Archive for May, 2007

Google moves to take web apps offline

By May 31, 2007

Not exactly a surprise, but another major step in Google’s move toward more directly taking on Microsoft in the desktop market. Google Gears news

Not exactly a surprise, but another major step in Google’s move toward more directly taking on Microsoft in the desktop market.

Google Gears news

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StumbleUpon picked up by Ebay

By May 31, 2007

This is technically news. But mostly it was just an excuse for me to plug the great little service StumbleUpon. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend doing so. It’s a fun little tool for semi-random browsing (of sites related to your specified areas of interest.) And from a marketer’s perspective, it […]

This is technically news.

But mostly it was just an excuse for me to plug the great little service StumbleUpon. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend doing so. It’s a fun little tool for semi-random browsing (of sites related to your specified areas of interest.)

And from a marketer’s perspective, it can be a nice little source of traffic as we’ve seen with one of our recent campaigns. Unlike more news-oriented sites like Digg or Reddit where any traffic might only be a temporary spike, the traffic from StumbleUpon seems to come in a more steady flow over a longer period of time.

And as long as we’re talking acquisitions . . . . CBS bought Last.fm, MySpace finally got Photobucket, and Yahoo is rumored to be courting the next MySpace/Facebook called Bebo (to the tune of $1B.)

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Mahalo

By May 30, 2007

If the old saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is true, then the new search engine Mahalo might be worth keeping an eye on. While the human-powered search concept is far from unique (Yahoo started off as a human-powered directory and sites like About.com and upstarts ChaCha.com and Squidoo continue to […]

If the old saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is true, then the new search engine Mahalo might be worth keeping an eye on.

While the human-powered search concept is far from unique (Yahoo started off as a human-powered directory and sites like About.com and upstarts ChaCha.com and Squidoo continue to rely on human guides) then the powers-that-be backing this project should raise some eyebrows.

Mahalo is the brainchild of Jason Calacanis, former director of Netscape and currently one of the world’s most famous bloggers and venture capatalists with close ties to the heavy hitters in Silicon Valley. Some of his most recent ventures include helping to promote the tech site Engadget to massive popularity as well as resurrecting the Netscape name to serve as a Digg-like news portal.

It has been rumored for some time that he has been working on a human-powered search engine due to his heavy consultations with executives at Google and Wikipedia. The site was simultaneously announced by several key players in the blogosphere as well as at Digg by founder Kevin Rose (who commands an almost cult-like following among the site’s users.) Additional financial backers of the project include Fox Newscorp (which owns MySpace) and a former executive of AOL.

The site is still in early Alpha form (Alpha is the new Beta, I guess thanks to Google’s overuse of the word.) So it’ll only be decent on major searches. But it’ll be interesting to see how it develops over time. As a user, I’ve long been a fan of editorial-powered content on short-tail searches as they can typically do a better job prioritizing what’s important. But as Danny Sullivan points out in his excellent analysis of the site, the problem in today’s Internet is scalability.

Plus, it’s going to be tough to make waves in a market increasingly dominated by Google – even though Calacanis wants to position the site more as a specialty engine. But as Wikipedia, Digg and other Web 2.0 sites have discovered, becoming a central source for links is a great way to rank well in Google (which gives you a strong, steady flow of traffic.) Do a 2-3 keyword search for virtually anything these days and it seems like Wikipedia’s always in the top 3 results. Do as search for any tech-related inforamtion and sites like Digg, Engadget, etc. usually come up. I see a very similar initial business objective with this site. Long term success? Not so sure.

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Microsoft Debuts Surface Computing

By May 30, 2007

Microsoft Surface This morning on NBC’s Today show, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates unveiled a new technology called Surface Computing that lets people interact with computers using touch, hand gestures, and physical objects equipped with optical tags. The technology turns tabletops into dynamic canvases so users can, for example, browse their music libraries by dragging a […]

Microsoft Surface

This morning on NBC’s Today show, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates unveiled a new technology called Surface Computing that lets people interact with computers using touch, hand gestures, and physical objects equipped with optical tags. The technology turns tabletops into dynamic canvases so users can, for example, browse their music libraries by dragging a finger across the horizontal display or maybe comparison-shop at an electronics store by simply plunking devices onto the screen. Video of this morning’s demo. What do you think? Will this revolutionize computing?

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Keep the online vocal minority happy?

By May 30, 2007

The Pronet blog has a good, quick piece on a subject that’s of great personal interest to me. I’ve always been fascinated by social news/bookmarking sites like Digg and the regular displays of the mob mentality that often accompany some of these sites. But it goes beyond just Digg. You typically hear more from the […]

The Pronet blog has a good, quick piece on a subject that’s of great personal interest to me. I’ve always been fascinated by social news/bookmarking sites like Digg and the regular displays of the mob mentality that often accompany some of these sites. But it goes beyond just Digg. You typically hear more from the vocal minority at either extreme when you venture online.

In this instance, a relatively small, but dedicated group of Linux fans used Dell’s new IdeaStorm area for customer feedback (complete with Digg-like voting) as an opportunity to flood the site with requests for Linux as an operating system choice.

What’s wrong with this you might ask? Nothing really. I’ve used Ubuntu Linux before (still have it running on an older machine actually) and it’s a great operating system. But I’m also not the average user. For the average joe, it’s still a far cry from Windows when it comes to compatibility, third-party software offerings and (for most basic users reared on Windows) ease of use if you ever have to dig your way past the desktop. Still, it’s definitely light years ahead of the Linux of old.

But when you consider that the average Linux user (at least the average, vocal, online Linux user who participated in this) is also the type of person who usually scoffs at the idea of buying pre-built systems from companies like Dell and instead prefers to build their own computer, then you see the great hypocrisy. They want a company to do something and are EXTREMELY vocal about it online, but most of them likely won’t ever actually buy the product they requested (with the expected adoption rate from the general public far lower than that.)

But as the Pronet article points out, even if the new Linux offerings don’t sell well, the fallout in the form of massive online publicity and (mostly) goodwill that will come from just offering the product could be worth it to Dell. Ethically it’s a potentially ominous trend – some might just call that highly-targeted public relations. But it might also reflect the greater reality that companies will increasingly have to deal with in an era when consumer opinion (vocal minority in particular) can be more easily heard.

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TNT/TBS to bring syndication online

By May 30, 2007

According to a report in Broadcasting & Cable, these two Turner networks plan to begin offering every episode of each of their original series up for online streaming the day after the show airs. A lot of broadcasters have done this to varying degrees in the past, but never an entire season and never for […]

According to a report in Broadcasting & Cable, these two Turner networks plan to begin offering every episode of each of their original series up for online streaming the day after the show airs. A lot of broadcasters have done this to varying degrees in the past, but never an entire season and never for their full line-up.

From the article:

Broadcast and cable networks alike have fought to broker streaming deals with studios outside their corporate families. The studios have been wary of disrupting proven revenue streams by dipping a toe into the digital domain; they rely on DVD and syndication sales to make back the millions they front to the networks to fund the shows.

Studios and operators may be more open to streaming because broadcast networks, and a few cable networks that have streamed shows, have seen that streaming actually builds TV viewing. Disney Channel, for example, inaugurated its broadband player last year by premiering an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody online before its TV debut. That episode became the most-viewed in an entire block when it premiered on TV.

The last paragraph also points to the probable future trend for airing pilots and other shows online before they’re broadcast on TV. The online reception to new shows can serve as yet another early barometer for a show’s potential success and following.

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The Difference Between Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Branding

By May 29, 2007

Pronet Advertising’s blog came across a funny image that tries to quickly summarize the key differences between marketing, PR, advertising and branding. Pronet Advertising Article The discussion below it also raises some interesting questions. How would you illustrate other forms of marketing such as SEM, WOM, buzz marketing, etc?

Pronet Advertising’s blog came across a funny image that tries to quickly summarize the key differences between marketing, PR, advertising and branding.

Pronet Advertising Article

The discussion below it also raises some interesting questions. How would you illustrate other forms of marketing such as SEM, WOM, buzz marketing, etc?

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Microsoft campaign to promote IM usage

By May 29, 2007

Microsoft has launched an interesting campaign to promote the use of its instant messenger. For every IM session initiated with its service it will donate a portion of the ad proceeds to a charity in the field of your choosing. http://im.live.com/ Microsoft is aggressively promoting this campaign to one of the most active IM demographics, […]

Microsoft has launched an interesting campaign to promote the use of its instant messenger. For every IM session initiated with its service it will donate a portion of the ad proceeds to a charity in the field of your choosing.

http://im.live.com/

Microsoft is aggressively promoting this campaign to one of the most active IM demographics, college students. The hope is that the more egalitarian goals of the IM service will be enough to create something in this demographic that Microsoft is sorely lacking, brand evangelists.

I’m sure they don’t use this as another selling hook, but the MS Messenger and Yahoo Messenger networks are also now compatible with one another.

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Sony Develops Bendable Screen

By May 25, 2007

Sony Corp., recently introduced the company’s new 0.3 millimeter (0.01 inch) display screen at Atsugi Technology Center in Atsugi, southwest of Tokyo. In the race for ever thinner displays for TVs, cell phones and other gadgets, Sony may have developed one to beat them all, a razor-thin display that bend like paper while showing full-color […]

Sony Corp., recently introduced the company’s new 0.3 millimeter (0.01 inch) display screen at Atsugi Technology Center in Atsugi, southwest of Tokyo. In the race for ever thinner displays for TVs, cell phones and other gadgets, Sony may have developed one to beat them all, a razor-thin display that bend like paper while showing full-color video.
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Facebook Lets Advertisers Reach Members Via Free Apps

By May 25, 2007

Social networking site Facebook has launched a new platform to give advertisers a deeper level of free access to its 24 million users by providing them the ability to write applications that can be shared from person to person. Among initial partners using the new service are Microsoft, Amazon and Obama for America. Speaking to […]

Social networking site Facebook has launched a new platform to give advertisers a deeper level of free access to its 24 million users by providing them the ability to write applications that can be shared from person to person. Among initial partners using the new service are Microsoft, Amazon and Obama for America.

Speaking to a hall of developers and business partners at the Facebook f8 Event in San Francisco, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the “Social Graph” of the site’s users who influence their friends and contacts. Calling the Facebook Platform an operating system to gain access to the Facebook members, he invited developers to create applications to run across the site. The hope is the advertiser applications will generate more traffic, adding ad inventory for Facebook’s paid advertising through the pages generated by the apps, which will cost nothing to the companies adding them to the site.

Full story curtiousy of ClickZ here

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