PayPerPost forces disclosure

I totally agree with Techcrunch’s Mike Arrington that PayPerPost just did something right by forcing disclosure (to be announced Monday, although who cares about announcement times anymore when the geeks are all online on Saturday evening).

I’d prefer disclosure be done on every post, though, because more and more content is going to be read in RSS news aggregators.

Of course I put this post, and a bunch of other good blogs today, over on my link blog. Speaking of which, I think a more accurate name for that is “my gesture blog.” Since I’m tipping my hat to the best of blogging by “Shift-S”ing everyone who gets on there. Yes, that was my gesture to the gesture lab. The gesturer has been keeping his gestures to himself and that is turning out to be quite a weird gesture.

Oh, well, PayPerPost just gave a nice listening gesture and that’s why they are getting the tip of the hat from me and Mike.

How to do geek shirts and stickers right

When PodTech made T-Shirts, I remember Maryam making sure that we had lots of smaller sizes. When we went to London she packed a bunch of these smaller sizes. And when we were at the London Girl Geek Dinner she handed them out and made sure the men didn’t get any. Hmmm, sounds like she’s following Kathy Sierra’s advice. Truth is, so many conferences only make XL sizes available. Marketers should read the comments on Kathy’s blog post. It’s right on, as usually Kathy’s advice is!

I just donated six bags of T-shirts (hundreds of shirts) to Goodwill. Which ones did I keep? The ones that look nice on me and/or have brand names that I like and are tastefully presented. My Firefox shirt, for instance, is a favorite (I wore it on the Google videos).

Anyway,  that reminds me of another pet peeve.

Every interview I do I ask for stickers. Why?  Here’s a picture of my tripod. I love marketing stickers. So do many people, based on the laptops I’ve been seeing lately show up to conferences. Check out this Flickr page for a bunch of good examples of stickered up laptops.

What advice do I have to get a sticker on my laptop and/or tripod?

Give me various sizes, particularly smaller ones. And if your logo is obscure, give me your URL too. Even better, make it two separate stickers so I can stick your URL over your logo. Jeff Sandquist sent me some Channel 9 stickers and they are simply too big. What happens with stickers that are too big? We cut them apart, which reduces their effectiveness. Heheh, I’m putting a Channel 9 guy on my new Mac, except it’ll just be a head.

Make something different and make it so that if you get a one on the back of a laptop and get it up on Flickr that you can actually see the logo.

Oh, and make sure your service rocks. I paste over stickers from services that don’t deliver the goods and/or that don’t remain cool.

For instance, I want a Twitter sticker. Why? Cause that’s cool. Linked In? Not cool.

“Scoble isn’t listening,” TechCrunch commenter says

Wild, proves you gotta read a lot of comments on a lot of different blogs to make sure you see everyone who has feedback about what you do. Here a commenter over on TechCrunch says that PodTech isn’t listening to feedback (asks for Flash player and shorter videos).

My answer: Flash player for ScobleShow is coming. Audio-only versions of my show are coming. iPod-playable versions are coming. Soon.

I’m sorry I haven’t gotten it done yet, but we’re making significant headway on all those.

As to the length of the videos. This is something I’m looking at too. I learned the hard way that YouTube doesn’t allow more than 10-minute videos.

Now, some of my videos are shorter than that. Especially when I get demos I try to get them done in four to five minutes. So, that’s an easy request to respond to for that.

But, personally, many topics need more depth than that. I am not aiming at the mass market with my videos. If I were, I’d care about making them two minutes long. But, I’d rather be known as someone that’ll get some meat when I do an interview.

How can you really get a good look at anything a developer is doing, unless it’s the most simplistic API or service, in less than 10 minutes. Heck, I just interviewed the guy who came up with the name “WiFi” and we talked for 50 minutes simply about naming products (and we could have gone longer).

That said, now that I’m getting a bunch of videos I think doing a weekly “YouTube Edition” which is less than 10 minutes, but has highlights of the week’s interviews is potentially interesting. That would let me take two-minute snippets from, say, four of the week’s shows, and have me introduce each show’s snippet and explain why that snippet caught my eye.

Does that interest you?

UPDATE: John Furrier, PodTech’s CEO and founder, saw the comment too.

My thoughts with Douglas Reilly

Paul Mooney told me about this, but I remember hanging out with Douglas Reilly at Microsoft MVP summits in the past. He’s a wonderful guy, but is fighting cancer and the cancer is winning.

Doug, keep at it and, I hope you still have that wonderful spirit and attitude you shared with Maryam and me. I wish you all could have shared life with Doug. He was one of my favorite MVPs and I always looked forward to seeing him again. So sad, this hit hard and reminded me a lot of the losses we’ve seen this year. Such a sad way to end the year.

The embargo is dead? Not so fast…

Dave Winer on the embargo is dead meme that’s been talked about on several blogs lately.

Interesting points. I don’t think the embargo is going to die anytime soon. It’s just too engrained in how PR people think they need to release news.

Lots of marketing and PR people look at the success Steve Jobs has had at Apple and are jealous so they’ll copy his system of “shock and awe.” That requires embargoes. Why? Well, if you want a magazine to talk about your product on Monday at the same time you’re announcing it, that means talking to that magazine’s journalists a week in advance.

Or, if you want video on the ScobleShow, I need a few hours in advance.

“Just announce it on your blog,” I can hear you saying. That way everyone knows about it at the same time. That’s true if you only care about blogs. But, the real prize is the bigger audience that TV, print journalism, radio, and even Web video needs.

One thing I told Intel: start with the Z list. They are more believeable than any one higher in the stack. We’re all checking with Z listers anyway to see if a story is real or not. Or to get quotes.

Google changes its monetization strategy toward a Microsoft one?

I was just talking with Dave Winer and we both noticed one thing in the custom search engine videos I posted on the ScobleShow yesterday that could signal a change in Google’s monetization strategy.

If you use the Google search component on your Web site you’ve gotta accept Google’s advertising too.

See, when I was at Microsoft I was really impressed by Google’s strategy because it really screwed with Microsoft’s strategy.

Let me explain.

At Microsoft each group, like local.live.com, is really run like a separate company underneath a venture capital firm. In fact, Microsoft’s execs look at Microsoft like a venture capital firm. They invest in ideas that get pitched to them through Bill Gates’ ThinkWeek site, then watch to see if they are coming through on their plans.

It works the exact same way on Sand Hill Road, right? If PodTech doesn’t meet its revenue projections, or if it spends too much on new servers, the VCs get nervous. If it goes on long enough they start shutting groups down. That’s why we’re all nervous about when this Web 2.0 bubble will start deflating.

So, what does that all mean? Well, if you’re a group program manager at Microsoft you’ve gotta “sell” your team’s ideas to execs and one of their questions is how you’ll bring revenue into Microsoft and keep expenses under control. If you don’t have a good idea of how revenue will come in, you probably won’t get funded. There are exceptions, but they are rare and they probably don’t get to exist in product groups.

Now, how did Google mess with all that? Well, Google was funding stuff without any clear monetization strategy. Google Maps, for instance, doesn’t have ads. Did you see the “Classified” button on Microsoft’s maps?

See the apparent difference in company strategy?

Now, why was Google’s strategy brilliant? Even better, why did it totally mess with Microsoft’s business model?

It got them a great brand name. Remember Maryam’s nephew in Wales? He said “I’ll Google that.”

Why did he say that? Because Google has — by giving away its services and not having any apparent monetization strategy — built an awesome brand name. One that’s in front of you on millions of web sites/blogs/MySpace pages, etc.

Google Maps are used on all sorts of Web sites, for instance (that list probably only has 1/100,000 of what’s really out there — I’m seeing Google Maps used on all sorts of weird little restaurant sites, and other places.

Why? Well, in part, because they work fast. In part because they were the first to use AJAX so that you could drag them around. In part, because they have an API so you can do weird stuff with them. But also, in part, because there’s no weird “monetization strategy” on them. Think about if you’re a restaurant and Google lets companies start to advertise on the maps — you could potentially be displaying ads for your competitor ON YOUR OWN SITE!

Lucovsky and Seth are the first two to show us that Google’s strategy is shifting more toward a Microsoft one. That’s something that bums me out, but opens opportunities for other companies to rebuild their brand names and get Web site developers/designers and bloggers to switch to them.

Why did that mess with Microsoft’s business model? Well, they had no way to deal with troublemakers who wanted to do Web services for free without any advertising on them who wanted to spend 10s of millions of dollars of the company money. Inside Microsoft that’s called a marketing expense and you need to convince the marketing department that such an expense would be justified.

I thought the strategy of raining down hundreds of free code gadgets that do things like Lucovsky’s video bar was brilliant. Microsoft would be hard pressed to match Google if Google continued to do just that — too many people inside Microsoft who run product teams think first about monetization. Even if those people recognize the strategy that Google was using against them (they did) it slowed them down in convincing stages to make it easy for teams inside Microsoft to come up with something new without having a good monetization strategy in place first.

Is this going to retard usage of those gadgets on Web sites? You betcha! It’s one of the reasons why Toni Schneider and Matt Mullenweg won’t let WordPress.com users put gadgets on their blog.

And, take blogs out of the picture for a minute, if I were a big company would I put a Google search engine on my Web site? I sure will think twice about doing that.

Here’s why: you’re forced to see ads. Possibly even your competitor’s ads. Imagine going to General Motors, doing a search, and seeing ads for BMW and Toyota. If a CMO allowed that to happen I bet they’d get fired the first time a board member saw those ads showing up.

Did you realize that over on Naked Conversations, our book blog about corporate blogging, we can’t put Google ads on there?

Why not? Well when we tried Google ads we got a ton of porn advertising (we’re the #10 result for “naked”). Yes, we’ve out SEO’d the porn industry, but that means we can’t take Google ads cause Google ads (unlike ads, from, say, FM Media) won’t let us choose which advertising we want on our pages. So, we removed the Google ad bar from our blog.

This is what Dave Winer and I were talking about this morning. We’re looking at a lot of Google advertising on Gmail, on blogs, on Web sites, and other places and we’re unimpressed. On the main search engine it makes a lot of sense (and is why probably 98% of Google’s revenues come from advertising on Google.com). But on blogs? On Gmail? On other components? It makes a lot lot less sense.

What does make sense is when you see a Google map object, or a videobar, that it keeps the Google brand in your face and makes you feel good about Google. That messes with Microsoft in a big way. It’s the new-age equivilent of doing advertising on the Super Bowl or the World Cup.

I want to put Google stuff on my blogs, but not if Google’s gonna be making money off of my content (or forcing me to make money off of my content).

One thing I’d like to work on with other community members is a list of gadgets/widgets/codebits that will guarantee that there’s no advertising that’ll be forced down.

Wanna help? We probably should open a wiki. Oh, heck, I just did that over on Wetpaint. Funny enough there’s Google ads on that Wiki. :-)

UPDATE: a commenter here, OR, says that the ads were actually added in response to user requests (they share revenue with site owners). My answer? That’s a good point, but that should be a choice so that on sites that I don’t want to accept advertising I can turn that off.