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I co-founded Digital Garage in 1994. My little web/IT company called Eccosys made a joint venture with and later merged with the Garage group headed by Kaoru Hayashi. The Garage group was involved in advertising, marketing and content. We were their little Internet engine that could. In the early days of Eccosys, I had been talking to Yahoo about doing Yahoo Japan. After Softbank invested, it was clear that I wasn't going to get to run Yahoo Japan. I was offered 1% of Softbank Japan by Masa Son, but I turned it down. (Maybe I should have taken it. ;-P) Soon after, I was contacted from a friend at Infoseek about starting Infoseek Japan. We quickly shifted gears and started getting Infoseek Japan up. Softbank set up a joint venture with Dentsu, the #1 ad agency in Japan and called it Cyber Communications. They were tasked with figuring out how to sell ads on Yahoo Japan and interfacing with the agencies. We turned around and got Hakuhodo the #2 agency, Asatsu the #3 agency, Daiichi Kikaku, Yomiuri Kokoku and Daiko and created the Digital Advertising Consortium (DAC). In aggregate, these ad agencies approximately equalled Dentsu in size.
Infoseek had pioneered the idea of CPM ads, selling inventory based on impressions. At the time, none of the ad agencies liked the idea or thought they could sell it to their customers. They understood television GRP, but it was really a measurement of effect. The notion that you could sell ads by how many people actually viewed it, instead of the "value of the spot" was sort of a non-starter. We set up a study group/feasibilty study period for six months where we had people from all of the member agencies come together and talk and learn and eventually try to explain to sales teams in their respective groups. Infoseek launch around 6 months after Yahoo Japan, and we launched with a healthy rotation of ads.
Eventually, Internet ads were a big success and and CCI and DAC are now both public companies. Infoseek Japan now lives inside of Rakuten and is still one of the top portals in Japan, outliving the parent which was purchased and smothered inside of Disney.
In reflection, Infoseek and "home pages" didn't take off in the way I imagined. I thought we would have a lot more personal publishing. Instead, we ended up with big sites that were for all practical purposes, professional media sites. I had dreams of "the death of advertising" 10 years ago and had thought that personal publishing and targeted advertising would disinter-mediate some of the lying and stupidity. We didn't get that far.
So here we are - blogs, wikis, tags, Technorati, RSS/Atom, and the web looks a lot more like what I had envisioned 10 years ago. The online ad business is more innovative than its old media counterpart, but it has become mostly an inventory/sales business. So lets try this again. This time, we decided to hook up with Dentsu the #1 ad agency, Asatsu the #3 ad agency and CCI, the competitor to the company we set up to sell Infoseek ads.
Although I don't like the word "Consumer" in the "Consumer Generated Media Marketing" name, the idea behind this company is to try to take it the next step. (I wish we could use "user") At the first meeting yesterday, I said that I thought that advertising, PR and marketing would converge into "communications". That companies that created or improved good/great products would communicate with their users and that it was about getting involved in the conversation. It was not about spending money to force yourself in front of people who didn't want to hear about your message. It was also not about charging people to participate in "content". It was about people having conversation and about companies knowing when, how and where to say the right thing so that they contributed to the conversation and were welcome in it.
Clearly, the first step is to figure out things like ads that are smart about blogs, tags, time, context. It is also about treating the blogger and the advertiser equally where the ads reflected the desire of the person having the conversation as well as the desires of companies to participate in them.
I was saying all of this in a room full of ad agency executives. It is always sort of funny talking about the end of people's businesses. On the other hand, many of the senior members there were the same guys I was talking to 10 years ago trying to explain CPM and banner ads. I felt privileged to be allowed some suspension of disbelief as well as some trust that we'd try to figure out where the business was. (I don't think anyone REALLY thought that DAC was going to become a public company 10 years ago.)
I think the world is more complex than back in the Infoseek days, but we have a lot more experience and trust this time around. It was a really nice feeling shaking hands with people I hadn't seen for almost a decade - all of us very eager to work together again. This time we get to skip the phase where they think I'm crazy and jump right into figuring out the ad business around Technorati Japan, Six Apart Japan and hopefully soon Japanese Wikia. Technorati is the "secret sauce" and shiny new thing that Infoseek had been 10 years ago.
I am going to be on the board of this company, but will not run it. My role will be to bring new things to them, try to help them with their bearings and stir things up once in awhile.
Disclosures/disclaimer: I am an investor in Technorati, Six Apart and Wikia. I'm an advisor to Digital Garage. Digital Garage is the Japanese partner for Technorati and operates Technorati Japan. I am on the board of and GM of International for Technorati, I am the chairman of Six Apart Japan. I am on the board of Technorati Japan and and am involved heavily in its operation.
Dave has posted Part 1 of another round of his now regular State of the Blogosphere reports. Part 1 is about Blogosphere Growth.
Here is the Summary:
* Technorati now tracks over 27.2 Million blogsSee his blog post for pretty charts and lots of details.
* The blogosphere is doubling in size every 5 and a half months
* It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
* On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
* 13.7 million bloggers are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
* Spings (Spam Pings) can sometimes account for as much as 60% of the total daily pings Technorati receives
* Sophisticated spam management tools eliminate the spings and find that about 9% of new blogs are spam or machine generated
* Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour
* Over 81 Million posts with tags since January 2005, increasing by 400,000 per day
* Blog Finder has over 850,000 blogs, and over 2,500 popular categories have attracted a critical mass of topical bloggers
My Technorati ranking has become #104 and I've officially fallen off the Technorati top 100. Powerlaw, schmowerlaw. If you don't blog often or maintain a stream of interesting content your ranking will quickly drop. Even at a lower level of output, my ranking has gone from my previous 40's and 50's to below 100. Obviously blogs that continue to be interesting like Boing Boing keep the #1 position, but the amount of churn at the lower levels is encouraging. Although I didn't conduct this experiment on purpose, it's interesting data. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see how much sheer number of posts vs interesting posts can increase rank and traffic. More posts means more pages to view as well a higher likelihood that someone will link to you.
That's a lot of blogs. I wouldn't say "20 million can't be wrong" (because history tells us otherwise) but blogging is clearly more of a trend now than a "fad".Kevin Marks20 million served
Technorati passed 20 million blogs today. The 20 millionth was Les CE2/CM2 Anquetil, a blog from an elementary school in Reims, France, in the heart of Champagne country. They started the blog to celebrate running 2 miles in a Relay Marathon.
I'm sure that people who use Technorati have been frustrated lately by Cosmos search (or URL search) timing out occasionally. Dave has posted an update on the work being done. Thank you for your patience.
We just launched the Technorati Live 8 site.
Joe Trippi called us about two weeks ago with this idea. Thanks to a guest appearance of Suw Charman as the producer of the site and extra hard work by the Technorati team, we were able to get this site out in time.
We've also put together some resources to help you find your way around Live 8 and the blog world:
What is Live 8? Which organisations are behind Live 8?
Are you new to blogging? Find out what it's all about.
Get a Live 8 badge for your blog.
Join in the conversation and find out how to make your posts show up on Technorati.
Do more than just blog - contact the G8 leaders.
The posts listed on the Technorati Live 8 site have been written by bloggers worldwide and appear in real time from Technorati's index of 1.1 million blogs. Find out more about Technorati.
This is such a good opportunity for nations like the United States and Japan to helped their damaged images and also show their solidarity to a cause that they shouldn't have to think twice about. I'm amazed at how poor the response of some of the developed nations has been to this call. Hopefully this concert and the voice of the blogs will help get their attention.
Technorati Tags: live8
After months of work by the teams at Digital Garage and Technorati, we are happy to launch the Technorati Japan beta site. I noticed that some of the Japanese bloggers had already discovered our alpha site and some of the the feedback from the blogs have been incorporated into the new version that we launched today. Check out the Japanese news talk, book talk, Japanese top 100 and other features and let us know what you think.
We are still working on finding all of the bugs and figuring out exactly what the Japanese blogging community would find the most useful so your feedback and comments would be greatly appreciated. We will be working actively on improving the site and rolling out a few more features soon. Please feel free to comment here, blog on your blog send trackbacks to our blog or send us email.
Thanks again for waiting. We look forward to working with you to make Technorati a useful piece of the Japanese Internet.
Sorry for horn tooting, but that's a lot of blogs.Sifry's AlertsTen Million Blogs Tracked
This weekend Technorati tracked its 10 Millionth Blog. It is a chinese blog, on mblogger.cn, and it appears to be a blog talking about glassblowing, with some really cool pictures. Unfortunately I don't read Chinese so I can't tell...
Had a wonderful time yesterday at Les Blogs in Paris and enjoyed meeting all of the new people as well as old friends. I haven't been to many blogger conferences for awhile so I found the presentations and discussions a good way to catch up on what people were doing and thinking. Thanks for organizing this Loic.
I'm off to Tokyo today for some meetings and eventually a few days off next week.
You can now query Technorati for advanced search terms such as tsunami AND ("red cross" OR "red crescent") and it will give you all of the blog posts in order by how long ago they were posted that include the word "tsunami" and either "red cross" or "red crescent". You can then click "Make this a Watchlist" and create an RSS feed so you can track all new posts that match that query in your news reader.
Technorati and Digital Garage just announced that they will work together to set up Technorati Japan which will be established as a subsidiary of Digital Garage and will distribute Technorati services in Japan. I am a co-founder and former co-CEO of Digital Garage. Digital Garage was a company that Kaoru Hayashi and I established in 1994 and we merged his advertising business and my Internet business together. We ran the company together and did a bunch of things like bring Infoseek to Japan. I later left the company to help run Infoseek Japan when it was spun out. This is the first real work I've done with Digital Garage since I left. It is really deja vu. When we brought Infoseek to Japan, people didn't understand the concept of ad impressions and we had to do a lot of teaching. We had to explain that impressions and clickthroughs could be measured unlike sponsorships and ads in magazines.
With Technorati Japan, we're going to go through a similar process again, this time explaining that it's now about conversations. We need to explain that companies and people can see what other people are saying in real time and participate in the conversations, and that it's not about banner ads anymore. I'm also excited that we will soon have a Japanese Technorati site for all of the Japanese bloggers.
We hope to get the service running sometime next year, but we're going to get started right away trying to get people to understand what this real live web and conversation stuff is all about.
Obviously, Japan is just the first step in our international strategy, but it's nice being able to do it with a team that I know and trust. It's also fun watching my old family meet and work with my new family. And last but not least, welcome to our family Gen. Gen left Sony and joined Digital Garage to work on Technorati Japan.
Put Technorati in your browser and get a cosmos wherever you are.
A must for anyone interested in hacking on Technorati.
Dave has posted an update on the situation at Technorati. Quick summary: Fixed a bunch of things to get the CNN thing done on time, but broke some other things in the process. We're very sorry. Apologies also for being unresponsive. Thank you very much for your feedback and patience and we'll try harder to address the issues.
Here is the first CNN/Technorati daily blog roundup for the DNC by our very own Dave Sifry.