Small is the New Big

May 15, 2008

Who is making money on online CPMs these days? Glancing at the graph above, made by PubMatic, I assumed that the highest price went to Large Web Sites. Unh-Uh. It’s small sites. Niche sites. Sites that advertisers know what demographic they’re getting. Not only do small sites get the best CPM, their CPMs are growing and are 4 times that of big sites.

If you’re questioning the value of niche… If you’re unsure of the longtail… this info should start to shift your brain rift.

Now we’ve just got to figure out how to make a whole bunch of quality niche sites. After all, small is the new big, but we’ve got to ride the scale whale.

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Starting in the 1980s, application software has been sold in mass-produced packages through retailers.Image via Wikipedia

This is not another wediaup post about Zemanta, but the concept they are pushing.  I posted earlier today at tomaltman.com about how Zemanta is cool because of the way they operate. They updated their software today and released the news via twitter.  Which is very cool, plus the fact it took me 0 (zero) seconds to install.  Why?  It’s Saas – software as a  service.

This is a great model – because even if I was not on Twitter (but I am “vwtom” and so is this blog “wediaup“) as soon as i fired up my blog application it would have loaded the new version of the software.

That is why we are so pumped about Zemanta, Saas and the semantic web at wediaup.  It’s just giving you what you need, when you need it.  Now, let’s imagine we could do the same with content.  We don;t need to go looking for content – content will find us.  We just do what we do and content seeps in like a green ooze.

Pretty cool if you ask me.

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PhotosynthImage by livatlantis via Flickr

I posted on the importance of visual objects a couple weeks ago. And then I saw Microsoft’s Photosynth and I realized how cool visual content really could be. See it to believe it. Here’s the video from the TED conference. If you’re into traditional newspaper content, jump right to minute 1:40 to see the future.

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Street pitch from zemanta.comImage by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten via Flickr

A topic for blogging springs to life, and then the project of managing the post weighs it down. Questions start flooding the mind faster than language can articulate them. Is this post unique enough? Am I rehashing stale ideas? Where do I find a picture? Am I stepping on copyright? Who/where should I link? What should I read before writing? Do I have the facts right? Will I ever be able to monetize this? How should I tag it? Compound the questions with a time-frame that should be more like 30 minutes and less like 2 hours for a single post, and I start looking like I need a friend.

Zemanta has been a great friend in the quest for easy and relevant blogging. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and would rather not imagine its absence. It places pictures, finds relevant links, and tags posts with helpful aplomb. “Friend” is a good descriptor for Zemanta; It’s always there, ready to help out in the only way it knows how. But Zemanta can’t ease all of my blogging needs, and I can’t demand too much of it. (as much as I wish a friend could be my personal assistant, employee, maid, cook, and computer, I wouldn’t have much friends if I demanded that level of commitment).

Every blogger should be friends with Zemanta today. But that friendship will surely wain when there is an Integrated Content Management Framework that solves the riddle of how to make relevant, unique, atomizable, mashable, monetizable, fully linked and tagged multi-media prepared for syndication. Then again, that’s a mighty high demand for any friend.

Cover FlowImage via Wikipedia

If I didn’t have the nagging voice in the back of my head to make headlines search engine optimized, I would have made the headline Visualate and Objectiveize the Interwebs for Happifying User-Types. For some reason, I enjoy making convoluted non-words that demand a certain level of focus to understand.

So, why am I stoked for a future web of visual objects? If you don’t get my meaning, go try Searchme.com and you will know. Searchme turns the search engine experience into an iTunes coverflow experience. It’s beautiful and changes the way I choose websites. Their tag line is “You’ll know when you see it”, and how true it is. Instead of slowly skimming the familiar blue text on other search engines, I can fly by a bunch of drab web pages and quickly land on one that is catchy/familiar/not-riddled-with-ads.

Although it’s beautiful and simple, Searchme is obviously slower to load and doesn’t provide as many quality results as Google. In fact, Searchme couldn’t even find this Wedia Up blog. The concept is stronger than the execution, which means there is plenty more room for innovation.

Bravo to Searchme for co-opting an amazing user interface. But there is no way that Searchme could rival Google Search for accuracy and relevancy. The only way Searchme could get my daily eye-balls is to have an aggregating function that lets me see all the biggest websites in a given category. Show me all of the LoMediaCo sites. All of the Airfare sites. All of the Music Review sites. All of the Motorcycle sites. I’ll flip through them quickly, knowing that although it’s not deep content, it’s the most-common content.

With content becoming more recycled, amplified, and easily found, the venue that content exists in starts to matter more. People love visual web objects that move and feel like real things. I think there is a future for websites that incorporate visual browsing, minimal scrolling and clicks, and even real-world physics.

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An amount of formality may be present at a dinnerImage via Wikipedia

Noticed a newish service called Twist that does for Twitter what Trends does for Google. Type in a term, and Twist shows a graph of how much and when people are tweeting about it. This is an interesting way to mine data to gain insight into people’s lives. I plugged in some words and found out some hot data.

  1. Dinner – Peaks everyday at the same time. Most people tweet about dinner on Saturday.
  2. Lunch – Same pattern as Dinner, but at mid-day.
  3. Gym – Most people go to the gym in the early evening during the week (with Mon and Tues being the heaviest days). Friday and Sunday are the lightest Gym days. On Saturday, people go to the Gym more at mid-day.
  4. Beer – Peaks in the evening, but is low on Monday and Tuesday. Then slowly ramps up Wednesday and Thursday until the massive peak on Friday. Typical.
  5. Wine – Follows a similar Beer trend, but it’s highest peaks are on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Wine drinkers are different from beer drinkers.

Is aggregating data like this to better understand ourselves worthwhile? Interesting? Useful? I know it gave me a couple chin-scratchers today.

Made my way through a couple hot Web 2.0 widgets today. I get the feeling that more and more of the web will be using someone else’s architecture to create and spread content everywhere.

Poll Daddy – Slick and easy interface. Integration across many platforms, but sadly not WordPress. Go take the poll I set up.

Sprout – Never seen a UI as rich and easy for a complicated project like making a flash widget. I integrated our blog, twitter, and a Poll Daddy Poll. Check it one time.