Direct and Indirect

MazeWi-Fi Planet, part of the Jupiter Media keiretsu, reports on a Jupiter Research study that claims municipal Wi-Fi (wireless) costs about US$150,000 per square mile over 5 years, and wouldn’t break even even if it charged users $25/month.

But .. not everything gets built to make money. Freeways are an example. They are considered enabling infrastructure. A municipality’s self-interest is improving the “way of life” for its citizens, and having access to services such as wi-fi certainly do that – first as a unique offering, later (as more cities offer it) as a defensive or “me too” offering. But they also build wi-fi to attract people with laptops, on the assumption that they have money to spend in the area. Maybe not every time they open their laptop. But eventually they learn about local restaurants, notice there’s a playhouse or theater, etc. Maybe with the character of the area changes subtly, attracting people to live there. Tax revenues increase.

If everything was always cut along profit & loss lines, there’d be no instant messenger services as we know them today. But Yahoo!, MSN and AOL consider IM a draw, a gateway if you will, into other services that do make money. Producing and maintaining an accurate multi-channel contribution model is tough .. it’s one of the things that SDS does today, and as you can imagine, plenty of business units have strong opinions on how much they should be credited for their contribution. So yeah, there’s a cost involved to build out infrastructure, and it’s worthwhile knowing what the cost is. But there’s more to infrastructure than just the direct cost.

Direct and Indirect

92466 (I Got Your Number)

Y! search blog talks about a new way to access Y! search by SMS. Yeah yeah. But wait, there’s some cool stuff here. First, no dorking around putting your phone in Internet browser mode, just send an SMS to 92466 (YAHOO). Even better: there are shortcuts (e.g. “d” for dictionary definitions) for when you’re deep in discussion with somebody about the usage of the words “indefinable” vs. “undefinable”. And it’s smart enough to reply with dumb text or rich content (e.g. maps) links, depending on your phone.

Frankly just typing “movies 94089” would be enough to meet a common need I seem to have. I pay 10c for sending an SMS message, but $1 or something to call 411. And don’t get me started with mobile web – I’m still on a prehistoric cell phone (which people like to point out any time I use it).

92466 (I Got Your Number)

My Head Is Buzzing

Yahoo! Buzz OK, I admit it. I’ve never understood how Yahoo! Buzz works. I’ve just decided it’s one of those things I’m not supposed to understand, like financial accounting. I think my math skills should transfer, but they don’t. Maybe Swaroop C H can explain it to me (Buzz, not accounting).

Given that, Buzz did something with blogs. I think. So “Fark” gets the top spot on Y! Search, but it’s only #5 on Technorati?

I’m sure there’s something cool and insightful I can glean from this. Maybe about the different demographic profiles of Yahoo! Search and Technorati users. I’ll think of it, I swear.

My Head Is Buzzing

TagCloud

Another cool little service: TagCloud. It uses the Yahoo! content analysis engine to search your RSS feed, analyze the content, then uses Javascript and CSS to produce a little cloud of clickable tags that you can embed on your blog (or wherever). I tried it on my RSS feed, but there’s not enough content here for it be useful (e.g. many terms it displayed only show up in the feed one time). FYI, here it is:

http://www.tagcloud.com/cloud/html/bobpage/default

TagCloud