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Video: Improve Your Business by Spying on Your Competitors

I had the pleasure of joining internet marketing legend Dr. Ralph Wilson for a number of video interviews during PubCon 2007.

In this second installment, we chat about how you can keep track of your competition and use their screw-ups to benefit your business.

It’s only quasi-evil. >:D

Yahoo Acquires Video Platform Maven Networks

Subscribers of the Marketing Pilgrim Link Blog would have spotted a rumor two weeks back that Yahoo had acquired online video publisher Maven Networks. Today, Yahoo confirms the $160 million acquisition.

Yahoo’s press team tells us it’s a win for both publishers and advertisers.

For publishers:

Video monetization services, allowing publishers to take advantage of Yahoo!’s display sales force and advanced technologies to help them maximize their video advertising dollars.

For advertisers:

More inventory and more diverse choices, both on Yahoo! and across its growing network, increasing audience reach and creating a more appealing advertising experience for consumers.

Along with Maven’s easy-to-use video publishing platform, Yahoo picks-up the company’s network of media clients which include Fox News, Sony BMG, CBS Sports, Hearst, Gannett, Scripps Networks, and the Financial Times.

comScore Drops the Ball: The Truth About Online Video and the Writers’ Strike

It’s been a month, and it looks like it’s time for the spurious connection between the writers’ strike and the rise in online video viewership to be revived. This time it’s comScore making the specious connection between the writers’ strike, no new television shows and increased online video viewership.

Just so that there’s no doubt as to the wrongheadedness of comScore’s conclusions, here’s what they said in Friday’s press release:

With the writer’s [sic] strike keeping new TV episodes from reaching the airwaves, viewers have been seeking alternatives for fresh content. It appears that online video is stepping in to help fill that void.

Yahoo Really Does Live! Er, Yahoo! Live Lives

Late last month, rumors abounded that Yahoo was launching a “lifecasting” site, Yahoo! Live. And last night, Yahoo indeed welcomed a new arrival to the family as Yahoo Live went live.

Unfortunately, while they did launch last month in closed beta to Yahoo employees, Yahoo Live has already begun experiencing serious problems. Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb reported that while lifecasting the Yahoo Live launch, once more than give people started watching his video stream, they began having serious problems. At the time, the service had only a few hundred participants, but received an influx of visitors from Twitter and suffered a nervous breakdown began malfunctioning.

However, Marshall still had some big positives for the service, which he seemed to like on the whole. Marshall believes that live video is on its way up. Another major plus for the service was that they had the Yahoo Live API ready to launch as well. Launches Social Media News Site BigNews

Search engine just launched a news aggregation site called BigNews. The difference is that it integrates voting with what it calls “BigFactor.” BigNews is like Yahoo News or Google News except it’s broader – it includes video, images, and blog posts related to each story.

If you click through to the actual story you’ll see related stories from Digg, sorted by number of votes. I also noticed Wikipedia content relating to the story.

If you mouseover the “BigFactor” vote you’ll see a score. It also shows a quick rundown on how the story rates according to criteria like how new the story is, how much discussion has resulted from the story, and other measurements. BigNews feeds in top stories on Digg as well as Digg stories with no votes – so you can be the first to vote on them. Click “track” and you can subscribe to the newsfeed or put it in “MyStuff.”

Yahoo Lives! Er, Yahoo! Live

Earlier this month, Jerry Yang introduced Yahoo’s pending social-mail integration as “Yahoo Life” (though the company later clarified that the product was, in fact, nameless). But it looks like they’ll make sure the name, or something like unto it, goes to good use. Valleywag reports that Yahoo will launch a new “lifecasting” service called Yahoo Live.

According to Valleywag, Yahoo posted the following announcement on their intranet, Backyard:

Yahoo! Live is social TV, where you’re the star! Create your own social broadcasting experience. Start by broadcasting yourself from your webcam, invite your friends to chat with you, they’ll go live with you, and you’re all on candid camera!

. . .

Robert Scoble Joining

We’ve known for a few weeks that Robert Scoble would leave PodTech this week, but we didn’t know where he’d end-up. Until today.

Top blogger, social media guru, and video podcaster, Scoble will join Mansuetto Ventures–the company behind Fast Company and Inc. magazines–and create a new video channel called

Andy Plesser has most of the details…

As he builds the network, he will continue to produce daily technology videos, much along the lines of the ScobleShow. He has the assistance of a full time producer and is looking for studio facilities in San Francisco.

In his new job, he will create and supervise a number of channels with other video creators, he told me this afternoon in phone call from San Francisco. Robert expects to have at least five new channels launched this year.