Marissa Mayer's move to Yahoo as CEO made me reexamine the question of personal brands. I maintain my position: they don't exist in any meaningful way. They are just (not terribly) fancy jargon for bloggers. What Mayer brings to Yahoo is not her personal brand, but the brand capital of Google.
Digital skills are in high demand and short supply. But first things first — how do you define a digital team when nearly everything is digital?
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.
Beautiful design is a key element of online business in this era, which has resulted in more images and video all across the Web.
Over the next few months, all of Hearst Digital Media‘s titles are getting a new look. The new responsive design is the more obvious change. It’s an increasingly popular strategy for companies to adapt to mobile by creating websites that rearrange themselves based on the size of the screen.
The space-based web we currently have will gradually be replaced by a time-based worldstream. It’s already happening, and it all began with the lifestream, a phenomenon that I (with Eric Freeman) predicted in the 1990s and shared in the pages of Wired almost exactly 16 years ago.
Content is all the rage these days, but it falls flat if you don’t consider one of the most important aspects of your site: navigation.
644 million people worldwide accessed online newspaper sites in October 2012, making up 42.6% of the total internet population. Mail Online was the most popular online newspaper, attracting more than 50 million unique visitors during the month.
Global mobile traffic is growing so fast that in some places it has already surpassed desktop traffic. That was one of the key conclusions of a year-end Internet trends report.
"Hyperlocal" news sites that focus their coverage on small towns and city neighborhoods are reporting big traffic surges from Sandy, with local residents keen to find out about their towns' storm preparedness yesterday and about property damage and when power will be restored today, with much of it driven by search.
For years, Microsoft sidelined itself from the world of Web standards. Internet Explorer, especially the now-despised IE6, exemplified how spurning standards held back the Web. But Microsoft has performed an about-face.
Time had social media users high on its mind when it decided to move to responsive design. Social media now accounts for at least 12 percent of referrals to Time.com, and most people who click on Time links from Facebook, Twitter and the like are doing so on a mobile.
One dirty secret of web analytics is that the information we get is limited. If you want to see how someone came to your site, it's usually pretty easy. When you follow a link from Facebook to The Atlantic, a little piece of metadata hitches a ride that tells our servers. There are circumstances, however, when there is no referrer data. This means that this vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs.
The headline conclusion of Pew's latest monster survey of the media landscape was the demise of TV news. "There are now signs that television news is increasingly vulnerable," the authors wrote, "as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers." But the larger story is the rise of the Web, which has surpassed newspapers and radio to become the second most popular source of news for Americans, after TV
In a world where consumers increasingly are storming the internet with queries, downloads and page views from their mobile devices, marketers need a mobile-optimized or mobile-specific website. The question of whether or not you need to build a mobile app is a little less clear cut.
That consumers are turned off by sites not optimized for smartphones isn’t news to anyone who uses the mobile Web. But marketers need more than anecdotal evidence to get their organizations to invest in the medium.
Marketers are buzzing from the aftershocks of Google's recent most updates, code-named Panda and Penguin. Both the Panda and Penguin updates contained very clear messages for marketers: stop focusing on technology and tricks and start focusing on people. If your website appeals to people, it will appeal to Google's algorithms too.
Put simply, responsive design is the creation of a single website with a fluid proportion-based grid that automatically adapts to users’ browsers and the devices they are using. This is not a trend—it’s the future.
Every generation experiences advances in technology that change people's lives and expectations; children are almost always born into a different technological world than were their parents. This is particularly true when it comes to how they discover, consume and share content and information.
Pulse, the popular news reading app for iOS and Android, is finally available on the web. The service, which launched two years ago and now has over 15 million users, only focused on mobile platforms until now.
With London 2012 come three, totally minimal olympic sites that leverage rapid development to celebrate this fleeting worldwide event. They’re the collective antithesis to nbcolympics.com, covering granular information with an unfettered layout devoid of audio clips, listicles and even ads. They’re also a sign of current web technologies.
Roger McNamee, the managing director and co-founder of venture capital firm Elevation Partners, has a theory about how Apple became the biggest U.S. technology growth story of all time: “The thing that made Apple successful was betting against the web,” he said.
Yahoo says that it has helped millions of businesses get online and grow their presence on the web. Today, the company is debuting a new marketing dashboard to give users additional insight into online reputation, web metrics and more.
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.
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.
We like to think of the social web as green fields in which we are just now sowing best practices and first principles. After all, if there are no hard-and-fast rules, then anything goes. We get to come up with our own laws and axioms and declarations of "here's how it's done." But if you look at the longer history of the social web, it's clear that some principles have been around for a long time. And nothing brings those principles into focus like a look at the social web's first big controversy, all the way back in 1987: The Great Renaming.
You Californians sure seem obsessed with this “Oscar” thing. As I write these words, every one of my friends with a 9x zip code is dressed to the nines, snarking their way through one of the forty three billion Academy Awards parties taking place across the state. I am not amongst them: partly because I am unforgivably late with this column, partly because I haven’t seen any of the movies nominated for the major categories, and partly because watching Anne Hathaway and James Franco (pictured left) being funny is like watching a Chuck Lorre remake of Joanie Loves Chachi.
If the Web is dead, nobody told Twitter. Just last month, Wired magazine controversially claimed that the Web is going the way of the dodo -- users are increasingly abandoning the Web browser and instead accessing their favorite Web services via applications on smartphones, the logic goes. One of the companies shaping this trend was Twitter, the information network that became accessible through countless third-party applications on mobile devices and the desktop. This week, however, Twitter announced a major redesign of its website. The intent: To make Twitter.com a compelling Web destination. Whatever happened to the death of the Web at the hands of mobile applications?
Looking to tap into Web surfers' privacy concerns, new companies are popping up to help people browse the Internet and send messages anonymously. But these companies face a major challenge: getting people to pay for Web-privacy software. The majority of Internet users remain unaware of how visible their Web behavior can be to marketers, identity thieves and others, say executives at Web-privacy companies. And those who are concerned about privacy are often reluctant to trust an unfamiliar company with their information, they say.
Advancing technologies and their swift adoption are upending traditional business models. Senior executives need to think strategically about how to prepare their organizations for the challenging new environment.
New technologies begin by imitating older technologies before evolving to their true forms. For example, early automobiles looked like horseless carriages, and early television shows imitated radio programming before finding their own forms. Online experiences have followed this pattern—getting their start by imitating the printed page. Although many of today’s online experiences have evolved to include more function and interactivity, the “Web page” still dominates our thinking. So the question still remains: what new form will the Web take as it continues to evolve over the next five years? Three types of trends are driving online experiences into their next phase: capabilities, consumers and competition.
The content strategy movement has captured the hearts and minds of Web practitioners everywhere. For many (and I count myself among this camp) content strategy (CS) represents a vital next step in the evolution of what we do and how we provide value. At Teehan+Lax, we've started to formalize a practice and dedicated role around CS. But here's the catch: when we mapped out what we needed and compared this to the standard definition for CS, we realized there was a gap. Let me explain what I mean.
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?
Is the Real-Time Web making news consumption better or worse? In a Wired magazine article, book author Nicholas Carr argues that the Internet is reducing our ability to comprehend content on the Web. In a separate blog post, Carr even suggests that websites and blogs should move hyperlinks from the body of an article to the bottom - apparently, links distract readers and cause them to understand an article less. I don't buy that particular argument, but it's clear that we need better strategies to cope with news overload. Particularly as these days we're not only getting more content, but getting it much faster.
"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.
US retailers have become engaged in a battle for hearts and mobiles. As leading retailers, including Walmart and JC Penney, continue to grapple with the potential of the internet, the proliferation of smartphones has inevitably caught their attention. Three years after Apple launched its first iPhone, mobile connectivity is shaking up the way retailers do business, not only online but in their stores.
Access to digital data has brought a wealth of opportunity to marketers, allowing them to reach buyers and prospects anywhere online. Yet that abundance creates its own unique problems. Managing the vast amount of data associated with digital ad exposures and interactions -- especially as agency relationships change -- is a challenge that marketers must deal with in order to realize the full potential of digital media.
This morning during his keynote talk at Web 2.0 Expo, Tim O’Reilly took a look at the State of the Internet Operating System — a term he uses to describe the intertwined web services like search, the social graph, and payments systems that power applications on the web (and increasingly, mobile devices). During his talk, he gave a report card of sorts for tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. Apple, he says, “has a vision of world domination”, and that with the App Store platform Steve Jobs is trying to build a fundamental challenge to the web.
Mark Brooks wants the whole Web to know that he spent $41 on an iPad case at an Apple store, $24 eating at an Applebee’s, and $6,450 at a Florida plastic surgery clinic for nose work. Too much information, you say? On the Internet, there seems to be no such thing. A wave of Web start-ups aims to help people indulge their urge to divulge — from sites like Blippy, which Mr. Brooks used to broadcast news of what he bought, to Foursquare, a mobile social network that allows people to announce their precise location to the world, to Skimble, an iPhone application that people use to reveal, say, how many push-ups they are doing and how long they spend in yoga class.
Today marks yet another important era in Facebook’s saga, they are expected to make a big push to extend the Facebook experience to every webpage. Today, I’ll be attending the f8 developer conference hosted by Facebook, they’re anticipated to make some key announcements around new programs for developers to take part in. I’ll be live blogging from the keynote, and will give my take on what it means.
I had the chance to sit down with Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark recently at his favorite breakfast spot in San Francisco, just a block or two from the house where Craigslist was launched 15 years ago this month. We talked about a number of his favorite topics, including the bird feeders he keeps having to replace (because the squirrels he likes to post about on Twitter destroy some 10-15 of them every year), his love of dogs (he doesn’t own one himself, but keeps dog treats with him to feed the various neighborhood pets he runs into during the day, most of whom he knows by name) and — last but not least — what he thinks is the next big problem the web has to solve. And what is that? The question of who to trust online, according to Newmark.
At the Web 2.0 Expo, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk gives a shot in the arm to dreamers and up-and-comers who face self-doubt. The Internet has made the formula for success simpler than ever, he argues. So there's now no excuse not to do what makes you happy.
Twitter has announced technology that it hopes will further embed the service into the fabric of the web. @anywhere, as it is known, will allow people using websites such as Amazon or the New York Times to follow new users or share media directly from the page. It was unveiled at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
Google Inc. appears increasingly likely to shutter its Chinese-language search engine, a step that would remove one of the last major foreign players from the world's most populous and fastest-growing Internet market. A person familiar with situation said on Saturday that Google is likely to take action within weeks. Separately, Chinese authorities on Friday told local news Web sites that Google's Chinese site is likely to close and that, if it does, the news sites will be required to use only official accounts of the situation, rather than publish stories from anywhere else, according to a person familiar with the order.
So, it's official. The answer to every possible question about the marketplace is a click away and free to one and all. The internet is choked with information and advice. Who is doing what and why. What works and what doesn't. Trends and predictions. 10 steps to this, 6 keys to that, how to, how not to, when to, whether to, and on and on and on.
Google Inc. is testing a new television-programming search service with Dish Network Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, the latest development in a fast-moving race to combine Internet content with conventional TV. The service, which runs on TV set-top boxes containing Google software, allows users to find shows on the satellite-TV service as well as video from Web sites like Google's YouTube, according to these people. It also lets users to personalize a lineup of shows, these people said.
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.
NBC Universal’s television coverage of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver this month is exhaustive, as viewers have come to expect. But its Web coverage, at least when compared with the Summer Games in Beijing 18 months ago, is limited. NBC’s Web site is live-streaming fewer sports than it did in Beijing, marking a step backward in online access to marquee events. The company is making no secret that it would prefer for viewers to watch the Olympics on television, especially in prime time, even though a growing number of people are accustomed to watching TV on the Internet.
This is something we keep hearing about, how people and companies need to add value. Adding value is fast becoming the new bubble. A few years ago, Marshall Goldsmith, the world's top executive coach, questioned the cost of adding value in his debut post at Fast Company. In the opening, Goldsmith outlines a very powerful piece of advice: In my experience, one of the most common challenges that successful people face is a constant need to win. When the issue is important, they want to win. When the issue is trivial, they want to win. Even when the issue isn't worth the effort or is clearly to their disadvantage, they still want to win.
Microsoft is getting cozier with Madison Avenue. The software company is partnering with advertising holding company Interpublic Group in a deal that will make Microsoft the go-to ad technology provider for the U.S. offices of ad giant's agencies, including McCann-Erickson, Deutsch, Hill Holliday and The Martin Agency. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., slashed its undisclosed rates, so that its ad server Atlas will become the default technology to deliver ads and analyze their performance.
Even as major marketers once again threaten to pull back on TV spending -- a new survey indicates they will allocate only 41% of their budgets to the medium this year -- the TV networks are gearing up for an "upfront" ad-sales market they expect will be more robust than in the recent past. In a new Forrester and Association of National Advertisers survey of 104 U.S. advertisers that collectively spend almost $14 billion in measured media, more than half of them -- 62% -- said that TV advertising is less effective than it used to be.
Good friend Stowe Boyd recently shared a quote by Gabriel García Márquez, “Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life.” Indeed, quite simply many of us live life allowing specific, trusted individuals to know us in one or more of our personae. Our moral compass as well as outside influences affect how we balance our three lives. The size and permeability of our personal dividers vary in the separation of each life and resemble doors that open and close based on our desires. We nurture each individually with slight coalescence, but concentrate on the establishment of a distinct ecosystem for cultivating and grooming who we are in public, private, and in secret.
The Simulcam and Fusion 3D camera inventions were not the only technologies that made James Cameron’s Sci-Fi epic Avatar a massive box office success. While smaller films have used social media to spread the word guerrilla-style, no other major blockbuster has employed a full-on social web marketing assault quite like Avatar. The results in its case were a $232 million opening weekend, a total of one billion dollars in revenue by year’s end, and the rank of #2 highest grossing film of all time. Cameron’s $500 million act of hubris has paid off. Here’s an outline of the social media moves Avatar’s team made to achieve success.
I can remember when I first thought seriously about Twitter. Last March, I was at the SXSW conference, a conclave in Austin, Tex., where technology, media and music are mashed up and re-imagined, and, not so coincidentally, where Twitter first rolled out in 2007. As someone who was oversubscribed on Facebook, overwhelmed by the computer-generated RSS feeds of news that came flying at me, and swamped by incoming e-mail messages, the last thing I wanted was one more Web-borne intrusion into my life.
The nightmare scenario for cable companies is that customers drop their TV subscriptions and grab their video directly from the Web, turning the cable guys into mere providers of "dumb pipes." But here's a comprehensive set of instructions from a big cable company showing its customers how to do just that.
Marketers will try to convince consumers that behavioral targeting doesn't violate their privacy. Companies have collected online data about consumers and their Web habits for several years. This information helps them figure out which consumers will be most receptive to ads for their products. 2010 will be the year when the marketers, media companies and consumer watchdogs find out if consumers believe--and if they care--that behavioral targeting violates their privacy.
Searching for meaning beyond a price tag, more holiday shoppers are giving custom-made gifts this year. But adding the personal touch doesn’t mean that gift-givers have to break out the knitting needles, haul out the scrapbook supplies or fire up the oven and start baking. A host of Web sites with names like Zazzle, Blurb and TasteBook are helping people quickly create one-of-a-kind products like clothing, books and jewelry. In some cases, making a custom gift can be as easy as uploading a photo or clicking a mouse. In others, the e-commerce tools shorten what would normally have taken hours of work.
Google stole the tech and media spotlight today as it revealed a mountain of new details about Chrome OS, the company’s new operating system due in late 2010. It is a completely different type of OS (we provide a summary of how) that eliminates the desktop and focuses on getting you on the web quickly and efficiently. Now that we’ve had some time to digest Chrome OS and get information on all some of the details, it’s time to ask the big questions in order to understand if or how Chrome OS could change the world. What is Google’s eventual goal with Chrome OS? How will it affect Microsoft? And finally, what impact will Chrome OS have on the world?
Microsoft's in-house dev team revealed an experimental tool called Pivot, a whole new dynamic way of interacting with data on the Web and on your PC. Will it change everything? Maybe not, but it is a sign of the way things will go. Pivot combines the ideas behind web-browsing, web search, image organizing and text information into one big data soup that has some clever graphical tools to help you sift through it for the information you're interested in finding. To extend that analogy further, Pivot's real power is that it lets you see the whole data soup at once, stir it around to see new details within it, or zoom right in to see some of the individual ingredients.
Social media is a humbling topic, one that I do not approach without deep study and reﬂection. On the surface, social media has democratized content, placing the power of publishing in the hands of every day people. Peeling back the collective layers, we realize something more profound however; social media has democratized and equalized inﬂuence and the ability to inspire action and establish vibrant and dedicated communities around a sense of purpose and belonging. Whether we’re consumers or brand advocates or both, we have been given a powerful gift in the form of real-time, uninhibited access to information and intelligence and the people who share their insights—the new inﬂuencers. It is how we choose to embrace this gift and as such employ it and also interact with new inﬂuencers that deﬁnes our presence and stature within the social landscape and in turn, the real world. Indeed social media is a privilege and with it comes great responsibility (and accountability).
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.
In this continuing economic roller coaster, marketers have become more open to different ways to optimize their end-to-end marketing funnel. Increasingly, they're turning their attention site-side, where any improvements in conversion rates can lift the ROI of every marketing channel and infuse new efficiencies into the marketing mix as a whole. This shift in focus marks a milestone for e-businesses, who have had processes in place to optimize acquisition ad channels for years. Most likely due to the money regularly being spent on media, optimizing search marketing campaigns, display ads and other efforts have long been top of mind for marketers looking to get more done with fewer resources.
Every hour thousands of new videos are uploaded online. Blog posts are written and published. Millions of tweets and other short messages are shared. To say there is a flood of content being created online now seems like a serious understatement. Until now, the interesting thing is that there are relatively few technologies or tools that have been adopted in a widespread way to manage this deluge. We pretty much just have algorithmic search, with Google (and other search engines) as the most obvious example. Social bookmarking and social news have been around for some time (ie - sites like Digg or delicious), and new models of aggregation like Alltop are springing up to help us navigate all this content as well. The real question is whether solutions like these will be enough. By some estimates in just a few years we will reach a point where all the information on the Internet will double every 72 hours. Double.
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.
If you have recently searched for "Kenya safari," "gold jewelery," or "insurance price comparison" lately, you are responsible. Responsible, that is, for an article published last week in the Financial Times that claims how these search terms and others like them "suggest that consumer confidence is perking up." According to the FT, search query patterns suggest that "consumer sentiment in the UK is up 6 per cent since the beginning of the year." These figures are based on data from Google's Barometer, which tracks a basket of 50 positive keywords and 50 negative keywords to gauge the health of the overall economy. Created in response to the recession, this type of trend spotting within Google search data is part of a wider effort at Google to demonstrate how patterns in search queries can not only alert marketers to emerging trends but also accurately model real-world phenomena.
Watch this video by Bruce Nussbaum, BusinessWeek's innovation editor and veteran employee with the company. It's a fascinating illustration of the shifts in business we are seeing in real time. Media outlets in particular have been on the front lines of this shift. As I've said many times before, the Web and its latest social iteration has introduced ultra deep and pervasive niche content and experiences which directly compete with many business models. There is a unique online destination for everyone, no matter how specialized the interest. The network economy is the opposite of mass—it's niche, fragmented and content distributers are feeling the heat.
The web knows something, but it's not telling us, at least not yet. The web knows how many followers you have on Twitter, how many friends you have on Facebook, how many people read your blog. It also knows how often those people retweet, amplify and spread your ideas. It also knows how many followers your followers have... So, what if, Google-style, someone took all this data and figured out who has clout. Which of your readers is the one capable of making an idea break through the noise and spread?
The other day, we highlighted some of the ways that magazines are diversifying their business models to remain both relevant and solvent as more and more of their audience moves online. We suspect (and hope) that print and by extension, traditional storytelling will always have its place, but there is clearly a shift towards multimedia narratives - combining video, audio and other interactive features - taking place as more publications bolster their reporting with additional content available online.
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.
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.
On the morning of April 15, 2009, everything looked bright for Domino’s Pizza. The company’s share price had risen overnight, the group’s expansion plan was on track, and the brand was as strong as ever. But at 3:32 pm that very afternoon, the first text messages began beeping their arrival on the CEO’s mobile phone. They kept coming – one after the next, after the next. The phone’s inbox maxed out. The voicemail message light was blinking in overdrive, and soon filled to capacity.
Freaking out about the easier opt-outs proposed by some online-privacy advocates? Maybe you don't have so much to worry about. In June, Fetchback, an advertising network that specializes in ad "retargeting," added a link within its ad units that, when clicked, took consumers to a page that explained who the advertiser was and how the ad got there and gave contact info for Fetchback, as well as a way to opt out of future targeting.
Erik Beck, a 27-year-old Californian, has some 3 million fans who tune in monthly to his Web-based show, IndyMogul. The special effects video guide teaches aspiring film makers how to create car crash scenes without actually destroying their vehicles. The longtime amateur video maker has become the go-to guy for the 18- to 34 year-old crowd and, more recently, the marketers trying to woo them.
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?
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.
Last week Google informally gave a heads-up that we should all be expecting a change in its main Web search results, based on a new update to search technology that mostly affects its indexing process. Dubbed Google Caffeine, it is a "secret project" considered to be next-generation architecture for Google Web search. And in addition to shaking up the results a bit, it may also pave new roads toward the goal of real-time search results.
Ben Huh is the first to admit his company could easily have wound up on FAIL Blog. For the uninitiated, that's his wildly popular website to which users submit photos and videos documenting such colossally stupid moves as writing a billboard partly in Braille and using a trash can as a bike helmet. Like the rest of the 20-odd websites Huh owns, FAIL Blog was added to his empire for no more specific reason, he says, than "Dude, I think it's funny."
Spreading a branded video message on the internet isn't alchemy; it's common sense. Trust me, I've seen hundreds -- both good and bad. Here are five things that we're seeing work today to "hit to spread."
The buzz for the arrival of the 2010 Ford Fiesta subcompact car in the United States is building. That's no small task, given that Ford hasn't sold a car called the Fiesta in the United States since the period from 1978 to 1980.
The office at Ninth Street and Broadway in Manhattan in the former Wanamaker’s department store has all of the trademarks of a well-financed digital start-up. Young people eat pizza and chat about applications while others are jammed into conference rooms discussing search optimization. The only oddity in the futuristic tableau comes when you step off the elevator to see three large letters: A O L.
Some people will stop at nothing to snap up a bargain — even if it means paying too much. That is the paradoxical principle behind Swoopo, a Web site that offers a seductive and controversial proposition to online shoppers.
This is going to be a column that focuses on a terrible, tooth-hurting phrase, for which I apologize in advance. But there's no way around it. The phrase is "below the line," as it applies to marketing. It refers, generally, to all forms of marketing that do not involve advertising in specific media. "Below the line" is not Web advertising. It is things such as in-store events, guerrilla stunts that drum up media coverage, and company-built Web sites. A pop-up—a temporary store—showcasing a newish product in a heavily trafficked area? A (very au courant) below-the-line move.
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.
Media companies know that they’re not the only voices in the auditorium –the audience now talks back. They create media, content, and share it directly with each other on social sites —now brands, like Warner seek to embrace them closer. Rather than allow this inevitable social interaction on social networks like MySpace, they want to take it back by launching their own social features.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The recent skirmish between Apple and Google -- filled with legal innuendos, regulatory scuffles and high-profile departures -- has, if anything, crystallized for me what I had been thinking for the past six months: what we have been witnessing is nothing less than a battle for the future of the surfable Web. On one hand, we have Google, which favors the widest, broadest Web possible, so that its cash cow Google Search functionality remains the key to the discovery of all content on the unruly, unmanageable Web, filled with ripcurls and big waves. On the other hand, we have Apple, which favors a Web that can be managed simply and efficiently from apps downloaded for $1.99 or less from its wildly-popular Apps store. (All apps, in fact, except that pesky little Google Voice app!) Which leads to the inevitable question: how often do you actually "surf" the Web anymore?
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.
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.
For all the concern and uproar over online privacy, marketers and data companies have always known much more about consumers’ offline lives, like income, credit score, home ownership, even what car they drive and whether they have a hunting license. Recently, some of these companies have started connecting this mountain of information to consumers’ browsers.
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.
As actors such as Ashton Kutcher use their production companies to experiment with branded entertainment in front of the camera, others, including Milo Ventimiglia, are looking to go one step further by developing original web content with brands in mind.
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.
Conde Nast will shut down one of its web-only brands, Men.Style.com, when it gives two of its titles, GQ and Details, their own websites in October. The move marks a partial dismantling of Conde Nast's strategy of creating web-only brands to house magazine content, such as Style.com, Epicurious.com and Concierge.com, and the realization that in many cases the best brand for the web is the one that's been successful in print.
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?
Not only are fans spreading the word about products—they're now helping to design and build marketing campaigns from the get-go.
What big brands do the best job with social media? A new study by analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint ranks the top 100 brands by social media engagement.
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.
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.
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.
It is tempting to start slicing and dicing the spend now, even if we don't know how to precisely define waste in the marketing plan. Perhaps some rules of engagement are in order.
Meet Simon, a laid-back groom who’s in way over his head in the world of wedding planning. And meet Rochelle, a budding bridezilla prone to shrieking meltdowns over flower arrangements. Watch these two head toward the Big Day, mockumentary style, and wackiness will no doubt ensue. That’s the premise of a new series called Road to the Altar from MWG Entertainment, a Los Angeles digital production house that has gathered Pier 1 Imports, iRobot and Panda Express as brand integration partners and got semi well-known actors like Jaleel White (Urkel from Family Matters) and Leyna Weber (of Days of Our Lives) as stars. But don’t look for the show on any of the broadcast or cable networks. It’s available via YouTube, Joost, Sling and various mobile platforms.
The central premise of the Sputnik project is that everything is connected to everything else, and that topics and ideas that may seem fringe and even heretical to the mainstream world are in fact being investigated by leading thinkers working in fields as diverse as quantum physics, mathematics, neuroscience, biology, economics, architecture, digital art, video games, computer science and music. Sputnik is dedicated to bringing these crucial ideas from the fringes of thought out into the limelight, so that the world can begin to understand them.
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.
Real time search is nothing new. It is a problem we’ve been working on for at least ten years, and we likely will still be trying to solve it ten years from now. It’s a really hard problem which we used to call “live web search,” which was coined by Allen Searls (Doc’s son) and refers to the web that is alive, with time as an element, in all factors including search.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The social web trend is more or less complete. Oprah's gone Twitter, your co-worker has a MySpace problem, and if your parents aren't bugging you with Facebook movie quiz invites, they probably will be by the time you're done reading this. People are flocking to these sites in record numbers, as Facebook now boasts over 200 million users worldwide, and Twitter has grown 3,000 per cent since last year. But for the social web to evolve into its final stage and take flight, the walls that separate these services, their users, and everything they create are going to have to come down.
I believed in the power of the World Wide Web way back in 1991. Why?
Yesterday, during the Google I/O keynote, Google’s VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra, laid out a grand vision for the direction Google sees the web heading towards with the move to the HTML 5 standard. While we’re not there yet, all the major browser players besides Microsoft are aligned and ready for the next phase, which will include such things as the ability to run 3D games and movies in the browser without additional plug-ins. But Google wants to take it one step further with a brand new method of communication for this new era. It’s called Google Wave.
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).
The Web can prove challenging for advertisers, but leading industry figures gathered today to say how they would change that dynamic instead chose to focus on how advertising needs to change.
Reaching consumers is both easier and more complex as outreach options proliferate. With the growth of cable and satellite, TV channel availability has more than tripled since 1990. And while traditional vehicles are still vital, more immediate and ubiquitous media are taking a hold. Online and mobile video viewing is exploding and time-shifted TV is growing. Market-leading retailers are learning to embrace new media technologies, incorporating them into the promotional arsenal even as paper coupons enjoy a resurgence of interest.
"As we move from the era of computing into the era of the Internet, we no longer need to worry about computer-human interaction." Joel Spolsky told a group of programmers at Google last month. "What we do have to think about [in the era of social networking] is human to human interaction," he said. And according to Spolsky, to do that, you have to think as an anthropologist does.
As Edelman's crystal-ball guy, I can't go to a meeting without being asked what will succeed Twitter or Facebook as the future king of community. It's unfortunate, but it's just how history has conditioned us to think. Communities come and go. Hubs seem to lose their innovation edge just as consumers grow more fickle, new venues emerge and viable monetization options remain scarce. If history repeats itself, Facebook and Twitter will one day be replaced by something else. This time, however, it will be the open web.
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.
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.
Facebook talks about it, Twitter feels like it, but only FriendFeed has managed to pull it off. The web is moving to another gear, with the lifestreaming site founded by former Google workers launching the first truly real-time social media service today.
Kosmix, a well-financed Silicon Valley start-up, is often described on blogs and news sites as a search engine that may someday rival Google.
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.
I went to Magazines 24/7 "Navigating the new reality" with the intention of just covering the MPA's 3rd Annual Digital Awards but I found myself at the session "Print vs Web: The Editorial Challenge" writing feverishly and grunting in motivated agreement. It's a close-to-the-heart topic, it's no secret that I work for a publisher and we have two print mags (industry specific and quite awesome), so it also shouldn't be a secret that with new delivery channels come new challenges, arguments, and arm flailing.
One day last summer, Google’s search engine trundled quietly past a milestone. It added the one trillionth address to the list of Web pages it knows about. But as impossibly big as that number may seem, it represents only a fraction of the entire Web.
Last week I was speaking on a panel called "Ask The SEOs" at SMX West. It's a fun panel that I'm lucky enough to participate on at a lot of shows. The concept is very straightforward. Put a handful of SEO experts on stage and give them two fewer microphones than there are panelists and let the audience pepper them with questions.
With its new initiative to let mobile carriers and publishers embed Google search boxes on their sites, the Internet giant takes another step toward extending its search dominance to the mobile Web.
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.
Leveraging the passionate, creative Web surfer, Jim Beam is launching "The Remake" contest, designed to challenge fans to create spoofed versions of "The Girlfriend" as well as two other commercials, "The Party" and "The Tragedy" (think beautiful lesbians). The contest dangles a grand prize of $25,000, a trip for four to Las Vegas, and a chance to have the winning video showcased on JimBeam.com.
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.
Every year, we see scores of innovations trickle onto the web — everything from new browser features to cool web apps to entire programming languages. Some completely blow our minds with their utility and ingenuity — and become must-haves.
Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington talks about the nature of blogging and competition on the Web.
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.