Monthly Archives: August 2006

Published content vs participation (by David Bowen)

I quoted this earlier, but I thought I’d link to David Bowen’s whole article. It suggests that there are ‘shades of grey’ to Web 2.0 thought.

We often have clients ask us for Web 2.0 services simply because they’ve heard of it. As all good web agencies should, we have to remind many of them that the objective / aim of the project may not always call for Web 2.0 services. Like David Bowen says, traditional web publishing still works. Well.

Quote by David Bowen, FT.com

Reading this, it appears that we’re all so time poor that we need instant opinion in either black or white – hence the move towards ‘shock’ journalism/comment:

We live in a world of many shades of grey, yet the way to get yourself
heard (and respected) is to be black and white about everything. The more
opinionated the commentator, or magazine or newspaper, the better it is likely
to do, which explains the shift from old-fashioned reporters and feature writers
to ‘hard-hitting’ columnists. Blogging is another expression of it. You don’t
have to do anything dull like interviewing people, checking facts, then checking
facts again – you just write what you like.

BBC blogging chief joins the Guardian

Kevin Anderson is leaving the BBC to join the Guardian as head of blogging and interaction.

Interesting news, given that a post by Kevin in July on Strange Attractor was titled ‘Comment is F**ked’ and provided a take on why Comment is Free blog platform is flawed.

Criticism does pay.

More details from Kevin’s post.

Monkey magazine to launch


What is the fascination with monkeys in the men’s publishing arena? Dennis Publishing, publisher of Maxim magazine appears to be launching a downmarket glossy described by Real Business magazine as ‘boobs and bumpers galore.’

Wonder how the guys at monkeyslum.com (recently bought outright by Sky) feel about the new mag and its new site monkeymag.co.uk?

I hate monkeys.

*UPDATE* This post has had phenominal traffic, so it looks like it’s going to get a decent bit of traffic when it finally launches (before 2006?). While you’re here, would you do me the favour of leaving me a comment? Submit anything you like – what you think about this story, the blog as a whole, how it can be improved etc. Mucho, mucho appreciated.

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Convergence Culture

I’d provide an easy to read summary of the Henry James article on BigShinyThing, only a) I haven’t quite got my head around it and b) I intend to read it in full on the train home so I do get my head around it.

Skimming through the yellowed highlights (which is a nice way of doing ‘pull quotes’), Henry Jenkins seems to provide an alternative view on collaborative media. It’s not about the technology.

Lastminute.com founder behind Univillage.com


I’ve seen this site before, but I had no idea Brent Hoberman, founder and now part-time chairman of Lastminute.com was behind it.

While browsing through the site again, I spotted something a tad worrying. As you can see in this sample profile, users are able to display their contact details. Not just email address, but their mobile phone number, exact residential address etc.

Having just finished writing web safety guidance for a social networking service, Univillage.com’s approach seems to completely jar with best practice, common sense etc.

I don’t know if users are warned off supplying such information (I’d try to register for myself, but an ‘ac.uk’ email is required), even so, users shouldn’t be allowed to display this in the first instance. Ideally, there needs to be a screening mechanism in place which allows visitors to send a request for the profiler’s contact details – then a decision to release this information can be made by the user.

Has Univillage unknowingly exposed its users to a mass of abusive texts, postal letters and, most worryingly, knocks on the front door of student residential halls?

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Google fights ‘genericide’

MediaGuardian’s Organ Grinder has asked the question: can the acceptance of a brand as a generic term (e.g. hoover, fridge etc) be damaging to the original brand?

This is an interesting point and I’d love to know what a branding specialist thinks.

Personally, I understand that Google wants to protect its trademark from being ‘diluted’, but they’ll find it near impossible to change people’s habits in using their trademark as a generic term for web search.

Has Hoover really suffered because of this generic naming issue? Is their current position in the market more to do with all electronics manufacturers being able to produce virtually identical products?

No, this is more about trademarks and competitors being able to call their product Google. Will that really happen? Ever seen Dyson packaging or advertising refer to its product as a ‘Hoover’?

Not everyone has the ability to produce a quality search engine on the scale of Google.

I don’t think Google has anything to worry about.

Be faithful and your reader will “stay awhile”

While ignoring the first golden rule about web writing (ie front loading – would the summary / bullets not have been better placed at the beginning of the article?), Amber Simmons’ article on A List Apart eventually provides some advice on how to ‘speak’ to your reader.

I’m not sure how effectively applying the Long Tail approach to web copy will work if you’re writing for a diverse audience, but it’ll no doubt prove useful for sites dealing with niche audiences.