Will paying the crowd be new business model?

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Dave Ingram, CEO of Brownbook.net, had a business problem: how can he build a world-wide business directory, but one with much more up to date info than any database that exists so far?

Well, he’s paying people who add data. He and co-founder Marc Lyne explains how it works in this video.

Already they are seeing 40% growth per month and tons of new businesses added all over the world. Can’t argue with that. I’ll be putting in my favorite Half Moon Bay businesses into Brownbook.net.

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Facebook tears down part of its walled garden

Another thing that Facebook just released is embeddable videos. TechCrunch covers that part.

But they missed how important a change in direction this is for Facebook.

This means that I can embed videos on blogs from Facebook and make those videos available to everyone.

Facebook now is a YouTube competitor and one that has a huge advantage: you know a LOT about the people who publish the videos on Facebook due to their strict rules and the social network — you can click on each person who uploaded video and you can see who their friends are, which is very valuable to knowing whether the person who is publishing video is someone credible and who has authority with other people.

It also means that we no longer have to visit Facebook to interact with an important data type kept there.

To me that’s huge and worth underscoring. Will Facebook continue opening up its walled garden? Interesting to see this in light of Facebook’s other battle with Google over how it’ll open up its social graph data.

Fast Company’s video with Facebook’s Chris Putnam explains the new embedding system along with the new HD video quality they just turned on.

Nice to see Facebook opening up to the Web, though, and tearing down its walls. What do you think?

HD war breaks out as Facebook, YouTube deliver new features

Tonight an HD war online broke out. YouTube appears to have turned on HD video. Now Facebook jumps into the fray with true 720p HD 16:9 widescreen video. This is HUGE for those of us who have HD camcorders.

But also Vimeo and SmugMug have turned on HD video before.

Why is this important? Well, a bunch of people just received their Canon 5D Mark II cameras that do HD video. So does the Nikon D90. Look at the video that SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill did with his. That shows off SmugMug’s HD goodness.

Or look at Joi Ito’s videos from his 5D which use Vimeo’s video system.

Of course, we have exclusive video from Facebook which explains these features. Here’s a video with Chris Putnam, who runs the Facebook video team.

TechCrunch also covers the new Facebook features.

We’re trying to upload a 720p video to all of these services to see which ones have the best quality and features. Which one are you going to use if you have an HD camcorder? We should have a test video up soon.

UPDATE: this news has already started a long conversation on FriendFeed.

UPDATE 2: Chris Putnam, who was featured in my video, has posted a blog post about these changes and TechMeme has more posts about Facebook’s new video.