… Do I have a valuable PO Box or what?

Funny – just after writing about Talent real estate in my post this morning I got a spam email from So. California lending place today that said:

There is a new lending program for homes such as yours on Po Box 141 that have become available based on the dramatic value increase in the Talent area …

Sure, I’ll borrow based on the new, huge value of my PO Box in Talent Oregon. Let’s be conservative and say $250,000. I need the money to remodel my PO Box so my kids don’t have to share a room.

Talent, Oregon Real Estate

Here in lovely Talent, Oregon the real estate prices have been going up in spectacular fashion. Until now. As a favor to my pal Jack Latvala I’m helping him set up a PPC campaign over at Star Properties, the closest thing to an official real estate office for Talent we have here. They also cover Ashland Oregon and have a lot of Ashland Oregon Real Estate listings as well as Talent Oregon Real Estate. Jack and Lynn are great to work with and are one of those rare brokerages that are more interested in helping people and the community than in landing the sales commission.

We’ll start with the $50 in free clicks from Google from SES and see if they can get any action from that bidding on terms like Talent Oregon, Talent Real Estate, Ashland Real Estate, etc. I’m very interested in this from a Search optimization perspective as well. Star would very reasonably be considered the most relevant site for Talent Real Estate, but probably not for Ashland Real Estate. However, the listing at the top for Ashland has a PR of only 2 and is not one of the big players there. I’m thinking he may be the cleverest one though as that’s a choice spot. In these “longer tail” areas we see that Google often fails to deliver the type of result you’d get if you asked a very knowlegeable local from Ashland about Real Estate, and I think this bodes well for Yahoo’s more humanized social search approaches.

Shhhhh! Don’t tell all those Web 2.0 companies that there really is no Web 2.0!

Over at Matt’s Place he noted some of his favorite 2.0 companies and asked for suggestions. What really surprised me was the number of people over there (a very tech savvy crowd) who, like Bill Gates, oddly question the significance of “Web 2.0” which is a significant development in the evolution of the internet.

As Tim OReilly, John Battelle, Mike Arrington and many others point out frequently, Web 2.0 is qualitatively different in terms of the way people use and process the growing body of internet info. Also, and perhaps most importantly, Web 2.0 is the begginning of how online communities are in the process of trumping online technologies. Myspace could hardly be described as a design or technological masterpiece, but it’s certainly a *community masterpiece* both literally and figuratively. Web 2.0 is “everybody’s” web, and that’s going to change the game. We just can’t know how.

I really like http://www.eventful.com – nice API and open approach.
Also liked several of the contenders at the recent MashupCamps in Mountain View.
http://weatherbonk.com (The Mashup 2 Winner)
http://podbop.org (Winner of Mashup 1)

Jeremy just pointed to a great Web 2.0 post by Dion that details seven ways to “embrace” the network and also has a nice summary of why Web 2.0 really is different.

Microsoft ads will monetize Facebook Faces

Nice play by Microsoft to capture future users, though I’m still very intrigued that all these models can thrive by giving users a very modest number of tools to put themselves online, providing common space for people, and then keeping all the money.    I don’t mind *sharing* some revenue with big players but I think it’s remarkable how people simply let the big players nab all the bucks that are the result of their collective …. efforts.

Even *current* Myspacers, most of whom are young teens, envy Facebook accounts which are more restrictive and targeted. I’d guess Facebook eyeballs will be worth 2+ times Myspace Eyeballs in terms of advertising value – maybe much more.

Why is everybody writing off MS and bearish on Yahoo? Once they stop being idiotic they’ll realize they have the same sized audience as Google and will monetize that viewership.

With Vista’s launch, MS will control viewers in ways only their lawyers know for sure.

Google’s at 60% of the search market.   That’s probably about as high as it will ever go.

Hot Apple ? Apple Battery Recall. Hot Dell? Go to ….

Before that nice Apple laptop burns up you’ll want to go to the Apple Battery exchange program and see if you need a new battery.

Dell also has a Dell Battery Exchange thing going and although I give them props for sending me a free new adapter because mine was overheating along with my laptop and non-recallable battery.   The battery does NOT appear to be the problem in my case though, as it stays cool to touch.

HOWEVER, even the NEW dell adapter is heating up as well. The 5100 Inspiron laptop bottom (it appears not to be the battery) gets SO hot I can’t hold it in my lap or leave it flush with a table. I’d read this was a dust thing and blowing out the dust helps, but I think it’s related to the way the unit is built as well. I’m guessing (wildly) that the exploding dells are simply on the end of the curve of millions of units that heat up to varying degrees due to design flaws.

WordPress noindex / nofollow problem solved

Last week I noticed my precious little blog posts, which have been nicely indexed by Google, were dropping out of the index like flies. Of course I should have checked the source code but it took Aaron’s note today to make me realize the blog was placing a noindex/nofollow everywhere, making it impossible to get indexed.

Appears this also happened to the illustrious Matt Mullenweg of WordPress fame, and there I learned to flip the “privacy” feature back to allow searches in.

To fix the WordPress NOINDEX NOFOLLOW problem click DASHBOARD > OPTIONS > PRIVACY and select to allow search engines.

I’m still a bit concerned that somebody may have done this maliciously, but never attribute to malice that which can be reasonably attributed to stupidity (or some bug in the system).

Anyway, who would stoop so low? Duck hunters?

CEO blogging brings CEO sympathy, so why not do it?

New York Times notes that only ONE of the Fortune 500 CEOs is a blogger. That would be Jonathan Schwartz from Sun, who’s also a very cool guy for supporting MashupCamps in Silicon Valley and sporting very long hair.

Should the other 499 CEOs be blogging? Even if we leave aside the challenges they’d face from SEC and shareholder scrutiny of every post, leaving them and the company open to liabilities, I’m not at all convinced that blogging is suitable to old style business models.

However, it’s VERY suitable to new style business models and I think the early Corporate CEO adopters like Parsons at GoDaddy and blog Maverick Mark Cuban are going to see a lot of long term value from the practice, especially if they are ever challenged by the very forces that keep other company leaders from blogging. If, for example, ICANN or the SEC challenged Bob Parsons or Mark Cuban on some aspect of their business I’d be a lot more sympathetic to their side of things because I’ve read these guys and know they are straight shooters who often wear their business decisions on their sleeve. Without blogs they’d just be big shadowy Corporate insiders, with them comes a sort of friendly transparency that Robert Scoble and Shel Israel note in their excellent book about this topic, Naked Conversations.

Mike Arrington – Selling eggs and serving beer to the Web 2.0 miners

In the California of 1850 the Gold miners rarely struck it rich, but many of the saloons, shops, and others who offered the miners a supporting infrastructure did very, very well.

156 years later things have not changed all that much.   Tens of thousands of people flock to Silicon Valley to make their fortunes.   They mine for electrons rather than gold, but only a handful strike it rich.

Enter Mike Arrington, the charming and very sharp fellow who runs TechCrunch, arguably the top Web 2.0 information watering hole in the blogosphere.

CNN Money has a great article about how Mike and a handful of other bloggers have launched publishing empires, rising from obscurity to international prominence over just the last few years.

Although Arrington has his hand and money invested in several Web 2.0 startups, I predict that, like the saloon keepers of 1850, his key contribution will be as a facilitator and information provider.

Cheers 2.0 Mr. Mike!

First Scoble, then Battelle! Web 2.0, are you bubbling?

John Battelle, always insightful, is worried about Web 2.0 as a bubble.    Given that he’s one of the great 2.0 enthusiasts this comes as a bit of a surprise.    John writes:

… one of the really cool things about Web 2 is that you can keep making new companies, see if they work, then disassemble them and try again. Only, that won’t happen if the companies are kept falsely alive by a preponderance of venture capital and VC-related spending …

It’s a very provocative point, and I can see this happening during trips to Silicon Valley where some of the efforts simply … suck … yet they have enough funding to keep on trying.   I’m not even convinced some of these folks believe in their companies – they just show up at the trade shows and go through the motions until the money runs out, then head to a new gig.

That said I’m not as worried as Scoble or Battelle about a bubble, because I think this is what is going on right now and I think it’s a healthy and natural, though “new”, model for business development.

* The internet business ecosystem is inherently unstable and ripe with uncertain outcomes.

* This instability and uncertainty leads to an experimental, rather than “sweat equity” approach to  building businesses.

* For the Venture Capital community the best approach is to fund many Web 2.0 startups at modest levels, hoping that perhaps one in ten will become a solid business OR an aquisiton target and yield 10-100x the VC investment.

* For the big players like Google, MSN, Yahoo, the best model is to let the new 2.0 companies shake out on their own and aquire the successful ones as Google did with Keyhole maps, Picasa, etc, etc and Yahoo with Flickr, del.icio.us, etc, etc.

Ummmmm …. but what is the best model for aspiring 2.0 companies?    I think it’s to stay away from the VC fray and build lots of *inexpensive* experiments.     One of the best examples of this approach is the brilliant site PlentyofFish.com by Markus Frind, which started almost as a lark and has become a top tier site in a short time.