Jigsaw Uses Contacts As Currency

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The New York Times’ “A Service That Aims to Make Cold Calls a Bit Warmer”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/28/technology/28jigsaw.html gives some interesting background on a new social networking service called “Jigsaw”:http://www.jigsaw.com/.
This is an interesting one. I can totally see that the dynamics of the model are great and I am sure they could make a business of this.
Still, I’d be really concerned about the fact that the data they’re trading is someone else’s personal information. Given that the first thing I ask when I’m cold called is “where did you get my name?” and “how did you get my number/e-mail?”, this “valuable information” being shared could end up hurting relations as prospects get creeped out by how they were found.
Also, I really hate that they want to supplement an paid service with ads. Ads don’t belong in every business model and I think pure online services like this dilute their value greatly when they try to make a few extra bucks with banner ads.

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Filtered: Links for March 28, 2005

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Here is your “need to know” for March 28, 2005.
* “Forrester – First look at Yahoo! 360”:http://blogs.forrester.com/charleneli/2005/03/first_look_at_y.html
* “CIRA – Sleep Country Canada Wins Domain Dispute”:http://www.cira.ca/en/dpr-decisions/00027-sleepcountrycanada.ca.pdf (PDF) (via “webnames.ca”:http://www.webnames.ca)
* “Om Malik – How Yahoo Got Its Mojo Back”:http://www.gigaom.com/2005/03/26/how-yahoo-got-its-mojo-back/
* “Wired – Marketers Feverish Over Viral Ads”:http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,66960,00.html
* “Wired – Are Socialites Still Networking?”:http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,66915,00.html
* “Wired – Amazon Knows Who You Are”:http://www.wired.com/news/ebiz/0,1272,67034,00.html
* “WebProNews – Corporate Blogging Guidelines”:http://www.webpronews.com/news/ebusinessnews/wpn-45-20050324CorporateBloggingGuidelines.html
* “Nick Usborne – Monday Copywriting Tip #36: The Power of Empathy”:http://nickusborne.typepad.com/blog/2005/03/monday_copywrit_3.html

More Reasons Not To Use Pop-up Ads

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Jakob Nielsen’s “Most Hated Advertising Techniques”:http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20041206.html provides some hard data on what many of us have known for a while now – aggressive online ads alienate site visitors out of proportion with the potential upside of clickthroughs.
Here’s a particularly relevant part of the article:
bq.. “Users have started to defend themselves against pop-ups. The percentage of users who report using pop-up or ad-blocking software increased from 26% in April 2003 to 69% in September 2004, which is an astonishing growth rate.
Users not only dislike pop-ups, they transfer their dislike to the advertisers behind the ad and to the website that exposed them to it. In a survey of 18,808 users, more than 50% reported that a pop-up ad affected their opinion of the advertiser very negatively and nearly 40% reported that it affected their opinion of the website very negatively.”

Google Likes Dashes More Than Underscores

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One of the things mentioned at the SXSW “How To Trick-out Your Blog”:http://2005.sxsw.com/interactive/conference/panels/?action=show&id=IAP0060 session was that Google seems to like dashes a bit more than underscores in URLs.
I’ve since found some discussion that seems to confirm this:
* “Overstated”:http://overstated.net/03/08/12-google-underscores-filenames
* “Mark Carey”:http://www.markcarey.com/googleguy-says/archives/discuss-underscores-are-not-word-seperators-in-google.html
* “Phil Ringnalda”:http://philringnalda.com/blog/2004/04/underscores_are_bad_mmkay.php
* “WebPro News”:http://www.webpronews.com/ebusiness/seo/wpn-4-20040802DomainNameDilemmaDoDashesorUnderscoresGooseGoogleRankingsMore.html
I seriously doubt that the impact of the switching from underscores to dashes is significant enough to warrant changing current URLs (and generating a sea of broken links that kind of defeat the purpose), but for new sites it makes sense to use dashes instead of underscores.

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What is Google Caribou?

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I’m at “SXSW”:http://www.sxsw.com/ this week, enjoying warm weather and (relatively) interesting sessions.
I’m still not really used to people in the audience having their laptops open surfing the web wirelessly. It looks like more of a distraction than a benefit and most people seem to use it to check their e-mail and visit the blogs of the panel participants when bored.
This of course leads to some unavoidable voyeurism as it is pretty much impossible not to look at a neighbour’s screen as they surf.
During the “Blogging Showdown”:http://2005.sxsw.com/interactive/conference/panels/?action=show&id=IAP0067 panel this morning, I noticed that an attendee from “Blogger”:http://www.blogger.com/ was checking an application called “Caribou”. The logo and interface were clearly Google, looking much like a Gmail clone. There was a small “alpha” under the Caribou logo, but other than that I couldn’t really make anything out before the laptop was closed.
So, what is Google Caribou?
Well, after some initial excitement that I had a scoop on a Google RSS reader or something like that, I find that (“in all likelihood”:http://home.earthlink.net/~thinkinginbinary/2004/10/gmail-was-caribou_05.html) Caribou was the pre-beta name for Gmail.
Still it seems odd that an online version of an alpha release is still available. Is it possible that Google is recycling the name and using it for internal alpha versions of Gmail upgrades?