Right now, it could go either way

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Several friends have sent me this piece from The (Not Dallas) Observer about the explosion of open media and government and Big Media efforts to wall it in:

Within 10 years, there
will be no distinction between software companies, phone networks,
search engines, movie studios and internet service providers. There
will just be Web plc. To experience it, you will have to pay…

…And that is the
problem for the current generation of web citizens. They are neither
the aristocrats, nor the foot soldiers of the net. They are simply its
conscience and they will scream and shout as the web is carved up and
sold off. Jamie McCoy has few illusions about the current era of great
web equality: ‘As soon as someone finds a way to really make a lot of
money out of blogging, that will kill it,’ he says.

Not
everyone is pessimistic. In fact, a lot of long-term web users are
utopian about the future. All the hyperbole that was first draped
around the web has proved inadequate. In the way it transforms and
accelerates the communication of ideas between individuals and
societies, it is about as big as the invention of the alphabet. And it
is free. But for how long? The machinery of government and big business
is only just beginning to understand the scale of the web. The culture
of common purpose that prevails today is a product of neglect as much
as design. The real gold rush has barely begun. To experience the
sharing culture of the blogosphere today is like living in a commune
built on an oil field. One day, the diggers will move in.

Ours
is the last generation that will remember the analogue world and feel
the difference between the two realms. For the next generation of
digital natives, the web will be a slick, commercial machine. It will
be just as big as the world we currently live in and it will be just as
ruthless and as corrupt.

The best…Oh, never mind

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The local IABC says that published "best of" lists are a waste of time.

I’ve been on both sides of this fence. The fact is that best-ofs are typically best sellers. Are they valuable? In the current world, only if a publication’s editors make the decision are they worth using. Otherwise they’re at best popularity and lobbying contests, and at worst advertorial.

But, if you had 100+ user reviews on a wide enough array of providers in a given vertical, posted publicly and not anonymously…

AND the providers had the ability to respond…

AND someone took those reviews and turned them into an easily comprehensible metascore…

THAT would be something.

The problem with beating expectations is that you might not meet expectations

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An insightful and painful post (and ensuing comments) from Jay Small on the results of some recent focus groups and usability testing at Scripps.

First, I empathize with Jay’s frustrations. I’ve shared them when trying to craft an online strategy for an incumbent print publication — several times, actually.

Second, while in many ways I’d much prefer to have the net of a profitable print publication under me right now, this validates my belief that the answer to this problem has to come from outside an incumbent publisher. Those publishers may replicate new strategies later, but I think that only an online upstart — with few, if any entrenched user expectations — can execute a revolution.

At least that’s what I’m betting on…

Micropayments 2.0 (beta)

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Dorian Benokil points to a paper on the second coming of micropayments. (Lots of second comings in ye olde new new media these days.)

This is something we don’t have firmly in our model yet, as we think that The Daily You™ will deliver enough user value to warrant full registration/subscription.

But Gary has long been convinced that micropayments will be useful for subscribers from afar when we (knock wood) break a story of national significance.

Developing…

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