Sunday, January 13, 2008

Some links for today

  • IMDb's predictions for this year's Oscar Awards. A very nice list of films and actors, definitely better than last year's, comparable with the one in 2006. Even if I haven't seen yet the movie, I definitely share IMDb's dream nomination for the Best Director Award, David Cronenberg for Eastern Promises. Judging by the quality of Cronenberg's previous collaboration with actor Viggo Mortensen, A History of Violence, I think we're in for a great treat. Maybe it's a long shot, but I also hope that Cristian Mungiu's 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days will be nominated for the Best Foreign Movie Award.
  • A nice - and also fun - analysis (part 1 and part 2) of our national Speedy Gonzales' first major speech on Tuesday using the tag clouds technique. The highlight of the word "civilisation" clearly points out what our president's plans are for the next years of his mandate. Let's see how they turn out, but I think the first step - if managed correctly with a big IF - is not such a bad one - one should have in mind though that the promoter's economics views were at one point quite doubtful. This is also related to the recent Foreign Policy article about teaching economics (biases) in France and Germany (via more than one blogger, but I prefer to link my friend Sebi:) ).
  • Iron Maiden's website has an unusually high page rank in Alexa's top of bands and artists websites, unusual in the sense that it's higher than that of some highly mainstream artists like Metallica, Britney Spears or Linkin Park (via Ryan Holiday). Ryan's conclusions are extremely interesting, but while evaluating them you have to consider the selection bias introduced by Alexa's method of gathering data and the fact that Iron Maiden website's traffic had a very important peak less than 3 months ago - nevertheless it has been in Alexa's top 5 of bands and artists websites during the entire 2007 year. (Nightwish is in a identical situation, see comparative traffics on Alexa). Keeping all this in mind, Internet is a damn good medium for promoting high quality music when the mainstream channels become too mainstream.
  • Immigration flattened the Phillips curve of inflation vs. unemployment in the Spanish economy in the recent years. Similar conclusions stating the benefits of immigration on the economy are expected in France from the Attali commission, which will submit its report on the 23rd of January. It will be particularly interesting to see how the political speech will manage macroeconomic arguments in favor of immigration and the integration factor, a delicate issue in the French public opinion.
  • A rather old news from December 2007, but very interesting. The French Librarians Union won a trial against Amazon.fr for it's no shipment fees policy considered illegal according to the Lang law of 1981. The law establishes a fixed price below which retailers cannot go more than 5% and forbids providing free additional services - which was the case for the Amazon.fr shipment practice. There are more things to say about the union's move than could fit in a few lines of comment. First, people have more different incentives to buy from Amazon than just the price : the diversity and availability of the offer is huge compared to any bookstore in any part of the country, the search-evaluate-and-buy time is minimal and the book is at you door in 48 hours, not to mention that when you live in the countryside buying a book at the nearest bookstore may require more than a few kilometers of driving and a few hours of your spare time. Just as with music, the books consuming model has largely evolved and is now appealing to a wider category of people, those in the business should be aware of that. Second, every book retailer has finally understood what Internet is good for, even the French Librarians Union, so I don't really understand what are their benefits from attacking Amazon.fr except proving that they can tackle the big guy's ankle having an obsolete protectionist law on their side. Third, I myself I am a books loving person, I buy books both from Amazon and from the small bookstore down the street, I just love to find myself wandering for long hours among shelves full of books and just feel their smell, so in certain aspects Amazon will never ever be able to replace a good old fashioned bookstore. So monetize this for example, give people incentives to come to your store, plus as an union you have the largest and fastest distribution network in the whole country. But don't take stupid steps into a direction that is fundamentally opposite to your work.

Good night and good luck:)