Sunday, October 08, 2006

North Korea's nuclear test

North Korea has claimed it made a nuclear test on this monday morning at 10:35AM local time.
Reports show that this claim is true. The USGS Earthquake hazards program has detected an earthquake at the exact same moment (10:35am local time) in North Korea, approximately 45 miles North of Kimchaek.
The quake has a magnitude of 4.2 and a detected depth of 0 km. It's location is 41.311°N, 129.114°E.
Further details can be found on this USGS page

Monday, September 25, 2006

Checking Google earth's 3D features

I was on a flight between Paris and San Francisco last week when we flew over Greenland. The view was awesome, I felt I HAD to take some pictures.
I looked up the places on Google Earth and here is a comparison of the real picture and the Google Earth 3D modelization.
Pretty close to reality, isn't it?

This post was featured on Digg's first page. Thank you to the hundreds of diggers and the thousands of visitors!
Feel free to contact me at greenlandplane-at-gmail(dot)com if you are interested in a higher-resolution version or in other pics of Greenland taken on the same day.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Why time is traffic

Many people out there are looking for good ways to make traffic, generate clicks and get audience. It might be by hitting to the top stories on Digg, spamming forums and vaguely related blogs... but most of the time the easiest way to get a large audience is to think in those terms: "Time is traffic".

Whenever a global event occurs, the first people out to exploit it harvest big amounts of clicks, and big money. Let's take the World Cup Final between France and Italy last month. Zidane's headbutt on an italian player was seen by a billion viewers. A few hours after the match Zanot, an italian programmer, designed a game in which you control Zidane and headbutt an italian player. Zanot's webpage received millions and millions of visitors in a few days. His game became The game for one week, hitting record audience in France, Italy but also in South Korea, Japan and many other countries. Take a look at the flash game if you haven't yet (it's here), you will see that it is poorly designed and rapidly becomes boring. There are thousands of better flash games out there. Why did this one become a hit? Because it was the first flash game on the net to relate to the event.
The same was true for the first out to exploit the massive leak of search data by AOL this month. It took only several hours for people to develop web-based search tools to navigate through all this data, to design sites referencing the strangest weirdest searches and users. These guys also got a "place under the sun" - with millions of hits - and their sites are still running high. The best example is, a site that was immediately mentioned on major web-related news sites.

So whenever something special happens - whereas it is a big event, an unusual one or whatever - you might want to use it, exploit it, be part of the first ones and take your share of the cake. Next time Janet Jackson shows one of her tits on TV, make a game out of it. Or just make a website to reference jokes and cartoons on the event, or create a blog on the matter, or... Well, whatever you do, do something. It does not cost much, but if you are out early, you will rocket up. It does not need to be excellent, but be quick. Time is traffic.

Digging empty shells

The Web 2.0 is a hot spot. Websites and startups are launched at a high pace and the big trouble for all the newcomers is to catch attention. The traditional strategy has been to create a site and to Google it. But now things change. Webdevelopers rely more on more on the "Digg an empty shell" strategy, trashing down Digg with ad-like posts. Here's why. Here's how.

Developers don't spend hours, days, weeks on developing a website the way they did a few years ago. Leveraging a complete, well-functioning website from the beginning is just not worth it.

The Thing is to create an empty shell. Call it an alpha version or a pre-Beta-version. When they have an idea, webdevelopers just buy a domain name, design a few pages to describe it, and add "This service will soon be available in its Beta Version. Please come back to check updates". They often also add a registration feature. Any visitor who adds his email address will be warned once the website is open. Such empty shells are perfect ways to gauge the potential market and the interest visitors have for the new idea.

Take for example (ironically the name of this site was well chosen!). The website has been online for 3 months now but is still completely empty. It boasts a brand new idea: Monetizing waiting lists, but no functionalities are accessible. Visitors have not been able to test it. Still, it has been dugg, techcrunched and blogged. So much fuss around an empty shell?

You might think that during this time, the webdeveloper is working hard, programming, developing. Well in many cases you would be wrong. (I can not tell about the specific case of SuperOyster, I am just talking about the general case here). Most of the time he is not. He is just as lazy as most of us and only wants to work if he believes the thing will really work. So the "empty shell" is just designed to see if the idea is popular or not.

The only thing he has to do once the shell is online is to Digg it. Then, wait for the diggs, wait for the big fishes to nap and see the database get filled with email address. Once the number of addresses reaches a certain limit, the development can really start. Else it will just die out.

So yes, Digg is trashed with empty shells, most of which will never contain anything. But that's not all. Websites also put "Digg it" links on their pages. Take a look at WeGottaEat. The question is just, why are you going to Digg something you can't test? The invitation systems are often completely blocked until large amounts of email addresses have been gathered, so in most cases, you can't expect to test it until quite some time.

For the information, WeGottaEat was posted on Digg half an hour ago, see here. I'm looking forward to seeing the number of Diggs they will get...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Salesforce to introduce new Google Adwords product

The search engine market and the related advertisement market is evaluated to billions of dollars, but there is only a limited number of solutions to analyze this market, especially for small firms.

Trying to address this problem, Salesforce is about to launch a new service that they call Salesforce for Google Adwords. The launch is programmed for Tuesday. What is this new product? It is simply a product aimed at helping small and mid-sized enterprises to track words on search engines and on Google Adwords, as well as measure purchases and so on. ROI calculations should also be included. This should help webdevelopers make the right choice both on keywords and pricing. The whole will be available for free during the first 30-day trial and then cost $300 per month.

Check it out at > Marketing Category > Search Marketing.