Posts tagged "web publishing"

Atex Acquires Kaango, Reclaims Online Classified Marketplace

For some time now, web publishers have been concerned about advertising. Yet, finding new sources from which to advertise and engage consumers often leaves them paralyzed. Atex (site) is here to help.

Atex, a media supplier well known for designing and developing solutions that help customers create new revenue sources, reduce operating costs and engage younger audiences, has acquired Kaango.

Kaango, which employs an advanced web-based software platform that syndicates and publishes print and online classified ads, will let publishers reclaim the online classified marketplace. For too long classified sales have suffered from dramatic drops in revenues, once vital to newspapers’ livelihood.

Kaango adds a key ingredient to the publishing recipe so that publishers can “exploit the digital marketplace”, increasing ad presence and hopefully revenue.

There are many self-service advertising platforms making headlines, but Atex and Kaango are combining forces to leverage and integrate their solutions in order to meet the growing needs of their customers and the industry.

Having just announced that their Web CMS offers direct publishing to a variety of tablet devices, like the iPad and the Kindle, Atex is positioning itself at the forefront of web publishing innovations.

 
TEDxNYED Examines Media and Technology in Education

When we talk about the digital media consumption of teens and young adults, from social media to the mobile web, we often wonder how the future of online media will evolve. Rarely, however, do we consider what it means for the future of education.

On Saturday, March 6, educators and technologists alike gathered for TEDxNYED, an all-day conference, examining the role of new media and technology in shaping the future of education.

Independently Organized, Wholly Engaged

Organized independently by New York educators, the forum combined TED Talk videos and speakers. Conversations among attendees indented to spark insights, deep discussion and connections about the future of education.

Following five themes: participation, openness, media, networks and action, speakers included Andy Carvin, Senior Strategist for National Public Radio’s Social Media Desk; Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?; Chris Lehmann, the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy; and Jay Rosen, NYU journalism professor and author of PressThink, among others.

Tradition v. Innovation 

Schools, public and private, are at a crossroads between preserving traditions and embracing innovations, all in an effort to stay relevant, cultivate patient problem solvers and provide a safe space in which to collaborate and learn. However, ten years into the twenty-first century, many of us are still just talking about technology and innovation, instead of actually implementing them.

The barriers and challenges faced are both philosophical and conceptual, and not unlike the ones being faced by other industries. But when they can be overcome, thanks to supportive and forward-thinking administrators, faculty and staff, the results are astounding.

Whether it’s creating a digital library, where each student is equipped with a Kindle from which to access their English literature homework; or a science class that builds a bio-diesel reactor, which ends up fueling a small town in South America; or connecting students from around the world via video casts to better understand world history, technology and media are not just tools for innovation, but skills that empower young adults to be global contributors.

Exploring the Unknown

If we were to compare the trials and tribulations of the online publishing world to that of the education industry, it’s apparent that they are both paralyzed by their own self-importance. Instead of focusing on and investing in the user, be it the student or reader, they are too concerned about reputations, revenue and rank.

The merit of digital and social media is transparency. With it comes the freedom and responsibility of standing up and declaring that though we may not know how exactly to solve the problem, we are committed to exploring, experimenting and evolving the experience.

In education, not knowing can lead to great discovery. In publishing, it can lead to experimental initiatives like citizen journalism. Events like TEDxNYED help to bring together educators, technologists and innovators so that experiences online, in the classroom and in the community can be adapted, evolved and improved.

TEDxNYED reminded us that it’s not about the diploma or test scores, but rather about the portfolio built, knowledge gained and students reached. Likewise, web publishing needs to look beyond metrics and advertisers, as best they can, and focus on the content and user interfaces. Active learners and online readers want to be engaged — so what better reason to engage them.

From Twitter to Yammer to Buzz, 10 Microblogging Must Reads

The tools have managed to touch both our personal and professional lives. The concept has turned journalism, social media, marketing—and the overall way in which we connect—inside-out and upside-down. Yes ladies and gentleman, we’re talking about microblogging.

Naturally, related news comes in heavy, crushing waves, so we’ve put together some must-read happenings that have occurred so far this year. Whether you’re in the mix for business or pleasure, these points are worth the read.

Yammer 

Dubbed by many as Twitter for the Enterprise, and rightfully so. This platform has made some serious movies since January, and the US$ 10 million they landed in funding says they're getting ready for stellar year. 

1. Yammer Goes Beyond SaaS, Offers Self-Hosted Version: Run Yammer on your company's servers, inside the corporate firewall. Why? For security measures, of course. 

2. Doors Open at Yammer, Invites Go Beyond Company Walls: Any of you out there ever feel like sighing up for Yammer but couldn’t because of the required company e-mail address? David Sacks, Yammer’s CEO, said this sort of closed-door policy has been one of Yammer’s biggest problems. Now with Yammer Communities, anyone can join the party.  

Google Buzz

Out of the frying pan and into the fire! Big G's take on microblogging has seen a pretty rough start.

3. Buzz: Google Wants to be a Social Network, Too: Here's an overview on Buzz, in case you need a recap. In short, think of it as Facebook for Gmail.

4. The Buzz Nightmare: Privacy Issues and Profuse Apologies: Barely a week after its release and Buzz had already angered a lot of people. Will Goog's new solution ever be trusted, or has the damage been done?

5. Is Buzz for the Enterprise a Bust?: Remember how Wave kinda died out after all the hype settled down? We wonder if the attitude towards Buzz will be the same. After all, with criticisms about Google Apps already circulating, the outlook for Buzz in the enterprise isn’t exactly great. 

Then again, Buzz's open architecture could make all the difference. This is still just the beginning.

Twitter

Ah, the pioneer. How will the founding team keep up?

6. Twitter Takes on Facebook Connect With New Tools for Website Integration: Word on the street is that the microblogging champs are planning to release a set of tools that will enable third party websites to integrate Twitter features directly into their websites and services.

7. Twitter to Add New Features, Third-Party Clients Beware?: It's undeniable that Twitter is prepping to make 2010 a very different kind of year, starting by going corporate, and releasing a set of tools that may or may not blow third-parties out of the water.

Etc.

These guys aren't as famous, but you'll want to take note of the things they're doing. 

8. New Seesmic Web Makes Twitter Even Easier: Seesmic's revamped Web application is aiming high, and now features threaded Twitter conversations, a contact manager and drag and drop list creation. Check it out if you have zero interest in downloading, installing or signing up for new accounts. The app works directly in your browser and all you need is your Twitter credentials to use it.

9. Seesmic Look: Social Media Marketing with Twitter: Marketers, this one is for you. 

For regular users, Look seems just as simple as using Twitter. For companies, it's visually compelling (the tool is more like channel surfing than anything else), feeds in one of the largest audiences in the world, and will eventually offer custom themes. Translation? What an excellent way to get your brand heard.

Check it out! You don't even need a Twitter account to browse the channels. 

10. Socialtext 4.0 Brings Better Collaboration to Enterprise: Socialtext, a purveyor of social solutions for the enterprise, is back with version 4.0 of their platform. This time around they’ve got microblogging channels, filtered activity streams and new tools for group productivity.

Google Open Sources its Living Stories Web Content Platform

livingstories_logo.gif

In December, Google’s Living Stories, one of the latest Google Labs endeavors, was used in collaboration with the WashingtonPost.com and New York Times to re-purpose content online. In February, Google is opening up Living Stories so that any publisher can adopt its experiment in presenting news online and in real time.

Bringing More Stories to Life

The goal of Living Stories is two-fold: to reconfigure the way news is presented online and to develop tools to help news organizations.

Living Stories may serve publishers with a means to bring their content to life. By having a news story’s URL updated regularly with new developments, rather than having to write a new article on the story with a different URL, readers can see and interact with latest updates on the stories that interest them, as well as to review deeper background materials that are relevant for a story's context.

While the two major newspapers with which the initiative was piloted have no plans to incorporate the project into their sites, Google says that the reception so far has compelled them to open source the format.

On average, users spent nine minutes on each story during the pilot and a majority of users who submitted feedback indicated that they preferred the Living Stories format to traditional online news articles.

A New Type of Content Platform

Ultimately, it’s the story that makes Google’s experiment work and since Google doesn't create any content itself, offering the open source API to web publishers, developers and journalists is the only way keep it living.

Two months surely wasn’t enough time for the application to be sufficiently experimented with. Which is why Mac Slocum of O’Reilly Radar reminds us that “Living Stories was built to be a tool; a new type of content platform.” By making it open to anyone with a story to tell, readers can see what Living Stories is capable of.

But the application is not just limited to newspapers, Slocum notes, and says we can expect to see book publishers and academics take advantages of the innovative interface.

Publishers seeking to incorporate Living Stories can access the code and instructions, forums and wikis at http://code.google.com/p/living-stories/.

Escenic Community Engine Goes RESTful, Adds Dashboard

Offering web publishing and strategic content management, Escenic packs in 140 fixes and improvements into its latest updates of Escenic Community Engine 3.3-1 platform.

Take the Escenic Route

For those in the media and web publishing industries, Escenic is a platform comprised of tools to manage and publish content. At its core is the Content Engine, which stores any type of digital assets, offers advanced metadata and tag searching, and makes all those assets available to other programs or sites via a Java API.

Background on Escenic Content Engine

Content Engine is the heart of the package, a repository for a company's data across one or many servers. It uses a presentation layer and templates to display the data and uses JSP tag libraries to assist in development for custom solutions. With easy import, export, a full administration suite and statistics information, the Content Engine provides the spine off which the other modules can be linked.

The latest version of the Content Engine has just been released. Version 5.1-1 adds a new plug-in for migration support, allowing two versions of the engine and data to exist side-by-side, while helping to move content from V4 to V5.

Another update is the Community Engine which moves on to 3.3-1. This adds a Google-inspired dashboard, which helps monitor user comments and expands compatibility with the new Content Engine.

What's Escenic Community Engine

The Community Engine is an optional component to Escenic and adds those, now essential, social networking elements to the package. With Community Engine added, users can build their own tailor-made communities to engage with customers.

The features can be added to existing sites or new areas can be created, with user profiles, forums, comments and more. Users can network together as well as post and tag their own content. It supports Facebook Connect, Single Sign-On and other methods to speed up logging in.

What's New in Escenic Community Engine 3

Version 3 of Community Engine offers a new dashboard, which it admits is unashamedly inspired by Google Reader and a RESTful API to aid integration, among the other features listed on the roadmap are:

  • Tight integration with Escenic Content Engine 5
  • Third-party API for extending Escenic Community Engine
  • Widgetized template development
  • Single sign-on (SSO)
  • Support for OpenID
  • Administration dashboard

Another feature of the new Content Engine is plug-in support for Content Studio, which is where writers and editors get their hands on the files and data. Designed for multi-channel and content support, it offers live content caching, so information will remain constant across all servers, no matter how big the company.

The editor runs happily on PCs and Macs and offers easy access to all data, the ability to work on multiple documents at once. Offering compatibility with advanced editing and proofing tools like Tansa and Vizrt, users can edit images and video as well as text from the one space.

escenic_editor.jpg

Manage your company rich media in Java-style

Big Over There

Escenic is a Scandinavian-originated Web CMS with a HQ in Norway, popular in the web publishing industry in Europe and globally. With more modules and features constantly being added and updated — including a Mobile Solution to get media on smartphones and other devices and a Community Engine to manage forums and user input — Escenic is worth taking a look at.

Revisiting the 3 Questions for Great Experience Design

2010 is proving to be about user experience. Even in the past few weeks, we have covered the trends and needs associated with improving usability online, from web design to promoting transparency.

With the upcoming MX: Managing Experience conference that will focus on usability and user experience best practices, we'd like like to revisit the three key variables Jared Spool once indicated as being critically important to the field.

Managing User Experience

In San Francisco from March 7-8, MX: Managing Experience will work to improve customer experiences on the web, mobile and more. The featured keynote at MX is none other than Jared Spool, founding principal of User Interface Engineering. Spool, a contributing writer for CMSWire, has spent much of his life researching usability and experience design.

While he will no doubt captivate the MX audience with insights about usability, we’d like to revisit the three key variables Spool once indicated as being critically important to the field. He wrote about them in 2008, but they still resonate and remind us that while emerging trends may confound us, applying tried and true methods can help us all develop new solutions.

The Three Questions for Great Experience Design

These three crucial questions can shed light about how you and your team work to address issues of vision, feedback and culture. Spool says “teams that answer these questions well are far more likely to create great experiences than the rest of the pack.”

Question 1: What will the experience be like five years from now?

While we all work towards a goal, it’s imperative to make sure that everyone not only understands the goal, but is also able to articulate it in such a way that illustrates how the user will interact and complete the transaction.

Looking ahead five years ensures that the actions go beyond the “immediate reactive requirements and starts considering what a great experience could be.”

Question 2: In the last six weeks, have your team members spent at least two hours watching people experience your product or service?

It goes without saying that if you’re focused on user experience, learning how people engage online requires observation. If you’re not watching, you can’t advance their experience. From usability tests or field studies, it’s necessary to spend at least two hours observing the current experience.

Question 3: In the last six weeks, have you celebrated the problems discovered in the user experience?

Spool believes that problems become opportunities for improvement. Establishing a culture that accepts failure, as well as appreciates it as a way to learn about the users and their needs, can learn best from their mistakes.

Ultimately, by making the learning process explicit — offering rewards and acknowledgment for finding bugs — the culture starts to look for it.

Lasting Lessons

If you don’t know what’s wrong with a user experience you can’t fix it. Improving behaviors starts with the vision and leads to observing users’ actions and results in finding and fixing mistakes. There isn’t a cookie cutter for approaching usability. Furthermore, you can’t begin to understand others’ behaviors without defining what you want them to be.

As we dig deeper into usability design in 2010, the questions posed to us nearly two years ago are still relevant.

Are You Coming to Gilbane San Francisco 2010?

We are. Even though the Gilbane Group (site) was recently acquired, the show must go on.

Gilbane San Francisco, scheduled for May 18 - 20, has just opened up for registration. The conference promises four tracks to serve specific roles in the organization (marketing, IT, a business unit, or an internal function):

  1. Customers & Engagement
  2. Colleagues & Collaboration
  3. Content Technology
  4. Content Publishing

If previous Gilbane shows are any indication (check out our coverage of Gilbane SF and Gilbane Boston 2009), this one promises to have something interesting for everyone in the web content management industry and beyond. Gilbane SF 2010 will feature around 40 sessions, panel discussions, workshops, product labs and more.

Here’s some helpful information for you to check out the event and to register:

See you in San Francisco. Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair ;)

Google Upgrades Ad Management for Publishers

Google Upgrades Ad Management for PublishersHeads up, publishers, Google wants to help you make more money. Yesterday the search giant launched what they’re calling the next generation of ad-serving technology.

A Fresh Look

The new offering is thanks to Google’s 2008 acquisition of DoubleClick, a display advertising and ad serving company. Written on Google technology (of course), the new, upgraded version of DoubleClick is called DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) and offers publishers of all sizes a new way to serve ads.

For starters, the user interface was revamped, and includes simplified tracking features, visualization tools for geo-targeting and rich media campaign setup, and secure a permissions system enables the customization of access by role and team/region.

google_doubleclick_geotargeting.jpgGoogle DoubleClick geo-targeting

There are loads of other cool features, too:

  • Far more detailed reporting and forecasting data to help publishers understand where their revenue is coming from and what ads are most valuable.
  • Algorithms that automatically improve ad performance and delivery.
  • A new, open, public API which enables publishers to build and integrate their own apps with DFP, or integrate apps created for DFP by a growing third-party developer community (apps under development today include sales, order management and workflow tools).
  • Integration with the new DoubleClick Ad Exchange's "dynamic allocation" feature, which maximizes revenue by enabling publishers to open up their ad space to bids from multiple ad networks. 

(See the full list of features here.)

You've Got Choices

As Google says, DFP comes in two flavors. DoubleClick for Publishers is designed for larger online publishers like social networks, e-commerce sites and news sites, while DFP Small Business is meant for the smaller guys (and it's free!).  

Google, which will be moving Google Ad Manager customers to DFP Small Business over the coming weeks, says they're just scratching the surface of what's possible in the world of ad management. Mark Simon, VP of industry relations at Didit, an online marketing company, agrees:

If you had any question that dynamically-served advertising — along the lines of what the industry has grown up with in search — is the future of all advertising, then wonder no longer. Google has understood that for years, and it's wise of Google to keep at the lead of that trend, as all marketing channels become more sophisticated and intertwined.

Ready to explore? Contact DFP here.

WordPress.com Fails, 10.2 Million Blogs Go Offline

WordPress.com (site) was down for approximately 110 minutes yesterday—their worst downtime in four years. The crash took all WordPress.com blogs off the map, including those registered in the VIP program. Wuh-oh.

Why?

All the details about what caused the blackout haven't been released yet, but founding developer Matt Mullenweg wrote the following on the company's blog:

…it appears an unscheduled change to a core router by one of our datacenter providers messed up our network in a way we haven’t experienced before, and broke the site. It also broke all the mechanisms for failover between our locations in San Antonio and Chicago. All of your data was safe and secure, we just couldn’t serve it.

But I'm a Very Important Person!

The crash couldn't've come at a more ironic time, seeing as how WordPress.com's revamped VIP program was just announced this week. Designed for extremely high traffic blogs, the program boasts "rock-solid up time" among other perks.  

Unfortunately even the elite couldn't avoid WordPress.com's hiccup, leading to a whopping 10.2 million blacked-out blogs and what is estimated to be 5.5 million missed page views.

Meanwhile, the team behind the platform is still trying to figure out exactly what happened, and how they can recover more gracefully in the event that it happens again.

"I know this sucked for you guys as much as it did for us — the entire team was on pins and needles trying to get your blogs back as soon as possible," wrote Mullenweg. "I hope it will be much longer than four years before we face a problem like this again."

Softlayer Improves Cloud Offering, Deploys Isilon’s Scale-out NAS

Using the Cloud is getting cheaper all the time. And it should get cheaper with the announcement by Softlayer (site), a provider of on-demand virtual data center services, as it starts to deploy Isilon’s (site) scale-out NAS to power its cloud infrastructure.

While neither company is exactly new, the combination of the two products will allow Softlayer to offer its enterprise clients scalable storage according to their needs. What this means is that enterprises will really only have to pay for what they use.

Anyone that has looked at the possibility of pay-as-you go options will be aware that there are a number of them on the market, but this offering is lockstepped into customer demand, which means your storage space is fitted exactly to your needs.

Softlayer And The Cloud

SoftLayer has been racking hardware together in secure locations across America since 2005 for remote access by enterprise users. In keeping with this, SoftLayer has picked the appropriate title of CloudLayer for its range of new services to ensure CIOs know exactly what it is selling.

Highly scalable, clients can get as much storage, bandwidth and processing power as required from SoftLayer. Besides operating as stand-alone solutions, every CloudLayer service can interface with SoftLayer’s dedicated servers and automated services to create a fully integrated system.

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The Softlayer Cloud

Computing costs go from US$ 99 for a single core, 1GB RAM and 100GB of storage to US$ 299 for eight cores, 8GB RAM and 100GB storage. Plain storage goes from just US$ 10 for 50GB.

Isilon Scale-out NAS

However with the introduction of scale-out NAS and its OneFS operating system even these costs could be reduced again. By deploying Isilon's scale-out NAS, Softlayer has unified all of its cloud-based operations onto a single high performance pool of storage and increased efficiency across storage facilities in three geographically disparate regions.

Scale-out NAS is part of Isilon’s fifth-generation storage , which gives enterprises easy-to-manage storage infrastructure at reduced capital and operational expenditures.

Designed to seamlessly scale on-the-fly as business needs dictate, it can add hundreds of terabytes of storage in just minutes.

Users can take on larger projects immediately, creating new and more content, and perform more in-depth research by instantly scaling storage performance and/or capacity — all without requiring additional IT staff.

Once racked, Isilon says you can have a cluster online in less than 10 minutes without having to use integration services. And every Isilon cluster is a single pool of storage with a global namespace, eliminating the need to support multiple volumes and file systems.

At the heart of it is Isilon's OneFS operating system, which is behind all Isilon IQ scale-out NAS solutions, which pulls every system component, or node, into a seamless, unified system.

Softlayer itself admits that before the introduction of Isilon Scale-out NAS, they were not properly able to deliver scalable storage according to enterprise need. With this new storage system they can. It will be interesting to see how this is reflected in storage pricing once it is fully in gear.