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Permanent link to archive for Monday, July 10, 2000. Monday, July 10, 2000

An XML Magazine Bonus Piece 

DaveNet: Why I Like XML.

Rewrite for an old favorite 

SalonHerringWiredFool.Com got a rewrite today.

It's now a Manila site, and it's faster and easier to use, has a new tagline, and a few glitch-fixes.

The technology keeps getting better. Last year, when this first came online, it took a couple of weeks to get right. Today, just a couple of hours, and it's a lot easier to maintain.

Today's song 

Thanks to onfocus for this idea.

I'm listening to Cover of the Rolling Stone by Dr Hook. What a great song!

"We got a lot of little blue-eyed teenage groupies who do anything we say. We got a genuine Indian guru who's teaching us a better way. We got all the friends that money can buy so we never have to be alone. And we keep gettin richer but we can't get our picture on the cover of the the Rolling Stone."


Shaking out content 

WSJ: Webzines merge to survive shakeout. "Feed Magazine and, two of the Web's oldest publications, are expected to announce Monday that they are joining forces."

I've been expecting this kind of deal for quite some time, and have been preparing for the day that the euphoria died and the publications of the Web would start re-thinking their business models. Here's my thinking.

Any webzine can grow right now by offering sites to their users with their branding on it. Start a farm system, as described in the Making Money piece, publish the work of amateurs.

Teach them how to write for the public. A year from now, we'll turn the best of them into pros, and at the same time avoid mistakes made by the print industry as it transitioned to the Web. And the year after, and the year after that.

The business model? Users openly design new products.

Manufacturers make the most exciting products and sell them to the users. We go back to making products that people want. Step one is to give the users a platform. That's where the publications come in. (They also get a cut of the sales.)

The Web is not a mirror of the print industry, that's why advertising is not so important. The unique thing about the Web is that it's interactive. We all know that. The challenge is to squeeze quality, high-integrity writing out of the readers, and present it back to them with your seal of quality. That's a much higher-growth proposition than employing writers and running ads as the print industry does.

I was disappointed to see that Automatic Media is using SlashDot-style conferencing for the Suck-Feed combination. I strongly believe this is the wrong approach. Better to start new Sucks and Feeds using the traditions of sarcasm and literacy that each of these pubs have done such a great job of starting.

We're doing it that way. We've started over 6000 Scripting News-type sites here in the last six months. Some are reaching critical mass. It's a thing to behold.

On SlashDot they had to add hard-to-use filtering to create a minimal level of quality. In our world, it's the other way around -- how do you find the good new stuff. That creates the incentive for thoughtful content. That's why, along with Manila, we made the investment in syndication, and in, to assist in finding new stuff.

Some pubs could apply this model right now, ones that have powerful readerships, many of whom could immediately start their own sub-pubs. The Industry Standard, Salon, Red Herring, Wired, Suck, Feed, Fawcette, come to mind, but there are probably dozens that could grow this way. Some are already doing it. SourceForge, Motley Fool, Gomez.

I've been emailing and meeting with people at WR Hambrecht on this idea for the last few weeks. There's not been enough motion. Perhaps we can do this for ourselves.

To be clear, UserLand would be willing to merge with, or supply software or services to, or just support, publications that open to their readers by giving them space to start their own publications.

PS: Another offer to any of these pubs. You may run any DaveNet column with your branding on it. I don't want any money. I want to start new flow. Thanks.


Of all the publications mentioned above, the one that interests me most is Salon.

Here's the pitch. They're independent, not tethered to a larger organization. Their voice has unimpeachable integrity.

They've run some excellent stuff, developing a highly regarded name, not just in the Internet space, but more broadly.

Salon best captures the early spirit of the Web, and has grown with the Web, not remained static. Wired, which was the early leader, has been decimated, half going to Lycos and the other half going to Conde Nast; and even worse, the people of the early Wired are dispersed all over the industry.

Salon ran the Courtney Love piece. It made sense for it to run there (except I wish they hadn't split it over four pages, there's that pesky print advertising model). That it made sense is the important thing. That's why it would also make sense for Courtney Love and others like her to have their own permanent space on Salon.

Another reason I like Salon is that they're cheap. The market cap is only $18 million. Totally undervalued.

An opposing view 

NY Observer: Grisly Dot-Com Saga. "It was the I.P.O. proceeds from one company that became the ad revenue of the next company–a kind of Wall Street- financed merry-go-round in which dot-com startups became little more than a capital transfer mechanism from Wall Street to Madison Avenue."

Andy @ O'Reilly 

Tim O'Reilly hints that Andy Hertzfeld of Eazel will announce something next week at their Open Source Convention in Monterey, CA.

Tim says "I had expected to spend time evangelizing him about the importance of web-enabling the Linux desktop, only to find he was way ahead of me, with a vision of web services as the next frontier of usability that made complete sense to me."

An email from Andy Hertzfeld on XML-RPC and SOAP. "We've known for years that the next step beyond that is sending executable code between machines, which SOAP and XML-RPC don't really address."

Andy also says that CGI is the basis of every interesting app on the Web today. Not sure if I know what he means, but we haven't used CGI in years, so either Andy is missing something or I am.

No matter what, I wish him the best, and hope whatever vision he shares at O'Reilly is inclusive and open.

Apple & Disney? 

Matt Drudge: Apple, Pixar to merge with Disney. Jobs would be chairman of the new company. "Steve will not sell Pixar without Apple," said one company source.

BusinessWeek's Ron Glover speculates on dealmaking this week in Sun Valley, Idaho. "Disney Chairman Michael Eisner will attend, as will Microsoft's Bill Gates. Steve Jobs is representing the Pixar Animation studios he heads when he isn't making Macs."

Sun vs IBM 

News.Com: "IBM will begin a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign next Friday, hoping a little noise will help undermine Sun Microsystems' dominance in the Unix server market."

Edd Dumbill: "Although an open source endeavor, a substantial part of the Apache XML codebase has been contributed by large vendors."

Random pointers 

James Snell: Internet TimeLine Project.

Reuters: Napster CEO to Testify.

News.Com: Another patent mess.

Information Week: Push Technology Matures.

Jim Bouton: Did He Throw It On Purpose?

MacInTouch tells the story of ObjectSupportLib, and old friend from day's gone by.


Last update: Monday, July 10, 2000 at 11:23 PM Eastern.

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