Monday, February 26, 2007

Panama's off to a strong start

ComScore Networks has released results of a study tracking the success of Yahoo!'s new search advertising system Project Panama.

Since making its debut on Feb. 5th, Panama is being credited with an uptick in Yahoo's clickthrough rates for sponsored search ads.

ComScore's study affirmed that fact by tracking the online behavior of 1 million internet users and determining that with the rollout of Panama, the new ranking model was responsible for a 5 percent increase in clickthroughs for the week ending Feb. 11, and a 9 percent increase for the week ending Feb. 18.

"ComScore data show that the recent introduction of Yahoo's new search marketing ranking model is already having a positive impact on the clickthrough rates for Yahoo's search advertising," said James Lamberti, comScore senior vice president of media and search solutions.

According to comScore, Panama has also created a shift in the composition of total click volume from algorithmic to sponsored.


eMarketer predicts falling growth in online ad spending

According to new eMarketer estimates, online ad spending in the United States will rise by 19 percent in 2007, significantly less than the 30 percent increases the last three years.

eMarketer further projects annual growth falling to 13 percent by the end of 2011. Growth estimates are based on three premises, according to eMarketer senior analyst David Hallerman:

  1. Even if the economy slows down, continued growth in the online audience and the need for advertising to follow that audience will drive an ongoing shift away from other media, most notably newspapers and radio.
  2. The opportunities for better targeting and more accurate tracking offered by online advertising relative to other media makes spending on the internet even more appealing in a soft economy.
  3. As online video advertising becomes more widely used, large brand marketers who have up to now only dipped their toes online will devote increasingly greater budget shares to the internet.


CBS moves into the neighborhood

CBS is moving into the Second Life neighborhood as a new partnership was announced today with The Electric Sheep Company.

CBS is hoping to connect with its audience and advertisers in the new interactive platform. CEO of The Electric Sheep Company Sibley Verbeck cited virtual worlds as a prime opportunity to build communities and create new advertising opportunities.

"Virtual worlds are the first successful incarnation of interactive television. They provide a 3-D, immersive environment in which fans can meet each other, interact with characters or cast members, and generate their own content. This partnership will allow us to explore new potential for CBS' content, and that of all our current and future customers, in the virtual space," said Verbeck.

CBS and The Electric Sheep company have raised 7 million dollars in funding together in their first round of fundraising for future projects. Exact specifications of the features planned for CBS' virtual world have yet to be disclosed.


AdSense formally takes on video advertising

Google has formalized its video AdSense program. Video ads now appear inside Google ad boxes on sites that are relevant to the content of the videos, and ads run during or after the content. Google shares the ad revenue with both the video provider and the site showing the video.
Google has already struck video content deals with Conde Nast, MTV and The Wall Street Journal.

See it in action below!


A Wikipedia Search Engine ?

"Search is a fundamental part of the infrastructure of the Internet and therefore human society as a whole," he added. "The main idea will be to change the competitive landscape of search and encourage global innovation."

Wales, Wikipedia co-founder, announced from Chennai, India " his vision for the search engine that would follow the principles of online collaboration made popular by Wikipedia: the search algorithms will be published; it will be open to the online community for testing; the search engine itself will be open to all for scrutiny. "

The Wiki search engine will be up and running by the end of the year.

Posted in the Hindu times just 12 hours ago.


The Real Revolution: The Web 2.0 hype or Proprietary content ?

"As an academic researcher, I am continually impressed by the excellent online databases that are (according to the email marketing, sometimes highly accurate) available for $2,995.00. C’mon guys. I’m a scholar. And what happened to “openness” and “community”?"
writes Professor Thomas W. Hazlett.
In is Financial Times article "The global village and the madness of e-crowds"below, he warns us of the overhype of web 2.0, user generated content and open source is crowding out part of the real story.

Just like with wireless tech. "While 2.5bn people were subscribing to mobile networks, the tech spotlight was on … WiFi. While a handy way to make a DSL connection cordless, the disruptive technology claims were wrong. Not many folks dropping their mobile subscription to talk from their “hotspot.”"

The real revolution is in Proprietary Content."Proprietary content is growing like a Paris Hilton video gone viral, with firms like Gartner, Forrester, Yankee Group, IDC and McKinsey & Co. charging fat fees for specialised content of keen interest to deep-pocket customers(...)Yes, the dramatic lowering of distribution costs allows information to travel on a budget. That is an oomph for markets, and perhaps a double-oomph for democracy.

It is a good reminder to look a the whole picture and not to get carried away by the "e-crowd hype" that could blind us to other important opportunities.

The point is not that “closed” beats “open,” but that capitalism accommodates both. Rules need not be changed to embrace the revolution. Markets thrust revolutions upon us, boldly and magnificently, far more often than we care to remember."


China's & online piracy

China's piracy: not just cheap goods; movies, publishing and software too...

In the article below "Chinese Government promises to help fight online piracy" the author claims that "Piracy rate of software in China reached 86 percent last year and resulted in more than three billion dollars in losses by 2005"

Can this realistically be done and do they have an interest in stopping it?

Probably not until they have their own software companies losing big dollars to piracy.


Next Generation Search : guided navigation & audio/video search

Interesting new ideas in search :

A "Social Radio" , "Phonetic Audio Tag" search and more...

"A Look at the Next Generation of Search?" below suggests two main directions in the future of serach: guided navigation an video/audio search.


"The Long Tail of Bud"

"The Long Tail of Bud" article below illustrates how big corp are trying to tap the long tail effect; here with Bud's example, going from 26 to 80 brands - with new microbrews, only in Texas beers and beers for Women.

The interesting question is whether the concept extends to the physical world with limited shelf space or is a web based phenomenon only ?
In the long term will it help solidify the grip of big co or will it really open the doors for small businesses?


Sunday, February 25, 2007

A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Research Source

Not so quick to rebuff the door to door salesman. Wikipiedia is not yet Encylopedia Brittanica.

From the New York Times

When half a dozen students in Neil Waters’s Japanese history class at Middlebury College asserted on exams that the Jesuits supported the Shimabara Rebellion in 17th-century Japan, he knew something was wrong. The Jesuits were in “no position to aid a revolution,” he said; the few of them in Japan were in hiding.
He figured out the problem soon enough. The obscure, though incorrect, information was from Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia, and the students had picked it up cramming for his exam.
Dr. Waters and other professors in the history department had begun noticing about a year ago that students were citing Wikipedia as a source in their papers. When confronted, many would say that their high school teachers had allowed the practice.
But the errors on the Japanese history test last semester were the last straw. At Dr. Waters’s urging, the Middlebury history department notified its students this month that Wikipedia could not be cited in papers or exams, and that students could not “point to Wikipedia or any similar source that may appear in the future to escape the consequences of errors.”

The article continues at


Amazon invest in Shelfari

Amazon has invested $1 m in Shelfari, a website where users input all of the books they own, and have an online visual representation of their library to share with others. Users can share their library through the Shelfari website or via a widget, and make money by linking to the books for sale at Amazon. It's a new idea of user generated content.
Let's see how it evolves.


My Space is starting to block third party widgets

I read this article about MySpace blocking Imeem, some popular widget that you can use. This is the just the last of a series of blocked widgests: Vidilife, Stickam and Revver. It seems that MySpace don't want anyone to make money from their huge base of users.
How will this movement affect our last speaker?


Saturday, February 24, 2007

What Americans are doing on the Internet.

Curious about Internet usage statistics? Check out They have some really interesting and well presented industry data. It will be helpful for anyone looking for a little insight to online marketing.

For example, check out the top visited web sites

Rank Website Market Share
1. 5.38%
2. 4.34%
3. 4.17%
4. 4.14%
5. 3.49%
6. 2.02%
7. 1.8%
8. 1.62%
9. 1.4%
10. 0.74%
11. 0.69%
12. 0.5%
13. 0.44%
14. 0.42%
15. 0.36%
16. 0.36%
17. 0.32%
18. 0.31%
19. 0.31%
20. 0.3%

Source - Hitwise - January, 2007 - based on market share of visits.

I thought it would be interesting to compare with statistics. has a little different ranking for the most popular web sites:
1. Yahoo!
2. Google
3. MySpace
4. MSN
5. EBay
6. YouTube
7. FaceBook
8. Wikipedia
9. Craigslist
10. Amazon

Hitwise has some other interesting data reports, like the top 4 fastest moving sites

Or you can search specific industries for most popular search terms.

The terms listed below are ranked by volume of searches that successfully drove traffic to websites in the Hitwise Music category for the 4 weeks ending January 27, 2007, based on US Internet usage.

Rank Search Term Volume
1. lyrics 2.22%
2. song lyrics 0.76%
3. guitar tabs 0.64%
4. free music downloads 0.36%
5. music 0.35%
6. britney spears 0.23%
7. myspace 0.23%
8. 0.22%
9. mtv 0.21%
10. american idol 0.21%

Could it be? Britney is ranked above MySpace?


Friday, February 23, 2007

Google takes on Microsoft Office

Google today announced the launch of a new bundle of services targeted at corporations which include web based word processing and spreadsheet applications. Still in beta, the applications are being tested at several blue-chip corporations including General Electric.

The new package is said to priced at $50 per user, per year and includes significantly more email storage and technical support. Google has hinted that a blogging tool will be added to the budle next year.

Google has always denied that it has any interest in going head-tohead with Microsoft in the corporate software department, yet they announced the launch of the Premier Edition just as Microsoft announced the launch of Office 2007.

The Google Apps offering is what is known in technology circles as "hosted" software or "software as a service." Instead of running software on their own computers, companies rely on tech providers such as Google to run the software. Users then access the applications over the Internet through their Web browsers. Companies are spared most of the headaches of installing and managing software themselves and generally pay based on just how many employees use the product.

Trade-offs with such services can include less-sophisticated functions, issues with the security of data stored outside a corporation, and the inability to easily work on documents when there is no Internet connection, such as on a plane.

Revised version of a Wall Street Journal article (Kevin DeLaney, Feb 22 2007)


Google and Yahoo Join Ranks of Top 30 Media Companies in the world

Time Warner tops this years list. The top 30 companies collectively generated $215 billion in media revenues. The rankings are based on revenues from activities that support advertising. The revenues are from 2005, or the nearest equivalent for companies whose financial years are different from calendar years.

In all, 16 of the top 30 media owners are from the U.S. The other countries with media owners in the top 30 are Japan, France, the U.K., Germany, Italy and Mexico. Non-American companies on the top 30 list include Axel Springer, Bertelsmann, BSkyB, ITV plc., Fuji TV and Televisa.

Two new-media companies are in the top 30: Google, at 13th, and Yahoo!, at 15th.

The ranking forms part of a new report from ZenithOptimedia called the Top Thirty Global Media Owners.


IPTV and Web 2.0 Getting Together

Verizon Offers Revver UGC Content to Pay-TV, Broadband Consumers
NEW YORK, February 22: Customers of Verizon’s FiOS TV pay-TV service, as well as its broadband customers, will soon have free access to content from the viral videos marketplace

Verizon will deliver selected Revver videos and other Internet video content to the TV sets of FiOS TV customers as part of its next-generation FiOS TV service later this year. Revver content will also launch on Verizon's Surround broadband entertainment portal by the end of the first quarter. Verizon customers will now be able to stream premium Revver videos on their TV sets and PCs. Through a separate agreement, Verizon Wireless already makes Revver videos available to Verizon Wireless customers with V CAST-enabled handsets.

Revver is the first online video service to compensate users for sharing content online, with a 50/50 revenue split. It says it does not accept copyright-infringing content.

"We're joining with Revver to bring the user-generated video phenomenon to the TV set," said Marilyn O'Connell, Verizon’s senior VP of video solutions. "Backed by Verizon's technology, we'll make it easy for our FiOS TV and broadband customers to enjoy the best of the cutting-edge videos that Revver is known for. This is just another way that FiOS continues to distinguish itself from old-fashioned TV."

Steven Starr, the founder and CEO of Revver, added: "Revver prides itself on attracting the very best digital video creators who are producing entertainment for the Internet today. This initiative will help us further support our creators by bringing their content to a whole new TV audience. It's a fantastic opportunity for our company and the growing Revver community."


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A video is worth a million words - Travel, College Tours etc.

Last week we talked about the travel industry and the Internet. Here's an interesting website:

I believe this is a brilliant site that encapsulates all that web 2.0 has to offer: Online videos, LongTail advertising etc. I don't want to give away too much. Please do visit this site.


College Video Tours

Yes, the world is getting divided into niches and there is more demand for videos on every category that can be imagined. Check out
This site is all about producing and aggregating video contents from students of colleges about their campus tours. Now, who wants to start one for the business schools? :-)
If you have an idea, play with it at


Second Life Job Fairs

TMP Worldwide is hosting job fairs and conducting interviews in the Second Life Universe. Companies can target the digital savvy 24-44 year audience for employment. This is not a job for Second Life avatars; the actual users can get employment in their "first" life. Employees beware: recruiters will search out your real stats based on real-life resumes, names, and email addresses.

When I searched Second Life for Job Fairs, the first thing that came up was an ad for Male and Female strippers at The Virgin Club. If this is appealing to you, here’s the link to apply:

While the Virgin Club is a Second Life place, real companies are considering adding a virtual HR department to their online versions.

If you want to get a career IN Second-life. Here are a list of Second Life Avatar careers that are creating $ for their users.

party and wedding planner
pet manufacturer
casino operator
nightclub owner
automotive manufacturer
fashion designer
aerospace engineer
custom avatar designer
jewelry maker
XML coder
freelance scripter
game developer
fine artist
machinima set designer
tour guide
custom animation creator
lottery operator
theme park developer
real estate speculator
vacation resort owner
private detective
special effects designer
hug maker

What is a hug maker?


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ad Execs reaction to 2006 media additions

The media landscape is always changing at a rapid pace. 2007 is expected to see more innovations than in previous years. Will marketers be ready?

A study of Ad Execs by American Advertising Federation found that the innovations in 2006 took the leaders by surprise. YouTube, mash-ups, and Second Life were among the latest things that were not predictable at the beginning of 2006.

What will 2007 bring and will we be prepared?


DMR and Piracy

I have been argueing for a long time now that DRM has two different effects: 1) completely piss off users; 2) make users break the law and become pirates.

The following article from Wired, "How To Explain DRM to your Dad", gives a lot of examples that support my thesis. In summary, what usually happens is that after buying legally music, DVDs, ... there is one point in time when you have no choice that break the law to keep enjoying your legally acquired content. In my personal experience, my DVD collection with more than 100 titles that just play in Europe not in US.


Challenges for the movie download industry

I have been arguing for some time now that, among others, those two are really important challenges for the new Movie Download Industry in order to succedd:

  1. Quality: with HD TV becoming more a more popular, what is the reason to buy a movie on Internet with qualities close to DVD: "4 times less than a HD TV movie"

  2. Piracy: with the option of downloading content for free, what is the incentive to pay per content.

It seems that Duggmirror shares my concerns at some level. In that webpage, they made an interesting analysis linking both concepts. It seems that not only is free, but pirated movies have higher quality with similar file sizes than iTunes Movies. It is going to be a tough market to compete in.


Viacom goes for Joost

After ditching YouTube, Viacom has signed a broad licensing deal with Joost. Joost's promise that it would protect Viacom's copyrights was a major factor in VIA's decision to pursue the deal. The same issue was a stumbling block in the company's talks with Google.

Joost was started by the guys behind Skype and is currently in testing phase. You can currently sign up for their beta and tinker around with the program. They're planning to launch in June...



Monday, February 19, 2007

(MSN's) YouTube

After watching on the sidelines as Google snatched up YouTube for $1.65 billion, Microsoft has recently announced their own version of YouTube called Soapbox. It was just a matter of time, wasn't it?

In a very Web 2.0 way, Soapbox will allow users to upload their digital videos online and also tag them to let other users find them quickly. (Wow, except YouTube already does this).

Word on the street is that Microsoft will provide more direction on their financial expenditures in this online realm this Thursday so look out for the news.

Microsoft has the luxury of sitting back and entering this space late due to the billions of dollars per month they generate in FCF, but as most new projects, this may not be the winner they were hoping for, especially with younger users turned off by the old-school MSN branded website.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

"In" is the new "Up"

NEW YORK ( -- Yahoo kicked off a new era in TV upfront history by inaugurating its own "infront" conference at a theater here last night. The message to classically trained TV media buyers: The age of digital media is here, and Yahoo is laying its claim on the dollars chasing 18- to 34-year-olds.....

"We're not here to trash television," she said. But, she noted, 17% of a consumer's time is spent online, and only 6% of ad dollars are spent there. While people always say it's not about the money, "that spread of 11 points ... that's very much about the money," she said. Moving dollars online, she said, is about "replacing hope with certainty. ... We're here today to gently coax new thinking as media plans are created."


My opinion: Brilliant.

Key Takeaway: The main complaints lodged by audience members seem to be related to the overuse of marketing jargon and the "underuse" of entertainment at the conference (see image of the incredibly dry mainstage above). The key takeaway: if you want companies to buy online ad "time," you better be very clear on what it's going to bring them. Razzle Dazzle 'em...

My Questions: Why does this seem to be so difficult to do? Isn't online advertising the most measurable form of advertising out there?


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Dell 2.0

Since Michael Dell came back to manage the company he built years ago, changes are accelerating.

One of the main ideas is to bring the concept of Web2.0 to the corporate world. So far Dell has a team of people actively reading blogs, webpages, reviews ... to have a real idea of what users thing about Dell products.

Now, they have launched a new project: IdeaStorm. The goal is to convert Dell in a 2.0 company. That means let users suggest what new products they must launch, what things to change, services to implement, ...

Dell has also launched a StudioDell video site where there's a button that allows users to upload their own video testimonials. There's an introductory video from Michael Dell, explaining IdeaStorm and StudioDell.

It is a really challenging idea for an industry that has been struggling to offer reliable products with value added.

Read more... VS

The oldest battle in the world gets tech update...but I tend to think its for the worse.

There now web sites (see WSJ WE edition) allow yourself to tell everyhting you think about your ex date. Of course, its everything bad...:

On the front page of, you have a picture of a guy, his name and a link to the full comment:

"name of the guy"...he's no good. He's a follower and a loser. Ladies, don't waste your time on this boy. For clearer pics of him go on his website and click "Slideshow" @ (A girl in pink is sitting on his lap)

It feels good to talk or write about a frustrating relationship, sure. Friends are helpful there. But the Web is a really powerful media and one way blogs do not offer a chance for answering, testing good against bad faith or even rehabilitating.

I think it's a good illustration of the limits of web 2.0. a-the level of posts on those blogs is a bit scary. It does not fly high
b-it opens legal issues and does not offer any solution. There's been a couple of suits filed against the site and bloggers already. ..


Friday, February 16, 2007

Mashed Without the Lumps

Nike, like many companies this year, has enlisted users to create ads for their new product, Air Force. Nike has decided to take advantage of the popularity of "mashing" on YouTube. They offer a variety of clips and sound tracks that can be edited together by the user into a 1-minute ad. This isn't mashing in the purely democratic, free-for-all kind that has been the hallmark of YouTube. You are limited to their menu of clips and music and all ads will end with "The Second Coming," the tag line for the new product, and a patented Nike swoosh.

From a marketer's perspective, this sounds pretty amazing. You are engaging the consumer with your brand while generating buzz about the Air Force sneakers. Proud mashers will be sending their clip (i.e., your advertisement) around so all their friends can watch. PLUS, you get to see what your brand means to these users by which clips and music they choose. If Nike is smart, they will listen closely to hear where their brand is going when it is out of headquarters and in the street. Check out these two videos posted on YouTube and you'll see how different brand perceptions can be. (Wish I could post the videos but YouTube won't let me!)

Italian Craftsmanship

Detroit Attitude

From a user perspective, however, I am curious to see the reaction. Will mashers accept the limitations or are they contradictory with the whole idea of mashing. It seems that in this world, no one is supposed to claim ownership over any content and use by others should be a form of flattery, just as jazz musicians used to riff off of other artists' tunes. While this surrender of the material is unacceptable to a marketer, it may be difficult to come off as genuine in this milieu while keeping a grip of the left-brain of Web 2.0.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

NY Video 2.0 Meetup

This is an awsome community for people who are interested in Web 2.0 and video on the internet.

To learn more or RSVP for the next event visit:

Feb 21 7:30 PM
Our next Meetup: NY Video 2.0 February MeetupRSVP now
February presenters list:
1. Vidavee - Mark Brenner, Founder & CEO
2. Outhink Media - Jay Dedman (Videoblogging pioneer)
3. enScramble - John Cooper, Tech Lead http://www.enscramble... Read more
Wednesday, Feb 21, 2007, 7:30 PM 20070222T003000Z
Columbia Business School - 301 Uris Hall
Broadway and 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
RSVP limit
Only 300 members (including guests) can RSVP 'Yes' or 'Maybe' for this Meetup. There's still room for 122 more.
161 members have said Yes
17 members have said Maybe


A new world for advertisement has been born

I have read two different articles these past weeks that together are even frightening. On one hand, Mini (by BMW) has launch a marketing campaign in billboards all across New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami. Those billboards (see picture) are able to read RFID information from Mini cars, therefore users can customize the message in the billboard with anything they want when they drive close to the billboard. It is getting close to the future presented by the movie Minority Report.

For those that have no idea what RFID is, let's say that is going to be the BarCode of the future. All the products are getting tagged with RFID chips that send information to computers without requiring a scanner or similar. Let's compare to a wireless barcode.

Some uses are:
  • Supermarkets: you buy what you want and you don't have to take everything off your cart to pay for it. As soon as you are in front of the cashier, the computer knows how much it is. Even, I saw one test of carts with a display that shows you how much it is.
  • Distribution industry, Inventory Management: there is no more need for manual recounts or checking. The SKUs are telling you: "I'm here or not"
Now, the scary part, Hitachi has announced a couple of days ago that they have produced RFID chips so smaller that can be confuse with powder. Look at the image, the right part shows a human hair with lots of chips around. Be prepared to have dozens of RFID chips close to you in the next years: your pants, your shirts, your shoes, your food, your pills, your watch, ...

In terms of marketing, it has huge impact. You will get into a retail store and they will be able to know what is your size, what colors do you wear now, what are your favorite brands, ... I told you, scary future!!!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Vertical Search Engine - Here's one

I know we briefly discussed about specialty search engines aka vertical search engines in our class. I came across this one, Kosmix and this looks very interesting indeed.

These search engines are striving to filter out results and increase relevance in specialty areas. Everyone wants a share of the search engine pie. Google watch out!


New Social Media AD Widget

RSS ad network Pheedo has announceda new service tonight - an advertising widget powered by RSS and incorporating several social media tools. You can see an example in the webpage.

The idea is that some of the ads that companies are producing to attract customers to their sites are really amazing. Why do not rate them with Digg, Furl, Del.Icio.Us or Technorati? That's the goal of this new application.

Through RSS you will subscribe to different ads that will display (even with Video) on your widget and you will have the chance to rate them.

I must recognize that seems to be a complete out of the box idea, but I don't see yet the real application.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

AP cuts News Deal with CGM site

This is an interesting sign of the times...

The Associated Press and said Friday they had agreed to a partnership to let AP to use photographs, video and news from "citizen journalists" in its newsgathering operation.

....The AP said that in the first phase of the partnership, news and photo editors on its national news desks in New York will have the option of using selected content from to supplement the work of AP journalists.

By combining the editorial oversight of the AP editors with the vast network of newsgathering possible through 'citizen journalists", can the AP get the best of both worlds? It seems like a good model.... Althought I would be interested in seeing how everyone gets paid. The AP says that members will be compensated and recieve credit. But of course, the exact details have not been disclosed. (To be fair, they may not have figured them out yet...)

More from the announcement.


Monday, February 12, 2007

MySpace: Design Anarchy That Works

The social-networking site is no looker, and the freedom it gives users leads to some pretty loud results. But that may be the secret to its success

It came late to the market -- so late, in fact, that by the time it launched, people were already declaring the product category dead. It offered no new technology -- virtually every feature of the site was an imitation of something someone else had already done. It looked amateurish, lacking even the most basic level of visual consistency and appeal, never mind the high-gloss polish of its venture-backed competitors.

It seemed like an also-ran. But in less than two years it built up a community of more than 20 million users. And then it sold for half a billion dollars.

The site is MySpace, a social-networking space where people connect with their friends and make new ones as they share their interests and personalities through the blogs, photos, comments, video, and audio they post. MySpace has developed a particular appeal for young people because the site makes it especially easy for bands to set up pages to communicate with their fans.

Read the entire article.

I found this article particularly interesting given my distaste for MySpace and its poor design concept.


How does my Garage Band get discovered?

This was the general topic debated on the Music Panel at Columbia's own MBA Media and Entertainment Conference last Friday. The panel included distinguished members of the music label world, music subscription services, and A&R folks. All pointed to the fact that the fragmentation of albums into singles has pushed many artists into the world of creating only singles. (re: Kelly Clarkson)

Tip #1: Write all Singles for your next "Album"

Remember when you finished listening to Achtung Baby and thinking, "That is a great album!" Well, these days, artists are pressured into making radio friendly songs and slapping them together on an "album." This is to satiate the demands of buying songs one at a time in the iTunes model. Mr. Carreras, of RCA Records, spoke about the worried nature of traditional record labels as they pour the same or more money into album production & marketing, only to helplessly watch one particular song sell for $0.99.

Tip #2: Sign with a Major Record Label

As we asked on the panel - how do I distinguish my band from all the others on MySpace? Answer: Sign to a Major Record Label!!

A vicious cycle indeed.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Slashdot is trying

According to this screen capture posted in digg, it seems that is beta testing a new functionality that will bring together the outstanding user generated content with the social network effect.

The name would be Slashdot Firehose where users would be able to rate and vote posts like in digg. I guess that there are two main objectives:

a) Increase the time that users expend on, social places usually present a higher time per user on the page ratio

b) Create a better segmentation of the users that will lead to more advertisement dollars getting into


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Has Wikipedia any future?

A lot can be said about Wikipedia (both good and bad). There are some examples of misuse of the free initiative to create opinion, to change history, to influence politics, ...

On the other hand, it is a good example of what Web 2.0 is supposed to be: user collaboration, user generated content, open standards, fast evolving, ...

I was really surprised reading this comment from Florence Devouard (Chairwoman of the Wikimedia Foundation):

“At this point, Wikipedia has the financial ressources to run its servers for about 3 to 4 months. If we do not find additional funding, it is not impossible that Wikipedia might disappear”.

Those are her words at LIFT 07 and they bring old issues to the stage:
  • What is the business model behind Wikipedia?
  • What is the future of all those initiatives based on the user willingness to work for nothing (i.e. Linux software, Wikipedia,...)?
  • What the industry should support a free initiative with funds when there are legitimate companies providing solutions + support + rigor?
I'm sure that Wikipedia has help Britannica to understand that the rules of the game have changed, but I still feel more safe quoting an article from Britannica than one from Wikipedia.

Should Wikipedia die? Is all this some kind of PR campaign to collect funds?


Site is for Good. Doing Good is Hard.

As promised, here is the link to Kevin Bacon's jump into philanthropy: It's a cool concept: connect do-gooders through social networking by playing the celebrity card.

I personally think the whole concept would work more effectively if they played up the "game" aspect of six degrees a bit more. It's difficult from the website to immediately understand what the point is (other than to donate money to your favorite celebrities' charities).

Watch the message from Kevin below to understand his master plan:
(Sorry, I was not able to post the video itself.)


Digital media on the move

cf WSJ Feb 9
Ikea in the UK made an interesting move. they've hired their digital ad agency (the one they use for online advertising) to do off line advertising. it's interesting because so far off line ad agency have always been the "smart guys". Digital and online advertising weren't predominant. Now, because online ad allow so many things, including pre testing of campaigns, new forms of advertising, the online adgencies are getting the upper hand.
I don't really like the campaign however. it shows robots operating in a kitchen or having a marital-like dispute. Ikea is not so inspiring that it can project potential buyers into robots. well, i'm sure I did not get the message. The point is that online ad agencies are on the move!



First, There Was the Wheelbarrow...

"Clean Up Aisle 7"..."Earl, we were never in Aisle 7. Honest." Yes, I am referencing the supermarket scene from one of the all time cinematic greats, Mr. Mom. The film, while it interests me on many levels, is of note in this post for what it tells us about the world of cart-based shopping--it can be overwhelming at times.

Fear not fellow consumers, MediaCart has arrived! MediaCart will play digital video promotions, connect shoppers to information about the whereabouts of the products they are trying to buy, and inform stores through RFID technology about what these shoppers are looking at and what they are buying. While the concept seems to be angering some, I am personally not offended...yet.

It is easy to imagine how linking this tiny screen to the Internet could open some very interesting marketing opportunities:
1) The electronic coupon. Load coupons from manufacturers sites onto your virtual Kroger Shopping Cart account. Arrive at the store, login to your cart...and watch the discounts add up.
2) Recipe Search (a la Fresh Direct). Load your favorite recipes onto your account. Login and shop from your ingredient list.
3) In Store Comparison Shopping. Login to a special section of your friend's account to see what she recommends for you.


Yahoo!!! Launches Pipes

Pipes is a RSS Mixer that gives the user a lot of freedom about what he/she can do. Let me give some examples:
  • You want to look for specific news related with a concrete topic in a list of webpages (e.g., looking for Ferrari News in Road and Track, and Car Magazine)
  • You want to find in NY Times all the references to crimes in a 2 mile radio respect to your apartment
It seems to be a very powerful tool but I think is too complicated for the average user, but you can copy pipes from other users to your own space.


The Wizzards of Buzz

Get to know the folks who consistently rank at the top of, reddit. com and other voting-type sites. To find the key influencers, The WSJ analyzed more than 25,000 submissions across six major sites. Most of these people get a real kick out of being ranked highly week after week and some of them offer tips on how to stay on top.


Friday, February 09, 2007

George Bush isn't the only "Miserable Failure"

As we mentioned in class, Google announced a new algorithm in late January that aims to end Google bombing. I was curious what Google bombs used to be out there.

In the UK version of Google the search for "Liar" resulted in links to Tony Blair. And while "miserable failure" resulted in links to George Bush for US Google users, it leads to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s biography when "miserable failure" is written in Hebrew. A search for "Waffle" used to lead to links for J. Kerry. Another successful Google bomb connected "Scientology" and "Operation Clambake."

In a twist on Google bombing a parody web site made a fake website that is the highest result when searching for "French Military Victories." The link leads to a fake Google page that says, “Your search - french military victories - did not match any documents. Did you mean french military defeats?" And in 2003 a search for "Weapons of Mass Destruction" lead to a spoof error page saying, “These weapons of mass destruction can not be displayed.”

Wikipedia shares other Google bombs as well as information on spamdexing, or commercial bombing.

Here’s another list of Google bombs.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Do you Yahoo?

vs. Google

Google is still the leader in online search advertising, but Yahoo is making strides to catch up. On Feb 5th Yahoo switched to a new search advertising system, named Project Panama. Until now Yahoo gave advertising preference to those willing to pay the most. The new system will allow advertisers to pay for search terms bases on the popularity of these terms. Advertisements are based on the content of a web page in an attempt to get more ads clicked on. As you can see, in many ways Project Panama is trying to emulate what Google has already.

In 2006 Google made approximately 4.5 cents to 5 cents on every search while Yahoo made only 2.5 cents to 3 cents a search. It’s no surprise that shares in Yahoo have been down, especially since the launch of Project Panama was delayed almost 2 months. Recently they are on the rise again, showing confidence in the new system.

While the new system will likely bring more revenue into Yahoo, it’s really unclear exactly how much more. They are certainly a company to keep an eye on as they try to make up for ground lost to Google.

Some relevant articles:


Shelter From the Chaos

One of the most interesting ideas I saw in the articles this week was a home improvement site called The site is referred to as a "shelter site" that culls information and articles from several other sites and brings into one access point.

The site is being launched by Hachette Filipacchi Media. Content will come from several of the companies applicable holdings, such as Elle Decor. There will also be original content, such as question/answer sessions with professional decorators and seasonal plans. There will also be an interactive virtual room desiger.

As cool as all the content sounds, I think it is important to note the move from a fragmented set of sites to a synergistic portal that will be able to serve multiple needs of diverse customers. As good as the Internet is at serving niches, I think this type of umbrella or shelter stie will prove necessary, along with the mega-search sites like Google, as people try to find useful information on the millions of sites out there.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007


(CBS/AP) In a bid to compete with Apple's extremely popular MP3 player, Microsoft is launching a sleek player dubbed Zune. In July, the company gave a sneak preview of the device, but its potential draw is now becoming clear: Zune will be not only an MP3 player and a FM radio, but also a social device that can beam music and playlists to other nearby Zunes. The recipient of a shared song will have three plays over three days to play any shared song, and then they'll have to buy it. The Zune will be able to detect other nearby Zunes, making it a social gadget. That's the big feature that differentiates the Zune from the iPod, CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason reports. Microsoft is expected to launch the player before the winter holidays. It is slated to be available in white, black and chocolate brown. Brown? Microsoft's design director for the project, Steve Kaneko, explained the shape and scheme is "to make it less cool and sleek, but actually warm and silky." "Who in their right mind would … create a brown technology product? Artists will. Musicians would. And Zune will," Kaneko said. The roughly iPod-sized device has a larger, three-inch screen, Mason reports, and will come stocked with full-length sample tracks and other content. What about an iTunes rival? Microsoft may have that covered, too. "Zune Marketplace," as it is currently dubbed, is preparing to sell music tracks and albums — and eventually is rumored to be adding shows and videos to the offerings. The company also announced several gadgets that will work with the device, so Zune users can listen to music in the car, at home or on the road. It did not say how much the gadgets would cost. Jupiter analyst Michael Gartenberg, one of a handful of industry analysts briefed on the project, said Microsoft probably feels like it has to get into the portable player market because it is such an important jumping-off point for getting people to embrace its technologies in the living room. As Mason reports, Microsoft is not claiming at the moment that it has a target market share to go after. Robbie Bach, president of the entertainment devices division of Microsoft, said the appeal of Zune is simple — and has little to do with the elite, isolationist iPod culture. "Actually, I think its something quite different," Bach said. "We're trying to create a social experience, the idea that people can share their music. The iPod is something that's very much about an individual. It's a very solitary experience — and when you look at the generation in the marketplace today, they're a very social group." Offering the hardware and software together could put Microsoft in a more competitive position, says CBS News tech analyst Larry Magid. But in creating its own music products, Microsoft also risks alienating partners such as Creative Technology Ltd. and Samsung, Gartenberg said. Those companies are already using Microsoft's software for their own players, although they've had little success against Apple's juggernaut. “This is a very tough message,” Gartenberg said. “If you're the head of Creative, as of this afternoon you're not just facing Apple, which was bad enough; you're now facing your partner.” Microsoft announced the Zune along with other gadgets, including a wireless keyboard designed to tie in with the upcoming Windows Vista operating system. Another new gadget is the four-in-one Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000. It can be used as a mouse, a slide presenter, a laser pointer and a media remote. It comes out next month and will br priced at about $100. ©MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


OK Go - The Original


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Health as a Social Bond

Here's a community idea that actually makes sense: it's not just another MySpace clone. PatientsLikeMe aims to build communities around "life-changing diseases". I think this is a great idea for a lot of reasons.

Above all, it's a great cause - which also makes for a highly motivated community. Anyone who has been seriously ill knows the first thing you do is seek out the experiences and advice of others - not raw medical knowledge, but how people like you have coped and adapted to the impact of this kind of thing. Sadly, the information out there tends to be clinical - raw medical definitions and info - or downright depressing. The people who post tend to be the most awful stories - not those who would form a natural support group.

That these communities can share support and stories of coping, as well as information, is heartening. It also, quite frankly, makes for a lucrative demographic for medical marketers. People with life changing diseases often have lifelong medical needs or special needs of some sort: diet, travel, etc. So it would seem to be a good cause and a good business.


Will there be an IKEA too?

SecondLife continues down the path of world-domination as now governments are sitting up and taking notice of the site. Sweden plans to establish the first embassy in the virtual world, based on the country's embassy building in Washington D.C.

I'm assuming this initiative is being motivated by the cultural tourism branch of the Swedish Embassy. Will it really stimulate interest in Swedish culture or cause an increase in international visitors? I've never been to SL (I say that like its really a place), can anyone tell me if there are other cultural institutions setting up shop there? For example, does the Met have a museum branch, or the Tate?
It will be interesting to see if other culturals and non-profits begin appearing in SL and what effect that has on audience participation, revenue, and changing visitor demographics.


Steve Jobs' letter against DRM

For all of you that have not clue of what DRM means, let me say that DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. In other words, it's the piece of software that controls the way you share your music, videos, pictures, etc.

For example, if you are a user of iTunes and buy music from the internet store, DRM will set that the maximum number of times that you can copy the music to a CD is 6 and that you can share the music with other 4 computers.

There is a lot of movements in Internet against DRM with the argument that controls your freedom as user to do what you want to do. Seriously, DRM is not Steve's idea or Gates' idea. DRM is an initiative that music companies have put in place.

Recently there has been a lot of talk about it because a) iTunes has been declared ilegal (due to DRM) in Norway, and probably the rest of Europe can follow the idea (same to Vista DRM, ...); b) the implementation of DRM from Vista is really strict.

Steve Jobs has react with this letter showing some interesting points:

1) DRM is not his idea
2) He would support any movement to freeDRM music but the industry doesn't let him

I found it really interesting. In other words, SJ is trying to push the users to fight the battle against the music companies, cleaning iPod+iTunes name at the same time :-) Really smart.

Here you have a link with more details.


Business Blog on Yahoo/Panama Launch

A good bullet point list of key things to remember about today's launch of Yahoo's new Panama ad system....


Bloggers Make (a little) Money

The message here is pretty accurate: in the era of contextual advertising and cheap web hosting, many part-time bloggers are turning a little hobby into a little extra income. Most, however, are not making a fortune.

The rise of what's known as contextual advertising has created a
21st-century version of royalties that's reaching deep into the ranks of
amateurs and hobbyists. It points to a future where many people will
moonlight online as small-time creators for a little extra income, with a
few finding fame and fortune along the way.

A self selecting sample in a survey (say THAT three times fast) points to around half the bloggers making around $100 or more a month - the Google check limit, incidentally. This doesn't allow many to quit their day jobs. Still, a perhaps hidden benefit is the other sort of income: consulting leads, free equipment to review, and even just a better reputation in one's industry. As one blogger notes, "...his approach has yielded some financial benefits, such as free computer equipment, and freelance and consulting work."

Perhaps one gentlemen put it best hwoever when he said, "I worked anything from eight- to 16-hour days over the last three or four years just trying to do this," says Mr. Rowse. "And a lot of people don't see that."

Full article here at the Christian Science Monitor.


Monday, February 05, 2007

The future of advertising on the net?

Watch this clip on YouTube from BMW promoting the new BMW5 (even if you are not a car fan - its good viewing). Incredibly they talked Clive Owen and Madonna into appearing in it... Surely this represents the future for advertising on the web!



Image search goes tagless

Flick'r beware...The race to win in the image search space continues., Tiltomo, and Xerox are already in the game, while Swedish upstart, Polar Rose, hopes they've got a winner on their hands.

Polar Rose has developed tag-free image search for faces in photographs."With an ordinary image, the computer only sees an assortment of pixels," Solem says, "so if you turn your head in a photo or change the lighting or other conditions, the computer won't recognize you."

How it works. The Malmö, Sweden-based company solves that problem with 3-D modeling technology that measures parameters such as the distance between the base of the nose and the top of the upper lip. The software also relies on statistical analyses its engineers have performed on hundreds of images to establish what head shape people with a given set of facial features are likely to have. The program generates a 3-D head model, factoring in angle, lighting and other variations between images. The technology should be available this spring as an extension for Internet Explorer and Firefox and as an API that developers can incorporate into photo sites.

Monetization. Despite their varied goals, visual-search companies have similar moneymaking strategies. Polar Rose is banking on advertising-related partnerships to generate cash flow. "A text box next to an online image might tell you, 'This is a photo of J. Lo. Would you like to buy her latest CD on iTunes?'" says Mikkel Thagaard, the company's vice president of business development.,72620-0.html?tw=wn_technology_internet_5


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Will Teens "Flip" or Just Stick to MySpace?

Conde-Net, the interactive arm of Conde-Nast, is jumping into Web 2.0 with Flip and they're taking the advertisers along with them.

Flip will basically be a Conde-Net version of MySpace (if perhaps a bit cleaner in layout). The promise of access to the 'tween and teen market has attracted major advertisers, like Nordstroms and Clean and Clear (a J&J brand) who, in keeping with the spirit of the site, will allow users to choose where and how they view the ads. These ads will appear in each user's image bin. From there, a girl could place this brand's chosen image anywhere on an any of her Flip pages.

First of all, these companies will be surrendering a huge amount of control over their brand to 13 year old girls who will be able to not only create the content surrounding the image, but also, will be able to digitally doodle on the image itself. Companies like J&J (you know, A Family Company) do not take the idea of objectionable material lightly and must be counting on a traditional media company like Conde-Nast to keep things in line - monitors have been hired to examine sites and remove anything objectionable.

Second, unlike traditional advertising, no one has to view these ads. The onus will be on these companies to create images that are attractive, interesting and hip enough to be chosen by the users. Perhaps in response to this challenge, many of the images will be largely unbranded. Nordstrom will offer clips of their clothing that viewers will only be able to identify by clicking on the image. Clean and Clear will not place its brand anywhere on word-play icons, like "Fresh!"

While this seems like a huge sacrifice of control and visibility on the part of the advertisers, I think that they are bending over backwards to seem genuine and, thereby, find a foothold in this explosive market that seems largely resistant to any intrusions by the market.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

First Feature Film Shown in Second Life

This week we were invited to attend the premiere of Strange Culture, an independent film by Lynn Hershman. The film was shown at the Sundance Film Festival last week and has the distinction of being the first-ever feature film shown in Second Life.

... Watching a movie in Second Life was totally weird. When you get to the movie theater, you hit the play movie control on your SL window. We're all watching the same film, but a different times! That seems like the most significant difference from a traditional cinema.

Those are the words of Nework_Performance about his experience of watching the first-ever feature film shown in Second Life.


Highlights of Google's Earnings

Some highlights from the earnings call below. For full info, check out:
Revenues - Google reported revenues of $3.21 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2006, representing a 67% increase over fourth quarter 2005 revenues of $1.92 billion and a 19% increase over third quarter 2006 revenues of $2.69 billion. Google reports its revenues, consistent with GAAP, on a gross basis without deducting traffic acquisition costs, or TAC.

Google Sites Revenues - Google-owned sites generated revenues of $1.98 billion, or 62% of total revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2006. This represents an 80% increase over fourth quarter 2005 revenues of $1.10 billion and a 22% increase over third quarter 2006 revenues of $1.63 billion.

Google Network Revenues - Google's partner sites generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of $1.20 billion, or 37% of total revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2006. This is a 50% increase over network revenues of $799 million generated in the fourth quarter of 2005 and a 16% increase over third quarter 2006 revenues of $1.04 billion.

International Revenues - Revenues from outside of the United States contributed 44% of total revenues in the fourth quarter of 2006, compared to 44% in the third quarter of 2006 and 38% in the fourth quarter of 2005. Had foreign exchange rates remained constant from the third quarter through the fourth quarter of 2006, our revenues in the fourth quarter of 2006 would have been $18 million lower. Had foreign exchange rates remained constant from the fourth quarter of 2005 through the fourth quarter of 2006, our revenues in the fourth quarter of 2006 would have been $81 million lower.

Paid Clicks - Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and our AdSense partners, increased approximately 61% over the fourth quarter of 2005 and approximately 22% over the third quarter of 2006. "

Isn't AdSense amazing? :-)


Some interesting Conferences coming up in NY

Conference: April 10-13, 2007 – Exhibits: April 11-12, 2007 – Hilton New York – NYC

Streaming Media East 2007 Conference & Exhibition
The Business & Technology Of Online Video

PODCAMP NYC is a FREE 2-day unconference dedicated to podcasting, blogging and other new and social media.

This Year's Event: 2007 Media Summit • New York
February 7-8, 2007
Location: McGraw-Hill Building, 49th St. & 6th Ave., New York City