Google buys DoubleClick

[via NYTimes]

Google is acquiring online ad company DoubleClick for US$3.1 billion in cash, almost double the $1.65 billion in stock that Google paid for YouTube late last year.

In a single stroke Google has entered the online display ads market and captures US$300 million more ad revenue per annum to push banner ads into major sites such as MySpace, The Wall Street Journal and AOL.

“Google really wants to get into the display advertising business in a big way, and they don’t have the relationships they need to make it happen,” said Dave Morgan, the chairman of Tacoda, an online advertising network. “But DoubleClick does. It gives them immediate access to those relationships.”

Two pieces of the pie includes DoubleClick’s streaming video ad specialist KlipMart and a new Nasdaq-like exchange for online ads, where Web publishers and advertising buyers can participate in auctions for ad space.

What makes a good audio slideshow

“own voice, tightly edited gallery, stellar photography…”

Survival stories always work. This year’s The National Press Photographers Association’s best audio slideshow 2007, “A Prayer For Father Tim”, by Jim Gehrz and the Minneapolis Star Tribune proved that point.

Full list of winners, judges’ comments, read comments Keith Jenkins, and hear the Judges’ podcast. [via Angela Grant]

Best of TED Talks

The talks at TED, the annual technology, entertainment and design conference at Monterey, California are incredibly addictive.

If you want to be inspired and mature overnight, I would recommend getting to a fast connection and downloading every video on this page.

Bravo to Chris Anderson and BMW for putting all this for free online and allowing us to peek into the minds of some of most brilliant and talented people in the world.

Every 20-minute presentation is mind-blowing. A quick and arbitrary top 20:
1. Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce and the marketing genius of Howard Moskowitz.
2. Ray Kurzweil on exponential growth of information processing that will enable us to reengineer the brain and extend aging.
3. Hans Rosling on the creation of GapMinder and how stats when visualized correctly brings better understanding to big issues of economics.
4.Sir Ken Robinson on how traditional education is failing our children.
5. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, for a non-religious view of his book.
6. Larry Brilliant on the eradication of smallpox.
7.Jeff Han for his amazing demo of the multi-touch screen.
8.Eve Ensler on the Vagina Monologues.
9.Mena Trott on her very personal blogging journey and the creation of Six Apart.
10. Ze Frank who is just plain funny.
11.Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, on the economics of drug dealing.
12.Eva Vertes, on how a young mind thinking out of the box can make a difference.
13.Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine that debunks alien kidnappings and mysterious apparitions.
14. Rives for his fresh take on the Internet via poetry.
15.Richard St John for his 3-minute powerpoint on how to succeed in life.
16. Dr Dean Ornish on how a few small lifestyle changes can save lives.
17.Anna Deveare-Smith for her theatrics.
18.Janine Benyus for biomimicry and how we need to learn from our older cousins on Earth on how to stay here.
19. Wade Davis on the preservation of the diversity of cultures.
20. Iqbal Quadir on the GrameenPhone.


Jeff Hess’ digital chapbook

Stumbled on Jeff Hess’ digital chapbook with some great quotes from the books he likes:

From The Poetry of Lu Chi…

Sometimes the words come freely;
sometimes we sit in silence,
gnawing on a brush.

(From Choosing Words p. 12)

Not-knowing is like grabbing
the tail to direct the head
of a dragon.

(From On Harmony p. 17)

From Bradbury Speaks, by Ray Bradbury

Those who do not live in the future will be trapped and die in the past. (p. 107)

“Because.” Which is the best reason for writers to go a-journeying. (p. 120)

From The Noodle Maker by Ma Jian

“We’re finished,” she told the professional writer when she visited his room one night, half drunk. “This generation knows nothing about suffering, or isolation. Their hearts are numb.”

“And what good does isolation bring?” the writer asked.

“They just don’t take life seriously.”

“Neither did I at their age.”

“Writing demands complete sacrifice. You must pour your soul into the work. Every word has to be paid for in sweat and blood.”

“But if you cut yourself off from today’s world, how can you hope to write about it?” the writer said.

“Writers are the products of their times. A shallow world produces shallow writers. I can’t help missing those years we spent in the re-education camps.”

“The world has moved on,” the writer said. “You’ve been left behind. Those young women understand today’s society better than you. Perhaps a purer form of literature will emerge from their numb minds. They have no prejudice, no interest in politics. Their problems are pretty personal. But your time is already over.” (p. 88-)

From The Courage To Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes

“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads.” –Erica Jong. (p. 64)

“You go to the dark places so that you can get there, steal the trophy and get out,” said [Frederick] Busch. “That is more important that to be psychologically safe.” (p. 67)

Lawrence Block spent a long apprenticeship producing hack fiction. Too long. After he wrote a mainstream novel in the early 1960s, a Random House editor suggested some changes. This made Block angry. He withdrew the manuscript and went back to writing pot boilers. It took Block years to realize the real reason he hadn’t responded to this editor’s suggestions was fear that he couldn’t pull the project off. As he finally concluded, his anger at her “was simply a smokescreen I had thrown up to conceal my fear from myself.” I would be another fourteen years before Lawrence Block started writing the Matt Scudder mysteries that won him critical acclaim and devoted readers. “Fear is the mind killer,” he concluded, “an unacknowledged fear is the worst kind.” (p. 93)


YouTube-ing the Elections

[via MediaPost]

The guy who posted the anti-Hillary, Big Brother/Apple 1984 edit, says ominously:

“There are thousands of other people who could have made this ad, and I guarantee that more ads like it–by people of all political persuasions–will follow,” says Phil de Vellis, the creator of the ad, on the blog after he was named in a previous post.

Vellis, from Blue State Digital, the company that works for the Barack Obama campaign, resigned from his position after the confession. Apparently, he did it on his own, and had no hand in the Obama account.

Undoubtedly, YouTube will be the platform of choice for smear campaigns and dirty tactics in the next elections.

News sites have banner year


News Sites Score in 2006, Print Down But Still Makes More Money
Philip M. Stone March 20, 2007

US newspaper advertising figures for 2006 tell the tale better than words. Print advertising was down by some US$800,000 which is 1.7% less than the year before, and Online continues fantastic growth with 31.5%, about US$637,000 more than the year before.

(Print advertising at U.S. newspapers in 2006 was US$46.6 billion, compared to US$2.7 billion for online)

But the end of the day the Internet’s gains failed to surpass print’s losses.

Numbers released by the Newspaper Association of America indicate that the financial revenue health at newspapers is getting markedly worse.

“When will the gains online offset the declines in print? In fairness, we do not believe there is an answer to that question yet,” said Merrill Lynch media analyst Lauren Rich Fine.

Time magazine fakes Reagan’s tear

How far can you take Photoshop without offending the masses, and denting the credibility of your newsmagazine? Time magazine found out this week, with a fake tear running down the face of a much-admired, two-term, dead president Ronald Reagan.

The photo and story entitled “How the right went wrong” was obviously meant to be provocative. I am quite sure the editor of the day knew what he was doing. Feigning surprise at the backlash of defacing the Teflon President, and the Great Communicator, just seems so fake in itself. Own up, apologize and move on.

[via Press]

A story in Flash that doesn’t suck

[via Lucas Grindley]

I have always been irked by stories in Flash that take so long to download. And when it finally does, it adds additional Flash layer after layer that also needs more time downloading. Worse still are designs where the Flash text is too tiny to read, and un-magnify-able or placed on backgrounds that make it difficult to make out.

Every now you and then you come across a story that reads well in Flash.

Like’s Broken Trust. A lot of thought went into the design and it’s simple and clean and very easy to navigate.

Kudos to the designer and the multimedia producer! My one gripe is the inability to Print except via Flashpaper.


Telling hard news via cartoons

Telling the digital news story in cartoons? For a sensitive topic where names and faces cannot be shown, the CBBC, I think successfully pulled off this package about child poverty.

Tim Levell explains it in his blogpost.

Warning: Those with crappy broadband, click on the pause button to let it download before kicking off the flash cartoons of Dillon, Danielle, Chris and friends.


Wonderful world of Wikis

Rachael King in Businessweek’s “No rest for wikis” on how companies like Intel, IBM, Sony, Disney and Microsoft have taken to wikis.

Some choice quotes:

“It’s a disruptive capability — it shakes things up,” Jeff Moriarty, of Intel, on Intelpedia, which has amassed 5,000 pages of content and garnered 13.5 million page views.

“The marketing people can get a sense of what’s coming their way, as well as the finance and legal people — anyone who needs to know the one-page overview of what’s going on,” says Ned Lerner,on Sony PlayStation’s wiki.

“We’re able to make decisions quicker,” says Ernest Kayinamura, on Enel’s wiki. “The response from business-development managers has been very positive, as this has reduced the amount of time needed for due diligence to close a deal.” Enel North America is one of the largest utilities in Europe, uses its wiki to track developments in the U.S. energy market to effectively communicate news with the parent company in Italy and its 56,000 people worldwide.

“It’s allowing us to enter new markets where the market isn’t large enough to localize documentation,” says Molly Bostic on Microsoft’s Visual Studio wiki which has documentation in Portuguese and helped Microsoft expand into Brazil.

Over time, as wikis begin to get a critical mass of information, they tend to sprawl and become unwieldy. “You need some kind of person who sees the long-term consequences of not organizing,” says the Marshall School’s Majchrzak. Most often, individual contributors are not the people who will restructure existing content. Instead, that task is left to someone Majchrzak dubs the shaper—an employee who is willing to take time synthesizing information so it’s easy to read. Executives need to encourage shapers as much as individual contributors.


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