“Cure to Age-Old Retail Woe Found Online”:http://weblogs.hitwise.com/heather-hopkins/2007/05/bad_weather_drives_shoppers_on.html – As someone who used to work in retail, I can tell you from experience that nothing is worse for business than bad weather. But according to Hitwise, in the U.K. at least, bad weather isn’t stopping people from shopping, it’s just taking their shopping online. Yet another reason for every business to make sure their customers know they have a web presence.
“Most popular online radio site acquired by first company to broadcast commercial radio”:http://blog.last.fm/2007/05/30/lastfm-acquired-by-cbs – CBS has acquired Last.fm. With the future of “independent online radio stations in jeopardy”:http://www.savenetradio.org/, it is no doubt that CBS’s $280 million offer would have been accepted by almost any of them. Last.fm says:
“CBS [is] one of the few companies who needed no explanation of what we are doing, and we were impressed at how progressive their plans are. […] CBS understands the Last.fm vision, the importance we place on putting the listener in charge, the vibrant and vocal community, the obsession with music stats, and our determination to offer every song ever recorded.”
From the Mainstream
Too often the blogosphere isolates itself from what mainstream news sources are saying. New organizations not online provide us valuable insight on what people who aren’t tech-enthusiasts are saying, their resources and reputation gain them access to interviews and access most bloggers could never hope for. Below are notable news stories, from the mainstream.
*New York Times reports on two new computer interfaces* – “Microsoft is developing a touch-screen table”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/30/technology/30soft.html?ex=1338177600&en=ab749f749b846502&ei=5088, and a former toy maker is making a “new kind of computer stylus”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/30/technology/30pen.html?ex=1338177600&en=ead38d8d030554b1&ei=5088. Better interfaces are essential for making computing devices more useful in more situations. Ubiquitous computing devices are important, because they will be more of a motivator for cities to deploy city-wide wireless than a small percentage of laptop-toting business users could ever hope to be. And maybe if Microsoft starts investing more in products with a digital display as the most prominent feature, I can finally get a “digital photo display for under $50″:http://www.google.com/products?q=Digital+Photo+Display&btnG=Search+Products.
“CNN says cell phone ads are both unwanted and inevitable”:http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/29/magazines/business2/ads_mobile.biz2/index.htm?section=money_email_alerts – I’ll address advertising overload and it’s affect on online communications later, but this CNN article has some excellent highlights of the current mobile ad business. I would caution businesses on the following points:
* Cell phones are going to grow increasingly open. Companies have been fighting a losing battle to lock-in customers for years. First with basic service, then with telephone numbers, and not too long from now with hardware and possibly firmware. Open cell phones are going to make it easier to deploy services, but also easier for consumer to determine what those services can do.
* Mobile web users are going to be increasingly tech saavy. Right now it’s almost completely the tech enthusiast crowd that’s using mobile services for anything other than SMS and e-mail. Which means:
* Basing a mobile service purely on advertising is much, much, much more subject to disaster if a plug-in like “Adblock Plus”:https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865 is developed for the cell phone. Which it will be, and users of mobile phone internet services will be more likely to know about it than the majority of PC internet users.