Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Google Ocean: Useful Because...

Honestly, I have no real idea why this is useful.

Maybe they should create Google Universe and they could tell me where there is intelligent life on other planets? Now THAT would be useful.

iPhone - Great Product, Horrible Pricing Model

They have now done it 2x, and those of us who are loyal to the product but unlucky keep getting screwed. Apple has announced that they will cut prices and give rebates on new iPhone purchases, including the new 3G models. I originally bought the 4GB version, which they discontinued and then they cut the price on the 8GB. I recently upgraded to the 16GB, and now they are going to reduce the price on the 3G version.

If you work at Apple you can run my account and see that I pay a ridiculous amount of money to your company, and yet I keep getting "shafted" on the iPhone.

I thought Apple was a consumer-focused company?

I understand the marketing rationale for doing so; they want users to buy the phone and keep it on the AT&T network (the price cut can happen via plan purchases and ONLY in the AT&T stores, not the Apple stores). That being said, why do they keep slapping their core fans in the face? I have bought 18 ipods over the years, some for me and some for others. I spend money every month on iTunes and i have bought 4 iphones (2 were gifts for other people). What will it take for them to hook me up for once, or at least not screw me over on the rebates? I mean, really?

OK - maybe I sound a little bitter, but i also just dropped my 3rd call of the day on my fancy iPhone and its amazing AT&T service (more bars in what places?).

Well - at least I can still listen to the new MudCrutch album (which I of course pre-ordered on iTunes and paid extra for).

Maybe I should switch to BlackBerry.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fun Fact Of The Day

Among teens 15-17 who view television programs online, 48 percent say they watch frequently or occasionally, while among adults 18-49 who view online, only 32 percent say they frequently or occasionally watch.

I pulled that from Jack Myers as well (thanks Jack!)

Digital OOH - A Quick Read

Many people agree that Digital Out Of Home is the next big thing, and I have to agree. This article from Jack Myers' website was written by Andy Batkin. Andy has been in the industry for a long time and is a well respected gent, so reading what he has to say is highly encouraged. Check it out and be sure to drop him a note and let him know what you think!

For The People With Too Much Time

Pixel Jockey is for you. I am not too sure why it exists, but its certainly fun.

Geeking Out on String Theory

If you REALLY have some time to waste and want to hear about String Theory in a way that you will understand, check this link out to the TED conference. I read a book by Stephen Hawking that touched on this a little, but it is pretty far out stuff.

Anyways, have a peek!

Yahoo Deserves To Go Under At This Point

The sheer lunacy that is Yahoo right now is amazing. They appear to be denying any opportunity for a merger with Microsoft purely because Jerry Yang has a hard-on against Bill Gates. That vendetta of his is actually costing the shareholders money and I cannot believe they will put up with that for long. I hear rumors of delayed board meetings and proxy this and that all in response to what's going on (or not going on in this case).

Well - the deadline passed as you can see here, so let's wait and watch to see what happens next!

Ah - the fun continues.

Friday, April 25, 2008

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing is the new buzzword for what's happening at Google and Amazon. They have so much server power in their systems that they have extra bandwidth to work with and are starting to sell it to customers. If you want a site hosted and don't want to pay as much as you would with other providers, Google and Amazon will take care of it for you.

It's a pretty interesting idea and one worth reading about. For some articles and some insights on Cloud Computing, check out these articles:


Have a great weekend!!

It's Been A Rough Week

Can't you tell?

Round, Round, Round It Up – Volume 3

Web 2.0 was this week, in the wake of AdTech and just before the craziness that is Digital Hollywood and iMedia. Geez – for a maturing business we sure do have a lot of conferences! In between all the meetings, or maybe in spite of them, we were able to find some really cool sites, tools, products and services and we get to share them with all of you!

KWIRY ( Kwiry is this kurious little tool that allows you to text yourself little reminders and access them online, further supplementing your reminders with more information like web links and search results. They presented at the “Under The Radar” conference and won Audience and Judges Choice (which probably means they’re no longer Under The Radar). The promise from Kwiry is that you’ll “stop forgetting”. Hey… what are we talking about? I don’t remember.

RADIOHEAD NUDE REMIXES: If you go into iTunes or visit the Radiohead website, you’ll see and hear about their inventive plan to let you buy the single “Nude” which gives you every track in its singular form and a tool to let you create your very own remixes of the song and share them online. Radiohead are one of the greatest artists on the planet and they are single-handedly trying to kill the record industry. Hear hear! Rock on! Check out what they are up to by searching for them online! I am remixing Nude right now and calling it “T-Shirt and Shorts”.
YOKEL ( Search is cool. Local search is useful, but rarely cool. It’s getting there, but before Yokel I hadn’t seen anything that lived up to the hype. Yokel does! Yokel allows you to search for products that are for sale in your area, so you can spend less time riding around the Bay Area looking for the right Samsung TV that you want to replace the one that was stolen from your house but had to go to 5 stores to get t because no-one had it in stock and you wasted 6 hours of your life. It also lets you find other products, too. Search for any product you want to buy and then go pick it up locally!

INTERACTIVE SEAT BUDDY ( Ever buy tickets online and have to guess at the views for the seats you picked out? No more guessing; watch a video from that seat for yourself! Someone sent this along last week and I checked it out and LOVED it! Yes; it only shows 3 or 4 venues right now, but this will certainly catch on and become a tool for the near-future. I will always know what seats I have for every Pearl Jam show for the rest of my life! Whoo hoo!

VIBRANT NATION ( The women 50+ demographic is definitely under-served online, but are an important part of the commerce-wielding world, so why not create a site that caters to their needs? Well, someone did. Vibrant Nation is an advice and Q&A site for women 50+. The model is simple and easily mirrored for any other demo, so let’s see how this idea expands!

MUSESTORM ( MuseStorm presents the professional way to widget. A new way to easily build, publish and manage widgets. The world is fast becoming full of widgets but that doesn’t mean they will be going away anytime soon. Widgets are here to stay, so let’s take them and put them to use for the forces of good! Or at least for a good marketing role. Call me WidgetMaster!

KENSHOO ( This SEM technology is coming across the pond from the UK where it’s being used to fully and completely automate search campaigns. I know search is an effective tool for marketers, and so do you, but it can be a time intensive effort to manage, right? Not with this type of tool. Check it out, and get a demo. You won’t be disappointed.

SLIDESHARE ( I still can’t figure out who came up with this idea and I REALLY can’t figure out what goes through the mind of the people who post their presentations here, but if you are going to give away this info, then I am going to take it!

Wow. That was a lot this week. I feel like I was REALLY busy! Well, if you get a moment when you’re all done reading the Round Up, check out my new blog at Oh – and don’t forget this additional blog from one of my colleagues; The Oldest Living Digital Marketer Tells All at

Want To Know About Ad Networks?

Check out my interview/article from iMedia Connection today by checking it out here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Marketing Experiments Got It Right!

I wrote an article recently for Mediapost that talked about the fact that way too many people are still interested in click rates and the feedback was actually pretty mixed (go figure). The people who have been in online for quite some time agree with me while the newbies don't.

This link to the Marketing Experiments blog confirms that at least one person agrees with me. Check it out - a very good piece of writing (plus they worked Office Space into the mix).

Prescription To Heal The Agency Business

I wrote this article a few months back and Jack Myers ran it. I was thrilled when he did and the response I received was overwhelmingly positive, so Brand Channel decided to run it too!

If you want to know hot to fix the ad agency business, read it here!

If you don't, click here.

Freakin' Freak. AdFreak

AdFreak is one of those sites you need to read on a regular basis. If you don't, you're a freak. read it. Freak.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary!

OK, his name is not Mary, it's Bob.

Bob Hoffman writes a very fun blog on advertising called The Ad Contrarian. Basically, since I like anyone who argues the standard logic, I like his blog. If you have time for some casual reading, read this, or this, or this!

And drop him a note to tell him what you think!

Red Envelope Is Really Red

First AOL is having troubles, then Yahoo, now Red Envelope files chapter 11. What's up with the initial internet "brands"? It seems that all the companies that started building a brand at the dawn of the Internet are having troubles.

All of these brands will exist in some form for many years to come, but probably under new management and new financial models. I guess it's a normal thing to see happen, but it certainly feels a little sad, at least in my eyes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Android (Google) Coming

This post at Engadget says that TMobile will be launching the first Android phone this year. This is the Google OS that's been rumored for some time now. I am excited to see what it looks like, but I won't be ditching my iPhone anytime soon!

Stay tuned for the implications on Mobile Marketing and content syndication!

Creating Decks Just Got WAAAAY Easy!

If you are creating presentations, ever, you should always start with SlideShare. For some reason, there are people online who feel that posting and sharing their powerpoint presentation on every topic from Mobile Marketing to Dog Breeds is a good way to spend their time.

It's good for us who need the info, but what benefit do they have for posting?

Not sure, but I won't tell them if you don't.

errr... maybe I just did. Whoops. Oh well!

Defining The Term Engagement

I posted my article with Mediapost's Online Spin today all about how we might take a stab at defining the term Engagement. I had to give up on that term going away, so take a peek and let me know your thoughts!


I tried. I really, really tried. Over the last few weeks I’ve created many opportunities for someone to give me a definition of the term “Engagement” in its marketing sense, but alas I’ve yet to be given one. The term appears destined for use in our industry for many years to come, regardless of my relative defiance against it. Since the industry has spoken and you’ve all decided not to vote it off the island then it comes to me that maybe we should come up with a definition for it?

Last week at Ad-Tech I began to think of a definition that would be easily understood, easily measured and standardized so that advertisers and marketers could apply it on an apples-to-apples basis for all formats of media. The term cannot be an online-centric term because that would be short-sighted. The term, if used properly, needs to be applied to all media vehicles and formats and needs to convey a single purpose and define a single component of said media.
Engagement, if used properly, describes the media vehicle, not the advertising. In television I’ve seen and heard reference to a Q-Score, or Quality Score. The Q-Score applies a value to the attentiveness of the audience watching a program. For more highly attentive, more emotionally invested programs the Q-Score can be high (think LOST, Heroes and Desperate Housewives). A low Q-Score applies to a show that is viewed with a lower level of attentiveness. These are the types of shows that a viewer can become distracted from (think Larry King Live, The Evening News). Shows with a higher Q-Score are considered stronger for branding because the viewer is more involved. The shows with a lower Q-Score are considered better for direct response advertisers because a message that resonates well can create an immediate response.
The idea of a Q-Score is a good start to defining Engagement, but it’s not the only component of the measurement (plus I have to honest in saying that I don’t know the methodology for that measurement). Attentiveness is but one of what I consider three possible components. The other two components are Monthly Repeat Visitors and possibly a measure of Growth or Trends.

Attentiveness provides a measure of how deeply involved the audience is for a site and a proxy for attentiveness might be time-spent. We would have to measure time-spent against categories and formats in order to be accurate. As an example, TV programs that are 45 minutes to an hour would inherently be more engaging than a website which offers a 10 minute (or so) experience, but a website with a 10 minute experience is infinitely more engaging than a search engine whose job is to provide a link to content. This measure of time spent might be one very strong component of Engagement.

Repeat Visits (on a monthly basis) provides a measure of “stickiness” or how often the user comes back, implying how invested the audience is in the site/magazine/newspaper/etc. For a website this measure implies a higher level of Engagement than a magazine which only gets read once, whereas a site can be visited multiple times in a week or a day. A TV program gets watched at least once a week, and in the case of American Idol you get up to 3 in a week. That is a highly engaged program vs. some other shows.

Growth or Trend data supplies a measure of where in their lifecycle that media format currently is. For example, Facebook would have a higher growth rate currently than MySpace, implying that users are more interested in Facebook right now than MySpace. It can be considered a measurement for a fad, or a highly temporary trend, but overall you can get an idea of whether a vehicle is in its prime or maybe it’s “jumped the shark”, both of which can add value.
These three measures can be used in tandem to provide some insights into the quality of the audience that’s being exposed to a media vehicle. For a website these are very easy to gather. For more traditional media formats, the information is a little more static but just as important. Think of a TV Show like LOST. The show is on 4-5 times per month, but some viewers watch the episodes multiple times to gather in all of the information. The show is 45 minutes long, so the time spent is much higher and if you average out these three measures you would likely see that a show such as LOST is more highly engaged than a number of websites. That’s a hard point to argue, so the measurement makes sense to me.

Of course the other component to consider is the source of this data. For Engagement to become a true metric, one of the third-party syndicated research sources would have to start tracking and offering this data. The formula for calculating the numbers would have to be approved by the industry and accepted by the marketers and the agencies who work with them. I hope to see this motivation in the coming months because try as I might, I don’t see the term going away.

What do you think of this proposed measurement? Am I missing something? Please respond on our message boards and let me know!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

One Step Closer to "Minority Report"

Remember in the Tom Cruise movie "Minority Report" how there was an interactive hologram computer interface? Well that was scheduled for 2120 or sometime in the far future, but it looks like it may not have to be that far in the future. Check this out, from Gizmodo yet again!

Trouble Walking? Try This

In my continued attempt to try and find ways for technology to improve our lives, check this out (i pulled it from Gizmodo). Its better than a hip replacement and I also think it can download MP3's directly from iTunes. Not sure on that last part, but its inevitable.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Networks, Exchanges and Such

What's the difference between Ad Networks, Vertical Ad Networks, Ad Exchanges, Buying Services and Rep Firms?

The differences between these five categories are based on three primary areas; Technology, Media Exclusivity and Media Buying Methodology. The Technology component refers to whether there is a unifying technology back-end that allows for optimization and measurement across all the sites in the “network” or if they are considered separate and the optimization needs to be executed on a site-by-site basis. The Media Exclusivity component refers to the sites or content being sold and whether you can buy that same inventory elsewhere. The Media Buying Methodology component applies to whether the partner allows for you to buy across a transparent list of sites and whether they own the inventory or they go out and aggregate the inventory on your behalf.

Ad Networks are a collection of small to medium sized sites coupled with remnant inventory from larger publishers that they were not able to sell on their own. These Networks typically have a unifying back-end technology that allows for optimization across their entire network. They typically do not have Media Exclusivity and in many cases any number of networks are capable of selling you the same inventory. This is especially true when they are selling you remnant inventory from the major portals. Ad Networks typically are not transparent on the sites you run and the primary way you buy media from them is either based on demographics or contextual categories. They usually also offer regional targeting.

Vertical Ad Networks are similar to general Ad Networks except in three ways. First off, they focus their attention on a specific category such as auto, entertainment, women or travel. Secondly, they typically are exclusive in their representation meaning that you cannot purchase that inventory from somewhere else. They focus on the small to medium sized sites in a specific category; those sites with too little traffic independently to make it on a larger buy or to hire a sales staff. Lastly, they are typically willing to be transparent and share with you the sites you are buying.

An Ad Exchange is slightly different than both an Ad Network and a Vertical Ad Network. Ad Exchanges are similar in that they are also a collection of small and medium sizes sites as well as remnant inventory from major publishers. The Technology component here is intricately tied to the Media Buying Methodology. These sites offer a marketplace or an auction that allows advertisers to control their buys more deeply and bid on inventory rather than place a standard buy. Think of it as going to the supermarket and paying whatever costs the store has laid out for you vs. going to a farmer’s market and negotiating in real-time for what you want. You can identify the produce you want and make bids right there and you would be willing to pay a premium for a perfectly ripe tomato vs. one that was too early or too late. The Technology ensures that Publishers and Advertisers are achieving their optimal ROI. Ad Exchanges are typically not media exclusive.

A Buying Service may appear on the outside to be a network, but they do not actually own the rights to sell or represent specific media. A Buying Service makes it easier for you, the advertiser, by becoming an effective one stop shop for your media needs. From a Technology standpoint, they do not offer much except for possible buying tools that create a more efficient process. They are not media exclusive and their buying methodology is the same as yours; CPM, CPC and CPA.

A Rep Firm can also appear to be like a network, but they do not have any technology that ties together their sites, they are typically not exclusive and they are indeed transparent in their product offerings. What a Rep Firm effectively does is leverage existing relationships with advertisers and marketers to provide a service for Publishers. They can be a one-stop shop for advertisers looking to reach different audience and they make it easier to hear about different sites in one meeting, but that is their primary role. They are a valued service as not every site can hire the necessary staff to grow and in the early stages of a company’s growth they become a cost-effective way to drive revenue without creating more overhead.


Friday, April 18, 2008

The REAL Day The Music Died

If you know anything about the record industry, you know it's screwed up. If you know anything about the music industry, you know about Clive Davis.

Clive Davis is no longer a part of the music industry and it's a sad state of affairs. The way things are working and the trend towards less artist development has paved the way for his exit. For years he's been an example of the right way to build an artist. He took Whitney Houston to success, he took Alicia Keys to success and he resurrected the career of Carlos Santana many years ago with his duet-centric comeback album, Supernatural. He even brought my beloved Pearl Jam back to popular status.

He is a marketing genius and the fact that he is no longer in music is quite depressing to me. Here's a toast to Clive Davis!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Moderating A Panel Today

For anyone interested, I am moderating a panel today at 3:30 at AdTech. If you have the time, come by and hear more about how to advertise outside the banner space. The title, creatively, is "Beyond The Banner". Go figure!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Save The World, One Word At A Time

Remember the old-school "Word of the Day" idea? Well, how about you try a new word and for every new word you get right, you get to feed a child? That's the concept behind FreeRice.

The site donates rice to needy people for every word you get correct! They get paid for advertising and buy the rice with the ad money, at least that's how it sounds from when I read the site and saw the site on the news.

I have already donated about 6220 grains of rice, and I didn't even leave my chair. I suggest you try it too!

Monday, April 14, 2008

AdTech, AdTech, AdTech

Guess what? This week is AdTech San Francisco. I live here, so I don't need to fly anywhere, which is nice. That being said, everyone else in the ad and marketing industry is flying here. That means that 15,000 geeks will be in town talking about widgets, search, and performance pricing models. Awesome!

I am looking forward to a billion conversations about advertising!

Whoo hoo!

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Sunny and Warm Outside

It's sunny and warm outside, So I wanted some sunshine online too.

The Round Up: Cool Stuff I Found This Week!

Each week I try to keep track of all the interesting and exciting companies/products/services/websites and general "goings-on" online. Trust me when I tell you this is no easy task. There are more companies that pop up on the radar than there are hours in the day and I have to be somewhat selective of what I'm able to peruse, so rather than keep all this information to myself I decided to share the knowledge.

I subscribe to the same tenet that the age-old scholar, KRS-ONE stated; Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone. I too am a philosopher. Yes. Yes! So with that obscure reference to 80's hip hop, check out the Round-Up for this week!

MUXTAPE: I mentioned these guys the other day, but they are worth mentioning again. I love music and I love the web, but i get annoyed at how much "other stuff" is always going on within some of the community sites and such. It's too much. This site has no extemporaneous junk. Just music. Just mix tapes. Check it out (The blastmaster woul dbe proud).

PREDICTIFY: Have you ever wondered how the Vegas odds makers get so close to predicting the outcomes of games? Well, this site won't answer that question but it will help you see what the rest of the world thinks about questions related to the world around you. If Nostradamus were alive today, this is where he'd be working.

AGGREGATE KNOWLEDGE: I am meeting these guys today and the technology they have is pretty interesting. Take Behavioral Targeting and lay it over a rich media application and that's what you've got. They read your profile, predict what products you might like, and then show you ads that look like the Google Ad Sense ads, but are products you may be interested in. It's a profile play and has nothing to do with Predictify. Just a random coincidence. Both are trying to tell the future.

DIIGO: At first I wasn't sure this was going to be cool, but then I changed my mind. Diigo is a way to do research online and create a virtual "web report" of content and links which you can use later to collect information and/or share with others. Imagine doing research on a topic like "HTML programming" and bookmarking each page of relevant information with highlighted portions that you can evaluate later. If you can imagine it, then Diigo is where you sould spend some time. I dig it, you might too.

LOTAME: I have to be honest, I still cannot quit figure out what they do, but it has to do with Behavioral Targeting and since that topic takes me awhile to explain, I thought I'd let you know about it too.

MATCHMINE: The topic of prediction came up ALOT this week. This is another company that is trying to predict; this time predicting what I might find interesting. I enter in something about me, and they tell me what I might like. Think Amazon for the rest of the web. Not sure I buy it yet, but interesting. For advertisers, I can see them working to predict what types of ads I might find of interest and crossing against actual response data. Could be cool.

COMPFIGHT: Ever try to find a picture on Flickr? It sort of sucks and takes waaay too much time. This site makes that easier, so give it a shot. I like Pearl Jam, so I searched for them. Go figure.

FRIENDFEED: This could be cool or it could be completely annoying. I'm not too sure yet. I don't want everyone else to now what I'm doin online all the time, but maybe that would actually be of interest. Who knows for sure!

OK - that's enough for this week. Back to work!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

iPhone Cases = Cool

I love these things. There's a whole entire underground business in creating stuff to put on your phone.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Go Mux It Up!

I discovered Muxtape and I think it rocks.

First off, you get to listen to other people's mixtapes and we all know we love to do that! The mixes are eccentric and they highlight songs and artists that I should hear. Plus, the site is about as basic as you can ever imagine. No images, no social networking, no emails to register for. Just text and music. Its black and white, until you change the colors. And oh yeah, it's free!!!

I HIGHLY recommend you go listen to it.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Building The Perfect Beast (err, Agency)

This link to iMedia has a bunch of people telling you what they think the perfect ad agency would look like. I have a feeling that if we drew it out, it would be well organized and efficient but if we were to draw out the current agency, it might look like pure chaos. If we gave it a face, the perfect agency would be like the two guys on the Mac commercials. Clean, yet argumentative.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Amazon Adds Buy Via Text

I like SMS. I like Books.

Let's buy Books via SMS!

Just Because It's Friday

This is the new craze that's catching the nation by storm! The running bicycle.

No. I mean it. For real.

The Round Up!

Ever feel like you're "not in the know". That's because you're not cool. I know the feeling because I am not cool. I actually gave up trying to be cool a few years ago and embraced my old-school sense of geektitude (yes - that's now officially a word).

Most people are not cool, especially those of us in marketing, so I felt the need to display a list of some of the cool sites and services I've run into over the last few weeks and I want to call it The Round-Up. I've never been to a rodeo, but the term works, so lets go with it. Not too much information, just a list of brands and sites you should spend some time with!

Check out Dopplr; for the traveler who can't stand to be alone.
FlyPaper; for that friend of yours who is way to good at powerpoint.
BaseCamp makes collaborating an efficient process.
Have you found a great candidate who would be great for someone else? Trade them on JobScore. I think this is the favorite of recruiters.
Thats enough for now. Back to work... gotta find more cool s@#$!

If File Sharing Is Illegal...

... then how do companies like YouTorrent get funding and survive?

If record companies and movie companies alike find file sharing akin to theft, then how do companies like this get a following and become part of the cultural zeitgeist? I'll tell you how. The consumer likes them. The stats are impressive; live for 3 months. 2.7 million unique visitors in February. The cost to run the site; $500 per month.

I did a quick search on YouTorrent for Pearl Jam (which is my default first search on everything) and it came back with 319 results ranging from concert videos to albums to DVD-copies, some of which were posted 5 years ago and some within the last hour. Why would I do a search like that, other than to test the service? Because I can. It's that simple.

The company was written up in Business Week in an article on March 24th. Business Week is a pretty main stream publication so it's not a matter of some obscure little company finding a way to beat the system. This is the system. As long as consumers want access to information for free, these systems will survive and thrive. Personally, I pay for all my music and movies. I'm really old-school like that. Thats why iTunes is now the number music retailer in the US.

UGC + Online Gaming + Video = Engagement

As many of you know, I hate the term Engagement unless it's found to be defined. There seems to be a trend towards defining it over the last couple of months, so maybe I'll be able to change my tune!

Two companies are trying to create true models for engagement; Dimestore Media and PopJax.

Dimestore creates a video game show around video ads; trivia on commercials. They can provide real time metrics and consumer data on recall and other key brand-related metrics. Players generate points that pit them against a community of users

PopJax takes old TV clips and user generated content and creates a trivia game around them, with the players earning cash rewards.
Both models are trying to make video more interactive and incentivize consumers to get involved and participate. Some people poo-poo this idea as incentivized clicks or other less-effective marketing opportunities, but if you view them as pure entertainment with a resultant effect on a brand, I think they can work.

Of course, they are not a strategy unto themselves, but they are a part of the greater whole. Check them out and see if you can fit them in. It could be a worthwhile test.

Online Is All Grown’sd Up!

Ok, so it’s bad grammar, but it’s funny! I was thinking the other day about when we got started in this industry, way back in 1995. The Internet was all new; a bright and shining line item in an otherwise standard media plan full of TV, Radio and Print! No-one had been on a Social Network, no-one had ever heard of Google and Yahoo was still a start-up! Back at that time I was forced to write a POV on the difference between a Search Engine and a Browser for BMW (at the time, the difference was actually pretty minimal) while planning inserts on a CD ROM for Discovery Channel Interactive.

My boss’s were Pete Meluso, Ed Dintrone and Scott Heiferman. They had the bright idea to start an ad agency in Scott’s apartment, trying to convince companies like Disney that this was a viable medium for the future. They brokered deals with clients Big Book and we bought banners tied to search engines. Our idea of a homepage takeover was a 3-frame html overlay on a page with Hercules busting through the content or the page flipping around to show a “Powered by Duracell” back-end. Ahhh, the good old days (i-traffic for those of you who remember).
Now the business is growing up, and growing up fast. I feel as though we’ve reached our late teens and early twenties. We’re a force to be reckoned with and everyone seems to recognize our potential, but we aren’t there yet and a couple of wrong turns or poor decisions could do us in. We continue to reinvent ourselves, have some fun along the way, but we are definitely getting down to business!

The economy doesn’t even seem to heavily affect us anymore. We are no longer a “why” or an “if”. We no longer have to rationalize our existence or our inclusion on a media plan anymore. We are a must-have at some spend or another. Your consumers are here, so your brand needs to be as well!

If we are a mature business, or at least one that no longer needs to be rationalized, then our people need to act like it too! Training is more important now than it was before. Before it was about good ideas and innovative thinkers. Those people are still required, but we need to be more professional now. The rag tag ways we used to run our businesses are no longer going to cut it. If you want to be taken seriously and you want to continue to see growth in your company, invest in your people. Invest in training and help us represent a united front to the oncoming dollars and attention they bring. My bosses taught me that in the first place, and I just wanted to make sure you heard it too!

I Am Soooooo Over The Term Engagement

The term Engagement is waaaay overhyped, overused, undefined and pretty much useless until we come to agreement on what it means and how to actually use it! I know that I sound like the Grumpy Old Man on this topic, but I think I have a point!

I wish more companies would come forth with some proposed means of measuring engagement so we could come to an agreement or at least participate in a discussion. Microsoft has made some attempts to do it, but no-one picked up on it (partly because it came from Microsoft). Too many people use the term and not enough people know what it means (I hear planners spew it out in meetings and I see start-ups that work the term into their mission statement). I myself am included in the problem; I didn’t help this issue much from the get-go 3 years ago. In a previous life on the agency side, I had the term Engagement in my title (I was the Engagement Architect) and people always asked me if I was going to help them plan their wedding!

As an Architect I should have been proposing ways to define the term. One way to define the term is to think of attentiveness. This is an element that has been evident in traditional marketing for some time; though not inherently spelled out. Stronger, more impactful media that captures the attention of the consumer is valued higher than less compelling media. That takes into account screen size, captivity of the audience, and personal behavior.

What about time spent? Time spent could be included in a measure of Engagement! If you spend more time with a format than with another, you can argue that you were more engaged, so what about trying to integrate that into your measurements?

One thing I do know for certain; click through does not measure Engagement.
If we don’t come to some terms on what this means relatively soon, I propose that we let the term revert back to describe those people blissfully in love and waiting to be married.

PMOG: Couch Potato Gaming Gone Crazy

The traditional world of gaming is threatened... let's hope it doesn't try to fight back!

Passively Multi-Player Online Gaming (PMOG) is a new area of gaming that allows the user to embark on a "Mission" in their everyday lives. MMOG's are designated for the shoot-em-up crowd and the fantasy gaming crowd, like World of Warcraft, while PMOG's are created for you and I, the people who like to have a little fun but don't have time to spend 70 hrs a week trying to get to the "next level". It's a passive existence, sort of like being a Couch Potato!

The concept is simple; you download a plug-in that allows you to see any of the various Missions that people have created and left behind by layering what are referred to as "Lightposts" over the existing web. It's sort of like putting a "gel" over a light that makes the light red or blue or yellow and everything that light shines on is colored in that way.

These Lightposts signify that someone has created a Mission on this site and it can be as simple as visiting a series of sites to reviewing specific pages, typing in search terms and embarking on a scavenger hunt online! These Lightposts are little invitations to play the game and whether you decide to play or not is completely up to you.

I read about these in Wired and then went online to check out some more info about them. Some of the best places for the info are as follows:
Check it out and see what the soon-to-be-hyped world is all about!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Earth Hour Observed Online!!

In case you may not have heard the details, Yahoo, MSN and AOL have agreed to shut down their services for one hour on Thursday of this week from 11am to 12noon EDT in honor of the various earth hour efforts sparked by the WWF (the wildlife group, not the group who does body slams).

This is an unprecedented moment and if you didn't believe that companies were taking the whole resource preservation issue seriously, this should change your opinion.
For more information, check out the link here.

And don't forget to tell us what you think if this moment!