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Permanent link to archive for Saturday, August 13, 2005. Saturday, August 13, 2005

OPML Editor: How to edit a post from a previous dayPermanent link to this item in the archive.

Reminder: One week from today, the OPML Roadshow in Berkeley, Hillside Club, 7PM. Open to everyone who's interested. Non-exclusive event. Also I've had numerous requests to live-screencast the meetup. If anyone can help with this, it would be a great addition.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Kevin O'Keefe is moving his company to Bozeman. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Julie Leung is serving Blogher BouillabaissePermanent link to this item in the archive.

Donald Trump gets that they're called RSS feeds. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

President Bush gets that they're called RSS feeds. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named ohYeahhhhSmall.gifGot a bunch of emails from venture capitalists who read Scripting News about the post re Libsyn. That's good. They ask why would Libsyn make a good investment. Answer: No matter what podcasting grows up to be, their service is going to be needed. And while I haven't met the individuals who run the company, I've seen how they've dealt with trouble, they're a class act. Summary -- they picked a starting point that makes sense, they run a high integrity business, and they treat their customers well. That's a business with a future, imho. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Amyloo: "Maybe it would be smart to have comments for a number of blogs in the same community relate to each other in some way, and live in the same place, accessible from one page." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Rogers: "A 400-foot tall waterfall has been discovered in a northern California recreational area." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

12:30PM Mountain: Arrived safely in Park CityPermanent link to this item in the archive.

Mean International Software Monopoly Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named suckmyfeed.gifSome at Microsoft complain they don't like the name RSS and propose to change it to something they like better. Then Scoble posted a note saying we had learned what CD and DVD mean, no one tried to change those names. Then, reading an article today about Yahoo making a $1 billion investment in Alibaba, a Chinese portal, I wondered why doesn't Microsoft try to change Yahoo's name. It would be easy for the browser to replace all occurrences of the string Yahoo with something like "Web Portal Based in California." And what about Google's name? Change it to "Search Engine with Aspirations in Operating Systems." Now that would be a lot clearer! It goes on and on. Change Quicken to "Commerce company we tried to buy." Oracle becomes "Larry Ellison's database company." Netscape changes to "Crime scene." The hits keep coming.

Then it struck me, like a lightning bolt between the eyes, what about Microsoft? Maybe that name made sense when it was run by geeks for geeks, but geez, now it's an international software monopoly. What's so micro about it? Let's see, what should they change their name to? (See the title of this post for a clue.)

Heh heh heh. Very funny. Microsoft can't change those names because they already mean something, and they'd get hauled into court and would have to pay damages to the companies for trying to undermine their businesses. Now, there's no one to haul them into court for screwing with RSS, which is too bad, because they deserve to lose this case, but they will pay a price, because all their hard work in RSS will be for naught. How can you claim to support a feature when the name of the feature appears nowhere?

They'll learn two important lessons. 1. Don't screw around with things you didn't create and don't understand and 2. If you're serious about working with a community of independent developers you need to build trust, and throwing your weight around stupidly is a good way to destroy trust and to keep developers far far away from you.

Pick your battles, Microsoft. This is a dumb one.

Microsoft and fear Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I can just hear the wheels turning at Microsoft, thinking how they'll screw me for daring to have an opinion contrary to theirs. This isn't paranoia, it's really how their logic works. I got to see this from Scoble, who is a friend, but also a member of the hive. He once said to me about some initiative that I was balking at, that Harvard will regret not supporting it because they'll go to one of our competitors. I had a good laugh at his expense, and because he's a friend, I shared it with him.

I told him that Harvard doesn't see things that way. The institution has been around since 1636, has a huge endowment, it's a winner, it's not going away. It's the Microsoft of academia, only more so. If you think Microsoft is arrogant, try coming to Harvard sometime.

In other words, there are some people you can't initimidate, because you don't control them, you have to work with them if you want their support, they don't respond to threats.

Doc on Ad Age Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Doc Searls got the same pointer I did, to an article on Ad Age's website that suggested that advertising on weblogs may not work because the content on weblogs cannot be controlled.

Doc looked at it one way, basically agreeing with the premise (which I agree with as well, of course you can't control what's posted on weblogs), but I think missed the more interesting angle -- the assumption by advertisers that they can control the content in professional publications.

I've always believed this was somewhat true, that the editorial people read the ads in their publication. Sometimes it's blatantly true, I was once promised editorial coverage by the publisher of an industry magazine if I ran ads. The editor denied it of course.

Back in the 80s when I was spending $50,000 a month on advertising (kind of hard to believe, isn't it) I tried an experiment, changing the ad copy in two publications in very subtle ways, just changing the superlatives I used to describe the product. In one publication I said it was flexible, in the other I said programmable, for example. Sure enough, when the editorial came out in each pub, they used the adjectives I had used in my ads. Exactly the same ones. It was as if they wrote the editorial by massaging my ad copy.

Also it was amazing to me how often my ads ran adjacent to editorial about the products.

All these are indicators, but not proof, that advertisers have at least some control over what appears in editorial.

I even was on the other side of this fence, briefly, at Wired. No one ever told me what to write, but I was at parties where advertisers were present, and I did talk with some of them, listened to their pitches, but usually having listened to a pitch made me wary of writing about their company or product. It didn't mean I wouldn't write about them, just that I was more careful about it.


Last update: Saturday, August 13, 2005 at 8:59 PM Eastern.

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