aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Local sites earn big bucks
“The big sites are hiring more salespeople and getting bigger—and shockingly more profitable,” reads the executive summary. “In fact, the largest local website in most markets will generate more in ad sales this year than the largest-grossing radio station in that market.” You can download a PDF of the executive summary for free, but the full survey will cost ya.
I hardly listen to radio anymore; I listen to podcasts. For me, Podcasts are to radio as TiVo is to television.
Podcasting market update
The Official Feedburner Weblog “the world’s largest manager of podcast feeds” says:
After just 18 months since enclosures started finding their way onto iPods everywhere, podcasting has already made a significant impact on the creation and consumption of content worldwide. Consider:
1. FeedBurner alone manages more podcasts than there are radio stations worldwide (yep, we looked it up)
2. Podcasting is outpacing the speed of adoption of the last “most successful consumer product launch in history” (more on that in a minute)
3. Podcast directories are growing, and driving activity back to podcasters’ originating Web sites. As we saw with text feeds, distribution begins as a mechanism to drive traffic back to the originating source and then evolves to become its own consumption medium READ ON.
They got $25 million in venture capital ending aquisition speculation:
“It has never been our intention to sell the company,” said Melanie Deitch, Facebook’s director of marketing, adding that the latest funding puts the rumors of such a sale to rest. Late last month, Business Week reported the company had turned down a buyout offer for $750 million and was looking for as much as $2 billion, citing analysts saying that Viacom, owner of MTV, might make a good match. [...]
The company will eventually turn to developing three revenue streams, Sze said. Those include local advertisers, such as pizza companies or bookstores that want to post an ad for a local college audience; banner advertisers seeking to reach Facebook’s demographic type nationally; and sponsored groups, such as large companies sponsoring an online forum to interact with students.
The local ads most interest me. I’ll be interested to see how that is structured.
Mark Kleiman on a potential mass-market cognitive enhancer:
Eric Wasserman at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (among several other scientists) has demonstrate that a technique called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) - essentially, running a current of 1-2 milliamps between a pair of electrodes taped to the skull - can increase neuronal firing rates and produce observable and slightly durable (in the hours range) improvements in cognitive performance in both healthy volunteers and stroke and dementia patients. The effect can be targeted at any part of the cerebral cortex by moving the electrodes.
The treatment is painless, and in fact only marginally noticeable. The requisite device is cheap, low-tech, and potentially portable, running off a 9V battery. Indeed Wasserman is quoted as claiming that “Anyone with the know-how could go to an electronics store, buy the components, and build one.”
The open - and central - research question is whether the brain builds up a tolerance, so the stimulation stops working. (The researchers claim confidence that the treatment is safe, which is puzzling if they don’t know whether it builds tolerance. Perhaps they merely mean that it’s safe for the small number of applications they’ve tried on each patient so far.)[...]
Whether the technology is electricity, magnetism, chemistry, or sensory stimulation, we’re going to learn, sooner rather than later, how to make people smarter, at least temporarily and with respect to some subset of congitive tasks. What’s scary is how unprepared our regulatory mechanisms seem to be to deal with the tricky set of questions involved. (Chemicals are much more tightly regulated than the other technologies, for no especially good reason other than history.)
Via Ed Felton’s Dashlog.
LATER: Be sure to click through to the link on test-doping, “Allowing stimulant use in the context of competitive test-taking means, virtually, requiring it of those who want to win the competition. And requiring stimulant use is likely to have some bad results in the future lives of test-takers, in addition to reducing the validity of the tests as predictors of academic and professional performance.”