SInce Everybody Else Opined on SanDisk's slotMusic

For some reason, people were writing about SanDisk's slotMusic -- a plan to distribute record albums (remember them?) via DRM-free MP3s on microSD cards. (Aspiring pundits should probably avoid publicly reminding readers they've forgotten the past.)

Here's what physical distribution of media was supposed to do in the 20th century:

- Enforce DRM & release windows
- Facilitate retail
- Force consumers to regularly upgrade
- Create a reasonably cost-effective value proposition for consumers with margins for retail and rights owners

DRM is dead. So here's what physical distribution of media needs to do in the 21st:

- Save brick & mortar retail. Oops, too late
- Act as a back-up; slotMusic defeats the purpose if its pitch is a re-usable medium
- Create a reasonably cost-effective value proposition for consumers with margins for retail and rights owners. We haven't seen pricing yet, so who knows?

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slotMusic: the CD's Successor? Perhaps Not

Sandisk have announced a "new music format" called slotMusic. The concept basically consists of pre-installed Micro-SD cards with some small artwork, predominately for use with mobile phones. All the majors are on board, to some degree at least, and the format is being pushed hard for the Christmas period.

Couple of observations:
- So even this new "format" goes DRM-free but 80 odd percent of the online music market and just about all of the mobile music market remains weighed down by DRM and the majors wonder why digital music isn't offsetting the impact of declining CD sales?
- The success of the format depends upon consumers opting to walk into a participating store (which may well be an issue) chose from a probably limited catalogue (anyone remember the pitiful sight of MD album sections in music shops?) and then remove their existing memory card to slot the album in. Begs the question, why wouldn't they just download it from an online store and sideload it?
- Also, the initiative is going to look pretty flat compared to Comes With Music

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OneWebDay in San Francisco by Meraki

Monday will be OneWebDay in San Francisco. Efforts around Gavin Newsom's vision to create an access cloud around San Francisco stalled a while back when plans that involved Earthlink ran into snags in the approval process. And, eventually Earthlink left the business of Muni Wi-Fi.

A new initiative with Meraki has been gaining momentum throughout the city. Rather than renting space from the city, they are mounting infrastructure on rooftops of private homes in part to minimize infrastructure costs. There's a lot more to their story if you check their website.

On OneWebDay Meraki will be installing infrastructure in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco on the 22nd. This neighborhood looks to be underserved. Most of San Francisco looks to be well covered by Wi-Fi (I blogged years ago about how I could see 20+ networks from my home and I'm sure the situation is even worse now with 802.11n) and is not in need of a Municipal network. Citizens without access are, however, in need of a low cost solution. Meraki looks to be an innovation and right-sized solution for some of the problems cities are looking to solve.

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OneWebDay in San Francisco by Meraki

Monday will be OneWebDay in San Francisco. Efforts around Gavin Newsom's vision to create an access cloud around San Francisco stalled a while back when plans that involved Earthlink ran into snags in the approval process. And, eventually Earthlink left the business of Muni Wi-Fi.

A new initiative with Meraki has been gaining momentum throughout the city. Rather than renting space from the city, they are mounting infrastructure on rooftops of private homes in part to minimize infrastructure costs. There's a lot more to their story if you check their website.

On OneWebDay, Meraki will be installing infrastructure in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco on the 22nd. This neighborhood looks to be under-served. Most of San Francisco looks to be well covered by Wi-Fi (I blogged years ago about how I could see 20+ networks from my home and I'm sure the situation is even worse now with 802.11n) and is not in need of a Municipal network. Citizens without access are, however, in need of a low cost solution.

Meraki looks to be an innovation and right-sized solution for some of the problems cities are looking to solve.

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I'm not a PC...

...nor am I a Mac.

Microsoft's new "I'm a PC" ads are very postmodern, as they deal with the subtext of Apple's advertising (PC users are nerds*) but not the explicit message (Macs are easier to use, Macs are easier to set up, Macs are easier to interface, Macs are less likely to get a virus, Macs come with a lot of great software that you know you want, Macs are less likely to need a reboot, it's easier to move your stuff to a Mac than to a new PC, Vista is making life difficult for millions of Windows customers...).

The audience seems to be wavering PC users with self-esteem issues**. But why isn't Microsoft pitching the benefits of Vista vs. Mac?

I keep wondering if the real audience for these ads isn't internal.

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Online Classifieds More Popular Than Print Classifieds - Even Among Older Users

Last week we published a new report, Online Classifieds in Europe: Consumers Moving Online More Quickly Than Advertisers. The report finds that approximately one-quarter of European online users read some form of classifieds (print or online) each month, and that consumers' channel shift from print classifieds to online classifieds is now basically complete. While it's commonly acknowledged that online classifieds are now more popular than print classifieds, I was surprised to find that this is true among every single age group surveyed -- even the oldest users.

Despite the fact that the huge majority of European classified users read classified ads online, though, advertisers have been relatively slow to follow users: the marketers we surveyed were still more likely to advertise in print classifieds than in online classifieds.

Jupiter clients can read the full report, which includes our latest European online classified spending forecast, here.

Yahoo Starting Points and Front Doors

Yahoo folks remind me that "front doors" is an internal org chart thing, and they still think about starting points for Web entree: the homepage, Mail, mobile, and search. And they're definitely focused on them in the near term.

Fair enough; and apologies to my readers for any confusion. The rest of my post still makes sense.

On the Road: Stockholm and London

I'll be on the road next week, keynoting the SMX Stockholm event and then taking a bunch of meetings around AdTech London. If you're going to be at either event and want to catch up -- especially if you want to talk about SEO for blended search, or next-generation online video ads -- drop me a line: nelliott (at) jupiter research -dot- com.

Yahoo Homepage Redesign: Yahoo's Primary "Front Door"

Yahoo's rolling out a beta version to random users of its redesigned homepage, the single most valuable piece of real estate on the Web. (At least until Google puts ads on the front page.) When Jupiter was briefed about the strategy a month and a half ago, we talked about a couple things:

- Yahoo has a notion about Internet starting points or "front doors." In investor presos, it calls the homepage, MyYahoo, Mail, Search, and Mobile as those starting points. But in our more fine-grained discussion, UPDATED: we talked about the homepage, MyYahoo, the toolbar, and Yahoo Buzz are the near-term focus points.

- I asked explicitly about Mail (which opens with a news/content pane, two tickers, a Web search bar, a rich media ad unit and six other ad/promotion/text ad units). I got the feeling that Yahoo is re-thinking what kind of a starting point role mail should play, and that its current content launchpad role might not be the way to go.

- Yahoo's always been correctly cautious about changing the homepage, and about integrating customization/personalization there. It can't risk alienating or disorienting its homepage users, and it's never gotten MyYahoo usage above 10-15%. (No one else has done better; widgets on social networks are the most promising customization technique we've seen.) Yahoo's strategy to teach its mainstream users to customize the homepage feels like it will leverage Buzz as a promotional vehicle.

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Is black the new white?

No, I'm not talking about the presidential campaign.

On two high-profile web redesigns, CNET and WSJ, blackness has taken on the role of white space.

A thirty-year anniversary tribute to James Brown? A ten-year anniversary tribute to @ Home Networks? Or just conserving precious electrons?

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