In news beyond my little world…

Obviously, there’s a world beyond Healthline, which I haven’t been giving as much coverage to for fairly obvious reasons. Some penance herein:

Sphere, a new blog search engine, is launching soon (and will be demo’ed at the TechCrunch party this Friday). I wish them the best of luck; like us, they’re competing in a land of giants… and I have to say, hands down, Google Blog Search has provided by far the fastest and most comprehensive coverage of posts related to our launch.

AOL bought Weblogs, Inc., at the same time everyone appears to be in talks to buy AOL. On the former, an interesting dynamic occurs; now that everyone sees how much money traded hands for a network of ~100 blogs, will anyone be willing to write 5 posts a day for $500/month? In other words, has Calacanis shrewdly (or luckily) closed the door behind him by selling at a multiple that incents others to write for themselves (or for more cash + equity) instead of for others. Six months ago I had thought about writing a piece on how blogging would turn all journalists into freelancers, but never made it happen. Perhaps a smarter cookie like Susan Mernit has thoughts there?

Speaking of Weblogs, Inc., Barb Dybwad covers a great analysis by Rashmi Sinha on the cognitive load associated with tags and tagging. A great read for anyone, but especially if tags are or may become part of your offering. (Which reminds me… I’ll be at TagCamp next Friday; hope to see you there!)

Pamela Parker notes the launch of contextual headlines by Topix. This is cool, but as I wrote when the Topix acquisition was first announced, I’m looking forward to the day when Topix’s tech is used to do the same thing, but with classified listings. (Disclosure: Topix powers the health news search on Healthline, though you may see us do some cool stuff with it down the road a bit…)

As above with regard to Topix, I think that search economics for classifieds will become a necessary (and painful) evil for newspapers (though all these things take time). Proof points? The portals continue their assault on classifieds, with Google asking for classified feeds and Yahoo continuing to snap up companies involved with all things Local.

Alright, back to the day job…

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