Return of Patronage

Who will pay for intellectual works that are easily copied over the Internet, and why? I think the strongest component will be voluntary payment, a.k.a. patronage, and it’s already much more common than generally admitted. The core distinction is the following: People will pay after “consuming” (listening, reading, watching, playing) a work if they decide … Continue reading “Return of Patronage”

Robot Writer News

Computers still struggle to master the Turing test, but that doesn’t matter for low demands on writing quality. In today’s sampling of publishing news we learn that this includes social networks, professional journalism, and scientific conference proceedings. The Scientific Bot In February, science publishers Springer and IEEE were forced to retract over 120 papers from … Continue reading “Robot Writer News”

Twitter, Land of the Bots

A year ago, Barracuda Labs analyzed over 70,000 fake Twitter accounts and found that fake followers are cheap (only $18 per 1000) and plentiful (49k per average buyer). A more recent study by Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli examined the eight most popular seller services. They estimate there are 20 million fake followers in … Continue reading “Twitter, Land of the Bots”

Reality Check for Digital Artists

Not long after pop music’s transition from physical recordings to downloads, the latter are giving way to streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. Consumers love the low monthly fee of $10 or less, but artists only receive about half a cent per play. By comparison, the 7-10 cents they got on a $0.99 iTunes … Continue reading “Reality Check for Digital Artists”

Google Reader Fallout Hits Keep

People won’t shut up about Google’s termination of its essential Reader service. Ed Bott’s Embrace, extend, extinguish documents Google’s successful promotion of Reader as a universal RSS back-end, eventually forcing BlogLines to shut down and NewsGator to abandon its consumer business. The promotion continued until those two significant competitors were defeated, in September 2010. Just … Continue reading “Google Reader Fallout Hits Keep”

Google Reader Shuts Down

First, let’s look at the bright side. Google’s widely covered announcement to shut down Google Reader by the end of June will raise awareness of two important facts that the Internet-using public has been happy to ignore. The first is that “free” is a bad business model, as noted for example in David Crotty’s Perils … Continue reading “Google Reader Shuts Down”

App.net Stagnates

Hopeful Twitter competitor App.net attracted a lot of attention last summer, as its initial growth spurt coincided with Twitter’s increasing hostility towards third parties. Could the service grow into a viable alternative to the big advertising-driven networks? I compiled a few snapshots of approximate user counts in two-month intervals. Month Users Growth Source 08/2012 7,600 … Continue reading “App.net Stagnates”

Blogging healthy, RSS not so much

People claim that dedicated personal weblogs and anonymous XML syndication are the past. The future belongs to the walled gardens of social networks where every user interaction is tracked for advertising profits. But are blogs and RSS feeds really dying, or are they just momentarily less prominent than Facebook’s Like circus? I dug up some … Continue reading “Blogging healthy, RSS not so much”

Happy Union of Print and E-book

Last December, The Scholarly Kitchen’s Joseph Esposito and O’Reilly Media’s Joe Wikert conducted a survey about people’s reading habits. This was an online survey, announced on the websites of Scholarly Kitchen, O’Reilly, and Forbes. So while the total number of around 500 respondents is rather small, we can reasonably assume it’s not biased towards technophobic … Continue reading “Happy Union of Print and E-book”

Hollywood and Tolkien

Robert X. Cringely has just finished his mini-series Silicon Valley conquers Hollywood 2013 (Setting the scene, There’s no business like show business, Think small, not big) with some great anecdotes on the highly irregular way Hollywood does business. A friend of mine who is a securities lawyer in New York worked on the 1985 sale … Continue reading “Hollywood and Tolkien”