What’s Your Marketing IQ

By Davis Freeberg

This is an interesting survey that asks you 20 true/false questions about marketing and then assigns an IQ score. I was glad to see that I beat the average CEO score of 79, but felt like a 92 was a little on the low side. If you guess a wrong answer then it counts against you, so if you don’t know the answer you are best off being honest and saying I don’t know.

Editor’s note: I scored a 116 IQ — according to the site I’m an “up-and-coming consultant.” Okie dookie. TH

’05 Proving To Be Worst Newspaper Year Since Recession

MediaPost Publications – ’05 Proving To Be Worst Newspaper Year Since Recession – 10/31/2005 Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) print newspapers will very shortly be D-E-A-D. I can’t remember the last time I read an actual newspaper. I do of course read plenty of newspaper contect (SFGate, NY Times, etc.) but it’s all online. If I can’t be connected, I print out stories and take them with me.

Apple Sells 1 Million Videos

Apple Sells 1 Million Videos Stock Up $3.05 per Share Simply amazing! Apple sells 1 million videos and the stock is up $3.05 right now.

So let’s take a look at the math here. Apple’s download service is new. Who knows how many people downloaded videos just to try them out. But aside from this, let’s assume that of the $1.99 that Apple charges per download that they get to keep half. I’m not sure what the real number is, but let’s assume that it’s half.

If you average out the downloads per day, you get roughly 1,578,947 downloads per month. Now lets assume that Apple continues the momentum of their downloads and in fact each month has a 2% increase in videos sold.

By the end of 12 months under this analysis, Apple would have sold a little over 21 million downloads. Now if Apple gets $1 per download (and I have no idea what the number is) they would make about $21 million from selling downloads. Of course there is incidental cost above and beyond the payment to the content provider, but let’s say Apple cleared $20 million in earnings on their downloads.

So Apple’s stock is up $2.5 BILLION dollars in market cap on what potentially could be $20 million in earnings. This is on top of the fact that the stock today is already at a new 52 week high and trades at almost 40 times earnings with no other major news out on the company today.

Whew! Can somebody say bubble? Forget about what I think about their download technology (it sucks in my opinion — who wants low res versions of tv shows at $2 a pop). Even if I’m wrong and people turn out to love watching low res downloadable tv shows and music videos, there is simply no way, even with stratospheric growth, that today’s run up is justified. Perhaps this is just the beginning and Apple will be making higher quality shows available in the future, etc. etc. And I know they are making decent money off their iTunes and iPod sales, but this is just plain nuts.

It will be interesting to see where these download numbers sit (as well as their stock price) in six months.

Software Converts iTunes Songs… But Is It Legal?

Neowin.net – Software Converts iTunes Songs… But Is It Legal? HotRecorder converts songs from iTunes and Yahoo!’s music service to DRM free mp3s. I’ve used Total Recorder for a number of years which does the same thing. It’s amazing to me that people think that they can control sound and light waves. Do what you will with the files, but as long as in the end they convert to sound and light waves, there will always be a way to copy them.

World in Need of a Blogging Renaissance

World in Need of a Blogging Renaissance Mitch Keeler says he’s tired of the same old top bloggers getting all of the attention from sites like Blogniscient, Memeorandum and Blogebrity. Nick Douglas of Blogebrity takes issue of his being lumped in as an aggregator. I’d have to kind of agree with Nick. I mean, Blogebrity is about the celebrity of bloggers. I’m not sure whether Mitch is being critical of Blogebrity or not, but it seems kind of crazy to suggest that maybe they shouldn’t be blogging about A list bloggers — to me that would be the equivalent of asking People magazine to stop focusing so much effort on A list celebrities — uhhh, isn’t that what People is there for? Do I complain about the fact that PVRblog is writing too much about PVRs and not enough about other things? No, because that’s what it’s there for.

Now whether or not People is your cup of tea or not, or whether Blogebrity is a site for you is another question. But I wouldn’t criticize them for doing what they do. Perhaps Mitch is not criticizing them, but just suggesting a preference for something else these days.

I’ve just started using Blogniscient, but as far as Memeorandum goes I think they do a damn good job of covering the top stories. I check the site every day and without exception they cover the hot tech news of the day. Although a lot of the same A list bloggers get covered there, they often times provide deeper links and I’ve found some good new bloggers there actually. But again, my primary reason for going there is to stay on top of the top tech news of the day.

I don’t think people should be critical of services like memeorandum or sites like Blogebrity simply because they seem to aggregate much of the content of or post about the top bloggers. That’s what they are designed for.

Mitch does raise a good point though. How and where do you find new and original content in the blogosphere. I find that I will find new writers oftentimes because they visit my blog and drop an insightful comment. I also get technorati subscriptions to terms like flickr and mce and tivo and the what not and find other new bloggers blogging about the same subjects that interest me. Still, I wish I could find more new fresh bloggers that are blogging about interesting things in digital media. Digg has a lot of stories with quite a bit of diversity. Where else out there are you finding fresh new voices?

BuzzMachine on Flickr’s Interestingness

BuzzMachine on Flickr’s Interestingness Jeff Jarvis linked to one of my articles this morning in a post on interestingness. Like me, Jeff has been impressed with interestingness and says that he’s been telling anyone who will listen about it. Today Jeff asks two really good questions. First, does interestingness have to be restricted to photos or could it be applied other areas of search as well and 2. Need interestingness be confined to a single site, or as one of his readers KirkH suggests, could interestingness work in a more decentralized way through something like P2P.

I think it’s really great that people are examining the concept of interestingness because I think the potential with human filters is huge. Digg is perhaps the next up and coming smart human filter most relevant to search.

Below is the comment I left on Jeff’s site in response to the article:

“Where interestingness works for Flickr is that there is a great deal of community interaction that is built around the photos of Flickr. All of this data, favorites, comments, notes, views, etc. represent activity and interest. Especially when people are marking a photograph as a favorite it says that they think it is good. When you have enough unrelated people saying something is good, there is a good chance that it is interesting.

Flickr is like an addiction for many. I’ve got over 11,000 photos marked as favorites (check them out via the link if you have a few seconds — believe it or not they are all truly amazing). You get sucked in and can spend hours and hours and hours participating in it. So it is this massive amount of free labor that allows a finely tuned human filter to run through the photos of Flickr. There are still some little things that Flickr can do to get the tagging better (a spellchecker for tags, promoting and incentivizing tagging even more, actually hiring college interns or other low cost labor to tag their top photographers with additional tags — especially highly searched tags where appropriate, etc.). But what makes the interestingness algorithm most compelling is that it works really really well. And it works really really well because of the massive amount of human time that goes into reviewing the photographs on Flickr.

Even still, with Flickr today image search still has a long way to go. The biggest problem with image search at Flickr is simply that the library is too small. Image Search at Google and Yahoo! is completely exhaustive. If I want to find a photo of some rare river in Africa, there is a good chance that I can find one. It won’t be a very good one, but it will be there. Flickr on the other hand only has something over 1 million members (I haven’t seen any updates on members since the Flickr blog announced their one millionth member a while back). Although one million sounds like a lot, it’s not. One million people are fantastic at getting you the very best photo possible of the Empire State Building, or of a rose, or of the Golden Gate Bridge, or of “San Diego”, etc. You get the idea. But you won’t find that rare river in Africa on Flickr… yet.

The key to Flickr’s continued dominance in image search will be to continue to recruit the very best photographers. Eventually one of them will make their way to Africa and we’ll actually get that fantastic photo of the rare river that we are looking for. I’ve suggested in the past that Flickr create a very inexpensive rewards type program to incentivize referral activity to the site. Certainly giving top photographers even free Pro accounts, etc. could help. But these are the ones you want essentially shooting your images for your future image searches at Flickr.

Flickr also most likely (and should) assigns rankings to their members. I’m not sure on this for sure as interestingness is “secret sauce” or so they say. But I suspect that Flickr is also looking at how reliable a persons comments are towards superior photography. If I’m a somewhat uninvolved Flickr member but my Aunt Mary posts her wedding photos on Flickr and I fav them all, these should carry less weight than if I’m involved in the community and consistently rank well. Reputation ranking will also be something to watch in the future.

Perhaps the thing that is most important to consider with all search though is how little anything beyond the 2nd page matters. Almost all searches stop after two pages and this is as deep as any human filter needs to go really. The rest of the stuff will be there for the rare times that it’s needed. And a lot of the long tail stuff as well.

So there are two questions really. 1. Why in the blazes has Yahoo! still not integrated Flickr’s interestingness into their own image search where applicable? and 2. How do you translate the superior model of image search that Flickr has achieved to other areas of the internet?

Perhaps the closest thing I’ve seen that may have potential is Digg (who congrats just received more funding). Similar to Flickr the idea behind Digg is that people either dig a story or they don’t. They seem to be building a large community quickly and for the posts of mine that have shown up there ranked highly the traffic has been massive. Mining Digg’s top stories (which are run through their member’s human filter) and assigning high search page ranks to highly ranked stories would make sense.

Like Flickr though, Digg will depend on a community. And you need to keep this community happy and incentivized to continue to be your human filter. I think that building online communities will represent great opportunity in the next five years and the ones that catch on will have much more value in the form of the byproduct of smart filters than people realize today. Yahoo! was very smart to pick up Flickr. I suspect that Digg may be the next one scooped up.

Flickr and Digg can never fully replace search as we know it today. They can merely enhance it. Neither is exhaustive enough to cover the breadth needed. But when horses race and the winner by a nose gets all the money any small enhancement in search is magnified.

Thanks for the link Jeff. “

Microsoft’s Matt Goyer Says Tweak MCE for Rollup 2 on the Way

Matt Goyer’s Microsoft Windows Media Center Blog – MCE 2005 “We’re very close to getting a new TweakMCE out that will install with MCE 2005 RU2. I know some of you are very anxious for this but please hang in there. The reason for the delay is that we’re working very hard on Windows Vista Beta 2 and we haven’t had the spare cycles to dedicate to cutting through the red tape to get this out the door. I’m sorry, this is my fault, we should have pushed this out earlier before the beta 2 crunch.

The good news is that we’ll launch a new powertoy with TweakMCE that gives power users access to an often requested feature.”