Showing posts from October, 2011

Has content become advertising for advertising?

This post was also published on CNET. Since the advent of the Web, online publishers have had to create unique content to attract premium ad rates. Over the past few years, however, a flood of subpar content has seemingly taken over the Web, driven by high-growth sites such as Demand Media and the AOL-owned Huffington Post. These types of sites have enjoyed surging traffic by creating relatively simplistic content, repurposing and "aggregating" premium content, and gaming Google's search algorithm. But this strategy faces a growing backlash and as a result may have hit its natural ceiling, and that could create opportunities for new online-media models. What makes subpar content subpar? Like pornography, you know it when you see it. Take, for instance, "news" articles that simply paraphrase and quote articles written by journalists, or simple "how to" guides that don't explain much and have no accompanying diagrams, videos or other edifying med

Face it: Steve Ballmer is doing a great job

This post was also published in VentureBeat. In the wake of the CEO ousters at HP, Yahoo and Nokia and the CEO implosions at Cisco, SAP, RIM and Dell, it’s surprising people are still picking on Steve Ballmer. Hedge funders are calling for his head . Employees are complaining . I am by no means a big Microsoft fan — during my five-year tenure at Sun Microsystems, Microsoft was a vicious, scorched-earth competitor . But I have to give credit where credit is due: Ballmer has done a remarkable job, especially in contrast to the leaders of most technology companies. Ballmer’s problem is that everyone expects Microsoft to be as good as Apple at entering into new markets. The reality is that Microsoft has never been a technology innovator. People are nostalgic about the days of Bill Gates, when Microsoft supposedly innovated. However, under Gates, Microsoft copied other products relentlessly, even from its very beginning. MS Basic copied Tiny Basic. MS DOS copied CPM-86. Windows cop