He’s sitting on one of the hottest Internet properties, but Craig Newmark of craigslist has no interest in taking the money. Newmark says he doesn’t need the money because he has all he needs to live comfortably. It’s a remarkable statement on humility but I disagree with him on charity. Newmark says he is also not interested in taking the money to give to worthy causes. “Finding a good cause is incredibly hard and time-consuming” he said. What? Are you kidding me? AIDS research, cancer research, diabetes, or just talk to Bono; he has a ton of things you could do with a few million dollars. When the time and the situation is right, Newmark should absolutely take the money and use his unique opportunity to have a major impact for good on the world.
Where are the growth opportunities in the Internet economy? Take a look at where Yahoo is planning its future investment. Social media, video and mobile access. I think they’re right on with this outlook but they did just get beat out for YouTube (video) and they were not able to complete a deal with Facebook (social media). About the only place Yahoo has some traction is in mobile phones. Yahoo Go is available on several popular phones and they plan to be everywhere by the end of the year. Yahoo’s mobile stuff is actually quite good and useful. They’re doing better than most, but watch out because Google maps is available on phones as is gmail and the google rss reader.
The Internet world was their oyster. Right technology and the right time, and still Friendster, the worlds first social network, messed it up. Here is a good article about how they did it.
The Reuters news service is opening a virtual bureau in the on-line world Second Life. Adam Pasick will be the first correspondent, reporting on news, cultural events and finance in the virtual world. More and more big name companies are starting to dip their toes in this virtual water. It’s interesting to watch but when will someone crack a Second Life business model that really works?
How out of control are companies with regard to their brands? Very. Check this video out; shot backstage at Disneyland Paris presumably by a Disney cast member. The combination of cheap, mobile video recording and media sharing social networks like YouTube make this kind of thing all to easy. I’m sure these cast members thought they were backstage and therefore in a safe place where they don’t have to be “on”. Backstage should be a safe place for employees but someone did shoot the video and it did get out. Disney’s new or reinforced policy will be, when you have the outfit on, you’re “on”, no matter where you are. Think of Abu Ghraib in Iraq. People casually taking digital pictures, but with the power of the network, they got out and created a firestorm.
It also means as a person living in this connected world, you have to be extra careful of what you do or say. You could be recorded at any time, by anyone. So where are the lines drawn? Does anyone have the right to record you with audio, video or a photo and share that to the world? Do you control those permissions? Will there be a wave of lawsuits by people who have not consented to have their image or voice published on the Internet?
Thumbs up for Fox as they announce a new Fox On Demand service that will bring popular Fox TV shows like Prison Break, Justice and Bones to social network website MySpace. The service will be supported by advertising and competes directly with iTunes from Apple. I am watching more and more tv on-line of late and I am not doing it from iTunes. I am watching shows that stream on-line and are advertising supported. I don’t mind the ads and the breaks are far fewer than on broadcast tv. I don’t like the idea of paying for tv shows because I am already paying the Satellite provider for the show. Why should I pay twice? I don’t have a video iPod, so there is no advantage of downloading for me either. But I would love to see a version of shows for iPod download that included advertising for those of us who don’t want to pay and will watch a show with limited ads.
If I could completely drop my Satellite service and get everything on paid for download, that might be a different story. Then you would have a complete ala carte system. But not enough shows or networks are available yet to make that a reality.
Kudos to Fox for bringing more television on-line. Looks like Fox is figuring out how to best leverage MySpace and are providing some good competition for Apple and iTunes.
Another day, another social network. This time a Microsoft spin-off called Wallop. Wallop has a slick UI with lots of Flash based technology. It certainly looks much easier to deal with and customize than Myspace. A big difference between all other networks, however, is a marketplace where clever scripters and Flash artists can produce items that people can use to customize their site with. Unfortunately, as of this posting, they are running on the irritating “invite only” access and I don’t have one. Anyone wants to send me an invite, I would appreciate it.