to see here so move on…

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Q Branch Stumbles

The Aston Martin due to be used by James Bond in the latest film about the secret agent has been crashed into Italy’s Lake Garda.

[From James Bond's Aston Martin crashes into lake - Telegraph]

I just knew it was a mistake to let Q retire, they should have put him in that room with the knights in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the guys who were guarding the cup of Christ and lived for a couple of thousand years, enough to put out at least a few hundred Bond movies without incidents like this happening. It’s a frickin Aston Martin DBS driven into a lake!

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A Web Shift in the Way Advertisers Seek Clicks

I wrote about this last week, studying vertical ad networks has been really eye opening for me. It’s the long tail in advertising…

The improved technology has helped. Ad networks once served ads to pages where no advertiser wanted to be, like pages that get few hits or those with controversial content. Now, though, many attractive sites are not major home pages. Also, many ad networks now offer targeting (as do portals, for a higher price), matching ads to likely buyers.

[From A Web Shift in the Way Advertisers Seek Clicks - New York Times]

UN Chief Notices that Food Costs Money

The cause of hunger in the world is not a lack of food but poverty. Poverty is a consequence of dysfunctional economies suffering under corruption, dictatorships, and fascism. The same factors that contribute to poverty also contribute to global insecurity that drives up energy prices.

You want to drive down food prices? Then create conditions that contribute to global security and lower energy costs. The reason why energy, specifically oil, is important in this is that fertilizers are predominately based on petroleum and of course the logistics of food is entirely dependent on oil. Lower oil prices mean lower food production and logistic costs.

I would also like to see the UN get more forcefully behind biotech as a proven way of enabling healthy farm production in regions that have hostile climates and lack sufficient water for traditional crops. People are often fond of saying that solutions come from a portfolio of options, it’s time for them to embrace the proven options that they don’t agree with as well as the ones they do.

It is somewhat shocking that UN Chief Ban would display such ignorance about the role that economic theories have in global trade. Just like how the laws of physics serve as predictors for behaviors in the physical world, economic theories serve as operating principles for global market and to ignore them is to court disaster. The other contributing factor for high food prices right now is that commodities like corn and soybeans, a core food stock, are being shifted to biofuels because government tax incentives and market prices make these commodities far more valuable as energy than as food. In effect by encouraging more production the UN is playing market rules to what they determine to be a positive outcome, lower prices.

“We need a real world and not the world of economic theories,” Ban said. “I will work on this right now with a sense of urgency.”

[From UN chief warns world must urgently increase food production]

More on this topic (What's this?) Read more on Food & Beverage, Oil at Wikinvest

ReadWriteWeb Turns 5

Congratulations to the entire RWW team, they collectively author one of the best new media sites covering technology. Sean Ammirati was over to our house for dinner on Saturday night and we were talking about the evolution of blogs to fully featured new media sites, RWW being a great example of this.

What is interesting is how the professional blogs have evolved into full featured media sites while also developing personalities that differentiate them from competitive sites. Take RWW, GigaOm, and TechCrunch as 3 very good examples of well differentiated sites that deliver not just the latest news but in their own unique way substantive coverage of the bigger trends that impact our business. I have come to really appreciate RWW’s approach, which is more essay driven than drive by, less breaking news and more what does the news mean.

I’m tempted to say that we are witnessing a rebirthing of media but the fact remains that new media is a lot like old media in terms of business model, new media is just a lot more efficient.

On 20 April, 2003, ReadWriteWeb was born. My first post here was appropriately entitled The Read/Write Web and it began: “The World Wide Web in 2003 is beginning to fulfil the hopes that Tim Berners-Lee had for it over 10 years ago when he created it.” At the time I started ReadWriteWeb, web 2.0 hadn’t yet been invented, Google Adsense hadn’t launched (it would do so in June ’03), Internet Explorer had 94% of the browser market share (followed by Netscape with 2%), the top blogs of the day according to Technorati were Slashdot (listed as number 1) and Where is Raed ? (a weblog from Baghdad; it closed in 2004). And 5 years ago, there was no money in blogging.

[From ReadWriteWeb Turns 5 - ReadWriteWeb]

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Twitter Withdrawals

And I thought it was just a slow weekend in Twitterville… interestingly, I was getting Twitter updates in Alert Thingy via FriendFeed, not sure why it worked there but not in other Twitter clients or their own web interface.

Siegler’s comments about service status updates is really customer service 101 for companies like Twitter. I can’t imagine anyone saying at this point that when there is a major service disruption that it’s no big deal not to post any updates in places where people can find them.

Having a service update channel on twitter is fine, but it’s a little hard to update twitter users about a service breakdown when the network isn’t working properly… and GetSatisfaction is nice but as has been pointed out, .00001% of the userbase knows this exists, much less actually thinks about it when their is a problem.

With Web 2.0 this week I cannot think of a worse time for the service to fail. It would be like a widespread power failure on tax day…

If this problem spills over into tomorrow – or worse, Tuesday when the huge Web 2.0 Expo starts in San Francisco, expect a world of pain for Twitter. If they would simply acknowledge and update the users it might not be so bad. Otherwise we’re going to see Bitchmeme taken to a whole new level.

[From ParisLemon: Twitter FAIL Day 3: Communications Breakdown]

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