Are social referrals killing SEO?

I think this is an improvement to how we write for the web. Instead of optimizing for a machine algorithm that can bring traffic to an article, writers must concentrate on making the article interesting so that readers will share it with their friends. Curation is the key, which is also why I hated the “social reader” apps that want to post for me to see everything my friends read. I want to know what they recommend I read.

“Sixteen months ago we received the same number of monthly referrals from search as social. Now 40% of traffic comes from social media,” Scott Havens, senior vice president of finance and digital operations at The Atlantic Media Company, said in a phone conversation ahead of his on-stage interview at our Mashable Connect conference in Orlando, Fla. last weekend. “Truly [our writers] are not really thinking about SEO anymore. Now it’s about how we can spin a story so that it goes viral.”

From: Why ‘The Atlantic’ No Longer Cares About SEO

Startups are getting smaller

Startups today are almost half the size than they were a decade ago. It seems that a lot of the collaborative tools that have emerged over the last year help productivity so you can do more work with less employees. And I don’t think its just true for startups, I know at work we’re doing a lot of work with just 3 people in the Digital Media department. Do you think this study accounts for the start ups and open source projects that pioneered the services that make this possible?

Start-ups are now being launched with an average of 4.9 employees, down from 7.5 in the 1990s, according to a recent Kauffman Foundation study. In 2009, new independent businesses created a total of 2.3 million jobs, more than 700,000 fewer jobs than the annual average through 2008, the study found.

HT: With New Technology, Start-Ups Go Lean

What is the cost of electricity for operating a DVR?

Somone check my math here but I calculate that by their numbers, the annual cost of electricity for a single DVR is between $17 if you pay about ten cents a kilo-watt hour and $25 if you pay closer to sixteen cents an hour.  Is this something to get worked up about? Aren’t the costs of most electronic devices going to be in this neightborhood? Sure, if you look at the national sum of all DVRs then the numbers can seem scary. Does that mean the NRDC should decide what entertainment devices I can or can not have in my home?

A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council discovered that “about 160 million digital video recorders and cable and other pay-TV boxes in the U.S. eat up 27 terawatt-hours of electricity a year and cost consumers about $3 billion.”

Are DVR Boxes Worth the Energy They Waste? – Technology – The Atlantic Wire

The State of Boxee, Roku and Tivo

I’ve been satisfied, and complacent, with my Tivo (i think its a series3), but I’ve kept my eye on both Roku and Boxee as alternatives. It definitely seems that the pace of innovation at Tivo, measued in years not months, may turn into a liability for them. Once I can get MLS Live, FSC, and ESPN over the internet and into a single box, I’d seriously consider dropping my TV Subscription. 

Here’s what I got from the Boxee CEO, along with Roku CEO Anthony Wood, and TiVo exec Tara Maitra. For more, check out Light Reading’s own coverage including interviews on Light Reading TV.

The State of Boxee, Roku and Tivo

Netflix iOS app now lets you stream movies on iPhone, iPod touch

Awesome, now you can watch your Netflix Instant Queue on an iPhone or iPod touch.  Pretty soon, many people won't need broadcast television at all.

Netflix launched an iPad app months ago that lets users stream movies and TV shows over WiFi or 3G connections. Now you can do the same on an iPhone or iPod touch.

Netflix iOS app now lets you stream movies on iPhone, iPod touch

Ripping is more convenient?

I just read Easy, Efficient Hi-Def Video Playback, and after reading through all the "Convenient" steps required to rip and watch a movie, I’m left shaking my head.  This is more convenient than putting a disc into a player?  You also lose DVD chapters and menus this way, so good luck watching part of a movie one night and picking up where you left off later.  I guess that’s why I still prefer Tivo to building my own MythTV/DVR box.  By the way, we watched our first Netflix "Watch Instantly" movie this weekend, and I was impressed.  I had to queue it up via netflix’s web site, but it streamed to the TivoHD with no problems and we could pause/resume/rewind just like any other TV show.  It doesn’t have chapters either, but if you stop/pause it remembers your place in the movie.  If you google, you can get some pretty good deals on new or refurvished TivoHDs.

Unfortunately, on a dual core Athlon — even overclocked to 2.3 GHz — the Planet Earth rips are on the ragged edge of playability under Windows Media Player. CPU usage is well north of 80% all the time, and some peaks at 100% mean video stuttering and sound breakup at least a few times in each episode. This is unacceptable.

Dr. Horrible will continue

I didn’t miss the boat on Dr. Horrible, I just haven’t gotten around to blogging about it. If you missed it when it was free, you can get all 3 episodes on iTunes for just 4 dollars. You can’t beat that deal for your entertainment dollar. I highly recommend it, if you like any combination of super heroes, super villains, romantic comedy, and musicals. The news today from Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Panel at Comic-Con: Yes There Will Be More Horrible

A fan asks how would Dr. Horrible end or continue. Whedon says there WILL be another part to Dr. Horrible. Wow, big news. Exciting. They won’t tell us what it will be like.

Playing divx avi files on an Apple Mac

For a while now, digital cameras have been able to record movies along with just taking photographs.  Camera vendors use different video codecs to compress and save the video you take.  Common codecs include one of Apple’s quicktime codecs (usually saved as a .mov file) and a variety of codecs with the .avi extension.  AVI files are commonly associated with Windows Media Player.  To make the situation more confusing, movies encoded with the popular DivX codec might be saved by your camera as a. .avi file.  Unfortunately, if you’re a Mac owner, if your .avi movies won’t playback, its likely that you need to install DivX.

The X Lab has a whole page on why some .avi files may not play on Max OS X, and suggestiong for how to play them.

To further confuse the issue, many DivX-encoded files carry the .avi extension. QuickTime does not include native DivX® support, even though QuickTime 6 and later support the ISO Standard MPEG-4 media compression format and DivX is based on the MPEG-4 standard.

DivX also makes their codec available as a free download, and it can be used from any application with QuickTime exporting capabilities.

Play DivX videos in QuickTime, Front Row and many other 3rd party media players

If installing the codec solves this problem for you, please leave a comment to let me know!

Fair Use worth $4.5 Trillion?

Information week links to a report from the Computer and Communications Industry Association calculating that Fair Use exceptions in the US account for $4.5 trillion in annual revenue.  They also calculate that the fair  use economy is greater than the copyright economy.  Given the source of the study, its hard to believe it at face value, since they have an agenda to push.  But, its good to see someone pushing back against the **AA’s of the world who want to lock down all content and charge you every time you listen or see it.

CCIA members include Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Yahoo (YHOO), and many other tech companies that benefit immensely from fair use. The media also benefits from fair use — quoting the copyrighted CCIA report would be illegal were it not for fair use. The same can be said for anyone who has ever printed copyrighted material from a Web page, sent copyrighted material in an e-mail, or used a recording device of some sort to capture copyrighted audio or video.

Sports leagues and Internet video

Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball are not just at the opposite ends of the alphabet, but also in embracing digital media.  In this day and age, fans don’t want to be tied to watching anything, even a soccer match or baseball game, by place or time.  Baseball is one of the big three sports in the States, much like horse racing and boxing were last century, and they’re vested in the old model of viewing a game at a certain place and time, and in blacking out games outside of different regions.  Is it any wonder then that MLB considers baseball fans criminals if they use a slingbox to watch games?  Can I emphasize anymore that these are fans of the sport?

MLB’s recent comments that Slingbox owners streaming home games when traveling is illegal has raised quite a stir over the last few days. MLB’s argument is that Slingbox allows consumers to circumvent geographical boundaries written in to broadcast deals.

MLB’s slingbox rant is due to fears that slingbox will cannibalize demand for they’re channel on youtube.  Major League Soccer wants to expose the league and sport to a wider audience, and understands that new models for reaching people are available on the Internet.  It’s become the third sports league to partner with Youtube.

MLS is hoping to garner as much support for its new channel. MLS will have a sponsored channel on YouTube, where updated clips will be played, with alerts sent out to subscribers.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the English Premier League has decided to sue Youtube for hosting user-posted videos and clips form EPL matches.  You have to wonder how much damage could be done to a league who’s next television deal is worth reportedly 513 million dollars.

The lawsuit charges that YouTube deliberately encourages massive copyright infringement on its Web site to generate public attention and boost traffic. This has resulted in the loss of valuable content, the complaint said.

Sports eagues would do well to learn from the clumsy attempts by the music industry’s goons at the RIAA to use legal threats against their own customers.  Especially now that major music publishers might be embracing DRM-free (that’s not crippled files in layman’s terms) music distribution.  I think the leagues that learn to adapt to new distribution models, and not rely primarily on massive television rights deals, can really thrive online.