Saturday, March 17, 2007

TechCrunch Compares Article Link Ranking Sites

Great comparison of the article link ranking sites. Such a seemingly simple concept has spawned so many sites. TechCrunch points out the key differences under the auspices of how Digg can improve itself. I think the real result will instead be these alternative sites getting a lot more traffic.

Toward a Better Digg

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sustainable is Good : Makers of Splenda buy Hundreds of Negative Domain Names

I knew I should have bought!

Sustainable is Good : Makers of Splenda buy Hundreds of Negative Domain Names

Inviting Metrics to Someone Else's Party

Have you ever brought along an uninvited guest to a party? Maybe he's a great guy who will be a real asset to the festivities and frankly the last few of these parties you've been to have needed the help. Or maybe you just didn't know it was invite-only. When the host admonishes you for being so thoughtless and rude, who tends to look bad, you or the petulant host?

This is sometimes how it feels to bring Web and email metrics to people in your company. They didn't ask for them, they don't want them, and, frankly you're a little rude for bringing them up. Things are going fine in their division and they only invited you to the meeting because they have some more "great ideas" for the Web. But you showed up with metrics and a few questions about their business goals and they don't appreciate it.

A common misconception among business people who have Web property is that Web Analysts are out to get them and take away their Web activities and, sometimes, some of their budget. What Web Analysts are out to get is the truth about Web activity. If the truth leads to initiatives being cut back or eliminated, it's not because the Web Analyst was out to get someone, it's because the initiative was a failure and no one had noticed yet.

However often the initiative simply needs some help and focus to get back on track. Perhaps the audience has shifted. In the case of content sites, perhaps the writing has gotten away from its sweet spot. Whatever the reason, analytics and testing can only help.

Why I Don't Wear a Watch

As I passed the Garmin store on Michigan Avenue this morning a window display for their new Forerunner 205 watch caught my eye. It's a sleek but bulky watch for runners that monitors heart rate and tracks your route with GPS among other exercise-related things. I had seen a positive review of it in Wired Magazine which praised the features but gave it a little ding on the bulk factor. Overall it seems like a pretty nifty watch which I have no intention of ever buying.

I started thinking about the fact that I haven't worn a watch in over a decade and when I did I didn't really like it. I didn't feel it was worth the annoyance of having something strapped to my wrist when there are already so many clocks around. I, like many people, use my mobile phone, currently a Cingular 8125, to tell time. Someone asks if I have the time and I reach into my coat or pants pocket, fish out my phone, turn on the screen, and tell them the time. Of course by then they've probably asked someone else who's wearing a watch.

Every now and then, like this morning, I check out the latest in watch technology and each time I invariably I come to the same conclusion: Watches never do enough. I realize this is insane. A watch is supposed to tell time. But whenever I look at a watch online or in a store I feel like simply telling the time is a waste of technology. Sure you can buy watches that give news headlines or scores, but that requires a monthly fee. And usually they look kind of hard to read and interact with. This Garmin Forerunner watch does all kinds of things but it's limited to fitness. What about when I'm not exercising? Then it's just a little clock again.

I like the idea of a Web-enabled watch but, like I said I don't want another monthly fee. A wi-fi watch would only be helpful when you were near a connection and there just aren't enough free wi-fi spots. Maybe a bluetooth watch that could use your mobile phone's signal. Hmmm. Of course the interface would have to be really good for a screen that size and they almost never are. Usually data watches have big low-resolution icons and fonts, horrible for reading anything more than a phone number, much less a news headline.

Anyway I've decided that in order to get all the functionality I want in a slick, stylish package I will have to do something I never do. I will have to beg Apple. Please release an iWatch. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Earn Points from the Stupidity of Celebrities

I play in a few fantasy sports leagues and in the process of looking for even more resources to sate my unquenchable desire for bad advice, I stumbled across According to the site:

"Fafarazzi is a Fantasy Celebrity League. works just like fantasy sports leagues - except instead of scores being tallied for homeruns and touchdowns, they're for catfights, divorces and baby bumps!"

I imagine Britney Spears is the Albert Pujols or LaDanian Tomlinson of the league.

You can start a league or join one with strangers. This might be kind of fun if I could find enough friends who would be interested. Of course, joining would mean I'd have to follow more of the celebri-crap that's already hard enough to avoid.

Delexa: Guess What It Mashes Up?

Now I like this. combines, wait for it, and Alexa to create a tool that finds the most trafficked Web sites by topic tags. Search for a topic and Delexa brings up a list of Web sites along with their Alexa Rank and the number of tags the site has. These are combined to give each site a "Delexa Rank."

I like this combined method for determining rank and I like the clean URL you get. For instance my search for "emailmarketing" has the URL Maybe I'll tag that on and create an infinite loop.

You can also search by Web site and Delexa will bring up an Alexa-like information page about it along with all it's tags and related sites. This is less useful, but still pretty cool.

It's not perfect, it claimed a few sites had no tags when I know they do and, of course, it relies on the flawed nature of Alexa's user base to determine popularity. Plus it's not very pretty, but I'm sure it will get a face-lift if it stays around. But I'm still calling this worth checking out.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Banking on the Wisdom of Crowds For Search? Yikes

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales wants to create an open, editable search engine. In other words, spammers and advertisers can more easily mess with the results? As much as I love the idea of "crowd wisdom," I don't have a lot of faith in people behaving themselves. People game all the time despite their best efforts to prevent it. Imagine the possibilities with a full Web search engine. The constant battling with people out for their own best interests will likely render the results useless.

However Jimmy Wales is no fool and I have to assume they've got a plan to combat this. Project home here and more here.

More Random Name Generators

The Yahoo Directory has a collection of random name generators. Apparently my American Indian name is "Stephen Leatherbound Shorts." That would not have been my first guess.

Good and More Good on the Digital Music Front

Through, two articles about the way the music industry should handle digital music. Article one is about a crackdown on illegal music pirating at universities. The RIAA understandably wants to crack down on the epic amounts of music be stolen at colleges. As the article says, "According to the research firm NPD, students accounted for 1.3 billion illegal music downloads in 2006." That's a lot of lost profits, for the labels, yes, but also for the artists. The RIAA seems to be content going after the universities themselves in their attempt to stem the tide, which I think is a good approach. Going after the file sharers directly has so far proven ineffective and evil.

Another good development is that Universal iFrance is testing restriction-free digital music. Albeit in a small way and with a caveat. "We are making some micro tests. This doesn't change our overall policy on DRM." This is according to Universal Music France, Middle East and Mediterranean-South America president Pascal Negre.

So there you go. Stop the thieves and give the honest people DRM free music. We can dream can't we?