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Coming Soon: A Web-Wide Social Network? May 13, 2008

Posted by Keith in Advertising, Technology, Uncategorized.
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Moves by Google, Facebook and MySpace Point to Crumbling Walls in the Social-Media Space

Published: May 12, 2008

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Three announcements, all within a week of each other, were indicative of the same trend: that the future of online social networking doesn’t live within a single entity’s walls but instead permeates the web.

Illustration: Google

MySpace, Facebook and Google each announced similar-sounding moves over the past week that will be worth paying attention to as marketers watch to see how the social web evolves. MySpace on May 7 said it would open up its profile data to third-party sites. Two days later Facebook said it would let users to connect their Facebook accounts to third-party applications and websites, and that it would also allow developers to incorporate Facebook friend data into other sites and applications. And today Google is announcing FriendConnect, a service that lets website owners add social applications to their sites.

Sites are blending
The moves are unrelated, according to the companies involved, but they all suggest what many web watchers and pundits have been expecting: that social-media tools and services would spread throughout the wider web, rather than stay contained within a single service.

Forrester’s Charlene Li is one of those believers. She has described how social networks will be “like air.” She writes on her blog: “I thought about my grade-school kids, who in 10 years will be in the midst of social network engagement. I believe they (and we) will look back to 2008 and think it archaic and quaint that we had to go to a destination like Facebook or LinkedIn to ‘be social.’

“Instead, I believe that in the future, social networks will be like air,” she continued. “They will be anywhere and everywhere we need and want them to be.”

The moves announced hardly make those services “like air.” But they do signify that sites such as MySpace and Facebook are open to the idea of moving their user data and social connections to the broader web.

MySpace’s moves will make user profile data more portable, and allow users to link their MySpace profiles to their profiles on other services, such as Twitter. Updates to a MySpace profile would then be automatically reflected on linked profiles elsewhere on the web.

Facebook gets friendlier
Facebook Connect, meanwhile, appears to be a developer-friendly move that harkens back to when it allowed third-party developers to create applications that took advantage of Facebook’s so-called social graph and allowed users to communicate and play games with others on Facebook through those applications. With the new service, a Facebook user, for example, can easily see on Digg.com which stories his or her Facebook friends voted up.

Google’s FriendConnect is more of a strategy to add social-media-enabling widgets to sites. Site owners can add a “snippet of code,” according to Google, and immediately add tools such as reviews, members’ galleries and message boards to their sites. They will also be able to add applications built using the OpenSocial platform that Google spearheaded. Users can import friends and interact via those applications with friends from other social networks, such as Facebook, Hi5 and Plaxo. The idea, said Google, is that any site can become an open social container.

“When the web is healthy and when more people have more ways to be more engaged online, our business is healthy,” David Glazer, a director of engineering at Google, said on a conference call announcing the service.

Even traditional media companies such as CBS understand the importance of spreading their social tools among third-party sites. CBS’s hyper-syndication web-video strategy also includes technology that lets CBS viewers chat with each other while watching content, even if they’re watching that content off CBS.com.

Listen up, marketers
So what does this mean for marketers? It means more consumers talking to each other across the web, and it means discussions around brands are no longer siloed to a single platform or network but are spreading to a wider swath of sites. If a marketer didn’t have a social-media “listening” plan, these kinds of developments could make tracking conversations consumers are having about a brand more difficult, but also make it more important that marketers do so.

Imagine if you could easily take the conversation about brands that’s occurring on Twitter and embed that into other sites via one of these services, said Rodney Rumford, CEO of Gravitational Media, an agency that has helped brands such as Vivendi and Mountain Dew have a presence in social networks, and editor of FaceReviews.com. Additionally, branded websites and widgets will be able to use the technologies to become “more social.”

“This is huge, the combination of the MySpace, Facebook and Google all saying basically the same thing, which is say that websites can become more interesting and engaging when you add a social layer to them,” Mr. Rumford said.

Halo 3 October 4, 2007

Posted by Keith in Advertising, Technology.
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 halo3_002200692510555.jpg

Marketing: Halo 3 Television Commercials and the Long Tail

With Halo 3, the flagship title for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console, finally released, I would like to consider its success. As my colleague’s article about the marketing of the product illustrates, Microsoft invested a lot of time and money on various strategies, including partnerships with Burger King, Pontiac, and Mountain Dew for the latest game in the franchise. What shouldn’t be overlooked are the Halo 3 television commercials.

I think they are very good. The commercials were created with an intriguing conceit–they are clips from a documentary made in the future earth of the Halo universe. An off-screen interviewer coaxes veterans of the war to talk about the battles they were in and their thoughts on Master Chief, the superhuman warrior the player controls in the game.

The commercials are effective for multiple reasons: It gives the viewer a sense of the epic scale of this game. It immerses the audience in the world of Halo. It gets them revved up to play the superhuman master chief. And lastly, as any great piece of marketing for a story-based product, it leaves you wanting to know more about what happens.

There are criticisms for these TV spots: they are probably to slow and ponderous for many. And the lack of actual gameplay footage could be considered strange, and perhaps fatal. But I think they were made to appeal to those who played Halo before or heard about the game from their friends — I have already been asked by others who haven’t played the game if the story was good.

This is long tail marketing appealing to those who are already invested in the series. I would imagine in November, as the holiday shopping season begins, Microsoft would air commercials that would appeal to the mainstream and feature gameplay. In the mean time you can see two veterans reminisce over a great war.

Exerpt from Fast Company

Has the Future of Advertising Changed At All? August 8, 2007

Posted by Celso in Advertising, Technology.
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This post has been originally posted in my website, here.

The media and advertising enthusiast who on a daily basis follows the latest trends involving the subject is constantly asking how the media landscape will shape itself in the light of new media platforms, players and tightened ad budgets. Television will soon become an obsolete medium. Google is positioning itself to take over the advertising game, buying and selling TV, radio and online advertisement and eventually will eliminate the need for advertising agencies. And those infamously expensive 30-second spots aired during the Super Bowl will finally lose their incredibly hyped glare. For now these statements will remain as prophecies. What’s next in advertising has not changed at all as the recently revealed digital advertising strategy of the Publicis Group can attest. Publicis, as some may recall, recently made news for acquiring the Boston-based advertising agency Digitas in order to drive its digital efforts. According to this strategy, the recent future of advertising can be summarized in a few overused words that have adorned business publications for more than a decade: globalization, offshoring, digitization and convergence. Ultimately, Publicis goal is to achieve a one-to-one relationship with the consumer, which has been the dream of advertisers for as long as I can remember.

Perhaps this motionless perception is a bit too cynic on my part. Perhaps this strategy is instead the first seen tangible plan of action for achieving the results associated with all of these overused words. This is a plan involving the use of cheaper offshore labor to develop tailored product and service offers to consumers here and abroad, based on each person’s individual needs, tastes and peculiarities. It capitalizes on the two-way relationship between people and media (as opposed to TV’s one way communication model) which allows for the collection and analysis of behavioral data that will eventually result in a customized offer that the consumer will watch on any screen looked at during the average 17 daily hours humans spend awake. It can be the beginning of finally making what has been next become present. Publicis’ strategy sure plays along much like a Thomas Friedman narrative but successfully implementing it can become a Herculean task (just as some of the suggestions Friedman makes in his books) that will surely change the way consumers and brands interact.

While we wait to see the results of Publicis change of course, the questions surrounding search and online advertising companies still remain. David Kenny, CEO of Digitas and the man behind the new strategy, disagrees that any of the search giants can become both a medium provider and an ad agency representing the best interests of clients. For him, a strategic decision will have to be made between these two very distinct business propositions. And this is why, perhaps in a biased way, Mr. Kenny believes that ad agencies will continue to exist, linking consumer brands to content providers, even if search companies are the ones controlling all media. Once again, the advertising world finds itself entrapped in yet another prediction of what’s in store for the always-evolving media landscape.

Monetizing Podcasts and Videoblogs June 13, 2007

Posted by Michael in Business, Technology, Viral Marketing.
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StreamingMedia.com has an excellent and informative article on turning podcasts and videoblogs into a successful business model:

Monetizing Podcasts and Videoblogs

It discusses how podcasts and videoblogs rarely become money-making businesses unto themselves, but are more likely co-opted as part of an overall strategy to act as lead-ins to other forms of media — really, they are the ultimate in targeted, niche marketing. As such, they are a means to an end, not an end unto themselves. Understanding that has big ramifications for marketers.

The article’s conclusion states:

“A recent Washington Post article quoted David Sifry, CEO of Technorati: “Several hundred bloggers earn enough to make it their full-time job . . . about ten thousand bloggers are earning money as a secondary source of income, and about a million others, such as authors and speakers, use their blogs as marketing tools to generate income indirectly.”

Well, there you have it. A few hundred bloggers (some podcasters and videobloggers no doubt included) have quit their day jobs. A few thousand are pulling in extra cash. But the other million are still using their blog as just one part of their overall strategy.

Podcasts and videoblogs are fundamentally blogs, and obey the same physics, including monetization strategies. In the end they are just another way to deliver content—but they are uniquely suited for “narrowcasting” messages. And in this narrowcast, podcasts and videoblogs can deliver ad messages deeper into the audience. But any business built around podcasts and videoblogs has to start with the fundamentals: Compelling content that can be exchanged with an audience for their attention.”

Click Fraud October 1, 2006

Posted by vsvander in Technology.
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In case you hadn’t been following the click fraud issue that Google and Yahoo! have been caught up in, here’s a very all-inclusive article that goes into detail on the topic:

Also, I think it’s interesting to note that even as click fraud becomes a major concern, Internet advertising continues to grow. Apparently, it is changing the face of pharmaceutical marketing:

Do you think this will mark the demise of “pay by click” Internet advertising? Is anything currently in the midst of replacing this model?