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September 11, 2006

Weekend Round Up 09/11/2006

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Anti-Podcasting Treaty

This may turn into something. Boing Boing highlights a UN treaty that would give broadcasters “a right to control the use of works they don’t own”. Cory writes:

“The Broadcast Right will allow broadcasters to stop you from copying or re-using the programs they transmit, even if those programs are in the public domain, Creative Commons licensed or composed of uncopyrightable facts…

Worse yet, they want this to apply to the Internet. A few US corporations — Microsoft, Yahoo — have hijacked the US position on the Broadcast Treaty and now the US is using every trick in the book to get the world’s governments (who roundly reject the idea) to create a “webcasting right” at the same time as the broadcast right.”

The proposed law is being called “deadly to podcasters”, as it would forbid them from quoting or re-using each others’ work and would allow podcast-hosting companies to tell people how podcasts can be used. Imagine creating content only to have your host tell you what you could and could not do with it. Even worse, broadcasters would have to pay their lawyer once to make sure they had fair copyright use, and then again to make sure they had fair broadcast use.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is currently passing around an open letter for podcast-supports to sign stating that they reject the “webcasting right” and are opposed to the treaty.

AdWords Preview Tool

The Inside AdWords blog announced Friday that advertisers using Google’s geo targeting function can now see how their ads looks based on different geographic criteria. This means advertisers located in New York can now see how their camping equipment ad looks when displayed in Colorado, New Jersey and Florida-based searches.

As local search begins to drive more and more traffic, tools like this one will become increasingly more important.

To check out your ads, follow the steps below:

  1. Visit www.google.com/adpreview
  2. Enter your keyword(s) in the search box and click on the “Search” button
  3. Preview your ads on the search results page that loads or the subsequent pages (click the next link to see more ads on the right-hand side)

What Makes People Click?

There’s an interesting thread going on over at WMW that debates this one. I found it rather troublesome that most members attribute boredom as one of major reasons that searchers clicked their ad.

I’m sorry, but if searchers are only clicking on your ads because they’re bored, that says more about you than it does about them, don’t you think? I was under the impression that it’s the advertiser’s job to encourage users to commit to the click, not the clicker’s job to tell them why they did it.

If you want to know why searchers are clicking your ads, I’d recommend taking a look at your top performing ads. What do they have that the others don’t? Why are they written the way they’re written? What were you trying to accomplish?

Usability Testing

Phil Lenssen tweaks the Digg homepage (before and after) to make it more user-friendly, reminding us that when it comes to design, less is more.

I like Phil’s cleaner version of the Digg page, though I think removing the category header may be dangerous. It’s always good to remind users where they are on your site. Taking away too much from a page will limit its usefulness and may cause users to get lost.

Fun Finds

Today I give you two fun finds:

First, Jeremy Zawodny gives his faithful readers a quick advisory note: When it comes to eating peaches – if it tastes funny and smells odd, stop eating!

We hope you’re feeling better, Jeremy.

Secondly, I highly recommend you heading over to Seth Godin’s blog to check out his Doing It For Free post. It’s a good reminder that passion spurs innovation, not money.

Do you remember that September?

On a more serious note: As a native New Yorker, it usually bothers me to hear others lament about 9/11 in a way that I feel takes away from what actually happened. That being said, I think Ze Frank does a great job of giving the day its props, while not leaving users with that all too familiar saccharine aftertaste.

Also interesting: Wired News attributes the Birth of the Blogs to 9/11, the Google Operating System blog remembers what Google looked like that day, (hat tip SER.) and Ask.com remembers the day in its own way.





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