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Many large tech companies file lots of patents each year and although many, if not most, of them aren't very interesting, every once in a while somebody stumbles upon an interesting one.
Case in point: a pay-to-preview patent Amazon filed for in 2004 and which was granted earlier this week.
Despite the fact that many publishers have struggled to transform ad-supported content into profit, many publishers have opted to keep the ad-supported content, and forgo a paywall.
And there's a good reason why: it's entirely unclear to many publishers whether a paywall will be profitable or not, and once a paywall goes up, a publisher's audience will almost certainly drop. For many publishers, ad-supported content and a large audience is still more attractive than paid content and a smaller audience.
Rupert Murdoch's News International may still have a long way to go in convincing the world that it can succeed by putting its newspaper websites behind a paywall, but that doesn't mean that News International isn't confident that it will eventually succeed with the paywall model.
In a sign of its confidence, it is putting the website of the UK's top-selling Sunday newspaper, News of the World, behind the News International paywall in October.
While major fashion brands unveil their latest styles this week in New York as part of Fashion Week, Twitter yesterday unveiled a new look that is as eye-catching as some of the fashions you'll see on display on the runway.
The goal: provide "an easier, faster, and richer experience". The plan: role out some major changes to portions of the Twitter userbase over the next several weeks. The reaction?
Make no doubt about it: AOL CEO Tim Armstrong had his work cut out the moment he became the leader of one of the most storied names in technology in the past two decades.
The former head of ad sales for Google is tasked with nothing less than to revitalize a brand that in many ways represents what the internet once was, and perhaps represents little of what most of us think it will be. Increasingly, Armstrong's task looks impossible to carry out successfully.
The newspaper business may be old and stodgy, but it's quite evident that its future depends on embracing the internet. And internet technologies.
One of those technologies: web analytics. Yesterday, The New York Times detailed how newspapers, once leery of web analytics, is increasingly taking a second look, recognizing that the real-time consumption data web analytics can provide is too valuable to ignore.
Is paid content the online future of the newspaper business? While there's plenty of discussion and debate on the subject, if you listen to enough newspaper executives, you might come away with the impression that they think it has to be.
But while many newspapers contemplate paid content and talk up their plans, The Financial Times has actually been executing a paid content strategy.
Social media and Web 2.0 (a term that, incidentally, we don't hear much of anymore) were supposed to make the internet a more democratic place. On today's internet, just about everybody has a printing press, and the little guy has equal opportunity to distribute a message. The best, we're often told, will rise to the top.
Of course, anyone who is involved with user-generated content and the popular web services through which user-generated content is shared and promoted, eventually learns that the internet isn't as democratic as it's supposed to be.
Looking to watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show? Apple wants to rent it to you. Yesterday, the Mountain View-based company unveiled the latest incarnation of Apple TV. And like most of Apple's newest consumer electronics devices, behind the hardware is a business model to move content.
In addition to $4.99 high-definition movie rentals, Apple TV offers up 99 cent rentals of popular television shows from Fox and ABC. But will Apple TV do for television shows what the iPod and iTunes did for music? That may depend on how Apple deals with the competition. If the counter attack Amazon has already launched is any indication, the competition may be pretty fierce.
Tumblr, which has been described as a publishing tool that's somewhere between Twitter/Facebook and a full-fledged blog, is a fast-rising star in the crowded world of social media. It recently passed the one billion post mark, and it counts some pretty prominent publishers, including The Economist and Newsweek, as users.
The latest recognizable name in publishing to jump on the Tumblr bandwagon is The Atlantic. It doesn't know what to expect from its Tumblr experiment, but it's getting involved with Tumblr nonetheless.
If you list some of the most popular and important companies on the internet today, you'll notice that most have one thing in common: they offer an API. And, in most cases, for good reason. APIs can be a valuable asset for an internet business.
But is an API a business development asset, and over time, should it cannibalize business development?
According to BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, "British ideas are no longer strangers in LA and the world’s other media capitals." But those outside of the UK -- including British citizens -- can't officially get their fix of British content through the BBC's iPlayer.
That's something Thompson hopes will be fixed, and fixed soon. In a speech at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Thompson told attendees "Within a year we aim to launch an international commercial version of the iPlayer. Subject to Trust approval, we also want to find a way of letting UK licence payers and servicemen and servicewomen use a version of the UK BBC iPlayer wherever they are in the world."