How does justice taste, Bernie? Bitter?

<![CDATA[ – Ebbers Is Sentenced to 25 Years:

Bernard J. Ebbers, the former chief executive of WorldCom Inc., was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison today for spearheading the largest accounting fraud in U.S. history.

Good to see the ignorant CEO defense doesn’t work all the time, eh?]]>

Business Impolitic

Proof of a normal distribution of human intelligence

<![CDATA[Techdirt:Plenty Of People Still Buying From Spam… Plenty Scammed By Spam Too: 11% of people say they’ve bought from spam.]]>

Everything Else Impolitic

Analytics and enablers: The continuing debate

<![CDATA[Doc Searls has a long summary of the small storm building around Peter Hirshberg’s reported comments about a Technorati enterprise service, which I wrote about yesterday. He rides to Technorati’s defense, unnecessarily, I think, because no one disputes marketers need raw data about what is being talked about.
I’m a little surprised that Doc’s take on the information is that people have “jumped to conclusions based on what one guy said,” since that is the very essence of blogging: A single correspondent reported something that would have otherwise been ignored. A lot of people are very interested in how Technorati might make money and, more to the point, help them make money.
Technorati is over-reaching, as an entrepreneurial company often should. Bully for them.
I’d like to find a way to use the Technorati data to build metrics that expose the value Marc Canter wrote is worth billions and billions of dollars, but because of Technorati’s struggle to find its business model, it has been hard to make a deal, and there are other fish to fry. I’m more than open to finding a way to work with Technorati data—I’ve tried—but we also want to work with Bloglines, PubSub and myriad other sources of raw data; everyone of these companies is affecting the distribution of value and Persuadio’s view is that a third-party analysis is what customers need to decide how to work with these aggregators and invest in advertising.
Apparently, there is some doubt the enterprise service exists. The fact is there is a real service, which I am told Technorati has been pitching to PR firms for approximately $100,000 a year. It is not “repurposed content” (as I said yesterday, Technorati is too smart for that) but a kind of early-warning system that looks very much like what you see at, with a heavy emphasis on watchlists. It still points users to the original posting for complete text, as the Technorati site does today.
That’s useful, but, as I said, Technorati is also shaping the discussion. Google many topics today and you’ll see the Technorati tag page near the top of the results; at Persuadio, we find that a tagged topic is often skewed by Technorati’s presence in the market, which is one part of our analysis of influence and value in the conversational market.
Sure, we haven’t exposed a lot of that to the market, but it’s early. Very early, as Doc Searls, points out about the entire marketplace. We’re working with early customers to define what they need to understand, as well as building our own algorithms to identify value and influence within the conversation.

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Brilliant Human Achievement

Rove: The Reality

Everything Else Impolitic

Technorati's talking about what we're building at Persuadio

<![CDATA[ The selling of the Blogosphere—Technorati’s big push into monetizing its treasure trove of data collected about millions of blogs:

“It’s all about getting the right algorithm” he said at one point, arguing that Technorati’s sophisticated automated services would enable corporations to find out what is being said about them, their people, products, and to respond to bad news very quickly, by engaging bloggers in conversations….

Mr Hirshberg’s pitch very much played into the fear that most corporations and their media relations teams currently wrestle with: how do you deal with millions of bloggers acting as journalists? How do you control your corporate message?

Well, Technorati is offering services that will help companies control their corporate message by identifying those blogs and their social network, that have posted around the “wrong” message. Then, I would imagine, some sort of corporate “SWAT” team could parachute in and engage those off-message bloggers.

“You need to become involved in the conversation,” Mr Hirshberg strongly advised his audience.

Along with Marc, Dave and others, I’m increasingly confused by the messages coming out of Technorati. They are grasping in so many directions—as a consumer service and species of publisher with, as an enabling technology provider with tags and attention.xml, as a business intelligence service. Dave Sifry is a great entrepreneur, but it is impossible to do everything well.
Knowing who is talking about you is only one small step in the process of understanding the conversation before you enter it. Our analytics delve into who is influential, who changes the conversation most efficiently and what ideas are poised for acceleration, both good and bad. The “real-time” summary of the conversation available from Technorati and others, we think, is useful, but dangerous if you don’t think carefully before reacting. In fact, you should not be reacting at all, but leading the conversation about your products and, to the degree that it’s reasonable to do so in a collegial and positive way, the discussions about all topics your or your company cares about. Our services are about intelligent participation, adding value at the level where decisions about messaging and advertising are made, which gives us a solid customer-centered place to focus our efforts.
You know, I suggested this business to Dave before launching Persuadio; he wasn’t interested in it then, but I am flattered that he thinks it could be a major revenue stream now—it confirms there is a market for the new metrics we’re creating at Persuadio.
The concern raised by SiliconValleyWatcher, that Technorati is monetizing bloggers’ creativity without sharing the wealth is misplaced, I think. Technorati has avoided pirating bloggers’ work by making it important to clickthrough to read full postings. It makes it easier to find the source data of the conversation. Were it to start taking full feeds of data and republishing them for corporate customers, it would be violating the rights of authors who have non-commercial share-and-share-alike Creative Commons licenses, but the folks at Technorati are too smart to make that mistake.
Unfortunately, they don’t seem to realize that the “algorithms” of participation and influence—the market metrics for the conversational market—can’t be delivered by an enabler of the conversation that simultaneously shapes the conversation with a proprietary tagging scheme. Persuadio analysis consistently finds that Technorati tags are changing the flow of data, meaning that any attempt to measure Technorati’s influence has to be conducted by a third party in order to be fair and unbiased.
Technorati, at least according to my old friend Peter Hirshberg‘s comments, is talking like it is building Persuadio’s services, but they are not. Persuadio’s aiming at a lot of heavy computational lifting offered on a hosted basis, rather than aggregating content for convenient tracking. Amongst other things, we’re measuring Technorati to help our customers understand its influence on the conversation.

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Brilliant Human Achievement Business Impolitic

New borders same as the old borders

<![CDATA[Joi Ito hits a nail on the proverbial head when he writes:

I don’t know how much deep thought was involved when George Bush called the Internet “the internets” but this reflects a real risk that we face today. If you look at the traffic of many large countries with non-English languages, you will find that the overwhelming majority of the traffic stays inside the country.

The profound insularity of nations and leaders’ short horizon of inclusion threaten everything we have, as they always have even as they make us “strong.” A little less emphasis on strength and a bit more catholic (note, small “c”) view of the world would be good for us humans.]]>

Impolitic Life

He shoots his mouth off, you decide if he scores

<![CDATA[Webtalk Radio had me back in as a guest this week. We talked about citizen journalism in the wake of the London bombings, the evolution of BitTorrent and much else. For your listening pleasure, the MP3 (“podcastable”), Windows Media and Real format versions of the show.

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Business Life

I heard the news today, oh boy….

<![CDATA[Like everyone else, I want to send my support and good wishes to the people of London. King's Cross and Aldgate East are familiar Tube stations for me. I recall vividly being in London during the last IRA bombing of Canary Wharf in 1995, and remain confident the City will show its resilience, again.
But, let's look at the notion that the "citizen journalism" is "covering” this event. If you check the “bomb” group on Flickr, there are pictures of London, but the majority are photos of television screens and screen captures of Web sites reporting on the attacks this morning. On Technorati, there are many variations on the phrase “London bombing” that overwhelm all other subjects being blogged about today, but the links are primarily to statements like mine, above.
People express their shock, their anger, their sense that vengeance is called for, but they are not “reporting” facts about the events in any sense. They are reflecting and amplifying the facts, adding a human dimension, but I challenge the statement that any of this is journalism.
Rather, people are talking about events, primarily the coverage of the events in London. This dialogue is critically important to knitting together a society, but it is not a substitute for journalism.
Leave it to me to point to the emperor’s lack of clothing, but the vast majority of blogging about London aren’t acts of journalism and when the critics of journalism point to this event later, it should be remembered that the media, especially the always reliable BBC, delivered the raw data about which everyone else commented.

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Fun was had


Everything Else Impolitic Life

Let's think of some new ways to talk

<![CDATA[Blog Business Summit:

On July 19, Blog Business Summit speakers, bloggers, and press will converge for Blogging the Stratosphere 1.0. The event is an exclusive flight onboard Connexion One, a Boeing 737-400 used to demonstrate the Connexion by Boeing signature high-speed in-flight Internet service. In addition to a sneak preview of new service features, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with members of the Connexion by Boeing team, hear about Connexion’s participation in the upcoming Blog Business Summit, and enjoy dinner.

A couple years ago, I started a small firestorm when I pointed out that some bloggers accepted paid travel from Microsoft. Here I go, again.
The event described above sounds really cool, because it includes bloggers in a preview of a technology-based service that was once reserved for the press. What I want the bloggers involved in this to hear: These fabricated news events were the downfall of the mainstream press and should be scrupulously avoided. They are designed to make you say, “Gee, that’s so cool,” and identify with the companies behind a new product or service; they are not designed for serious discourse or examination of what’s on offer. Looking the engineer who oversaw a project in the eye does give you some added insight, though it’s insight that you should be able to get by calling them on the phone or meeting over lunch on your dime, not their expense account—after all, you’re the one seeking information. When you’re on a special “bloggers and press only” flight, the rules are set by the hosts and you’re not in a position where questions will get answered based on mutual trust and respect.
For those of you in the PR business, I urge you to think about new ways to engage. The dialogue available to you through legitimate engagement with bloggers and press in the conversational market are far more valuable and cannot be bought so cheaply. You’ll get what you pay for, which ain’t much if you treat bloggers like Just More Press.

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