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Get ready to pay for what's free today

Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp. says the web "is not free, and is not going to be." The days of free content may come to an end if a gathering of media moguls this week in Pasadena, California have their way. Can these captains of content stuff the freebie genie back in the broadband bottle? Bloomberg has the details.

TypePad downgraded themselves this week

TypePad taught me something new this week: they shouldn't be my only recommend for blogging services.

They took an evangelist and turned me into a mere customer. It's a story that has me wondering if there are places I'm downshifting customers too. Perhaps you are too.

I've long been a fan and user of TypePad for my blog development projects. While it has some limitations, its elegance has made it a more user-friendly choice for my clients. That changed this week.

Ever forgotten a password? Who hasn't. It's why sites assist you by either reminding you of or resetting your password(s). This week my addled 50-plus brain blanked out on my TypePad password. I submitted the assistance form to reset. I got nothing. Tried again. Nothing. Wrote tech support. They suggested I check my SPAM filter. Did. Nothing. Wrote again. Two days later, same response. Wrote AGAIN. This time someone writes back, "I tried it and it works for me. Check with your email provider." Heh?

Elegance is irrelevant if basic support doesn't back it up. TypePad (and its parent firm Six Apart) has traditionally shined in both the elegance and tech support areas. My experience this week tells me something has changed. I found no mechanism for escalating my support issue. I found no "feedback" loop on tech support replies: I couldn't respond to TypePad's messages. Instead, I had to restart and restate the situations EVERY time. There's no excuse for this.

I once recommended TypePad without qualification. I can no longer do that. I will include them on a potential solution provider list, but there will be at least one other option  going forward.

It's a lesson I shouldn't have had to learn. TypePad downgraded my willingness to endorse them. It left me wondering, if that's happening at my own firm. It should leave you wondering the same about yours.

Shorter video ads prove better: MTV

MTV Networks believes it has found a better answer for short-form online video advertising than the derided 30-second pre-roll. AdWeek has the details.

Fractions and brevity: the unwitting soul of it all

"I don't get it, can you help me Dad?," my daughter said. How humbling is it to be stumped by fourth-grade math homework? Reduce fractions to the lowest-common denominator.

Recollections of mom's protests against my being left back due to this very fourth-grade deficiency freight-trained into my mind's eye as I surveyed the assignment. I don't know if my little girl saw beads of sweat forming in the underbrush of my mustache, but I felt it.

While editing copy the next day, part of me was still swaying aboard the remembrance express: reduce till it can't be reduced any further. Why didn't I ever learn that? Actually, I did. Because, as with fractions, so it is with good copy: Reduce to short sentences. Reduce to simple verbs. Direct action, direct result.

Just like this:

Here's the fraction-reducing rule for crisp copy: say something well. Say nothing else. Say it plainly, then shut up. After all, Gilding the lily betrays a lack of confidence in your message.

The reason, I never learned how to reduce fractions, by the way, is because the teacher never convinced me why I needed to know; 40 years later my Stella did.