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Jan 14, 2003
Blog Post

Debate: Content to Desktop Stupid or Brilliant?

SUMMARY: No summary available.
Wow. Unusually high feedback on my comments about SNAP, Weatherbug and putting content on the desktop. Here are quotes from two letters, one pro and one con:

>From Tom Baker, Founder, CEO Open Field Partners:

"Anyone remember Pointcast? Backweb? Plus a few other "push" companies I can't even remember? I have scars from the painful investments of time and energy I put into those back when I did such deals. Yes, they were piggy and clunky applications. But the real issue was that people didn't need what they did, and wouldn't even use it for free, much less pay for it.

Let's just say I'm a little skeptical. E-mail's great, and there's little consumer dissatisfaction. And adoption of odd clients and plugins is doubtful. (How many have apps not shipped with your Windows install have succeeded, besides the Real player, Acrobat, Napster/Kazaa, and the Google toolbar?)

Now, if you could push some high-value alerts to my phone or my PDA, where an e-mail client doesn't rule the environment, maybe I'd be a little curious. But desktop push? Harumph."

>From Harris Turner of the Frequent Travel Marketing Association:

"I agree that SNAP should have paid attention to current market offerings and as a result of their naivetˇ, their path will indeed be difficult. However, your assertion that people are reticent to download applications is just plain wrong. You surprise me in mentioning WeatherBug but not having done the homework to know that over 17 million have now downloaded that particular product. SideStep has over 2 million users. MilePro has tens of thousands. The New York Times utilizes NewsStand Scheduler and delivers their online product to the desktop of thousands via a downloaded application. And there are others too numerous to mention!

The idea of pre-loaded Internet parsing and retrieval agents is worthy of attention, but I don't know of a single pre-loaded application that was integrated until it had already gained widespread acceptance. And these agents do a variety of tasks, so it will be challenging for computer manufacturers to determine which one(s) are primary to the majority of people.

Today's Internet user is all about saving time, and it's only a matter of time before the majority of people realize that for the repetitive use of dynamic information, browsers are totally inefficient. Give me products like WeatherBug, MilePro (that delivers all my frequent flyer programs via a simple desktop menu), or SideStep (that checks 100s of travel fares simultaneously), and I'll keep my browser for Google searches."

Me again: OK, I'm lining up an interview with the folks at Weatherbug right now to do a Case Study on this and find out what we can all learn from them. Look for it in a few weeks in ContentBiz! :-) Link to my original Blog about SNAP
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