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Rich Tehrani
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No Sympathy for Wikipedia

December 16, 2010

Wikipedia is a top 10 site on the Internet - an incredible accomplishment putting it in an elite group of sites

I feel so callous – I have zero sympathy for Wikipedia’s current and ever-lasting financial woes and even though I link to the site and use it about once a week if not more, I can’t bring myself to donate. Why?

MagicTalk and MagicJack Plus Coming Soon

December 14, 2010

I’ve followed the IP communications business for well over a decade and in 1997 my company TMC decided to launch a publication called Internet Telephony to focus on what we believed would be a massive trend towards IP communications. At first we were ridiculed because there was a point in time when the technology was seen as a replacement for Ham radio only. It took some years but the industry caught fire and saw incredible innovation – even a bubble or two grew and exploded on the way to where we are today.

And as amazing as the market has been for 12 years or so, we didn’t see VoIP-on-a-stick become ultra-popular until a few years ago.

Grandstream GXV3175 a Solid IP Multimedia Value

December 14, 2010

Grandstream's Khris Kendrick discusses the GXV3175 as well as the company's other products such as a new cube camera

Grandstream has just released the GXV3175, a multimedia phone which features HD voice and video with the ability to connect the output of the video conference to an HDTV. Moreover, the Linux-based desk phone which sports an easy to use seven-inch touch-screen interface supports widgets for checking things like the weather or stock quotes.



There is support for  IM from Google, MSN and Yahoo! as well as social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Another great feature is integration with Photobucket and Flickr and other photo sharing services. This phone could very well replace a Sony Dash on a desktop as it not only does much of what that device does but adds real-time multimedia communications.



There are lots of other features including a 1.3 megapixel CMOS camera with privacy shutter as well as dual USB ports, integrated PoE, WiFi and memory card support.









TMC Seeks Product Marketing Manager

December 13, 2010

How TMCnet Global Online Communities look online (Click to enlarge or go to TMCnet to see a larger version) (Channels run along the left border)


Due to great success achieved by TMC's customers, we have seen massive growth in our online community-building products and as a result, we are in the middle of a search for a product marketing manager - someone whose focus will be to articulate the value proposition of these products to a broader audience.

An established product-line, our keyword-based Global Online Communities (GOCs) and channels have grown to over 200 and many of our customers are coming to us to purchase more terms to help them with organic search engine rank, news search rank, community building, social network needs and numerous other reasons.

We believe we have the largest collection of sponsored, news-generated communities on the Internet and as a result it makes sense to focus more resources on this product-line so more companies in more industries can learn how such products can assist them in their growth.

These products are very dear to me as I knew in the nineties that every company would need someone to help them with content generation - text, audio and video. I realized every website had to eventually become broadcast TV stations and newspapers in one.

And now, that is exactly what TMC provides sponsors - a third-party content-generating machine which creates targeted news which in-turn brings a large, laser-focused audience based precisely on specific terms and concepts.

The benefit for readers is we continue to reinvest our resources - many of which come from this cloud-based community building and SEO model right back into more reporters, editors and designers meaning more targeted and in-depth news and analysis for people looking to make purchasing decisions.

What is most gratifying is the smallest companies choose to work with us to grow their brands and we also have major players as customers such as RIM and Alcatel-Lucent.

Obviously I am biased but I see this community concept as the most underestimated product on the Internet. Most people don't understand it.
















The Internet Lubricates Protests

December 13, 2010

We have seen how the Internet has changed the telephony business allowing voice and now video conversations to be transmitted as packets. This simple change made Internet voice and video calls free. In addition, we have seen how email has helped drive the US Post Office more quickly into the red.

E-commerce has made it possible to buy virtually anything at prices which are a fraction of what they would have been a decade and a half ago.

Gogobeans Wants to Manage Your Digital Life

December 6, 2010

My digital life is a mess and I’m not afraid to admit it. I have videos on a few sites and photos on a few others. I’ve got numerous hard disks with photos and I am not 100% sure they are all synced with the online vendor I use – actually I am pretty sure they aren’t synced.

I am currently not backing up to the cloud but selectively back up important folders and documents.

FTC Do Not Track = Unintended Consequences?

December 3, 2010

Skype Shows us Closed Can Win

December 3, 2010

Dan York at a recent ITEXPO - specifically the collocated Cloud Communications Summit - Dan is on the right and Thomas Howe is on the left
 

Yesterday I discussed how open always wins referring to the competition between Apple and Google's Android and a side conversation was started on Facebook questioning my assertion. I took the opposite viewpoint in a comment and mentioned that Apple does have a lock on customers via iTunes as well as the App Store which have a tremendous lead in the market.

I was reminded of this discussion when I read how Dan York of Voxeo is espousing the virtues of Skype - a closed provider of communications - when Voxeo and Dan are huge proponents of open ecosystems.

As I read the piece, I became fascinated at how Voxeo has chosen to use Skype as a way to make the company's operations better - utilizing persistent group chats which focus on various subjects.

The point is that using these chats, the company which consists of many people located all over the world and some who travel are able to not only communicate effectively but are able to rapidly be brought up to speed on various topics after getting off an airplane by just logging onto Skype.

Dan mentions that there are other alternatives but it seems from the outside anyway that habit will keep the company using Skype for a long while - even if a better solution comes along immediately.

And this gets us to the counter of the open always wins argument - if you have loyal fans and/or people who habitually uses your interface and are happy with it - or some other differentiator, it becomes tough for competition to come in and take the market over. Even if the new competition is open.

Let's recall that compared to Apple and iOS, Windows Mobile was very open - it just wasn't as good as Apple's OS - and there was no contest from a marketing perspective either.

Apple definitely put together a more pleasing experience and were able to do so in part because they owned the stores, hardware and  packaging.

But now, Windows Phone 7 and Google's Android are taking some of the best parts of the Apple experience and replicating and in some cases improving them.

This in and of itself may not be enough to win against Apple but what the open approach has is a slew of hardware partners making devices in a variety of form factors. Some of these device sizes may catch fire.




















And Then it Hit Me, Open Always Wins

December 2, 2010

We know the history of the PC market - Apple had great products but a closed ecosystem and subsequently the PC - originally based on IBM components and design eventually won the war for the desktop.

In the eighties, I made the choice to move TMC to desktop publishing on a PC instead of Mac because the horsepower per dollar of the PC was so far superior. It turned out the manpower wasted in the short-term based on this decision showed I made the wrong choice. By the mid-nineties however, I was convinced that a single computer platform for our entire organization did make the most sense and as a result in hindsight, I was correct.

Fast forward to today, Apple is designing products which are superior to others but they are generally more expensive and closed. In many cases they are so closed you can't swap a battery or add memory or decide which applications you want without the express approval of Steve Jobs.

This past July, I asked if Apple was making the same mistake from the eighties in the mobile arena because when I saw the Motorola Droid X I realized this device was better than the iPhone in a few important ways.





Google Now Ranks Based on CRM

December 2, 2010

This past weekend I was fairly amazed to read about how a retailer of glasses with very high rankings on Google seemed to thrive on providing service which is extremely aggressive and even hostile. The site, DecorMyEyes.com has an owner who goes by an alias Tony Russo (his real name is Vitaly Borker) and threatens customers by calling them names like bitch and and does things like sending them pictures of their homes as an intimidation tactic.

The amazing thing about the story is it explained that the more horrible the customer service level, the more complaints were generated on high-ranking sites such as RipoffReport.com which in turn increased the ranking of the site.

So basically a viral loop was set up where customers were drawn into using the site because of high rankings and the more customers, the more chance of having poor service issues and subsequently more links were created to the site.

From a consumer standpoint this is a nightmare but from the perspective of the retailer it encourages them to give worse service - or at least that is what the owner of the company believed.

A Google spokesperson referred the reporter at the New York Times who wrote the story to speak with Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of the blog Search Engine Land who ended up calling Google cagey and explaining that the company does not use sentiment analysis. Moreover he said if the world's leading search engine were to do so, it may be impossible to find a link to the White House if a lot of people hate the President and say so online.

He continued:

Google doesn’t need sentiment analysis to help people like Clarabelle Rodriguez [referred to as a victim of the company in the article]. It could simply become better at incorporating consumer reviews on the main page of its search results.
David Segal, the reporter behind the story - deserves a raise because this is a great investigative piece.











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