‘User Generated Content’ Category Archive

December 8th

Crowdsourcing, citizen journalism, and the lesson of scrapbook news

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I want to further explore the idea of “scrapbook news” as a way of reframing the crowdsourcing/citizen journalism discussion. One reason mainstream news organizations haven’t embraced the concepts may be that the spirit (if not the letter) of the cit-j discussion tends to focus on the people involved rather than the news being covered. That […]

January 3rd

The Coming War Over Data On The Web

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If you dig beneath the surface of the brouhaha over Robert Scoble getting his Facebook account suspended for testing a new Plaxo Facebook app that mines user email addresses in violation of Facebook’s terms of service, you’ll find evidence of two increasingly apparent realities about the future of the web: Data is POWER A war […]

December 11th

How Google Will Monetize YouTube Without User Generated Content

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Let’s play a game. I’m thinking of a company that identifies talented people who can produce great content that attracts an audience. This company then pays these content producers to publish their content, with the aim of growing a large audience for that content and creating an editorial environment that will be attractive to advertisers. […]

October 26th

The User-Generated Content Myth

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A whole mythology is emerging around the idea of “users” — consumers, fans, regular average folk — creating content that media companies and brands can leverage. It’s a compelling idea — but it’s a myth. The reality is that “average people” don’t create a lot of content — at least not the commercially viable kind. […]

July 9th

Wrong On Hyperlocal: Google And Web 1.0 Killed Backfence

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There’s been a lot of debate about what killed Backfence, the hyperlocal news site. Was it poor design? Lack of incentives for users to generate content? Bad business model? Maybe all of these contributed. But what really killed Backfence was Google and Web 1.0.

June 19th

Google Introduces User-Generated Content For Maps Without Community

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I made the argument that Google’s weakness is community and social dynamics, which have become as fundamental to the Web as hyperlinks and which represent an opportunity for Yahoo or anyone else to change the game on Google. A perfect example is Google’s new “user-generated content” feature — adding reviews to Google Maps. The problem […]

May 26th

User-Generated Content Is Not A Panacea

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The Infinite Monkey Theorem (which now has an official name, thanks to Wikipedia) states that given an infinite amount of time, a monkey banging on a typewriter will eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare. I suppose Wikipedia has proven this true for encyclopedias, but advertising agencies that have open-sourced the ad creation process to […]

May 2nd

The Problem With Digg Is Anonymous Users

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The Digg user revolt (see here if you haven’t heard the story) demonstrates the real problem with Digg — anonymous users are not accountable as individuals, so they have no qualms about breaking the law or forcing a company to break the law. This problem is above and beyond the inherent problem of Digg’s user […]

April 30th

Bringing Archive Content Online Adds To The User-Generated Content Avalanche

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And you thought “user-generated content” was flooding the web with more “stuff” than human or algorithm could possibly process. Well, get ready for the next “wave,” drawn from the endless ocean of content sitting in archive vaults, waiting to be poured on the web as the marginal cost of doing so shrinks daily. Think every […]

April 18th

Virginia Tech: First Thoughts

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I haven’t posted yet about Virginia Tech because I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it, which is difficult, to say the least. For me, Andrew Sullivan’s first take still applies: There is so much we don’t yet know about the Virginia Tech massacre, so much that keeps changing, so much to be angry […]

February 25th

The Great Media Industry Schism

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The once monolithic media industry is undergoing a radical schism, dividing itself into content creation, on the one hand, and content aggregation and distribution on the other. The nature of this transformation suddenly crystallized for me when I read Tom Foremski’s piece on the new West Coast/East Coast media industry divide. Tom seems to be […]

January 26th

YouTube Hears The Users Calling and Agrees To Finally Give Them Some Money

by  |   16 Comments

Last summer, in It’s The Users Calling…They Want Their Money, I wrote: User-generated content is going through a novelty phase, where most “users” are content with attention as a form of recompense for their efforts. But for savvy “users” — or in this case video production artists, let’s get real here — getting paid in […]

December 22nd

Happy User-Generated Holidays

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I’ll be mostly offline for the rest of the year. I’ll leave you with this “user-generated” holiday message — one of the “authentic” Coke-sponsored Holiday Wishcasts — seemed like an appropriate way to end 2006. Of course, this “user” is actually a director with 26,300 subscribers and 1,383,285 video views, but whatever, enough of that […]

December 4th

Social Media Is Becoming a Hardcore Marketplace For Traffic

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At first, Google was just a search engine, but once it reached sufficient scale to be a meaningful driver of traffic, it became a hardcore marketplace for traffic — both one of its own (wildly successful) creation, in the form of AdWords, and one of the market’s creation, in the form of spam. Now that […]

December 1st

Publishing Video Online Still Hasn’t Gone Mainstream

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Turns out that the vast majority of “users” who “generate” video content don’t share it online (via MediaPost): IN A FINDING THAT UNDERSCORES the potential of a vast, untapped market for user-generated video, new research conducted by interactive agency Sharpe Partners indicates that more than half (54) percent of adult Internet users currently create their […]

November 29th

Copyright Holders Take Back Control from Consumers

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There’s been a flurry of news about new video downloading services — BitTorrent, Wal-Mart, Time Warner — as copyright holders get busy taking back control from consumers. YouTube just cut a deal with Verizon that gives users so little control that the blogosphere couldn’t find enough pejorative adjectives to describe it. The glory days of […]

November 18th

A Lot of User-Generated Content Is Really User-Appropriated Content

by  |   34 Comments

The widely-used and much reviled term “user-generated content” implies that somebody is making something. But the dirty little secret of “user-generated” sites like YouTube and MySpace is that much of the content is not made by the users themselves — it’s appropriated from someone else. So while everyone was watching Google engage in “frantic” negotiations […]

October 25th

Does All Advertising Want to Be Free?

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Isn’t there an odd contradiction in all the thinking about new media? Individuals are now empowered to create content, to publish and have a voice without going through the old corporate hierarchy. You can blog and be heard, all for free, without asking permission. But what about brands? The assumption that online advertising will finance […]

October 15th

Edelman, Wal-Mart and the Loss of Control in Media

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It’s inevitable that a PR firm like Edelman would create a phony blog for one of its clients (in this case Wal-Mart — see Shel Holtz for a great analysis). For all of the hype over “conversation” as the new media paradigm, no one has yet figured out how to use conversation to reliably achieve […]

October 12th

More Evidence That Media 2.0 May Be Less Profitable Than Media 1.0

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There is now macroeconomic data to support the theory that Media 2.0 won’t be as profitable as Media 1.0 (from MediaPost): In a break from historical patterns, the equities research team at Merrill Lynch says the rate of advertising price inflation now trails the overall rate of economic inflation. “Interestingly, advertising growth seems to be […]

September 25th

The State of OMMA: Making It Up As We Go Along

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Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, gets my vote for most honest, “let’s cut out the bullshit” keynote speech. Speaking at the OMMA Conference in New York, Rishad admitted what most media and advertising stalwarts are deeply afraid of conceding: we’re just making this shit up (see his keynote here). The world of media, marketing, and […]

September 19th

JPG Is An Elegant Publishing 2.0 Play

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What content category benefits greatly from digital, web-based organization and distribution, but is best appreciated offline? If you said art photography, then you understand intuitively why JPG Magazine is such an interesting Publishing 2.0 play. The idea is elegantly 2.0: give the new breed of digital-technology-enabled pro-am photographers a place to showcase their work and […]

September 14th

Are “Users” Who “Generate Content” Receiving Equal Pay for Equal Work?

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Frito-Lay is tapping a new “agency” to create the ad spot for their $2 million Super Bowl ad spot — consumers: Do-it-yourself ads will move from Web promotions to the biggest stage in advertising with the airing of the first homemade commercial in a Super Bowl. Frito-Lay on Thursday will invite consumers to enter their […]

September 13th

The 2.0 Control Paradox

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There is a fundamental tension in Web/Media 2.0 between openness and control — openness is required to leverage the network effect of the Web and harness the power of socially-connected users, but control is required to get a share of any money that changes hands. Google has been most successful in walking this line — […]

September 11th

Marketing Services Is the Future of Media

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I’ve advocated that media should evolve into marketing services — according to lastest Veronis Suhler Stevenson Communications Industry forecast, that’s increasingly where the money is going. NON-ADVERTISING-BASED FORMS OF MARKETING – especially newer sectors such as branded entertainment, event marketing and experiential marketing – have emerged as the fastest growing segment of the media economy, […]

September 9th

Facebook Discovers the Limits of Web 2.0 Sharing Ideology

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According to Web 2.0 ideology, all sharing is good, by definition. Users will run to embrace any feature that increases their ability to share information with their community. Sharing. Community. It’s all so warm and fuzzy — what could be wrong? But Facebook discovered the hard way that there are limits to Web 2.0 sharing […]

September 7th

This Is What the Social Networking Privacy Backlash Looks Like

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When I predicted a social networking privacy backlash a few months ago, most everyone scoffed. Young people have grown up online. They are used to exposing their lives. They are willingly give up their privacy. They aren’t concerned about the risks. Well, it turns out that the digital generation does care about their privacy (and […]

August 26th

MySpace Should Let Users Create Their Own Magazines

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I thought it was some kind of late summer April Fool’s joke — MySpace is looking into starting a print magazine. That’s right, a PRINT magazine. Other commentators have already made the obligatory comparisons to bubble era magazines from Yahoo, Ebay, and infamously from Pets.com, and they’ve observed how increasingly Old Media MySpace’s strategy seems […]

August 22nd

Brands Will Have a Tough Time on YouTube

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I wonder whether any of the brands that YouTube is approaching to create customized video channels will really take the time to look at what kind of content is acutally driving the outrageous success of this much-hyped video sharing site. Let’s take a look at what’s on the front page of YouTube today. There’s the […]

August 1st

It’s the Users Calling…They Want Their Money

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The Guardian observes (via Jeff Jarvis) that YouTube has overtaken MySpace — but here’s the thing — it’s not really YouTube vs. MySpace. It’s user content and community hosted by YouTube vs. user content and community hosted by MySpace. The hosting is besides the point. It’s people like Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz who are […]

July 28th

MySpace’s Business Model Conundrum

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I’ve been predicting for a while that companies would find ways to leverage the community marketing power of social networking sites like MySpace without the network seeing any financial benefit. Here’s a perfect example (via The Economist): MySpace seems to offer a chance for companies to take their marketing into new, potentially more lucrative territory, […]

July 26th

The Users Will Decided Who Gets Their Content

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Jason Calacanis of Netscape and Kevin Rose of Digg are out again debating who will win the batter over power users who drive the majority of the value on “community”-driven news sites like Digg and Netscape. Ken says user will are motivated by “free, democratic social” ideals. Jason says users deserve to get a piece […]

July 20th

Web 2.0 Puts Users in Control of Everything Except Profits

by  |   23 Comments

I’ve been following an interesting trend of power grabs by Web 2.0 companies, from MySpace to YouTube to Google — Web 2.0 is supposed to be all about the “user,” but when it comes to profit making the user is getting shut out: MySpace Musicians don’t get paid for music played on MySpace (via Umair): […]

July 11th

Distributed Revenue-Sharing Ad Platforms Are the Paradigm For Monetizing Social Media

by  |   35 Comments

I’ve been critical of AdSense of late, but let’s give credit where credit is due — AdSense, i.e. a distributed, shared-revenue advertising platform, represents the new paradigm for monetizing content. That’s why I remain skeptical that MySpace, despite being the current center of gravity for social media and despite its current off-the-charts traffic growth, will […]

June 16th

With Social Networking Ads, You Get What You Pay For

by  |   3 Comments

Superman has taken over MySpace’s homepage, in what was likely a lucrative deal for MySpace and a smart move for Warner Brothers — mostly. WB is certainly capitalizing on MySpace’s prime homepage real estate, with an appropriately participatory marketing program that invites fans to upload their own superman pictures. And fans have indeed uploaded some […]

June 13th

LostCherry Takes Aim at MySpace

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I’ve held forth many times on the myriad threats facing MySpace, but the real threat to MySpace dominance is evident in the scores of aspiring MySpace killers that have been filling up my inbox with solicitations (given the publicity I’ve received as a MySpace skeptic). I thought I would take a refreshingly constructive approach to […]

June 4th

MySpace is YOUR Space, Not THEIR Space

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Nick Carr emailed me Saturday morning with the news that Dan Mitchell’s NYT column had referenced my MySpace downturn post and that I had “dragged” Nick along with me. “One could make a career out of this MySpace skeptic thing,” I quipped back, “probably pays as much as a career in user-generated content.” And then […]


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