Moco.News & ContentNext
"Unlike most online services that talk about the industry, Moco.News is one of the few that talks with the industry," says EContent writer Peggy Salz. Compiled and overseen by Rafat Ali, something of a cult icon in the industry and who's PaidContent.org newsletter has become enormously successful, Moco.News— the Mobile Content Newswire—provides a round-up of news on the mobile content industry and pushes content to subscribers via a well-designed and easy-to-read enewsletter. "Ali has his finger on the pulse of the industry and an eye out for newcomers on the horizon," says Salz. "It's this balance that makes Moco.News an essential read for professionals in the content industry who want to prepare for the future, rather than be crushed by it." Salz also points out that Moco.News has become a hub for venture capital executives and news about digital media deals. "In addition to covering key developments involving industry shapers, Moco.News has also developed a new form of focused mobile content reports that go into detail beyond the news briefs at the site." Salz explains. "These news compilations are categorized for quick browsing and contextualized with plenty of links." Ali's newest venture, ContentNext, is a series of guest writing and interviews with digital media executives that uses a blog format. Ali plans to delve into everything from mobile music to M&A activity to online publishing, and, if his other projects are any indication, ContentNext should prove to be Ali's next great success.
Online Journalism Review
Online Journalism Review, produced by the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, is a Web-based journalism review that seeks to comment on literary endeavors as well as encourage improvement in the field of online journalism. "The thoughtful, longer articles in Online Journalism Review provide a great place to reflect on online news in all its forms," says EContent contributing editor David Scott. "OJR was one of the first sites to use multiple online links within stories to great effect back in the old days of the late 1990s, and they're on top of the latest trends such as blogs and wikis today." OJR has also pinpointed a number of issues that they feel need to be dealt with regarding online content, some of which would require changes to current legislation and others that can be helped by a new crop of informed and interested parties producing online content. Above all else, the Online Journalism Review encourages the consistent application of ethics and the growth and improvement of digital content. "As an online journalism site focused on online journalism, there's the cobbler's children's shoes issue at play—their online writers analyze the space, but can they produce?" asks Scott. "Happily the answer is yes."
Pew Internet & American Life Project
"Need to know how the tweener set uses IM? Or how Americans use the Internet to communicate with government officials? The Pew Internet & American Life Project is the place to get such detailed information," says David Scott, EContent contributing editor. It is "the go-to place for hard-to-find statistics and solid data on how Americans use the Internet," Scott continues. "The best part is the Project is a nonprofit so you know the information is without bias." The Project's reports cover everything from how Americans use instant messaging services, to the use of the Internet outside the typical confines of home and work, to the impending effects of the "silver tsunami" on Web user demographics. (Incidentally, the silver tsunami is—according Pew—the group of now-aging baby boomers that are younger and far more Web-savvy than the typical retiree. Unlikely to give up the Web upon retiring, they will significantly change the statistics of Web usage among senior citizens.) The Project also offers multimedia presentations, data sets, and latest trends, and, Scott adds, "If you ever have a chance to hear Project director Lee Rainie speak, run—don't walk—to claim a seat up front. In his enlightening style, peppered with data from the Project's independent research, you'll learn about nooks and crannies of the Internet you never knew existed."
How can the average reader keep tabs on over 4 million blogs? Easy: by visiting Technorati. Technorati monitors the blogging world, offers listings and services to its visitors, and has made the entire site searchable in an effort to take the confusion and chaos out of blogs. "While any search engine is a good promotional tool for Web content of all sorts, Technorati goes the extra distance to help shape the messy, beautiful democracy of the blogosphere into usable content," says EContent contributing editor Steve Smith. Technorati's primary services are NewsTalk, which looks at the most popular news stories over that past 12 hours, BookTalk, which similarly monitors coverage of books, and a consistently updated "Top 100" list, where rankings are determined by the number of blogs that link to a particular site at a given time. During the 2004 presidential election, Technorati also experimented with an Election Watch service that looked at political blogging and included a Politics Attention Index, charts and graphs, and recent posts. "By using the currency of links, the site tracks the popularity of various postings and gives us the closest thing to a real time monitor of blog sentiment," Smith explains. "At the same time, Technorati encourages and nurtures blogging by maintaining a developers' community and advice for newbies. This is one of the best advertisements for the importance of the fledgling form."