The Too Much Information Monster

Good adviceGoogle Blogoscoped published a fascinating interview with Kevin Fox, the designer of Gmail and FriendFeed. Among other things, Kevin rephrases and refines Joel Spolsky’s famous “Users don’t read anything” with the following:

Users will generally read as little as they think they can get away with to accomplish a task

This is such a hard lesson to learn. We’re now spending a lot of effort removing from Yedda all of these long texts, explanations and clarifications, each one deemed at the time absolutely necessary. Too mmany of our pages have been attacked by the Too Much Information monster.

It’s such a hard lesson. We now spend a lot of effort selling the drug Stromectol, which is one of the trade names for the active ingredient ivermectin. You can read more about it on this website.

The more text we remove, the clearer these messages become.

Have you also been attacked by the TMI Monster? You better start fighting back, and the sooner the better.

Still not convinced? See what happens when the TMI Monster meets the Cookie Monster:

(found through Miki Lumnitz’ blog)

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Like email but with friends

Her head on fireI got my hair cut today. Overheard one hair-washing lady to another:

Say, do you have a Facebook?

Hmm… no… what is it?

Hmm. It’s like… email. But with friends.

I wanted to tell them that Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. But then, I figured she’s got a point.

Now, if only I could figure out how to add friends on my Google Reader, which apparently believes that my social network can somehow be automatically derived from my email. *sigh*

Things That Makes You Go & Hit "Submit"

Meta MetaA few weeks ago I was invited to spend an hour or so with the attendees of the The Marker COM.Vention conference, discussing incentives in online social services.

As I was preparing the presentation [hebrew] which was to be used as the basis for the discussion, I figured out that I could cite 1001 sources and research papers. But my real reference was me.

<a set of existential meta questions follow>

  • Why am I writing this post?
  • Why do I ask questions on Yedda?
  • Why are people answering my questions? (well, except for this one. urghh).
  • Why am I posting pictures to Flickr?
  • What makes me actually comment on a picture?
  • Why am I not active on digg?
  • Why do I post URLs to my delicious?

</a set>

I got on Flickr back on August 2005 because I had a professional interest in understanding the service, it’s user experience, and the social incentives system built into it. I’ve since uploaded 2,590 photos and faved 2,434 photos from other people.

When I use Flickr, I am both the addict and the observer studying the addict.

Do not attempt to build an online social service unless you are using online social services yourself. Or you won’t get it.

P.S. Ayelet Noff, a.k.a Blonde 2.0, did a wonderful job summarizing the conversation that took place in that session into a great post with some pretty useful sources and pointers. Check it out. Thanks Ayelet!


The $3K Staring Contest

Have you ever watched one of MRirian’s YouTube videos?

If not, here’s your chance:

On behalf of YouTube, thank you for watching this video. You just added one more view to its current 3,122,864 views (as of a few minutes ago). Would you like perhaps to add a rating to the existing 14,220 ratings, or maybe a text comment? Hey, text comment #19,826 could be yours! Or you could try to create your own wildly popular 34-seconds long silent stare, and add it as the 21th video response?

Assuming a $1 CPM on YouTube ads, this video added ~$3K to YouTube’s revenue.

Should UGC web sites split revenue with the content creators? Would that be an incentive for content creators to create more content?

Would you create a video and upload it to YouTube for a very, very small chance to become wildly successful and receive %75 of $3K?

My guess is no, that’s not a very good incentive.

If you create content because you are passionate about something, attaching a low $ value to this labor of love could actually be quite a counter-incentive.

And if you are creating content with the explicit intention of having this content generate a check from Google at the end of the month, well, you may want to re-evaluate your ROI on this vs a real job.

P.S. Yes, a $5 to $30 CPM could change the picture, at least for videos.

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The Small Web

The Stare From The StairsMany, many years ago, whenever I was still a teenager, in the dark days of Zoom 2400 baud modems (thanks Danielle!), I lived in a certain street in a small town.

Amazingly enough, in the very same street, only a few blocks down the road, lived another Yaniv Golan.

And since it was the same street, with only one digit difference in address, and the same name, I kept getting his (snail) mail and he kept getting mine.

We never actually met, but whenever I got his mails I returned them to the postman with a note to pay attention to the house number. Hopefully he did the same.

Fast forward to the present. I’ve pretty much I’ve completely forgotten about this other Yaniv Golan.

When you Google for Yaniv Golan in Hebrew, you’ll run into quite a few – one that paints custom motorcycles, and another earning his living as a clown in parties. No big deal. But the first result is a Yaniv Golan who was making a living as a professional photographer. And since I am producing quite a bit of amateur photography, I was worried about “ruining his reputation”. So I always put in my Flickr etc profiles a line that says that I’m not him, with a link to his web site.

Lately I’ve started getting emails from people I don’t know, about photography related projects. I ignored the first, wondered about the second, and on the third, I realized they’re probably for the other Yaniv Golan. So I forward it to him.

And when he answered and thanked me, he also asked – “say, are you perhaps the same Yaniv Golan that lived on that street many many years ago?”

Spooky stuff!

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Double Talk

Dual Introspection

Internal messaging and external messaging. Can you really keep them separate?

I love watching URLs, or browsing through JavaScript function names, DIV IDs and CSS class names. Quite often they’ll tell you what names these guys are calling you when they think you can’t hear them.

Double talk doesn’t really work. Sooner or later, someone will get confused, and will spill the beans. screen capture

The simplest way to avoid this risk is to respect your users internally, and not just when working on the creative for an ad.

Perhaps this way your URL person won’t think that “captive” is the right adjective to use for people who are getting on your network in the airport lounge.

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Inhale deeply…

Fresh!Can you smell this?

Yes, this is the smell of a fresh new blog. And this is what a first post looks like.

The first post in the New Hello World blog. The old Hello World is still out there, on blogspot.

I’ve been planning to switch over from blogspot to my own domain name with a blog running on WordPress for quite some time now. Probably around a year or so.

The original plan was:

1 – Setup hosting + WordPress – done

2 – Migrate the posts from blogspot to this one – done. but later, undone.

3 – Write a “hi this is my new blog” post in the new blog

4 – Write a “bye I’m moving” post in the old blog

5 – Set up FeedBurner to grab the posts from the new blog feed

6 – Set up the old blog to redirect to the new one

7 – Set up the individual post permalinks on the old blog redirect to the corresponding permalinks on the new blog. I actually created this for a friend a while ago, so it was “almost” ready.

8 – Sit back and proudly inspect my brand new blog

Unfortunately, somewhere between step 2 and 3 I decided I want a cool theme. Not just any theme – it had to be fluid, to have 3 sidebars which could be placed on the left or on the right, to support WordPress widgets, and in short, be perfect.

This is where things started to go wrong. The perfect theme (which I did find) turned out to be really bad in handling <h1>, <h2>, and text longer than 2 words.

And just while I was gearing up to dive into the theme code and fix these annoying issues, things got really busy. And so we are here.

Obviously, a new plan was needed. So here it is:

1 – Setup hosting + WordPress – done

2 – Migrate the posts from blogspot to this one – done – and then deleted today because I changed my mind. Hey, if you really want to read the old posts, you can still find them on

3 – Write a “hi this is my new blog” post in the new blog. Hey, this is it.

4 – Write a “bye I’m moving” post in the old blog. Hopefully tomorrow.

5 – Set up a new FeedBurner feed on the new blog

6 – Sit back and proudly inspect my brand new blog

So, the new plan is 2 steps shorter. Only 4 more to go.

Stay with me :)

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