Program note

Program note: Jeff Jarvis will be on MSNBC tomorrow following the online response to the tsunami tragedy. He has posted a great list of tsunami-related personal accounts and resources. There are lots of great blogs, including the volunteer group-blog that already has a nickname, SEA-EAT, short for The Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tusnami. And the (glowing adjectives fail me here) definitive example of the potential of wiki-based citizen’s journalism (or corporate knowledge management, or collaborative project development) can be viewed at this entry on the earthquake, tsunami and aftermath that is being created at Wikipedia. Truly, incredible.

Update: Jeff was kind enough to mention this weblog on air. Thanks.

Red Cross will direct all funds collected to tsunami relief

Red Cross will direct all funds collected to tsunami relief: Heading off any controversy like one it was involved in regarding the handling of contributions after September 11, the Red Cross has issued a press release assuring contributors that funds contributed for tsunami relief will be used for just that. “The American Red Cross will be as transparent as possible. I want to assure donors that their intent will be honored and their contributions to the International Response Fund will be used to meet the needs of earthquake victims in the days, week and months ahead,” American Red Cross President and CEO Marsha J. Evans said in a press release earlier today.

In the days following the September 11 attack, over one-half billion dollars was contributed to the Red Cross’ “Liberty Fund.” After first indicating that not all of the funds would go to the victims’ and their families, but rather would be used to prepare for future terrorist attacks, a public outcry led to a change in plans by the Red Cross.

In the first three days after the earthquake, the Red Cross said it had received $18 million in contributions. As of 11:55 p.m. tonight, the Amazon.com-customer Red Cross contribution page was within $50,000 of $7 million from over 103,000 contributors.

Tsunami response

Amazon Honor System
When Amazon.com affiliate store participants sign on to their accounts, they are encouraged to display this box on their website, another great example of quick-response fundraising.

Tsunami response: It is rather astonishing to see in near real-time, the people, as individuals and as stockholders and managers of big and small corporations, responding so quickly and dramatically to the vast needs caused by the south Asian tsunami.

It’s amazing to watch the Amazon.com ticker grow (at 6:48 EST, the total is $6.1 million, apparently growing at a clip of $200,000+ an hour.) And to watch more and more major-traffic websites devoting prominent real estate to encourage contributions to various relief efforts. And this report on CNN.com outlines tens of millions of dollars that corporations are contributing.

This is all inspiring. And while something very new is happening here, it has the feel of something that’s been around for quite a while: the telethon. Yet this is a telethon without the host and the phone banks and the visiting celebrities (however, despite this unfortunately-written headline making it sound like they were merely inconvenienced, some celebrities narrowly escaped death and had loved-ones killed). It’s as if the reports on CNN and Fox News and on the Internet are touching viewers (many of us who are on vacation this week) like an instant ad hoc telethon. As the TV reports reveal each new horror of the tsunami’s aftermath, the tally board grows. It is quite interesting how people are responding to what they are seeing on TV by jumping on the Internet to do something, anything, to help.

Magazine companies & blogging

Magazine companies & blogging: Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has a good point: The biggest “blogging operation” in the world is not who you think it might be, not be a long, long shot. It’s About.com. When viewed only in the current context and change the word “guide” to Blogger and you’ve go a 700 blogger operation running on top of a Moveable Type platform. The bloggers are getting a minimum of $500 per month and their sites are being monitized by a “premium publisher” deal with Google.

I guess it’s only people who witnessed the cliff-diving of Primedia’s stock (that dates nearly exactly from the moment it purchased About.com) who will find it, what’s the word?, ironic. Also, I don’t have time to google it, but I recall back in earlier days, there was a class action lawsuit brought by some of the “guides” regarding the compensation relationship. I have no idea how the case ended up, but it may be of interest to review for those who are drawing up business plans that depend on the work of an army of bloggers.