Sphere Blog

March 19, 2008

Connecting The Conversation – NYC Fete

Last night Sphere co-hosted a cocktail party with The New York Times, Automattic (WordPress), Giga Omni Media (GigaOM), Hearst Corporation and True Ventures. Matt has some great photos up at his blog. We celebrated the evolution afoot in the media industry, bringing together large publishers, micro-publishers and bloggers. Quite an evening. Thank you to everyone who joined us and a special shout out to True Ventures and Hearst for making the event possible. Here are a couple of photos from the event which took place at the top of the new Hearst Tower overlooking Central Park.

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February 29, 2008

Journalists? Bloggers? Micro-Publishers?

attack.pngMark Glaser has an interesting post on the narrowing gap between bloggers and traditional journalists. As Mark points out, the distinction is less relevant more than ever. Traditional journalists blog, they write shorter articles, they post more frequently and they invite comments – all things the bloggers first demonstrated had appeal. Big blogs have Editors, Sales professionals and operate more like savvy publishers everyday.

I don’t even think of the big blog sites as blogs, they’re more like micro-publishers. They’re businesses. They worry about page-views, their brands and they sell sponsorships/ advertising on their sites at very high CPM’s. From our vantage point, this all makes sense. Why should the media industry evolve any differently than other industries where we’ve seen this phenomenon before (Music, Consumer Package Goods, Grocery Stores just to name a few)? In our widgets, we’ve already started adding some “micro-publishers” into our Related Media quadrant, thus moving them out of the Related Blogs quadrant. We’re not sure that’s the right approach but we feel like it gives some “traditional” blogs a better opportunity for exposure while not penalizing traditional media sites nor the larger blogs.

How do you think about this?

February 25, 2008

Newsweek’sphere

Filed under: Newsweek,Sphere Publisher Partners,Sphere Related Content — sphere @ 6:25 pm

newsweek-logo.pngI’m excited to update you with Sphere’s most recent launch on a major news site. We recently added Newsweek as a partner, joining a list that includes some of the best news sites on the web: The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, CNN, US News & World Report, TIME, AOL News/Sports/Entertainment, CBS, Forbes, MLB, ZDNet, Washington Post, TMZ and several more MSM sites and over 50,000 blogs. Newsweek is one of the most well respected media companies in the world (off-line and on-line) and we’re truly honored to be partnering with such a venerable brand with the highest journalism standards. We’re very proud of the quality and relevance of our results on Newsweek, here’s what we launched :

    • *Related articles from the Newsweek archives;
    • *Related blog posts from the Blogosphere; and
    • *Recommended Blogs

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Sphere related content is on every article in every section of the Newsweek site. Here’s the most recent lead article from the home page as an example – CLICK HERE. When the page opens, just click on the Sphere icon link in the Article Tools box. This means that every article page on Newsweek displays both related articles from Newsweek and high quality bloggers, resulting in more opportunities for bloggers to add their voice to the discussion – a great opportunity for bloggers to join the conversation as well as reach a broader audience of readers. Always a good thing. Thanks to Newsweek for embracing the blogosphere and for their unwavering support in partnering with us. A special thanks to Kevin Stuart for his support and for nailing this implementation.

February 22, 2008

CBS Fans Only’sphere

Filed under: CBS,Fans Only,Sphere Publisher Partners — sphere @ 1:43 am

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If you like keeping up with sports, videos, tidbits and scoops, you’ll want to check out the new CBS sports Network site, Fans Only. If you’re a serious sports fan, I think you’ll love their new site. It’s a social networking platform that you can personalize (similar to NetVibes or PageFlakes) to display up to the minute news from thousands of sources, virtual tailgates, blogs and game picks. Fans can free create pages to follow their favorite teams, adding multimedia content such as streaming video highlights, statistics, polls, rankings and chats. This is very novel. It’s fun, it’s interactive, confident and progressive to let readers “slice and dice” media.

I’m a big sports fan, the kind of guy that naively believes the Cubs are going to (more…)

February 20, 2008

WP’sphere

picture-14.png Recently, the Washington Post introduced Sphere It results throughout their site. While an honor for Sphere to partner with such a venerable publisher brand, it’s also another great opportunity for bloggers to join the conversation as well as reach a broader audience of readers than the early adopter blog crowd that has been immersed in blogs since 2003. Always a good thing.

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You can find Sphere links under the Who’s Blogging module in the middle left column on all Washington Post articles. As an example, go to this article – Obama takes Hawaii and Wisconsin – click on the “Links to this article” and our Contextual Widget will open up, displaying blogs linking to the article as well as blogs writing blog posts that are contextually relevant to the article. Here is a screen-shot of the Washington Post Contextual Widget.

Washington Post has been one of the most progressive publishers in recognizing the value blogs add to the conversation – in addition to empowering bloggers to link to their articles, they’ve launched a growing list of WP blogs and have established an ad network for a select group of blog partners. Thanks to Atil Erkin, John Alderman, Brendan Monaghan and Jim Brady for embracing the blogosphere and for their unwavering support in partnering with us.

February 17, 2008

CBS’Sphere

Filed under: CBS,Sphere Publisher Partners — sphere @ 7:01 pm

cbs-politics.pngI recently attended the Paley Center Gala honoring Sumner Redstone for his outstanding contributions to the media industry. It was a bit of a Who’s Who affair, Tony Bennett sang, Charlie Rose was the emcee, The NYC Media was in Black tie, joining Barbara Walters and countless stars who attended.

One of the great things he shared during his speech is (more…)

November 13, 2007

AOL Political’Sphere

Filed under: Sphere Publisher Partners — sphere @ 10:42 pm

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With the election season in full swing, we’re delighted to partner with AOL’s recently introduced political blog called PoliticalMachine. Sphere Related Content links are included on each permalink page – you can see it in action HERE. If you’re interested in Politics, I think you’ll love this site. AOL Political Machine surfaces the latest political news while enabling you to engage with their bloggers. The Sphere Related Content widget displays blog viewpoints from the left, right and AOL News.

The site has a great voice for political content. It’s fun, it’s interactive, confident and progressive to let readers participate in the dialog.One of my favorite features of the widget is how the related blog posts are organized from the Left and Right. This is very novel.

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November 8, 2007

US News & World Report

Filed under: Sphere Publisher Partners — sphere @ 10:24 pm

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I’m excited to update you with Sphere’s most recent launch on a major news site. We recently added US News & World Report (“USNWR”) as a Sphere Related Content partner, joining a list of premier World News sites that include The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Reuters, The Washington Post, CNN, TIME, AOL News, CBS, Forbes and Market Watch.

This means that every article page on USNWR displays both related articles from the USNWR and high quality bloggers, resulting in more (more…)

October 11, 2007

Alternative Search Engines in the ‘Sphere

Filed under: Sphere Publisher Partners — sphere @ 2:03 am

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Since Alternative Search Engines (ASE) launched earlier this year, it’s become one of my daily reads to keep up with the energetic thinking and building happening with search engine optimization, vertical search engines and applications. ASE is a member of the Read Write Web blog network (RWW), started by (more…)

October 10, 2007

Reuters’Sphere

Filed under: Sphere Publisher Partners — sphere @ 4:01 pm

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I’m excited to update you with Sphere’s most recent launch on a major news site. We recently added Reuters as a partner, joining a list that includes The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, VH1, TIME, Access Hollywood, AOL News/Sports/Entertainment, CBS, Forbes, Market Watch, ZDNet and several more MSM sites and over 40,000 blogs. Reuters is one of the most well respected media companies in the world (off-line and on-line) and we’re truly honored to be partnering with such a venerable brand with the highest journalism standards. With Reuters, we launched three services:

  • Related News (related Reuters articles);
  • Related Web News (related articles from other mainstream media sites); and
  • Related Video (related Reuters video) – we’re particularly excited as this is our first related video launch, with many more to come.

Sphere related content is on every article in every section of the Reuters site. Here’s the most recent lead article from the home page as an example – CLICK HERE.

We’re very proud of the quality and relevance of our results on Reuters. Early stage companies always appreciate early adopters, especially when they’re high profile like Reuters. A lot of companies develop product and then try to see if there is market interest. We too did that in the beginning and that is partly how we developed the original Sphere Related Content plug-in. Since then, we’ve take a different approach, finding it best to follow the lead of our partners who understand their priorities and more often than not, put the best interests of their readers ahead of everything. Through our initial discussion with Reuters, we felt they were the perfect partner to apply our “content genome” technology to video. Reuters has a wealth of multi-media assets, great/ timely content and very good meta-data. The combination of those variables, along with the generous support of Alisa Bowen, Mark Goodrich and Mike Dehm is our good fortune in evolving the breadth of our offering – thanks to all!

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