Today the Web might seem like a free-speech panacea: it has given anyone with Internet access the potential to reach a global audience. But though technology enthusiasts often celebrate the raucous explosion of Web speech, there is less focus on how the Internet is actually regulated, and by whom.
Cyber Monday is the day retailers love and hate. They love the huge revenue potential, but hate the pressure to perform.
Linguists are recognizing the delightful evolution of the word "because."
A lot of online advertisers are worried these days about getting ripped off—whether they end up buying non-viewable ads that run below the fold of websites to ads that never reach actual human beings. But a new report from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) which has long tracked the impact of media on real purchase behavior says waste is rampant in online media—not because of deception, but rather, neglect.
Distributed citizen groups and nimble hackers once had the edge. Now governments and corporations are catching up. Who will dominate in the decades ahead?
The research group’s quarterly Global AdView Pulse report shows that for all the evolution that we’ve seen in terms of consumer habits — spending more time looking at computer, tablet and mobile screens than ever before — when it comes to ads, the world remains analogue.
We are moving from a world in which physical products are separate to one in which they are connected. Computers were just the beginning.
Packed into a small conference room, this rag-tag band of software developers has an outsized digital pedigree, and they have a mission to match. They hope to jailbreak the internet.
Google is obsessed with fixing the world’s broadband problem. High-speed Internet is the electricity of the 21st century, but much of the planet—even some of the United States—remains in the gaslit era; only about 2.7 billion earthlings are wired.
For all the hand-wringing over automated ad buying systems and mobile devaluing publishers' real estate, a number of online properties can still fetch top dollar.
Digital technology has transformed our world, opening up and bringing the everyday to culture and heritage.
Here’s the million dollar question: What is it that turns an idea into an internet meme?
If you are in the business of selling old-timey ads — that is, ads you’re not going to see on this screen or any other part of the Web — then the first three months of this year were kind of rough.
The comeback is bolstered by new interlinks that make it increasingly easy for websites to suck in and selectively repurpose some of the very social content that diminished the open web in the first place.
When it comes to technology, you don't stand a chance against your kids. Born into a digital world, tweens—those age 7-13—have unprecedented access to devices and gadgets.
They say email can't replace face-to-face communication. Tell that to the rich, though.
"I propose that at the age of 18, you should, just as a policy, change your name," Schmidt said, with a smile. "Then you can say, 'That really wasn't me; I really didn't do that!'"
The proliferation of media-able devices in our households (PCs, smartphones, tablets) is leading to a division of our attention when it comes to traditional television viewing and programming.
As the Internet becomes the hub of political dialogue, religious issues are being drowned out by the most powerful voices on the web, which overwhelming support marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose.
The idea that we could invent tools that change our cognitive abilities might sound outlandish, but it’s actually a defining feature of human evolution.
The co-founder and executive director of MIT's Auto-ID lab, Kevin Ashton, proposed to apply the logic of the web to objects in the physical world: to connect everything that exists physically to the Internet through the application of ubiquitous tags and sensors. Fifteen years later, we are seeing Ashton's vision play out.
Americans who have spurned cable, but who have a television set hooked up to the Internet, will now be counted as a “television household” by The Nielsen Company, potentially adding to the sample of homes that are rated by the company.
A member of my wife's family and a few of her friends told me recently that they are enamored with Twitter. They love its rapid-fire updates, and the sense Twitter provides of being right in the moment. Over a weekend they were constantly checking and posting updates on their smartphones, and when it came to socializing with friends, she and her peers simply preferred Twitter to Facebook. This isn't earth-shattering news, but here's the catch – all were in high school.
Most national brands are strategically positioned at the national Web level with strong awareness and branding, but these companies often lack insight into how their brands are represented at this level. Their local presence becomes clear when you conduct local searches on national brands using the “Local Web Test.”
The 2012 Olympics in London are being touted by some as the world’s “first social Games.” While some question just how social they’ll actually be, there’s no doubt that networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will play an unprecedented role in how information is disseminated from London, and how the global sports conversation is driven during July and August. Why the big shift? It’s simple: Four years is an eternity in Internet time and since the last Summer Olympics in 2008, social media has exploded.
Back in April you may have tweeted how much you hate doing taxes. Sometime later you may have been browsing the Web and noticed ads for TurboTax popping up. That probably wasn't an accident.
The Internet isn’t really a technology. It’s a belief system, a philosophy about the effectiveness of decentralized, bottom-up innovation. And it’s a philosophy that has begun to change how we think about creativity itself.
People seem really intent these days on fusing television with the Internet. On one level this makes no sense. Television technology works just fine and we all understand how to use it. We’re also in the midst of a golden age when it comes to programming; I can’t remember another time when there were this many good shows on. Also, television advertising rates are enormous compared to the Internet. There are people on YouTube who have more subscribers than top network sitcoms have viewers, yet they earn a minuscule fraction of the revenue. Television, as an industry, is strong. So there is the scent of blood in the water, and out of the resulting frenzy a few lessons have appeared. Here are four of them.
The Internet is celebrated as a machine that runs by itself, but this is not quite accurate. The Web does have oversight, just not by any multinational organization, national government or regulator. It's run by a small, private, nonprofit institution that is rarely in the news. This week will be an exception. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known by the acronym Icann, is accepting applications for an infinite number of new Web addresses, known as top-level domain names. In addition to the existing two dozen suffixes, such as .com, .org and .net, Icann will let people apply, for a fee of $185,000, to create whatever suffixes they like, which will be reviewed and go live next year. Expect .hitachi and .paris, for example. Icann is also adding local-language Web names in non-Latin characters such as Chinese and Cyrillic.
The internet is taking the news industry back to the conversational culture of the era before mass media.
As the surreptitious tracking of Internet users becomes more aggressive and widespread, tiny start-ups and technology giants alike are pushing a new product: privacy.
We are experiencing a big data explosion, a result not only of increasing Internet usage by people around the world, but also the connection of billions of devices to the Internet. Eight years ago, for example, there were only around 5 exabytes of data online. Just two years ago, that amount of data passed over the Internet over the course of a single month. And recent estimates put monthly Internet data flow at around 21 exabytes of data.
Plus: magazines are making a comeback and VCs might be getting desperate.
People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.
Facebook in August for the first time took the top spot among major sites with a total of 41.1 billion minutes, according to new data from comScore. Google was second with 39.8 billion minutes and Yahoo fell to third, with 37.7 billion. Furthermore, Yahoo's share of time spent in the third quarter dropped to an all-time low of 9.3%.
As I mentioned a few weeks back, I'm reading Nicholas Carr's book "The Shallows." His basic premise is that our current environment, with its deluge of available information typically broken into bite-sized pieces served up online, is "dumbing down" our brains. We no longer read, we scan. We forego the intellectual heavy lifting of prolonged reading for the more immediate gratification of information foraging. We're becoming a society of attention-deficit dolts. It's a grim picture, and Carr does a good job of backing up his premise. I've written about many of these issues in the past. And I don't dispute the trends that Carr chronicles (at length). But is Carr correct is saying that online is dulling our intellectual capabilities, or is it just creating a different type of intelligence?
Google gave a live demonstration of Google TV at Berlin’s IFA Tuesday, and CEO Eric Schmidt promised it would be a couch potato’s dream come true. “Once you have Google television, you’re going to be very busy,” Schmidt said. “It’s going to ruin your evening.” Google TV is the search giant’s bid to bring the web to the biggest screen in the house in a big way, something TV viewers and web surfers (often the same person) have tended to resist as distinctly different experiences. But as the internet becomes a more viable delivery system for the kind of content we associate with the Barcaloungers and TV sets, Google, Apple and others are trying to get a piece of that action as well.
Flashback to early 2001 and you might recall that America was blissfully ignorant about our national security. Terrorism was something that happened elsewhere, never on our shores. It didn't enter our mind such an event could happen here until a few dozen suicidal extremists found a weak link in our system, commandeered our airspace with simple box cutters and murdered thousands of innocent people. They forced us to think the unthinkable. Today I have an similar uneasy feeling about social networking and, to some degree, cloud computing. I believe that a Privacy 9-11 looms. I don't have evidence to support it. All I have is a bad vibe that too many people are apathetic about securing their privacy and this creates lots of weak links waiting to be exploited with digital box cutters. The risk of a Privacy 9-11 is not rooted in technology. Rather, it's about sociology.
The internet has been a great unifier of people, companies and online networks. Powerful forces are threatening to balkanise it.
Writer and artist Jonathan Harris laments about the lack of humanness on the internet, blaming online tools and social networks for offering the same kind of bland user-experiences across platforms. He also says that while communication has become shorter and faster, there will be a time when we will crave more in-depth, emotional interactions with people, but it would be difficult to move back from a digital world to the past.
In my last Search Insider, I took you on a neurological tour that gave us a glimpse into how our brains are built to read. Today, let's dig deeper into how our brains guide us through an online hunt for information.
Wired asked Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle, the creators of the Web 2.0 conferences, to debate the issues raised in our Web RIP cover package. Over a number of days, Tim and John traded emails with Wired magazine editor in chief Chris Anderson, who wrote one half of “The Web Is Dead.” Surprisingly, Tim agreed that the Web is the “adolescent” phase of the Internet’s evolution and that we are seeing a shift toward a more closed phase in the networked age’s cycles. John, however, was having none of it…
The Internet is a medium that is evolving at breakneck speed. It’s a wild organism of sweeping cultural change — one that leaves the carcasses of dead media forms in its sizeable wake. It’s transformative: it has transformed the vast globe into a ‘global village’ and it has drawn human communication away from print-based media and into a post-Gutenberg digital era. Right now, its perils are equal to its potential. The debate over ‘net neutrality’ is at a fever pitch. There is a tug-of-war going on between an ‘open web’ and a more governed form of the web (like the Apple-approved apps on the iPad/iPhone) that has more security but less freedom.
In an emerging battle over regulating Internet access, companies are taking sides. Facebook, one of the companies that has flourished on the open Internet, indicated Wednesday that it did not support a proposal by Google and Verizon that critics say could let providers of Internet access chip away at that openness. Meanwhile an executive of AT&T, one of the companies that stands to profit from looser regulations, called the proposal a “reasonable framework.” Most media companies have stayed mute on the subject, but in an interview this week, the media mogul Barry Diller called the proposal a sham. And outside of technology circles, most people have not yet figured out what is at stake. The debate revolves around net neutrality, which in the broadest sense holds that Internet users should have equal access to all types of information online, and that companies offering Internet service should not be able to give priority to some sources or types of content.
Google and Verizon announced a joint proposal on Monday that would allow ISPs to offer premium content bundles over an unspecified global network — an unexpected gambit that would seem to call for separate and unequal internets. The two companies say the guidelines would ensure that no internet traffic of any kind is prioritized over any other kind (with the exception of viruses, spam and the like).
A confidential, seven-page Google Inc. "vision statement" shows the information-age giant in a deep round of soul-searching over a basic question: How far should it go in profiting from its crown jewels—the vast trove of data it possesses about people's activities?
Google and Verizon on Monday introduced a proposal for how Internet service should be regulated — and were immediately criticized by groups that favor keeping the network as open as possible. The proposal includes exceptions for wireless Internet access and for potential new services that broadband providers could offer, including things like “advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.” The announcement is the latest move in a high-stakes battle over a principle known as net neutrality. The debate is over whether Internet users should be able to access all types of online information on an equal basis, or whether Internet service providers should be able to charge content companies for faster transmission.
Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege. The charges could be paid by companies, like YouTube, owned by Google, for example, to Verizon, one of the nation’s leading Internet service providers, to ensure that its content received priority as it made its way to consumers. The agreement could eventually lead to higher charges for Internet users.
Hunch was never a social Q&A service, though many press outlets have confused it for one. The service, founded by Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake and super-hot angel investor Chris Dixon, has relaunched its home page and is now more clearly positioned than ever as a taste-graph driven recommendation engine. That might sound confusing, but the new home page is actually drop-dead simple. Log in with your Twitter or Facebook account, answer as few as 20 quick and addictive taste-evaluation questions, and Hunch will turn the front page of the site into a list of highly targeted personal recommendations of movies, books, magazines, computers, meals, vacation destinations and more. It's really impressive.
When Peter Eckersley recently clicked on to one of America’s biggest online job sites, he was not alone for long. Using software to monitor programs running on the page of CareerBuilder.com, the researcher for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group, saw data identifying his computer being whisked off to at least 10 outfits that track where people go on the internet. More troubling was his inability to tell what the companies did with the data. His experience goes to the heart of a battle that could shape the future of life on the web – while also having very real knock-on effects in the physical world. The digital dossiers that companies are building from the browsing, searching and other habits of ordinary web users are becoming increasingly refined. At the same time, a deluge of personal information has been unleashed publicly on the web, with Facebook’s 500m users at the forefront. With rapid inroads on both fronts being made into many traditional expectations of personal privacy, the results could prove explosive.
When historians of the future look back on the perils of the early digital age, Stacy Snyder may well be an icon. The problem she faced is only one example of a challenge that, in big and small ways, is confronting millions of people around the globe: how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever.
A citizen of the Internet has a very different experience. The Internet smashes hierarchy and is not marked by deference. Maybe it would be different if it had been invented in Victorian England, but Internet culture is set in contemporary America. Internet culture is egalitarian. The young are more accomplished than the old. The new media is supposedly savvier than the old media. The dominant activity is free-wheeling, disrespectful, antiauthority disputation.
The Internet giant Google said Friday that the Beijing government had renewed its license to operate a Web site in mainland China, ending months of tension after the company stopped censoring search results here and pulled some operations out of the country.
The dramatic ending to the World Cup match between the USA and Algeria could set a new record for Internet traffic. We’ve been watching Akamai’s Net Usage Index, which tracks visitors per minute on more than 100 of the major news sites in Akamai’s network. In the minutes following Landon Donovan’s game winning goal in the 91st minute of action (which sent the U.S. to the round of 16), traffic spiked to 11.2 million visitors per minute, which moves the event past the 2008 presidential election as the second highest traffic spike of all-time.
Even as we pull out of the economic downturn, many people are still curtailing spending because a new meaning of "value" is taking hold. This shift is particularly prominent among what we call the "Post-88s" -- females, age 22 and under -- who have grown up with social media. Their story of self-identity and its impact on value is so distinct from the older half of the Gen Y population that they can no longer be considered as one market.
The era of the Web browser’s dominance is coming to a close. And the Internet’s founding ideology—that information wants to be free, and that attempts to constrain it are not only hopeless but immoral— suddenly seems naive and stale in the new age of apps, smart phones, and pricing plans. What will this mean for the future of the media—and of the Web itself?
Once, TV was the symbolic water-cooler that drove consumer conversations. It still is. But the tube is being upstaged by the web, which now nearly matches it in terms of influence on conversations, according to a new study from Yahoo and Keller Fay Group. Keller Fay has taken the air out of the online buzz balloon for years with survey research finding that most discussion about brands still happen face-to-face, and are influenced far more by traditional media than what happens online. But that is changing.
When I was a struggling freelancer, I hated to spend money. I hired myself to do everything possible, because money I spent was money I didn’t get to keep. When I was hiring researchers to find great leads for my first internet company, I loved to spend money. Every penny we spent made us four pennies, so I spent as many pennies as I possibly could. And there’s the key distinction between two approaches to money.
In the third millennium it’s getting harder than ever to stay in place. Who hasn’t seen a driver almost crash while talking on a cell phone? Who hasn’t noticed children in a park staring down at a game-boy instead of romping about? Who hasn’t been to a dinner party and caught someone sneaking a glance at his handheld under the table and sending a tweet about the first course before even finishing it? Each week, it seems, industry comes up with new gadgets that help us to jump out of our bodies and flash out there to everything under the sun that can be encoded by electrical signals, pulses of light and binary values. Few of these digital experiences would have registered before the 21st century and some have become widespread only in the past few years. We’re in the first stage of a transformation of our sense of place as momentous as that which occurred a couple of centuries ago, when products from smoke-stacked factories forged modern society.
It's a very different world today. With the Internet connecting everyone, companies are becoming more transparent whether they like it or not. An unhappy customer or a disgruntled employee can blog about a bad experience with a company, and the story can spread like wildfire. The good news is that the reverse is true as well. A great experience with a company can be read by millions of people almost instantaneously. The fundamental problem: you can't anticipate every possible touch point that could influence the perception of your brand.
The term retargeting has been around marketing for some time as a reference to the practice of coming at customers and prospect from new angles. The Internet version of retargeting takes a slightly more modern approach. Retargeting on the Internet is the practice of delivering customized ad content based on the sites a person visits. This form of site based behavioral retargeting is gaining in popularity with small businesses.
A new “group buying” trend is emerging on the web, in which consumers effectively band together to get better deals or discounts when purchasing products and services. One of the flagship group buying web services, GroupOn, was recently valued at over $1 billion — providing a sense of just how big this sector could become. Other services like LivingSocial have raised significant funding. A fleet of other competitors are cropping up as well, from Tippr to Lifebooker and a number of smaller localized deal sites. Although still technically in its early stages, group buying is poised to become one of the bigger trends to emerge in 2010.
"TV meets Web. Web meets TV." This is the tagline that Internet giant Google has given to its new software-based television platform called Google TV, described as the blending of the best of both TV and Web experiences. Realizing that TV still has the majority of the consumer eyeballs, Google is trying something new by extending its reach in cross-platform content--in this case, bringing Web, gaming, online video, and social media to the set top box and/or television set. According to Google, millions of "channels" of entertainment will now be easily maneuverable, seamless and searchable--in one device. Google has also challenged Web developers to start creating new apps using the Android open-source platform.
People who find the Web distasteful — ugly, uncivilized — have nonetheless been forced to live there: it’s the place to go for jobs, resources, services, social life, the future. But now, with the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad, there’s a way out, an orderly suburb that lets you sample the Web’s opportunities without having to mix with the riffraff. This suburb is defined by apps from the glittering App Store: neat, cute homes far from the Web city center, out in pristine Applecrest Estates. In the migration of dissenters from the “open” Web to pricey and secluded apps, we’re witnessing urban decentralization, suburbanization and the online equivalent of white flight.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for today,” says Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who is presiding over a power panel of CEOs helping to make Google TV possible. The panel, at Google I/O, includes the CEOs of Sony, Best Buy, Echostar, Adobe, Logitech, and, of course, Google. He needs all of them, as well as developers, to make his new Google TV a hit.
Today, Google unveiled the Google Font Directory and the Google Font API to help bring dynamic and selective typefaces to the web. The issues surrounding fonts and the web are complicated and can be tricky to navigate. Google is hoping to make it easier for developers to integrate more distinctive typefaces into their designs.
Google delivered its vision of a Web-centric future on Wednesday in front of around 5,000 software developers at its annual Google I/O conference. The presentation was unapologetically geeky, steeped in the language and minutiae of the technical standards that will drive the next wave of innovation on the Internet. For the Google faithful, at least, the meal was hardy. Google’s vision of the future is starkly different from those laid out by its rivals Apple and Microsoft, and calls for rich multimedia applications that operate within the browser — without the separate applications that people now download to their PC desktops or mobile phones.
If you only use the internet in order to raise awareness, and perhaps to influence perception, then you are missing out on what the web was made for: to enable large networks of people to come together for effective purposes through sharing, cooperating, and organizing collective action.
The internet changes over time. That the technology has evolved is obvious. But how we use the internet is also changing. So we have two conceptual distinctions — technology and people — that we frequently conflate into one idea of the internet. This post is about teasing apart the objective and subjective dimensions of social media, to examine what’s behind the relational economy we now live in, and its particular mode of production. All commerce and much personal and social utility implied by use of social media owes to the subjective value added to what was, previously, a mode of production of information (publishing).
Defensive branding is protecting and defending brand equity and reputation in an increasingly consumer-driven environment. Think media planning plus actuarial viral risk management. It's first strategic, then tactical. The logic goes something like this: Sandbag before you sell. Protect before you promote. Defend before you dance. Self-critique before you self-destruct.
Adobe Systems may not have a chief executive with Steve Jobs' high profile, but it does have money. And on Thursday it began spending some of it on an effort to rebut the Apple CEO's crticisims of Adobe's Flash technology. The campaign includes a Web site promoting choice, an accompanying "truth about Flash" page rebutting some Apple criticisms, and a letter from Adobe co-founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock that brings a personal answer to Jobs. They don't mention Jobs or or Apple by name, but there's no mistaking the target.
It is often said about the internet that you cannot advertise your way to market share. At least that's what former Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone will tell you. Priceline.com and Hulu, of course, have other ideas. So what of Microsoft's $100 million campaign for Bing? Its query share hit 11.8% in April, according to ComScore, up from 8.4% since Microsoft's search service was re-launched 10 months ago. "Bing continues to impress with continued market share gains," Citibank analyst Mark Mahaney said in a research note.
The head of the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday outlined a proposal for regulating the Internet that he described as a "third way," or middle ground between "heavy-handed" regulation and a do-nothing approach that could hurt competition and leave consumers unprotected.
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday detailed plans for its so-called "third way" to reclassifying broadband traffic so that it can reassert the agency's authority for regulating the Internet. The purpose of the statement is to put the agency on stronger legal footing after a federal appeals court ruled last month that the FCC had no legal authority to punish Comcast for slowing down BitTorrent traffic on its network. The FCC officially censured Comcast for violating its Net Neutrality principles.
Sony is taking a subtle marketing approach for the launch of its WiFi-enabled portable Internet viewer, the Dash. While announcing the device's availability on Thursday, Sony downplayed marketing plans, saying the device would be highlighted on shows such as "The Dr. Oz Show" and "The Martha Stewart Show" and on CNBC programming and make appearances in music videos from Sony Music artists.
Facebook Inc. announced an ambitious plan to get its tentacles further out into the Internet by better linking people, places and things, as it looks to turn a massive audience into a pool of well-understood consumers.
With so much discussion — even panic — about privacy today, I fear that we risk losing the benefits of publicness, of the connections enabled by the internet and our interconnected world. If we shift to a default of private, we lose much and I argue that we should weigh that choice when we decide what to put behind a wall — and there are too many walls being build today. But we’re not discussing the benefits of the public vs. the private. I want to spark that discussion.
In 2001, Cass R. Sunstein wrote an essay in The Boston Review called “The Daily We: Is the Internet really a blessing for democracy?” Sunstein, a professor at the University of Chicago who now serves in the Obama administration, raised the possibility that the Internet may be harming the public square.
In a dense, 87-page report, Morgan Stanley analysts have charted the most important online trends and predicted the future of the Internet. In addition to forecasting more online shopping and showing the geographical distribution of Internet users, the study also shows a dramatic shift toward mobile web use. Including devices such as the Kindle, the iPhone and other smartphones, web-enabled tablets, GPS systems, video games and wireless home appliances, the growth of the mobile web has been exponential — and we’re still just at the beginning of this cycle. Morgan Stanley’s analysts believe that, based on the current rate of change and adoption, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015.
Journalists are, by nature, crafty folk who are wonderfully adept at stalking — I mean, finding sources and relevant information for various and sundry stories. Well, the advent of social media has made the process of reporting all the more nuanced, and has served as a vital channel for everything from finding leads to contacting sources to sharing and furthering one’s brand.
This from the IAB's annual revenue report. I'm a board member of the IAB, FWIW. From the release: Though U.S. Internet advertising revenues, at $22.7 billion for the year, showed a 3.4% decline from 2008, there are signs of an emergent recovery in the industry. The fourth quarter of 2009 hit a record quarterly high of $6.3 billion, a 2.6% increase year-over-year and a 14% increase over the third quarter of 2009.
If you think an electric toothbrush is high-tech, wait until you hear about the Internet-enabled version. Jesse Schell, a game designer and Carnegie Mellon University professor, says toothbrushes will be hooked-up with Wi-Fi Internet connections within five years. The point? If the entire Internet knows how often you brush your teeth and for how long, there's an incentive to brush more often.
I gave a talk in Edinburgh last year to a group of TV executives gathered for an annual conference. From the Q&A after, it was clear that for them, the question wasn’t whether the internet was going to alter their business, it was about the mode and tempo of that alteration. Against that background, though, they were worried about a much more practical matter: When, they asked, would online video generate enough money to cover their current costs? That kind of question comes up a lot. It’s a tough one to answer, not just because the answer is unlikely to make anybody happy, but because the premise is more important than the question itself. There are two essential bits of background here. The first is that most TV is made by for-profit companies, and there are two ways to generate a profit: raise revenues above expenses, or cut expenses below revenues. The other is that, for many media business, that second option is unreachable. Here’s why.
Ask yourself for a moment, what is the operating system of a Google or Bing search? What is the operating system of a mobile phone call? What is the operating system of maps and directions on your phone? What is the operating system of a tweet? On a standalone computer, operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux manage the machine's resources, making it possible for applications to focus on the job they do for the user. But many of the activities that are most important to us today take place in a mysterious space between individual machines. Most people take for granted that these things just work, and complain when the daily miracle of instantaneous communications and access to information breaks down for even a moment.
I used to think that the problem of information is that it turns homo sapiens into fools — we gain disproportionately in confidence, particularly in domains where information is wrapped in a high degree of noise (say, epidemiology, genetics, economics, etc.). So we end up thinking that we know more than we do, which, in economic life, causes foolish risk taking. When I started trading, I went on a news diet and I saw things with more clarity. I also saw how people built too many theories based on sterile news, the fooled by randomness effect. But things are a lot worse. Now I think that, in addition, the supply and spread of information turns the world into Extremistan (a world I describe as one in which random variables are dominated by extremes, with Black Swans playing a large role in them). The Internet, by spreading information, causes an increase in interdependence, the exacerbation of fads (bestsellers like Harry Potter and runs on the banks become planetary). Such world is more "complex", more moody, much less predictable.
Rupert Murdoch has declared surrender. The future defeated him. By building his paywall around Times Newspapers, he has said that he has no new ideas to build advertising. He has no new ideas to build deeper and more valuable relationships with readers and will send them away if they do not pay. Even he has no new ideas to find the efficiencies the internet can bring in content creation, marketing, and delivery. Instead, Murdoch will milk his cash cow a pound at a time, leaving his children with a dry, dead beast, the remains of his once proud if not great newspaper empire. I used to work for Murdoch at his American magazine TV Guide. I respected his balls. It is a pity to see them gone.
There will be lots of news leaking about Facebook’s product announcements at their upcoming F8 Developer Conference in April. That’s because they’re already starting to test out a lot of the new stuff with third party developers, and once two people know a secret, it isn’t really a secret any more. One of the new features we’ve been hearing about is the extension of Facebook Connect and the Facebook API to allow publishers to add a “Like” button to any piece of content on their site. Sound trivial? It isn’t. This is likely part of Facebook’s Open Graph API project that will incentivize third party sites to interact deeply with Facebook by sharing content and associated metadata.
Right out of the gate, let's assume that we all agree consumer behavior is in the throes of its biggest shift in history. And the cause is generally attributed to the Internet. While I don't disagree with this assessment, I believe there may be some misattribution when it comes to cause and effect. Did the Internet cause our consumer behavior to change? Or did it enable it to change? The distinction may seem like mere semantics, but there's a fundamental difference here.
Recently Edelman Digital launched a brand new web site, which features rich insights from across the organization as well as interviews with different people inside and outside the firm. Definitely check it out. One of the cool things we're running are interviews. For one of the first installments, my colleague, Blagica, conducted an interview with me on some of the latest trends
Wired is one of the few magazines I read cover to cover. It consistently exposes me to new ideas and topics. For that, I'm grateful (and a longtime subscriber). But when it comes to the iPad, I really don't understand what the Wired crew is doing. Yet, reading over this analysis piece by Reuters' Felix Salmon, I'm dismayed to see a return to the days of silos and closed content. Here's how Salmon puts it.
This year, a Chinese dissident and a Russian human rights advocate — recent nominees for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize — are joined by an unlikely, nonhuman contender: the internet. A campaign to nominate the web, first put forth by the editors of Wired Italy, proclaims that the internet has “laid the foundations for a new kind of society,” in which massive interpersonal contact fosters consensus and understanding. Predictably, the internet’s nomination was met with a wave of skepticism. After all, isn’t it ridiculous to give one of the world’s greatest honors to an inanimate technology? A friend of mine asked, “How about we give [the Nobel] to paper, since that’s what all peace agreements have been written on?”
If a stranger came up to you on the street, would you give him your name, Social Security number and e-mail address? Probably not. Yet people often dole out all kinds of personal information on the Internet that allows such identifying data to be deduced. Services like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are oceans of personal minutiae — birthday greetings sent and received, school and work gossip, photos of family vacations, and movies watched. Computer scientists and policy experts say that such seemingly innocuous bits of self-revelation can increasingly be collected and reassembled by computers to help create a picture of a person’s identity, sometimes down to the Social Security number.
There's a struggle with defining "branding" in digital. Some people claim that brands should be about utility, others that we need to build brand platforms and yet others think that brands should entertain us and give us something to talk about. Yet overall, surprisingly little has changed in the actual branding strategies in the industry. Something is wrong here.
Eager to watch the likes of Hulu and YouTube on the big screen, more people are hooking up their TVs to the Internet, says a new report from iSuppli. A survey of 800 U.S. consumers who bought TVs in January found that 27.5 percent of them have connected their new sets to the Internet, either through the TV itself or via an external device such as a game console or digital video box. That compares with 24.3 percent in December.
Analysts estimate that fewer than 5 percent of the HDTVs sold in the United States last year can go online to pull in movies and television shows, bypassing traditional cable and satellite TV service. Now, however, the idea of an Internet-ready home entertainment setup has a powerful new backer: Wal-Mart.
Is anonymity online coming to an end? The pervasive attitude says yes. The Pew Research Center teamed up with Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center to survey 895 experts on the future of the Internet--and at the forefront of the discussion is the sticky topic of anonymity. Experts were nearly split down the middle, with 55% agreeing that Internet users will be able to communicate anonymously and 41% agreeing that, by 2002, "anonymous online activity is sharply curtailed." Not only are there divergent opinions on whether online anonymity will be possible in the future, there isn't even a consensus on whether anonymity is universally desirable.
With 71% of Americans using the Internet at least monthly in 2010, US Internet users now closely resemble the general population. Over the next five years, that trend will continue. Overall, eMarketer forecasts the number of monthly Internet users in the US will rise to 250.7 million in 2014, up from 221 million in 2010. More than one-half of new users will be ages 45 and up, as many of the remaining laggards come on board. Among younger groups, the Internet is nearly ubiquitous, and most who are able to access it already do so, leaving limited potential for penetration growth.
I came to the conclusion today that marketing is destroying the internet, and a part of the reason why many companies are struggling online.
Each Olympics brings one or two novel new events. At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, which start in Vancouver on Friday, there is Ski Cross, in which four skiers plunge down a mountain at the same time. Then there is an unofficial competition that we’ll call the Social Media Slalom.
The Kaiser Foundation recently released a study documenting the astounding fact that 8-18 year olds in the United States have increased their media use from 8 hours and 33 minutes' worth of usage per day in 2004 to 10 hours and 45 minutes' worth in 2009. Regardless of whether you think this is bad news signaling the demise of our society, or good news intimating that our progeny are on their way to becoming more literate in a media-rich world, as business leaders we must all accept the new reality and understand what it means for managing our brands.
By the measures of the movie rental market, YouTube’s first foray into the business of charging users to stream full length feature films was hardly a runaway success. YouTube said last month that it would dip its toes into the digital movie rental business with five independent films tied to the Sundance Film Festival. The company said the five films, which were available for 10 days, received a combined 2,684 views.
Documentary films could have been created the way books were, with writers using clips the way historians use quotations (that is, with no permission at all). And likewise, books could have been created differently: with each quotation licensed by the original author, with the promise to use the quote only according to the terms of a license. All books could thus be today as documentary films are today--inaccessible. Or all documentary films today could be as almost all books are today--accessible. But it is the accident of our cultural history, created by lawyers not thinking about, as Duke law professor Jamie Boyle puts it, the “cultural environmental consequences” of their contracts, that we can always legally read, even if we cannot legally watch. In this contrast between books and documentaries, there is a warning about our future. What are the rules that will govern culture for the next hundred years? Are we building an ecology of access that demands a lawyer at every turn of the page? Or have we learned something from the mess of the documentary-film past, and will we create instead an ecology of access that assures copyright owners the incentive they need, while also guaranteeing culture a future?
New products like Apple's iPad are changing the Internet in fundamental ways. Author Josh Bernoff talks with Kai Ryssdal about how the golden age of the Internet is over, and how the Web is shattering into pieces.
The great and good from the world of social media met Wednesday at Davos and agreed their medium still hasn't reached its full potential, with one speaker joking that the really cool stuff wouldn't happen "until we're dead." This is a frightening prospect when one considers how much our digital and real lives have blurred already. Seven of the 15 most trafficked Web sites in the world are social sites, according to George Colony of Forrester Research, a technology specialist.
The new report from the Pew Hispanic Trust -- Latinos Online -- shows that 64% of all U.S. Hispanics use the Internet and that foreign-born Latinos have crossed the tipping point with 52% online. As the Hispanic audience grows, they seek new content and increasingly find and regularly visit foreign web sites.
You’ve heard the phrase. You’ve probably even said it before. But in this age of “everyone has a voice and a way to broadcast it out into the world,” is it really still true? Okay, okay, I know the premise of it is true. That we are supposed to go out of our way to accommodate our customers so they will have a uber-positive experience. And positive experiences get talked about. You know - word of mouth in action.
In December 2008, global consumers spent an average of just over three hours on social networks. In December 2009, they were spending over five and a half hours on average. An increase of 82%. According to The Nielsen Company, social network sites have grown in importance globally in 2009. Alongside blogs, they are now the most popular category online when ranked by time spent on site. The survey (which looked at the US, U.K., Australia, Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) shows not only that overall time on site has increased, but also that the global audience for social networking has increased.
The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones. And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.
It took the telephone 45 years to penetrate half the homes in America; radio, less than 20; color TV, 15; computers, 10; cellphones, eight; and the internet, a mere six years. The speed of change is accelerating. Five years ago Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Hulu and the iPhone didn't exist. Today Facebook has 350 million members; Twitter boasts 30 million; and Hulu is the second biggest "channel" in America, having surpassed Time Warner Cable. Technology now has profound impact on consumer behavior. Take brand loyalty, for example. Smartphones enable consumers to comparison shop on the basis of price at the point of sale. The democratization of information may result in commoditization of brands as consumers make purchase decisions by searching for the lowest-priced product. Technology may also alter the purchase cycle and give rise to powerful third-party influencers, counterbalancing paid media's "management" of the purchase cycle. These are transformational shifts for brands.
While China’s censorship policies are prompting Google to consider quitting its operations in the country, some technology companies see the restrictions as a golden business opportunity. More than a million people in China, including human rights activists and expatriates, are using special software to circumvent the nation’s complex online censorship system, known as the “Great Firewall.” This has created a booming market for software companies, which are capitalizing on the growing desire of China’s Internet users to fanqiang, or scale the wall, to visit Web sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter
Mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access devices worldwide by 2013, according to a new forecast by research firm Gartner. That's an even more aggressive outlook than Morgan Stanley's projection that the mobile Web will outstrip the desktop Web in five years. Gartner estimates the combined installed base of smartphones and browser-equipped enhanced phones will surpass 1.82 billion units by 2013, eclipsing the total of 1.78 billion PCs by then. But the firm warns that many sites still are not optimized for the mobile Web, even though cell users expect to make fewer clicks on their phones than on a PC. To successfully expand into mobile, publishers will have to reformat sites from the small form-factor of handheld devices.
Kristiauna Mangum, 22, a senior at Ohio State University in Columbus, said she always had a flair for makeup, but never considered it a professional calling. Then she heard about a pilot college program offered by Avon’s little sister brand, Mark, two years ago. “My mother was an Avon Lady, so I thought, huh, maybe becoming a Mark Girl could really be the way to go,” she said. Now Ms. Mangum is the sales manager for Mark at Ohio State, and manages 155 other Mark Girls who roam the dormitories and sorority houses, selling Mark beauty products and fashion accessories for a commission in the range of 20 to 50 percent.
When does the wisdom of crowds give way to the meanness of mobs? In the 1990s, Jaron Lanier was one of the digital pioneers hailing the wonderful possibilities that would be realized once the Internet allowed musicians, artists, scientists and engineers around the world to instantly share their work. Now, like a lot of us, he is having second thoughts. Mr. Lanier, a musician and avant-garde computer scientist — he popularized the term “virtual reality” — wonders if the Web’s structure and ideology are fostering nasty group dynamics and mediocre collaborations.
In the early days of the Web, when I worked at HotWired, I thought mainly about the new. We were of the future, those of us in that San Francisco loft, champions of new media, new tools, new thinking. But lately, I've been thinking more about the old — about those aspects of human character and cognition that remain unchanged by time and technology. Over the past two decades, I've watched as the Internet changed the way we think and changed the way we live. But it hasn't changed us fundamentally. In fact, it may be returning us to the intensely social animals we evolved to be.
The car business has been notoriously slow at embracing aspects of the Internet since the beginning. Social media is no exception. In 2010, more in the industry from manufacturers down to dealers will learn to engage in social media or be left behind.
The term “real time” has become such a part of English that we have forgotten how unreal it sounds. Earlier this month, Google announced it would be adding real-time information to its search results, and we already expect real-time information about all sorts of other things: traffic, weather, stock quotes, flight tracking - for some reason, we feel we need to know about all the boring hassles of our lives with split-second precision. But when we’re telling stories, when we’re sharing personal, emotional information, we rely on “unreal times.” We want times that relate to experiences, not to abstractions.
Commercial spots for the NFL championship game are nearly sold out. But the Internet is changing the advertising market. With less than five weeks to go before the game, CBS has only four commercial spots left to sell during the Super Bowl broadcast -- demonstrating that advertisers once again will elbow each other to get into TV's biggest event of the year.
The performances on “American Idol” may be erratic and the plot twists on “Lost” may be unpredictable, but one facet of television is certain: the costs just keep going up. On New Year’s Day, the News Corporation, the media empire controlled by Rupert Murdoch, wrangled new payments from Time Warner Cable, including subscriber fees for the Fox Broadcasting network, which is free for viewers with over-the-air antennas.
After building an impressive resume that boasts stints as former president-chief operating officer of Citicorp, CEO of Medco Containment Services and chairman-CEO of Priceline.com, Rick Braddock has distilled a marketing philosophy that's become the cornerstone of his approach as CEO of FreshDirect. Indeed, Mr. Braddock, 67, had an extensive career before joining the internet grocer in 2005, attracted to its innovative model of delivering fresh food to customers in the New York metropolitan area. And what he's been working to do the last few years is make FreshDirect a company known as much for its customer service as its 2-inch-thick steaks.
There always seems to be a tug of war in technology between those who want a converged, multi-purpose device that does everything, or those who want a dedicated device that does one thing (or just a few things) extremely well. For every successful hulking converged printer/copier/scanner/fax machine device, there are utilities like toasters or microwaves that just do one specific function. The truth is that when differing technologies converge, it usually leads to a single unsatisfying experience where none of the functions are high quality. More common is the practice of product diversification, where one device turns into a family of devices, with differing features for differing price points. On the Internet, many of us are creating a ton of content in a ton of different places, and in most cases, this content differs by the site.
A spate of new digital gadgets and the fulfilment of the internet’s promise as an interactive medium have dominated popular awareness of information technology in the past 10 years. But what could turn out to be a far more important and lasting transformation has been going on below the surface. It involves a step-change in computing that promises to bring fundamental and irreversible change to many aspects of everyday life – for good or ill.
Over the past two years of abysmal sales, many retail executives had one simple goal: to survive. Now, even though consumers' spending remains weak, many retailers must carry out changes in order to compete in the future. That's the view of Michael Collins, a partner in the retail and consumer practice of corporate consultant Bain & Co. He says that after focusing on cost-cutting and other short-term measures to weather the recession, retail chains and the malls that house them must reposition themselves to please consumers who have new demands and new ways of shopping.
As a relatively subdued last-minute rush brought pre-Christmas shopping to a close, retailers were hoping to entice procrastinating consumers to keep on buying through the holiday and after. More retailers planned Internet sales on Christmas Day this year in an attempt to cash in on the growth of e-commerce, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lackluster holiday shopping season. Shoppers and stores have engaged in a tug-of-war this year, as consumers postponed shopping in hopes of deep discounts and retailers tried to preserve their profit margins, offering limited deals designed to drive traffic into stores.
European regulators dropped their antitrust case against Microsoft on Wednesday after the software maker agreed to offer consumers a choice of rival Web browsers. The settlement averted a second costly legal battle for the American software giant. The agreement, announced in Brussels by the European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, calls for Microsoft to give Windows users a choice of up to 11 other browsers from competing companies, including Mozilla, Apple and Google.
It's the year 2015. The compact device in my hand delivers me the world, one news story at a time. I flip through my favorite papers and magazines, the images as crisp as in print, without a maddening wait for each page to load. Even better, the device knows who I am, what I like, and what I have already read. So while I get all the news and comment, I also see stories tailored for my interests. I zip through a health story in The Wall Street Journal and a piece about Iraq from Egypt's Al Gomhuria, translated automatically from Arabic to English. I tap my finger on the screen, telling the computer brains underneath it got this suggestion right.
The Nielsen Company said Tuesday that its television measurement homes would soon be Internet measurement homes too, bringing the company a step closer toward providing the integrated ratings that media companies are demanding. Starting now and going through August, Nielsen will install Internet meters in 7,500 of its television panel homes, where viewership is extrapolated to produce national TV ratings. Eventually — Nielsen has not said when — data from those homes will be used to calculate combined ratings for TV and Internet viewing.
AOL is putting the finishing touches on a high-tech system for mass-producing news articles, entertainment and other online content, the linchpin of Chief Executive Tim Armstrong's strategy for reviving the struggling 25-year-old Internet company after Time Warner spins it off next month. Mr. Armstrong's goal is to make AOL, which has been losing visitors and revenue, a magnet for both advertisers and consumers by turning it into the top creator of digital content. He hopes to do so in part by turning some media and marketing conventions on their ear, and potentially blurring the lines between journalism and advertising.
A recent Economic Times story detailed IBM's new "spoken Web" technology, which will allow users to browse the Internet and access information by speaking in their local language without having to type or otherwise use the computer keyboard. An IBM India lab is currently developing the technology and performing real-world tests with rural dairy farmers in India. The idea is that if IBM can remove barriers to accessing its enterprise resource planning technology, Big Blue may be able to unlock a large market selling ERP software to companies that source dairy and other foodstuffs from rural Indian farmers.
Imagine for a moment that you're an iconographer. Your job is to create compelling images that convey unambiguous messages in a universal language. Now imagine that you're an iconographer for Google Maps. Your job is to create compelling images that convey unambiguous messages in a universal language -- on a canvas 16 pixels by 16 pixels in size. You need a 16x16 image that's going to say, "pub." Or "hotel." Or "Funky B&B for the young and the young at heart." How would you go about it? My friend Patrick Hofmann happens to be the iconographer for Google Maps, and what he's learned about visual information can teach us a lot across a whole raft of disciplines.
Steve Helmer doesn't order for pizza by phone anymore because, he says, "they're usually busy and not paying attention and they leave something out." Instead, Mr. Helmer uses a build-your-own-pizza feature that Domino's Pizza Inc. last year rolled out on its Web site. Customers can watch a simulated photographic version of their pizza as they select a size, choose a sauce and add pepperoni, black olives and other toppings. The image changes as ingredients are added or removed. The site also allows customers to track orders—with updates on when a pie enters the oven or leaves a store. Mr. Helmer, a sales representative for a telephone company in Beaver Dam, Wis., says he likes knowing the price before he's prompted to pay. "If I add something that's too expensive, I can just remove a topping," he says.
Looking back at pivotal events that took place within the business world in 2009, it is becoming increasingly clear that there are five macro trends that will be shaping a New Way to Work in 2010 and beyond. Together, these five trends point to a New Way To Work in which creativity and innovation are more valued by employers than ever before and the traditional notion of work as merely an economic activity is being supplemented by ideas about happiness and well-being.
The luxury goods industry, struggling through a recession that has threatened some well-known names with extinction, is trying to use technology to its advantage. Many in the fashion business remain wary of the Internet, partly because of continuing legal battles over online sales of counterfeit goods and concerns about diluting carefully honed brand images. Many companies also have failed to execute online storefronts successfully. But executives say that attitudes are softening as brands realize that the Web provides one of the last untapped sources of potential growth.
In the Matrix, Morpheus presents Neo with a choice: he can take the blue pill and continue his somnambulatory existence within the Matrix, or he can take the red pill and become free from the virtual reality that the machines created to enslave humanity. As you can see from the clip above, Neo chooses the red pill, severing his connection to the Matrix and regaining his free will. Everyday, when you fire up your browser and type in some arbitrary URL in the browser’s address bar, you are taking the red pill.
We have more data on consumers today than ever, but do we really know more about how to market to them than we did 25 years ago? It's not our fault; it just used to be simpler back when the average consumer was easily defined, shopped in fewer places, and print, TV, radio and in-store were the only real options available for communicating with them. Everyone knows that the Internet has changed the media landscape but we are only now beginning to realize how and to what extent. This past April, the GfK Group, Google & Coca-Cola announced that they'd measured a 97% higher purchase rate when TV and YouTube video interplay were part of an orchestrated, cross-media campaign.
Twitter may be booming, Facebook stratospheric, but leading chief marketing officers are apparently yet to send the dollars wildly chasing the traffic. A new study shows nearly 85% of CMOs spend less than 10% of their budgets on social media, and what's described as "non-traditional communications channels." The research from Hill & Knowlton and peer networking group, the CMO Club, further found that 55% spend 5% or less in the emerging arenas. The figures come in light of Pew & American Life Internet Project research showing that in 2008, 35% of adult Internet users had profiles on social networks -- up from 8% in 2005.
It could be that everyone will figure out how to play nicely with each other, and we'll see a continuation of the interoperable web model we've enjoyed for the past two decades. But I'm betting that things are going to get ugly. We're heading into a war for control of the web. And in the end, it's more than that, it's a war against the web as an interoperable platform. Instead, we're facing the prospect of Facebook as the platform, Apple as the platform, Google as the platform, Amazon as the platform, where big companies slug it out until one is king of the hill. And it's time for developers to take a stand. If you don't want a repeat of the PC era, place your bets now on open systems. Don't wait till it's too late.
Online content can be "much better" -- and its improvement will be the focus of the next development stage of the Internet, AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said Friday. "That's why we are making such a big bet there," he said during a keynote appearance at the annual Media and Money Conference in New York. Adweek parent the Nielsen Co. and Dow Jones co-hosted the event. He argued that the first wave of Internet development focused on access; then platforms -- from Facebook to iTunes -- were in focus. But the next step will be content, which hasn't seen as much innovation, he said.
Social networking is one of the fastest-growing activities among mobile users around the world. And as one of the primary ways mobile users communicate with one another, it is proving a significant driver of Internet usage on mobile devices. eMarketer predicts the number of mobile users accessing social networks from their mobile devices will reach 607.5 million worldwide by 2013, representing 43% of global mobile Internet users. In the US, mobile social networkers will total 56.2 million by 2013, accounting for 45% of the mobile Internet user population.
Narratives are a staple of every culture the world over. They are disappearing in an online blizzard of tiny bytes of information.
For years, the premise has been widely accepted as some great truth handed down from the mountain of academia, etched on a silicon tablet: Our modern tools of technology are isolating us from one another. Think: the guy in his basement in boxer shorts hanging out online with other strangers passing in the cybernight. Now, a new study released Wednesday suggests that rather than push us apart, these tech tools may actually help pull us together. The millions of Americans who have embraced social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter might not be surprised by the new findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, showing that Web and cell-phone users tend to have larger and more diverse networks of close confidantes than those who do not use the Web or cell phones.
We worry that IM, texting, Facebook are spoiling human intimacy, but Stefana Broadbent's research shows how communication tech is capable of cultivating deeper relationships, bringing love across barriers like distance and workplace rules.
There is a lot of hype surrounding the real-time web, and much of the feeding frenzy reminds me of the RSS space four years ago — though there is a lot of potential, there is also a lot of noise. How do you navigate through it all and which developments should you be paying attention to? What are the emerging trends for companies and entrepreneurs to watch for? Here are four real-time web trends that I’m tracking.
I spend a lot of time gazing into a crystal ball that I know is going to be cloudy half the time. Lately I have been pondering Facebook's future. Facebook is clearly on a roll and is knocking on Google's door as the biggest site on the web. Will it continue to dominate or see its lead slip? Here are two potential outcomes.
Forty years ago today, Leonard Kleinrock typed the “Lo” of “Login” into a Stanford computer, which promptly crashed before the command could be entered. But because Kleinrock was sending this message from a UCLA machine, he had just taken part in one of the great milestones in communication history. These computers were connected under the auspices of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The agency was created by President Eisenhower as part of the Department of Defense in 1958 as a direct response the Soviet Union’s launch of the first satellite, Sputnik, in 1957. Its mission: to ensure that the United States never again be caught off guard by technological advances. Now known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the agency continues to push the envelope in such diverse fields as advanced propulsion, medicine, and robotics, as well as information technology. But it was ARPA—specifically its Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO)—that funded the 1960s research project called ARPANET that became the internet of today.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt envisions a radically changed internet five years from now: dominated by Chinese-language and social media content, delivered over super-fast bandwidth in real time. Figuring out how to rank real-time social content is "the great challenge of the age," Schmidt said in an interview in front of thousands of CIOs and IT Directors at last week's Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando 2009. Gartner is the largest and most respected analyst firm in the world and much of what Schmidt said in his 45 minute interview was directed specifically at business leaders, but we've excerpted 6 minutes that we believe is of interest to anyone who's touched by the web.
Since its invention towards the end of the 20th century, the Internet has changed a great many things. And one of the things that is has done time after time is dismantle business models that had seemed, until its arrival, absolutely rock solid. From music to publishing to TV, the Internet has swept away seeming certainties and replaced them with doubt and uncertainty. Whilst this fact can not be argued with, the common perception that the reason these media models have been so badly damaged is due to the rise of UGC is, like so many ‘commonly held facts’, actually untrue.
Kodak, this week, will hit the airwaves with its first new brand campaign since 2005. Beginning Oct. 31, the imaging giant will tell consumers “It’s Time to Smile” through a series of TV and Web ads. The campaign aims to focus on the moments and relationships that define people’s lives.
I started an experiment in self-binding: intentionally creating an obstacle to behavior I was helpless to control, much the way Ulysses lashed himself to his ship’s mast to avoid succumbing to the Sirens’ song. In my case, though, the irresistible temptation was the Internet. But before I began, I wondered about the genesis of the term “self-binding.” So I hopped online and found Jon Elster, a professor of political science at Columbia University, whose book “Ulysses Unbound” explores whether voluntarily restricting your choices enhances or curtails freedom.
As part of an upgrade to Google Analytics, the Internet giant is adding the ability for its customers to track their traffic to both mobile sites and applications, breaking out the devices being used. The idea is to give marketers one place to track digital campaigns, whether they're on the Web or mobile.
Samsung Electronics Co.'s profits are on the rise again as its chip and display businesses recover from operating losses earlier this year. The turnaround recently helped push its market capitalization past Intel Corp.'s for the first time. But amid that success Samsung also is trying to address another concern: matching Apple Inc.'s ability to sell content and software that run on cellphones and other devices. Apple's iPhone has led the way in demonstrating that consumers are becoming more interested in devices that can tap the Internet or run clever applications. The same phenomenon is spreading to TVs and DVD players, which increasingly will be connectable to the Internet in coming years.
With Halloween upon us, I thought I would partake in the festivities by channeling Washington Irving. This is a scary, yet realistic, story called "The Tale of the Headless Media Company." Once upon a time, we would browse from site to site, visiting each online media palace one at a time. But suddenly, the supply of information outstripped demand. The "destination web" died, and in ushered an age of "media brand agnosticism." No longer could media brands hope that if they build it, we will come. The next great media company will need to be all spokes and no hub. Yes, I am saying that media companies can exist without having their own website, or head.
There is a big shift underway in Internet advertising. How consumers interact with Web ads, how marketers buy them, and how the success of these ads is measured is about to change. Matt D'Ercole, an executive creative director at Digitas New York, a unit of Publicis, tells us what he sees in store for the future of online advertising.
In case you haven't heard, teenagers have officially abandoned all means of traditional media. Television? Done. Radio? Forget it. Newspapers? Who reads? OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. In fact, a Nielsen report published just this past summer suggests that TV watching is actually up with teens and Internet use is actually lower in teens compared to adults. Hmmm ... so does that mean that, as rEvolution's VP of digital marketing and youth culture, I should start looking for a new job? I don't think so.
It is hard to imagine that five years ago, neither YouTube, Facebook nor Twitter existed. But even then, as sites like Google, Amazon, Wikipedia and craigslist flourished, the characteristics common to successful second-generation Web businesses were becoming apparent: Their value was facilitated by software and created collectively by and for a community of connected users. These sites leveraged the Web not simply as a means to publish static documents but for the first time as a platform--which was significant in its generative properties as the personal computer was for desktop applications. The new sites also sparked a revolution in business, culture, society and, most recently, government.
Obsessed with Facebook? You're not alone. The hours you spend logging on to update your status, post photos, and make comments on friends' walls is not simply a "phase" you're going through which will end sometime soon. It's a ongoing trend affecting everyone these days and it has serious implications for the online advertising industry. According to new figures from Nielsen, the amount of time spent surfing social networking and blogging sites had tripled since last year, suggesting "a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used," says Jon Gibs, VP of media and agency insights at the company's online division.
Isn't the Internet wonderful? Don't you cherish the ability to see the exact return on your search engine marketing? Don't you just love your legion of Facebook fans and Twitter followers? Of course you do, and who wouldn't? But before we get too carried away by the power and efficiency of social networks, communities, and one-to-one marketing, let's remember that for many marketers, nothing matters unless consumers cough up real cash for tangible goods and services. I'm talking about companies that have manufacturing plants, warehouses and physical stores, which can only produce a return on that capital infrastructure by selling products on an ongoing basis. Quality homepages, unique visitors and Twitter posts--while helpful and interesting--might not be the things that grow these businesses. In some instances, the Internet will only go a short way in driving sales.
PSFK recently covered what the internet is killing, and this video we came across shows through various statistics how the internet is changing our lives. For example, the average American teenager sends an average of 2,272 text messages every month and more video was uploaded to YouTube in the last 2 months than if ABC, NBC and CBS had been airing new content 24/7/365 since 1948, when ABC first starting broadcasting. The cleanly presented video runs through some shocking statistics about technology and the dramatic shift of our society.
Convergence between the television and the home computer -- a holy grail of the digital age -- has largely eluded the industry, but the living-room screen is now emerging as a key battleground for software and Internet companies. Improvements to the processors in TV sets are making it feasible to run Web applications on a TV without the need for a special set-top box, such as those offered by TiVo Inc. or Apple Inc. While challenges remain, including technical issues and the reluctance of parts of the entertainment industry, companies are building chips and Web browsers for TVs, and others such as Yahoo Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. are developing Web applications that can be accessed on a new generation of TV sets.
CNBC's Advertising Week summit on how marketers connect to consumers could have been called "No, really, we love TV!" The discussion was intended to be a free-roaming exploration about consumer passion, authenticity, and marketing challenges in a world that has little trust for business. But the gravitational pull of Facebook (whose COO Sheryl Sandberg was, appropriately enough, seated dead center) kept the conversation on social media. The apparent subtext that TV might need to get its affairs in order wasn't lost on host Becky Quick, co-host of CNBC's "Squawk Box" show, who rhetorically asked more than once whether she would have a job next year.
For corporate communications specialists and reputation managers in the post financial crisis universe, the combined elements of distrust for authority and demand for transparency converge on the internet, specifically in the realm of social media. Hardly a day goes by without a breathless email announcing yet another conference, video, webinar or book providing the definitive answer to the mysteries of bending social media to one’s will. However, the relentless hype that has accompanied its growth may exaggerate or misconstrue its impact. Professionals would do well to take a deep breath and begin to think about how to build a detailed business strategy that includes but does not necessarily focus on social media so as to create sustainable value.
No one is talking about it, but what's happening to journalism may some day happen to higher education. It's not too early to look down the road. Tim Sullivan and I were chatting about the options the other day and I came away with this rough sketch of a radical scenario: the university continues as a center of knowledge production, but ceases to matter as a center of knowledge distribution.
The Telegraph recently featured a list of fifty things that are being destroyed by the Internet. The article is hardly surprising given the massive shifts the Internet brings to society, but it does raise a debate about what will be missed from a bygone era and what will be rightly forgotten. The list covers the lost art of polite disagreement, various cumbersome fact checking situations and the blackout of news during holidays
Within moments of shouting "You lie" at President Barack Obama during his speech last week to a joint session of Congress regarding healthcare reform efforts, Rep. Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, became the latest hot topic on the Internet. Almost instantly, the relatively obscure Congressman became the top search on Google, Yahoo Search and Bing. His name dominated tweets on Twitter and became a top topic of posts to news streams on Facebook. The blogosphere erupted. His even less-well-known political opponent, Democrat Rob Miller, an Iraq war veteran who is running for Wilson's seat in the 2010 election, got his own online impact: as of last Friday, he had received $750,000 in unsolicited Web-based campaign contributions, according to Politico.com.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -- Plato That may have been true 2,400 years ago, but it may not be so true today. In fact, in our always on, desperately seeking stimulation media environment, you have to say something -- and something meaningful and arresting, or at least communicated in an engaging way -- to keep the hungry masses satiated. Else, they'll go somewhere else. Sometimes it takes smart people a long time to catch on to this new reality (many never do). Sure, they understand that Ali became "The Greatest," Elvis "The King," Gandhi "The Mahatma" et al. through a combination of endowment, passion, and hard work. But they also know, intellectually, that manufactured spectacle played a supremely important role in their progress; spectacle, by the way, that at times both engaged and enraged the masses.
Young Chinese today are consumed by all things digital. Internet bars, bursting with netizens, are the size of football fields. More than 600 million individuals carry mobile phones and more than 60 million blog, double the number in the U.S. What is less understood is how they engage with new media -- and whether their emotional urges and self-expression are fundamentally different from Western kids.
The local youth theatre troupe recently put on a performance of Grease. It was a high-spirited outing, with terrific performances and it was a great way for them to spend a month or two over the summer. I was amazed to discover, though, that the budget for the rights to the play were $3,000. That's pretty steep for a high school production of an old, not particularly wonderful musical script that was only going to be seen by the local community. Should it really cost $7 for every person who watches the play? The reason fees for licensing plays are so high is that almost all plays and musicals are licensed by just a few firms and the purchasers have no power whatsoever. The sellers have signalled each other and created an artificially high pricing floor. "Take it or leave it" is their motto. Here's the opportunity that the net provides (in this case and so many others): someone should organize the customers and negotiate on their behalf.
A coalition of privacy groups wants Congress to force online marketing companies to get amnesia about what citizens do online, unless they get permission to remember. At issue is the online ad industry’s increasing infatuation with behavioral ad targeting — which involves tracking a user to divine what her interests are in order to show ads targeted to those interests. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft all have such technology, as does Facebook and dozens of ad networks you have never heard of.
I don't understand why Expedia's jingle at the end of its TV commercials sings "dot com." What isn't a dot com these days? A generation of consumers has been trained to punch words into their computers, whether as search terms of possible web sites. Those of us old enough to remember index cards and the Dewey Decimal System are doing it, too, however imperfectly. The Internet is the default location for finding information, much the same way the library used to be. Reminding us to look for Expedia online is like singing "at the grocery store" for breakfast cereal or soda pop, isn't it?
Like cloud computing less than a year ago and social networking two years ago, the real-time Web is the new black on the tech circuit. The trend has been publicly bandied about this summer, starting with a few industry get-togethers, followed by several enthusiastic testimonials from investors (notably angel investor Ron Conway's widely posted list of ways for Twitter to monetize). It was then capped by a glowing report in BusinessWeek in early August. That a serious trend is on the rise would not be doubted by those watching Twitter's rise in usage and media popularity. In fact, the debate this summer has centered not on whether something is afoot but rather on what to call it. Ron Conway favors "now media" in the belief that it's a media phenomenon. But most commenters, led by several bloggers and lead investors, prefer to call it "real-time Web".
In 1994 I had the opportunity to work on the first hotel company website, when we pulled together 64 pages of brochure-ware for Hyatt Resorts. At that point, keyword advertising was years away and it would be another five years before Permission Marketing would be published. As people started to think of what marketing would be like on the Internet, mass marketing was the paradigm they used, because that was what they knew. Looking back 15 years later, our mid-90s view of Internet marketing seems primitive. My opinion: In the future, our current view of social media is going to look similarly primitive, and this time we'll get smart much more quickly.
YouTube is looking to turn those bolts-from-the-blue viral videos from cash drain into advertising gold. The video-sharing site, under pressure from parent Google to start turning a profit, today began placing ads on the kind of one-off viral hits -- mostly uploaded by the amateurs that made the site famous -- that, until now, haven't had advertising.
I was talking with a few executives from one of the biggest technology companies in Europe, and they were explaining how their hands were tied in moving forward on the internet. They were doing the best they could under the circumstances, of course, but there were units in their organization that needed to be protected, prices that needed to be supported, sacred cows that couldn't be touched. After all, they argued, how could they wipe out their current business just to succeed online?
Yahoo! may have thrown in the towel on the business of searching for information online. But the company is doubling down on a technology where it already has the lead over search king Google: in free e-mail service offered over the Web.
Sending and receiving at breakneck speed can make life queasy; a manifesto for slow communication.
The Internet’s great promise is to make the world's information universally accessible and useful. So how come when you arrive at the most popular dating site in the US you find a stream of anonymous come-ons intermixed with insults, ads for prostitutes, naked pictures, and obvious scams? In a design straight from the earliest days of the Web, miscellaneous posts compete for attention on page after page of blue links, undifferentiated by tags or ratings or even usernames. Millions of people apparently believe that love awaits here, but it is well hidden. Is this really the best we can do?
Just about every company has a Web site. But today, many marketers are going further. They are transforming their digital presence into powerful media channels, direct to consumers. The practice is prevalent enough that, as the research firm Outsell Inc. reported in July 2008, about 62 percent of marketers’ online advertising and marketing budgets are spent on their own digital media, up from 58 percent in 2007. These marketers recognize that with the right mix of content, utility, community, and product, they can create compelling premium experiences for consumers. And they see that these efforts deliver powerful benefits in branding, relationship building, and lead generation.
Twitter went down last week, and the world got very quiet. People didn't know what do with themselves; they wanted to tweet the news that Twitter was down, but that was out of the question. Entire overheard conversations went unremarked upon, and mini-reviews of recent episodes of True Blood withered on the vine. I saw a funny Onion video that I was sure my followers would have appreciated and an outrageous Rush Limbaugh quote that demanded my impassioned response, but what could I do? Twitter was down for just a few hours—the service's first major outage during its new era of ubiquity—and it felt strange.
How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that's dangerous.
There's something a little heartbreaking about the very existence of "And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture," by Bill Wasik. After all, it's a meditation on living, breathing virality that resides between the hard, dead covers of a book. I can point you to its Amazon page or to any number of reviews and write-ups -- including, most recently, James B. Arndorfer's "Father of Flash Mobs on the Future of Viral" in the Ad Age Bookstore -- but the actual pages of "This" are trapped, even on a Kindle, in their own separate, fixed, unlinked world. And so, for this latest installment of Dumenco's Media People -- an ongoing series of conversations with media grandees -- I took Bill Wasik out for tea recently in New York City, near the headquarters of Harper's Magazine, where he's a senior editor, to attempt some ... interactivity with the living, breathing social-media observer and mischief-maker.
For a time, Internet advertising was a rising tide lifting all boats. But as ad spending ebbs, there are more arguments about where on the Web advertising is the most fruitful. The fight over shrinking Internet ad dollars pits online publishers that offer premium content against major Web portals such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo. Portals and publishers, meanwhile, also have to compete with the ad brokers that sell often cut-rate leftover ad space on Web pages with less visibility.
The signs are everywhere. The New York Times is close to bankruptcy. Magazines are dying in droves. The music industry is trying anything to make a buck. The TV networks are wondering if they can keep selling increasingly expensive space in return for an increasingly smaller audience that time-shifts its way out of having to watch the ads. Meanwhile, business plans that held the words "advertising funded" are being rewritten, while multitudes of newspapers and content sites are closing down because of lack of income.
Over the last three decades Jim Gaines has served as editor in chief of Time, Life and People magazines, as well as the corporate editor of Time, Inc. Today, August 11, is his sixty-second birthday--but unlike many of the print veterans that are his peers, Gaines has not stuck his head in the pulp and ignored the event horizon of print journalism. Nor has he retired. He has instead grafted his experience to a Web magazine startup called Flyp.
If you love to hate ads, you might enjoy two new books that train their sights on modern marketing. The first makes the case that advertising as we know it is about to be obliterated. The second suggests that we should all dance a gleeful polka on its grave.
Karl and Dorsey Gude of East Lansing, Mich., can remember simpler mornings, not too long ago. They sat together and chatted as they ate breakfast. They read the newspaper and competed only with the television for the attention of their two teenage sons. That was so last century. Today, Mr. Gude wakes at around 6 a.m. to check his work e-mail and his Facebook and Twitter accounts. The two boys, Cole and Erik, start each morning with text messages, video games and Facebook.
The online ad industry has been on a fairly stable course for at least seven years now. The last major disruption this industry suffered dated from the Great Dotcom Meltdown of 2001-02, when the entire economy collapsed. Since that time, things have largely been on the upswing, and it's remarkable to me that search spending -- the healthiest component of online -- has held together, even in the midst of a deep recession whose likes we have not seen since the 1930s.
Is a college education really like a string quartet? Back in 1966, that was the assertion of economists William Bowen, later president of Princeton, and William Baumol. In a seminal study, Bowen and Baumol used the analogy to show why universities can't easily improve efficiency.
Advertising and public relations stand at a crossroads -- at once battered by recession-driven corporate downsizing and confronted with a bevy of new and often untested online platforms. Amid the uncertainty, firms have battled back with disparate strategies: eschewing general advertising to reach smaller target audiences; rushing to integrate the once separate fiefdoms of PR and advertising; and seeking to capitalize on the disintegration of multinational firms by buying up local branch offices.
It has been said recently that online digital video as a medium is like the early days of movies, in that people are getting used to watching longer online-video content (longer than two minutes) because "the medium is growing up." In effect, these people feel that, as the online-video medium and its audience continue to mature, that audience, like early movie-going audiences, will learn to accept longer-form content.
Far be it from me to lament the ability for anyone to build or publish virtually anything now that the age of the consumer and age of information have intersected so gloriously. We are truly blessed to live in a day when, with a little time and instruction reading, even the tech-tarded can have their own blog or website and publish anything they want. The more adventurous and creative, or all-night code-bender freaks, can build platforms and tools and toss them out there to see if the public bites.
Mashable this week posted about the low numbers of teens on Twitter. The post invited readers to weigh in on why they thought this was (e.g. they’re too private, they prefer texting, etc) – once the comment count spilled into the hundreds, Mashable wrote a follow up post further analyzing the issue. At the risk of throwing my hat into an already crowded ring, here’s why I think Twitter sees low adoption among teens: Teenagers, for the most part, do not yet posses weak social ties – the very connections that fuel nearly all of twitter’s growth.
The Web has long relegated advertising to the sidelines as part of a do-not-interrupt mandate that separated cyberspace venues from traditional media. That's slowly changing.
As a business owner who uses digital technology as the backbone of my business, I found Chris Anderson’s latest book inspiring and useful. Even though ‘Free: The Future Of A Radical Price’ has generated a negative backlash (including a piece on this site), I found it both an incredible encyclopedia of business in our time plus a lens through which to look at my own business.
Late last month, IAC Chairman Barry Diller said that it's "mythology" to view the Internet as a system of free communications. He’s absolutely right; what's wrong is why he'd even have to say it, or that it would merit any news coverage.
Twitter cofounders have talked about the importance of discovery in interviews and at conferences over the last several months. This week a new design for Twitter.com went live featuring top tweets and a search box to find more of what you want, but Twitter and many other web companies could improve discovery much more by incorporating other players’ data.
The Web has a problem: It's largely ad supported, but the rapid-fire way people churn through page views by the dozens makes it less than ideal for brand advertisers. Yes, the move to make the Web safe for marketers is progressing on many fronts. There's the development of new, larger ad units by major publishers and an increased focus on creativity within the industry, not to mention there's an increasing number of people consuming online video. But because brands, above all else, need face time to make their case to consumers, more must be done to get ads in front of users.
Of all the dismal and discouraging numbers to have emerged from the world of newspapers—the sharp plunges in circulation, the dizzying fall-off in revenues, the burgeoning debt, the mounting losses—none seems as sobering as the relentless march of layoffs and buyouts. According to the blog Paper Cuts, newspapers lost 15,974 jobs in 2008 and another 10,000 in the first half of 2009. That's 26,000 fewer reporters, editors, photographers, and columnists to cover the world, analyze political and economic affairs, root out corruption and abuse, and write about culture, entertainment, and sports.
Internet fads have proven to be short-lived, "jumping the shark" and falling from grace as swiftly as they rose. Twitter will prove to be the exception because of its one permanently-redeeming quality: simplicity.
Nearly a fifth of Internet users watch video online almost every day. Women are catching up to men in terms of online video usage. And a growing number of recession-conscious Americans claim they are using the Web as a cable TV substitute.
Time spent with the internet, as it turns out, doesn't balloon indefinitely. That might sound obvious, but this is the year web surfing leveled off at 12 hours a week after growing from less than six hours a week in 2004, according to Forrester's annual survey of more than 40,000 American consumers' self-reported media habits. The report, released Monday, also indicates relative stabilization in other media channels, most notably newspaper and magazine reading.
Who is Claude VonStroke? Is Dan Deacon familiar? Perhaps you have heard of Amanda Palmer? Or Erol Alkan? If you are a serious fan of independent music it's likely one or more of these names rings a bell. What might be surprising is the extent to which these four -- and many dozens of independent musicians like them -- can teach both scrappy startup brands and major CPG players how to most effectively make social media work.
In the Web world, you know that a trend has major traction when IBM is all over it. Like any large Internet company, Big Blue is careful about which trends it latches onto. It was a good couple of years before they were spotted at the Web 2.0 conference, for example. However in the case of Internet of Things, IBM is proving itself to be an unusually early adopter.
We live in a beta culture. A Google search of the word “beta” retrieves 399 million articles. That’s more articles than the words “innovation” (108 million), “creative” (78 million), and “finish” (30 million) combined. Even “startup," which is a slightly more formal definition of “beta," only links to 325 million articles. So what’s our obsession, particularly in the Internet business, with the beta ideal?
A 15 year-old working in Morgan Stanley's London office has written what may be the firm's most popular research report in years. In it, he explains that none of his friends read newspapers and few watch TV. He also, interestingly, says none of them use Twitter, because no one reads the tweets. In any event, the report has electrified the investment world, which appears to have suddenly clued into the fact that traditional media is in trouble.
While speaking at the intimate and immensely valuable Zappos Insights event (Zappos Live), I shared thoughts of how the culture of any company or brand is as strong as the individual personification of it. Everything starts and fortifies with you. Your actions and words online are indeed extensions to how people interpret, perceive, and react to the brand your represent. Concurrently, you also represent your personal brand – the digital identity that’s established through the collection of digital shadows you cast across the social web.
A new Columbia Journalism Review opinion piece argues persuasively (in my view) that Google “owes” something to traditional journalism and news organizations. Google, typically, is a stand-in for “the internet” in these discussions. This notion of responsibility to publishers is unpopular among bloggers and Internet denizens more generally.
It would be like having the same conversation -- over and over and over again. That's how one digital ad executive describes a world where no one is allowed to collect information online, a scenario the industry is hurriedly -- and worriedly -- trying to keep from happening.
The final panel at Friday's CrunchUp focused on the phenomenon of real-time, featuring a high-profile panel complete with representatives from Google, Microsoft, TweetDeck, TweetMeme, Seesmic, FriendFeed, Stanford University and a pair of venture capitalists. The discussion ranged from the opinion that real time was simply yet another feature, or a revolution in terms of application and Web service development, while the panelists discussed revenue opportunity or how large companies would try and control the data from being shared with competition.
It's undeniable that the going rate for information on the internet is "free." That's meant big trouble for newspapers, which have seen nearly all of their traditional roles usurped by better, faster, free online services over the past few years. If a newspaper doesn't make its content available gratis on the Web, it's irrelevant. If it does, it's got nothing left to sell but fishwrap and inkstains.
Best Buy, the US electronics retailer, has asked internet users for advice on defining a new marketing position at the company, in an extreme example of how companies are responding to the explosion of online social media.
Fifteen years ago — before Google or Wikipedia or blogging or Craigslist or podcasts or YouTube — the technology investor and pundit Esther Dyson wrote an article analyzing the business of “creative content” in a future where the Internet made distribution essentially free. “Creators will have to fight to attract attention and get paid,” she predicted. Enforcing copyrights won’t be enough, because creators “will operate in an increasingly competitive marketplace where much of the intellectual property is distributed free and suppliers explode in number. . . . The problem for owners of content is that they will be competing with free or almost-free content.”
The following post was written by a well known executive at one of the largest sites on the Internet. The author has requested to remain anonymous - not for dramatic effect, but because of the backlash he would receive from the SEO industry and possibly Google itself. He also doesn’t want his company associated with the post. He is starting a discussion on the need for government regulation of the organic and paid search policies of Google, which maintains a commanding lead in search market share today. Or at least transparency in how search results are determined. There is clearly growing frustration on the constantly changing “border policies” that are created and enforced by Google and other search engines. It is a fascinating read.
To Increase Engagement, Brands to Allow Users To Login With Facebook, MySpace, Twitter In a recent report titled the “Future of the Social Web” we found that we are entering the era of social colonization, every webpage and experience will be social–even if brands choose not to participate.
Online retail startups that specialize in "private sales" of discount designer apparel are gaining traction in the U.S. and, armed with fresh venture capital, plan to branch into new businesses. The companies, including Gilt Groupe, RueLaLa and HauteLook, have built a following with virally marketed, daily "members only" sales of limited merchandise. Short, intense sales -- often just 36 hours -- along with constant updates on which items are out of stock create a sense of urgency and excitement to buy.
By now, we're all familiar with the gruesome predicament of print media: Print readership is falling, and ad revenues are disappearing as a result. The Web hasn't been any kind of savior, for a simple reason: No matter how good your newspaper or magazine's site is, advertisers still don't pay as much to reach a Web reader as they will for a print reader, to the tune of about ten cents on the dollar. No wonder print publications have been so scared to migrate their businesses online--it's like asking them to move into a shiny new house that happens to be on pile of toxic waste.
Marketers looking to connect with kids should go online, since kids are more willing than ever to spend money there. Separate studies from research firm Nielsen and virtual world WeeWorld released this week suggest that kids are spending more time on the Web. While the research firm Nielsen reveals the online behavior of kids ages 2 to 11, WeeWorld looks at the time spent and spending habits of those age 12 to 18.
Why were so many people in the technology world wrong about Hulu? It was an idea that seemed like a relic of the worst excesses of the dot-com era: a portal for content run by a joint venture of media companies. Could any venture have more going against it?
The radical decentralization of the means of cultural production and distribution it has brought about, that I mentioned in the slidecast in my last post, "Social Begins At Home," has changed the very nature of the audience--of what an audience is.
Chris Anderson has built a career out of making bold pronouncements that the economics of Silicon Valley - the way in which software and digital technology are built and distributed - are likely to spread to, and ultimately conquer, the rest of the economy.
Brands are pollinating the social web with easy-to-share features like Sharethis. As conversations splinter across the web, brands must prepare to aggregate those same conversations on their corporate website. As a result, the trusted conversations will centralize back on product pages.
Advertising agencies and Internet companies once viewed each other as foes, but are now coming together to harness the potential for online advertising. Like many other segments, online ad spending has slowed from its previous breakneck pace during the deep recession, forcing companies to devise new ways to chase fewer dollars.
Back in April I interviewed Mark Zuckerberg as part of my research for Wired’s Great Wall of Facebook piece. Here is an edited transcript in which the Facebook founder and CEO talks about the limitations of walled gardens, the evolution of privacy online and why Home Depot should “humanize” itself.
Google handles roughly two-thirds of all Internet searches. It owns the largest online video site, YouTube, which is more than 10 times more popular than its nearest competitor. And last year, Google sold nearly $22 billion in advertising, more than any media company in the world.
Consumers are bombarded with more messages than ever before. Refining and clarifying your target segment is becoming evermore important as mass-messages are falling upon deaf ears. Specific, tailored and relevant messages, combined with consumer engagement and empowerment are elemental in the new marketing era. Less and less are market leaders dictating consumer needs through “push” advertising. By way of digital networking and publishing tools, consumers are creating consumer needs. To identify the key forces driving this marketing shift, we synthesized insights from over 40 industry professionals.
If you are reading this, I am doing my job. Roughly speaking, that is the compact that has underpinned the ties that bind those who write the news to those who read it.
As consumers continue to look for ways to shop smarter, they're still buying clothes online. A new survey done for Google by Compete shows that purchase conversion rates for people shopping for apparel held its own in January, and even increased slightly in February. But they're taking their time before buying, says John McAteer, Google's director of retail.
Service design, while often talked about in academia, is getting more and more attention from design companies and service providers, as the impact of experience design has been proven to increase customer satisfaction and brand perception.
If a marketer asked people to hand over a list of all their friends so it could show them ads, few would comply. On social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, though, friendships are obvious, and advertisers are beginning to examine those connections.
Television programs such as “The Simpsons” and “CSI” are for the first time commanding higher advertising rates at Web sites including Hulu.com and TV.com than on prime-time TV.
As early as 2006, the phrase "Every company is a media company" began to appear in speeches, news stories and blog columns, presaging a paradigm shift in the way businesses of every stripe must communicate with their audiences in the Internet/social media age.
Google started it. Social media, especially with tools like FriendFeed, magnified it - page one is the place to be. The top of page one is especially the place to be. Those few days when Conversation Agent was at number five on AdAge Power150 many checked out this blog from that list. From number 16? Not so much.
Everybody seems to hate advertising, in part because it seems inescapable. Television screens are cluttered with commercials. Web sites are obscured by pop-up and rollover ads. Streets, sidewalks, and vehicles are plastered with so many signs and digital screens that many people are calling them graffiti. Yes, print media are becoming ad-free zones, but no other space seems off limits, from airport jet ways to elevators to clothing.
The threat of new regulations involving Internet privacy is prompting Web advertisers to give consumers more control over how their private information is collected and used online. In coming weeks, a group of advertising, media and Internet trade groups plan to announce new guidelines for Web sites that they say could better protect consumers' privacy online. Among the measures is an icon that would appear either on Web pages or ads alerting consumers if their activity is being tracked. Clicking the icon would reveal information on the activities that a site collects about visitors, along with a list of companies that use this data, said an official at an ad trade group.
The marketing team at Pier 1 Imports chose a challenging time to launch a new campaign. Bank of America had just gobbled up Merrill Lynch, several of the nation’s largest investment firms had buckled down and were receiving TARP money, and in the midst of it all, panic-stricken consumers just weren’t buying.
At this point, I don't need to lament anymore the ailments of the print-newspaper industry. It's a well-chronicled and covered story.
When is the best time to get a consumer's attention while they're online? When are you most likely to get them to think about your brand with a sales mindset, rather than as an annoyance? These are among the most frequently asked questions by people in the digital marketing industry.
The Obama administration's most radical idea may also be its geekiest: Make nearly every hidden government spreadsheet and buried statistic available online, all in one place. For anyone to see. Are you searching for a Food and Drug Administration report that used to be obtainable only through the Freedom of Information Act? Just a mouseclick away. Need National Institutes of Health studies and school testing scores? Click. Census data, nonclassified Defense Department specs, obscure Securities and Exchange Commission files, prison statistics? Click click. Click. Click.
Larry Page should have been in a good mood. It was the fall of 2007, and Google's cofounder was in the middle of a five-day tour of his company's European operations in Zurich, London, Oxford, and Dublin. The trip had been fun, a chance to get a ground-floor look at Google's ever-expanding empire. But this week had been particularly exciting, for reasons that had nothing to do with Europe; Google was planning a major investment in Facebook, the hottest new company in Silicon Valley. Originally Google had considered acquiring Facebook—a prospect that held no interest for Facebook's executives—but an investment was another enticing option, aligning the Internet's two most important companies. Facebook was more than a fast-growing social network. It was, potentially, an enormous source of personal data.
For one of the Web’s biggest sites, there’s a lot that needs fixing over at MySpace. Buyers and analysts have varying ideas on just what News Corp. should do with its ailing social net, ranging from the philosophical (decide who you are) to the logistical (cut down the clutter). But no one doubts that change is needed, and is coming soon.
The Newport Daily News in Rhode Island has a new digital strategy: close its free, ad-supported site and sell an electronic edition that costs more than twice as much as getting the print paper in your driveway. It's a bold move that just might work. So why isn't every newspaper so brave? What if every newspaper gated off everything tomorrow? What if newspapers embraced the idea of "going Galt"?
So you want to watch TV on the Internet. You canceled cable in a spasm of austerity and figured you’d catch your shows online. If you had any shows left. Because really, TV, the kind that chains you to a sofa and a grid schedule, is not part of your life anymore. And you don’t miss it. Except “The Rachel Maddow Show,” “Weeds” and (guilty pleasure) “The Hills.” You found some of that on Netflix, some on YouTube or, via Hulu, on the shows’ sites. But now you’re looking for more TV. Maybe a spirit-lifting summertime diversion, like “Friends” back in the day, or “TRL.” Good times. But your remote conjures nothing from your uncabled flat screen. It’s just you and the Internet now.
At the risk of being branded a heretic or perhaps just being shown the door by my agency HR director, I have to say it: I hate social media. Why? Because it's just media. And since when was media ever interesting?
After a decade and a half of evangelisation by the likes of Seth Godin (re his book entitled: Permission Marketing) and those who followed in his footsteps, Marketers are now finally waking up to the idea that pre-formatted communications aren’t the right way to engage with customers.
The Obama administration's wildly successful Internet fund-raising campaign leveraged the power of the Web to its greatest potential. As easily as a brand can be elevated through the multiple nodes of viral marketing available via the Internet, images can just as quickly be destroyed, as recent examples such as Apple's unfortunate $4B email rumor and Domino's YouTube nightmare show.
One of the key findings from the very popular report The Future of the Social Web (which has been translated into over a dozen languages by the community) is that identity technologies like Facebook Connect, OpenID, as well as existing identities will soon colonize the web, making every webpage a social experience –even if they don’t choose to participate.
The traditional TV industry -- cable companies, networks and broadcasters -- is where the newspaper industry was about five years ago: in denial.
I miss the good ol' days of global brand strategy. It used to be so simple: Develop a single, absolute definition of your brand, then produce content -- mostly TV spots and print -- that was generic enough for local voice-over talent to translate, perhaps augmented with an image or two for local color. What was important was that those absolutes of brand were constant; the delivery component was tactical. "Think global, act local" was the mantra we stole from the world's do-gooders in the 1970s, and it was supposed to save money on production costs while ensuring consistent delivery of our messaging.
Online media can be a real paradox—an environment that represents such a wealth of creative opportunity, yet has for so long been a slave to the banner ad. But more brands are rewriting the rules of online ads by growing the dimensions of their ideas beyond the traditional banner or video. Of course bigger is not always better—a bad idea is a bad idea in any size. But with a great idea, breaking the boundaries of traditional online formats can really bring to life what this medium does best.
A heated debate is breaking out among Wall Street analysts over whether online videos should be available for free, and their advice is putting as much as $300 billion in media company value at risk. Not unlike entertainment executives themselves, analysts are divided over which is the correct strategy to pursue.
In a recent survey, we asked B2B buyers how they prefer ordering the things they order all the time. Sixty-three percent said they prefer to order them online. The next largest group was the 15% who would go the traditional route of ordering from a local office over the phone. Another 12% said they'd prefer to order from a real live sales rep. In a recent presentation to a client, I kept that pie chart of results up for a while, allowing it to sink in, because I think the implications are astounding. After it sunk in, I asked what I believe to be a fundamentally important question: "Look at the chart and ask yourself, how closely does your company's strategic direction and resource allocation match that pie chart? That's where your customers are going, and they're moving fast. Are you going to be there when they get there?"
Everyone asks me, "Now that I'm getting a better idea of what social media is, How do I actually apply it? Where do I start?" Start with these, The Five P's of Social Media. The Five P's are: Profiles, Propagate, Produce, Participate, and Progress.
In the brief history of Web sites, there are few if any second chances. Remember Friendster? That's why it's difficult for some industry observers to see a comeback for MySpace, the large online social network that has seen its popularity flatline and its hipness surpassed by younger sites like Twitter and Facebook in recent months.
Three times in the last month, government agencies have targeted Google for antitrust reviews. An outstanding private lawsuit alleges that Google tried to kill a business-to-business search engine with predatory pricing. And during the waning months of the Bush administration, soon-to-be Obama antitrust chief Christine Varney declared that Google "has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising." Last month she asserted that the Bush administration had been too lax in combating monopolistic behavior and that the Obama Justice Department would no longer "stand on the sidelines." This should explain why Dana Wagner, a former Department of Justice antitrust lawyer hired by Google just last year, is rapidly becoming one of the company's public faces.
The first quarter of 2009 will be remembered for many things, mostly bad. But it may also mark a turning point when the world's biggest marketer and its broader industry finally got serious about digital media.
Considering the magazine-heavy resume of The Daily Beast founder Tina Brown, it stands to reason the Web publisher would take her cues from that world. But rather than adopt the banner, the most magazine-like Internet ad format, the IAC-owned Daily Beast has sworn off "traditional" Web ads in favor of custom executions.
In a way it's ahead of where the Web experience is moving towards, which is semantic and contextual. It's ahead because it includes one very important element, which smart automation doesn't, yet - trust. The reason why we continue to talk about influence - online and off line - is that with the explosion of information, we're looking for beacons to guide us through that noise.
For all the work marketers do reaching out to bloggers, social networks and other online outlets where they might get some word-of-mouth buzz, consumers are still looking to trusted friends and relatives for product or service recommendations.
Here’s a question: how would Twitter change for you if you didn’t know how many followers you have? What if the designers at Twitter removed the number from all screens/APIs and forced you to rely on replies or retweets to let you know what was going on? Would that be OK with you? How would it change your behavior?
With new titles like “deputy chief technology officer” for former Google head of global public policy Andrew McLaughlin, "director of citizen participation” for ex-Google project manager Katie Stanton, and head of the new White House Office of Social Innovation for economist Sonal Shah, once head of Google's philanthropic arm Google.org, it seems pretty clear that the Obama administration is racking up insiders from the grand monopolist of internet advertising just because it can.
Content doesn’t spread on the web because of its inherent qualities. We choose to share content because of its value within a network.
Ailing news organizations seeking to make money from both online readers and the Web sites that republish their stories are looking at the way music publishers collect a fraction of a cent for every song played in public, from the corner bowling alley to the stage of "American Idol."
Too often we design experiences for groups of individuals, when we should be designing experiences for networks of connected individuals.
I accept that people and brands are going have a use for their own websites (I still do). Given that, the important questions are: What role will your website be playing within the overall context of the internet as a whole? Are you spending and an amount of money, effort, and time that is appropriate to that role? Would you be better off putting that money, effort, and time into developing content?
As YouTube has grown into the preeminent video sharing service online, marketers have tried, with limited success, to broadcast themselves and to reach audiences with their messaging. And while individuals have used YouTube as a platform to step into the spotlight, most brands have been left behind in the shadows. Save for the occasional media-supported viral video blitz, or user generated contest, commercial success on YouTube has been elusive to the many brands that have tried to reach for that brass ring.
On a recent Thursday, Darren Herman, the president of Varick Media Management, was sequestered in his SoHo office. He wasn’t scrutinizing a television ad or images from a photo shoot. He was combing through graphs and Excel spreadsheets. From the “Mad Men” era until now, advertising has been about a catchy tagline, an arresting image, the Big Idea. But Mr. Herman and his competitors are bringing some Wall Street-like analysis to Madison Avenue, exploiting the huge amounts of data produced by the Internet to adjust strategy almost instantly.
As the influx of big brands into the social media space continues, we’re starting to see more and more marketing managers and executives become less, not more, comfortable with social media. The main reason is they expect instant returns and needle-moving. But most of social media is about building relationships, which takes time.
Justine Ezarik might not be a household name, but the 25-year-old has a cable TV-size audience. The only difference: Ezarik's audience is on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
As the economy declines and consumer spending habits undergo a vast reevaluation, there is nowhere left to hide. The media industry, in other words, must adapt or die.
I believed in the power of the World Wide Web way back in 1991. Why?
These days, we're all public figures. We're sharing our friends on Facebook, our photos on Flickr, our music on Last.fm, and our goofy links insightful observations on Twitter. So when Fast Company set out to capture the personalities of our 100 Most Creative People in Business, we started--where else?--by looking for online profiles. But when it comes to sharing themselves--not just their businesses, but their business--our creative class clams up.
While sales of higher-end beauty products have been struggling in most retail channels, a new report from the NPD Group finds that at this point, beauty sales are growing on the Internet.
Earlier this week SeaWorld invited me out for a press event for the opening of their newest roller-coaster, the Manta. Usually, these things involve doing something that would theoretically be fun if it wasn’t for the fact that you have to spend the entire time being pitched.
When you start something new, especially if it's something you've not done before, you really have no idea how you will organize around it. One of the most frequently asked questions - and objections raised - to the use of social media is that of time, or rather lack of.
There was a time when having a dotcom was absolutely key to your brand, and once you had one, it was the URL you pointed everyone to in all of your marketing. But with the emergence of the social web, and opportunities to engage with fans elsewhere, is that really the right strategy – or even a requirement at all?
People trust peers, even if they don’t know them. This is the observation behind the success of online communities from TripAdvisor to reviews on Amazon or indeed any one of the many examples of online communities that are growing and flourishing. We trust these strangers-cum-peers with important decisions in our live - from which hotel to book for our annual holiday, to support on medical or financial decisions. And some trust these strangers-cum-peers so much that they even lend money to them.
With more than 200 million active users and counting, Facebook has proven to be a powerful and convenient way to reach consumers where they already are. “Many consumers are already sharing information regularly on Facebook—this is just one more way to quickly share information in a place where they are already spending time,” says Michael Donnelly, director, worldwide interactive marketing at The Coca-Cola Company.
The Internet was always fast. Google made a point during its rise to prominence to detail -- to the millisecond -- just how quickly it delivered a search result. And, as we all know, the Web has gotten even faster.
The web gave us the perfect “nowhere.” A Star Trek fan in Houlton, Maine can talk with another fan from Reykjavík, Iceland, without thinking a thing about it. We can be anywhere, and if you follow through, anywhen, and thus, we don’t need proximity to build relationships (or customers, or much of anything). The first web, the brochure web, gave way to the second web, the two-way web. What if the third web is about the relationship of things and places between the physical world and the placeless, timeless world? I’m calling this vplaces (more in a bit).
Microsoft has used attack ads to go after Apple, and now it has Google in its sights.
Social media has reached critical mass, with 83% of the Internet population now using it - and more than half doing so on a regular basis - according to new research being released today by Knowledge Networks. But for all the media industry's hype and buzz surrounding social networks, microblogs, and other social networking platforms, the genre has failed to become much of a marketing medium, and in the opinion of the Knowledge Networks' analysts, likely never will. The report, "How People Use Social Media," finds that social media is having a profound impact on the way people connect with each other, but that it's not becoming a very meaningful way for people to connect with brands, or advertising promoting brands.
Over the last several years, the problem of attention has migrated right into the center of our cultural attention. We hunt it in neurology labs, lament its decline on op-ed pages, fetishize it in grassroots quality-of-life movements, diagnose its absence in more and more of our children every year, cultivate it in yoga class twice a week, harness it as the engine of self-help empires, and pump it up to superhuman levels with drugs originally intended to treat Alzheimer’s and narcolepsy. Everyone still pays some form of attention all the time, of course—it’s basically impossible for humans not to—but the currency in which we pay it, and the goods we get in exchange, have changed dramatically.
I've been following a fascinating 3-part series of posts this week by Greg Boutin, founder of Growthroute Ventures. The series aimed to tie together three big trends, all based around structured data: 1) the still nascent "Web 3.0" concept, 2) the relatively new kid on the structured Web block, Linked Data, and 3) the long-running saga that is the Semantic Web. Greg's series is probably the best explanation I've read all year about the way these trends are converging. In this post I'll highlight some of Greg's thoughts and add some of my own.
The world of communication and product delivery is changing as the Web evolves and new services are introduced, enabling us to gain faster access to information, download richer media more quickly, and rapidly voice our opinions and feedback near and far in a wide variety of methods, including text, voice, video and imagery. As customers become more savvy and in tune with these new tools, we are also expecting those offering products and services to adapt, and as such, I thought it made sense to put forth what I believe are key tenets of a new consumer manifesto for today's real-time world.
Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so.
As our social lives, business, and government become more transparent via the Internet, there are benefits for anyone who wants to create and connect.
A business model is the architecture of a business or project. It has four elements: 1. What compelling reason exists for people to give you money? (or votes or donations) 2. How do you acquire what you're selling for less than it costs to sell it? 3. What structural insulation do you have from relentless commoditization and a price war? 4. How will strangers find out about the business and decide to become customers?
Myth: newspapers stuck their heads in the sand and just hoped the internet would go away. Reality: Newspapers took some of the biggest, earliest swings on the web, most turned out to be misses, and then got steamrolled by Google just like everyone else. The nation's print media may be on life support, but some are quietly building digital portfolios again -- albeit on a smaller scale -- and some are starting to bear fruit.
Think of the most persuasive person you know. The salesperson you can't say no to, your mother (guilt always works), your spouse or your six-year-old child. Now, imagine if you had never met the person in person and they were trying to persuade you over the phone, or by email. Would they be as persuasive? No. Persuasion just don't work as well if you're not face to face.
About two weeks ago, Alexander Van Elsas had an interesting post where he asked several questions about the current state of web applications. If everything becomes open and connected, what will happen to the big destinations? Why is the web rapidly evolving into uncountable databases with connections, instead of one database where everything connects? If all services and destinations become open, then what is the point in being a destination site in the first place? Why are we creating webs within webs, instead of one network that connects it all? After thinking for a little bit, I realized that these questions are far from answered, and the answers are going to get harder to find.
Thanks to a confluence of factors -- ubiquitous broadband, changing viewer habits and cheaper tech parts -- internet TV is on the verge of a breakout. However, there are still too many interested parties trying to play a part in making a seamless connection -- and nabbing a piece of the payoff.
"It's not about stickiness on our website, it's about slipperiness," Bob Kraut, VP-marketing communications at Pizza Hut, said today at Ad Age's Digital Conference in New York when describing the company's approach to digital marketing. "We want people to come in and out as fast as they can because they know what they want and we want to give it to them in the minimum amount of time." Michele Azar, VP-emerging channels at Best Buy, and John Weiss, managing director of Delta.com, joined Mr. Kraut on a panel moderated by Nielsen Online's Pete Blackshaw to discuss the ways in which technology has changed their companies from both an internal and external standpoint.
The Associated Press said Monday it is launching an initiative to better control its newspaper members' material online. Under the initiative, whose details are still being determined, the AP will work with Web portals and other digital partners to track -- and pursue legal action against -- publishers that use this content on the Web without a license.
I came across this video by Laura Ross in my Facebook. It seems that YouTube suspended her account for reasons unknown and unexplained to her. What follows is quite an interesting video about the nature of free speech, discourse, dissent, profanity, and the censorship of our voice.
Companies large and small have been wandering in the wilderness, trying to figure out how to play with the rapidly growing number of multisided platforms such as Amazon. MSPs are products, services, or technologies that connect different types of customers to one another. Credit-card companies and eBay link consumers and merchants. Google’s search engine connects advertisers and users of its services. Microsoft’s Windows platform has three sides (application developers, users, and OEMs), as does the Blu-ray standard for high-definition DVDs (content providers, manufacturers of DVD players, and consumers). Once a relatively obscure strategic problem, multisided platforms have become important for all companies today, thanks to the power of the internet and related technologies.
Imagine that a company set up a mall store where, instead of selling trinkets, it sold information about customer behavior. For a few cents, it could tell a saleswoman at Nordstrom that the person who was about to walk in had already stopped at Steve Madden and was looking for red shoes. That is the idea behind two new Internet companies, BlueKai and eXelate Media, which run so-called behavioral exchanges. They do not sell products or ad space, but information about Web site visitors.
During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt reassured anxious Americans through his famous fireside chats over the radio. Now, in the 21st century, President Obama has found his own fireside equivalent, launching an online town hall meeting Thursday where he will answer citizens' questions about the troubled economy and his efforts to fix it.
New study shows consumers far more digitally savvy than agencies.
The Internet shatters all forms of advertising. “The problem is not the medium, the problem is the message, and the fact that it is not trusted, not wanted, and not needed.”
Weaving through the thousands of fans, spring-breaking music industry professionals and assorted revelers who clog the streets of downtown Austin this week, you might well think that South by Southwest, the annual music conference and festival here, is nothing but a big party.
This week, someone asked me about sustainable business models in the Internet. Earlier the same day, another person asked me about defensible models. Both questions left me perplexed. I wasn't trying to avoid them. I just didn't know how to answer. So, some 48 hours later, I offer this column as a somewhat belated response. It isn't an answer, as I'm still just as perplexed. But now at least I know why.
Ross Sandler of RBC has done what every good analyst should do, which is say something interesting. What Ross has said is that, at its current growth rate, Facebook will surpass Google in size by 2011-2012.
Nick Bilton, an editor in the New York Times research and development lab, doesn't think much of newspaper. In fact, he doesn't even get the Sunday paper delivered to his house. Thankfully for Bilton and his employer, he's bullish on news. It's just the paper he hates.
Stephen Wolfram is building something new -- and it is really impressive and significant. In fact it may be as important for the Web (and the world) as Google, but for a different purpose. Stephen was kind enough to spend two hours with me last week to demo his new online service -- Wolfram Alpha (scheduled to open in May). In the course of our conversation we took a close look at Wolfram Alpha's capabilities, discussed where it might go, and what it means for the Web, and even the Semantic Web.
Facebook has a chief privacy officer, but I doubt that the position will exist 10 years from now. That’s not because Facebook is hell-bent on stripping away privacy protections, but because the popularity of Facebook and other social networking sites has promoted the sharing of all things personal, dissolving the line that separates the private from the public.
Jeff Bewkes hopes to put more TV on the internet, but he's going to make consumers prove they've paid for it.
If your information is being broadcast to everyone, you should at least control the content to the best of your ability. And with Squidder’s new Twitter Feed augmented reality T-Shirt, you can become a walking beacon for whatever you twit about. No longer just for your internet buddies, the shirt lets your thoughts pop out into the real world.
By the garbled reportage, I'd be guessing some of those kiwis were having trouble with my accent. Here are the verbatim remarks.
What would you imagine the "top indexing sites reaching U.S. Hispanics 18+ who prefer Spanish" on comScore to look like? U.S. Hispanic media companies like Univision, Telemundo, Yahoo! en Español, ImpreMedia and AOL Latino, would dominate the list, right? Take a look at the top 10 indexing sites here from December 2008.
The appetite for video continued to grow in the fourth quarter as U.S. consumers watched more programming across television, the Internet and mobile devices in the fourth quarter than the prior quarter, according to Nielsen's latest A2/M2 Three Screen report .
Something happens to parents on or around the time their kids turn 12. Most of us know intuitively that we are dealing with a different kind of sentient near-adult by this point, and the sheer terror of parenting a teen must kick in some kind of special defense mechanism. But the change is not only in the way we relate to our kids. Our children's move into that next scary stage of their lives also triggers different media consumption behaviors in us.
I thought I embraced the future of television several years ago when we got our first TiVo. While that event was significant, it's now clear our DVR was only a technological painkiller to make tolerable the broken state of television: scheduled screenings with heavy commercial interruption. But things have come a long way since then.
Two decades ago a 23-year-old Cornell University graduate student brought the Internet to its knees with a simple software program that skipped from computer to computer at blinding speed, thoroughly clogging the then-tiny network in the space of a few hours. The program was intended to be a digital “Kilroy Was Here.” However, a programming error turned it into a harbinger heralding the arrival of a darker cyberspace, more of a mirror for all of the chaos and conflict of the physical world than a utopian refuge from it. Since then things have gotten much, much worse.
Any parent knows how hard it is to keep an eye on several children all at once. So imagine how marketers feel having to keep track of a massive group of them.
When Corey Wynsma's wife got laid off a few months ago from her graphic design job, the couple did an inventory of their household budget. Cable TV seemed like an obvious luxury. So the couple, who live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, canceled their cable service and found another way to keep up with their favorite shows: on the Internet.
It's been decades since Americans had this much time on their hands and -- thanks to the Web -- never have there been so many opportunities to burn it.
At some point the anonymity of the internet transformed into a social networking clearinghouse of daily minutiae and most of us willingly opted in, choosing the ease and comfort of virtual intimacy over a lonely existence of real world disconnectedness. And these communities blossomed, starting with close friends and family then expanding to include co-workers and long lost childhood chums, finally welcoming obscure acquaintances and total strangers with whom we’ve never had a face to face conversation. We decided that to know and be known was a good thing, but never really thought it through.
Twitter – the non-money-making start-up that lets a user update status in a pithy manner – had a banner day last week with the inauguration of President Barack Obama, which followed all the tweets about the successful airline crash in the Hudson River in Manhattan, which came after…well, you get the point. That kind of frenetic news cycle has kept Twitter growing quickly. And that has apparently setting the stage for raising a big new round of funding.
The term "personalization" often evokes bad memories and broken promises from the last technology boom, 10 years ago. You remember when the term was all the rage and marketers promised better customization and increased relevancy in their marketing messages? Well, marketers overpromised and underdelivered, and the idea of personalization revolutionizing the marketing industry just never materialized.
Mountain Dew is hoping its new berry-flavored drink will be "everywhere" on the Web. This week, the PepsiCo-owned brand debuted its "Voltage everywhere" online push directing Dew fans to Dewmocracyvoltage.com. Here, consumers are rewarded with points for virally spreading the word about the product and interacting with the brand. Points can be redeemed for logoed swag, snowboards, an Xbox 360 and other prizes.
Never before has the coverage of the transition of power been so readily available to so many.
A moment of sympathy, please, for newspapers, whose readers and advertisers have been fleeing at a frightening rate. The industry has understood from the advent of AM radio in the 1920s that technology would eventually be its undoing and has always behaved accordingly.
Jessica Buchsbaum first noticed that something had changed in May 2008. The head of recruitment for a law firm in Florida, Ms Buchsbaum was used to interviewing young candidates for summer internships who seemed to think that the world owed them a living. However, last May’s crop were far more humble. “The tone had changed from ‘What can you do for me?’ to ‘Here’s what I can do for you’,” she says.
After more than a decade of disappointment, the goal of marrying television and the Internet seems finally to be picking up steam.
A generation after the launch of MTV, major record labels are hoping to revive the music video business online by creating a single digital destination for their artists’ output.
Coverage of amateur science petered out in the 1960s, to be replaced almost exclusively by articles about Big Science, the kind that costs billions of dollars and requires an army of PhDs to oversee. But then a curious thing happened. In the last few years, some of the folks who had been spending all their time creating the Web, and everything on it, looked up from their monitors and realized that the world itself was the ultimate hackable platform.
Thing is, most of the stuff you do online doesn't cost money. In the old days, money added friction. Money made you choosy. Today, reading and posting and linking and networking and connecting and commenting and podcasting and linkblurbling and doseedoing online all feel like essential marketing tasks. But is the activity getting in the way of action?
Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington talks about the nature of blogging and competition on the Web.
Facebook flipped the switch on its single sign-on technology Thursday. Facebook Connect can now be implemented by any site on the internet on a self-service basis through the company's platform for web developers. The company says over 100 websites have added Facebook Connect during the testing period or will release it within the coming weeks. Several high-profile websites are on the list, including Digg, CNET, Gawker, Vimeo and several universities.