Link Baiting, Flickr edition

You are the CEO of an online service, say in the media sharing space. One of your competitors is completing the final stages of merging into the larger company that purchased them over a year ago. Some customers (many of whom receive the service for free) are complaining about new limitations placed on the service. These limitations do not significantly impact the service provided, although the one the does was detailed long ago. This limitation is that users must use the existing, easy to obtain, authentication system of the acquiring company. Opting into this authentication system has been available for over a year and was detailed as eventually becoming the only method for signing into the service.

Now, all this said, if you’re the CEO of the competitor, what’s the best way to exploit this situation? That’s right, make it seem far, far worse than it is. Thomas Hawk, CEO of Zoomr, has done a brilliant job of generating a ton of traffic to his blog by detailign the woes of a small subset of Flickr users as they complete the integration into Yahoo. I’m not linking to his post because, frankly, he’s link baiting. Yes, some Flickr users are upset over the changes. But, with a major move like this, there are going to be some upset people. I personnally integrated my account into my existing Yahoo account (which I use for nothing but Flickr and a couple Yahoo groups) and it was dead easy; took under a minute.

Hawk’s getting more press because Scoble linked to him, further stirring the tempest in this teapot. The digg thread on this swings in both directions, but the fact that this is being driven by a direct competitor isn’t getting very much attention. The submission is at least questionable, possibly spam.

Digg – Flickr Users Are Mad as Hell About Today’s Yahoo News

Top Ten List

Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!

6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”

3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.

2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

Evil Bible

Burning Crusade Shatters Day-1 Sales Record

Call it a one day sales zerg.

Blizzard Entertainment® today announced that World of Warcraft®: The Burning Crusade(TM) has broken the day-one sales record to become the fastest-selling PC game ever in North America and Europe, with a worldwide total of nearly 2.4 million copies sold in the first 24 hours of availability.


“In addition to setting a new day-one PC-game sales record at our GameStop and EB Games stores, the expansion garnered more online pre-orders than any other PC game in our company’s history.” – Robert McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop Corp

World of Warcraft is arguably passing out “game” status to cultural touch-point, especially among the technical elites under 30. But MMOs, and games in general, still have a long way to go to rival cultural media points such as Seinfeld or American Idol, who’s audiences dwarf any base of players for a game. However, numbers like the Burning Crusade release are becoming more common and the barriers to being involved in these kinds of virtual worlds are lowering.

How long until a persistant, virtual nation or world is based on simple, approachable, pre-existing technologies? When will the barrier of buying a box disappear? Don’t want to install something? Want to check on your online assests? When the answer is “Fine, fire up a browser” the landscape could change overnight.

Still, it’s impressive to see the impact one game can have. 2.4 million copies at $39.99 USD is around $96 million USD (and no, I will not adjust for non-US sales; it’s a faux stat). In 24-hours. That’s better than most movies do in their lifecycle.

World of Warcraft(R): The Burning Crusade(TM) Shatters Day-1 Sales Record: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance

New Orleans of Future May Stay Half Its Old Size

But some economists and demographers are beginning to wonder whether New Orleans will top out at about half its prestorm population of about 444,000, already in a steep decline from its peak of 627,525 in the 1960 Census. At the moment, the population is well below half, and future gains are likely to be small.

The new doubts, surprisingly, are largely not based on the widespread damage caused by the flood. Rather, crippling problems that existed long before Hurricane Katrina are mostly being blamed for the city’s failure to thrive.

A hard, but fair, look at the situation in NOLA 17 months post-Katrina by the New York Times. The basic tennet is the possibility that the current population is within a few percentage points of what the new, normal population of NOLA will be. With pre-Katrina problems such as crime and government corruption now leading the list of issues facing the remaining residents (and those who have yet to return), the culture of NOLA is in peril.

With scholorly work now coming to the mainstream with predictions like this, what is the face of NOLA to become? Is it realistic to expect to preserve every cultural aspects of the city pre-Katrina? Where does the city shrink, either geographically, culturally, or both? Who gets to decide? Who is deciding?

In short, who chooses what to lose in order to save the most?

Hard questions, but questions that need to be asked (and for which I’ll be flamed, I’m sure). Good article, check it out.

New Orleans of Future May Stay Half Its Old Size – New York Times

Think tank: Mich. should raise beer tax to ease budget problems

State officials should consider raising the tax on beer for the first time since the 1960s as part of an effort to ease the state’s budget problems, according to [John Bebow, executive director of The Center for Michigan, a think tank in the Ann Arbor area].

I hereby postulate that Mr. Bebow is a snobby wine drinker and further propose that the tax on wine be increased at a rate three times that of a beer tax. Obviously, he can afford it working in a think tank (cha ching) in the Ann Arbor (CHA ching) area (CHA CHING).

And how, you may ask, did The Center for Michigan come up with this brilliant tax plan? Perhaps they’re playing to their base: check out the steering committee.