Xeni: Blogs Coming of Age in Spain

My former partner in crime and good friend Xeni has an interesting story about blogging, publishingand Net regulation in Spain:

A recent decision by top newspaper El Pais to restrict online content access to paying users further boosted the popularity of Spanish blogs, where articles were excerpted and debate proliferated. Madrid-based television and print journalist Ignacio Escolar of Tele 5 says recent activities of copyright-management group SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, an industry consortium often compared to BMI in the United States) and a decision by Spain’s government to charge a 52 percent levy on .es domain names sparked more debate on popular weblogs like barrapunto.com (which translates to “slashdot,” and is considered Spain’s counterpart to the popular American blog of the same name).

“The biggest fight for online freedom of expression in Spain is against a law called LSSICE (Law of Services of the Society of Information and Electronic Commerce) that forces website owners to register each Web page in a specific registry and establishes serious penalties for certain online activities, without trial before a judge,” says Escolar.

And Grid makes an even dozen!

Thrilled to annouce today that with our latest weblog, The Grid Computing Weblog, we are now at 12 blogs!

We’re currently looking for bloggers for new blogs on VoIP, P2P,and Apple/Mac, as well as bloggers to help with the following existing blogs: indie film, documentary film, RSS and Google.

If you have an idea for a blog let us know here:
http://corporate.weblogsinc.com/contact/?Subject=1

All the best, Jason

Oh snap… Yahoo has an Aggregator!!!

Just got word from Dave Winer that the Kalsey Consulting Group (whatever that is)is reporting on Yahoo beta testing an RSS/News aggregatorso much for Yahoo buying one!

Anyone using this yet?!?! UPDATE: HERE IS AN IMAGE OF IT: http://www.librarystuff.net/myyahoo.gif

From Kalsey Consulting Group blog: Yahoo is beta testing an RSS Aggregator that integrates into the My Yahoo service, but their advertising of it has fallen flat. Because I choose the contents of a My Yahoo page, I have a sense of ownership of the page. Personalized pages tend to evoke that feeling. So imagine my surprise when I open My Yahoo today and find that there’s a new content module for RSS added to the top of the page. I wasn’t sure whether to feel excited or violated. It’s great that Yahoo is embracing RSS, but they messed with my page. Nevertheless I tried testing it, but when trying to add feeds or search for feeds, I received a message saying that I didn’t have access. Curious to see if I’d get the same message if I tried removing the module, I hit the remove button. Now it’s gone and there doesn’t seem to be a way to add it back.

NBA.com: Blog

In case you missed it the NBA has gotten on the blogging bandwagon with their new “Blog Squad.” Rebecca Lobo, Doc Rivers (right)and Jay Williams are giving their insights. Not a great group of bloggers, how about Barkley, Lebron, Van Gundyand Sprewell?!

Now, I wonder if these folks actually type in their on posts or if they just read them to someone over the phone (or better yet, have someone else write them for them!). Of course, since these blogs don’t allow comments and don’t have RSS feeds you really can’t consider them a blog can ya?

Not Lost in Translation: Japander.com

I found this new site today which is really cool called Japander.com. Basically they have all the Japanese commercials with American Stars who are too good to do commercials here. Check out this really cool one of Tarantino fighting for the remote during a satellite TV ad. Or the one with Mike Tyson for Toyota trucks, and we’re not talking SUVs we’re talking like, trucks trucks you would use on a construction site. Very cool.

Which one do you like best?

Update: Hold everything the Madonna commercial where she is dressed as a samurai singing “How can Iiiiiiiiiii be pure” is the winner.

Osama bin Laden: Caught by Friendster!

We’ve resisted blogging any of the predictions for 2004 because, frankly, anyone who says DVD-Rs, Google’s IPO, social software and weblogs/videoblogs are going to be “huge” in 2004 is not really telling us anything we don’t already know. However, Salon had two solid predictions we felt merited a link:

1. Bin Laden Captured Investigators Cite Terror Mastermind’s Addiction to Friendster “It’s not easy living in a cave,” Osama bin Laden explains to U.S. interrogators moments after he’s captured early in 2004. “You might learn to put up with the cold, the bugs, the lumpy bed, but it’s the social life that hurts the most. So you go online for a few hours to keep up with your friends. Where’s the harm in that?” But Friendster, the popular online social networking tool, proves to be OBL’s undoing. Through a series of unlikely relationships which folks like Michael Moore have long been whining about but which were not quite clear until Friendster graphically demonstrated them George W. Bush turns out to be connected to bin Laden.

2. Google’s Rise to Real World DominationGoogle ends months of fevered speculation regarding its IPO plans by announcing that, instead of a stock offering, executives have decided that the company will best achieve “increased long-term asset valuation” by taking over the world.

New Yorker on Trippi using Blogs and Meetup to make Dean

Interesting New Yorker article on Joe Trippi making Dean, recently a Technophile, into the first real “Internet” candidate. Found my self not surprised, but perhaps disappointed, that Dean didn’t have a computer until 1998. However, five years of using the web is probably five more then the other candidates have. If Dean wins perhaps we will finally see eGovernment start to flourish.

Trippi proposed using the Internet to build a base of supporters. As they discussed how the process might work, one of Dean’s questions was “What’s a blog?” In Vermont, Dean’s staff regarded him as a Luddite. But, listening to Trippi, he grasped the idea of a blog as a running political-debate forum, with an abundantly flexible capacity to receive and broadcast ideas and opinions, and suddenly Deanwho didn’t use a computer until 1998 and who had refused to have a government e-mail addresswas a technophile.

Last January, three months before an interactive Dean Web page came into being, supporters on both coasts were discovering each other online through Yahoo.com. The same month, Meetup.com, a new Internet service that made it possible for like-minded folkhood-ornament collectors, ferret ownersto find each other and congregate in local communities, began listing gatherings for people interested in various political candidates.

seattlepi.com Buzzworthy: The business of blogging

Interesting blog post about a story talking about the most blog-friendly company in the world: Macromedia. No doubt about that, the last time I was in San Fran I spent an hourr talking to RobBurgess about blogging. Proves my point that management works best when the people people at are aware of, and embrace, new trends.

Blogging about your company and its products can be an express route to unemployment, true, but it can also be good for business, writes the Boston Globe’s Hiawatha Bray. Some companies are even backing employee blog efforts:

“Perhaps the most blog-friendly company in America is Macromedia Inc., a multimedia software producer based in San Francisco. Blogging is at the core of Macromedia’s customer marketing strategy. In 2002, as the company released a number of new products, it asked several employees to launch blogs where they could field questions from customers. ‘We needed a mechanism to communicate incredibly quickly,” said Tom Hale, Macromedia’s senior vice president of business strategy. ‘We hit upon the blog strategy as a mechanism to do that.” Hale said the experiment succeeded beyond expectation. ‘People really liked hearing directly from Macromedia experts, and getting really fast response,” he said. Today there are at least 16 employee-run blogs providing assistance to Macromedia customers.”

Google hires Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group to raise up to *gulp* four billion!!!

Google is about to step up to the plate according to Bloomberg (the site, not the Mayor). Here are the three import facts:

1. Google probably had revenue of about $1 billion in 2003 and net income of about $200 million that will increase to about $1.5 billion of sales and net income of $300 million in this year, according to Eric Martinuzzi, an analyst at Craig-Hallum Capital Group in Minneapolis.

2. Google Inc. hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to arrange its initial public offering, a sale that may raise as much as $4 billion, a banker involved in the transaction said.

3. About a third of Mountain View, California-based Google may be sold in the IPO, giving the company a market value of about $12 billion, the bankers said.

Which leads me to ask the following questions/points:

1. What the hell is Google going to do with four *billion* dollars in cash? Actually, make that $4.3 billion in cash if they make a profit of $300 million this year. Perhaps they should spend $2.7 billion buying jetBlue (the other company that tries not to be evilexcept when they give the Army your travel records).

2. If they have a $12 billion dollar valuation that is a 40×2004’s projected earnings and about 120x this year’s earning of $100 million (the $100 million this year has not been confirmed by Google, but that number is out there). That is pretty darn rich. Then again, Yahoo trades at 140x revenues.

3. Yahoo is making $350 million a quarter right now, or about a $1.4 billion run rate with $65 million in profits a quarter (run rate of $260 a year). Wait a second, aren’t those almost exactly the same numbers given by the executive in the Bloomberg story. Is it impossible that Google and Yahoo are making close to the exact same amount of money?

Big day for WLI: Four new blogs, one new blogger!

We’re hard at work over here at Weblogs, Inc.

Last week we launched the new 1.0 site and moved out of our three month beta. Today we launched a bunch of sites (some are just getting started):

http://sundance.weblogsinc.com
http://indiefilm.weblogsinc.com
http://docfilm.weblogsinc.com
http://grid.weblogsinc.com

We are also psyched to report that Greg Scher is our first blogger (well, Jason’s mom Cathie Calacanis is doing a great job on Telemedicine and Medical Informatics, but she is part of the family so that doesn’t really count does it?!). Greg is working on the Spam and Grid Computing weblogs.

If you have an idea for a blog or want to work on our new film blogs, P2P or VoIP please drop us a line.

Best regards,

Jason & Brian

Sundance 2003 takes prizes at National Society of Film Critics awards.

A lot of films from last year’s Sundance, including American Splendor, Lost in Translation (thanks JW!) and The Station Agent took home awards at the National Society of Film Critics awards.

AP: “American Splendor,” the life story of a grumpy file clerk who attains cult celebrity status by becoming a comic book writer, took best picture honors at the National Society of Film Critics awards Saturday. Clint Eastwood’s working class crime drama “Mystic River” was second in the voting for best picture and Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” a quirky tale of two Americans finding friendship while in Japan, took third. Eastwood got the nod for best director for “Mystic River;” Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini won best screenplay for “American Splendor;” and Bill Murray won best actor for “Lost in Translation.” Charlize Theron’s performance in “Monster” earned best actress honors, while Peter Sarsgaard was named best supporting actor for his role in “Shattered Glass.” Patricia Clarkson took the best supporting actress prize for two films: “The Station Agent” and “Pieces of April.” Aki Kaurismaki won the award for best foreign language film as director of “The Man Without a Past.” The society’s pick for best nonfiction film was Nicolas Philibert’s “To Be and to Have.”