Just a Theory

By David E. Wheeler

Posts about Advertising

Missing the Point

Thanks for all the comments on my Disposable Computing post. Alas, I’m beginning to see why sites like Daring Fireball don’t allow comments. Not that anyone was rude; it’s just that everyone missed the point. Every last one of you. (Well, except commenter “John”, who pointed out an inaccuracy in my post.) Here’s what that post was not about:

  • How many iPhones I’ve had over the years
  • The economics of owning an iPad vs. owning a Kindle
  • How long any given Apple product lasted (yours or mine)
  • How durable previous generations of Kindles are
  • The inherent value of the iPhone 3GS or iPad 1
  • The difference in quality between E-ink and LCD displays

Here’s what the post was about:

  • Apple products tend to have great build quality and durability
  • Marco Arment’s $79 Kindle review used the terms “cheap” and “disposable” to describe the Kindle.
  • The last thing I want in my life is cheap and disposable objects
  • I’d rather have objects that are more durable and likely to last
  • So I’d rather have an iPad than a $79 Kindle.
Contigo thermal mug

That’s about it. I’ve never used a Kindle device, just the Kindle iOS app. I don’t know how crappy the new Kindle actually is. Maybe Marco’s wrong, and the $79 Kindle is actually incredibly well-built and durable and will last for years. I just know that if it appears to be cheap and non-durable, I don’t want it. And I think Marco is a pretty reliable source. So I don’t want a $79 Kindle.

Perhaps my analogy of the $79 Kindle to a Dixie cup was a wee bit overwrought. Sorry about that; it occurred to me as I was writing the piece and I felt that it captured what I wanted to day. Because, you know, I’d rather drink my coffee out of a Contigo thermal mug than out of a Starbucks paper cup. Maybe that’s not fair.

So how about this? The $79 Kindle is a Starbucks plastic mug. Not quite Dixie-cup disposable, and the advertising helps keep the price down.

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Has Google Forgotten its on Tagline?

My friend Chad Dickerson, the exiting CTO of Infoworld, has blogged about a recent move by Google to patent advertising in RSS!

Incorporating targeted ads into information in a syndicated, e.g., RSS, presentation format in an automated manner is described. Syndicated material e.g., corresponding to a news feed, search results or web logs, are combined with the output of an automated ad server. An automated ad server is used to provide keyword or content based targeted ads. The ads are incorporated directly into a syndicated feed, e.g., with individual ads becoming items within a particular channel of the feed.

This despite the fact that InfoWorld was itself sending targeted ads out in is RSS feeds before Google filed for its patent! Is this another one-click debacle in the making? Does it really make any sense to patent delivering targeted ads over HTTP just because they’re in XML instead of HTML?

What do you think?

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