RizWords – Daily Politics and Tech
Episode 49 – download now subscribe now

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Succumbing to the pressures of the media around us, Art and I spend the first half of the show talking about presidential politics and campaigning, and whether or not Ron Paul has a real shot at winning this thing. Mark says ‘maybe’ and Art says definitely not. Noteable Futurama quote from the conversation:

On the TV, candidate Jack Johnson is debating candidate John Jackson

Johnson: It’s time someone had the courage to stand up and say: I’m
against those things that everybody hates!
Jackson: Now, I respect my opponent. I think he’s a good man. But,
quite frankly, I agree with everything he just said!
Fry: These are the candidates? They sound like clones.
[Squints] Wait a minute. They are clones!
Leela: Don’t let their identical DNA fool you. They differ on some
key issues.
Johnson: I say your three cent titanium tax goes too far!
Jackson: And I say your three cent titanium tax doesn’t go too far

Turning to actual news, Art and I comment on what can be a real positive move for the monetization of New Media video efforts:

Adsense For Video, Google Still Lagging

adsense.pngGoogle has announced a closed beta test of Adsense for Video.

According to the post on Inside Adsense, Adsense for Video consists of “in-stream” advertisements. Publishers define at what point the advertisements will appear for each video.

It’s a change in the right direction for Google. The previously announced advertising trials for YouTube consisted entirely of text advertising overlays that lead to video-on-video click to play advertisements; a form of advertising that can easily be ignored by the viewer. Whilst many may find in-video style advertising annoying, it at least comes with a guarantee that viewers are going to see the advertisement.

Adsense for Video, as it is currently explained lacks contextual delivery. Allowing publishers to select where a video is played may empower content creators, but it does nothing in terms of automatically optimizing advertising for the viewer.

Google appears to be lagging in this market; the technology to contextually serve advertising within video is already available, ScanScout providing such a service. Given the massive market share Google holds in the online video hosting marketplace through YouTube, it would normally be expected that Google would be leading development in this field. For reasons unknown, they are not doing so.

Looking for an alternative for Alexa? Your ship may have come in… Art and Mark both give positive reviews of Compete:

Compete API Open For Business

competelogo.pngWeb analytics startup Compete.com opened its API for public use today. Websites and applications can now access Compete’s data and incorporate it into their own products.

This is timely for the company, which competes directly with Amazon’s Alexa. Recenty, Statsaholic has been in a very public dispute with Alexa over use of its data, with both sides looking bad. That dispute recently went to litigation. As some services shy away from Alexa, either due to public perception or inflexibility over the Alexa APIs, Compete could grab additional market share.

In related SEOish news, Technorati’s new changes to their search engine are not well recieved around the net:

Technorati’s Authority
Technorati made some changes this month to show it’s more than a blog search engine. “Technorati continues to grow well beyond its roots at the leading blog search engine; increasingly, we are the main aggregation point for all forms of social media on the Web, including blogs, of course, but also video, photos, audio such as podcasts and much more”, noted David Sifry last month.

The site also introduced a score for each blog that measures the “authority”. The pretentious name has one purpose: to cover the real meaning of the number. “Technorati Authority is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has,” explains Technorati’s blog. So each blog that links to me (no matter if it’s a
spam blog or Slashdot) increases my authority with 1. Imagine what would happen if Google’s PageRank was proportional to the number of links to a page in the last 6 months: the top search result for most of the queries should be a page from yahoo.com or google.com, sites that would have the PageRank 100,000. It would be easy to increase your PageRank: just create a new site that links to you; it’s as important as a link from New York Times. But fortunately, Google found a better way to rank web pages:

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.” Using these and other factors, Google provides its views on pages’ relative importance.

Buzz Out Loud will probably be talking about this later today:

Senator Warns of Email Tax This Fall
cnet-declan writes “State and local governments in Washington this week began an all-out lobbying push for the power to tax the Internet, according to our article at News.com. A new Senate bill would usher in Internet sales taxes, and the Federation of Tax Administrators (representing state tax collectors) advised senators at a hearing on Wednesday not to renew a temporary moratorium limiting broadband taxes that expires in November. One irked Republican senator warned that unless the moratorium is renewed, we could start seeing email taxes by the end of the year. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey blames it on the Democrats taking over, as do Yahoo and eBay lobbyists. Is this a non-hoax version of bill 602P?”

Mark talks of his experiences with red-light cameras, and applaud’s Texas’s move to ban them:

Texas Looking To Ban Speed Cameras?
There are all sorts of problems with things like speed cameras and red light cameras, starting with technical problems and moving on to the more serious questions about whether or not they make the roads any safer. Since they’re usually offered in combination with private companies who receive a large percentage of the fines, it’s often pointed out that these cameras are more about making private companies and government coffers money, rather than any real attempt at increasing safety. Still, they’ve only become more and more popular recently, with a new speed camera catching over a thousand speeders in a single day. However, it looks like Texas may actually be heading in the other direction. Jeff Nolan points us to the news that Texas lawmakers have approved a ban on speed cameras. The law also requires signs warning about red light cameras — though, it’s unclear if that will help, since studies have shown red light cameras often increase accidents, as drivers are more likely to slam on their brakes.

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