I’d complained for years that the California primary (and a few others) were held too late to matter. You’d think that the 5th largest economy in the world might play a slightly larger role in picking our next president.
No sooner did I leave the state, did they switch the primary to hang with the likes of New York, Illinois and 20 other states in handing out the largest number of delegates in a single day. Ugh.
Hangin’ at the caucus
There is a tiny chance Washington votes might matter in the primary. I’ll be going to my caucus on Saturday, but hopefully, the race will be decided by then.
How am I voting (or whatever it is I’ll be doing at a caucus)? Well, I heart Bill Clinton and wish that we could go back to the heady late 90’s. Hillary… um, well, I really like Bill Clinton and I think that having Bill back would be swell.
That said, I gotta go with Obama.
Here’s a video that a pal of mine, Eddie Codel did talking about Super Duper Tuesday and Obama.
PopSugar gets $5mm in funding from Sequoia Blog network for “young, hip women” got a nice kitty from the folks at Sequoia. It looks like PopSugar’s main site has been growing a fair clip on their main blog (see graphic) and are doing a bit more than just blogging with a little bit of social networking thrown in. With women marrying and having kids later in life, this is a strong demographic that is under-served on the net.
Looks like Chris Pirillo and Leo Laporte are getting the band back together for one more show…or an online revival of the TechTV gang of old. The site also looks to be a hub for getting other folks involved uploading their own reviews and tech related content. Looks interesting, although, this could just be a channel on YouTube, so I’ll be curious to see how they differentiate the product.
The first thing that I thought today was how strange it was that Mark Cuban had been calling Google “moronic” for thinking of buying YouTube. I don’t imagine that he was telling Tim Koogle that he was “crazy,” for buying his company, Broadcast.com, a company that Yahoo! would spend the next several years dismantling.
Mark’s definitely asking the right question as to whether this is a good deal for YouTube or not. After all, Broadcast.com, which arguably was more of a “real business,” (they had corporate customers, after all), wasn’t making any money and still got $5 billion. YouTube probably should have held out for a lot more money.
Ah, but those were bubble times and everyone thought that the future would come more quickly than it did. Who could have imagined that streaming video would suck so much? Aside – can you pause Real, QT or WMV streaming without waiting for 2+ mins for it to restart yet?
While the YouTube acquisition is similar to Yahoo!’s acquisition of Broadcast.com, I think there are two key differences. First, the iPod (and to a certain degree, the cell phone). Everyone has one (or both) and short form video excels on these devices. I know you can’t carry these YT videos around easily yet, but it’s coming.
Second, and more importantly, is the Class of 2009. If you live anywhere near teenagers, you may have noticed that there are a lot of them. The Class of 2009 (and the years surrounding them) is the largest graduating class in American history. These kids are already powering a lot of Web 2.0. They have always had a computer in their home and they probably can barely remember not being connected to the internet.
Google’s acquisition of YouTube is part of their bet on this upcoming generation of creators. It has taken us a long time, but we’re finally getting people off their butts and making them into content producers not just consumers. Mark Cuban helped lay the groundwork for this revolution and instead of pedantically nitpicking from the side lines, he should be cheering them on.
Now, let’s just hope they find a business model. :-)
TechCrunch posed an interesting question over the weekend regarding top users of social media sites: should they be paid?
In my experience, the answer is, it depends.
Epinions vs. Amazon
Amazon pays their users nothing to write product reviews. Epinions pays their users a small amount. Yet, Amazon has many, many more reviewers.
Why? Amazon has a much larger reach. For many writers, nothing is more satisfying than having a large audience. David Walker posits “recognition, respect and goodwill” explain why these writers do what they do.
Book reviewers come to Amazon because it’s where the bulk of intelligent, Internet-using bookbuyers come to shop. Some people would call it a book-buying “community”.
Epinions has a great community of book reviewers as well, but it pales in comparison. Why? People don’t comparison shop for books. They buy them at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or their local book store.
YouTube vs. Revver
A very similar kind of battle is being waged in the video sharing space.
Not content to concede viral video to YouTube, competitor Revver has stars of its own and a revenue sharing program based on still image ads at the end of each video. Ad based revenue sharing is unlikely to be sufficient incentive for the vast majority of any system’s users, but that may not be the case for a site’s biggest stars.
Revver is squarely aimed at people who want to make money for their work. Why else would you post your video on Revver? At this point, it is not just to generate an audience, at least not the kind that YouTube can.
Why does Revver offer money to share revenue with it’s users? To get above the noise generated by YouTube and to attract top talent not content with just giving away their creations. When you are #2 in an industry, you have to do something that differentiates yourself from a competitor.
Revver isn’t going to create community for it’s users, that’s what YouTube is for. When you create a following on YouTube, you can choose to graduate to Revver to get paid for your work. The question is will your crowd follow you there?
Why are they there?
If you run a social media site, you have to ask why your users are there. Would all of your users leave if someone else offered to pay them? Could you pay users and stay in business? If you can’t, how can your competitor? Using books as an example, I’m not sure anyone could stay in business paying book reviewers very much given the small margins in the book industry.
When you work out how long it must take a user on Digg or Netscape to be a top user, $1000 doesn’t really work out to a lot of money. These people aren’t doing it for money. They are doing it for recognition. They are doing it because their stoking their passion. They are doing it because they like the site, the activity, the community of folks around them. They are doing it for fun. Maybe money will make it more fun, maybe not.
If you have a community site that is happily plugging along and another site pops up and offers their best users money for their work, what do you do? Is Digg suffering as a result of Netscape’s offer to pay? If it is, it’s not because Netscape is better, it is because Digg has failed to create enough of a reason to stick around.
There is no doubt that in this new social media world that paying users for their work is inevitable. The value that users create for these sites is incredible. But these sites create value for their users as well, it’s just not quantifiable in the form of payment.
[Update: Micki over at Revver comments on graduating to Revver from YouTube]