links for 2009-12-02

  • Kevin: Danny Sullivan looks at ACAP – the Automated Content Access Protocol – that news organisations have proposed as a replacement for robots.txt. It's an excellent and thorough overview of the differences between ACAP and the current Robots Exclusion Protocol.
  • Kevin: Malcolm Coles has an excellent review of how to make a better paywalls or pitches to get audiences to pay for content. My big take away is that sites need to clearly and positively state what premium content or added value audiences will get in paying for content.
  • Kevin: The male-female ration on 19 social network sites including Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and social news sites like Digg, Reddit and Slashdot.
  • Kevin: Dorian Benkoil runs the numbers based on as much intelligence as is available and comes up with a plausible target figure (or at least a floor) for what Murdoch should demand from Microsoft for delisting from Google and handing Microsoft's Bing an exclusive deal. "Should News Corp. drop out of Google? Based on what I know today, I wouldn't recommend it. Maybe some blocking of Google here or encouraging of Bing there might work to News Corp's advantage. While News Corp. has some of the world's leading news brands, including Fox News and the aforementioned news organizations, collectively they don't have the advantages of The Wall Street Journal, a paid publication considered a must-read for much of the well-to-do business community."
  • Kevin: John A Byrne, until recently of BusinessWeek has launched a new company called C-ChangeMedia, and he outlines his thinking about the new company and his vision. "It’s too early to tell everyone what our first products will be, but I do envision more than a single platform. It will be a network of niche products for the business audience with an emphasis on mobile applications."
  • Kevin: An interesting post looking at the sameness in blog design. The post isn't just about blogging but also about the sameness in web design. CSS is wonderful for making changes across sites, but it does lead to a lot of cookie cutter design. The other issue in blog design is that people use a few platforms with a number of standard templates. You can tell whether someone is using WordPress or Drupal just by these templates.
    I think there is another issue here which is a certain stagnation in web design. This happens from time to time. I think in terms of Paddy Donnelly's call for web magazine style design and a generally higher level of design, it's a worthwhile goal, albeit a difficult one. Suw and I don't have the resources to pay a designer nor do we have a time to do much to tweak the design of individual posts. I think one solution might be templates for different kinds of blog posts in a standard blog design template.
  • Kevin: Channel 4 innovation fund 4iP announces its investment in "ScraperWiki, a platform to scrape, store, aggregate, and distribute unstructured public data in more useful, structured formats". I especially am interested in the geo-location libraries.
  • Kevin: Jim Barnett calls on ProPublica executive editor Paul Steiger to flesh out his goal for the high-profile non-profit news organisation. Steiger said one of the major goals is "to create 'nothing less than a new class of cultural institution in this country'". It's a good post looking at the challenge the concept of non-profit news organisations face and what Steiger could do to change perceptions about the non-profit concept.
  • Kevin: Steve Yelvington looks at traffic patterns at news sites, mostly newspaper sites that serve a specific area. He says that news sites need to look to their loyalists. "Compared with the overall population of visitors, they're far more likely to live in your market. They're keenly interested in your content, highly engaged in local life, and solid gold prospects for your advertisers." Steve has some great advice. You can give your loyaltists options to pay while not shutting out infrequent visitors, some who you need to convert to more frequent users. It's a great post, well worth reading.