Jun 19


On June 12, Flickr introduced localisation – that is local language and country versions – of their site in 7 different flavours. These were French, Germany, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Traditional Chinese. In what appears to be a consequence to this extension, they also ran up against local laws (or interpretation of laws) that meant users in Germany, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore were restricted to safe search only, resulting in a storm of comment (most vocally from Germany) accusing Flickr of censorship.

And now YouTube have announced their localisation, with an extension into 9 more domains. As more than half their users are outside the US, it’s probably about time.

Today at a Google press event in Paris, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen are announcing the launch of nine new domains in Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Ireland, and the UK.

All of the language has been translated (and the UK/IE versions are different to the US – they’ve corrected the spelling!) and all are on new URLs. They have not touched the countries/languages that have given so much trouble for Flickr and have some interesting gaps. There also seems to be less advertising (currently) on the local sites; however, local content distribution deals have been done in these markets to add to the ‘professional’ content on the site which will be a revenue stream and I’m sure advertising will catch up.

What I can’t seem to find out is whether uploading to one version makes your video available to the other versions. The home pages are localised as to content – they are the result of an editorial decision. The browsing and listing pages are also localised, there are different in different markets. Looking at the honour listings for some of the video it looks like the US version has been set to the global resource and then each market has it’s own honour listings. Which seems to mean that whilst I can tell how a video would be doing in somewhere like the UK, I can’t easily pull out the US figures. Does this mean all the video ranking sites are going to be changing their results over the next few weeks?

Apr 20

Video connections

I spent a fair bit of last night (when I wasn’t travelling back to work because I’d left my keys there) watching live video streams. The first was from Chris Pirillo; tuning into Chris I found him talking to Kosso, whom I mentioned in an earlier post. Sharing the broadcast with Chris was Eric Rice and he was later joined by Ben Metcalfe. With 2 laptops set up, I could have the video in one place and the chat and other browsers open in the other so I could multitask and it came closer to tv type entertainment, in the background until something interesting happening.

Over the course of the evening, there around 120 people in the chat, on average (I think). Many of these had come from various forums and sites or from the front page of ustream and were asking the questions about why this was being done, why people were watching it etc. I know why I was watching it – I read the blogs of Chris and Eric and I know Kosso and Ben in person. I was also trying to get my head round the service and see how if it could be used at work. By making it easy to set up and stream, from a mobile situation, it opens up the possibilities to allow direct connection with users of a brand. So far, these are what immediately spring to mind.

  • Straightforward sponsorship. For someone with a following in the right demographic, sponsoring their costs is a good way of connecting with that demo, in an unobtrusive way.
  • Adding it onto an event. If a brand is running some kind of event, then it can be extended out to the web to increase the audience. Live streaming and feedback to the people on camera through the chat. Even if only a couple of hundred (there are scaling issues at the moment) they are likely to be early adopters and ‘sneezers’, spreading the word. Capturing the live feed and posting it later also increases the spread.
  • You could take this slightly further and add the feed into banner ads. More disruptive but able to spread to a wider interested audience but may be prevented by the scaling issues
  • Supplementing a chat. One of the brand I work on already runs chats a few times a year; adding video to this would increase the value and the engagement as the attendees get to see the hosts.

There’s bound to be more once I get my head around it more. This is not currently mass media, but for offering a direct and immediate connection between a brand and its fans, it could be perfect.

Apr 19

The spread of the machine is us/ing us

If you read tech blogs regularly, you’ll have seen this video:

A sublime introduction to how the web is changing. Sue Thomas, a wonderful woman I bumped into a Blogher, has a post about her experience at the Web2.0 conference, where she met up with Mike Wesch who explained how it spread:

Wesch explained that he had made the video to accompany an academic journal paper, and sent it to two techies and eight anthropology colleagues to check out whether it worked – something we’ve all done lots of times. One of the anthropologists posted it on a blog with three users (according to Wesch) and within no time at all he had collected 100 views on YouTube. He was incredibly excited. When it hit 253 views he was so proud he told his Department Head. The next day he woke up to find himself featured on his own DIGG front page. Then he got 450 Diggs. That weekend he and his wife stayed up late watching the numbers rise. On 2 Feb his video went to the top 5 on youtube and stayed there for 3 weeks, dislodging even Superbowl adverts. Within a week of posting it was on 6000 blogs according to Technorati, and after a week mentions of it began to appear in newsprint. After another week, it had appeared in papers in every continent around the globe.

Apr 17

Kosso on Ustream

We’ve had justin.tv and now the Podtech guys Robert Scoble and Jeremiah Owyang are walking around Web2.0 with their live streaming on Ustream, which is a great way to see the some of the conference without having to do the travel. And Ustream is open for all to stream their life to the web. Kosso, who has previously streamed his audio and music collection, has now added the video to the mix, so I can listen to his music and a surreal one-sided conversation as he talks back to people on the IRC or just rants in general.

Kosso on ustream

Mar 29

Blogger Samples

Tonight at the Problogger meetup, I met up with Keith, from vibrator.com (do you need a warning that that link is NSFW?) As an e-commerce site, it is very web2.0; there’s a pretty good blog, all the right prompts to delicious, digg, technorati etc and the UGC competition – submit your own erotic story.

Furthermore Keith is quite happy for bloggers to get samples to test and blog about – and I’m pretty sure he won’t need them back 😉 Considering the other blog is called Behind the Buzz, that could be something to think about!

Feb 15

Pushing a Community around Jericho

Over the last few days I’ve been working my way through all the back episodes of Jericho from CBS. As I usually do, I turn to Wikipedia to see if there any additional pieces of information to add to my enjoyment of the show (I’m a trivai freak at times). The show has a loyal base of online fans, as the wiki episode guides are pretty complete, which is not always the case; if you take a look at the CSI listings there’s very little info there which I find surprising for one of the biggest programmes on TV.

BUT CBS are obviously aware of the fans need to add to the show experience; they have created their own wiki for people to update. You don’t have to sign in to edit and they’ve even created a very nice editing tool so you do not have to know the arcane mark-up language.

Jericho Wiki

But you are not getting the same contributions as wikipedia are getting. It’s easier, there are a lot more show assets that can be used, there’s a reasonably active message board on the site that demonstrates that fans are involved, but little action to document the show. So some thoughts about why not:

  • Wikipedia is a known place to put the information so anyone who wants to document the show goes there, despite it being slightly easier to add images to the CBS wiki
  • The fans who connect on the message board are not fans who want to document the show in a wiki – they want to discuss, not record.
  • There is a fear that the work that would be put into documenting the show would disappear from the CBS site; the effort is better being put into something that will last longer.

Whatever the reason for the reduced participation in documenting the episodes they are doign a lot of other things to gain interest in the show, with online chats, Q&A for the producers and just a lot of extra content.

Dec 17

Time Person of the Year

Is me. And you. And everyone who uses this wonderful piece of technology called the internet to share their opinions, life, creativity and just everyday stuff with the rest of the world. Even if you are just famous for 15 people and they are just family and friends you would see everyday, the medium and the tools that are being created allow you to do just so much more.

I liked the way they have put Mylar on the cover the print version, to reflect your image back at you. The ordered 6,965,000 pieces and it must have taken some doing to get that on the cover. They look atthe usual suspects, second life, the rise of always there media through digital cameras and cellphones, the change to democracy, Web2.0 and much more besides in a manner that does get to the human centre, whether that is good or bad. Take a look – well worth a read.

Posted in UGC
Nov 28

Web Video Hosting

How many video sites are there now? Plenty, and they are still popping up every week. YouTube is the biggest but Google are still pushing theirs despite buying YT, Microsoft recently launched theirs and Revver is going strong with the shared revenue model. Chris Pirillo takes a look at three key players in this string of videos. The key is to start them all at the same time, starting from the top…and let them interact.

Actually, it does not make too much difference where you start them from as each service has a different load time. YouTube starts quickly and easily, Google goes away and buffers for a while and Revver is the slowest to start by far. Starting them in any order provides these results.

Nov 27

BBC UGC – Yes or No?

User Generated Content, Citizen media, particpatory content. Whatever you call it, it’s not going away and the number of advertisers jumping on the bandwagon with various degrees of success increases everyday. The BBC has been there for a while and now we have two stories demonstrating various successes.

In the first, BBC News 24 has started a programme made up of news stories sent in by the public, to “reflect the stories catching our audience’s eye and talking to them directly about the issues they feel really matter.”

In the second, the editor of Newsnight is suggesting that UGC has not been forthcoming for a 2 minute slot on his programme, a chance to get your message in front of 1 million viewers, and he is calling out for entries. In the comments, the lack of response is put down to many reasons: no publicity and short notice; lack of payment when the BBC gets the rights; different demographics of the Newsnight audience vs the typical 16-24 creator; a feeling that it is the BBC’s job to create not the audiences; a feeling that UGC should stay online not in the TV. Also, the difficulty and difference in creating a short video as opposed to a well crafted written piece.

I don’t know why the difference, these are all valid reasons. Maybe because the two types of programme need a different discipline. The first, on a ‘cable’ channel, just asks you to send in things as you think about them and additional work will be done by the reporters. The second gives a finite time for you to create a story that will be shown to a far larger audience.

Nov 24

Starbucks – It’s Red Again

Starbucks’ itsredagain is their Holiday website.  It’s definitely multilingual, having you pass through 2 pages to choose your language and even gives a subtitle choice for those lacking speakers ;-).   There’s nothing groundbreaking here, with a choice of send your own greeting card or submit your Christmas tradition to be added to the interactive map.  But what is there is done well, very well.  Good creative, flowing usability, it;s about knowing what you want to do and executing superbly.   The page also links out to cheerpass.com, a blog for people to submit stories of random acts of kindness, creating a cheerpass to pass the story along and share the joy.   I was tickled by the Terms of Use agreement, where I agree to submit my data to the US “a jurisdiction that may not have the same level of data protection laws as my home country.” a clear statement that once my data is on a US server, I no longer own it.

Nov 08

YouTube: Time Invention of the Year

Yes, the writers at Time do know the actual site went live last year. But they are celebrating the sheer power of the people who have made the site their own.

“But even though they built it, they didn’t really understand it. They thought they’d built a useful tool for people to share their travel videos. They thought people might use it to pitch auction items on eBay. They had no idea. They had opened a portal into another dimension.”

They identify three trends that lead to its success:

1. cheap video recorders and cameraphones gave far more the ability to make videos

2. The changes in the web that lets people connect, create and share

3. The cultural shift that means people no-longer care for top-down controlled messages. The removal of the filters is here.

YouTube is ultimately more interesting as a community and a culture, however, than as a cash cow. It’s the fulfillment of the promise that Web 1.0 made 15 years ago. The way blogs made regular folks into journalists, YouTube makes them into celebrities. The real challenge old media face isn’t protecting their precious copyrighted material. It’s figuring out what to do when the rest of us make something better. As Hurley puts it, “How do you stay relevant when people can entertain themselves?” He and his partners may have started YouTube, but the rest of us, in our basements and bedrooms, with our broadband and our webcams, invented it.

So we are all winners here, the people who add the 70k videos a day and the rest of us who watch 100m a day. We are the ones that made the difference.

Nov 07

Chevy Life – more living in cars

There’s obviously something in the air, maybe the high property prices, but, following Nissan, another car manufacturer has decided that their vehicles are perfect to live in.  This time it is Chevy, who are running the Aveo Livin’ Large Campus Challenge‘.  I’m late on this as it finished last week,

The “AVEO Livin’ Large Challenge” is a nationwide program in which two students on eight different campuses are living in the big and roomy interior of a Chevy AVEO from Oct. 30th – Nov. 3rd, competing to see who can “live the largest.”

With only class- and bio-breaks, these students, through Web cams, blogs and a highly visible location, are spending their entire week in full view of their campus peers as well as students across the country.

Who wins is determined by YOU. Watch, Predict, Vote.

They put the teams through a series of challenges, videoed them, got them blogging throughout the week and then got people to vote for the teams via text (not sure if via the site as well).   It’s hitting a lot of the right buttons for a digital interactive campaign here and from appearances, it got some traction.

Looking at the product site, I’m guessing the college student is one of their key targets.  A entry level car (I guess, cars not being my thing really), they hit 7 large potential markets and generate a lot of buzz about the car, (technorati search).   We’ll probably get a few more of these types of campaigns in the next few months, each slightly more outrageous than the last.