Google Announces One Pass Payment System

We’ve been waiting for it and it is finally here: Google’s one-click payment system for online publishers. Google One Pass is a Google checkout service that lets publishers set their own prices and terms for each individual service of digital content.

Google One Pass allows publishers to use this new e-commerce functionality to embed into any site and require readers to purchase the content for use. In the release Google says that publishers will have the flexibility to charge for a vast amount of options for including subscriptions, metered access, pay-per-article, multi-issue packages, and more. Users who purchase the content can access it on tablets, smartphones, and websites using Google’s sign-on service.

An extended service from Google One Pass enables metered service, allowing publishers to charge for content after it hits a certain amount of views but it can charge frequent visitors for additional views. One Pass gives publishers the added benefit of a coupon-based system to grant access to existing users. This complex service even enables mobile payments in mobile apps in instances where the mobile terms of service grant access to mobile payments that take place outside of the app market.

Google boasts that this lightweight service is able to be implemented on any website.

The basic workings of One Pass are simple. A publisher hosts their own content and can upload a list of the monetized content to Google’s interface. After processing the entries publishers need to add a piece of code to their site that will recognize the paid content and will be ready for implementation.

Google is initially rolling out access to the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. Already big services are lined up to use One Pass including Popular Science, Media General, NoucelObs, and Rust Communications.

It is clear Google is competing with Apple’s subscription model, and PayPal. Both services have introduced micropayments and all of them are keeping their noses to the ground to get the upper hand. Details on One Pass is still vague, but the service does seem more publisher friendly over Apple and PayPal.

Is It 30M or 300K? Microsoft Dumping Windows Live Spaces & Who Does The Counting?

I recalled when I read the number of users Microsoft was claiming used Windows Live Spaces, the 30 million users, seemed to me just a little high IMHO. Now it seems that the actual number of Windows Live Space users that may transfer over their site to WordPress may be as low as 300,000. But who’s counting?

But it gets better:

Some Microsoft partners are none too happy that Microsoft chose WordPress as its “Plan B,” given that WordPress runs on Apache and MySQL, not Microsoft’s own stack.

Well at least those who make the change over, whether it be 30M or 300K , will have the knowledge that the WordPress servers are using reliable software. LOL

But did Microsoft over state the actual numbers on purpose? Some believe they did:

Wilcox, however, has managed to obtain internal e-mail messages exchanged between (yet unnamed) Microsoft employees that suggest far lower numbers.

However, according to a senior Microsoft manger e-mailing colleagues: “The net is: 300k sites are expected to migrate of the 30M ‘blogs’ — most are dead. WordPress is adding somewhere in the order of zero servers to handle this capacity. This was a ‘who has the best online service for blogging for our customers’ and had nothing to do with technology.”

Ouch – so basically most of the 30 million so-called active blogs are in reality dead, and Microsoft expects a mere 300,000 sites to effectively migrate to WordPress.com

This is just another example of why we Americans have become so skeptical of corporate America and our own US government.

Comments welcome.

Source -ZDnet

Source – TechCrunch

Microsoft Dumps Bloggers And Sends Them Packing To WordPress

Starting today Microsoft is eliminating its blogging section of  Windows Live known as Spaces, and sending everyone over to WordPress. The Redmond giant made the anticipated announcement which goes into effect starting today. Microsoft has stated that the “automated and easy, ensuring the movement of blog content, integrated media, comments and links is simple.”

In a recent article it also states that:

The actual mechanism for moving Spaces blogs over to WordPress blogs is an importer created by WordPress. Going forward, new Windows Live users also will be offered a WordPress.com blog if/when they choose to create a new blog.

As part of this project, we’ve added support for Messenger Connect as a Publicize option, which enables you to automatically share updates to your WordPress.com blog with your friends who use Windows Live Messenger.

We’re very happy that Microsoft chose WordPress.com as their preferred new blogging service for Windows Live users. It’s a sign of how strong WordPress.com has become, and credit for that goes to every one of you who’s been creating here.

Which makes one wonder. Just how trustworthy is Microsoft when it comes to storing our stuff? As many of you know, Microsoft is trying to compete with Google for cloud computing. If you choose Microsoft to store your valuable documents, how long would it be before it decided to dump the cloud and your account with it?

Comments welcome.

Source – WordPress

Google Has A Secret Plan To Save The Newspapers

According to the chief economist at Google, a newspaper’s strength is in how many subscriptions the newspaper has. Google also wants to counter the thinking that it is Google that has destroyed the newspaper industry. Instead, Google states that since 1947, subscriptions have declined dramatically at all major newspaper publications and cites these figures to support its claim that it is not at fault.

In 1947, each 100 U.S. households bought an average of about 140 newspapers daily. Now they buy fewer than 50, and the number has fallen nonstop through those years. If Google had never been invented, changes in commuting patterns, the coming of 24-hour TV news and online information sites that make a newspaper’s information stale before it appears, the general busyness of life, and many other factors would have created major problems for newspapers.

I have to agree. The day of the printed newspaper is ending because, by the time the print paper hits the news stand, the news is stale. In addition, all of the major retailers have their sale notifications online and are more than happy to send email alerts when items go on sale. The major advertising I see in our local newspapers are auto dealerships, who also are slow to grasp the power of the Internet.

In addition, companies such as eBay and Craigslist have also drained off substantial amounts of advertising dollars that the newspapers once relied on. Why would I want to spend $50 or more to try to sell my car with a newspaper ad when I can use Craigslist for free?

With this in mind, Google has what appears to be a secret plan to save the newspapers. Secret, because Google has not gone public with its proposals and, instead, has sat back and let people like Rupert Murdoch rant and rave, spit venom, and basically act like a cry baby. So what is Google’s plan?

That goal is a reinvented business model to sustain professional news-gathering. This is essential if the “crowd sourcing” and citizen journalism that have already transformed news coverage—for instance, the videos from inside the Iranian protests last summer—are not to be the world’s only source of information. Accounts like those are certainly valuable, but they will be all the more significant if they are buttressed by reports from people who are paid to keep track of government agencies, go into danger zones, investigate and analyze public and private abuse, and generally serve as systematic rather than ad hoc observers. (I am talking about what journalism should do, not what it often does.)

Google’s likely route toward this destination, however, differs in crucial and sometimes uncomfortable ways from the one the existing news business would probably choose on its own. The differences are natural, given the cultural chasm that separates a wildly successful, collectively cocky, engineer-dominated, very internationally staffed West Coast tech start-up from a national news establishment that is its opposite in all ways: East Coast–centric, liberal arts–heavy, less international in staff and leadership (more Brits and Australians than in the tech industry, fewer Indians, Chinese, and Russians), dominated by organizations founded in the distant past, and at the moment strikingly downcast and even panicked.

I must admit Google is pushing back at the newspapers and is calling it like it is. Different coasts with different cultures. So now it is time to put these differences aside and get back to business. Hopefully most of the major newspapers will jump on the Google bandwagon before it is too late for them to bail themselves out.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source

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Scribd

Documents are a part of life, but they’re not always loved by everyone. Computers and digital documents have been around for decades, but hassles remain. Formats, management, and sharing continue to be document problems that we face, but these issues don’t always have to be a part of the equation. We’re using the Internet to share just about everything, so why not do the same with documents? Scribd is a service that makes document viewing and sharing problems a thing of the past.

With Scribd, you can upload and turn almost any file into an online document that can be viewed by anyone. The document viewer works well, and viewers can rate and comment on the document in addition to being able to share it in several ways. Aside from publishing content, Scribd is also a great place to find content because in addition to regular people uploading and publicly sharing documents, a collection of well-known publishers also use the service for distribution. I really need to try to remember Scribd the next time that I’m having document troubles.

Five Publishers Band Together To Attract Paid For Content Audience

Five major publishers are banding together to form a new digital publishing venture. Each of the five publishers will have an equal investment in the new venture in the hopes of attracting new advertising blood into the ailing publishing industry. The five publishers are Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp, and Time Inc.

The venture group will have four goals:

Four key goals:

  • Be ready for full-color devices with an application that renders publications “in beautiful form” and in “recognizable” form.
  • Develop a platform that can enable that across multiple devices, operating systems and screens.
  • Develop a common digital storefront where consumers can easily make purchases and get universal access on any device as they buy digital products from their publisher.
  • Work with advertisers to co-develop new advertising forms that Squires expects will be more immersive with the power of digital delivery. “This has the potential to be a new and vastly important branding medium for advertisers, particularly with larger screen devices.”

Hopefully this effort will be able to keep these publishers afloat as they attempt to regain their audience and advertising dollars.

Comments welcome.

Source.

Google Tries To Compromise With Newspapers With First Click Free Program

Google and the newspapers seem to be at odds recently as the FTC holds hearings over the dilemma. The main thrust of the newspaper argument is that they are not making a profit in this digital age and they are accusing Google of stealing their news. In response Google has stated that any newspaper on the Internet can opt out of being indexed by the mega search company.

So over at the Google news blog they have posted what could be seen as a compromise solution called First Click Free.The article states:

As newspapers consider charging for access to their online content, some publishers have asked: Should we put up pay walls or keep our articles in Google News and Google Search? In fact, they can do both – the two aren’t mutually exclusive. There are a few ways we work with publishers to make their subscription content discoverable. Today we’re updating one of them, so we thought it would be a good time to remind publishers about some of their options.

One way we overcome this is through a program called First Click Free. Participating publishers allow the crawler to index their subscription content, then allow users who find one of those articles through Google News or Google Search to see the full page without requiring them to register or subscribe. The user’s first click to the content is free, but when a user clicks on additional links on the site, the publisher can show a payment or registration request. First Click Free is a great way for publishers to promote their content and for users to check out a news source before deciding whether to pay. Previously, each click from a user would be treated as free. Now, we’ve updated the program so that publishers can limit users to no more than five pages per day without registering or subscribing. If you’re a Google user, this means that you may start to see a registration page after you’ve clicked through to more than five articles on the website of a publisher using First Click Free in a day. We think this approach still protects the typical user from cloaking, while allowing publishers to focus on potential subscribers who are accessing a lot of their content on a regular basis.

In addition to First Click Free, we offer another solution: We will crawl, index and treat as “free” any preview pages – generally the headline and first few paragraphs of a story – that they make available to us. This means that our crawlers see the exact same content that will be shown for free to a user. Because the preview page is identical for both users and the crawlers, it’s not cloaking. We will then label such stories as “subscription” in Google News. The ranking of these articles will be subject to the same criteria as all sites in Google, whether paid or free. Paid content may not do as well as free options, but that is not a decision we make based on whether or not it’s free. It’s simply based on the popularity of the content with users and other sites that link to it.

These are two of the ways we allow publishers to make their subscription content discoverable, and we’re going to keep talking with publishers to refine these methods. After all, whether you’re offering your content for free or selling it, it’s crucial that people find it. Google can help with that.

It does appear that Google is making an effort to keep publishers happy and at the same time have them setup a pay wall to increase their revenues. This is a stark contrast from having Murdock using terms like ‘thieves’ and ‘digital parasites’ for others who use the Internet.

Google is at least addressing the problem in a civil manner.

Comments welcome.

Google blog article is here.

Vook

I love to read books, but it’s clear that the publishing industry is facing some serious pressure. Print copies of written work aren’t completely going away any time soon, but the publishers and companies that are going to have the most success in publishing in the future are the ones that will be open to new ways of doing things. Electronic books are still taking some time for people to get used to, but the Kindle has shown us just a glimpse of what the future will be like. Additionally, when we think about books, we usually just think about text, but a service called Vook combines books with videos and social features.

With Vook, you literally read and watch videos alongside each other. The videos are related to the content of the book, so watching them will actually enhance your understanding and appreciation of the material and not take away or distract you from it. You can probably imagine how something like a cooking book would benefit from this unique digital approach. You’ll have to pay to access these Vooks and there aren’t many available right now, but that’s only because this approach is still in its infancy.

Will Publishers Be Able To ‘Hulu’ Their Way To Profitability?

Profitability has been elusive for the publishing companies but they may have stumbled on a way to turn things around.  The people over at Time Inc. have come up with the idea of a Hulu for publishing. Time Inc, seems to be attracting some other notables like publishers of Hearst and Condé Nast may be interested in joining in on the Hula idea.

According to one article it states that:

The idea: The new company, which will operate independently from the publishers that invest in it, will create a digital storefront where consumers can purchase and manage their subscriptions, which can be delivered to any device. The pitch: Control a direct relationship with consumers while gaining leverage with heavyweights like Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN).

Many of the venture’s big details have yet to be hammered down. At one point, for instance, Time Inc. had explored the idea of including newspapers in the new company’s offering, sources say. The JV may also want to include a noncontent partner as an investor, as Hulu did with Providence Equity and as Vevo, the “Hulu for music” JV that Universal Music is creating with Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, plans to do. That approach is supposed to appease antitrust regulators’ worries about a group of content companies banding together.

But the rough outlines of Squires’s plan are attractive enough to publishers, who are hopeful that mobile devices like the Kindle will create a new market for them. And if that market does show up, they want to make sure they’re the ones in charge of sales and distribution. That’s been a huge problem for the music industry, whose digital sales are essentially controlled by Apple. And it has already cropped up as a point of contention with Amazon, which currently handles sales for all content delivered via its Kindle reader.

Other selling points for the JV: The ability to set standards for mobile content and the ability to integrate advertising into the publications.

I personally like the idea. This could be a way for publishers to stay afloat in these economically challenging times.

Comments as always are welcome.

Source.

Google Trying To Woo Newspapers & Publishers

Google is trying to woo the newspaper industry with a proposal that includes paid for content and a way to increase revenues. The Google proposal is being made to the Newspaper Association of America and addresses not only free but also paid content. Google proposal also includes a way that Google would host the content and collect revenue through their Google Checkout.

The proposal states the following information:

Goals

The Newspaper Association of America’s Request for Information “seeks to gather information about the products and services available from qualified providers with expertise in helping local online publishers additionally monetize digital content, either through transactions (pay for content) and/or through collection of user data for enhanced advertising targeting or other ‘access to content programs.” This document identifies Google’s capabilities in these areas, highlights our planned and existing tools, lays out our vision for what this ecosystem might look like, and hopefully opens the door to more detailed discussions with the NAA and individual publishers.

Vision Statement

Google believes that an open web benefits all users and publishers. However, “open” need not mean free. We believe that content on the Internet can thrive supported by multiple business models — including content available only via subscription. While we believe that advertising will likely remain the main source of revenue for most news content, a paid model can serve as an important source of additional revenue. In addition, a successful paid content model can enhance advertising opportunities, rather than replace them.

When it comes to a paid content model, there are two main challenges. First, the content must offer value to users. Only content creators can address this. The second is to create a simple payment model that is painless for users. Google has experience not only with our e-commerce products; we have successfully built consumer products used by millions around the world. We can use this expertise to help create a successful e-commerce platform for publishers.

Beyond the mechanics of any payment system, users must know the product exists. Discovery and distribution are just as, if not more, important to premium content as they are to free content given the smaller audience of potential subscribers. Google is uniquely positioned to help publishers create a scalable e-commerce system via our Checkout product and also enable users to find this content via search — even if it’s behind a paywall.

The eight page document addresses other features of the proposal which could be of interest to newspapers and publishers alike. You can read the full document below in .pdf.

Comments welcome.

Google Proposal To Newspaper Association of America in.pdf

Pixazza

If you haven’t already noticed, everything on the Internet is becoming interactive. There are just so many possibilities online today that they can quickly become overwhelming. Of course, after some time passes, we end up wondering how we ever lived without some specific functionality. When it comes to online images, there really isn’t much that has changed lately. Sure, some entrepreneurs have tried to enhance what a simple image can do, but for the most part, images are images. With that said, how would you like to be able to click on specific items within a picture so that you could get more information and possibly purchase them? Pixazza makes all of this possible.

Check out some of the samples on the site to see how this works. This approach is a real winner for publishers, advertisers, and consumers. Publishers can easily integrate the functionality on their site with a little bit of code that enables product experts to do the real work and help them earn commissions, advertisers are able to get more exposure all over the Internet, and consumers are linked to what they like. Wouldn’t you say it’s about time that images experienced a transformation like this?

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Amazon Says Reading Text Aloud Is Not Copyright Violation

During the past few weeks Amazon has come under fire from publishers and writers for allowing their new Kindle to read text aloud. It seems that some writers fear that the device would circumvent their revenue sources from audio book sales. Authors at first were successful in having Amazon remove the feature. But after some public outcry, Amazon will enable the feature, but allow authors to decide whether or not their works could be read aloud.

In a recent article it also states that:

Amazon said in a statement that it, too, has a stake in the success of the audiobook market, and pointed to its Brilliance Audio and Audible subsidiaries, which publish and sell professionally recorded readings.

“Nevertheless, we strongly believe many rights holders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver’s seat,” the company said.

Amazon is working on the technical changes needed for authors and publishers to turn text-to-speech off for individual titles.

The Web retailer also said the text-to-speech feature is legal — and wouldn’t require Amazon to pay out additional royalties — because a book read aloud doesn’t constitute a copy, a derivative work or a performance.

Though I understand the concerns of publishers and authors, but why should those with sight impairment be punished? What about the people with disabilities and their rights? Should greed have a higher value than the handicapped?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source.

Issuu

I view and read a lot of content on my computer each day, and while I’m able to enjoy it in the way that it’s presented, sometimes I wish that the experience of reading online was similar to the experience of reading an actual book or magazine. I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from flipping through all of the pages, and while that can’t physically be done on the computer, it can be simulated. Issuu presents content in this familiar way, and it’s a great service for professional publishers or people like you and I that just want to view and share documents in magazine format.

When you arrive at the site, select one of the featured magazines and take a look at the interface. You can flip through the pages, zoom in, go full-screen, write comments, and embed these publications. Once you’ve read any available content that interests you, upload your own documents and give Issuu a try for yourself. I’ve seen services like this before, but this is my favorite by far, and I’m sure designers and publishers are going to love it.