Home Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up, 18-24 July 2005

Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up, 18-24 July 2005

sponsored by:

Onfolio is offering R/WW readers a coupon code entitling the bearer to $30 off a
purchase of Onfolio Professional
before August 31st (a 30% saving off the normal $99.95 price). To use the coupon, enter
it at the time of purchase. Coupon Code: RM857202

This week: Thoughts on what News Corp will do with MySpace, New RSS Aggregator
stats from Feedburner and Pheedo, Greasemonkey and Firefox under security spotlight,
Microsoft eyes new horizons, political post of the week.

MySpace and Big Media

You’ve all heard the news by now – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp bought MySpace (and
whatever else Intermix Media Inc. owns). For those of you not familiar with MySpace,
here’s Reuters’

“MySpace.com is the most popular of the once-trendy social networking sites, which
allow people with common interests to seek dates, friendship and professional

Once-trendy? Ouch! In any case, over the past year or so MySpace has been the peoples
choice in social networking applications, ahead of Friendster and Orkut. So what does the
purchase mean for social media and the Web as platform?

Boyd at Many-to-Many
sees some Big Brotherish overtones to the deal:

“Unlike the other YASNS, the value of MySpace comes from the data on media trends
that is the core of what people share on that service. […] Marketers who want to
understand the constantly shifting youth trends are often looking for a perch from which
to be the ideal voyeur. And with MySpace, they found it.”

Those concerns are echoed in
Trent Lapinski’s detailed post
about the background of MySpace owners Intermix:

“Now all of this user information is in the hands of News Corp. and they can pretty
much do whatever they want with it.”

But it’s not all 1984
and ‘sticking it to The Man’. From the content producer’s point of view, MySpace is known
to be a very popular site for music and it’s hard to see how News Corp’s purchase will
adversely affect that. For example, take this comment from

‘In fact, MySpace has eclipsed MTV has a music destination. Former Smashing
Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan says, “now that MySpace is here, bands don’t necessarily
need a label to be heard.”‘

According to this
mp3.com article
, a Geffen Records honcho called MySpace “an incredibly compelling and
organic content distribution platform”. There are a lot of mainstream rock stars who use
MySpace – e.g. Billy Corgan (here’s his
MySpace homepage
), Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Green Day. But more
importantly there’s a Long Tail of non-mainstream artists and wannabes who use MySpace to
promote their music.

So despite the valid concerns over users personal data in the hands of a big media
company, from a content creation p.o.v. things look good. It’ll continue to be a platform
for up-and-coming artists and mainstream musicians alike. Also the News Corp-backed
MySpace may spin off a music selling business, to take on market leaders iTunes and
Rhapsody. More competition in that space will mean better deals for music

RSS Aggregator Stats Update

Online advertising company Pheedo published some RSS stats this
week. They revealed that Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days for publishing; and
early morning and late night are when people most often read their feeds. In terms of the
RSS Aggregator market, which I
have been following
for quite some time now, Pheedo said:

“Consistent with other RSS aggregator market share reports on the Internet, Pheedo
is seeing Bloglines atop our feed reader statistics, followed by Firefox, Thunderbird,
NewsGator and Sharpreader. In aggregate, these readers are used by almost 70 percent of
people subscribing to Pheedo managed RSS content.”

Not dissimilar to Feedburner’s
latest stats
published by Brian Livingston, except NetNewsWire doesn’t make Pheedo’s
top 5 (it’s number 2 in Feedburner). 

Also I noticed that the latest Feedburner stats included podcasting clients, so I
asked the Feedburner guys if they would filter
those out for me. They kindly did that and so here now is the Top 10 RSS Readers
(excluding the 10 most popular feeds AND excluding podcasting aggregators):

1. Bloglines (25.73%)

2. NetNewsWire (10.63%)

3. Firefox Live Bookmarks (8.86%)

4. My Yahoo (8.58%)

5. NewsGator Online (5.03%)

6. FeedDemon (4.70%)

7. (not identified) (3.56%)

8. Pluck (2.75%)

9. SharpReader (2.37%)

The top 5 in this list makes up 59% of the total, compared to 69% in Feedburner’s previous survey in
. So between Feedburner and Pheedo, it seems that the top 5 Aggregators are
still dominant – although Feedburner’s latest stats suggest the market is fragmenting a
bit (which Brian
wrote about in his article

Overall though, I’m not sure there’s a whole lot we can read into these stats. For
example MyYahoo doesn’t make Pheedo’s top 5, yet from an RSS take-up point of view
they’re arguably the most important RSS Aggregator on the market (see theseposts I’ve written in the past
for context). Nevertheless we can glean/guess some high-level trends from these stats, so
thanks to Feedburner and Pheedo for sharing their numbers with us.

Greasemonkey and Firefox Under Security Spotlight

Mark Pilgrim set off alarm bells in the developer world this past week when he revealed a
serious security flaw in Greasemonkey. For people not familiar with Greasemonkey, it’s a
program that enables users of the Mozilla Firefox web browser to install “user scripts”
which modify specific web pages [paraphrasing the Wikipedia definition]. Greasemonkey
basically allows users who have it installed to enhance and customize webpages – for
example embedding price comparisons in amazon.com webpages. It’s a very powerful tool,
albeit one that only seriously geeky people are likely to be using at this point in

The security issue makes it more of a challenge to roll out Greasemonkey to the masses
– and also unintentionally makes it harder for the
Firefox browser
to be be accepted by mainstream users. Security is probably the
number 1 concern for most corporate IT honchos and anything which makes Firefox seem like
more of a security risk is going to delay its uptake. This CNet
from March 2005 does a good job of summarizing the issues.

Let’s hope the Greasemonkey
fix up the current security holes and begin to build in more safety
measures. I would love to see both Greasemonkey and Firefox used by more than just
techies in the future.

A View To A Kill

The OS Formally Known As Longhorn (TOFKAL) is now known as Windows Vista, with a
tagline of  “Bringing clarity to your world.” More on the news here
and here.
Roll on the “hasta la vista”

Web 2.0 in The Real World

Normally the final spot in my Weekly Wrap-Up is reserved for a geeky post that caught
my attention during the week. But I feel the need to turn down the Geek-o-meter for a bit
and highlight a post about Web 2.0 in The Real World. I came across this fascinating post
by Waldo Jaquith
, describing a fundraising event featuring Senator Barack Obama. OK
so I admit I’m a Barack fan
(now you know my politics!), but even so I really enjoyed reading this post. Waldo both
described the speech…

“When Sen. Obama was introduced, to the strains of U2’s
“Elevation,” the audience went nuts. It was as if Dave Matthews (or, more
appropriately, Bono) had just walked onto stage. The admiration and awe was palpable.
Obama is an excellent speaker, and he played the audience like a drum.”

…and wrote about what it felt like to be a blogger at such an event:

“What made our invitation to the event noteworthy is not that we were treated like
journalists. That’s an increasingly-common trend, although this would be a first in
Virginia politics, I believe. The title of “journalist” was more of a fig
leaf — the Kaine campaign was providing us with an opportunity to talk with Tim
Kaine and Barack Obama.”

I want to read more posts like that, from all parts of the political spectrum.

That’s a wrap for another week!

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.