Monday, April 02, 2007

Advertising looks to online future

Advertisers now spend more online than in the national press but the boom in digital ads has not run its course, says Paul Durman

NIGEL MORRIS, one of the most experienced figures in the online-marketing industry, likes to tell the story of what happened when his young children, then aged five and three, visited their grandmother.
His sons were watching a Scooby Doo cartoon on the Boomerang channel when they were called for tea.
As the children of a leading ad man, they were used to the latest electronic gadgetry at home — but there was no personal video recorder, such as a Sky Plus box, at their grandmother’s house.
Morris recalls the look of consternation on his five-year-old’s face as he realised he would not be able to pause the programme he was watching. He simply couldn’t understand “why he would watch something on a screen that he could not pause”.
Morris, chief executive of Isobar, an international network of digital-marketing specialists, is one of many who believes that youngsters growing up today will have a completely different relationship to TV and other forms of media.
Unlike their parents, the YouTube generation will not be prepared to sit back and simply consume what they are given. They will expect much more control — to be able to choose when, where and on what device they watch and read about the things that interest them. Their attention will be much harder to win.
“Television companies will tell you that kids are still watching as much TV,” said Morris, “but they’re not. Television does not have the emotional pull. Programmes do, the stuff they see on a screen does.
“But conventional TV — something that’s scheduled, that I sit down and watch at a time someone has decided for me, prepared to watch the ads while it’s on — they don’t get it.”
He continued: “You ask any kids, what would you rather be without: the TV or the internet? They will tell you, we’d rather be without TV.”
This generational change is one of the drivers behind the boom in online advertising, which last week passed another milestone. The latest figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), prepared in conjunction with Price Waterhouse Coopers, showed that British advertisers spent just over £2 billion online last year — overtaking the amount spent in national newspapers.
Advertisers are already spending more online than on radio (£582m), outdoor-poster sites (£932.5m) and in business magazines (£1 billion). But what is more striking is the continuing rate of growth. Online grew by 41% last year, and the IAB’s Guy Phillip-son is forecasting the sector to attract at least another £500m this year.
In contrast, the growth in other sectors is at best anaemic. TV advertising revenues shrank 4.7% last year, radio by 5.2% and press classified by 7.8%.
Even if these declines are exacerbated by cyclical factors, as many believe, the increasing importance of the internet and other forms of digital advertising is clear.
This was reflected in the recent souring of the 25-year relationship between Nike, the sportswear giant, and Wieden + Kennedy, the agency responsible for a string of memorable campaigns.
Nike wants a new firm to handle some of its advertising, partly because of a lack of digital expertise at Wieden. “We are looking for expertise in different mediums, different creative directions,” said Nike.
The move has sent a ripple of concern around the advertising industry.
Mark Beilby, analyst at Dresdner Klein-wort, said in a note last week: “Many traditional advertising agencies, with deep-seated expertise in television and print, have been slow to grasp the impact of the internet.
“Many agencies seemingly still do not have enough digital talent to meet client demand, and those that do often have kept the digital department separate from the rest of the firm.
“The real issue is no longer one of change from old to new media, but whether media companies are infusing digital into all aspects of their departments.”
The role of social-networking sites, such as MySpace and Bebo, is also growing in importance. (MySpace is owned by News Corporation, ultimate owner of The Sunday Times.)
The huge success of the current box-office smash 300, a gorily-told story of Spartan bravery, is partly attributed to Warner Brothers’ use of MySpace. The film’s MySpace page offered video clips and wallpapers — not unusual these days — but the real hook was a sponsorship deal that enabled the site’s users to store 300 photos, far more than previously. 300 took $70m (£36m) on its first weekend in American cinemas last month, a record for a March opening.
In Britain, the growth in online advertising is still being driven by Google, and search advertising more broadly.
What may not be so widely appreciated is the scale of Google’s UK business. With revenues of about £870m last year, the search giant makes more from UK advertisers than either Channel Four, Sky or Five.
Dave King, managing director of Eyefall, the search-marketing specialist owned by Engine Group, said: “There’s huge more upside. A significant volume of brands have yet to go through the learning process. Lots of clients would say search is absolutely new. We still see chief executives and marketing directors who are bowled over by the apparent transparency of this medium.”
The measurability of search-based pay-per-click advertising — the ease of calculating return on investment — is its great initial attraction.
But King said more sophisticated advertisers, such as Phones4u, were using search to complement television and press advertising. For example, he suggested, the mobile retailer might buy search terms such as “new Nokia handset” to maximise the impact of a TV commercial which interests viewers and prompts them to go online.
The growth in online does not necessarily mean that traditional media cannot hold their own.
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), publisher of the Daily Mail, last week published figures showing that advertising revenues at its national titles had grown by about 4% in recent months.
Peter Williams, DMGT’s finance director, said the Daily Mail’s 5m readers, “very targeted in terms of middle England”, were still a big attraction for “heartland” advertisers such as Marks & Spencer.
“To get to that volume of people in their marketplace online is still pretty difficult,” said Williams. “It’s going to remain so. It’s complicated to get to the same number of people by aggregating different web properties.”
However, the fastest-growing part of DMGT’s ad revenues — up 141% year-on-year — is online.
The group has bought Jobsite, Prime Location and several other recruitment, property, dating and car websites, and is investing heavily. “We expect to see substantial growth,” said Williams.
Some newspapers have been hit by the loss of recruitment and other forms of classified advertising. But there is confidence that they will continue to be a more attractive option than the web in display — the high-impact advertising that is important for brand-building.
Claire Enders of Enders Analysis, the media-research firm, said: “We don’t believe that display advertising as we know it will be kaput in 2010. It’s not going to happen.
“We’ve had five years of really fierce experimentation online. But there’s very little emotional response to online display. It’s still viewed as an experimental medium.”
Enders pointed to the difficulties that web firms, including Yahoo, MSN and AOL, have had in persuading their users to accept “prerolls” — short ads that run before, and finance, the video clip they wish to see. That difficulty suggests there is still plenty of life in the 30-second commercial, and in display advertising in newspapers.
That said, there is little scope for traditional media to be complacent. Enders expects that the revenues for television, radio and newspapers will each fall by about 5% this year, and will fall again next year. The proliferation of new digital radio and television channels will continue to cut slices from the advertising cake.
The growth in online display (or graphical) advertising — banners, videos, sponsorship and so forth — has lagged behind search. The improvements in broadband speeds and appeal of online video may start to change this.
“It would be fantastic to see the graphical side of things matching search,” said Caroline McGuckian, media director of LBi, another leading digital agency. “I fully expect the growth pattern to continue, but I hope and envisage that the shape of the growth will change. The graphical element will be driven forward more in the next couple of years.”
Glen Drury, head of Yahoo UK, said the increasing ease of using online video opened up the internet to brands that found it hard to use search. (Nobody searches for “tooth-paste”, he pointed out.)
Moreover, better targeting of ads using “behavioural matching” analysis is offering dramatically improved results. Yahoo has begun offering advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers who have in some way expressed an “intent to purchase”. For example, they may have searched for “BMW”, clicked on a car ad, or used the car section of Yahoo’s price-comparison site, Kelkoo.
Drury said the results were much better than when targeting ads by simple demo-graphics. “There’s a 56% uplift [in response rates] when you target by behaviour,” he said. “That’s enormous.” Another challenge, barely visible at present, will come from the mobile-phone industry. It may be hard to believe looking at most of today’s handsets, but faster connection speeds will soon make the mobile internet a reality.
Like Google and Yahoo, mobile carriers already have lots of information on their users that will allow for the efficient targeting of advertising. Combined with location data, mobile advertising is set to become an important adjunct.
The mobile carriers are also teaming up with the social-networking sites. Orange last week signed a partnership deal with Bebo, and Vodafone is already working with MySpace and YouTube.
Morris, who wrote his first research report on the internet in 1993, believes the move online is inexorable, and Isobar is well placed to benefit.
“The shift in the proportion of spend is going to be quite large,” he said. “Some big brands are still spending a tiny amount online, not using the channel in any way.
“But for a lot of clients that have made the move, it’s a vital business driver.”

Blog warning for high achievers

Writing a blog could destroy your career, according to a survey of employers.
Bosses looking to recruit new staff increasingly search the Internet
before interviewing candidates, and take posting on sites like MySpace and YouTube
into consideration. Ever Googled a date?
That's exactly what management firms are telling their clients to do
before handing over any employment contracts.
According to website Viadeo, a quarter of Internet trawls lead to hopeful employees being rejected with bosses singling out posts or photographs of drunken indiscretions as particularly unimpressive.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Uptake of online recruitment by finance and legal professionals

Uptake of online recruitment by finance and legal professionals and how technology will change how they search in future

Our contributors tell us that online recruitment was used early on by finance and legal professionals and is now widely established. They tell us more about why, the current market and how the new challenges of technology will further change recruitment.

Rebecca Cole, Senior Account Manager at describes the current market for us: “2006 was a strong year for London’s finance sectors, with hiring following a steady upward trend. With the expectation that the economy will remain strong in 2007, a large percentage of the city’s employers are expecting growth in job numbers, as well as an overall increase in hiring activity. The ‘war for talent’ has been an issue which has long burdened many of London’s most prominent employers, and continues to face businesses as they look to source candidates from alternative means. Online recruitment has played an important part in simplifying the recruitment process, providing employers with the means to advertise roles to a wide audience at up to 85% savings on traditional advertising methods. Some niche job boards such as have worked towards creating a highly targeted audience of finance professionals, who are specifically looking for work within London’s financial markets.”

Joel Davis, Head of Marketing at agrees that online recruitment has never been more popular. He says that his site has seen online job applications almost double in the 12 months from 2005 to 2006 – last year they had over 1.8m applications to jobs on their network. He continues: “Evidence suggests we are not the only job site experiencing success, the industry as a whole is growing too: visits to sites dedicated to online career resources and training attracted 50m European visits each month in the third quarter of 2006 according to comScore Networks- up 11% on the similar quarter of 2005.”’s Business Development Manager, Brett Marlow cites examples of big companies involved: “If you look at our client base, which includes the likes of Egg, Abbey National and HSBC, you see the calibre of companies using online recruitment in this sector. They’re not daft and if they’re doing it, you can be sure other companies will follow suit. He says: “If you work in the accounting and financial sector you’re obviously intelligent and have an ability to think logically. You’re also very busy. Online recruitment allows people to apply for positions quickly and easily and at a time that suits them. It also appears to attract higher calibre applicants.”

Jessica Healy from says the site has been operating for nine years, which suggests the sector was an early adopter of online recruitment, and it is now very well established. Her statistics show that nearly half all accountants search the web for jobs: “There are approximately 220,000 qualified accountants in the UK, and we have 100,000 on our site every month, which suggests a huge proportion of accountants are using the web to search for jobs.” She says: “Accountancy as a profession lends itself to highly specific job search criteria as accountants usually have a very specific set of skills and job requirements. This makes it better suited to online recruitment, as candidates are more likely to find an exact match for their search online than they are in other media. Also, accountants tend to be an extremely online savvy broadband connected audience. According to the NORAS survey, 82% of our users have applied for a job online, compared to an overall average of just 72%, and 69% of our users have a broadband connection at home.”

Bernard Howard, MD of totallylegal and says both his sites saw traffic increase by 50% - a growth record that companies in any industry would be proud of. He adds: “More generally, the shift online has continued amongst financial and legal professionals – it is now the norm to look at internet recruitment websites for both active and passive jobseekers. And, more and more jobseekers are putting their CVs in our CV database, Recruit:Me. They trust the medium and they trust certain well established brands.” Michelle Jones, Managing Director of also feels online recruitment is extremely popular within the legal profession. She says there have been some changes: “There has been 1 new strong player in the legal jobs-board market over the last year, and we are aware of at least 2 other new boards coming into the space in 2007.” However, she says her site remains in the top 3 legal boards, carrying over 10,000 jobs from a variety of recruiters and law firms.

Joel Davis also points out how online recruitment is ideal for a global industry such as financial services: “Finance employers need access to global talent – something is able to offer. We’ve focused on making the matchmaking process between jobseekers and our clients as efficient as possible.”

Changing expectations of jobseeker and recruiters?
Brett Marlow doesn’t think expectations of jobseekers have changed in essence. “Jobseekers want a better job. They want something that offers a new challenge, promotion, more money or an easier commute. Employers want the best possible person to fill their vacancy. This hasn’t changed with the growth of online recruitment. Some things have changed though. Recruitment costs have come under increasing scrutiny as employers seek to reduce them and this has helped online recruitment as it is a much more cost effective way to advertise. People want things so much more quickly than before. If there’s a vacancy to be filled, the perfect candidate needs to be in place yesterday. Again, the internet allows for very quick response. I also think, because employers can reach more people through online recruitment, they expect to receive a higher quality of response and the feedback I get from clients is that this is the case, the calibre of applicant has risen when using online – either in partnership or instead of conventional recruitment channels.”

Bernard Howard believes expectations of jobseekers and recruiters have both increased. He says: “As recruiters considered their budgets for 2007 we’ve seen more and more emphasis on web advertising and a desire to try new things. As candidates look online in ever increasing numbers, recruiters not only want job postings but are also interested in how the medium can be used for branding. ‘What can we do that’s different? How can we be innovative?’ These are the questions that we are being asked and which we are finding answers to.” Michelle Jones says: “Recruiters have more choice of the boards they can use so clearly they expect a healthy return on their investment and if they don’t get it they will go elsewhere. This, coupled with providing attention to detail and excellent customer service is key to meeting client expectations. Jobseekers like to see a broad range of up-to-date roles that suit their skills and ability and to be able to tailor their searches to meet their needs. They are more aware of what functions are available on job-boards and their job hunting efforts are enhanced by features such as wish-lists, jobs-by-email and a CV database, boards that don’t have these will be disappointing their audience.”

Jessica Healy is convinced there is no question that online has the advantage over other media for both job seekers and advertisers. She says that: “GAAPweb for example offers advertisers a very large audience of qualified and experienced finance professionals, most of whom are actively seeking work. It is a much more targeted way of advertising than the more hit-and-miss print alternatives, which may or may not get the right ads in front of the right people. We also offer a range of additional products that ensure that the right candidates come across the advertiser’s jobs. On the job-seeker side, we offer a database of more than 7000 high quality jobs specifically in the finance sector, accessed via a very sophisticated search engine. This allows candidates to pinpoint the jobs that suit their specific requirements, rather than coming across ads in a print publication. Also, additional tools such as job alerts take away the hassle of job seeking, as candidates have simply to wait until the right job arrives in their inbox.

As the market matures, there are greater expectations on both sides. Jobseekers are now demanding jobsites that caters to their specific niche or sector, with tools, functionality and additional services appropriate to these specific needs. Recruiters too, have higher expectations, and are beginning to benchmark the ROI they get from each of the various jobsites. This pushes us to be increasingly innovative in how we attract quality candidates to our site, and maintain their loyalty once they visit us.”

Future trends
Joel Davis says that he sees four main trends emerging within the online recruitment space:

• “Niche boards will win the war with the professionals due to the superior connection they have with the audience. Generalist boards will still play an important role in the market, especially for job seekers in the earlier stages of their career as well as individuals looking to exploit their transferable skills across various industries.

• Community activity will grow: users see intrinsic value in having meaningful discussions with trusted like minded individuals. Community can play a useful part in the different job seeking life stages of users.

• Due to the convenient and discrete nature of the mobile channel I’m sure we will see a rapid adoption of the mobile channel by employees, employers and job boards over the next year.

• Multi-formats: blogs, podcasts, vodcasts are all being recognised as an e-recruitment tool and will continue to grow, not only from a social activity but to help recruiters and job seekers stand out from the crowd.”

Bernard Howard has been surprised at the slow uptake of mobile: “I expected 2006 to be the year mobile came of age. Indeed, every year over the last few years we have been told that this is the “year for mobile and the internet”. And every year it has all been a bit disappointing. The technology is now probably there but there has not been widespread uptake. I don’t think that 2007 will be the year for mobile but 2008 probably will be.” He says he is looking forward to: “A fully web enabled world where the internet and user tailored content is delivered through a multitude of platforms. The latest buzzwords – social networking, blogging, RSS, Web 2.0 – all really come down to the same thing – an internet world where users can have relevant content delivered to them (and often provided by other users rather than media owners) through a variety of media, as and when they want, to a device (PC, Mobile, TV etc) that they choose and customized for them. The challenge for companies such as ours is to harness the possibilities within this world – and that is phenomenally exciting and something to look forward to.”

Brett Marlow predicts consolidation: “In recent years, the online recruitment industry has consolidated as larger companies acquire smaller ones or outside investors enter the market. I think we’ll see this trend enter the financial sector in much the same way. We’ll see an increase in the number of larger organisations acquiring up and coming businesses, who’ve demonstrated that they’re stable, successful and have a business model that will generate profit. As well as consolidation I think we will also see more people using online recruitment. Time pressures, the amount and quality of jobs advertised, the immediacy and cost of finding a new position via the internet will lead more and more people to use it. Plus, as more people grow up with online recruitment, the more people will use it. At the moment, there are a lot of university graduates finding their first position via the net because the internet is a natural part of their life. As these people move up the ladder and new people come in, I think we’ll see online recruitment become the norm. We’re looking forward to growing the business, taking it to its next level whilst maintaining our position as the credit and risk industry’s only specialist job site.”

Our advisors agree that jobseekers have the power to change the future. Jessica Healy says: “In the heavily candidate-led finance job market, the job boards will have to be increasingly candidate focused in order to attract and retain candidates. We are excited about harnessing the emerging technologies to provide candidates with intelligent tools to make their jobs search more targeted and effective. We see this as the way we will differentiate ourselves going forward in an increasingly competitive market.” Rebecca Cole summarises: “The future of online recruitment rests largely in the hands of its jobseekers. Job boards, such as are continually developing new and innovative technology as well as providing additional career content, in an effort to ensure jobseekers use online recruitment as their primary method of searching and applying for jobs. With 62% of the British population currently using the internet on a daily basis, the future of online recruitment is looking bright!”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Check traffic

Handy site...

Google Analytics plugin

This is the first beta release of a WordPress plugin that can add Google Analytics to your website without you needing to code one single set of <>’s.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Page Rank Update or Export List History - PageRank - PR

Page Rank Update or Export List History - PageRank - PR
Bit of history on Google page ranking techniques and public updates...

time management skills training articles, techniques, tips and personal tools

If like me you always have too much to do and nowhere near enough time to do it (both in and outside of work!) the following link may prove interesting - time management techniques:
time management skills training articles, techniques, tips and
personal tools

Monday, December 11, 2006

Google tools

Official Google Search Tools

Special Searches

  • Google Video - Search TV programs and videos
  • Google Image Search - comprehensive image search on the web
  • Google Music Search - search for music
  • Google Book Search - Search the full text of books (and discover new ones).
  • Google Catalogs - helps you browse and search merchant-provided catalogs
  • Froogle - Google’s shopping search engine
  • Google News - Search and browse 4,500 news sources
  • Google Scholar - search for the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research.
  • Google Maps - View maps, get driving directions, and search for local businesses and services.
  • Google Public Service Search - offers educational institutions and non-profit organizations worldwide free SiteSearch, which enables users to search your website, and free WebSearch, which enables users to search the Internet.
  • Google’s University Search - enables you to narrow your search to a specific school website for things like admissions information, course schedules, or alumni news.
  • Google Ride Finder - view taxi or shuttle locations in several cities.
  • Google Base - submit all types of online and offline content that is hosted and made searchable online.

Google Topic Specific Search

Google For Webmasters

  • Google AdSense for search - Opportunity to earn money by Google whenever your users click on the targeted Google adsense ads on search results pages.
  • Google Free - provide Google search results to users who want to search the web or just your website.
  • Site-flavored Google search - delivers web search results that are customized to individual websites.
  • Customizable Google Search - you can customize your results display to include background, text and link colors you select.
  • Google Search Appliance - is a hardware and software product designed to offer large businesses the productivity-enhancing power of Google search.
  • Google Mini – Google search for your website and intranet

Google Desktop Search Tools

  • Google Deskbar - Search using Google without opening your browser
  • Google Desktop - a desktop search application that provides full text search over your email, files, music, photos, chats, Gmail, web pages that you’ve viewed.

Google Mobile Search Services

Google Search Toolbars

Third party Google Search Tools

Search Google with Firefox Extensions

  • CustomizeGoogle - enhances Google search results by adding extra information (like links to Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, MSN etc) and removing unwanted information (like ads and spam).
  • Googlebar Lite - A light-weight Google search toolbar for Firefox.
  • GoogleTabs - Adds a context menu option to open Google search results in tabs.
  • Advanced Dork - Highlight a word or phrase, right click, and choose from over 15 Advanced Google Operators, A google search page is opened in either the same tab or a new tab, the results contained in the search will contain the highlighted text inside the chosen Operator.
  • GooglePreview - Inserts preview images (thumbnails) of web sites and Amazon products into the Google and Yahoo search results pages.
  • Feeling Lucky - Performs Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” search with any selected text and opens the result in new a tab.
  • Aggregate Yahoo! and Google - Search Yahoo and Google simultaneously
  • GooglebarL10N - is the localized version of Googlebar with Menues & Texts in German, Italian or Spanish.
  • Google Advanced Operations Toolbar - provides a shortcut to some of Google’s advanced search functions.

Google Page Modules / Scripts / Widgets / Bookmarklets

Multi Search Tools

  • Simply Google - search all Google services on one page. Lots of forms.
  • HotDaddy - search all Google services on one page. Lots of icons.
  • Google Total - search all Google services on one page. Drop down menu.
  • GahooYoogle - search multiple Google and Yahoo services together side by side.
  • Twingine - Google and Yahoo search side by side.
  • Soople - performs all advanced search functions of google in separate forms

Miscellaneous Google Search Tools

  • Google Cloudnew1.gif - displays search results as a tag cloud
  • Babelplex - enables users to search Google’s web index across two languages.
  • Google Current - airs every half hour on Current TV and provides a look at what the world is searching for on Google.
  • Googlewhack - a query consisting of two words (without quotation marks) entered into Google’s search page that returns a single result.
  • Cookin’ With Google - allows you to provide a list of ingredients and get back a list of recipes that Google finds for you.
  • Goofresh - is a way to search for sites added today, yesterday, within the last seven days, or last 30 days.
  • Google Fight - Compare the number of results for two competing keywords.
  • GoogleDuel - a popularity contest using the Google search engine.
  • Random Web Search - it generates a random word, then searches that word on the web using Google.
  • Googlematic - Enables searching of Google via AIM or MSN Messenger.
  • Googlism - will find out what thinks of you
  • Google Tool - Search multiple google datacenters simultaneously.
  • elgooG - a mirror image of Google
  • LostGoggles - adds search site preview images, Amazon pricing, site info links and the Open-in-New-Window-button. Formerly “More Google”.

In the end, this amazing list of Google Web Search Features lists the many special features to help you to find exactly what you’re looking for. Google Zeitgeist lists the current Google Search patterns, trends, and surprises.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Brit with the Midas internet touch

Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital has made stellar returns from investing in online ventures but warns against too much optimism in the sector. Paul Durman reports from San Francisco
YOUTUBE has been good to Mike Moritz — and not just because his investment firm made an estimated $500m (£260m) when the video-sharing website was bought by Google last month.
Moritz, a senior partner at Sequoia Capital, is Silicon Valley’s pre-eminent venture capitalist, whose successes include both Yahoo and Google, where he remains a director. But he grew up in Cardiff and, unlike his accent, his affection for British sport has survived more than 25 years in California.
“The greatest thing that’s happened is that now on Monday morning I can watch all the soccer highlights on YouTube,” he said last week. “That’s what technology brings. You never used to be able to get the Premiership here.”
Online video is much more than just a good way of catching up with last night’s game. “I used to follow Glamorgan as a little kid,” said Moritz. “I remember vividly Gary Sobers hitting six sixes in a row. I didn’t know a video existed of that — and found it on the web in black and white. It was wonderful.
“There’s stuff from Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones from the early 1960s. It’s fantastic — a treasure trove of personal memories that are being rediscovered.”
YouTube was the poster child of last week’s Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco — a showcase for the companies that are inventing our digital future. The sell-out conference, now in its third year, was attended by 1,000 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and representatives of the big technology firms.
The organisers had to turn away 5,000 more who were willing to pay $3,300 to hear from a stellar cast of speakers that included Google’s chief executive Eric Schmidt, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Yahoo co-founder David Filo.
Just as compelling for many of those attending was the chance to learn from the new wave of internet entrepreneurs who have helped to define what has become known as Web 2.0 — people like Jim Buckmaster of Craigslist, which has revolutionised classified advertising; Caterina Fake, who founded the photo-sharing site Flickr; and Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, a fast-growing news site.
The mood, if not triumphalist, was full of optimism. Fittingly it was Schmidt, the head of the web’s most important company, who put the case most succinctly. “Don’t bet against the internet,” he said.
In America at least, the term Web 2.0 has become so widely used in business and technology circles that it is in danger of being drained of its original meaning. At its simplest, Web 2.0 is a collective noun for the new generation of internet companies that includes Wikipedia, Flickr, MySpace and YouTube.
What these companies have in common is that they have all grown explosively fast thanks to the contribution made by their users. The encyclopedia entries written by the Wikipedia community, the profile pages created by MySpace users, the photos and videos uploaded to Flickr and YouTube — all this activity creates services that become richer, more compelling or more useful with every day.
This powerful feedback loop — known by technologists as a network effect — helps to explain the rapid growth of these start-ups. Wikipedia (founded in 2001), MySpace (2003) and YouTube (2005) are among the 20 most popular sites on the internet.
Tim O’Reilly, the technology publishing guru whose company helped stage Web 2.0, and which coined the phrase in 2004, said the key was “harnessing collective intelligence — harnessing network effects to build applications that get better the more people use them”.
The companies behind the new web-based applications are constantly making refinements and improvements, guided by feedback from their users.
The contrast with Microsoft’s traditional approach could not be more stark. Last month, Microsoft finally released the latest version (7.0) of Internet Explorer — more than five years after the browser last underwent a major upgrade. Rival browsers, notably Firefox, have long been offering better features than Microsoft’s dated product.
Even more embarrassing for Microsoft have been the delays to Windows Vista, the new version of the dominant computer- operating system. Ironically, it was during Web 2.0 last week that Microsoft announced that Vista was at last ready to be “released to manufacturing” — years behind schedule. The company admitted that Vista’s five years in development did not mean that it would be free of bugs when it is launched.
Many of the companies displaying their wares at Web 2.0 were offering new ways to manage, organise or share content. For example, Vox is a new blogging service that allows users to incorporate audio, video and other content from other web services such as Amazon, YouTube and Flickr.
Instructables is a website that allows users to share their knowledge of how to make things — from cakes to cupboards, and from kites to kayaks. Klostu, a sister company to Israel’s, is a message-board specialist that enables you to find and interact with people who have similar interests to your own.
3B — the only British firm among the 13 featured in Web 2.0’s launchpad workshop — offers a way to turn your MySpace profile page into a three-dimensional space. So instead of just having a list of your friends, you — or your avatar — can “walk” round a virtual room whose walls are papered with your friends’ profiles, or with pictures imported from Flickr.
Read on on page 2...
Chief executive Nicky Morris, who previously ran before selling out to Bernie Ecclestone, said that 3B’s browser could also be used to create 3-D shops — taking online shopping into a new era.
Outside Silicon Valley’s technology capsule, many of these innovations would probably be greeted with bemusement. But an older, more conservative generation struggles to see the attraction of MySpace and its rivals, even as the networking sites bite chunks out of the time previously given over to watching television.
Mike Moritz was not among the deal- hungry venture capitalists looking for the next YouTube at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel last week. Asked what Web 2.0 means to him, he replied: “Nothing — less than zero. Falling romantically in love with buzz phrases tends to be a fairly painful experience in our business.”
He added: “People don’t see the carcasses and the smouldering ruins on the side of the road. And there are plenty of those.”
Sequoia has a virtually unmatched record that stretches back decades. Its many successful investment vehicles — some proudly displayed on a tape-loop playing on a screen in the reception of its offices — include Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, the contract manufacturing giant Flextronics, the graphics chip designer Nvidia and the database software company Oracle.
Moritz prefers to talk about the investments that went wrong. “We could run a long reel of failures as well,” he said. “Maybe it’s just that we have made more mistakes than everybody else and try not to make the same mistake twice. If we’re so good, I keep wondering why we still have write-offs.”
There is more to this than British self- deprecation. Moritz said Sequoia has “a perpetual fear of going out of business”, and constantly tries to “bake” anxiety into its partners, “hour by hour”.
“It’s like any business that’s been around for a long time. It’s all too easy to become complacent, to ease off, to delude yourself into thinking that the world won’t change, to forget about the fact that there are people far hungrier than you. Before you know it, you’re in a death spiral.”
Moritz is unimpressed by the optimism sweeping through Silicon Valley. “This comes in waves,” he said.
“Right now, people have forgotten how bleak things were when they were really dark, and you have a whole set of newcomers who didn’t participate in the last debacle. It’s right there, a little bit further down the road.”
He was equally keen to puncture the impression that Silicon Valley is an easy place to make money in the venture-capital business. “Much of it is a façade,” he said. “In many places in the venture-capital business, life is grim or worse. The results of 25 years don’t lie. The returns on the whole broad swath of the venture industry are miserable.”
What he does believe in is great entrepreneurs — wherever they come from and regardless of their experience.
Sequoia’s website states: “Almost everyone we have ever invested in has been a complete unknown at the time we met. Many have been immigrants or first-generation Americans with barely a penny to their name.”
This belief in undiscovered talent partly reflects Moritz’s own experience. After studying history at Oxford, and moving to America to take an MBA, he spent four years as a journalist working for Time magazine before establishing a company that published technology newsletters.
Despite his lack of a relevant background, Sequoia was prepared to give him his break in venture capital “It’s no coincidence that Steve Jobs was 19 years old when he started Apple, or that Larry [Page] and [Sergey] Brin at Google were 23 and 24, or [Yahoo founders] Jerry Yang and David Filo were in their mid- twenties. There’s nothing that beats the spirit of those sorts of people. That isn’t something that is acquired with experience and with age. That’s the stuff you cannot supply. All the other stuff can be supplied — the money, the management, the filler.”
He cites, as “the most shining example”, the revival at Apple since Jobs returned to the company in 1997 — “what happens when a founder is sent into the wilderness and then when he returns. That’s such an extraordinary story and an illustration of the impact of one person. Steve is one incredibly magnificent businessman.”
Similarly, Moritz is dismissive of his own role in the building of Google. “99.99% of whatever has been accomplished at Google, which has been so spectacular, should be laid squarely on the doorstep of Larry and Sergey.
“I know I failed to appreciate the depth of the insight that they conveyed, and also failed to understand the size of the business that might be assembled.”
Moritz is unwilling to discuss his role in the acquisition of YouTube, or to spell out the sectors where Sequoia sees the best opportunities in the years ahead. However, the firm has opened offices in India and China in the past couple of years and clearly sees a shift in the centre of gravity in the technology business.
“Over the past 30 years America has had a virtual monopoly on the construction of the most valuable technology companies in the world, and that grip will lessen over the next 20 years. We want to be shareholders in the most valuable technology companies, wherever they are,” said Moritz.
On page 3: Why Silicon Valley can't be copied...
AS one of the world’s most successful technology investors, Mike Moritz is often asked how other countries can recreate Silicon Valley in their own backyards.
In his office on the Sand Hill Road near San Jose — venture-capital country — Moritz said last week: “People come by or send letters or ask about how to re-pot what works in Silicon Valley in some municipality in
Japan, or in South America, or parts of Europe, or in Britain.”
George Osborne, the Conservative shadow chancellor, is one of those who has dropped in to see Moritz.
Politicians are not the only visitors. Danny Rimer of Index Ventures, fast emerging as Europe’s leading technology venture investor, has offered to arrange a meeting to give Moritz a chance to inspire British entrepreneurs. Rimer said last week: “Mike Moritz is probably the best investor in venture-capital history. Whether it’s his own companies, like Yahoo and Google, or his firm’s, like YouTube, Mike has been associated with the majority of the most important companies on the internet.”
Moritz has so far resisted Rimer’s entreaties, even though both men have invested alongside one another. And he is sceptical about the chances of exporting Silicon Valley.
“People don’t understand. Most of our companies are not overnight successes even when they become very well known. It’s the same with Silicon Valley. You’re not going to be able to put it in a bottle and go and sprinkle it on parched earth that hasn’t been properly fertilised.”
Moritz said the biggest single requirement is a willingness and desire to start companies.
An immigrant himself, Moritz also places great importance on the drive that is found in the many newcomers to California. “You couple visible examples of success with an immigrant’s drive, and all that pent-up need and hunger, and I don’t think it gets a lot more complicated than that.”

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

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How to Watch YouTube on Your iPod

With a few minutes of work, it's easy to watch YouTube videos on your iPod. Here's how.

Note- This only works on iPod Video (even though the picture depicts an iPod Nano)



  1. Download and install the free Firefox web browser.
  2. Install the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox.
  3. Go to and install the Download YouTube Video script.
  4. The next time you watch YouTube, you'll see a Download Video option beneath the screen. Click it to save the file to your computer. You might want to rename the video to something descriptive.
  5. An alternative method for steps 1-4 that works for all browsers is to copy the YouTube URL for the video you want to download and then go to Paste the URL to extract the file from YouTube and click "Get Video!" to save it to your computer.
  6. Install and launch the free Super video converter ( Download is located here. You may be unable to download as this site is blocked by most spyware blocker programs. Although it does not appear to infect your computer.
  7. Select Apple - iPod from the Output Container option, and then the output video codec H.264/AVC. Set size to 320 x 240. If you get an error message when converting, unclick the Use DirectShow button.
  8. Drag the converted file into iTunes and it's ready for viewing.

Mac OS X

  1. Go to a YouTube video page, wait for it to load, and open Safari's Activity window.
  2. Double-click the URL of the video file - it's the largest one - to download it.
  3. Rename the file to something more descriptive.
  4. Drag and drop it into the free iSquint converter ( and - presto! - an iPod-optimized video file for your iTunes library.