The Official Blog of Cogmap, the Org Chart Wiki


Archive for March, 2008


Unsubscribing from Dell – The secret to Fortune 500 Spam

Friday, March 28th, 2008

I bought a Dell laptop in December and ever since then I get email from them every week about new laptops I could buy.

When I click the unsubscribe link and then fill out the 2 pages of forms to remove me from the mailing list, what do I see:

What it looks like to unsubscribe

Suffice it to say that I have been trying to unsubscribe for weeks.  Clearly, this is an error that they monitor closely and care a lot about.

Cogmap 2.1 – OpenID support, Newsfeeds, XML APIs!

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

This evening we did another code release with several relatively minor but very cool additions:

  • OpenID support. That’s pretty geeky, but pretty cool! Today we only support having one OpenID associated with an account. If it turns out that is an issue, leave a comment or send an email and we will work out that last bit of trickery.
  • MyCogmap has newsfeeds! Now instead of seeing a list of charts you subscribe, edit, and create, we give you, in historical order, the changes that have taken place with charts you subscribe to. This provides a much richer palette of changes in data going on in the site.
  • Consume your newsfeed!<your screen name> returns an XOXO XML document of your newsfeed. This makes it easy to turn your newsfeed into something consumed by other applications. That’s kind of fun! Here is my newsfeed as an example.
  • # of Subscribers to a map – Now we show it on the map. Kind of interesting!
  • A bunch of small fixes, particularly to search. Now search peruses chart metadata and notes in the results which charts are private charts that you have permission to access.

How to write a good blog

Friday, March 21st, 2008

According to Valleywag, I violate basically all the rules to writing a good blog.

I can only hope that when they say, “don’t be a pundit”, they are talking to the less interesting pundits.

Hopefully, I can learn from what they say to say something new and interesting.  Unfortunately, I already know what my next post will be and, in classic form, I will simply complain about another blog post.

Much like this post.

What if SAI is wrong about Display Ads?

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Some days I feel like 90% of my blog posts are posts disagreeing with other blog posts.  Am I the alternate voice crying out in the wilderness?

Anyway, today’s post that I take issue with comes from Silicon Alley Insider.  I actually have to dig in with a little of the line-by-line:

The burn rates and valuations of many Web 2.0 companies are predicated on this article of faith: The Web will benefit from a massive share shift as marketers choose the measurable (online advertising) over the not-so-measurable (newspapers, TV, etc.).

Wait a second, it is not just about measurable vs not, it is about where people spend their time.  I read recently that almost 20% of the media that people consume is online.  The percentage of US ad spend that is online is in the single digits.  So you have to assume that online ad spend in the US will double or triple in the next few years.  That means 30%+ sustained growth rates.  Even if ad budgets shrink, growth should still be significant.  Anything less creates a substantial arbitrage opportunity for smart marketers.

But what if at least one of the core assumptions — that online ads motivate consumer behavior — is wrong, or maybe just half-right?

The beauty of a measurable medium, including mediums where transactions are measured, is that prices become appropriate.  The reason we have banner blindness is that people just consume more pages, seeing more ads.  Many pages have literally a dozen ads on the page.  Those ads are, in many instances, virtually worthless and will be priced accordingly.  6.5 billion pages on MySpace every day: Mostly not valuable.  But that is ok, things will be priced accordingly.

Then SAI tries to question the conclusion:

Does it hold water? Certainly banner advertising had been hit by the perception that it is roundly ignored, but a raft of research concludes that video advertising — even annoying pre-roll ads — has some of the highest recall in the business.

What does this have to do?  Nielsen says TV works because it is entertaining and you are focused on it…. just like pre-roll.  Pre-roll is different than banner ads.  Pre-roll is annoying for the same reason commercials are annoying:  I don’t want to watch them and I can’t ignore them.

So funny, I have to share

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

My blog is the new chain email of 2008.

It makes me cry that I didn’t get to see this at SxSW, but frankly, I don’t think this panel was on my original list anyway….

Ad Sales Reps: No two are alike

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Post on Silicon Alley Insider that made me actually click through for the comments: Ad Sales Reps, supposedly scarce, are a dime a dozen.

My immediate reaction to this was a) Great, you can hire the worst sales people from Yahoo and AOL, no problem.  That’s encouraging.  b) Is the guy that was having success (or struggling, assuming he is not the top guy) selling Yahoo’s home page going to be the guy that monetizing  The brand difference is pretty big.

The first sales guy I ever hired worked at Netscape and went from selling Netscape to selling our neverheardofit product.  He failed miserably.  He was used to people taking his calls because he was from Netscape.  He was used to having good lead flow because he was from Netscape.  People called him.  It was a different kind of sale.

You have to have sales people that are appropriate to the life-cycle of your business.

AOL’s redesign of Bebo

Friday, March 14th, 2008

I know it is kind of cliche, but I had to spend 60 seconds mocking up my mockery of a potential AOL redesign of Bebo.

AOL-Bebo Redesign

Am I close? Post links to better ones in the comments!

Frequency, Granularity & Behavioral Targeting according to the New York Times

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Article by the New York Times saying that companies gather a lot of data about you.

Big shocker, albeit this is fairly mildly exaggerated.

What it appears to me that comScore measured was the frequency they see users on their properties.  Does Yahoo! really get interesting data from people refreshing their mail again?  MySpace “has the opportunity to gather” a lot of data, but does refreshing your page every 60 seconds for 3 hours really mean a lot?

They bash Conde Nast for not gathering a lot of data, but the chances they have to gather data are probably far more contextually interesting than basically anything that anyone does on MySpace.

In fact, I would contend that a big driver of the Beacon program that Facebook introduced was an attempt by Facebook to acquire information that was actually valuable from a targeting perspective.

Yahoo can tell that I am extremely interested (high frequency) in emails my wife sends me (granularity).  Good luck selling that data.

Quick thoughts on the Bebo acquisition

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

AOL acquires Bebo.  I know nothing about the deal and very little about Bebo, but I like the sound of it and I want to go on the record with that opinion.  Driving integration with AIM is a great idea and one they have already tried unsuccessfully with AimPages, but I think you have to keep pushing on this until you get it right.

Also, owning a big social network is good.  MySpace and Facebook are not owned by Google, MSN, or Yahoo.  So AOL has something they don’t have.  That is good.  And page views are growing (albeit low value views).

Realistically, I suspect that no one (maybe Google?) knows more about monetizing social inventory than

We live in interesting times!

Cogmap offers free online organization charting with private sharing capabilities

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Cogmap offers free online organization charting with private sharing capabilities

Cogmap releases private organization charting features freely available to the Internet

Private mapping, integrated data, and other features create the premier Web 2.0 tool for sharing organizational data with co-workers, your social network, and the Internet-at-large

March 5, 2008

News Facts

  • Cogmap, the organization chart wiki, vaults from offering a public facing wiki of organizational data to adding tools that allow people to build and share private organizational information using drag-and-drop on-line tools and powerful access controls.
  • Coglink widgets allow individuals to embed individual “Coglinks” from Cogmap in blogs, social networks, and web sites to share information about people in organization charts across the Internet.
  • Cogmap offers APIs that allow third parties to mash-up chart data using XML chart information and vCard and hCard data about members of charts.
  • New commenting and “related charts” features show how the network feels about charts that interest you.
  • New indexes are available allowing visitors to explore organization charts geographically, by industry, or simply alphabetical.
  • It is still all free!

Quotes Attributable to Brent Halliburton

“Cogmap’s initial release changed the way that business development, sales, and recruiters used the Internet. With the new private mapping features, they can take all of their knowledge online and create social networks around their proprietary data.”

“Cogmap is the wikipedia of organization charts, bringing information about how the hierarchy of organizations works to the masses.”

“Originally, Cogmap was built to allow people to share information and benefit from the power of a wiki, but feedback from the cogmunity was that some information needed to be protected. With private maps, all of the information you add will only be shared with your social network.”

“Private maps allow a network of people to share organizational data among themselves, empowering organizations to share their knowledge quickly and easily.”

“Coglinks make map information embeddable, extending Cogmap’s value out into the blogosphere.”

For additional quotes, email Brent Halliburton at brent at cogmap dot com.

Screenshots & Logos

Blog RSS feed:

Suggested tags: “Cogmap”, “Org chart wiki”, “Private chart”, “Organization chart”

About Cogmap

With thousands of organization charts and tens of thousands of chart members, Cogmap offers an unprecedented amount of freely available organizational data. Cogmap is a small web site providing user-generated organization chart applications for business people.

Join the cogvolution!

Contact Information:

Brent Halliburton


aim: groupcortexer