Each month, I get a fun little e-mail from Nielsen/NetRatings, the online division of the big-name metrics firm, with some tracking numbers for unique visitors at social media sites--namely, social networks, blogs, and video-sharing sites. They're pretty anecdotal as far as traffic metrics go, but it's still fun to see who's losing and who's gaining--you know, like sports. And each month, I eagerly open the e-mail (no, really) to see if there are any juicy surprises in store. This month's version, which includes numbers for August (percentage growth from August 2006 to August 2007, … Read more
We reported back in July that MySpace in the midst of a deal with the creators of the movie Blood Diamond to create a new Web-based program called Quarterlife. At the time, it wasn't confirmed, representatives from the parties involved declined to comment, and quarterlife.com was password-protected.
Now, it's official: a release from MySpace has confirmed that Quarterlife will debut on its MySpaceTV platform on November 11. A project of Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, who created the TV shows My So-Called Life and Thirtysomething in addition to Blood Diamond, the new Web show will follow the … Read more
Well that was quick. Just a few days after Netscape's announcement that it was shelving its social news service away from the hallowed Netscape.com domain in place of what is essentially AOL's front page, the service has already been given a new name and URL. It's called Propeller.com (link dead ends right now), and that's about all Netscape's Director Tom Drapeau was willing to divulge about the rebranded site in his announcement post on the official Netscape blog.
The new logo is arguably well done, but what's missing here are some details … Read more
In this day and age you, the so-called "users" of the Internet, wield so much power. You have seriously damaged the print industry by canceling your newspaper subscriptions in favor of Yahoo News and YouTube. And you are even put in charge of deciding what is newsworthy online at user-driven content sites like Delicious, Digg and Reddit.
But what is your editorial judgment and how does it differ from the experienced, veteran editors who previously had control over what stories were published?
Plenty of coverage has been devoted to national politicians' widespread adoption of MySpace and Facebook as campaign tools--it's a popular strategic move to ride the wave of viral buzz and simultaneously cater to the elusive youth vote. Democratic candidate John Edwards was even a Twitter early adopter.
Business-oriented social-networking site LinkedIn, meanwhile, has stayed out of the political fray. And indeed, LinkedIn hasn't started any formal campaign tie-ins the way MySpace has. But that hasn't stopped presidential hopeful Barack Obama from creating a profile on the site; if you want to "add him as a connection,&… Read more
It's fairly easy to tell if a meal is bad for you using basic nutritional knowledge. The idea I think is best explained through a reference to a Simpsons episode wherein Homer goes on the "clear" diet, eating only (greasy) foods that turn things like napkins--and, incidentally, entire walls--translucent. In the real world we have nutritionalists, and an interesting Web service called MyFoodPhone that is best explained as a weight-loss and nutritional-education program slash social network.
The premise is simple: Just take photos to log each meal you've eaten and send them to the service via … Read more
Another day, another clump of Facebook financial dirt.
Kara Swisher at All Things Digital wrote early Tuesday that "according to sources," Facebook is considering the possibility of a massive new investment round. If this turns out to be true, it could lift the company's much-talked-about valuation even further into the stratosphere. Facebook's last investment round, a $25 million bounty in 2006, pushed its pre-money valuation to about $525 million. This rumored new round, which Swisher claims is "well beyond" that scope, could solidify Facebook's position in the $6 billion to $10 billion club (… Read more
MyFamily.com lets families create private Web sites where members can post news, share photos, and host live chats, among other things. It's a great way to centralize all your family communication--my own large extended family has had a MyFamily.com space for a few years--but the site's circa-1998 interface always left me wondering why we didn't start a simple Yahoo group, which has the same functionality.
Recently I got word that MyFamily.com was getting an overhaul (in fact, the link above leads directly to the beta of MyFamily.com 2.0) and logged on to check it out. Gone are the previous version's tightly spaced lists of text links, which have been replaced with plenty of white space and a row of nine tabs across the top of the page that help you navigate the site's features. The Videos, Files, and Members tabs are self-explanatory. Events leads to a calendar of events, where family members can not only list birthdays and anniversaries but also create invitations for parties or other gatherings; Gifts takes you to a MyFamily.com area on Qoop, where you can order family photo books and tchotchkes.
The four remaining tabs--What's New, News, Photos, and Stories--are where members are likely to spend the most time.… Read more
Del.icio.us, the hugely popular social bookmarking service, has finally unveiled its new look. It's the biggest visual change the site's had since its launch in 2003, and the result of nearly a year's worth of work. Besides a face-lift, the service has undergone several enhancements, both in how you browse new links and search through them. Of course, this new site isn't open to everyone. In classic Web 2.0 form, access is limited to a select few in the form of a beta preview the Del.icio.us team is using for feedback before rolling out the changes to everyone.
The site first announced its intentions of a massive re-design in early February, and just a few months back noted some fun statistics about their usability testing lab, which had apparently used more than 2,000 Post-it Notes to organize observations about the re-design. This may not sound too impressive, which is why I'd recommend taking a look at this picture, which gives me headache just to look at.
The first thing you'll notice about the new Del.icio.us is that the name has forgone its dots to simply be known as "Delicious." Besides making it easier for newbies to pronounce, it's also a departure from its roots of a small, independent Web site who was one of the first to pioneer the gloriously cheesy domain name hack, a practice that's even led to a startup that figures them out for you. The other thing you'll notice is that there's more emphasis on tags, and tagging in general, as they've been given a much more prevalent look and presence throughout the site.
The real change, however, is in search and navigation, which have both been streamlined and made faster. The old Delicious search was a tad on the sluggish side, whereas the new search is noticeably faster. The results have also been improved to show you who was the first to save it as a bookmark, along with pushing the tags out to the side in case you feel like drilling down by genre. The navigation now features drop-down menus to let you quickly drill down to various parts of the site, skipping an extra page view or two.
When it comes to actually creating new bookmarks on the Delicious site, the process is like Miss South Carolina: pretty but slow. Despite the advances in page design, you still have to navigate through two separate pages to add a new link via URL. I prefer the newer trend of opening up a lightbox pop-up to let me enter in information, and then getting shot back to the page I was viewing before. There's a handy bookmarklet to add whatever page you're visiting, which is actually the fastest way to add new content to the site short of clicking a site-integrated "add to Delicious" button, but the current system is still prohibitive for batch link uploading.… Read more
Jason Calacanis' personal project, Netscape's Digg clone, has officially closed up shop. When it was initially introduced, Netscape drew a lot of criticism for the site's similarities to Digg and for trying to bribe its top users to switch over to Netscape.
There have been rumors of Netscape closing down the site for a few weeks, but now it's official. On Netscape's blog, Tom Drapeau noted the reason for the shut down as being that, "...we specifically heard that our users do have a desire for a social news experience, but simply didn't expect … Read more