Anonymous Apple blogger starts up

Microsoft has Mini. Apple has “masked.” What’s funnier is that over on Masked comments a Dell blogger (who isn’t anonymous) shows up to try to improve Dell’s image. I say “kudos” to Dell. That’s the way to do be part of the conversation.

I don’t like anonymous blogs, but Apple deserves a raft of them. Apple’s PR department has employees freaked out about having conversations with customers in public.

Here’s a question for Apple’s PR: what happens when only anonymous employees can blog? Hint: your PR will be controlled by anonymous people!

One thing for the anonymous bloggers, though: you better hope that no one can figure out who you are through your IP addresses. You also better hope that Apple doesn’t hire HP’s investigators.

I would rather play it straight. If you’re a corporate employee, tell your boss you’re going to write a blog and if he or she doesn’t like that, then I’d find another job (or another boss) before posting again. It’s not worth your career.

I wouldn’t work someplace that didn’t let every employee blog, and blog openly. But that’s just me.

Les Blogs in Paris

Last year’s Les Blogs conference in Paris, France, was a real humdinger. I can’t make it this year (some guy named Chris Pirillo asked me to be best man at his wedding). But, it’s one you should go to. Loic LeMeur announced the dates as December 11 and 12. Oh, and if you’ve never been to Paris, that’s a real treat too. If you really want a thrill better than my boring blog, have Loic show you how to drive in Paris.

What if Microsoft bought YouTube?

What if the “crazy folk” who bought YouTube were actually at Microsoft? What would that have caused? I’ve been thinking about that while driving Patrick home. Now Maryam is driving and I get to write you my thoughts from HWY 1 near Pacifica. Hopefully we don’t go over Devil’s Slide, although that’d probably make LayZ happy.

Anyway, what if?

Last year I was at Google’s Zeitgeist conference. That’s where Google’s best customers (er, advertisers with big bucks) showed up. Later I was at MSN’s similar deal. I met advertising buyers from Kraft. Procter and Gamble. GM. And lots of other big companies.

What could have Microsoft done with YouTube?

Used it as a wedge to get into Google’s search and charge per click advertising.

Huh?

Well, one buyer from one of these big companies could buy hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising.

Now how much of GM’s media mix in 2010 will be done in online advertising? Let’s pick a number out of the air and say 55%. That’s not unreasonable, is it? After all, someone who is willing to watch a video is a better advertising candidate than someone who’ll just read text.

Why do I say that? Well, past behavior. Is TV advertising more effective or newspaper? I tend to remember that advertisers will pay millions for a one minute SuperBowl ad but the San Jose Mercury News doesn’t even charge $100,000 for a full page. Yeah, not quite a fair comparison, but a TV ad is often more persuasive than a newspaper one, especially for things like cars.

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that billions are gonna be spent on video services like YouTube. Now, imagine that one of these ad buyers comes into a Microsoft salesperson’s office.

“Hi, I’d like to buy $100 million worth of ads on YouTube for these keywords.”

“Oh, that’s awesome. Hey, did you know we’re running a promotion where you can also get those keywords over on our Microsoft Advertiser Points program too for a minimal investment?”

Now, why does that matter? Well, see, once you build a relationship with an ad buyer, getting him or her to also put those same ads on Xbox, Live.com search, MS-sponsored blogs, and other places, is real easy.

Let’s turn it around and look at decisions bloggers will have to make over the next few years. Which ad system should I run if I were to use one? Well, of course I’ll go with the one that has the most advertising.

So, if Microsoft had bought YouTube, they would have built relationships with advertisers, would have gotten those advertisers to also put their stuff on Microsoft’s blogad programs, which would have gotten me to chose Microsoft’s advertising bar instead of Google’s.

Ahh, so that’s what Google is getting with its $1.6 billion. It is building a moat around its advertising sales force and saying “you can’t get your hands on our advertisers.”

It also told every blogger and videoblogger in the world “deal with us, we’re gonna make sure the best advertisers stick with us.”

Heheh, and it gave Eric Schmidt another way to poke Bill Gates in the ribs. What could be better than that?

UPDATE: Todd Bishop of the Seattle PI also wrote about this and did some analysis. Looks like Microsoft thought the price was too high. That’s been the strategy lately. Don’t buy best-of-breed — copy those — and buy stuff that’s more reasonably priced. Thing is, a copy of YouTube won’t have the audience (Microsoft still thinks it can build a big audience by cloning the technology. Hey Steve Ballmer, that strategy won’t work! You can’t clone the Beatles — this is NOT a technology-only play!)

No audience, no way to get advertisers to join your ecosystem.

PS3′s go on preorder sales tomorrow…

If you are like me, and have a 60-inch HDTV, and want the latest gear, you should be at a store tomorrow putting in an order for a Sony PS3. They go on sale tomorrow YouNEWB reports. At up to $600, though, these aren’t gonna be cheap Christmas gifts. Also, if you don’t have an HDTV yet, you’ll want to get one of these otherwise why are you buying a game system designed for HD? So, there goes another $1,000 or more (mine is still about $3,500 at stores). Whew. Just to play games.

I already have an Xbox. I’m not sure I’ll get a Playstation yet, though. I don’t have enough time to watch the HD-DVD’s that Netflix has been sending me, so don’t think I’ll need BlueRay.

But, want to know which system you’re going for? So, do you have an HDTV? Which system are you going with? Xbox 360 or Playstation 3?

Doing business one beer at a time

Every so often I get a weird phone call that turns out to be from a pretty brilliant guy (my cell phone number is always on my blog, just look to the right column — if I can answer the phone, I will happily talk to you, I don’t return voice mails, though). One of those happened last Thursday when I was driving. I answered the call and a guy said something like “I saw your picture on Valleywag where you were drinking a beer and I thought I’d give you a call.”

Turned out that guy was Dennis Buettner and he runs the U.S. Beer Drinking Team.

I was about to hang up. But, luckily I had nothing to do but drive home from Seagate to my house. An hour of highway with nothing to do except listen to more netcasts or talk radio. So, figured I’d hear him out.

As he talked I liked him more and more. I came to learn that his business is a serious one. Big bucks. He’s been on Oprah! Who is his biggest customer?

Women!

Turns out they buy U.S. Beer Drinking Team T-shirts by the bushel for their guys (among other things). I wish I thought of this business. They are available in 16,000 convenience stores as well as the Targets and big stores. The concept was endorsed
They even have an official netcasting station.

How did he pick beer as a good place to start a business? Well, he just looked up and saw that far more beer than  movie tickets are sold in the world. Marketing 101: go where the money is.

Are you asking yourself, like I did, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Oh, and this business was started as a joke. It’s no laughing matter anymore.

But, now you know why I was drinking beer in Golden Gate Park yesterday. Anyone wanna do an unofficial SF Beer Drinking Meetup?  We might even get Dennis to come out and join us. That guy sure loves his beer.

Seagate sponsors MySpace contest

Disclaimer, Seagate is the only sponsor so far of the ScobleShow. This post, though, wasn’t included in our deal, though it’s important for me to disclose that.

I do appreciate that Seagate is trying different approaches than just interruptive advertising on the Web. Here’s one, where they are sponsoring a design a new portable device contest, hosted over on MySpace.

I was talking with Seagate’s CEO last week (you’ll see that interview too soon, as part of the sponsorship deal) and I asked him why he sponsored my show. He wants Seagate to be seen as the company used to store your life and gave Thomas Hawk an 8GB Compact Flash card to use on Photowalking, which he did yesterday. Interestingly enough, Thomas Hawk had already bought two 750GB Seagate drives before my sponsorship came through. Says they rock. My show is done on a 500GB drive.

Anyway, this kind of advertising is a lot more interesting than if I stick an ad in your face. At least it lets me continue doing my show and bringing other stuff, like this interview with Atlassian’s CEO (they do an enterprise wiki, among other things) – Atlassian didn’t pay for that interview, but I’m appreciative that Seagate is helping pay my salary, buy machines for me to edit with, and helping pay bandwidth costs.

Speaking of bandwidth costs, wanted to call out to CacheFly. I met several of their team members at the Podcasting Expo a week ago, and they host several big-name sites like Digg, TWiT, and Revision3. How much do they charge? $.14 a gigabyte. Bandwidth gets expensive very quickly when you’re throwing around files that are more than 100megabytes. Leo Laporte says CacheFly rocks. That’s good enough for me.

Google acquires YouTube for $1.65 billion

Update: Christopher Coulter just called this the “GooTube” merger. Heheh.

Wow, Google just sent me a press release that says it’s true. It has acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock (update: sorry for the typo, I said millions earlier). Here’s the press release — congrats to everyone involved, and thanks to Google’s PR department for getting all journalists and bloggers this info at the same time. Great improvement over last press release.

TechMeme is going crazy about this news.

Will this work out for Google? I think it will. First of all, it makes Google a more interesting company to watch. Second of all, it makes it very clear to advertisers that Google is in the video business big time. This has caught the attention of all the big media buyers at places like General Motors and Procter and Gamble. These folks spend billions on advertising.

Now, will Google get sued over and over? Probably. But if you think that matters then you are missing the point. Did Microsoft’s legal troubles slow down its cash generation machines? No. Neither will Google’s. Plus, Google has demonstrated it’s fairly adept at working out deals with folks who produce content, or own it. Yeah, they’ll probably lose a few battles in court, but that’s like losing a battle or two but winning the war.

I do note that Google’s stock is up. Yahoo and Microsoft’s are down.

Another angle? Google is getting over its initial engineering-driven arrogance. You know the kind. Where when you show engineers/geeks/developers something like YouTube they answer “we can build that in a few weeks.”

I heard that over and over again at Microsoft and my friends at Google say it a lot too. It’s called “not invented here” syndrome. The fact that someone told the Google Video folks to sit down and be quiet during this deal is pretty significant. That’s a sizeable change from previous times when Google was looking to acquire companies.

It also means that the price for new companies has just gone up dramatically and that the venture capital barn door is gonna totally unlock as investors chase down “flip to big company” deals. I’m not saying there will be another YouTube, but investors get ancy when they see other people making big bucks.

Update: My brother, Alex, just IM’ed me: “another missed opportunity for microsoft.” Exactly. What are those bean counters doing with all that money? I guess they want the entire advertising world to go to Google, huh?