Future of Local News Video Distribution

I believe there is an untapped opportunity in video disbtribution for local news stations. When it comes to unexpected events, news station camera crews can not possibly be in the right place at the right time. If someone were to build a video upload service aimed towards local news syndication, I think many stations would be willing be interested in buying rights to the videos.

There are plenty of sites that facilitate the sale of video clips, but I have yet to see one target distribution to television stations. For example, take a look at this video from Oregon after yesterday’s storm hit:



Oregon Drivers Crashing on Slick Streets Video

I imagine the person who captured this video had to go out of their way to get the video to the news station (hopefully they didn’t drive down that street). The local news station may have paid them a small amount of money, then distributed it to their sister stations. Imagine if the user could have uploaded the video to a site, set their own price and let anyone pick up rights to use it or pay extra for exclusive rights.

News stations desperate for video could simply visit the site, preview the video in a flash player, download the video and edit it as they please. Far too often news stations lack video so they pull out old videos or play the same exact video throughout the day, over and over and over. My wife has been filmed working in the lab and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen the same video clip used for every DNA-related piece of news for the past four years. The video distribution service I’m imagining would not only connect traditional media with user-generated videos via the web, but it would be in a good position when the lines between the web and T.V. continue to blur.

Harris Study on Web Ratings and Reviews

Search Engine Watch revealed some information about a Yahoo/Harris Interactive study with surprising numbers. The results of their study show that in a study of ratings and reviews of local businesses, a whopping 67 percent of respondents said they would be likely to post a review.

Yahoo seemed to take pride in that information and I’ve seen the number quoted in a number of places that use it to show that user-generated content is real. I’m a huge fan of user-generated content, but I want to set the record straight: 67% of Yahoo local searchers will not post reviews… especially on every business they frequent.

Having been inspired by the Online Review Management Platform | Chatmeter and for a site that has had user reviews for almost a decade, I can tell you that though a large percentage of people use reviews, only a handful actually contribute reviews. In fact, to get just 2% of your monthly unique visitors to contribute reviews would be a decent accomplishment.

This is a good example of how survey results can be misleading. I’m not sure how they asked this question, but wording it differently could yield much different results. Plus, what people say is not often what they do.

LinkedIn Answers

Yahoo Answers has been one of the most successful launches at Yahoo (and one of Google’s rare failures). Starting this morning, you can find “Answers” at the popular business networking site, LinkedIn. Take a look for yourself: LinkedIn Answers

Considering the quality of the business-minded network, LinkedIn Answers has the potential to do really well. However, the early questions could use some self-promotion spam filtering. I’d also like to see a search feature installed so you could search for specific questions or answers instead of browsing them.

Answering questions may be an excellent opportunity for some people to boost their career or “expert status,” but I urge  LinkedIn users to be cautious with their answers. Much like other things on the web, one little slip up could hurt your reputation down the road. LinkedIn Answers would not a good place to get involved in a flame thread. For those looking to boost their connection count, chiming in on a few question & answer sessions could help increase your exposure to new people.

It’s About Time

Time Magazine‘s “Person of the Year” just came out. In 2004, George Bush took the honors. In 2005, it featured Bill & Melinda Gates, plus Bono. This year, Time Magazine decided to feature me! Or you. Depending on who’s holding up the cover featuring a mylar mirror.  Time person of the year

As I read through the feature (on their site of course–I would never pay for the magazine), I noticed it really shouldn’t say you. It should say “Web Junkies” because when they describe “you,” they talk about video bloggers, Wikipedia editors, Flickr posters, Firefox creators and YouTube founders. Hardly an example of your typical American or Time Magazine subscriber.

Regardless, my first thoughts were: Cool. Someone finally gives recognition to those who have contributed to the growth of the Web. But after reading through all their features, I realized this really was just about recent Web hype.

The cover might as well said “YouTube” instead of “You” as YouTube must have been mentioned a hundred times. YouTube is great, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see YouTube decline in popularity in favor of the next wave of Web 2.0 newcommers. It would almost be the online communities’ way of slapping traditional media back in the face. I can almost hear the public now: “You Don’t Determine Who Is the Person of the Year – We Do!” Because let’s face it, should Time editors really get to determine who the person of the year is? Let’s face it, when Time picks the person of the year, it is all really about Time and not the person they pick.

Okay enough dissing Time. I do appreciate them pickin “us” over political figures or CEOs. Ironically, I’m signing off to go cast my nominations for Webby Person of the Year

MSN Duplicate Content Oversensitivity Being Exploited

MSN Search, being the newest of the big engines, is still trying to get a handle on search spam and had been slowly chipping away at it, but the problems are now getting worse since the switch to MSN Live.

In particular, MSN’s duplicate content algorithm penalties are too sensitive and too severe, causing a simple hack to be an effective way to remove a competitor’s site from the rankings. Let’s hope MSN fixes this right away and even takes notes as to who threw up content hoping to exploit it once it became known.

Credit to ThreadWatch for the find.