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A Half Dozen Random Thoughts from the World of Tech News

SEO digest

After a long trip out of town, I'm back in Seattle and reading the tech news roundups tonight, so I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts and start some hopefully productive discussions as well.

  1. Knol is losing out to Wikipediaaccording to Farhad Manjoo of Slate. First, a big sigh of relief. Second, bewilderment at why Google didn't do it right (BTW - if they had wanted to do it right, might I suggest following in Yelp's footsteps with intelligent, paid seeding?). Third, a question of whether this is just Google's calm before they try pushing Knol harder. I don't think so, actually - it's not "Googly" of them to push products. They seem to prefer tossing everything agains the public wall and seeing what sticks. Time will tell if that's a smart strategy or not. Either way, Larry and Sergey could apparently buy every newspaper in the US and still have plenty of billions left over - another sobering thought.
  2. Google has made the world better by democratizing datasays Chief Economist, Hal Varian. I grant that he makes some excellent points, and the world is undoubtedly a better place and an easier to research one because of Google's innovations. However, I can't help but smirk to think of all the data Google isn't actually democratizing - from raw usage stats to keyword search data to the link graph and beyond.
  3. The Blogosphere's growth continues to accelerate according to Technorati's latest State of the Sphere. When I see that more than half of all blogs have ads and that growth outside the US is strong, I think there's still a tremendous amount of opportunity there. From narrow thinking like link building options and promotion to bigger ideas like paid software and servicesĀ for bloggers, I think we're still lagging way behind in taking advantage of just how big and powerful this collective content building force is.
  4. The "old media is broken and citizen journalism can fix it" argument is wearing pretty thin, and given the quality of journalism on both fronts, I'm loathe to believe there is a quick fix. But I did like Ethan Zuckerman's piece on how some intelligent analysis of media consumption combined with a lot more experimentation does ring true. It also reminds me of how Paul Graham said he wants to fund anyone who can solve the "new news" problem.
  5. Surviving the financial crisis is a popular advice blog topic. I did it and so did Zoho and Gigaom. But, I can't get past Ryan Janssen suggesting that we do less to grow out businesses because we'll "spend ourselves out of existence." To me, that sounds like a case for finding ways to grow on a budget, not slowing growth activity. BTW - If there really is an economic meltdown on the way, shouldn't PPC prices be falling? Does anyone who manages a large number of campaigns have information that this is actually the case?
  6. Google makes us dumber, no wait, smarter. Damon Darlin of the NYTimes is on one side (along with, not surprisingly, the aforementioned Mr. Varian at Google) and Nicholas Carr at the Atlantic is on the other. I'm not really sure about the arguments here - Google, Twitter and all of these fancyified new tools are just that - tools. Did the newspaper make us dumber? Did the printing press? How about written language? And yet, I'm fairly sure that all of those had their critics and supporters. Historical perspective makes me think arguments like these are fairly small-minded, no matter how well articulated they might be.

Now it's on to tackle my overflowing inbox and prepare for our big October launch...

published @ September 30, 2008

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