The wait is over. Omni Group finally released OmniFocus 2, their next-generation GTD (Getting Things Done) app for Mac OS X. The wait was worth it. OmniFocus 2 is a gorgeously designed app, one in which form really follows function. Nothing about this app seems out of tune, design for the sake of design or features for the sake of stuffing an app to the point of it becoming one big soap bubble.
What stays with you? A good book, a great movie. What stays with you when it’s been packaged in digital format? The latest marketing gig? A crappy but free eBook? Nothing is more ephemeral than digital content, served in the cloud or on the web.
One of the reasons why WordPress is so popular these days, comes from the ease with which you can implement and maintain a system. You really don’t need to be proficient in anything but finding the right plug-in for the job. Even embedding audio or video can be a piece of cake, by using shortcodes. Shortcodes come in two types: native and plug-in based. The former are a blessing, the latter may turn into hell.
With publishers desperate for income streams beyond the sub-par performing advertising model, the good old subscription model sticks its head back up. Nowadays subscriptions are part of a paywall solution and big news names like the New York Times use it in one form or another. The problem with paywalls is that you can access most of the content behind them by scavenging the web with Google, Bing or Yahoo!. You’ll find the same information, albeit scattered all over the place and perhaps not as easy to digest. When I asked Tinypass’s Account Executive Brian Carroll about his thoughts on this, he answered: “Big publishers are looking to diversify their revenue streams to include not just advertising or print subscription revenue, but also digital membership packages and premium subscription tiers. Large publishers with a blend of paid print subscribers and advertising revenue need to build seamless digital & print subscription packages, and do so in a way that preserves their online advertising revenue. So-called “Soft”, “freemium” or “metered” paywalls – paywalls that offer some number of free article views to new visitors and social referral traffic – help these publishers expose their content to new and casual visitors, but still monetise their more loyal or engaged audiences. That said, soft paywalls are less rigid and can often be circumvented by determined users, so publishers concerned with zero content leakage tend to prefer the “hard paywall” approach.”
WordPress is number one in the market of Web CMSes, paid for or unpaid for. One of the reasons why WordPress is so unbelievably popular is the ease with which you can expand on its functionality. There are two ways to do so: by writing a couple of lines of PHP code or very often by installing a plugin. But plugins can be risky. They can wreak havoc with your WordPress site. The good news is that you can defend yourself against most risks by following a couple of simple rules.
The way the discussion about publishers’ business income declining and their attempts to reinstate the income stream they used to have from subscriptions and advertising combined has been going on, is beside the point. Publishers and consultants alike use a wrong currency when they talk about new sources of income and new methods to get people to pay for the effort of publishing. The new currency they should be considering is made up of two halves. They are “Attention” and “Attention span”. And these are becoming increasingly scarce.
One of the buzzwords in the publishing world is “Big data analysis”. With IBM’s announcement of its intelligent data analysis technology Watson becoming available as a development platform in the cloud, big data analysis suddenly became front-and-centre again. Especially large news publishers hope that big data will make content consumers want to buy their publication, but it first and foremost makes them invest in analysis tools.