Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Top 10 Semantic Web Products of 2009

2009 has seen a lot of Semantic Web and structured data activity. Much of it has been driven by Linked Data, a W3C project which gained momentum this year. According to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, Linked Data is a sea change akin to the invention of the WWW itself. We've gone from a Web of documents to a Web of data.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Google Acquires Teracent: Wants to Offer Smarter Display Ads

Google just announced that it has acquired Teracent, a display ad company that specializes in creating customized display ads in real-time based on machine-learning algorithms. While regular display ads always look the same for every user, Teracent's ads are automatically created from multiple creative elements and can change according to factors like geographic location and language, as well as the content of the website, time of day, and the past performance of different ads. As Andy Beal describes it, this is basically "multi-variate testing for your banner ads."

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pearltrees: A Design Interface for Remapping the Web

It's rare to look at a bookmarking tool and feel convinced that it's going to win a design award. Pearltrees is such a product. The French site offers us a new way to explore and contextualize the web. In what looks like a mind map structure, users collect "pearls" (links to articles, videos and web pages) and drag and drop them to form a body of knowledge that folds and expands upon itself. In an interview with Pearltrees CEO Patrice Lamothe, ReadWriteWeb found that company already has a loyal user base including our friends at ReadWriteFrance.

Said Lamothe, "We wanted a type of game play that was playful to use and map the web...and the fact that you can group and ungroup content easily means that you can re-catalogue it and keep it current."

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Monday, November 9, 2009

AdMob Is “Approaching A $100 Million” Revenue Run-Rate. Google Thinks It Can Be Billions.

When Google CEO Eric Schmidt mentioned a few weeks ago that the M&A spigot is now back on at the search giant, he wasn’t talking about a trickle. Today’s announced deal to by mobile ad startup AdMob for $750 million is Google’s largest acquisition since its $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick in March, 2008, and its third-largest ever after the $1.65 billion YouTube acquisition in 2006.

Why such a big bet? Because Google is gunning hard to dominate mobile Web advertising and AdMob has an early foothold in the display side. By focusing on the needs of mobile app developers, AdMob has “built what is approaching a $100 million business in three years,” says Jim Goetz, the partner at Sequoia Capital who sits on AdMob’s board, referring to the annualized revenue run-rate of the company. Since AdMob splits its revenues 60/40 with publishers, that implies AdMob is on course to see $40 million of that $100 million gross. The company is also cash-flow positive, with 140 employees.

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Not Playing Around. EA Buys Playfish For $300 Million, Plus a $100 Million Earnout.

After lengthy negotiations, Electronic Arts closed it’s anticipated acquisition of social gaming startup Playfish for $275 million in cash. An additional $25 million in stock will be set aside for retaining the top talent at the startup, and another $100 million in earnouts are part of the deal as well if the business hits certain milestones. So the total value of the deal could amount to as much as $400 million when all is said and done. Although, earnouts have a tendency to come up short (see Skype).

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Noticings: Geotagging Photo Game Powered by Flickr API

One app we didn't find - and one that brilliantly appropriates the Flickr API in a delightful, infectious user experience - is Noticings. Part game, part geotagging app, part photoblog, Noticings asks users to upload geotagged photos of interesting artifacts to Flickr. Users tag the photos "noticings;" those photos are then imported, analyzed, and scored, with extra points being awarded for those who post every day in a given week, who post photos of lost objects, or who post the first pic from a certain neighborhood. It is, as the site states, "a game of noticing the world around you."

"Many of us are moving so fast through the urban landscape we don't take in the things around us," the site reads.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Myth: Entrepreneurship Will Make You Rich

One of the unfortunate side effects of all the publicity and hype surrounding startups is the idea that entrepreneurship is a guaranteed path to fame and riches. It isn’t. Building a startup is incredibly hard, stressful, chaotic and –- more often than not –- results in failure. That doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile thing to do, just that it’s not a good way to make money.

A more rational career path for money-making is one that rewards effort, in the form of promotions, increased security, salary and status. Startups, unfortunately, punish effort that doesn’t yield results. In fact, the biggest source of waste in a startup is building something nobody wants. While in an academic R&D lab, creation for creation’s sake will often get you praise, in a startup, it will often put you out of business.

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