Soundbite: “To Aggregate, Or Report?” Is All About The Benjamins

money-printing-press

“But it’s Lam’s point about budget that’s really central to the situation. With a growing budget, more popular publications can afford to hire staff to work on original content: new features, marquee columns, event coverage.

With a modest budget, even the most bootstrap of reporters must resort to reposting or opining to keep the content flowing in between bouts of original reporting.”

The Editorialiste on the impact of money on what gets published on the Internets

“You get what you pay for” has become a truism of free online content of widely varying quality. But in a Twitter klatsch, Gizmodo editor Brian Lam, Editorialiste Andrew Nusca, and AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka examine the other, linked side of the equation: publishers with fewer resources are forced to lean on the reporting of others to a greater degree. Then again, as Lam points out, even in the pre-link era, there were (and still are) plenty of ‘real’ journalists who rereported others’ work without attribution:

Brian Lam: the net’s greatest threat to journalism is not old vs new, its that reporters no longer get as much exposure to new sources in real life.

Peter Kafka: @blam biz problem, not tech. Encourage reporters to walk around, make calls, they will. Reward them for reblogging, they’ll do that.

Brian Lam: @pkafka true. but remember, in old media, they rereported stories from scratch that were already written by comp., instead of links. worse!

Peter Kafka: @blam true dat. plenty of old-media was (and is) essentially reblogging. that’s my point – not tech, but biz model.

The Editorialiste: @pkafka @blam so how to solve biz model incentive problem? what’s the answer?

Brian Lam: @editorialiste I think its a judgement call between aggregation and reporting. and a resource thing. reporting is expensive if done old way.

Indeed, as Nusca acknowledges in his post, Gizmodo has been at the center of one of the most fascinating developments in the tech blogosphere of the past few years. Under Lam’s leadership, Gizmodo has transformed from a straight-up tech news aggregator into what can properly be termed an online magazine with bloggy attributes.

There are still plenty of ‘here’s a paragraph and a link’-type posts, but features like the servicey, in-depth Giz Explains series, Bestmodo reviews, and regular one-off features wouldn’t be out of place in a Popular Mechanics or a Wired. And for the naysayers who think that aggregated content is the only kind that can survive on the Web, Gizmodo is doing very well, thank you very much: it’s the most trafficked Gawker Media site, with 6.1 million monthly readers, according to Gawker Advertising.

The Editorialiste post following the conversation further explores the balancing act that , and whether anyone but Google and its ilk will be able to profitably aggregate in the long run: it’s well worth the read.

(via The Editorialiste; image via JustGetThere)


Yep. A Pretty Good Holiday for Online Retailers.

As predicted, online retailers did okay during the holiday season. Actually, a little bit better than predicted, according to comScore. The Web-tracking service predicted a three percent bump and is now reporting that sales jumped by five percent in the last two months of the year. That’s $27 billion and change, all told.

The summary table (click to enlarge):
comscore holiday sales

A couple points:

  • Sales were pretty lousy last year, what with the economic collapse and everything. So a five percent increase over that isn’t staggering.
  • As comScore (SCOR) has pointed out throughout the season, it was the big guys–Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Wal-Mart (WMT)–that dominated online sales this season.
  • The numbers don’t tell you what sort of stuff people were buying, but comScore says folks spent a lot on consumer electronics (I, for example, am the very happy new owner of a 32-gig iPod touch) and jewelry and watches (nope).
  • Look what happens when it snows a lot, as it did 10 days ago. People stay home but keep shopping.
  • No clue what was going on Dec. 15, though. Thoughts?

Dispatches From Fox Nation: Obama Can’t Say “Suspect”; Fox Nation Can

foxnation_12-30Dispatches From Fox Nation:

It’s been a while since we reported from Fox Nation, Fox News’ opinion/community website, and there’s a reason for that. The tone seems to have changed – less screaming headlines, less purposely misleading prompts to feed the hungry conservative commenters. But we had to highlight the hypocrisy there today – relating to the use of the term “suspect.”

One of the articles in the top section is headlined, “Pres. Obama Describes Terrorist as ‘Alleged’, Extremist’ Bomb ‘Suspect’.” The story links to a YouTube video (below) of Pres. Obama’s first statements about Flight 253, and to a blog post on GatewayPundit. Apparently things are a little slow this week at the Nation – Obama’s follow-up remarks yesterday were far more pointed. But the crux of the post was to highlight Pres. Obama referring to Umar Abdul Farouk Adbulmutallab as a “suspect.” This is apparently some negative code, according to the right.

But then there’s the story on Fox Nation directly below this one – headlined, “What? Nigerian Suspect Given Lawyers, Civilian Trial, Constitutional Rights“:
foxnation_12-30c

The link here includes links to several stories, including one from the conservative Free Republic that all describe Adbulmutallab as a suspect – just like Pres. Obama. I mean, what else do you really want to call him? It’s not a political statement by the right or the left, it’s just where the story is in the justice process right now.

Of course, on the original post, the commenters were OUTRAGED by the President’s use of the term. “Libertarian” wasn’t surprised:

What else would you except from a bleeding heart liberal. He doesn`t want to hurt anyone`s feelings.
Lib-tards want everyone to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. That will fix everything.

And “Whittierblvd” has lowered his expectations about this “fill in the blank” in the White House:

“Extreme bomb suspect” well hells bells what more can we expect from a Muslim loving(fill in the blank)!! ?? One would think the “Muslms” would be up in arms over things like this ?! Nope, you can hear the crickets !! They are all in cahoots with each other ! Profile them, then run them out of this country !!

The site should be praised because it has avoided this type of rhetoric during the last two months (while we’ve documented their past practices here). But this is a step in the wrong (well, far right) direction.

Here’s the video Fox Nation is linking to:

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Maureen Dowd Goes ‘Flaccid’ On Obama Post Christmas Day Terror

a_patient_in_hospital_gown_walking_-300x300Maybe Maureen Dowd should take over national security (hey, apparently the people in charge have not been doing all that much!). According to today’s column MoDo practically predicted that there would be a terrorist attack over the holiday.

I was walking through a deserted downtown on Christmas Eve with a friend, past the lonely, gray Treasury Building, past the snowy White House with no president inside.

“I hope the terrorists don’t think this is a good time to attack,” I said, looking protectively at the White House, which always looks smaller and more vulnerable and beautiful than you expect, no matter how often you see it up close.

I thought our guard might be down because of the holiday; now I realize our guard is down every day.

Apparently, on top of revealing that airport security is a delusion Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has also revealed one topic both sides can agree on: The government has dropped the ball (flaccid appears to be everyone’s new favorite adjective).

W.’s favorite word was “resolute,” but despite gazillions spent and Cheney’s bluster, our efforts to shield ourselves seemed flaccid….Citing the attempt of the Nigerian’s father to warn U.S. authorities six months ago, the president intoned: “It now appears that weeks ago this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect’s name on a no-fly list.” In his detached way, Spock was letting us know that our besieged starship was not speeding into a safer new future, and that we still have to be scared.

Heck of a job, Barry.

Snap! Also MoDo’s predicts in the not to distant future travelers will “have to come to the airport in hospital gowns, flapping open in the back.” And with that a Happy MoDo New Year.


Unattended Van Forces Condé Nast To Evacuate (Update: All Clear)

timessqureIt’s 2001 all over again. Details are sketchy, but a source who is on staff at a Condé Nast title tells Mediaite that the Times Square building has just been evacuated. Apparently elevators at the 4 Times Square were turned off, and all staffers at were forced to walk down up to 20 flights of stairs. Reports also claim that the NASDAQ building around the corner has also been evacuated. UPDATE: Nothing suspicious was found in the van!

An unattended van parked nearby for the last day has shut down all of Times Square. Surprisingly, NY One is not yet covering this story.

Fox News is reporting:

DEVELOPING: New York City police closed down part of Manhattan’s Times Square on Wednesday after authorities identified a suspicious vehicle, Fox News has learned.

Investigators have called in a bomb squad to examine a 1992 Dodge van with tinted windows that has been parked at the location for two days.

A placard from a nonexistent law enforcement agency is reportedly on the dashboard of the vehicle, which has no license plates.

Watch a live video stream of the action at Times Square here.

More as this story develops.

Photo Credit: Nick McGlynn


My Decade…Economically Speaking

LindzonPaul Krugman of the New York Times is calling this economic decade “The Big Zero .”

It was a decade in which nothing good happened, and none of the optimistic things we were supposed to believe turned out to be true.

Paul and I smoke insanely different tobacco. As an entrepreneur that has managed a hedge fund now for 11 plus years through bubbles and crashes, I almost take offense.

When 2000 started I was living pretty high on the hog. Stocks only went up and they did so 50 points at a time. By March of 2000, that party ended. In March of 2009, if the same stocks moved $50, they would have been -$49 and change. BUT, by December 2009, the S&P is only 28 percent below all-time highs.

That’s definitely SOMETHING.

This decade was all about two things, creative and greedy destruction. Both hit all-time highs in 2009. In ten years we will see dizzying new highs again.

Here is a list of great creative destruction and economic wonderous things we did not have a decade ago (thanks @gregory for the fast list, great post and super cool Listorious ):

Skype
Wikipedia
Gmail
Facebook
YouTube
Twitter
adWords
Amazon AWS
iPod
Wordpress
iPhone
Google Docs
Flickr
etc……………………

If anything, this decade did not see enough creative destruction…see AT&T.

As for creative greed , count me as a wounded, frustrated casualty. In 2000, I was way green and soft. When bad stuff happened to me I was a victim godammit! In 2009, when bad stuff happens to me, I blame myself. That’s a little growth.

In 2001, I was caught up in ‘collateral damage’ and I learned about diversification and humility. My lawyer was my best friend and saved/guided my ass (I love you Sara). I have written a few posts about it over the years . In 2009, I know that if my lawyer is my best friend, I am in trouble. That’s something.

Since my personal economic bottom in 2002, I have had many big victories . There was an insane amount of hard work, a lot of good fortune and a little luck. In 2005 I discovered blogging when I typed ‘term sheet’ into Google’s search box. I was directed to Brad Feld’s blog. I was inspired by Brad and his wicked blogroll of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. That term sheet was one I was writing for an angel investment in GolfNow.com .

As you know though, blogging is a waste of time and of no economic value.

In 2006, I started Wallstrip. In 2007, Wallstrip was purchased by CBS. Booyah!

In 2008, I co-founded Stocktwits. In 2009, True Ventures and Foundry (yep Brad Feld) invested. In 2010, someone from Russia will invest bonker dineros. That’s just how shit will go down in the next decade of the web.

It’s not just economic progress. It’s global, thermonuclear economic progress. Who will be there with me? Krugman, will you?

Howard Lindzon is a hedge fund manager since 1998. He is also the creator of Wallstrip.com (purchased by CBS in 2007) and now the cofounder of Stocktwits.com. Howard is also a partner in Knight’s Bridge Capital Partners a Private Equity Firm in Toronto, Canada. He blogs at www.howardlindzon.com and tweets at www.twitter.com/howardlindzon