Gmail in action!

I’ve been beta-testing gmail.  Today I got my first sponsored links in an e-mail, which appeared unobtrusively to the right of my message.  I had received a message from someone with a few questions about non-qualified stock options and restricted stock and the like (my former life was as a corporate lawyer at a big law firm, so I am dogged by such questions; they’re picking up again, from friends, which suggests to me an entrepreneurial resurgence, but that’s another story…).  Here were the links I got, with formatting removed.  Pretty darn smart.

“Sponsored Links
Expensing Stock Options
Learn the true value of options for recording as an expense 

ESOP Valuation
Duff & Phelps ERISA & ESOP transaction experts 

ESOP Services, Inc.
Analysis, Feasibility Studies, Financing, Turnkey Implementation.

Related Pages 

Lucent acquires Telica
The buy would improve its sales to telecommunication companies … 

Simmons First to buy back 5% of shares
PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Simmons First National Corp.’s board approved the …

I find also, upon review, that many though not all of the messages in my in-box have ads associated with them.  One, with Westport, CT in the sig of a sender of a forwarded message, is trying to sell me real estate in some expensive neighborhoods.  Another picks up on the name of a bank and offers a link to, the jobs and employment discussion site.  Nothing crazy.  Short messages with presumably no interesting keywords get no ads, which is interesting to me (i.e., there’s no sense that I have an “aggregated” profile that means that any e-mail generates a standard set of ads, but rather that ads are served in response to the content of specific e-mails).

Internet & Radio day at the Berkman Center

Point: Today we’re focused on the relationship between the net and radio.  Chris Lydon, Dave Winer, Ethan Zuckerman, Rebecca MacKinnon, Lewis Hyde, Jake Shapiro, JZ,
and other fellows and friends have gathered for our regular 4 p.m.
Tuesday fellows’ time.  Bill Buzenberg
of Minnesota Public Radio; Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company; Roger Kennedy, whose career describes description in a blog entry; and Vin Ryan, a long-time friend and
supporter of Chris Lydon and his good works, are special guests today,
among many others.  The idea is to figure out what a news
producer of a new kind of community-based conversation/show that is
Something Completely Different would do to merge, use, leverage,
whatever these two media.  Charlie Nesson has long felt that the
radio is the best broadcast medium for an international conversation,
with the internet as the feedback loop. Others see the two as more
melded, or converged, than that.  IRC, voice-chat, VoIP, sms, and
of course blogs are on the table. The primary point of agreement
so far is that we have to stop talking about having an “audience” for
any show.  It’s the BloggerCon un-conference idea turned into a
radio/net program.  The goal is to establish ever-extending
communities of conversations. Stay tuned…

Counterpoint: Seth Finkelstein, concurrently but from outside the
room and posting in the comments field, says we’re full of it: “Of
course there’s an audience. There’s 1-100 speaker slots, and an
unlimited number of listener slots. That’s just a mathematical fact.
Audience scales up, number of speakers does not.”

The hard question: So what
would make such a “show” different from what’s come before?  Is
it, as Ted Henderson says, that we can make a series of global
conversations happen that would otherwise simply not happen?

[Dave’s notes are doubtless more insightful than mine.]