A sneak peek into Engadget’s crib

I filmed a fun segment for the ScobleShow (won’t be up until at least October 11th cause of a “frieNDA”) with Ryan Block at his house last night. He’s been writing for Engadget for, it seems, ever. Anyway, that dude is one serious gadget freak. I’m jealous. Although my HDTV is bigger (and I think sharper) than his. Neener neener neener!

Dude had something like six Xbox 360s sitting on the floor (Engadget is giving them away in a contest).

His girlfriend, Veronica Belmont, I learned, is on CNET TV. She gave me a tour of their new interface. Very cool. One thing that I didn’t like about the new UI is I can’t figure out how to link to a specific video. Not good. It’s why I like a simpler, less “cool” interface that makes it easier to link to specific video posts (Veronica has a good one on how to videoblog, for instance, but I can’t share it with you cause I can’t figure out how to link just to that video. Sigh).

Readers per URL among blogging services: is it important?

Microsoft Live Spaces has something like 75 million spaces, and about 125 million unique visitors a month (at least those were the last numbers I saw shared).

WordPress.com, according to Automattic’s CEO (that’s the company that makes WordPress), Toni Schneider, in an interview I had with him yesterday, has 400,000 WordPress.com blogs, but has 25 million unique visitors per month.

Which service is going to be more attractive to advertisers? Which one builds a better business?

I wonder if anyone is doing a comparison of readers per URL among all the blogging services (and MySpace and FaceBook too)? Anyone doing research on these kinds of metrics?

B5 Media gets funding

Now you know what we were really talking about when we were drinking Mad Mojitos with B5 Media’s CEO, Jeremy Wright (he only hinted at what was coming, but told me a little more after the camera was off).


You know, if I were really thinking like Jason Calacanis often does (I remember his offer to Digg’s top diggers), I’d get $15 million from a VC firm to start a new content network, go to all the ZDNet bloggers, and get them to start a new company and give them equity and video cameras and mo money. That’s a killer blogging network just sitting there for the picking. I wonder if they have exclusive contracts?

Dan Farber (the ZDNet visionary who put this network together) doesn’t have to worry, though. I don’t have $15 million.

Is Skype the new SmartTag?

Tonight I had dinner with Ajit Jaokar, CEO of Futuretext, a publishing company that publishes tech books like Mobile Web 2.0 and Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger (he writes a VoIP blog over on ZDNet, but also has political blogs and other blogging jobs over on Weblogs Inc, among others).

Anyway, during dinner we talked about some of the trends and things we were seeing. One thing Amit and I both noticed is Skype’s new “Click to Call” feature in its latest beta.

What does it do? Well, it turns a phone number like 425-205-1921 into a clickable number (using Skype of course). That’s pretty darn cool, right? But, I wondered what would happen if MSN Messenger started doing that? Who would win? The most recently installed? Or would you see two links for every phone number?

Why does that matter? Well, it’ll add up to big bucks for whoever gets their little utility installed on the most machines. Skype, obviously, gets installed on lots of machines so this functionality really takes over and makes it possible to do a lot more calls.

On my machine I forget that Skype is even there. I just take it for granted. I click the number and Skype calls it. I don’t even need my cell phone anymore.

This is really pretty darn powerful. And wait until it comes to your mobile phone.

Anyway, remember how we were all mad that Microsoft tried doing something similar in IE 6 betas? Yeah, we were pissed cause Microsoft was putting advertisements on top of our content.

How is this any different? Yes, it’s useful. Yes, its scope is limited to only phone numbers (today). But, aren’t we on a slippery slope here? I can just see a bunch of toolbars trying to do the same thing and the user experience going downhill. But maybe that’s just me. What do you think?

Oh, and Amit has a whole post titled “I am a tag not a number!” to further get you thinking about the implications of this new trend.

The “last” Gillmor Gang?

I’m sitting with Denise Howell (who, sometime in the next week, will start a “ThisWeekInLaw” show along with Leo Laporte) and she says the latest Gillmor Gang is quite excellent. It’s the one where Jason Calacanis and Steve Gillmor and the rest of the gang go on and on about Adam Curry and PodShow’s latest $15 million VC funding. Jason Calacanis told me this could be the last Gillmor Gang because of what was said about Adam Curry (the show is hosted on Adam’s Podshow network).

Video advertising pisses off audience? Who knew? Heheh

This is why I appreciate the sponsorship of my ScobleShow that Seagate paid for. They aren’t asking me to run stupid video advertising, like the Wall Street Journal talks about today, that pisses off my audience. I don’t get why companies try to force their brands down our throats. There’s a lot better way to get adoption than by doing that. Heck, you get more good feelings by supporting the community (like what Yahoo did last week by getting Beck to play a free concert) than by buying stupid interruptive advertising.

It’s a good thing that advertising agencies still don’t have a clue what Hugh MacLeod is doing with his little cartoons and by giving free wine to bloggers. Why is it a good thing? Cause if Hugh is the only one doing this new kind of advertising then he’ll continue to see huge results. He stands out cause he’s doing “clued-in-vertising” while everyone else is doing the old style advertising.

I can’t wait for the ROI reports that show that Web 2.0 advertising doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t. But what Hugh is doing DOES work. Not only did Stormhoek (the wine that Hugh pitches) win a marketing award recently from the wine industry, but he doubled sales. And, he implanted Stormhoek in my brain. I live two hours from Napa. The idea that I know more about a South African wine than most of the wineries in Napa is simply heresy.

So, keep going advertisers. One thing — you can’t get on my blog unless you do something for the bloggers. Seagate is (I can’t share what yet, but they are doing some fun things — particularly around the CES show).