Amazon Launches New Widgets

Amazon has been chilling on the UI and widget innovation while other Internet companies go berserk with it. In that same time, Bezos and Co. focused on their new Web service products, the inexpensive storage offerings of S3 and the collab ingenuity of Mechanical Turk. And wouldn’t you know that AMZN’s stock price has doubled in less than 6 months.

But, alas, they’re here: Amazon Widgets. The Associate widgets don’t seem to be any different than they have been, only more easily managed, but the addition of widgets for Favorites, wishlists, and unbox video is overdue.

What’s cool: These widgets can be directly integrated with your Amazon Associates account, providing even more opportunities to earn a few pennies (or 5 % back when you’re the one buying) on Amazon purchases stemming from your site. Also, the design templates are nice and very easily tweaked (at least color-wise)

What’s not so cool: The JavaScript default for widget implementation is janky and slow. For some reason they list WordPress.com blogs as “WordPress.org” — hello?!? Also, for some reason the Wishlist widget still shows items that you already purchased.

NYT Retires TimesSelect Pay Wall

new york times select now free foreverAnd all the greatest content shall be free!

No doubt Murdoch will open up WSJ.com to all as well. Both the Times and Journal were the only daily newspapers to successfully implement a paid subscription model, the Times reportedly generating over $20 million in revenue over the course of the two year TimesSelect experiment.

But the advertising landscape has changed, especially as ad sales models shift away from the pageviews to total time spent. This on the same day that AOL, which stands to benefit greatly from Nielsen’s total time spent measurements, announced a realignment of its ad strategy and a physical move from Dulles to Madison Avenue.

PaidContent breaks down the TimesSelect numbers here.

While I’m glad that I’ll no longer have to read another Frank Rich column out of context, cut-and-pasted on some random blog, I’m even happier that the excellent multimedia content on TS, as well as Kristof’s spin-off blogs (like this one written by my friend Will) will be free for the world to read.

So, are my beloved TimesSelect podcasts going to return… or what?

MORE: NYT;s letter to readers — the Pay Wall comes down at midnight EDT on the 19th. Also, Gillmor, Jarvis, and Ingram react.

techPresident Wins $10,000 Knight-Batten Innovation in Journalism Award

Congrats to all of the excellent sites that placed in the 2007 awards (press release). I became familiar with techPresident after meeting Micah Sifry at EconSM and then examining the site further at the Knight New Media Center Tech & Politics Conference, which I blogged. My favorite parts of techPresident are the news aggregators by candidate and the charts detailing social network and Web 2.0 presence and support.

The First place, $2,000 winner is the much-deserving Council on Foreign Relations. Their Crisis guides, such as this one on Darfur, are excellent. It would appear CFR is going to take it from there in developing a more robust Web presence — I’ve noticed that they’ve been seeking Web producers throughout the summer.

Other notable sites that won awards/mentions:

The Forum, an all-volunteer online newspaper for Deerfield, N.H.

On Being, WaPo’s twist on NPR-style citizen narrated content, in video form. NOTE: The Post’s Jim Brady was among the dozen or so esteemed advisory board members judging the nominees.

Assignment Zero, the first Pro-Am Journo project to come out of Jay Rosen’s NewAssignment.Net initiative (I participated in editing a few articles and with this contribution).