Tendências emergentes, factos e dados reveladores da evolução dos media, cultura, economia e sociedade. Impacto social, económico e cultural da tecnologia.


sexta-feira, abril 28, 2006

This emerging clip culture

the success of YouTube points to another development. People are spending an average of 15 minutes on the site during each visit, enough to view several short, funny clips. This is because they are using YouTube for little breaks during a dull workday. And it is a “lean-forward” experience, as people sit in front of computer screens. This “clip culture”, as Mr Hurley calls it, is quite different from the “lean-back” experience of enjoying a half-hour show while reclining on the sofa. So different that YouTube sees Hollywood as a potential ally, rather than as a threat. For instance, the producers of “Lucky Number Slevin”, a new film with Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu and Bruce Willis, are marketing it by making the first eight minutes exclusively available as a clip on YouTube.

This emerging clip culture is also a supply-side phenomenon. Only 10% of the clips on YouTube are from film-industry “professionals”, says Mr Chen. About 80% come from rank amateurs, and another 10% from “dedicated amateurs”, such as young comedians hoping to use internet celebrity as a way into a career. Unlike the big media companies looking to recycle their film libraries, Google Video and YouTube are simply giving ordinary people a way to share clips. And compared with big, frightening Google, which Messrs Hurley and Chen consider arrogant, little YouTube seems to be doing it a lot better.

Economist.com | Articles by Subject | Internet video

the internet has become a tool of vital importance to terrorists around the world

As Gabriel Weimann, a professor at Haifa University, demonstrates in this book, the internet has become a tool of vital importance to terrorists around the world. His eight-year survey of terrorists' use of the internet found that the 40 organisations designated as active terrorist groups by America's State Department now maintain more than 4,300 websites.

Economist.com | Articles by Subject | The internet

quarta-feira, abril 26, 2006

if the US economy is becoming more productive, why have most of its citizens not become better off?

Between 1997 and 2001, the top 10 per cent of US earners received 49 per cent of the growth in aggregate real wages and salaries, while the top 1 per cent received an astonishing 24 per cent. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 per cent received less than 13 per cent. Why is this happening? And should non-egalitarians care?

The data I have cited come from a remarkable paper from two economists at Northwestern University.* The authors ask a simple, but telling, question: if the US economy is becoming more productive, why have most of its citizens not become better off?

The answer, it turns out, is that the normal link between productivity and real earnings is broken.
This raises a bigger question: do these changes in the US distribution of incomes matter? I would suggest that they should do so even to non-egalitarians, for three reasons.

First, income mobility does not offset the rising inequality. As the two Northwestern university authors note, “not only are half the penthouse dwellers still there a decade later, but the differential opulence of the penthouse keeps increasing relative to the basement”. The chances of leaving the basement are low. Moreover, intergenerational opportunity is also adversely affected.

Second, the failure of an economy to generate rising incomes for a majority over decades causes frustration. US individualism may contain this reaction. Most cultures cannot.

Third, politics inevitably become more populist: the US “right” has become “pluto-populist” – an alliance of free-marketeers, nationalists and social conservatives – and the “left” is increasingly “protecto-populist” – an alliance of protectionists, dirigistes, social liberals and anti-nationalists. This endangers both intellectual coherence and sensible policymaking.

So long as the distribution of incremental incomes remains as skewed as it has been in recent decades, politics in the US are likely to remain at least as fractious as they are today. Moreover, so long as this trend continues, many other high-income countries will reject the US economic model. No simple solutions exist. But the return of the “gilded age” is a big event, for the US and the world.

FT.com / Comment & analysis / Columnists - Martin Wolf: A new gilded age

terça-feira, abril 25, 2006


Container shipIt may not be printed in red on your calendar, but April 26 is an important date in economic history. Fifty years ago, the Ideal-X, a war-surplus oil tanker with a steel frame welded above its deck, loaded 58 aluminium containers at a dock in Newark, New Jersey. Five days later, the ship steamed into Houston, Texas, where trucks took on the metal boxes and carried them to their destinations.

This was the beginning of the container revolution. By dramatically lowering freight costs, the container transformed economic geography. Some of the world’s great ports – London and Liverpool, New York and San Francisco – saw their bustling waterfronts decay as the maritime industry decamped to new locations with room to handle containers and transport links to move them in and out. Manufacturers, no longer tied to the waterfront to reduce shipping costs, moved away from city centres, decimating traditional industrial districts. Eventually, production moved much farther afield, to places such as South Korea and China, which took advantage of cheap, reliable transportation to make goods that could not have been exported profitably before containerisation.

Containerisation is a remarkable achievement. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of its history is that no one foresaw how the box would change everything it touched, from ships and ports to patterns of global trade. Containerisation is a monument to the most powerful law in economics, that of unanticipated consequences.

FT.com / Comment & analysis / Comment - How a box transformed the world

domingo, abril 23, 2006

You and Your Users, Marketing Together

t seems nowadays, every marketing plan or media business strategy must have its share of user involvement. On the marketing side it goes from short film contests to photo-submission solicitations to pleas for help in crafting creative. For media companies, it's all about getting people to upload homemade videos, answer questions for other users or write in-depth reviews. In either case, businesses are making money by channeling people's natural desires to create, to connect and to share. It's undeniably the "in" thing to do.

I'm not knocking it. It's a great idea. Our own Dave Evans extolled the phenomenon recently, and Pete Blackshaw regularly makes known his fondness for consumer-generated media.

I just don't think it's a sure-fire path to success. Hosting a short film contest isn't unlike running an ad campaign -- it's all in the execution. Expecting users to generate the content you can build your media business upon isn't guaranteed, either. Are we sucking people dry by continually asking them to contribute their passion and creativity to further our marketing and advertising aims? Where does it stop?

Some thoughts about the pitfalls (and potential ways of hurdling them) of user involvement.

You and Your Users, Marketing Together

quinta-feira, abril 20, 2006

Consumer Created Content

The report by Jupiter Research, called Consumer Created Content, shows that while 53% of internet users are "passive, silent surfers", some 24% are now "unprompted contributors", ranging from those who have set up their own websites and weblogs to those who regularly make postings in forums.

The research found this active group are mostly young, male and spend long periods of time online. There is also a third group, identified by the report, of "prompted participants", who make up 23% of internet users, but restrict their interaction to taking part in polls and competitions.

Even though the more active bloggers and forum users are still in the minority, the report says that they "have a disproportionately wide influence and may seriously impact on brand communications".

Brands can not afford to ignore the power of bloggers - Digital Bulletin - Digital news by Email - Brand Republic

quarta-feira, abril 19, 2006

Confronting the new misanthropy

All of today's various doomsday scenarios - whether it's the millennium bug, oil depletion, global warming, avian flu or the destruction of biodiversity - emphasise human culpability. Their premise is that the human species is essentially destructive and morally bankrupt. 'With breathtaking insolence', warns Lovelock in his book The Revenge of Gaia, 'humans have taken the stores of carbon that Gaia buried to keep oxygen at its proper level and burnt them'.
The rising popularity of a term like 'ecological footprint' shows how much resonance the association of normal human activity with destruction has today. This term, which implies that having an impact on the environment is necessarily a bad thing, is rarely criticised for its misanthropic assumptions. On TV and in film and popular culture, the development of civilisation, and particularly the advance of science and technology, is depicted as the source of environmental destruction and social disintegration. The idea that civilisation is responsible for the perils we face today depicts the human species as the problem, rather than as the maker of solutions. And the most striking manifestation of this anti-humanism is the belief that, if the Earth is to survive, there will have to be a significant reduction in the number of human beings.
Our declining faith in humanity might be most clearly expressed in apocalyptic thinking about the environment, but it pervades everyday life. So it is frequently assumed that people have emotional deficits. We are described as having addictive personalities, or we're seen as 'damaged' or 'scarred for life'. Human relations come with health warnings. We don't simply pollute the environment, it seems, but also one another. We talk about 'toxic relationships', 'toxic parents' and 'toxic families'. Indeed, scare stories about the risks of human relationships are often very similar to discussions about the environment.
Back in the Fifties sociological research found that there was a clear correlation between how society viewed people and the prevailing political attitudes. One study of individuals' views of human nature suggested they were shaped by political attitudes in general (14). So attitudes towards the democratic ideal of free speech are directly influenced by whether we believe people are capable of making an intelligent choice between competing views. 'The advocate of freedom of speech is likely to believe that most men are not easily deceived, are not swayed by uncontrolled emotions, and are capable of sound judgement', noted this 1950s study. This implied a high level of faith in humanity. In contrast, 'the individual with low faith in people tends to believe in suppression of weak, deviant, or dangerous groups'. The study concluded that the 'individual's view of human nature would appear to have significant implications for the doctrine of political liberty' (15). People who viewed human nature positively tended to be more tolerant towards free speech and social experimentation. People who saw humans as being driven by narrow self-interest, greed and other destructive passions were inclined to support measures that curbed freedom.
Today, the growth of censorship, the criminalisation of thought by the enactment of so-called hate crimes legislation and speech codes, and the widespread frowning upon causing offence to individuals and groups is underpinned by the idea that people cannot be trusted to make up their minds about controversial subjects. Today's censorious imperative is driven by a paternalistic and negative view of human nature, and by a lack of faith in people's capacity to discriminate between right and wrong.

Not since the Dark Ages has there been so much concern about the malevolent passions that afflict humanity. Panics about Satanic abuse have erupted on both sides of the Atlantic, and throughout the Western world there is a morbid expectation that virtually every home contains a potential abuser. Predatory monsters are seen everywhere. People regard others with a suspicion that would have been rare just a few decades ago. Parents wonder whether the daycare centre workers looking after their children can be trusted; in schools, children with bruises arouse teachers' suspicion about their parents' behaviour, while parents wonder whether any physical contact between their child and his or her teacher is permissible. In Britain, any adult employee who might come into contact with children has to undergo a police check, and sections of the child protection industry believe this police vetting should be extended to the university sector, too.

The obsession with abuse is not confined to relationships between adults and children. All interactions that involve emotions, physicality or sexuality are labelled as potentially abusive. 'Peer abuse' is seen as one of the key problems of our time; others demand action against 'elder abuse'; and for good measure alarms have been raised about 'pet abuse' and 'chicken abuse'.
How we view humanity really matters. If we insist on seeing humans as morally degraded parasites, then every significant technical problem from the millennium bug to the avian flu will be feared as a potential catastrophe beyond our control. Today's intellectual pessimism and cultural disorientation distracts the human imagination from confronting challenges that lie ahead. All the talk about human survival expresses a crisis of belief in humanity - and that is why the real question today is not whether humanity will survive the twenty-first century, but whether our belief in humanity can survive it.

Despite Western culture's profound sense of estrangement from its human sensibilities, individuals possess an unprecedented potential for influencing the way they live their lives. It is only now that significant sections of the public have real, meaningful choice and control. We must reinvigorate the belief in autonomy and self-determination, and recognise that we have moved from the Stone Age to a time when people's transformative potential is a remarkable force.

We also know that history does not issue any guarantees. Purposeful change is a risky enterprise. But whether we like it or not, taking risks in order to transform our lives and ourselves is one of our most distinct human qualities. That is why, instead of worrying about our 'ecological footprint', we should take all the steps necessary for moving towards a better future.

Misanthropy threatens to envelop us in a new Dark Age of prejudice where we become scared of ourselves. In such conditions, we have two choices: we can renounce the human qualities that have helped to transform the world and resign ourselves to the culture of fatalism that prevails; or we can do the opposite. Instead of abandoning faith in humanity we can turn our creative energies towards taking control of our futures. Instead of being preoccupied with 'what will happen to us' we should search for answers to the question: 'What needs to be done to humanise the future?'
Frank Furedi

spiked-essays | Essay | Confronting the new misanthropy

Even by the standards of the internet, the rise of viral video has been rapid

Things used to be a lot simpler for mainstream broadcasters in the old days before internet video sites existed. It is difficult now to recall the era before YouTube and Google Video. Why, it must have been a good, oooh, four months ago.

Even by the standards of the internet, the rise of viral video has been rapid. Since YouTube launched in mid-December (with Google Video following in January), there has been an explosion of strange, funny and weird video clips that anyone can watch online. Most are made not by broadcasters and advertisers but by people messing around at home.

Among the 40m videos being watched daily on YouTube are films of a Gulfstream aircraft landing at night, film trailers and sporting clips, and two young women dancing around a room and lip-synching to the song “Hey” by the Pixies. The last may not sound like must-view material but it has been watched 30m times and attracted 2,400 comments.
The fact that anyone’s film can now be viewed by millions has not only encouraged people to display their home movies online, but has galvanised many into becoming would-be entertainers.

Broadcasters are now waking up to this emerging phenomenon. They are responding faster than the music industry did, having the advantage of hindsight. But they need to sharpen their efforts, and jettison traditional ways of doing things if they want to make use of viral video. If they do not, they may find their share of viewers’ attention squeezed.
That said, copyright enforcement by itself will do nothing to help the broadcasters compete with, or take advantage of, viral video. The task is two-fold: to produce material that the typical 18- to 25-year-old YouTube user actually wants to see, and to distribute it in a way that will grab his or her attention. In both regards, broadcasters have to adapt to match nascent consumer demand.
A broadcaster that selects a small number of clips to put up on its website is at a disadvantage to a viral or community video site. These do not attempt the feat of predicting which clips will be the most popular. The users decide this by recommending the ones they like, voting for them, linking to them, and pushing them up the charts of most-viewed videos.

That method of operating attracts people. Hitwise, the online research group, estimates that the top six video sites (YouTube, MSN Video, Yahoo Video, Google Video, AOL Video and iFilm) now gain twice as much traffic as the top six US broadcast network sites. People also spend longer with the first group – an average of 12 minutes viewing per visit compared with under eight minutes.

Until they make their own sites richer by allowing viewers to choose from more material, broadcasters will remain at a self-imposed disadvantage. Even then, it would be self-defeating merely to stay within their own silos. They must take more advantage of other video sites not only to distribute full-length programmes but to entice viewers with shorter clips.

The MTV generation was at least watching the box, even if it preferred three-minute pop videos to adult dramas. The broadcasters’ challenge is bigger now. The YouTube generation has discovered another form of screen entertainment and what it cannot search for, it may not find.

FT.com / Comment & analysis / Columnists - Gapper on Media: The viral video outbreak

segunda-feira, abril 17, 2006

People Who Watch People

With the latest crop of videos, a new style has emerged, though, one that is at once absolutely mundane and completely postmodern: people posting videos of themselves watching YouTube videos. And that's just the start.

People Who Watch People: Lost in an Online Hall of Mirrors - New York Times

terça-feira, abril 11, 2006

Executive pay continues to rise at an astonishing rate

Even here in the heartland, where corporate chieftains do not take home pay packages that are anywhere near those of Hollywood moguls or Wall Street bankers, the pay gap between the boss and the rank-and-file is wide.

New technology and low-cost labor in places like China and India have put downward pressure on the wages and benefits of the average American worker. Executive pay, meanwhile, continues to rise at an astonishing rate.

The average pay for a chief executive increased 27 percent last year, to $11.3 million, according to a survey of 200 large companies by Pearl Meyer & Partners, the compensation practice of Clark Consulting. The median chief executive's pay was somewhat lower, at $8.4 million, for an increase of 10.3 percent over 2004. By contrast, the average wage-earner took home $43,480 in 2004, according to Commerce Department data. And recent wage data from the Labor Department suggest that workers' weekly pay, up 2.9 percent in 2005, failed to keep pace with inflation of 3.3 percent.

Many forces are pushing executive pay into the stratosphere. Huge gains from stock options during the 1990's bull market are one major reason. So is the recruitment of celebrity C.E.O.'s, which has bid up the compensation of all top executives.

Compensation consultants, who are hired to advise boards, are often motivated to produce big paydays for managers. After all, the boss can hand their company lucrative contracts down the road.

Compensation committees, meanwhile, are often reluctant to withhold a bonus or stock award for poor performance. Many big shareholders, such as mutual funds and pension plans, have chosen not to cast votes critical of management. The results have been a growing gap between chief executives and ordinary employees, and often between the boss and managers one layer below.

The average top executive's salary at a big company was more than 170 times the average worker's earnings in 2004, up from a multiple of 68 in 1940, according to a study last year by Carola Frydman, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, and Raven E. Saks, an economist at the Federal Reserve.
The divide between executives and ordinary workers was not always so great. From the mid-1940's through the 1970's, the pay of both groups grew at about the same rate, 1.3 percent, according to the study by Ms. Frydman and Ms. Saks. They analyzed the compensation of top executives at 102 large companies from 1936 to 2003.

But starting in the 1980's, executive compensation began to accelerate. In 1980, the average chief executive made about $1.6 million in today's dollars. By 1990, the figure had risen to $2.7 million; by 2004, it was about $7.6 million, after peaking at almost twice that amount in 2000. In other words, executive pay rose an average of 6.8 percent a year.

At the same time, the growth rate slowed for the average worker's pay. That figure rose to about $43,000 in 2004 from about $36,000 in 1980, an increase of 0.8 percent a year in inflation-adjusted terms.

CORPORATIONS, meanwhile, projected that their own earnings would grow by an average of 11.5 percent a year during that 24-year stretch, by Mr. Bogle's calculations. In reality, he said, they delivered growth of 6 percent a year, slightly less than the growth rate of the entire economy, as measured by gross domestic product.

Chief executives "aren't creating any exceptional value, so you would think that the average compensation of the C.E.O. would grow at the rate of the average worker," Mr. Bogle said. "When you look at it in that way, it is a real problem."

Off to the Races Again, Leaving Many Behind - New York Times

Internet adspend to over take outdoor in 2007

ZenithOptimedia has revised its forecast for internet adspend upwards once again as online continues to exceed expectations.

The agency is predicting that online adspend will attract 6.5% of all advertising in 2008, up from 4.5% in 2005. This is up from the 6.0% it predicted for 2008 back in December.

Crucially, it will pass outdoor advertising next, with radio advertising set to be the next after that to be superseded by online.

"We predict it will overtake outdoor in volume in 2007, even though outdoor is gaining share itself, and that by 2008 it will be catching up with radio too, which will have a 7.9% share, down from 8.5% in 2005."

"The internet is now firmly established as a mainstream advertising medium in developed markets, and in many developing markets too."

Internet adspend to over take outdoor in 2007 - Digital Bulletin - Digital news by Email - Brand Republic

segunda-feira, abril 10, 2006

Estados Unidos descobrem o seu proletariado...

In churches, shops and sidewalks across the Washington region yesterday, thousands of people bustled in preparation for a rally that immigration advocates say could be a pivotal moment for Latinos and other groups seeking to demonstrate their political clout.

Organizers of the National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice -- or La Marcha , as some volunteers are calling it -- said it could draw as many as 180,000 people to the Mall and hundreds of thousands more in nearly 100 cities nationwide.

Although no one knows for certain how many people will show up at the D.C. rally, the event has the potential to complicate the afternoon rush hour.

This afternoon, scores of buses will begin moving protesters from throughout the region to the District. CASA of Maryland, an immigrant rights group, has arranged for more than 40 buses to take them to Seventh Street NW between Madison and Jefferson drives. Fifteen additional buses will run a loop six times between CASA's Silver Spring office and the Takoma Metro station and are expected to carry about 5,000 people, said Kim Propeack, advocacy director for CASA.

Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, a D.C.-based immigrant rights group, will send about 20 buses from Virginia to Meridian Hill Park in the Adams Morgan area, said Farah Fosse of the Latino Economic Development Corp., a local organizer.

There, the participants will join neighborhood residents in a march down 16th and 15th streets NW to the Mall. Police plan to temporarily close some streets along the way.

A Metro spokesman said officials would monitor the situation and could decide to extend the evening rush, keeping the maximum number of cars on the tracks.

"We are very excited and energized, but at the same time there's a lot of pressure to ensure everything is going to be smooth," said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA.

Yesterday, with less than 24 hours to go before the rally, organizers scrambled as they prepared to move thousands of bodies, conceding that they weren't sure how they would do it.

"It's just wild. I don't know how to describe it," Propeack said. "As of 24 hours ago, we said, 'No more transportation,' and people are just phoning us off the hook. They want more."

Projected turnout, said Lt. Kathleen Harasek of the U.S. Park Police, "is well within what we're normally trained to handle. . . . We're comfortable with it, and we're not stressing out over it."

Across California alone, about 20 events are planned for today, ranging from a rally in Bakersfield to a ceremony in San Diego dedicated to immigrants who have died trying to cross the border illegally.

The demonstrations, which are being coordinated by an umbrella organization known as the National Capital Immigration Coalition, began yesterday in more than 20 cities, including Dallas, where police estimated that 300,000 to 350,000 people gathered.

In Dallas, many waved U.S. flags and wore white clothing to symbolize peace, the Associated Press reported. There were no reports of violence.

The events will continue today in cities small and large, including Phoenix, New York, Seattle and Chicago. The rally on the Mall was expected to be among the largest, although with an estimated Hispanic population of 576,000 in 2004, the Washington region isn't among the 10 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most Hispanics.

Frustration among immigrant groups has increased since a bipartisan compromise to rewrite the nation's immigration laws fell apart last week when Democrats rejected demands from conservative Republicans for numerous changes, some designed to limit the number of illegal immigrants who could become eligible for citizenship.

Organizers Expect Crush for Immigrant Rights Rally

quinta-feira, abril 06, 2006

EU tax competition drives down corporate rates

Tax competition within Europe has forced corporate tax rates down to levels well below the rest of the world, according to an international survey by KPMG, the professional services firm. corporate tax rates in the European Union stood at 25 per cent in 2005, compared with an average of 28 per cent for the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development countries, 28 per cent for Latin America and 30 per cent in the Asia Pacific region.

Last year, the average European tax rate fell by 0.28 per cent to 25.04 per cent in 2005, as a result of rate cuts in six EU member states including France, Greece and the Netherlands.

The average rate in the Asia-Pacific region was unchanged, while the regional average for Latin America fell very slightly, by less than a tenth of a percentage point.

Tax competition between EU member states has increased as a result of the accession of 10 new members to the EU in 2004 and efforts by the EU judicial system to remove barriers to the free movement of capital, KPMG said. Loughlin Hickey, global head of tax, said: “It is much easier now to transfer people, manufacturing and services within the European region.”

Other parts of the world were facing less competition because borders were less permeable, he said. Nonetheless, the global trend was stable or declining tax rates. The majority of the 86 countries surveyed had either kept their tax rates unchanged since 2004 or had reduced them.


FT.com / World - EU tax competition drives down corporate rates

There's another application that could also generate significant 3G data usage--social networking.

A lot of fuss has already been made about people watching TV on their cell phones and downloading music over the mobile Net, but there's another application that could also generate significant 3G data usage--social networking.

"Carriers have invested a lot of money in their networks," said Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research. "And at this point it's a lot like throwing spaghetti on the wall to see which applications will stick. I doubt there will be any single killer application, but social networking on mobile phones could certainly be one that generates usage."

Within the last year social networking and community Web sites on the fixed-line Internet have really taken off, especially among teens and twentysomethings, who spend hours online creating profiles and sharing photos, videos and blogs.

MySpace, the most popular of the social networking sites, has more than 67 million members, and it adds roughly 250,000 members every day. MySpace is ranked as the second-most visited Web site on the Internet in terms of unique users, after Yahoo, according to ComScore Media Metrix. Last year Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought the company for $580 million.

Though MySpace may be among the most famous of these sites, it's certainly not the only one on the Net. There are dozens of them, including Facebook.com, which is geared toward college students. There are also photo-sharing sites, such as Flickr, that have created popular online communities.

In the past, people using these services could access them only from their desktops or laptops. But now social networking is going mobile, allowing people to use their cell phones to upload pictures or send updates to blogs.


Mobile communities could fill 3G pipes | CNET News.com

quarta-feira, abril 05, 2006

China’s new Latin American revolution


But while international political focus has been largely on Islamic fundamentalism and Iraq, an alternative economic and political system has begun to test itself in the Americas – one that may end up seriously challenging western democratic thinking.

Under the slogan “peaceful rising”, China is “selling” itself to Africa and Latin America as the model for ending poverty. Its pitch is finding an audience among governments that have watched China’s growth leap and their own stagnate while being lectured by the International Monetary Fund and patronised by aid agencies. China’s poor of 20 years ago are now taking out mortgages on first homes while elsewhere others are still scrabbling around for a pair of shoes.


If Latin America is not to find itself a new testing ground between an insecure America and an increasingly confident China, this cold war spectre, raised at routine congressional hearings, must be addressed now. Already, among US conspiracy theorists, China’s runaway economy, undervalued currency, absorption of US manufacturing jobs and growing overseas investment risks being portrayed as a Middle Kingdom master plan to conquer the world. The reality of what China might achieve is anybody’s guess. Almost half of China’s direct foreign investment is going into Latin America, and Beijing has pledged it will reach $100bn (£57.7bn) in the next five years. Joint ventures have been agreed in steel, transport and energy and military exchanges are increasing.

None of that should cause Americans concern, unless viewed alongside Beijing’s deep-seated and unresolved differences on how societies should be governed. In the US, it is through elections. In China, it is by ending poverty.


FT.com / Comment & analysis / Comment - China’s new Latin American revolution

terça-feira, abril 04, 2006

Social networking, blogging and local information.


While growth is slowing at most top Internet sites, it is skyrocketing at sites focused on social networking, blogging and local information.

The dramatic success of those Internet categories is apparent from a recent online-traffic analysis provided by market research firm ComScore Media Metrix, which examined visitor growth rates among the 50 top Web sites over the past year.

Top-ranked sites growing the most, ComScore's data showed, were Blogger.com, a personal publishing site; MySpace.com, where young people do virtual preening and share musical tastes; Wikipedia, an open reference site jointly edited by millions of people; and Citysearch, a network of local guides focused on cities.

The number of monthly visitors to each site rose at rates ranging from 185 percent (Citysearch) to 528 percent (Blogger.com) between February 2005 and February 2006. Their growth far exceeded the 4 percent increase in overall Internet visitors in the United States during that period.

The traffic analysis shows the Internet is still a space where new brands such as MySpace can suddenly break into the upper ranks, where older brands such as Citysearch can revive themselves after languishing for years, and where established outfits such as Google often wind up as beneficiaries because they buy or copy services pioneered by upstarts.


New Trends In Online Traffic

domingo, abril 02, 2006

Purpose-driven media


There is another breed of rival lurking online for traditional media, and it is perhaps the most vexing yet: call it purpose-driven media, with a shout-out to Rick Warren, the author of "A Purpose-Driven Life," for borrowing his catchphrase.

These are new-media ventures that leave the competition scratching their heads because they don't really aim to compete in the first place; their creators are merely taking advantage of the economics of the online medium to do something that they feel good about. They would certainly like to cover their costs and maybe make a buck or two, but really, they're not in it for the money. By purely commercial measures, they are illogical. If your name were, say, Rupert or Sumner, they would represent the kind of terror that might keep you up at night: death by smiley face.

Probably the best-known practitioner is Craigslist.org, the online listing site. Although it is routinely described as a competitor with — and the bane of — newspaper classified ads, the site is mostly a free listings service that acts as a community resource. When the company contemplates imposing fees for using its site in a particular city, as it has recently in New York, it does so cautiously and thoughtfully, as a means to weed out real estate brokers who are abusing the site by posting their ads over and over.


Death by Smiley Face: When Rivals Disdain Profit - New York Times

State to give Dutch citizens personal websites on Yahoo! News


Dutch citizens will get a personalized Internet page giving them access to their records at public institutions and reminding them when to renew important documents, the government said on Friday.

The aim is to let citizens and companies, which will also get pages, access their data at any time, and eventually reduce administrative costs.

A trial Personal Internet Page (PIP) project will start later this year. Between 10 and 15 government organizations will participate, giving citizens on-line access to their tax information, grants, licences and social security data.

The PIP will also remind citizens when to renew their travel documents or driving license, and may show the status of a building permit. Forms can be filled in and submitted on-line, and will re-use standard personal data.


State to give Dutch citizens personal websites on Yahoo! News