Web 2.0 Awards Announced

SEOmoz released the results of the 2nd Annual Web 2.0 Awards yesterday. I’m happy to announce that I was one of the 25 judges. I’ve judged the Webby Awards for a number of years and even judged an online Miss World competition a few years ago, but I must admit that judging the Web 2.0 Awards was a refreshing change. It’s fun to see how people are changing the web in exciting ways.

Web 2.0 Awards

I highly recommend you take a look at the 2007 Web 2.0 Award Winners, especially if you are still unsure what a “Web 2.0 site” is. I think every company with an online presence could benefit from paying attention to sites that are leading the movement towards Web 2.0 experiences.

Think about how you might be able to integrate elements of what these other sites are doing into your site, especially if it adds value to your existing user base.

Hollywood Take Note: Music Sales Drop 20%

The WSJ reports that CD sales for the first three months this year are 20% down from last year. Though digital music purchases are up about 50% Y/Y, overall music industry revenues are said to be down about 25% Y/Y. It appears the RIAA’s lawsuit bully tactics are having a reverse effect on sales. From the Journal:

The sharp slide in sales of CDs, which still account for more than 85% of music sold, has far eclipsed the growth in sales of digital downloads, which were supposed to have been the industry’s salvation… In recent weeks, the music industry has posted some of the weakest sales it has ever recorded. This year has already seen the two lowest-selling No. 1 albums since… 1991.

Whether the music industry likes it or not, things are only going to get worse. The good news is that people still like music—maybe more than ever. What’s really changing here is that those who had control over distribution are losing control. More and more, the middlemen can be cut out and small bands (much like small businesses on the Web) can reach a worldwide audience without incurring much in the way of costs.

The movie industry has just started feeling the sting of a digital world. As it becomes clearer and clearer that Hollywood’s monopoly over movie distribution lessens, Hollywood will be tempted to take control of the inevitable movement towards new distribution models. Hollywood would be smart to learn from RIAA’s mistakes and take a more participatory role in giving people movies the way they want them, at fair prices. $20 New Release DVDs and $10 movie theater tickets may sell for now, but I don’t see that lasting long.

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.