TechMeme, paid blogging, and Zunes

Lots of interesting tech news today from TechMeme which is starting to distinguish itself as “the place” for tech insiders as Digg and Technorati increasingly seek to cater to a huge audience and Slashdot remains problematic because it’s not as robust with community input.

The New York Times reports that Huffington is adding “original” reporting to her extremely popular political blog. I wonder if this is as much for advertising credibility than quality, which clear thinking people know is not a function of whether you get paid to blog or not. Hey, wait a minute. A lot of bloggers (including me) are skeptical that paying people for blog posts, reviews and other online content serves the best interests of the blog community.

Yet nobody seems to frown on a journalist when they get paid to blog. Or, for that matter, run copious amounts of expensive advertising beside quality content as Mike does over at TechCrunch. For the time being I’m refiling my pay per post concerns under the folder “maybe right, but maybe just hypocritical pseudo-elitist nonsense”.

Also at NYT is this piece on the Third World Laptop project bringing cheap computing to the poor all over the world. It’s a very exciting concept that will certainly bring about big changes and also many unintended, unpredictable consequences. I remain confused as to why Bill Gates has opposed the laptop project because even though clean water and health and food are more immediate needs, the Laptops will connect the first and third worlds in ways that will *demand* more proactive participation in third world development by us rich folks. Also this project brings some of the best thinkers – people who often dwell in abstract and expensive first world problem solving realms – into the of “global poverty and development” department of innovation. Gates’ outstanding contributions in this realm are of global and historical significance so I hope he will eventually see how the laptop project is part of this excellent trend that is connecting the rich and the poor.

Aleks Krotoski has a great piece about digital violence over at Second Life where that blossoming virtual community is now under attack by opportunistic and malicious … programs. It’s not only art that imitates life, it’s virtually impossible to escape our human inadequacies even when humans are not physically present in the environment.

And those nifty Zunes can’t seem to crack the IPOD dominance in digital MP3 players. I often wonder how much of the tech trends are habit and how much innovation. Zunes seemed to offer better features yet they appear to be losing the battle. Ironically the neat song sharing feature using DRM restrictions seems to be backfiring on the Zune.

Zune Video

Robert Scoble’s got the Zune Scoop direct from Microsoft in the video over at Scobleizer.

Assuming that the Zune is as good or somewhat better than the IPOD, as appears to be the case, this is shaping up to be a very interesting test of whether Microsoft can overcome the branding “momentum” of Apple and IPOD, nothing short of a spectacular success.

I’d think timing will matter a lot.  If Zunes, coming out November 14, sweep into the Christmas scene with a bang and lots of positive press it’ll bode  well for the long term prospects.

If the Zune song sharing  feature takes off it could signal a turning point in how the big players change the way they integrate the consumer into the process of selling to other people.   I predict that the company that most effectively integrates user content and user revenue sharing will be the big winner this decade, and that it’s still anybody’s game.

Zune song sharing can be summed up in two words. Brilliant, and Finally!

Rumor has it that Zune will encourage song sharing with revenue share to the “user song promoter” who sends a song to friends to listen to free and then gets some money if they buy it. MS certainly would be wise to cut the users in on the profits.

As I recently noted it’s surprising how users still don’t demand more of a piece of the action, though not surprising how Google, YouTube, Myspace, Yahoo, MSN, and other user content collection points, the key beneficiaries of this arrangement, have not done much to innovate in that direction.

Good for MS to break that ice. Users, collectively, hold all the *future* revenue streams in their wallets. Therefore they could hold most of the power. It’s about time they used it.

More at CrunchGear