Monday, January 18, 2010
  • Gavin O'Malley, January 18, 2010, 2:24 PM
  • In its ongoing search for a sustainable business model, The New York Times has certainly done its fair share of experimenting. Now, after several failed attempts at paid content, over a year of discussions, and multiple delays, New York Magazine reports that the Times is close to announcing -- if not actually launching -- a metered system, which would give non-paying readers access to select stories, while limiting full access (say, over 10 stories) to paying subscribers.

    But, as NY Mag says and paidContent also points out, the new model still faces a big problem: "Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the paper's publisher and chairman of the New York Times Co. has yet to make his choice known."

    And that's not the only problem with the system, writes Jeff Jarvis in The Faster Times. Under the headline, "The New York Times and the Cockeyed Economics of Metering Reading," Jarvis explains: "They would end up charging -- and, they should fear, sending away -- the readers who are worth the most while serving free those who are worth least."

    Why? Jarvis cites research conducted by News Corp., which found that, "readers who come via links from search and aggregators and bloggers and such are worthless because they're not local and they don't stay; they're one-click-wonders ... The readers who come back again and again, the ones you know more about and can rely on and target better and build relationships with, goes this logic, are worth more."

    Also of note, NY Mag points out the release of the Times' new model could be timed to sync with the release of the Apple Tablet.

    Or, as The Christian Science Monitor put it: "Speculation about the role of the Tablet in the Times' multimedia strategy roiled the Web this morning, as bloggers tripped over themselves to gather the latest news on the Apple Tablet."

    Late last year, bloggers had a field day when video leaked of Times executive editor Bill Keller mentioning an Apple "slate" in an off-the-record discussion with editorial staff. Read the whole story...
  • In the latest twist to the Chinese cyberattacks on Google, the search giant is asking whether one or more of its own employees in China might have been involved in the operation. Citing reports, the Guardian says Google is presently investigating the matter, even though the line of inquiry is a routine part of its investigation into any attack.

    What Google seems to know for sure about the attacks is that they were the work of professionals, originated in China, and targeted intellectual property and the email accounts of human rights activists. Citing two unidentified sources Reuters is reporting that the attacks, which targeted people with access to specific parts of Google networks, might have been helped by employees in the company's offices in China. Read the whole story...
  • Like Germany before it, France is now advising computer users to download any Web browser other than Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The move comes after it was discovered that Internet Explorer contained a serious security flaw that could be exploited by hackers and cyber-criminals, and was likely the cause of the Google-targeted cyberattacks in China last month. Last week, Microsoft admitted that its Internet Explorer browser was the weak link in recent attacks by hackers who pried in to the email accounts of human rights activists in China. The software giant, however, insisted that the German government had over-reacted about the threat posed by the vulnerability, and that general users were not at risk. Read the whole story...
  • At least according to TechCrunch, AOL is nurturing a Wikipedia-killer named Owl, but which is official being described as "a living, breathing library where useful knowledge, opinions and images are posted from experts the world over." TechCrunch further speculates that Owl is really a "testbed" for Seed -- AOL's new low-cost content management system for soliciting articles and photographs for its network of existing Websites. On that last point, AOL responded: "Owl was developed last year as one site that could publish content from Seed on a wide range of topics ... It is not currently being used, however."

    Owl is expected to crowdsource freelance work from "experts" who submit articles about movies, books, health, sports, money, parenting, computers, and other topics -- an "expert," according to TechCrunch, being anyone who gets approved through Seed. Read the whole story...
  • Giving local review sites more cause for concern, Google now seems to be looking beyond the range of traditional review sources to new, non-traditional sites like blogs, and even articles. Some, including Search Engine Land's Greg Sterling, believe that this could potentially complicate the emerging area of "reputation management" for local businesses.

    The immediate advantage for Google will likely be increasing the volume and coverage of reviews on its Place Pages service, and, according to Sterling, its unlikely that Google will fill its service with any local business mention. Rather, particular "hyper-local" blogs and niche sites are likely to gain significant influence -- if they're heavily relied upon by Google. Read the whole story...
  • Think mobile apps are a nickel-and-dimes market? Well, according to new Gartner research, consumers will spend $6.2 billion in mobile application stores this year while advertising revenue is expected to generate $0.6 billion worldwide. Overall, analysts say mobile application stores will exceed 4.5 billion downloads this year -- eight out of ten of which will be free to end users. Gartner forecasts worldwide downloads in mobile application stores to surpass 21.6 billion by 2013, while the share of free downloads will increase from 82% of all downloads in 2010 to 87% of all downloads in 2013.

    Worldwide, mobile application stores' download revenue exceeded $4.2 billion in 2009 and will grow to $29.5 billion by the end of 2013. This revenue forecast includes end-user spending on paid-for applications and advertising-sponsored free applications. Advertising-sponsored mobile applications will generate almost 25% of mobile application stores revenue by 2013. Read the whole story...