Monday, July 23, 2007

Facebook CEO Accused Of Stealing Site Concept

They open it up to non-college users and the site blows up... I have been inundated with friends requests (and sent out a bunch to add to it)... there are widgets and email notifications... it was major viral marketing... and now it all may end if the lawsuit holds up.

MediaRiver's ClickSurge Interesting Content Monetizer

I don't know how I missed this when it launched at the end of May, but I was glad to have a conversation with a couple of the people over at MediaRiver (formerly known as Intelltext) and a one-on-one webinar that showed me the potential of this new little widget.

ClickSurge pulls content links relevant to the page content it appears on. Not ads per se but links to articles - from your site and other publishing sites thatare part of the network.

Intellext, creators of the Watson next-generation contextual search software, changed its name to MediaRiver, and released a new product for web publishers, highlighting a move into the digital media space.

ClickSurge, MediaRiver's new offering, enables Web publishers to guide Internet users to the publishers' online content in a discovery-based contextual model. ClickSurge increases page views and maximizes the reach and profitability of monetized content by contextually placing links to that content onto web pages at a publisher's website, at a partner's website or on any Internet page, including user-generated content sites such as blogs and social networks using modern widget technology.

"As the digital media landscape grows increasingly crowded, driving new visitors to Web properties and maximizing the time those users spend on those Web properties is paramount for generating revenue,"said Al Wasserberger, CEO of MediaRiver. "With ClickSurge, content publishers are able to quickly and easily connect the right audience to the right content at the right time, dramatically improving unique
user counts and page views per visit."

ClickSurge leverages MediaRiver's core contextual technology, which was originally developed in the Intelligent Information Laboratory at Northwestern University and used in the company's Watson desktop application, applying it in the case of ClickSurge to the Web. The company's patent-pending technology allows content of any type, including video, music, pictures or text, to be linked onto any web page dynamically and contextually, based on the unique properties of that web page.

When used for driving site recirculation, as it will be for new MediaRiver customers and, ClickSurge drives up the number of pages viewed during each site visit by contextually linking content throughout a ublisher's site or family of sites. Users view a publisher's related content and follow logical, sequential page views of that publisher's monetized content. As a result, the site visitor enjoys a compelling user experience and the publisher prompts monetized page views by keeping users on the site.

"People online are experiencing links to rich, relevant content. Once engaged, they are likely to click through to a publisher's various properties," said Art Chang, CEO of social network and founder of venture capital firm Tipping Point Partners, LLC. "ClickSurge is the ideal platform for presenting our content to new audiences, driving syndication deals and creating a compelling online experience that keeps users on longer."

ClickSurge serves as a key business development tool for creating and implementing traffic-driving partnerships. Regardless of how a publisher monetizes their content syndication and cross-linking partnerships, ClickSurge automatically populates their partners' Web pages with links back to monetized content.

Media companies such as new MediaRiver customers Motley Fool (, ClubPlanet ( and Revolution Health will also be using ClickSurge to drive page views as a part of their viral web widget strategies.

"When Motley Fool discovered ClickSurge, we recognized its potential to virally distribute our content to investors all over the Internet while increasing traffic to our monetized content," said John Keeling, SVP of "With ClickSurge, we look to multiply page views throughout our network of sites. The platform will be a key way to expand our online audience."

There is no upfront cost for a web publisher to get started with ClickSurge. Instead, the publisher pays only a percentage of the new revenue realized from new traffic to their web properties.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Google's Dodgeball Helps Avoid Stalkers

Okay Dodgeball has been out there for awhile, but I really only gave it a good look recently and have come to the conclusion that it is a good tool for people trying to avoid stalkers.

Which also means it is a good tool for stalkers to find their victims.

This new attempt to mix social networking to your phone has some merits. Find out if any of your buddies are out and about and where.... helps you plan what to do for the evening.

You can also let Dodgeball know where you are and they will send out an SMS blast to all your listed friends.

I asked my eternal reference about this one: my 15 y-o daughter and she said "this is for older people"... so maybe it does have potential. But will never get the audience of YouTube and MySpace. Midteens use MySpace to IM their friends... they don't check into emails etc.

But if you have a stalker you can be alerted whenever he/she is within 10 blocks... now that is helpful. But more than likely the stalker does not log in.

The stalker opens an anonymous account and then uses it to track who he wants to stalk.... ages are given in this thing so it gets a little scary how it may be used.

We need some serious out of the box thinking when it comes to the social networking tools out there... while the average adult may not use them alot... the ones parents don't want out there interacting with our kids seem to be the best skilled with them.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Random Surfer Theory

Part of the Google organic algorithm involves what has been called Random Surfer Theory. It is the unstructured nature a person uses the web to find things. A click here and a click there, follow a text link, try a banner ad, do a search... the connections between sites is tenuous and haphazard.

Where did it come from? Math and in particular graphs.

Throw in a little of this and a little Erdos Numbers.... and eventually you get a feel for it.

A person - Orion - who's opinion I value and who I have seen give a panel session to thousands at SES over a cell phone feed through the room's sound system - with his Spanish accent - and just a very small number left the room through his discussion of advanced search theory - details it.

Orion aka Dr Garcia, in an interview with Rand Fishkin over at SEOMoz, said: " By 1995, I heard about something called “search engines” and “web crawlers”. I immediately realized that the Web is a dynamical system. Many processes on information flow, retrieval and web surfing respond to equations of the same form to those modeling random walk, diffusion and markovian processes. For instance, in DLA we talk about “sticking probabilities” and the “probability that a random walker visit a site of a growing cluster”, In “Web terms” we talk about the probability that a random surfer will visit a site part of a web graph. However, let’s keep in mind that this graph is not static but is constantly growing.

Another analogy, a random walker moving through a self-similar DLA structure and a web surfer moving through a self-similar link structure are similar scenarios. The structure can affect the behavior of the walker and the walker can affect the growth of the structure. Depending on conditions, a system can exhibit different degrees of surfer-surfer, surfer-structure and structure-structure interactions so the walker no longer is a pure random or pure deterministic walker. Certainly these are crude analogies."

It is a little complicated when it is attempted to be mapped out. Basically it implies that web users do not follow very structured lines to get where they want to go.

If you overuse repeated anchor text, use the same landing page for the text links, buy links that archive and end up being thousands all in the same spot on a page ad using the same words.... you violate Random Surfer Theory...

Or as Shakespeare wrote: Oh what "an untangled web" we weave when first we practice to deceive.... well he should have!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Where Was Will Smith This July 4 When Aliens Took Over HP

Okay I want to know where Will Smith was this July 4. He is the king of Independence Day movie releases and I did not see him in Transformers.

Well Will I have a story line for you. Unbeknown to the world, Hewlett Packard was taken over by aliens both extraterrestrial and non-US residential on July 4th. How do I know this? A problem with a computer allowed me to see that it had happened and when.

I bought a laptop for my daughter late August 2006 and the fan had broken recently causing the system to cut off after a few minutes use. No big deal it is a HP Compaq and they have a one year warranty.

So I track down the customer service number and give them a call. The person who answered my call had a heavy Indian accent and after a few repeated questions and answers had an response for me that tweaked me to the invasion.

Apparently my warranty ran out July 4th. This was a generic date as I did not have my proof of purchase handy... but that suggests the laptops mine was shipped with were delivered July 4th... not too many shipping companies working in the US on Independence Day.

Had to be aliens, right. So Will lets grab some planes or tanks and get to HP headquarters fast. Who knows what viruses they are loading onto the computers...

Now if that is not the case I can only think the standard response is to tell anyone calling that their warranty ran out two days prior to their call... nothing like adding a little to the frustration of the people in the US if you live in India - as my sarcastic helper Joy (a guy whose parents had a sense of humor and may have contributed to his attitude) told me.

I got the proof of purchase after a quick call to PC Richards - two minutes and it was faxed to me. But they were local and rely on customer satisifcation. I was on hold and in conversation for well over 25 minutes with HP.

Outsourcing is part of a global economy, I realize that. But you have lost me ever buying another HP product for my home or my business. Guess the aliens may have disregarded the computers and just sucked up the company's soul.....