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Comcast must be regulated untill competition exists September 18, 2007

Posted by Pontiff in comcast, Telecommunications, unbundled, unbundled content, web 2.0, web applications, web video.
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From Slashdot

Alien54 writes Comcast has finally clarified what ‘excessive use’ is when it comes to their cable internet service. A customer is exceeding their use limit if they: download the equivalent of 30,000 songs, 250,000 pictures or 13 million emails in a month. ‘[A Comcast spokesperson] said that Comcast’s actions to cut ties with excessive users is a “great benefit to games and helps protect gamers and their game experience” due to their overuse of the network and thus “degrading the experience.”‘”

My take on this from Slashdot:

People actually depend on the internet to make a living these days. The only thing that will control abuse by these common carriers is competition. Period. Government cannot regulate their service levels but consumers can vote with their business and take it elsewhere. That is if there was a place to take it. Your argument would be reasonable if Comcast was not a government enforced monopoly. No actually and more accurately it would hold water if they, Comcast, were not the beneficiaries of government policies that enforce their defacto monopoly. These policies are by and large promulgated by Comcast, Bellsouth now ATT, Verizon ect. Take Nashville, TN for example. Comcast is the only provider of highspeed internet service in large sections of the city because Bellsouth , a similarly protected monopoly, was too incompetent and complacent to offer DSL in huge sections of the city. Their state reason is that the equipment needs upgrading. They still can’t get it together under ATT. Bottom line is both Bellsouth and Comcast exist under franchise agreements with the city which in effect keep competition from easily accessing consumers. So Comcast enjoys an artificial and bogus advantage . Until that is rectified they should not be allowed to kick anyone off their network if they are paying the bill.

It’s worth repeating is here I think. When it comes to possibly cutting off someone’s livelihood there needs to be some sort of due process. Competition ensures a kind of due process in being able to take your business elsewhere. However if a monopoly exists whether real of de facto then safeguards need to be in place that ensure vital services are not cut capriciously. It doesnt really matter if the monopoloy is the result of government policies or not. In point of fact almost all cable is a government induced monopoly of sorts. Municipalities enforce the franchise agreements that were crafted in the 60s and 70s under vastly different technological constraints. They sort of made sense then.Now these agreements are just a digital protection racket. Big telcos pay cities to keep the competition out and its not good for consumers who are potentially victimized by the behavior of the monopoloy.

The choice is simple really. Cities like Nashville should open the market [for TV, Phone, Broadband not just one or the other] to anyone who can afford to lay new cable. Period. The telephone poles can handle the extra weight. The only franchise fee they should ask is to require the new entrants start their buildout in the underserved areas. The market will take care of the rest.

When freelance boards say “Escrow” they mean “ehscrew” June 8, 2007

Posted by Pontiff in ehscrew, escrow, freelance, freelance bidding.
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The two ways escrow can work :

  1. Prefunded series of milestone payments. Each payment is fully funded in escrow before the project starts so in effect the entire amount is in escrow and payments are released as the project moves through the milestones .
  2. One single payout at the end where full payment is escrowed and due on completion but there is no release of milestone payments.

That would pretty much cover the rational uses of Escrow. It would make no sense to require that milestone payment be put into escrow AFTER the milestone is met. That is when a payment is made.

The only variations on these themes are whether there are many milestones or half up front and half at the end ect. We opt for a reasonable division of milestones that take into account a variety of factors.

The first of the four payments is (or whatever number) due upon the project start. Whether it is first put into and escrow account and then released or just directly paid is not much different other than the delay factor which can be about a week.

There ‘s allot of work that goes into just setting these projects up on the server and in the system There is also a good deal of time spend communicating, creating contracts and various other things like explaining how the escrow services work or don’t work as offered by the freelance bidding boards.

On our end the project ‘started’ when we stated answering questions and requires a certain amount of time.. There is always risk and we weigh our likelihood of return as we get into these. We just don’t answer those clients who seem likely to be just looking for information, have no funds, or have no idea what they want.

So the milestones we setup set up are not for escrow accounts. We don’t require escrow on purpose for it makes no sense from any reasonable perspective. Why would we tie up your money for two months? It doesn’t help me if I’m going to do the work anyway. It only helps if I’m not planning on delivering and can use your tied up money as a bargaining chip. This is more or less why the whole escrow thing is just BS as it is the first tip off that you’re going to get shafted.

In the same vein we do not work on projects where the entire amount is escrowed and payment is proffered only at the end of the project. That last scenario is something that is wholly created by some of the early freelance boards to induce people to setup small projects and is not workable for anything that takes more than a days work to accomplish.

Often the projects are offered by people who for various reasons don’t understand the level of work that is involved. Further its easy to lose sight of the fact that the work is performed by humans who have families and obligations. When you don’t see people or interact directly its easier to ignore they are people really and treat them like an extension of the web browser or part of the computer or virtual world and therefor less human.

This isn’t the form for a long and detailed explanation but suffice to say that a good percentage of the projects are setup by people who have zero understanding the amount of time and money that is expended developing these applications. Another large percentage are setup by people who tend to have short attention spans. Often both. Bottom line is that many decide that they didn’t want to do a web application at all and have decided to go to Tibet and study with the Monks (this happened to an associate btw).

(more…)

Drupal Vs. Made From Scratch December 26, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Drupal, Pontification, web 2.0, web applications.
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Peter Van Dijck’s Guide to Ease

has an interesting discussion that considers the relative merits of using Drupal for startup businesses. The assumption one must make is that this is instead of creating a solution from scratch. He general thesis is :

… Drupal keeps evolving to solve a lot of different problems, it tries to be a swiss army knife. You’ll probably use 20% of Drupal, which means you have 80% cruft (which 20% can be different for everyone), and you’ll probably only have 20% of your needs addressed by Drupal, which means you’ll have to hack around the 80% cruft to get your 80% needs addressed. It’ll just keep frustrating you. ..

http://poorbuthappy.com/ease/archives/2006/12/09/3382/drupal-considered-dangerous-for-startups

I would agree but think it is still better than many alternatives.

I do think the point could be made by saying something like this: The start ups don’t fully understand that it can provide a basic framework but should not see it as more than that. If you start from scratch 80 percent of your time and energy will be spent creating the core system or the systems represented by Drupal Core. Its the other 20% that makes their start up a unique business and this 20% is 100% of what they should be focusing on.

Another way to look at this would be Drupal VS. Scratch. I contend that except in rare circumstances starting from scratch is a competitive disadvantage and can’t think of one inherent benefit

The big assumption here is that they want to use the functions and not creating a software distribution for actual resale. That analysis is slightly different but not completely.

American Airlines has the worst managment on planet Earth and beyond. December 25, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in American Airlines, assholics, assholism, Pontification.
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I hope they don’t close down the Guantanamo Bay water-boarding facility too soon. Honestly I’m as serious as I’ve every been about anything in my life. The skills those guys gained at administering human misery and degradation would both be appreciated by American Airlines management and employees and be an appropriate Christmas present.  It would be my gift to them for making my Christmass  so special . I’m sure all these angry humiliated and exhausted people would support this and chip in if air fare were needed to get the American CEO to Cuba..

I’m sitting here on Christmas eve after the worst Airline on the planet and beyond could not find a flight attendant to ride with a plane FULL of Christmas eve passengers to Tucson from Dallas. Now if you want to know how this company is doing consider that the worst airliner on the planet and beyond — American Airlines — has part of their corporate headquarters here in Dallas.

They had a flight attendant at 8 PM. She decided it was not her job to fly on Christmas eve. They had another flight attendant at 9ish. She was on her way but decided to bag it,, call it a night,,, tip a few with the boys,, attend a water-boarding exhibition given as a Christmas present by the Amercian management.

THEN THEY HAD ANOTHER ATTENDANT CANCEL WHO WAS IN THE BUILDING. They got one who was on the way from Long Beach after that and SHE TOO CANCELED. If you’re counting you will note that FOUR FLIGHT ATTENDANTS DECIDED TO SAY SCREW YOU TO THE CUSTOMERS OF American Airliess the worst airline on Earth.

This absolutely absurd Christmas eve nightmare at the hands of American Airlines the worst Airline on planet earth and beyond is not a joke nor is it an exaggeration of the facts. The weather is fine. The airplane is supposed to be fine but if I were betting I’d say there are major structural problems with the machinery because they employee attitudes would seem to suggest that not only do they not care what happens to the customers.. they are making plans to administer pain and suffering at the most critical times possible. Certainly unsafe aircraft are more possible with this bunch than most.

Here is a quote from their website’s ‘About Us’ page.

American Airlines and American Eagle are in business to provide safe, dependable, and friendly air transportation to our customers, along with numerous related services. We are dedicated to making every flight you take with us something special.

Well some of this is true. Torture and humiliation are related services in by their definition I suppose. And certainly we have a unanimous group of travelers here who feel American has made this flight ‘something special’.

I personally wish the entire company a merry Guantanamo Christmas.

Articles. VS. Blog Aggregation and Search visiblitiy December 15, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Pontification.
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I was asked how we find blogs for the aggregation sites. The next question inevitably was why we don’t use the static article sites to create search profile for a topic or regionally focused site.

The article sites with free articles ARE where the duplicate issues come into play. That content does get seen as duplicated and might actually hurt you in search visibility.

This is speculation like all things to do with SEO but I see some problems with pulling these articles in terms of a wasted effort .

The problem you face is the information velocity is so low on that stuff. “Duplication filters” as they are termed by SEO experts only come in to play over a longer time span — the longer it sits the more duplicated it is or seems. So the articles which are pulled by multiple sites and seen everywhere are discounted in terms of relevance and therefore useless to your users. That last part is the key. If they find it relevant then so will the search engines. Its simple to know what to do. Pretend you will use the site if you have not.

Allot of this is just my own observations and some is what I’ve read but it all is verified by my own two eyes .. literally.

I’ve been asked how we find blogs to aggregate.

  1. We do a blog search on Google Blog search
  2. Look at the blogs and make a visual inspection and its hard to explain but if it looks like an article site — i.e. where someone is doing the old copy and past of articles AND THAT IS ALL. then its discounted by us.
  3. When we find one that looks okay and the content seems genuine.. even without reading it carefully we start to look at the links or blog roll for more blogs. Our assumption which is almost always correct is that bloggers add bloggers to their rolls who are of like mind and deal with like subjects.
  4. The become quickly exponential and one GOOD blog may be hard to find but once its found then others are much easier.
  5. We look at these sites. See the ones that are posting new content allot and give priority to those. then we read the content and if there are allot of comments we assume that the content is better than sites with few comments.

I’m writing this just because I think its worth repeating to myself and don’t want to let you go down a path without first hearing my take. I can easily be wrong by the way and have zero stake in being right. My stake is in proving results and not defending a positron.

There are a million and twenty SEO experts and all have something to sell. You can find a position and argument for everything and most of it is vague and not provable save for over a long time frame if then .. I.E most of it is bull.

So go back to what it is Google is selling or doing.

They see themselves as not Google but as a search engine that is as vulnerable to completion. Their search results have to be better than Yahoo or Ask or whatever. They want the users to find what they are looking for. End of the story.

So think about this for a sec. If you have a series of sites that have even ONE of the same article (as opposed to RSS fed blog) it will be a warning to anyone that maybe you are collecting ‘articles’ from the free article sites. Again the RSS feeds are SUPPOSED to be duplicated. Also legitimate blog feeds procure two way links.

Here’s the thing of it. Also its the key and the basic tenant. Google is selling users on NOT sending the to article sites.

Look at that list of things we do to find content.. I could expand it by listing some of the ancillary things like searching delicious and Technorati and IceRocket ect.

The point is that after we did it over and over and over I realized something. Every single solitary thing we do right down to the judgment on the look and feel of the site is exactly what Google does when trying to find relevant content for its users. Again look at the main things we do and look at number 3. Does that seem familiar? So I started to think about times when we don’t follow the links.. If there are too many ….

Bad

  • Too many outbound links on the first page or the blog tool
  • more than 20 key words per page
  • stale articles — ie. articles for articles sake

Good

  • anything that helps define what your really are and what your really do.

see http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=51784

Bad

  • a site on Acne with a bunch of articles about acne that can be found in various places and seem to be in all the same kings of site. — millions of these sites.

Good

  • An aggregation site of bloggers who have acne and talk about their acne problems.. == major opportunity I think.

Users make instant decisions and remember patterns like you wouldn’t believe. Websites and content are like faces which we have an amazing capacity to recognize.,,, Its a very long story and I’m tired .. really and sorry I can’t be more convincing. My opinion. and it is only opinion is that the articles are not going to help you becasue the users will find no vaule in them. It was a short lived trick.

Headlemur, sploggers, Rex and why its good to commuicate September 2, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Big Media, Blogroll, chronicnews, Pontification, RSS & Media, RSS Applications, splogger John B.
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Rex Hammock has a post that perfectly sums up the situation I’ve been facing over the last few days and nights (its a blur).

Thank you Lemur and Thank you Rex.

I’m going to try to explain it in one place and hope a few people care after the

I’ll let Lemur speak for himself but I appreciate these words. He explains our intent better than I ever have.

The Idea of a network of City Specific Websites who primary news sources are bloggers who live there is really a quite good idea. In addition to the elegance of the software he built to aggregate and present posts and the overall design, it is astonishingly good, and as I demonstrated in my previous postings, fast.

He also has a number of features such as forums, a blog, an ad server, for monetizing the network, because despite the fact that it is a home grown effort, the electric bill never stops.

With a good opt-in system and participation this can be a quite nice addition to the internet.

Whether or not there will be any revenue sharing opportunities,should not be your primary motivation should you decide to participate. Nor should traffic to your site. Like everything else in life, you must make your own choices based on your belief and enthusiasm.

Also I think its important to clear up two things as soon as possible. My group of programmers / CMS coders nor I have never made a penny off any of this and I regret ever putting Google Adsense in the applications. (I just got $30 from Text Link ads in my Pay Pal account which is more than Adsense pays [there are some interesting limitations to Googles Adsense algorithm when the page consists of many different ‘voices].). We make our living providing similar types of systems and functionally to thrid parties for a fee. The whole network and the rest has been a good demonstration of what we do but nothing more. In this regard my reaction to Lemur was not unlike the guy who found out his agent was sleeping with his wife when told they were spotted running without clothing from his burning house. “You mean my agent actually came to my house?” On learning the I was being accused of being a splogger a part of me was thinking it was nice to be appreciated even if it wasn’t exactly what we had in mind.

While we hope it could become more we especially hold no delusions in this regard. This stuff is really really hard. It takes a lot of sweat and luck just to get where we are which is really nowhere.

The purpose of the whole thing began to change when we realized that in order to attract and keep good content you had to create an enviorment that gave control and reward to the content provider. As Lemur notes we’ve developed a fully functional ad server thats feature rich and extensible There was no other point to creating a tipping system that allows users to directly ‘tip’ content providers with a single mouse click. (The only entity making anything of the transaction is Pay Pal.) The bloggers/content providers can login and input their Google Adsense info to have Adense ads offered with their content (good luck on getting anyone to click on one). All this is available right now on any of our sites.

The Headlemur correctly analysed some other things about the system and while I hope next time he chooses someone esle’s operation to analyes I have to note he proved his point. Some of the other stuff regards how feeds can be individually tweaked for display with thing like logos and teaser breaks. Plus keywords can be attached to the feed’s items.

He also noted the Google calendar functions that we’ve been able to bring in using the Google supplied API. Anyone in Nashville can publish an event and have it searched or automatically appear on anyone’s calendar. For the time being I can pretty much guarantee that if you use the Google calendar and overlay ours (or just enter it into ours either one) your event will be in the top 3 or 4 when someone searchs for Nashville. (There are more than you can believe) They can be anywhere Google offers calendar search which seems to work best from inside the calendar itslelf. Anyone who wants to add just needs to click a calendar and send a request once.
The ad server which includes the ability to inject text ads, banner ads and video insertions; the provider specific adsense and Pay Pall Tipit have all ben available for some time. Additionally and very importantly we needed the ability to email the comments made on the blog posts directly to the bloggers themselves.Adserver_screen_2 All this works well. What we’ve not had time to do is bring it all together under one interface. As it is now the blogger has to login to the adserver, create the ad and generate the insertion code. Next step is to login to one of the sites and insert it in the feed or a specific item or both. As to Adsense and Tipit it is the same without the Adserver step. But you can see and example of the adsense functionality on Flixya which is a site we worked on and very nice I might add. (Before anyone starts its true I’m trying to extract some benefit from an otherwise unfortunate occurrence.)banner

Most importantly and somewhat obviously we lack a coherent communication system. Uhm.. I got the message now. The point of the thing is to be low overhead while feature rich, graphically malleable and good at offering RSS feeds in a way that is web viewable. Its not to be anything like a splog (Wired has a very good investigative piece on splogs that will be online in 2 days). We’ve found out the hard way a system that can centrally manage group mailing lists is more prone to erratic behavior than the ad server functionality, PayPal,Adsense, RSS feeds aross multiple domains all rolled in one.

Sometime on Monday (Saturday Sept. 4th) you can see a crude demo of the all in one management system by going to http://Chronicblogs.com and creating a fake user account with any email address.business punditt

Its an aggregation system that is different, not better, just different than others. We don’t comment on posts or excise the text of the feed or otherwise purposely change the original order or sense of things. The bad thing is there is no human making these decisions on a minute to minute basis. The good thing is there is no human making these decisions on a minute basis. Take your pick. Ther’re both right . The former way certainly gives more control over what people are willing to say and provides for a more uniform type of posting no matter what the stated policy of the medium its still making choices based on content. Slashdot is good example of this and it works better than any.

I don’t think some of the comments I saw elsewhere are factually accurate regarding this. I’ll check some more.

Also its important that people realize that a site like this is not competition for established old media outlets (or related blogs) nor been intended that way. The old ‘stick it to the competition sort of thinking sort of breaks down here. Or it should.

As I said there has not been one blog aggregated in the last 6 months, if not longer, that we don’t have a letter in the file. For those that don’t we’re freezing the feeds sending letters and anyone who wants to stay please do. After a week with no notice we’re removing their items, then the feed. We thought about just deleting them — much easier — but that might appear spiteful and despite some of the statements otherwise the links are real and no doubt have some benefit. The way we plan to work this is by invite or request and we need to have the other bloggers vote the content in or out for after all it will affect them and to do otherwise is an invitation to becoming a splog for real.

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The Upshot August 31, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Pontification.
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Sometimes it takes a brick to the head for me to focus. It clears the cobwebs.

When we started the application the ethos in the blogsphere was very different that it is today. A few years ago most bloggers would clamor to be carried by anyone who paid enough attention to bother to read their posts.

Its different today and while we implemented changes about 6 months ago to carry only those who give expresses written permission there are some-who have not. We are going to take each site one by one and make sure that isn’t the case.

Stay tuned.

Balance August 31, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in chronicnews, Copyright, Kangaroo Copright Court, Law & Politics, unbundled content.
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Yesterday I received a letter from Godaddy, our hosting provider, that they were suspending one of our servers due to a claim that there had been a copyright violation. A blogger claimed his content was being aggregated without permission yet we had not received notice. Had we had even the slightest inkling the content would have been removed immediately.

This was the capper to a bad few days and not really necessary nor does it actually help anyone or prove a point. The sites we run all ask for permission before aggregating a blog. Mistakes happen allot so we have a big printed note on the front saying that if you find your content here and didn’t give permission then please send us a note and we’ll remove it.

We got two such notes from other bloggers on Phoenixsnews.com last week and removed the content immediately. Both bloggers had given their written permission to aggregate but the swirling accusations made them decide to remove. No problem in both cases it was done in less than 24 hours.

I wrote hime. Here is what I said last night. I was really tired.

This is the first I’ve heard about this really.

All I can do is say that I”m really and truly sorry.

They’ve taken taken our server offline. If you sent an email notice we didn’t get it to my knowledge but we very well may have and our systems just didn’t work.

Since I’ve been personally involved with this we’ve been sending letters to the blogger — for over six months — before aggregation the feed. I’m attaching an example.

I”ve been spending way more money keeping this thing going than I’ve ever brought in — zero actually. My wife just had a baby so I’ve not been paying as much attention to what’s been going on and missed your pleas. Again. I’m sorry.

John B
your sploggoer.

We’ve deactivated Phonexsnews.com now. Godaddy would let us reactivate at any time. Its just that despite what was said we don’t make money at this. Our intent has been to do so but at this stage its not happening. We’ve actually been investing in finding ways to help the bloggers make money and therefore make the whole thing make sense economically. I’ve written allot about this on these pages. Sorry its not more interesting.

The upshot of this was that Godaddy analysed the facts I provided and responded quickly (in under 1 hour) to restore service.
The Chronicnews Network runs network of blogs that are aggregations of blog content focused on various topics. Prior to aggregation we send a letter to every blogger. Here is an exact replica of the most recent letter.

BELOW IS THE LATEST VERSION OF THE EMAIL WE SEND TO EVERYONE

RE: yourblog.com
We would like to ask permission to aggregate your blog’s feed on on our site – http://www.selfemployedworker.com . The site is an aggregation of the best feeds we can find on subjects concerning self employment, freelance employment and the attendant issues.

We believe there is a need for good high quality aggregators on these subject and we’re looking for blogs that either deal directly or touch on self employment issues.

All you need to do is reply to this email and tell us if you are okay with that or not.

To see the initial version of one of the sites go to http://selfemployedworker.com/ Creative huh?

Why would you want to do this?

There may be little traffic at the site for the moment because we’ve not started a general ad campaign. We will soon start an Adwords campaign but want to set the initial blog slate and let the site settle down.

We’ve done this for a few other cities. To see some of the results click on the following links:

http://nashvillesnews.net [this is our oldest and least advanced site however it gets a lot of daily traffic]

http://tucsonsnews.com

http://houstonsnews.com

http://LAsNews.com

You may get more readers as a result of our adwords campaign. It’s not guaranteed however there’s nothing to lose in this regard.

We only promote aggregated content we like and actually have pretty high standards. Our taste and judgment might be impaired but we like your blog’s feed items and believe this can only help you get more readers.

You need do nothing more than reply to this email giving the go ahead. If you should want admin control over your feed at a later time you need to create and account which of course is free. This is completely discretionary and doesn’t affect your feeds aggregation one way or the other.

The site should give you a pretty good idea of what it does and if you allow us to aggregate you can find your feed several ways. First you can click the sources link in the left menu or either the ‘categories’, ‘sitemap’, or ‘content list’ tabs along the top.

The feed items should show as being contributed by you or whomever you have designated in the originating blog or content feed.

Each feed had a link to ‘original article’ AND ‘source’ to be a redundant as hell.

There is a feature on the site that allows you to add your Pay Pal info and give the readers the ability to “Tip” you with gratuities for writing such wonderful content. Again you can deal with this at some other time. You can see a demo at http://www.tipit.ws or on Phillysnews.com.

Almost all the bloggers are happy to be carried. But if you decide its not for you just send us a note and we will take down your feed.

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The myth of the citizen journalist July 17, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in chronicnews, local search, Pontification, unbundled content, Unbundled Media, user interface.
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I’ve been in a dialogue with someone whose been involved with the whole citizen’s journalist thing and asks a good question.

How do you plan to get people in each of the communities to view the sites and more importantly contribute to the site? The whole contribute thing is a big problem for a lot of people and it is one that I have yet to see a solution that works on a constant basis for multiple communities.

My response:

Our approach is slightly different. But this tiny difference matters in terms of the sustainability. Without going into the long history of how we got here I’ll explain.

We target certain bloggers in an area based on criteria yet to be formalized (nice way of saying we just wing it). Then we send them letters and ask for permission to aggregate their blogs and its almost always given. Once the slate is set we proceed to automatically aggregate the feeds. The software displays the product in a fashion designed to emulate a human editorial team – i.e. not too many items from a single blog at once and a good mixture of content types and voices.

The aggregation creates natural urls and pings the blog directories and search bots to say its updated every hour or so. It creates a huge index and search visibility rather fast but can be a technological problem keeping things fast.

So to answer the question in a round about way the content isn’t dependant on group participation from average readers..I tried this and its not really a business model that works consistently enough. Dan Gilmour started Bayosphere at the same time and learned this as well. The citizen journalist is a myth. You are either a journalist or you are not and theoretically we are all citizens of the web.

Think of ours as tapping into a new source for content from a semi-professional sort — the constant blogger if you will.

I guess the last thing here is that we are trying to create ways to attract and keep the better bloggers but that’s another discussion.

That is our key difference and we’re working on ways to massage these content sources better. Its the current focus and will be manifest in http://chronicblogs.com relatively soon — sometime this week I hope..

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Faithful Freinds June 10, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in local search, Pontification, Search, Usability, user interface.
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This morning I woke up to find Lola, our St. Bernard, had passed away in the back yard. What was I supposed to do? I'd never actually thought about what one does with a 170 lbs animal. Add to that my wife and three small children were returning from buying birthday presents for our 2 year old. Lola, was the size of a horse and was lying pretty much where the children would be frolicking. I felt certain they would notice .

My wife had had a particularly trying day and loved that dog. I did too. What I wasn't going to do was deliver this news on the cell phone where she was sure to have a complete breakdown.

I don't know why but I called my mother who suggested that she would send my 75 year old father over with a shovel at which point we would dig. I pointed out that he needed to pickup some dynamite because in Nashville you hit solid rock between 2 and 3 feet pretty much anywhere. I live in Green Hills and the bedrock is about 14 inches down which would mean we would have to build a tomb. Anyway the web was no help. zero..So through word of mouth I find Chuck and Faithful Friends. He was prompt and thorough and sensitive.

I appreciate what he did today. I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm insane because I a nightmare vision of Marissa and the kids driving up just as we had Lola on the stretcher.

Why am I blogging this? There was no service listed anywhere online in Nashville such as Faithful Friends. If you don't believe me take a look yourself. However it only took two phone calls to narrow in on Chuck. Why is that? Moreover I seriously doubt I was the only person who has ever turned to the web for help finding something that seems like it should be coming up on Google and Yahoo. Chuck's website is brand-new and I hope this post can help someone in similar circumstances.

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