Looks like YouTube is starting down the path of content legitimacy, inking a deal with Warner Music to legally distribute their content:
' But he said that “our general philosophy is, we want to lead through innovation as opposed to litigation. The user-generated content phenomenon is something we believe is only going to continue to grow and is probably unstoppable. We’d like to be a part of it and make it a great experience for consumers and make sure we and our artists are being rewarded.” '
Now the question is when will the rest of the music and content industry catch up with the thinking above? There has to be a brave soul willing to embrace the user-generated trends of the web's future, and there may be shot-term losses, but the gold is at the end of the rainbow for distributing your content online and sharing in the associated pre- or post-roll video ad revenues. When we will reaching the tipping point and finally realize that Warner Music's deal with YouTube represents the future?
Calacanis has called out YouTube for having created a business (although the company is losing money with it's huge bandwidth costs) based on stolen/pirated content, but this first step towards legitimacy helps answer the debate over which should come first with the next generation of web services companies (Web 2.0): the business plan or the customer/user base.
It's now 2am PST and I'm siphoning off free WiFi from the closed coffee shop in the lobby of the Bellevue Hyatt (the hotel charges for WiFi via T-Mobile so screw that). I'm the only one in the massive lobby besides the late night revelers stumbling through and the security guards once caught me dozing off-- I told him I was fine, just catching up on email. I've been dozing off periodically. The wedding is in ten hours or so.
Fred hit the nail on the head with his follow up YouTube post. The future is blurring the lines between content and advertising.
Nothing profound here but spot on. And it's not that we're going to see lame, cheesy product placements everywhere that scream out lowest common denominator (see my Benkler post) pitches (think of movie or TV advertisements). No, we're going to see either a hybrid of content that has a tinge of advertising or hopefully we're going to have a new media type that's neither 100% content nor advertising. This point has been made before by several folks, including Adam Curry and the Gillmor Gang. The future of advertising will be where ads become content that you actually want to watch.
Why? Because it will be worthwhile content to start with- i.e. not cheesy. Second, it will be content that is targeted to you so even if it felt like an ad to someone outside the intended audience niche, it would be something that you wanted to watch.
The second great insight is Fred's assessment on how people surf the web (yes, there are addicts out there like myself who find great pleasure in being a avid web surfer) and likening this same process/characteristic to how people use YouTube:
Watching videos on YouTube is like surfing the web. You watch one, find another, watch it, and do that until you get bored.
This is exactly how I surf the web and how I end up on these amazing internet-reading benders on all the different interests in my life.
Batettle posted about Jatalla, a 100% human-powered search engine that works on the increasingly universal language of tagged content. Why am I interested in this?
It's an idea that my IT and Strategic Opportunity class discussed back in April 2005:
Professor [6:08:15 PM]: What about if we had wikisearch?
Professor [6:08:46 PM]: Where everyone could contribute webdata/pages to the
search engine, and modify, delete, edit, and categorize
Student 1 [6:09:25 PM]: letting the public doing the classification
Student 2 [6:09:25 PM]: DG: it would be a lot more efficient to tag the web if it
were done in a decentralized manner, like Wiki
Professor [6:09:38 PM]: It may be a great way to take search to the next level
and dethrone Google
Not ground breaking stuff for even back in 2005 but it's nice to see how far we've come. We have social search engines that are wiki-powered, like Swicki, and now Jatalla is hoping to leverage tags and humans to create a more decentralized, user-generated search engine.
Digging a little into Jatalla, submitters use a "lexivotes," a combination of a search term and a URL, to vote their preference for a given website's optimal relevance to that search term. Voting could be potentially gamed in ways that we've seen with splogs or on Digg but the more critical element is creating incentives for people to vote.
Would their be pride-based incentives like Digg, monetary-based incentives like Netscape, or would there be the old stalwart of civic-duty-based incentives for why people voted?
The more important, perhaps million dollar question, is whether this user-generated process is scalable enough to ever extend beyond niche segments and reach critical mass?
For the present time, Google doesn't need to be scared but I think the concept of social search will gain significant traction, maybe not through either of these two companies, in the future.
...Jobs didn't wear his charasteristic black turtleneck.
But really, it must bother the competitors when Apple is able to get so much press coverage of their product announcement events. Then again, sometimes the competition's movie download services just plain sucks.
Do you want to know how to not think strategically? How to look
backwards, at the good 'ol days, and then imagine that that you can
re-create the good times by thinking backwards?
See this WSJ article (WSJ's pay firewall prevents me from linking directly- another example of thinking backwards) on Kodak installing 2,000 new photo-processing kiosks (emphasis added).
Wal-Mart's Director of Photo Service: "With the overall market down, we in the industry have to figure out ways to make them print more more pictures...The kiosk is the ATM of the photo business."
Of course this makes sense, ignore all the trends of online photo sharing and try re-viving a former golden goose that will be extinct in the near future. Yes, make them do something that is counter-intuitive to the ease of sharing photos in the digital age-- that's thinking strategically.
There are those non-internet people who much prefer prints (perhaps a majority of average picture-takers) but photography and photo sharing is going online and eventually everyone will have their photos online. We'll have mobile devices for sharing photos with our non-web savvy brethren and prints will be forgotten.
Thinking strategically, Wal-Mart should partner with Kodak's EasyShare/Ofoto site and automatically upload people's photos (making them private by default but at least eliminating the hassle of photo uploading). But Kodak, the slow dinosaur that is famous for missing the entire Digital Age and ignoring digital cameras, wouldn't pursue a strategy that so acutely cannibalizes one of its remaining products.
Really, Wal-Mart should partner with Flickr, which understands the community and user-generated thesis of the new media landscape but we all know that's not going to happen.
Caught up on my reading this week and thanks to Calacanis' post on the indie film, Four Eyed Monster, who have been trying to get their film released by cold calling theaters and using the internet for grassroots organizing.
From the band Swedish band Loveninjas, who is playing in the background of the movie's trailer, is this catchy song, Keep Your Love.
And speaking of music, going to see Band of Horses at Black Cat this Wed. night and then it's off to Seattle for a wedding weekend. I'm hoping to go up the Space Needle and grab a sandwich from Salumi, which sells gourmet cured meats and is owned by Mario Batali's father--- I can't wait.
A little old now but didn't get to post this until today: a brief summary from the Gillmor Gang, episode VRM Gang Post II (9/1/06):
1) Attention Scarcity and Clickstream Data
Setting aside the argument over who owns people's clickstream data, the real insight about the attention scarcity and clickstream discussion is that the value of clickstream data is probably in knowing what the user doesn't like rather than what they do like (the burden of proof is much easier on eliminating content that you're disinterested in rather than in selecting content that you're interested in)
I've posted about attention scarcity before but this discussion of attention and clickstream also reminds me of my ideas around "ah-hah moments"
(tracking how you discover/create new knowledge) that I mentioend to
Fred and Brad. I'm still not articulating it well but the discussion about
attention and clickstream data is the closest thing to it so far.
"ah-hah moments" are more about learning and adding it your your
collective knowledge base so let's start calling them "knowledge
moments." Seemingly contradictory because knowledge is by definition
permanent and moments are ephermal, but I'm defining those precise moment of learning
something new, when you make connections between different ideas,
subject matters, areas of business, or authors or bloggers.
learn a lot from my reading and my blogging and the internet
facilitates sharing via linking (the basic premise and power of Google
is links). Sharing of ideas is fundmental to learning and eventually what we learn becomes knowledge. You can't
always predict or define when or how this new knwoledge is going to
form but if you have enough of these knowledge moments, you'll learn more and
increase your odds of creating new knwoledge.
2) Giving More Control to Users- VRM
With ownership of your clickstream data, the issue becomes giving more control to the user (which decreases the burden on the seller- one reason why CRM software sucks is because all of the relationship intelligence info is a burden on the seller, not the user-- not the definition of a relationship). So the new buzzword in 2-3 years will be VRM, Vendor Relationship
Management, which is the reciprocal of CRM: it's users tracking their relationships
The question then becomes how much of their individual profile will users release to gain access to offers that they're interested in (the new face of advertising)? Think of like using a frequent shopper card at your grocery store. I agree more with Doc or Dan Farber (think it was one of them) and disagree with Steve because I think individuals will freely give away control/ownership of personal data if it equates to a discount/freebie or the appearance of one.
Don't believe me?
Read this interview with Steve Rambam and how as a private investigator who's willing to pay nominally for access to a few online databases, he can aggregate an astonishing and disturbing amount of personal information on the average citizen. And most of this information we voluntarily give over to private sector companies in exchange for using their services.