Standard Web Standards Reader Survey

Take the Standard Web Standards Reader Survey!

I just realized that I’ve been blogging at Standard Web Standards for more than three years now and I’ve never asked for feedback from the readers of this blog directly.

I had a thought a few days ago that blogging is still a communications vehicle (albeit a very personal one), and I realized that I could still a do a better job of “completing the communication loop,” so to speak. So, I thought a nice, short survey was in order.I also have been looking at my blog portfolio and I thought some realignment could be done.

I do hope you can help me come up with a more enjoyable and informative blog. 🙂

Should there be a “Blogging Tax”?

I recently read an article form Slashdot about Canada’s move to tighten their internet regulations and implement additional rules on taxation, and even user-generated content.

I then thought what if something similar happened to the Philippines. A valid question that comes to my mind is: Should there be a “Blogging Tax” levied on Bloggers?

My short answer to that is “No, not now”

The way I see it, Blogging, at least in the Philippines, is considered an “informal economy.” What that means is that Bloggers’ earnings are not currently regulated and monitored by social and legal institutions. That means institutions like the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) opt not to touch your Adsense payments because it’s a wide open field and it’s a fied that the government doesn’t fully understand. (Why am I not surprised?)

To better illustrate the informal economy, Imagine you asked your neighbor to water your plants or sort your collection of DVD’s with the agreement that you will pay him/her later. After he/she finishes the task, you pay him/her with the agreed amount. Technically, your neighbor earned some income, thus may be subject to tax. However, since there’s really now strict regulations on “plant watering” or “DVD sorting,” your neighbor can avoid declaring his/her revenues and go home scott-free. You could say the same about the bribes and grease money.

Another thing is the transaction cost of implementing the sanctions on “tax avoidance” bloggers. There are thousands (and that number is growing) of bloggers in the Philippines and I’m assuming a good portion puts advertising in the blogs and a few have paid reviews or posts. If the BIR wants to monitor everyone’s actions and avoidance of the taxes from blogging revenue, it has to invest a lot in infrastructure and labor.

So if not now, when should the Blogging Tax be implemented? I say, once the blogging industry has matured and become institutionalized. (Like issuances of “Blogging Licenses” or requirement to register blogs and blog earnings by law).

Will those things happen? Not anytime soon.

What’s the Tipping Point of Blogosphere Buzz?

The course of the last month of research for my MBA thesis, I focused on the business side of Web 2.0– and that included internet marketing, social media, blogging and web analytics. The research delved in to theory (yes, there’s a handful lot of academic research pertaining to social media apps in the lst couple of years) and real-life cases.

One nice nugget I found was a research done by the New York University late last yeat. That research, entitled “Does Chatter Matter? The Impact of User-Generated Content on Music Sales,” tried to tie blogosphere buzz to sales generated by a particular real-world product (in this case music sales). The researchers (Vasant Dhar & Elaine Chang) found that the threshold for good blogging buzz is 40 posts. If an album were written about by 40 bloggers, it would mean a above average amount of sales of a major label album and decent sales by an indie label album.

Moving further, the research found that the motherlode of blogging is 240 posts. They found that once an album got 240 posts, it’s a predictor that an album would be a certified hit.

However, the researchers cautioned:

At the same time, we caution against assumptions of causality for reasons discussed in thelast section. It is conceivable, for example, that if blog posts start becoming manipulated becausepeople think they have an impact on sales, that the predictive power might disappear because theunderlying reasons for it disappear.

So the lesson here is keep it real, in the blogosphere sense. 😀

Will “Government 2.0” Work for the Philippines?

United Stated President-elect Barack Obama recently has been instituting a lot of nifty web technology in his fledgling administration (including the presidential address on the web) and he may well be called the “Web 2.0 President” with his extensive use of social media in his presidential campaign.

But will this kind of approach be effective here in the Philippines? What if the government all of a suddent becomes a Web 2.0-enabled environment? Here are some possible scenarios:

  • President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) would have an insurmountable amount of negative “Digg-style” votes
  • If GMA sends out presidential addresses via email, she would replace the Nigerian government in sending out spam
  • People will try to use SEO to look for the missing government funds
  • Government officials will get “tagged” as puppets or stooges of the administration in their profiles
  • In the next elections, the president will be determined by the number of his/her social network “friends”
  • Officials will waste the taxpayers’ money on improving their Multiply themes
  • Congressmen will have a field day– they will make the constitution a wiki
So what do you think? Are there more situations you can think of? 😀

RIP Yahoo!: 1994-2009?

Some people are hearing the death knells toll for Yahoo!, recently beleaguered as Google walked away from an advertising partnership between the two search giants. Google walked away because the US Department of Justice vowed to file an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal.

Some analysts were saying that Yahoo! was counting on the deal to maintain a viable financial position to operate independently. But with this latest setback, the roof could now be caving on what was once considered the “IT” company of the Internet age. What Yahoo is looking at now are getting itself bought by spurned buyer Microsoft, or being gobbled up by TimeWarner’s AOL unit. If Yahoo goes for Microsoft, expect their selling price to be significantly lower than Microsoft’s initial offer of $44.6 billion.

Either way, Yahoo! is now in a precarious position. Unless a miracle deal happens, Yahoo! as we know it won’t be here in two years.

Form Function & Class: The Mini Web Design Conference

I would have wanted to write about this topic sooner, but I ran out of bandwidth so it took me a few days to mention how the Mini Web Design Conference last October 31, 2008 was a success.

Thanks to the efforts of Ia,Mae,Marie, JP,Helga,Aja,Sarah, andKaffee, the mini version of Form Function & Class was launched at the G2VC Techbar in Ortigas. The speakers of the event were:

I’d like to also thank our sponsors:Syndeomedia Labs,dotPH, andPinoy Web Startupfor helping make the event possible.

Please keep an eye on future mini web design conferences and a big one next year. 😀

Ia also has a very nice recap of the Mini Web Design Conference. 😀