Demand Media acquires blogging tool CoverItLive

The ubiquitous and controversial Demand Media has acquired CoverItLive, a live-blogging tool that lots of publishers--including CNET--use for hosting live chat events and covering news in real time.

Demand Media, which grew extraordinarily fast and recently went public, is best known as a freelancer clearinghouse for the production of search-engine-friendly content on sites like eHow (how-to tutorials) and (health advice). The company has been hit with allegations that the majority of its content is cheap, low-quality, and pollutes search results--that is, that it's a "content farm"--something it understandably denies.

CoverItLive, typically used to quickly … Read more

How CoverItLive failed users during iPad unveiling

A Steve Jobs keynote is technology journalism's Super Bowl equivalent. And as with the Super Bowl, they're best enjoyed in real time. Thus the healthy growth of the live-blogging platform CoverItLive, which enables journalists to file live reports that are transmitted, as they type them, to their online readers.

The company, started in 2007, has been growing well and winning the support of journalists not just in the technology realm, but in sports, politics, and other fields. It has become the largest live-blogging platform there is. The embedded CoverItLive live blog player is popping up on sites across the Web. (For a sample CoverItLive live blog, see this replay of a Google press announcement.)

But CoverItLive fell apart during the January 27 iPad announcement. Just as the event was getting started, incoming Apple fans were turned away from embedded CoverItLive live blogs on important sites like TUAW, MacWorld, and MacNN. Readers quickly abandoned many of these sites and headed to others, like Gdgt, that were using home-grown live-blogging tools. To stop readers from leaving, some sites, such TUAW, abandoned CoverItLive on the spot and began publishing frequent updates on their standard platforms. Regardless, it appeared to be a disaster for the small live-blogging company.

The Steve Jobs keynote also temporarily overwhelmed other sites, including CNET News and our sister site ZDNet (read what went wrong). CoverItLive competitors include services like Scribble Live and live video services like Qik and

This was not CoverItLive's first failure during a Steve Jobs keynote. On January 15, 2008, during the MacBook Air announcement, the platform also collapsed. Since then, CoverItLive flourished nonetheless, winning over journalists in other fields, mostly in sports and politics, who started to use the product regularly. And then the tech sites started to come back.

Sites like MacNN used the service to great advantage. Publisher Monish Bhatia says that building his own live-blogging platform would have been too expensive, and that CoverItLive offered a good blend of features. MacNN used it about six times before the recent failure, he said. But, he told me, "I wish they were a paid service." He wanted a contract to fall back on with the company should anything go wrong.

Between the 2008 failure and the recent one, CoverItLive has not had a failure during a major live event. And many of these events, such as President Obama's Nobel Prize acceptance speech in December of 2009, got more live blog traffic (9 million views) than a Steve Jobs keynote had until then.

So what is it about Jobs' keynotes that is so toxic to CoverItLive? And how can the company regain the trust of tech journalists?

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Live blogging platform CoverItLive gets business model

CoverItLive, which makes a free hosted live blogging platform I like a great deal (see previous coverage), is launching a new "always on" feature called CoverItLive Enterprise, that it will sell to major online news outlets.

The idea is that instead of (or in addition to) running story pages that embed individual CoverItLive live blogs, a site can maintain one blog page with a perpetual live blog window. It will come alive with content when writers are participating in a live blog. A big advantage, for writers, is that they don't have to get an embed code … Read more

CoverItLive gets live video support, of a sort

My favorite liveblogging tool, CoverItLive (see Ultimate liveblogging tool: CoverItLive), is set to add support for live video Tuesday. But rather than launch its own video-streaming service, the system now lets authors insert video embeds from uStream, Qik, or Mogulus into a live blog.

This approach gives CoverItLive users flexibility, but at the cost of simplicity of use. The cool thing is that bloggers have a choice of video services. If you are live-blogging a speech, for example, and you have a good view of the stage, you can pop a Webcam onto your laptop and stream it to your … Read more

Jobs Keynote crashes the blogosphere

I had to eat a little crow this morning. Yesterday I recommended that CNET One More Thing Apple blogger Tom Krazit use CoverItLive to liveblog the Steve Job Macworld keynote (see review: Ultimate Liveblogging Tool: CoverItLive). He declined. And good thing, too, since CoverItLive choked during the keynote. The failure was because of a minor programming slip-up, not the platform's inability to scale to hundreds of thousands of users, CEO Keith McSpurren told me. But it doesn't matter. In the liveblogging Superbowl, CoverItLive "tripped over its own laces," McSpurren admitted. Bloggers burned by the outage included … Read more

Ultimate liveblogging tool: CoverItLive

CoverItLive is a new hosted service for blogging events in real time, or "liveblogging." It's a useful tool for people covering major industry events, speeches, sports, and the like. I first saw the product in use when I was watching the CrunchGear team cover the Bill Gates keynote at CES.

I've liveblogged several events myself in the past, but I've used tools not designed for the job. My hack has been to set up a unique Twitter account for each event and embed a widget from that account into my blog (example: YouTube's Steve Chen interviewed at the NewTeeVee Live conference). … Read more