SitePoint Podcast #122: Important? No!By Karn Broad
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Here are the topics covered in this episode:
- Sean Parker on Spotify (via Tech Crunch)
- 10 Ways To Improve your Programming Skills
- Blockquote in HTML 5 from Jeremy Keith
- Browser ID
- Top 10 most expensive Google AdWords keywords
Browse the full list of links referenced in the show at http://delicious.com/sitepointpodcast/122.
- Brad: Running From the Camera
- Patrick: MLB Video Streaming Coverage
- Kevin: Internationalization Checkervia Ishida Blog
Patrick: Hello and welcome to another edition of the SitePoint Podcast. This is Patrick O’Keefe and I am joined by my normal co-host Brad Williams, Brad, how’s it going?
Brad: Good, how you doing?
Patrick: Doing great, doing great. Just kind of ran to get here, ran through the highway you could say, in a car, to get here in time to do the show, and it’s because it’s a special show, it’s a special episode of the Podcast as we have a special guest host this week.
Kevin: Oh, who is it! Who’s the special guest?
Patrick: Well, Kevin is anticipating himself —
Patrick: (Laughs) — as a guest host apparently.
Patrick: So, Kevin, thanks for ruining that, and Kevin Yank was a part of what I will call the core four, our original four hosts on the SitePoint Podcast for episode one; Kevin Yank, Brad Williams, myself and Stephan Segraves who unfortunately can’t be with us here tonight, and Kevin was on through episodes 1 through 108 leaving not too long ago to pursue a full-time role at Learnable. Kevin, welcome back!
Kevin: I can’t believe I’m the special guest. I was promised a special guest.
Brad: You know I thought we finally got rid of you and, alas, you’re right back here where you started, so I don’t know how that happened.
Kevin: (Laughs) I’ll try not to speak too much.
Brad: (Laughs) I’m kidding.
Patrick: Yeah, and of course the vacancy of Kevin can never be replaced, but the vacancy was filled by Louis Simoneau of SitePoint.
Kevin: Isn’t he great, I like Louis.
Patrick: He’s doing good; that explains how he got the role (laughter). No, Louis is doing great but he is away this week hopefully having some fun somewhere, and he’ll be back for next week’s episode, so looking forward to having him back. But to talk about you for a second, Kevin, you are the Chief Instructor at Learnable.
Patrick: And Learnable is a site that a lot of our listeners will be familiar with, but for any that aren’t what’s the quick 140 character?
Kevin: The quick 140 character is we are a website where anyone can build and sell an online course about anything at all.
Patrick: So how old is Learnable now? I remember there was — I think it was a soft launch or a hard launch during a conference last year that we were all at, so if math serves me it’s probably around, what, nine, ten months old?
Kevin: Well, yeah, it kind of depends on where you start counting, it’s like a relationship, you know, do you count it from the first kiss, the first date (laughter), what is it?
Patrick: You’re probably more experienced than me so just whichever one.
Kevin: Well, we were at the BlogWorld Expo Conference last October recruiting instructors to build our first batch of courses, but we like to count it from our public launch which happened in April of this year, so from BlogWorld Expo to that day in April we had that big group of instructors that we recruited building our first batch of courses, and we launched all of those at once, and since then we’ve been trickling them out as more courses come through, so we usually publish one or two new courses a week on all sorts of topics, obviously we have plenty of stuff on web development because that’s our roots, we grew out of the SitePoint.com courses area, so still plenty of new web development courses coming out every week. We’ve got recent courses on Mobile Web Design, jQuery, CSS Form Design and lots more to be found in there, and we’re also expanding into courses on business, small business topics, courses on lifestyle; if you want to find out how the pros do worm composting in their backyards, Learnable.com is the place to find out.
Patrick: Yeah, I think, Brad, weren’t you and April putting together some sort of gardening project
Kevin: There you go.
Brad: We are (laughter), but, well, yes but, I just eat the things that come out of the garden.
Patrick: Okay, that’s your role. So, I was going to ask you about that; are most of your best-selling courses tech-centric or are some of the more general ones sneaking in there as well?
Kevin: So far the technology ones are leading the day, and that really comes from the fact that we have a big audience in that area already. Also, you would expect that tech-savvy people are on top of and comfortable with buying digital content online, digital learning products, paying for access to this web product that not only is a bunch of videos and articles and stuff like that, but is also a little closed community where you can interact with the other students and the teacher of the course. But I think that sort of product is something that people who aren’t as tech savvy it might take them a little while to get their heads around, at the same time we need to spin up our marketing machine in those areas; where we’re used to addressing the web developer audience, we need to build our audiences in the other areas. So, yes, they are moving more slowly but that’s what’s exciting about having a new website, a new brand, a new logo, is we get to start from scratch and open it up as widely as we can.
Patrick: Excellent. Well, maybe one day I’ll have a course on there after much discussion about it with Shayne for a very long time (laughter).
Kevin: It’s not through lack of us asking I’ll tell you that.
Patrick: Well, I appreciate that. So, this is a group show, a news show, so let’s jump right into stories, and I think for our first story it’s un-doubtable that a good portion of our listeners will now have access to Spotify, the much heralded, much hyped digital music service that has been available over in Europe for a long time, so our European listeners are well used to Spotify; there are apparently 10 million registered in Europe alone for the service, and we just got it here officially in the U.S. about a week or so ago. And I’ve had access to it for about a month and a half, two months, thanks to a friend of mine who works at the company, but everyone in the U.S., at least a lot of people that I know, are now jumping on board with the service that allows you to listen to 18 million tracks on pretty much any device you want, your mobile devices, your computer, your cell phone, whatever else, for $9.99 a month, not only their licensed group of tracks, 18 million licensed tracks, but also tracks that yourself has in your library you can listen to on Spotify as well at that premium level. So, Kevin, unfortunately you are in Australia, which is not Europe and is not the United States.
Patrick: (Laughs) So you’re not on it yet but, Brad, I know you signed up for an account, right?
Brad: Yes, I got an invite, I signed up and I’ve actually played with it a little bit, not too intensely but I have played with it so I understand the service, I mean it’s a pretty neat service; are you actually a premium member, Patrick, or you’re just running with the free version for now?
Patrick: I am on the free version right now, and that goes back to just getting that pre-launch access and I think all I could do was a free version, I could be wrong though. And I had maybe six people who I was connected to on Facebook who had access before the launch, now I look at it and I have probably six times that number, so it’s definitely I guess being wildly adopted out there at least by music lovers because they are allowing that easy free access to the service right now. But obviously part of what they’re doing is trying to generate revenue so they do have those premium levels, and according to Spotify that have 1.6 million paying subscribers in 7 countries in Europe, that’s of the 10 million registered users, so they have about 16% of their users are paying ones, at least in Europe. So I thought that was kind of an interesting number because I don’t know if that’s a good percentage for a freemium more-or-less model or a bad percentage, what do you think, Kevin?
Kevin: I think any number of customers that ends with the word ‘million’ you’re doing pretty well.
Kevin: Beyond that it’s difficult to read into these numbers like you say. I’m curious what has you guys excited about Spotify that wasn’t pushing your buttons like the other services like this that were available in the U.S. already. You had RDO, Mogg, Rhapsody, Napster, these are all sort of music subscription services with various options for taking the music with you, some of them just have access to streaming on the go, some of them let you actually download and synch tracks to your mobile device when you’re offline. What’s Spotify got that the other ones don’t?
Patrick: Great question. Brad, are you on any other services right now, any of the ones Kevin mentioned?
Brad: I actually use Slacker for music primarily.
Kevin: Oh, Slacker Radio, yeah.
Brad: Yeah. And it’s obviously quite a bit different because Slacker’s really just you pay it’s like $35.00 or $40.00 a month, I’m sorry, a year not a month, that would be quite a bit (laughter), and it’s literally just you play stations and you can create stations if you want and things like that, but there’s not a lot of control where you can drill that and say alright I want this track and that track and this track, it’s you can do a little bit of that but they also throw in random tracks that are similar. I’m kind of a lazy music listener, I don’t really have a lot of time to like set up individual songs in these large tracks, I really just want to say this is the type of music I like, play stuff and allow me to find new music that I wouldn’t normally have heard by doing that, so that’s kind of why I enjoy Slacker.
Patrick: Yeah, and you mean you’re on Slacker when you’re not using Turntable.FM, right? (Laughter)
Brad: That’s what I was going to say, I’ve been on Turntable.FM lately because it’s actually opened up even more tracks and it’s just so interactive to do with your friends, that’s really been the key for me; I’ve had a lot more fun in there when I have four or five of my friends in the same room and they’re playing tracks and we’re all playing tracks and things like that, so.
Patrick: And speaking of Turntable.FM, about a week ago I achieve Gorilla Status for those who know what that is (laughter), reaching 1,000 DJ points on the service so, yes.
Kevin: Does that mean you’ve been DJ-ing for so long you grew a beard and you look like a gorilla?
Patrick: Yeah, I guess that’s one way to look at it. I mean I shave every morning so it’s kind of hard to stack up anything on that part of my body (laughter), but yeah you could say that. So, speaking of me personally, I’m conflicted on this because the acquaintance of mine at Spotify, D A Wallach, who is a really cool guy, lead singer of the band Chester Fringe, I was actually on a panel with him at BlogWorld last year and he’s really involved with Spotify and really doing a great job to get them out there especially in the artist’s community and with other musicians. And then I have Ardio which one of their designers is Adam Pascelly who some people at SitePoint may remember from the forums, I believe his username is Adam P now, for many years he was on staff, as I think Swim 5001 as well at some point, so I’m a big fan of what Ardio is doing, I’m a big fan of what Spotify is doing, so for me I’m conflicted. And the funny thing is, though, is neither service is exactly for me, and the reason I say that is because of the fact that there are different types of music listeners. There’s an article that I read that was real good at Fast Company about how it’s a rental economy, that was said by John Irwin who is the president of Rhapsody, and he was interviewed because of the launch of Spotify by Tyler Gray at Fast Company and he mentioned that it’s a rental economy, but while also acknowledging that there are listeners out there who do want to own music or buy music and have the freedom that comes along with that, and I am in that category. And one of the reasons I’m in that category is because a lot of these services will never be able to license substantial portions of my collection because I have a lot of music, a huge collection, it spans vinyl, cassettes, CD, digital, and I have a playlist; I don’t listen to everything I’ve purchased, I have a playlist that’s a small percentage of that and that is what I listen to. And so the fact that Spotify doesn’t allow you to upload your music to The Cloud, and the same is true for Ardio, is a problem for me in using the service and listening to everything I want to listen to because you can’t, for example, I can’t sign up with Spotify and then let them index my library and then go on a trip and access it from my laptop because they only access it from the computer you’re on at that time. So there’s no Cloud hosting, it’s not like Amazon Cloud Drive or iCloud or any service like that because you’re not uploading your own music, so for me Amazon Cloud Drive or iCloud or any number of those services are a little more attractive so I can upload the music I want to listen to and then access it from anywhere. Now, I will say I could see myself paying for Spotify just because, well, it’s $5.00 a month or $10.00 a month, and it’s instant access to all of this music, most popular music out there in a second, I mean you can pull up previews but full songs, and sample music if you want legally which is kind of important to me; I like to sample music legally if I can, and for $9.99 a month it’s sort of I would say a no-brainer.
Kevin: It definitely seems like these services are built for a different kind of music listener than maybe you are, Patrick, and I think that’s great that there are different services for different types of music consumers out there. Certainly if you were the kind of person who likes popular music, who like newly released music and who likes to sample and socialize around their music, see what their friends are discovering and jump on board, I know that’s what services like Ardio are well known for is following your friends, seeing what new music they’ve discovered and listening in. But, yeah, these services like the Amazon Cloud and the upcoming iCloud from iTunes are for a different kind of listener. What strikes me, though, looking down this list of competitors in the music subscription service is every one of them, and I can say this now because I’m no longer a regular host on the show and I can abandon any pretense that I’m not a ridiculous Apple fan boy, but all of these businesses seem to operate at the mercy of Apple. Every September I’m sure they hold their breath thinking is this going to be the year that Apple launches a subscription service to iTunes that will compete with us, and it feels like if Apple did that and they had their subscription option in combination with their Cloud hosted tracks option the game would be done, Apple could really put these people out of business overnight. Am I overstating that?
Patrick: No, out of business? maybe, but here’s the thing, and it’s funny you make that point because I made kind of an observation on I think it was the Copyright 2.0 show, another show I host, about — and this was around the launching, kind of quick launching of not only Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Music Player, but then quickly after that Google Music Beta and then Apple iCloud, and how there’s essentially three things here at work, three services, number one the ability to purchase music, to actually purchase individual music, tracks or albums. There’s the ability to access music, a subscription based service, and then there’s the ability to upload what you own to The Cloud to access it, no service does all three; some do two, some do one. Google Music, for example, they can’t sell you music, they don’t have any sort of licensing to do that, they don’t have a subscription service, so Google Music is on the scale of one. Amazon sells music and they offer a Cloud service much like Apple iTunes match and iTunes and iCloud will be able to do, so that’s the twos, and where you have Ardio and Spotify they’re just selling access to a subscription catalog of music, no one can do all three. And it’s kind of funny to think about how there just isn’t anyone out there doing that yet and who will be the first? I mean Apple, they could do it, they haven’t, I don’t know what the reason is or the thinking there because obviously they are probably the most powerful player in digital music internationally, so for whatever reason they’re not doing it and these other companies can get a foothold in the market I suppose by offering that service and offering it to the people who want it which is a substantial portion of people who listen to music. It was an article, I can’t remember the quote, but someone said it’s about getting people used to the idea of paying for something to do with music. So, getting people used to paying, okay, well they’re not going to buy albums anymore but here’s $9.99 a month for the subscription service, or here’s $50.00 a year for The Cloud service or $25.00 a year, or whatever it is, just to get them used to paying something to associate value with recorded music. And it’s interesting, I read a statement by Sean Parker who is an investor in Spotify and was part of the team at Napster, and so it’s kind of a funny I guess bookends in a way is he was part of that movement that some would say — I don’t want to say killed the music industry but obviously it led to a large amount of reduced sales, and now he’s on the Spotify end of things and he says that today, or the launch of Spotify is the quote, is the “realization of the dream and marks the reversal of the downward trend that was started by Napster.” He says that it “could bring about the start of a new golden age of music and means that music itself as opposed to the accessories around music, like merchandise and concert tickets, will again be perceived to have intrinsic value allowing artists to make money by directly selling their art. The rusted gears of the music business will loosen and turn again.” So that might be a flair for the dramatic.
Kevin: Yes, he’s never been afraid of stating what he hopes will happen as fact.
Patrick: But certainly he’s been around to witness a lot of these things, so it’s interesting to read his thoughts on it in a Facebook note where he tagged John Lennon’s son Sean Lennon, Spotify CEO Daniel Eck, Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Fanning of Napster fame, and also DA was tagged in that as well. So obviously he’s putting his thoughts out there and Spotify has a lot of support, so it will be interesting to see how this market plays out and I guess what Apple does to answer it if anything.
Kevin: Alright, I think that’s enough business-y talk for the moment. I think it’s time to get some code into this podcast.
Patrick: Oh, no, not code!
Kevin: (Laughs) This is bringing back a blog post from a friend of the show I believe, I think you had him on for quite a great interview, Jeremy Keith. He posted on his blog on July 6th about an issue that’s been raised with the HTML5 Working Group around the block quote tag. Brad, when is the last time you wrote a block quote tag?
Brad: Um, it’s been a while; it’s not one I certainly use —
Kevin: I think it’s something that bloggers use a lot; bloggers quoting each other seems to be the most common.
Brad: Yeah, it’s built into a lot of — yeah, it’s built into a lot of blogging platforms.
Patrick: Doesn’t WordPress use it automatically when you go to the quote button in the ‘what you see is what you get’ editor?
Brad: Yeah, the quote button is block quote and I think Blogger has a button for it, I think the leading platforms do have those.
Kevin: Right. So I think this tag, block quote, has had a long journey behind it. It feels to me like one of the tags I’ve known about the longest but whose use to me has changed the most over the years. Back when I first learned HTML block quote was the tag you used to indent things, and if you wanted things more indented you just put more block quote tags around it (laughs). But I think we’ve overcome those days of presentational markup, and these days people use block quotes to actually quote things. The problem is when you quote someone you usually want to give them credit for that quote, you want to cite them as we say, and the most obvious tag you would use for that would be the HTML cite tag, and there’s a whole debate going on in the HTML standardization process over whether the cite tag should be used to point to a person or not, but that’s a whole separate argument. The one that Jeremy Keith is talking about today is how do we cite, how do we provide accreditation to a block quote in HTML, what’s the right way to do it? And the best way that he has seen it done, and he quotes an example from the HTML5 Doctor website, is where inside the block quote, after you’ve quoted the stuff you want to quote, you put a footer tag, and that footer contains your citation. And if you read the descriptions of the block quote tag and the footer tag this use actually makes sense, it says that the block quote tag is what is called a sectioning root, which is to say that if you’ve got headers or sections or anything like that inside your block quote, those don’t contribute to the table of contents of the current document, they are assumed to be structural elements that happen inside the quoted document and so they’re ignored. And by the same rule, any header tag or footer tag inside that block quote does not apply to the surrounding document, it is a header or footer for that quoted document only. The problem here is that the standard as it currently exists as a draft, the HTML standard, also says that every block quote tag must come from the original document, so you can’t use a footer to say this is what I want to say about the quote; a footer inside the block quote by the letter of the law should be a footer that you are quoting that appeared in the original document. The long and short of this is that Jeremy Keith is saying that he sees this really lovely and elegant way of marking up credit for a quote, he can’t find any other good way to do it according to the letter of the law, and he would like to see the standards body’s position on this markup reversed. He’s actually, what brought him to this debate is a separate blog post on the HTML5 Doctor site by all Ollie Studholm, and basically making the case for this Ollie even went to the trouble of opening an official bug report with the HTML5 bug report with the HTML5 Working Group which was closed with the message “will not fix, if you’d like to see this fixed please provide a rationale for the fix,” which he has now done extensively in this post, but it seems like the HTML5 Working Group is not budging yet on this point. What do you guys think, is this an important issue, having a standard way to markup accreditation for a block quote?
Patrick: Important, no. (Laughs)
Kevin: No, not important?
Brad: I guess the question is how many people are going to use it this way or how many people will use it in the correct way. I think it makes sense to have a way to do this, whether this is the proper way I honestly don’t know. Hats off to them, though, I mean this certainly is going to be a tough battle it sounds like just looking at the bug report and the response back.
Patrick: Yeah, and just to finish my thought, not that it’s not smart, important, I don’t know, but it is a good point and I think it’s something that I’ve actually kind of noticed when trying to use the “functionality” in WordPress at least, and setting the quote off and citing it properly and how it’s a first-world problem (laughter), but hey, I wouldn’t mind if there were some simpler way that WordPress could then integrate into its software when you do click that quote button where there will be a dialog for, okay, attribution, name, link, etcetera.
Kevin: I really like that we are down to first-world problems with HTML5, this is a good sign to me that the spec is so solid that these are the biggest things that people are arguing about now, and I think that’s good, and that we have a little time to address these, we’re not at risk of getting the final stamp of approval put on HTML5 before these, these nice little arguments about what’s the best way to code something have been had. So, yeah, lovely post by Jeremy Keith and an original post by Ollie Studholm, can’t wait to see where this ends up, I hope we do get an official way to attribute our block quotes.
Patrick: And if you want to hear the SitePoint podcast with Jeremy Keith that Kevin referenced, it’s SitePoint Podcast #111.
Kevin: Yeah, nice one, one of my favorite episodes that one.
Brad: So, Mozilla’s been busy. Shortly after releasing Firefox 5, are either of you on Firefox 5 by the way?
Kevin: I’ve installed it and proceeded to ignore it.
Patrick: I still haven’t installed Chrome so that hasn’t changed since you left the show, Kevin; I still have not installed Chrome.
Kevin: We just need to record a sound clip of him saying that and we can play it back every episode.
Patrick: Edit it in every time like at the end.
Brad: Yeah, we’ll end every episode.
Patrick: Yeah, thank you for listening to the SitePoint Podcast, and Patrick still hasn’t installed Chrome, we’ll see you next week. (Laughter)
Brad: Start taking bets on what version you do, I say version 50. Anyway, getting sidetracked, Mozilla’s been busy. Shortly after releasing Firefox 5 they released another interesting item called BrowserID which is an experimental new way of signing into websites. Have either of you guys checked this out yet or heard about it?
Kevin: No, but this is — if it is what I’m hoping it is I’m hoping you will tell me it is what I hope it is.
Brad: I hope I do too now; I don’t want to let you down (laughter).
Patrick: Kevin’s hoping it’s not in The Cloud (laughter), because you know me and Kevin we hate The Cloud; we don’t want to trust all our details with our information.
Kevin: I love The Cloud; leave The Cloud alone, it’s nice!
Brad: I think you’re going to like it. So basically BrowserID implements the verified email protocol which offers a streamline user experience so a user can prove their ownership of an email address with fewer confirmation messages and without site-specific password. So essentially it is a decentralized login that any website can implement that allows users to login with just their email.
Kevin: So, comparing this to something like OpenID which I think we can agree was a technical masterpiece but did not take hold with regular users for various reasons. One of those big reasons is that OpenID what it allowed you to use as your identifier was a website address, and people are not used to logging into things using their website address to identify themselves. Using an email address seems to come a lot more natural, so this seems to be right away something that BrowserID has over OpenID.
Brad: Yeah, I mean love sites that let you login with email because it’s hard to remember usernames, especially if you can’t get the one you typically use so you always have that second and third level usernames adding a one or two on the end; it’s nice just doing it with your email because you typically will know what email it is. Another big difference, because everyone when they first hear about this immediately says OpenID, sounds like OpenID, what’s the difference, that’s obviously a big one. Another big one is BrowserID does not involve the identity provider in a login process, so it basically does not track or have the ability to store data on the sites that you’re logging into.
Brad: Which I like a lot.
Patrick: So, to the layman like myself, and I don’t mean to be the old codger here, or maybe I do, but just like when we talked about OpenID with Kevin way back when, I don’t like the idea of having one login unlock everything, you know, is that still the same case here with BrowserID, does it operate in that same way where if you have the access to this one login then you get access to every site where you’ve used that login?
Kevin: It seems to me that if you wanted multiple logins you would use BrowserID with multiple email addresses, so you would have the email address that you use to login to really secure things, and then you would have the email address that you login to most things, and then you might have a separate email address that you only use to login to your online banking, for example. And if your web browser was carrying the browser ID’s for all of those things inside of it you could choose with a click which identity you wanted to login to the current website as.
Brad: Yeah, it definitely allows multiple email addresses like you said; I certainly would never use something like this on a bank. Now, reading up on it, it does use a public and private encryption key method.
Brad: So it’s basically using cryptography, so when you say like you can login and you gain access to everything that’s not necessarily how it would work, they would essentially have to get a hold of those keys if I understand it correctly, which isn’t likely.
Kevin: So what I like about this is the fact that it’s coming from a browser maker, because it seems if identifying yourself with a URL was one major failing of OpenID the other one is that they didn’t really get the browser makers involved enough. When you login to a website with OpenID the browser has no idea what it is you’re doing, as far as it can tell one side is bouncing you to your OpenID provider’s site where you’re logging in and that OpenID provider’s site is bouncing you back to the original one passing the authentication to it. The browser as far as it knows is just open and closing pages, it’s going, wow, this seems to be some complicated you’re doing at the moment but I don’t know what it is. It seems to me if you want to make it easy for users to login to sites without using necessarily a password, the way to do that is to get the browsers involved so that the browser knows what your OpenID is. When you open your browser it prompts you to login to your browser and then it can login on your behalf using your OpenID to various sites. But for some reason that never happened, it was like OpenID they tried to build it without the involvement of the browser makers, and it seems like the browser makers are best positioned to help improve the user experience to a point where regular users can use this sort of thing. So it’s great that BrowserID is coming from the browser vendors because I think they have a better chance at building something like that, something usable.
Brad: So the big question is are websites going to start implementing this. I mean most sites now are already implementing Facebook login, Twitter login, OpenID even; is this going to take hold?
Kevin: I think for those sites that don’t want to use Facebook, Twitter, etcetera, because they would be dependent on a third party site that on some level they might even compete with. Those sites at this point have two choices, one is standard usernames and passwords, the other is OpenID, which is although on some sites continues to be available, there are fewer and fewer new sites I’m seeing that are implementing it, at least exposing it to the user.
Kevin: So it seems to me that those sites that previously would have been implementing OpenID in an open and interoperable way, this may be a better choice for them. For sites that have always just used usernames and passwords because they go this OpenID stuff is too complicated for my users to figure out, this also might be a good option.
Brad: Yeah, I got to be honest, I’ve always kind of loved the ease of logging into a website with Facebook, two clicks you’re logged in, they have your picture there, they have a little bit of your info, but —
Patrick: Social Security number.
Brad: — I’ve also always not, yeah, I’ve also not loved the idea that they now know what sites I’m logging into and they’re grabbing information and logging that and doing whatever with it.
Brad: So I would love for something like this to really take off. OpenID definitely had a good run, you’re right, you just don’t see it that often; it might still be there but you don’t see it, it’s not as prevalent as like a Facebook click here to login with Facebook or Twitter.
Patrick: Yeah, my OpenID is like myvidoop.com (laughs), and my login is like apieceofcake or something, I mean I don’t even know what the heck it is anymore.
Kevin: It’s not necessarily an either or thing either, I could see the Facebooks and Twitters of the world implementing BrowserID because even if you are logging into a site using your Facebook login, if you’re not currently logged into Facebook what does it ask you for, your email address and password. And if you could use BrowserID to login at that point, into Facebook, and then you get into the third party site using your Facebook login, that could work. I think Facebooks and Twitters, one of their big challenges in getting new users on board is this little dance they have to do of, okay, you told me your email address but I don’t know that’s your email address so I have to send you an email and you need to click the link and now you can use your new account. And I bet because if they’re anything like our numbers they are losing a small but significant percentage of new users in that verification step; people create a new account and then they lose interest or the email goes in their spam folder, or whatever happens, and they never complete that verification.
Patrick: They’re a robot.
Kevin: This thing, this BrowserID gets around that, it obviates the need for that email verification step.
Patrick: The conspiracy theorist might ask how long until Mozilla announces that BrowserID is part of their social graph.
Kevin: Hmm. (Laughter)
Brad: So if you want to see a working example of BrowserID they set up a website called myfavoritebeard.org and you can actually click the little sign-in link at the top and it walks through the process, it’s as simple as you would expect, give it your email and password, it will email you an authentication, you click that, you can even leave the popup open, it uses Ajax, and it will automatically validate you and then you log right in. So it sounds like it’s extremely easy.
Patrick: Let’s get back to some money talk because that’s what I talk best about I guess.
Brad: Money, money, money.
Patrick: (Laughs) No, but WordStream, which is a company that provides hosted software that automates most of the manual work involved with creating and optimizing paid and natural search marketing campaigns, that’s according to Robin Wauters at TechCrunch. They put together an info graphic of the top 20 most expensive keywords on Google AdWords. So Google AdWords are the ads that you see when you search on Google at the top or to the right, and also AdWords is integrated with Google’s AdSense platform where web publishers display ads and display those same kind of search key-wordy ads and get paid usually per click. So they have their top 20 and the number one is WordPress, I’m just kidding, Brad (laughter).
Kevin: You’re looking at a different list than I am.
Brad: I was sure I looked at this graph earlier.
Patrick: (Laughs) No, the real number one, and this isn’t going to be a huge shock I don’t think, these top keywords, but the number one keyword is ‘insurance’ and keywords in that category. The top CPC in that category, that’s cost per click, is $54.91, so if you see a lot of insurance websites that’s why, because there’s a lot of money to be made even from the search traffic that that keyword generates. Number two is loans with the top cost per click of $44.28. On that same theme, mortgage number three, $47.12. So, business that — it’s not a surprise I suppose, business that exchange a lot of money, or a lot of money exchanges hands, people buying a house, people buying a car, mortgages, loans and insurance, those are also the areas where people will pay the most to get in front of qualified web visitors.
Kevin: What strikes me is if you really didn’t like a particular insurance company you could cause them some pain just by going around clicking on their ads and not buying anything from them. If they’re paying $50.00 for every one of those clicks, ouch.
Patrick: You want to be discreet to avoid click fraud, but, you could definitely do that. And that’s something that people do, and not just like companies you don’t like, but like websites that don’t like each other, like two opposing let’s say web communities or web publications that don’t like each other and they both advertise, let’s go ahead and cost that guy five to ten dollars just because I don’t like the way he looked at me last Sunday.
Brad: Next up on Learnable, how to get away with click fraud (laughter).
Patrick: Well, we could spin that to a positive, how to defend against click fraud.
Patrick: Sure, there you go. And to round out the top ten you have attorney, credit, lawyer, donate, degree, hosting —
Kevin: There you go.
Patrick: — and claim. And hosting in particular is really the — it’s us obviously.
Brad: It’s expensive to be a host these days.
Patrick: Yeah. Web hosting they found that the top cost per click was $31.91.
Kevin: Yeah. Well, what strikes me is if you’d looked at this list a decade ago I suspect there would have been a lot more sort of keywords from the web niche of things. And more and more this list is looking a lot like mainstream society; areas in which money, people need to spend money to make money in business, is gradually taking over this list. The real world, quote/unquote, and the web world are merging together. The fact that number nine is the first thing on this list that seems to me is something that is only important online is interesting. Just overall this list of 20 is a pretty good reflection of what businesses are spending a lot of money to promote themselves overall not just online.
Patrick: Yeah, like if you turn on the TV what kind of commercials do you see, well, I see a lot of commercials for attorneys.
Kevin: Yep, and insurance companies and all of that.
Patrick: And loans and insurance, yeah. Donate is an interesting one at seven.
Patrick: You know donating and the art of donation and whatnot, that that’s such a high cost per click. I don’t know, obviously it’s competitive business you could say, charity.
Brad: They’re paying to get donations.
Patrick: Like hosting; like hosting is a competitive business. It’s not that necessarily it’s in the same money class as say loans, I can signup for web hosting for three dollars a month probably from a number of the hosts that advertise on Google AdWords, but it’s a very high competitive business where they’re trying to get ahead of someone else, and if they can get that one customer for $30.00 and keep them for a couple years then I guess they’ve done the math that it works out. And just to stay on the techie note, of the final ten you have software at $13.00, you have — that’s kind of the main techie one, but the one that’s related to Kevin I thought was number 17, classes.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s right.
Patrick: With $35.04 for a top CPC. Of course Learnable online classes if you will, virtual instruction.
Kevin: See what we did to get around that is we call them online courses so we don’t have to compete with the classes keyword (laughter).
Patrick: Exactly, exactly. That’s a good point.
Kevin: I’m not sure if that’s a sound strategy, I’ll have to talk it over with our marketing people (laughs). No, it’s very interesting. Yeah. Be glad if you’re not in a business that is on this list because I think having to pay $50.00 for every customer acquisition on search keyword traffic would be pretty harsh.
Patrick: Absolutely. So I think that’s all we’ve got for stories this week, let’s go ahead and share our host spotlights; Kevin, being our honored guest, why don’t you go first.
Kevin: Alright, well, I’ve got a quickie and a longie. I figure I haven’t been here for a while so I’ve earned the right to throw in a couple.
Patrick: They’ve been building up (laughter).
Kevin: The quickie is the W3C’s Internationalization Checker, which you can get to at validator.w3.org/i18n-checker. If you’re not familiar with that, i18n, that’s how you write internationalization if you don’t want to have to write all 20 letters in that word, you type i and then 18 which stands for the 18 letters that come in between and then n, so i18n-checker at validator.w3.org. This is a nice little validator that will check your sites compliance with standards around languages and internationalization. These are the standards that ensure that your website will turn up in the search engines as the correct language and will be viewable by people on computers for whom English is not the configured language. If you want people in let’s say Asian countries to be able to view your website correctly you want to make sure it’s correctly tagged as an English language site so that it will displayed right on their systems. And you can check all that sort of stuff just by typing your websites address into this internationalization checker, it’s really nice, it’s not one of those validators that checks a thousand different things, this one checks about 10, 20 different things, and the advice it gives you for fixing them is really easy to follow; earlier today I just put a few of my sites through there and it caught one or two things that I had fixed up in 10 minutes, definitely worth doing. My biggie is MacOS 10 Lion, which has hit the —
Kevin: Which has hit the Mac App Store, by the time this show goes live. As a developer I’ve been playing with MacOS 10 Lion for a few weeks, been using the golden master, and I have to say I am enjoying it as an upgrade, but at the same time I would advise against installing it right away on a system that maybe you rely on for mission critical stuff. Certainly I’ve had it on my main laptop for a couple of weeks now and it has caused some headaches in various areas. Just like any major operating system upgrade there are things that are a little hinky here that if you’re going to lose money because your computer is incompatible with something unexpectedly or crashes in some way unexpectedly just once then you’re going to want to avoid putting this on that machine just yet. That said, loving it as an upgrade, it is just like their mobile interfaces, they have done a great job of bringing animation all throughout the operating system. Even in something like the new email app, Mail version 5, it’s just full of gorgeous little touches that if you’re viewing an email message in the main mail window and then you click reply, that message sort of pops out of the window, flies open and unfolds into a new message composition window next to it on the screen. This kind of attention to detail is all through the operating system and makes it a real joy to use in continually unexpected ways. The big things that I enjoy are, as I said, the new version of mail is a really big step up, if you’re a Gmail user or not this is a great improvement, it shows your email messages in conversation threads just like Gmail does, it has all those nice little animations and lots of other little — the search in mail is absolutely killer. If you start typing — if I start typing Brad Williams, I’ve just typed Brad, and the pop down under the search field recognizes people in my address book and says are you talking about Brad Williams? So it’s got this list of people named Brad, and if I hit enter on Brad Williams then my search field now contains a sort of one of these blue sort of pill shaped things saying from Brad Williams, and the from part is a dropdown menu so I can change it to ‘to’ Brad Williams. And so now it’s showing me all messages to Brad Williams and then I can keep typing afterwards; if I type attachment one of the options it gives me below is message has attachments and I press enter on that and now I’m looking at messages to Brad Williams that have attachments, and it’s all done just by typing and selecting options in the search field, it is really, really slick. And, yeah, lots of great stuff, I could go on for an hour about this so I’ll let us move on, but for a $30.00 upgrade to your operating system it is definitely worth getting. If you’re still stuck on MacOS 10 Leopard, the 10.5 version, then hey it’s a $60.00 upgrade, you have to go and buy the Snow Leopard disc and then from there you can upgrade to Lion, definitely worth doing even if you’re a couple of versions behind.
Patrick: And this could be a precursor to Apple’s fall dominance. MG Siegler wrote on TechCrunch on Monday that Apple has a shot at becoming the most valuable company in the world, at least by market capitalization, as they could surpass Exxon and take the number one slot, so I guess we’ll see.
Kevin: As we record this they just had their quarterly earnings call and announced a record quarter of revenue and blowing away all predictions. The predictions were very generous, the predictions were that they were going to have a record quarter, but the predictions fell far short of how much of a record quarter they’ve had; in after hours trading their stock has gone from I think it was in the 380’s, $380 mark, it’s now well over $400 following that earnings call, so I would say, yeah, heading up to that most valuable company if they haven’t already reached it.
Patrick: Brad, what do you have?
Brad: I have one of the most interesting blogs and funny blogs I’ve seen, and I’ll actually — the website’s called runningfromcamera.blogspot.com, and I’ll read a little snippet that describes it. It says, “The rules are simple, I put the self-timer on two seconds, push the button and try to get as far from the camera as I can,” (laughter), and it’s a picture of this going back to 2006 this guy’s been doing this.
Kevin: It’s the same dude.
Brad: It appears to be the same guy. Nothing on here explains it and you can only see the back of him, obviously, because he’s running from the camera, and there’s just picture after picture after picture of him all over the world in various cities and areas just trying to get as far away from the camera as he can in two seconds, it’s pretty funny. And he actually links to other sites that have started to do this under the “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” section, so I guess who knows, this phenomenon might be catching on. But I don’t know; I might try this next time I’m on vacation hit some of these nice vacation spots and see how far away I can get from the camera in two seconds.
Patrick: It might be a theme for WordCamp Philly.
Brad: Yeah, it’s totally ridiculous but I had a lot of fun going through the archives and looking at all the various pictures of the guy’s back as he runs away. He doesn’t get too far but how far can you really get in two seconds?
Patrick: Well, they need to have Olympic class sprinters do this and compare how fast they get away from the camera to this I guess average everyday gentleman.
Brad: I mean this would be better than planking I think (laughter); this is it, much more entertaining.
Patrick: Two things I have not yet done, but you never know. So, my spotlight is Back to the Future, have you heard of it? Uh, no, that’s just a bit of nostalgia for longtime listeners.
Kevin: You gotta play the game, Patrick; you have got to play the game. I just finished the Back to the Future video game series, and if you are a fan of those movies and you have not picked up those games you are missing out, man. This is the Back to the Future fans dream come true these games.
Patrick: And this is the episode adventure from Telltale, right?
Kevin: Yeah, exactly, telltalegames.com, there are five episodes Back to the Future Adventure Games series. The biggest complaint I’ve seen about it is from gamers saying it’s too easy, but if you approach it as a Back to the Future fan and you consider it as basically a fourth movie that has slightly interesting puzzles scattered through it that you need to solve in order to unlock the next chapter of the story, it is an engrossing and hilarious and beautifully written and crafted experience with Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Doc Brown, must see.
Patrick: That’s awesome to hear. I haven’t played it yet but I will have to. My real spotlight is Derek Jeter, he recorded his 3,000th hit on July 9th, and if you’re a baseball fan you know how big a deal that is, and the way he did it was in storybook fashion, he went five for five, he did it on a homerun, later in the game he drove in the winning run. The game was saved by Mariana Rivera and the fan who caught the ball, the 3000th hit, wanted nothing more than to give it back to Jeter.
Patrick: Again, if you’re not a sports fan this doesn’t mean anything to you, but if you’re a baseball fan it makes a lot of sense. And to me when I look at Derek Jeter it’s funny to say it but I see my childhood and one of the pillars of it which was Yankee baseball led by him. And I met him at Yankee Day which was at the Florida State Fair in the spring of 1996 prior to his rookie season, and the line to meet him was very short, there was literally no one there to meet him, so I went up and I met him and he signed my rookie card, and 11 year old Patrick, 11 year old me was on my way, and he’s been my favorite player ever since and I’ve never regretted that choice; as someone who loves the game he’s always been the epitome of a ball player to me. So that’s my spotlight and congratulations to Mr. Jeter. And on an Internet related note, I actually watched it streaming live on MLB.com, which is Major League Baseball, and I was so thankful that Major League Baseball and the Yankees made it available like that so that I could watch it and my brother and my father could watch it all at the same time over the phone in different locations and all kind of share in the moment and appreciate it, so it was kind of a pretty cool Internet meets pre-Internet, something that we’ve all loved for many years, sort of special moment, so I thought that was really cool.
Brad: So did they show the whole game just in anticipation that he would hit the homerun?
Patrick: They showed his At Bats, and they streamed it live, and then after he got it they actually let it play, you know the whole kind of four minutes break in the game to acknowledge the fans and whatnot, so it was really cool to see them put it out there and make it available for free, streaming, I really appreciated it.
Kevin: Before we go I just wanted to jump in with one more thing related to Brad’s spotlight.
Patrick: Yes, sir.
Kevin: Because these photos of this guy running away from the camera in different exotic locations all around the world reminded me of a new site that I saw this week.
Patrick: Oh, this is your everlasting legacy, Kevin, this may be your last appearance ever on the SitePoint Podcast and this is how you want to end it.
Kevin: I’m not sure I can read out the URL of this as this is a family show, I’ll leave it to your imagination, the website is wherethe*F*isthis.com.
Patrick: Yeah, and substitute F for a word that rhymes with buck, as in a dollar.
Kevin: Yeah! Spell it out as if your mom wasn’t watching, and wherethe*F*isthis.com is basically this crowd-sourced photo location site; people post photos taken of beautiful vistas and places all around the world where they don’t know where it is, they’re like oh I found this great photo of this place that I’d like to visit but I have no idea where it is, and the crowd does their best to locate it. And if you look at the homepage you can see several photos that have been located by the community; you can see several others, plenty others, that have not been located, so if you’re feeling — if you’ve done a little travel in your time and you’re feeling a little generous, why not spend a little time clicking through these photos and if you recognize the place you can mark where it is on the map. I’ve seen at least one, however, that has been identified as a Photoshop fakery (laughs), so I think they may have to add to this site a report as not real button because there are at least one or two in there, but, yeah, it’s a neat idea.
Patrick: Very cool, very cool.
Brad: Very cool.
Patrick: So let’s go around the table and why don’t we go Brad and then Kevin.
Brad: Sure. I’m Brad Williams from Webdev Studios and you can find me on Twitter @williamsba.
Kevin: I’m Kevin Yank; I’m the Chief Instructor at Learnable.com. If you’d like to learn or teach anything with an online course, visit Learnable.com today!
Patrick: And you can follow our usual co-host Stephan Segraves and Louis Simoneau @ssegraves and @rssaddict respectively, and you can follow SitePoint @sitepointdotcom, that’s Sitepoint d-o-t-c-o-m. And I’m going to close the show out with Kevin here not doing it, which is kind of strange, so visit us at Sitepoint.com/podcast to leave comments on this show and to subscribe to receive every show automatically. You can email email@example.com with your questions for us, we’d love to read them out on the show and give you our advice. The SitePoint Podcast is produced by Karn Broad. Thank you for listening and we’ll see you next week.
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