4:15 PM -- Sony's repositioning, relaunch, re-whatevering of Grouper makes me wonder: Will most of the Websites championing user-generated content be extinct in six months?
I'm not suggesting YouTube or Metacafe are done -- far from it. But for each good site with a focused audience, like Break.com or blip.tv, there are lots of copycats that didn't even bother to put a new spin on an old idea.
Grouper appeared to have an edge all along because of its cool technology -- but apparently not enough of an edge to keep its owner happy, and that says something about the limited scope of user-generated content. From the Reuters story:
"The content is the same on every site and it's really hard to monetize," said [Grouper founder Josh] Felser. "Advertisers don't buy space alongside videos of people vomiting."
I think advertisers do buy ads alongside videos of people vomiting. But it all has to be packaged the right way. It has to be on The Vomiting Channel, not just some random vomiting that shows up in a general interest Website.
Machine learning is primed to help service providers run more efficient and effective networks, but first the good ideas have to make their way from the lab to the real world – and that's a big challenge, according to the University of Chicago's Nick Feamster.