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Brier Dudley's Blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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August 13, 2008 9:00 PM

Zillow steps up local realty ads; Craigslist 2.0 for newspapers?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Zillow's announcing a new local advertising service for real estate agents, banks and service providers.

The company's providing a self-service console for advertisers to target ads by zip code. It's already been offering them "EZ Ads" since April 2007, but today's upgrade adds tiered pricing and the ability to buy some or all of the ads targeting people searching Zillow for homes in a particular zip code.

Also being announced is a national ad program called Zillow Home Direct. (Update: I misread this in the release - Home Direct was mentioned, but was actually announced previously, in October).

"Zillow is committed to offering local professionals affordable and easy-to-use tools to get in front of our large audience of consumers interested in real estate and buying and selling homes," Zillow's vice president of ad sales, Greg Schwartz, said in the release.

Seattle's best-funded Web startup is also partnering with 282 newspapers, so they can sell ads on Zillow as well as their own products. That may give the papers a little more revenue, but doesn't it seem like a huge risk that papers will lose the community of real estate shoppers and vendors inhabiting their classified pages to flashy Web services like Zillow?

Maybe I'm too paranoid. Papers still reach far more than Zillow's 5 million monthly visitors. U.S. newspaper Web sites had 63 million monthly viewers as of December, and daily newspaper readership is 154.3 million, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

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August 13, 2008 4:17 PM

Kindle needs a light, now Amazon has one patented -- accessory time?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Amazon's Kindle shared the limelight with the iPhone this week, after an analyst on Monday doubled his forecasted sales of the e-book.

Citigroup's Mark Mahaney predicted that Amazon would sell 380,000 of the gadgets, up from his earlier expectation of 180,000, pushing Amazon stock up nearly 10 percent.

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August 13, 2008 12:49 PM

Microsoft finally gets kudos for spanking Google maps, in Georgia

Posted by Brier Dudley

Microsoft Live Search Maps was the only major Web mapping service to provide good details about South Ossetia, showing Google and Yahoo how it's done, according to an illustrated comparison on SearchEngineWatch..

Meanwhile, Google's trying to tamp out speculation about it's Georgia maps. They're lacking because Google doesn't have the data yet, not because of censorship or a Web attack by militant Russian hackers.

But did Live Search Maps find this drunken Australian sleeping on his parking strip? I don't think so.

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August 13, 2008 11:42 AM

BigScreenLive hires CEO with Apple pedigree

Posted by Brier Dudley

New Zealander Richard Mander is the new chief executive of BigScreenLive, a Kirkland startup producing software that adds usability features for senior computer users.

Mander's taking the place of Cayce Roy, a former Amazon.com executive who started running the company after becoming an early investor. Roy will stay on the board of directors.

Roy said he always planned to step aside if the company found an ideal successor and "this was just a really great thing for BigScreenLive."

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.