Saturday, August 30, 2008

Google Insights For Search Is Addictive

I recently spent the better part of an hour surfing and gathering insights through Google Insights For Search. This tool is very cool and it provides a load of data that you should and will find useful. Breakdowns of keywords by month, distribution by region and through a number of other relevant segments. It's different that Google Zeitgeist which I used or years. I definitely recommend it.

If you buy locally, this is a must tool for you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Does Emerging Media Work For Advertising?

There was recently a Center for Media Research brief that came out which detailed the effectiveness of emerging media for advertisers. You can read the detail here by looking at the August 22 brief, but some of the basics that I found to be important are also below:

9% of U.S. adults belong in the "Ads on Emerging Media Vehicles" segment, the group of consumers who say they are most interested in advertising delivered via such non-traditional media as mobile devices and product placement in video games, movies and in TV shows

Ads delivered via mass media are preferred by 17% of U.S. adults, and an additional 17% of consumers are most interested in ads delivered in print. 32% of U.S. all adults are either disinterested in advertising delivered by any medium or they have not been exposed to a particular ad platform.

The 9% of U.S. adults who prefer "Ads on Emerging Media Vehicles" are far more likely than the average adult to agree with the following statements.
- A celebrity endorsement may influence me to consider or buy a product.
- I'm always one of the first of my friends to try new products or services.
- I follow the latest trends and fashions.
- Brand name is the best indication of quality.

Consumers, according to their interest in advertising across different media, fall into one of six segments:
- Ads on Emerging Media Vehicles: Most interested in ads delivered through non-traditional media including mobile devices and product placement in movies, TV shows, and in video games.

- Ads on the Road: Most interested in advertising on billboards, taxis, buses and trains, at bus stops and train stations, and atop taxicabs.

- Ads in Mass Media: Advertising delivered through magazines and electronic media such as TV, radio, and the Internet appeals the most to this segment.

- Ads on Paper: Most interested in advertising delivered through print, which they find informative, relaxing and/or inspirational.

- Ads at Events: Displayed at sports or entertainment events and through product placement in movies and TV shows.

- Ad Adverse: Most likely either to be not interested in or to have not been exposed to advertising in TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.

Digest at your leisure and use as you please!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Company To Watch: The BONUS ISSUE

I have been posting LOTS of companies to watch that we gathered from the Stanford Always On! Summit earlier this month and I realized that we have a bunch more, so here you are!!!

Company: LogMeIn
Contact: Conan Reidy - VP Business Dev
About: LogMeIn, Inc. was established in 2003 by the creators of RemotelyAnywhere, the award-winning remote control and administration software. The company develops and markets innovative remote access, productivity, management and security products that serve mobile professionals and system administrators with a suite of SSL, TLS and SSH-encrypted products. LogMeIn offers two free services and seven paid services, which can cost up to $1,900 a year. Users of the free services can access a device's desktop, files, applications and network resources. Paid services offer IT service providers more specialized support for networks and LANs. LogMeIn's customers include 3M, AMD and IBM. In December 2007, the company made a deal with Intel to develop a remote connectivity service for Intel computers. LogMeIn was formed in 2003 and filed to go public in January 2008.

Company: Wyndstorm
Contact: Marian Sabety – CEO
About: Wyndstorm Corporation provides end-to-end social network technology and online marketing services. They design, build and host social media, multi-user gaming, online entertainment, and ecommerce Web properties. Utilizing pre-built and custom applications, the company provides Web 2.0 technologies for online destinations with 2.5D virtual platforms, advergaming, interactive entertainment, and social network-based viral marketing opportunities. Wyndstorm Corporation trades on OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol WYND

Company: LiveOps
Contact: Maynard Webb – CEO
About: LiveOps offers web based management of more than 10,000 home based telephone workers. Their service operates as a performance based auction, routing incoming calls to the best performing worker available. LiveOps operates the world’s largest virtual call center, providing the solution complete with on-demand applications and home agents. LiveOps on-demand call center applications provide an enterprise-scale virtual call center infrastructure, while its network of 20,000 experienced home agents provide customer service.

Company: Greenplum
Contact: Bill Cook – CEO
About: Greenplum creates an open source powered business intelligence database. Bizgres is the open source community that is promoted as the free version of Greenplum. Re-formed in 2003 out of what use to be Metapa and Didera, Greenplum is a database system company focused on data warehousing and open source. They recruit technical and business employees from large-scale computing entities such as Amazon, eBay, Salesforce, Digital Island/Sandpiper Networks and HPTI.

Company: rPath
Contact: Billy Marshall – CEO
About: rPath’s technology simplifies the distribution and consumption of applications via virtual appliances and cloud computing and enables sustainable appliance lifecycle management. rPath’s rBuilder® and the rPath® Appliance Platform transform applications into virtual appliances. Only rPath’s technology produces appliances in multiple virtual machine formats, simplifies application distribution, and lowers the customer service costs of maintenance and management. Virtual appliances simplify server applications by eliminating the hassles of installation, configuration and maintenance. Appliances built with rPath technology run in any virtual environment, such as VMware’s Virtual Infrastructure or Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud.

Company: Connectbeam
Contact: Puneet Gupta - CEO
About: Connectbeam provides enterprise software for the global business environment of the 21st century. The company has received attention from the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch and many other blogs, and Gartner and other analyst firms. Connectbeam brings the 'Web 2.0' information-sharing, collaboration, and ease of use of sites like MySpace and to the daily work-flow of enterprise employees. It helps companies boost innovation, improve decisions, intensify collaboration, and build critical stakeholder relationships. Connectbeam was founded by experienced entrepreneurs with decades of experience in the enterprise software market. The company is venture backed and privately held.

Company: RightScale
Contact: Michael Crandell - CEO
About: RightScale provides a platform and consulting services that enable companies to create scalable web solutions running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) that are reliable, easy to manage, and cost less. The RightScale Dashboard saves time in maintaining, managing, and monitoring all AWS activities, while RightGrid coordinates the auto-scaling of servers according to usage load. The RightScript and RightImage libraries provides pre-built installation templates for common software stacks, and RightScale DeltaSets make it easy to customize and manage modifications to machine images. Together with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) — RightScale enables a next-generation platform for deploying highly scalable web applications. RightScale is based in beautiful Santa Barbara, California.

Company: Truviso
Contact: Michael Franklin – Founder
About: Truviso continuously analyzes massive volumes of dynamic information— providing comprehensive visibility and actionable insights for any event, opportunity or trend on-demand. Truviso's solutions deliver timely insights and context for net-centric, inter-connected businesses who need to understand and act on continuous, rapidly changing data generated within dynamic, networked interactions. Truviso is based on almost a decade of seminal research and is designed from the ground-up for the net-centric world of constantly evolving information, customer, partner and business interactions where traditional approaches cannot keep-up.

Company: HiveLive
Contact: John Hembel – CEO
About: HiveLive is a B2B social networking application provider offering standard features like wikis, blogs, forums, and user profiles. It improves the power of these tools by allowing users in the network to create “Hives”, which are blocks of users who choose to restrict access to a particular application amongst selected members in their network. For instance, a project team inside a company network may join a wiki restricted to a Hive of team members. Friends with a shared common interest may form a form a forum Hive to discuss their interests. HiveLive’s targeted customer base is companies looking to build communities with their customers, employees, or partners. It competes with other social networking application providers like Ning and OneSite.

Company: NanoChip
Contact: Gordon R. Knight - CEO
About: Founded in 1996 by Tom Rust, Nanochip is a fabless semiconductor company that is developing a range of removable storage chips that can be used in consumer electronics products such as digital cameras, cell phones, PDA's, etc. as well as laptop computers and fast servers. The storage chips that are in development at Nanochip are based upon the technology of writing domains in phase-change media with current passed through an array of atomic force probe tips in contact with the media. Either the media or the tip array can be moved with micro-mechanical (MEMs) movers to write, read, and erase bits on the media that are in the range of 10 to 20 nanometers in size. The benefit of the Nanochip technology is that their storage chips are not dependent on the limits of lithography. The recorded bits are defined by the tip/media interface, whereas the chip itself is made with older and much less expensive lithography tools.

Company: Networks in Motion
Contact: Doug Antone - CEOAbout: Networks In Motion, Inc. provides wireless navigation solutions for GPS-enabled mobile phones. It offers AtlasBook, which provides location-enabled tools, including visibility into field activity, two-way communications, and exchange of data. The company offers deployment of mapping, directional, and other location-based services to wireless carriers and enterprise customers, as well as mobile workers, families, and individuals. Networks In Motion, Inc. was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Company To Watch: Red Oxygen

Company: Red Oxygen


Contact: Tom Sheahan - CEO

About: Red Oxygen is one of the world’s leading developers and distributors of Enterprise SMS / Text messaging software applications and services. Red Oxygen combines the power of today’s email applications, instant messaging clients or CRM applications with the ease, convenience and mobility of SMS / text messaging. Red Oxygen software is available for Microsoft Outlook, Window, IBM’s Sametime, Outlook Express and IBM’s Lotus Notes. Red Oxygen has clients across a broad array of industries and geographies. Their current customer list includes clients such as Pfizer, BMW, Qantas, Microsoft, Siemens, Panasonic, Deloitte, IBM, Accenture, Frito Lay, Billabong, 3M and others.

Monday, August 25, 2008

NBC’s No-lympics

I have to agree with Techcrunch’s assessment of the NBC Olympics coverage. They came up way short. I was trying to go online to view supplementary content from the Olympics and I couldn't’t. It took me 30 minutes to find Michael Phelps content the night he beat Cavic by a fingernail and I never was successful on NBC. I found it in 10 seconds on YouTube.
The TV coverage was OK, but not great. I was promised that I could watch wrestling and decathlon and all the other sports of interest but it seemed to be all swimming and gymnastics all the time. They were great stories of course, but not the experience I was promised.

NBC definitely missed the boat and the fact that they only estimated to receive $5.75 million in revenue from what is supposed to be the largest global event is a poor, poor showing.

I can understand why the NCAA tourney gets more revenue - they fuel gambling. I didn't see too many Olympics-pools in the offices that I visited the last two weeks, but that is still no excuse.

I hope they get it on the next go-round. They have 4 years to figure it out!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Company To Watch (for start-ups): Spigit

Company: Spigit


Contact: Paul Pluschkell – CEO

About: Spigit is a newly launched community that aims to provide a network of support for start-ups and their founders. The simulation engine provided by spigit is a way to sort of test out your idea. The simulation runs through three stages, where approval badges are awarded for things like buzz percentile, number of views, and expert approval. As a participant in this community, you don’t have to be testing out an idea. You can provide value by offering feedback, interacting with others on the site, and helping the idea to either gain traction or lose steam. A major takeaway is that this community aims to provide a meeting ground for developers, early adopters, those in the industry looking for a job, and investors looking for the next big thing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Company To Watch: SpiceWorks

Company: Spiceworks


Contact: Jay Hallberg – Co-founder & CMO

About: Spiceworks provides a free systems management, inventory, and helpdesk software application, Spiceworks IT Desktop, designed for network administrators working in small- to medium-sized businesses. Spiceworks IT Desktop is used to inventory, monitor, manage and report on software and hardware assets. It also includes an integrated help desk system. Spiceworks runs on Microsoft Windows and discovers Windows, Unix, Linux and Mac OS X machines along with other IP-addressable devices such as routers, VOIP phones, printers, etc. Spiceworks is an advertisement-supported application. Making money from management software like this via advertising is certainly an interesting (that is to say, highly risky) business model. But if you're trying to run an office full of computers, you could do far worse than this easy-to-use, yet still comprehensive, system and network management product.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Company To Watc: Jivox

Company: Jivox


Contact: Diaz Nesamoney - CEO

About: Jivox online video advertising is a powerful new way to tell your customers about your business beyond the visual and geographic limitations of search engines and banners. With Jivox, you can easily create Free professional video advertisements for your business with music, visuals, and more. Through the exclusive Jivox network your ad will appear "on the digital air." Jivox pinpoints the sites your customers go to in the markets you need to reach them. You only pay for the actual sites where your video ad runs. Jivox also launched WatchNBuy, a shopping service that lets consumers click on items in a video — and purchase them.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Company To Watch: Mformation Technologies

Company: Mformation Technologies


Contact: Matt Bancroft - CMO

About: Mformation Technologies, Inc. provides mobile device management software that is used by the mobile operators and service providers. It offers MFORMATION SERVICE MANAGER Suite, which is an integrated mobile device management software solution. The MFORMATION SERVICE MANAGER provides solutions for open mobile alliance DM-based provisioning and configuration; firmware over the air management; smart phone application management; diagnostics and repair for mobile devices; security management for mobile devices and data; enterprise device management; and customer experience management with voice and data services. They are also funded by Battery Ventures.

Company To Watch: SmackB!z

Company: SmackB!Z


Contact: Damian Hickey – Founder & COO

About: ZacWare has developed SMACKB!Z to help businesses with a need for video on-line to edit, upload, store and organize their videos quickly (up to 100 times faster than other ordinary systems) all in one easy-to-use professional package. SMACKB!Z enables any webmaster to seamlessly embed video footage into their existing internet or intranet site, incorporating valuable business meta data. Potential clients include legal firms, insurance companies, real estate agents and any firm that sees the potential of video for their business, but has been deterred by the usability or integration factor.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No More Muxtape?

Say it ain't so Joe!


Company To Watch: Red Bubble

Company: RedBubble


Contact: Martin Hosking – CEO

About: RedBubble is an online art gallery and creative community where artists can upload and sell their art to a global audience of buyers. Almost as importantly, RedBubble also enables artists to receive comments and feedback on their work. RedBubble started out in Australia, but now attracts users from around the world. More than 120,000 items have been sold through the site to buyers in 71 countries over the past year. RedBubble provides a platform for artists to monetize their work. An artist from a t-shirt designer to an illustrator can sell his or her design to a customer who can have it printed on a t-shirt, framed, etc. using RedBubble's global production and distribution network. The artist determines the price for their work beyond the base price charged by RedBubble to print, frame or reproduce the artwork. RedBubble was an official nominee for a Webby Award in 2008.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Boo Record Industry For Poor Pandora

Why can't they get it right? I mean, really!! How hard is it to find a way to work together?

The record industry just seems to find every major pothole in the road and drive right through it at full speed! First they attack consumers for downloading via illegal anti-piracy moves and wind up attacking their best customers (and in some cases the wrong people). Then they go after YouTube and other video sites who are allowing people to upload videos of artists that they shot with their cameras and camera phones. Now, among other things, they are affecting Internet radio sites like Pandora with new, increased fees for playing songs.

It just seems like the record industry does everything it can to spite itself.

Pandora is one of the coolest companies online and they are probably a better source for discovering new music than any other site online! I use Pandora and have probably purchased at least 10 new artists from first hearing them on that site. Pandora is an example of the right way to do music online, but because of greed they are most likely going to be closed down.

Of course you can make the case that their problem is not the record industry. It's the sales team at Pandora being unable to sell the offering appropriately. I can buy part of that argument but isn't it just a little coincidental that the majority of problems with an industry are those problems between the record industry and digital media?

Pandora won't shut down forever. It will come back in some way. Maybe Clearchannel will buy it? Maybe CBS will buy it? Someone will come along and save Pandora, but can't we just teach ourselves to get along? Can't we find a way to work together.

The record industry needs some new models and I anticipate you will be seeing them very soon. For one to watch, check The Republic Project in the coming months. I have always loved and hated this industry, and The Republic Project is my attempt to fix it (yes - it is a shameless self promotion, but only due to my repeated calls to action from the record industry).

In the meantime, send money to Pandora and do whatever you can to help save them! They deserve your help - where's Jerry Lewis? We need a telethon!!!

Company To Watch: ReQall


Contact: Sunil Vemuri - CPO

About: ReQall is a software program created by Qtech Inc. ReQall is a free task- and time-management application that integrates mobile devices (via voice messaging) with email, web, text messaging, IM, online calendars and RSS feeds to create a unified memory tool. ReQall faces some competition as there seems to be more and more applications and services popping up that marry voice, text and internet. What makes ReQall different is that it allows multiple inputs--not just text--and outputs for your lists. You can speak your items to the ReQall phone number, put them on the Web site or widget, or connect via text message or instant message (that's new) and there’s also a new iPhone interface. The service acts as both a storehouse for your items and as a reminder service. There's still no visible monetization scheme for ReQall. In the future, premium accounts may get more access to voice transcription services.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Company To Watch: Pulse Link

I just finished reading through the documents and reports and information that I gathered as a result of the Stanford Always On! Summit from a couple of weeks ago (sorry - it's been a little crazy around the office). I wanted to start highlighting some of these companies for you to read about so over the next couple of days you'll be seeing some short synopsis of companies to watch.

Have fun!

Company: Pulse Link


Contact: Bruce Watkins – CEO

About: Pulse-Link has developed technology to allow HDTV streams to be carried on coax cables, telephone lines and most notably wirelessly. With the R&D complete, Pulse-Link's biggest challenge lays ahead of them as they look to get their chips adopted in the marketplace. Pulse-Link has taken strides in that direction, recently partnering with Westinghouse Digital, the 5th largest maker of flat-panel LCD TVs, who will roll out TV's equipped with Pulse-Link's chips later this year. The first fully equipped sets are aimed at commercial customers (i.e. bars & restaurants) and will make their way into the home as the technology becomes cheaper.

The Round-Up Volume 1, Issue 10: What’s Innovation?

Every other week the Digital Influentials column ( highlights just some of the innovative companies we come across in an effort to share them with you so you can stay up-to-date and in-the-know. Of course, what exactly is innovation? We constantly hear about “web 2.0” and even “web 3.0” but are these blanket terms for “innovation”?

In my opinion Innovation refers to the concept of evaluating an existing solution to a challenge and developing a new means of solving that problem. In some cases we develop new problems with the ongoing integration of technology into our lives and innovation allows us to solve those problems in a way we never thought possible before. You’ve heard the idea of “building a better mousetrap” and this lends itself to the concept of innovation, but I would add one element to the mix; the element of need. For innovation to be truly successful there must be a need for the solution. If you build a better mousetrap but the old mousetrap was working just fine and no-one had any complaints, then the so-called innovation is destined to be unsuccessful. The most innovative companies we see are ones that have identified a need and created a solution that fits. Beyond that, these solutions must be defensible and differentiated and if they do so then the tri-fecta can hit and innovation can be successful! As a wise voice I heard recently said to me, “there are far too many solutions searching for a problem to solve”. That is not the basis for successful innovation.

So with all that being said, let’s go take a look at some of the more successfully innovative companies we came across the last two weeks, shall we?

Marissa Gluck sent us a new one this week… ADDICTOMATIC ( I played with the site for a little while and though some of the results they returned in the basic components weren’t always correct, overall I found the site to be intriguing. Innovation may not always be immediately successful, but with a great concept and some ongoing updates, success van be had and I think this site will have it. The site aggregates together information on a selected topic from a number of other sources including Twitter, Google, and others. I think the site has a lot of potential and I plan on keeping a keen, semi-addicted eye in its direction for the next few weeks.

Trevor Wright sent us his new site, DOGTIME ( Dogtime is an innovation in its category because of the simple nature of using the site for good, rather than silliness. Dogtime brings the dog lovers on the web together and allows them to share relevant information rather than just pretending that the dog is surfing the web and creating profile pages for other dogs to read. I can’t say that I relate since I don’t own a dog, but I hear dog lovers love this site!

We saw a trend this week in naming sites and companies based on colors. Davis Brewer sent us PURPLE TALK ( and we were surprised it took 5 weeks for this business model to emerge (insert sarcasm here). Purple Talk is creating an ad network of iPhone apps. With more than $30 million in revenues generated from the App Store in iTunes in just a month, this was an inevitable event. Ad networks are hot and the App Store is hotter, so obviously the two were destined to meet!

Not to be left out, we discovered RED BUBBLE ( I surfed around Red Bubble for an hour checking out art work and t-shirt designs. The web is missing a good place for casual artwork to be displayed to the searching eye and this site makes it easy for artists to show their work! Beyond Flickr, which can be a bit overwhelming, I don’t know where else to go – problem solved! The web is all about finding what you like and posting what you want, and Red Bubble does a great job of organizing its pages. I’ve bookmarked the site and plan on checking it out regularly. You might too!

OK, so I only found 2 sites that named themselves after colors, but I wasn’t searching too hard. I was searching just hard enough to find MAILCHIMP ( Every now and then I find a company that deals with email marketing and they prove to me that email marketing is not a dead art! The chimp was successful as well. By now I assume that most online marketers have identified an email marketing provider, but if you haven’t, check out these guys and see if they can help.

And if you like reading about new companies, check out YOU NOODLE ( You Noodle is a place to discover companies that might be “the next big think”. Reading our newsletter is not the only way to find out about new companies, and we don’t have a “Startup Predictor”. This site might become a valuable resource for us to find some of the more innovative companies online, but be sure to keep reading here and we’ll digest them for ya!

That’s it for this week. Have a great one!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Twilight Online Marketing

I have to admit that I don't "get" the whole hoopla over the Twilight series of books by Stephenie Meyer, but I am also not an 18 year-old girl and that seems to be the audience for her books. I dig Vampires but the main storyline for the series is not something that i find to be of interest.

I do however find their online marketing to be of interest!

There are many, many fan sites and areas devoted to her content, but the "official" sites are where the magic truly lies. If you want to get a guided tour of the sites that are adding to the mystique and the backdrop of the series, check out these bad boys:

Stephenie Meyer's Website

Twilight Lexicon

Twilight Guy


And just for a giggle, search a few times on Google for terms like vampires and twilight and see how many sites pop up! They may lack the broad appeal of Harry Potter, but a phenomenon nonetheless!

Watch Watchmen!!

I know it's not really an advertising topic, but the movie version of Watchmen is coming out and the online marketing so far is fantastic! The movie (for those of you not familiar with it) is based on the groundbreaking graphic novel that many people consider to be the best piece of literary success to come from the comic book industry in the last 40 years, and possibly ever.

The film will be amazing, based on the trailer that I've seen, but what I think is smart are the series of video journals that are online and available for you to view. Check them out and see what all the buzz is about.

The viral nature of the brand is lending to the success, but the studio is doing a great job of providing the kinds of content and insider information that we want to see. We already know the story, so what is interesting to people like me is how well they adapt it to the screen. Many people have said that this story is un-filmable, but this type of seeding is proving them wrong.

Have fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Internet Video Stats

Some fun stats for you to read...

According to the study I’ve been reading, 69.5% of Internet users actively view video content online. Men are more likely, at 76% versus 60.2% of women. According to the research cited in this study all age groups were just as likely to watch video online, so though the audience slightly skews male, age is not a defining element. Everyone is watching!

According to the same study, 63% of the respondents who watch online video watch at least once per week, with men more likely to watch frequently as compared to women (maybe we have more free time). This number is most certainly growing as a result of the mainstream media beginning to highlight and inform the general consumer where they can go to watch cool stuff (I cite the most recent videos from SNL as an example).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alex Bogusky's Words of Wisdom

This article over at iMedia Connection is worth a read.

Alex Bogusky is a name in advertising that everyone should know. As one of the leads at Crispin, Porter, Bogusky he has created a number of innovative and iconic campaigns. He has pushed the boundaries of advertising and his thoughts are very smart, yet simple.

Read on.

New Ad Metrics for Ad Networks

Comscore's announcement regarding a new measure for ad networks is VERY smart. It's about time that the ad networks are measured for actual vs. potential. This should be a metric for media planners to start integrating into their campaigns asap.

Read on...

Tru Blood Spoof Had Me Going

I have to admit that when I saw the ads for the Tru Blood beverage, I thought they were real. I was really, honestly believing that a company was promoting a synthetic blood-like beverage. After tasting Red Bull and some of the other things on the market, how could I not believe it!

As it turns out these were actually ads for a new HBO show about vampires.

My hat is off to the folks at HBO - this was a great campaign! The shows that run on cable, specifically on HBO and Showtime, are pushing the boundaries of what television will allow and as a result they are putting some amazing content into the marketplace, but also following this up with their advertising strategy is a stroke of pure brilliance!

The campaign was written in a way that people believed it to be true. They even supplemented it with a faux-dating site for vampires and real people. It doesn't hurt that right now we see a lot of vampire press related to this show as well as the Twilight series from Stephanie Meyer.

As for the show, I am pretty sure it will be good. If it's on HBO, then it is a foregone conclusion that it will be a top-notch presentation, though possibly only to a targeted audience. I will be checking it out to see what I think. Maybe you should too!

(and no - HBO is not a client).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Paraphrasing The Changing Face of the US Consumer

Ad Age ran an article about the changing US consumer and the article is looong. Not everyone has the time to read such a long article, but it's a really good one so I pulled some highlights as they were written by Dr. Charlie Hall. You can see her article here:

And you can read the highlights below:


THE TREND: The average age for a U.S. head of household is 49.5— just six months shy of getting a sign-up pitch from AARP. The first boomers will turn 65 in less than three years.

MARKETING CHALLENGE: Older consumers tend to be more risk-averse and less open to new ideas.

WHAT TO DO: Don't pander ("60 is the new 40"). Play up messages suggesting advantages such as guarantees, safety and experience.


THE TREND: The gulf is widening among consumers when it comes to attitudes and behavior. The online- and wireless-centric consumer lives in a different world from the older newspaper reader.

WHAT TO DO: Rethink strategies for target marketing. Put more emphasis on ethnographic research into the culture, beliefs and activities of the target consumer


THE TREND: One nation, but hardly united or homogeneous. The Northeast is older, largely white with fewer children; the West is younger and more diverse. Two thirds of recent immigrants have settled in the South or West.

WHAT TO DO: For products aimed at older consumers, consider looking north and east. If you want younger consumers, pick your regions and then make sure the message resonates with a multicultural audience.


THE TREND: The median age of U.S. Hispanic women is about 28—14 years younger than the median age for white, non-Hispanic women. Two in five consumers under 45 are Hispanic, Black or Asian (vs. one in five for 65- plus). More than half of household heads in California and Texas are Hispanic, Black, Asian or multiracial.

WHAT TO DO: If you want to be the choice of a new generation, embrace the cultures and voices of that generation.


THE TREND: In the past seven years, 40% of U.S. population growth has come from immigration. Five big states (New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois and Connecticut) would have seen their work forces and populations shrink were it not for new immigrants.

WHAT TO DO: Marketers need to engage in the national debate about immigration. Immigrants, after all, are a source of labor—and a prime source of new consumers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Have Your Cake And Eat It Too; Free Music On The Internet!

If I am who I am, and I am what I eat, then what am I based on what I’m listening to?

The music industry is in the midst of a massive upheaval as it continues to change dramatically as a direct result of the Internet. Consumers are exposed to more music than ever before through websites and digital content but the industry is losing face. Some artists are releasing songs direct to the consumers without the interference of their record labels (i.e. Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails) while other artists are circumventing the established record industry in its entirety and signing up with all sorts of new partners on more lucrative partnerships (i.e. Madonna and U2 signing up with Live Nation). The record industry is losing money hand over fist compared to the windfalls they made in recent years, but artists are finding a more intimate relationship between them and their fans! If you are what you eat, then the industry is getting leaner these days while the artists are snacking on a variety of delectable, delicious foods from all over the world!

Believe it or not, there’s now an entire generation of kids who may never step foot in a record store (one of my favorite experiences through the various stages of my life) and a whole slew of artists who are building a cult fan base without the help of a beat up old van for touring! Of course, the truth of the matter is they don’t have to do things the same old way anymore! New websites and new services pop up every day which enable you, the consumer, to discover new music and rediscover artists you may have forgotten about for years. In the past the record industry attempted to shut these resources down but they’ve since come around and begun to build more mutually beneficial relationships with these services and today we’re going to highlight just a few of them for you!

IMEEM ( Imeem is a social network centered on music. You build a profile and set out to share music, videos and photos of you and your favorite artists. Social Networking is a fun way to pass the time online and it’s not just for 17 year olds! Fans of all ages and backgrounds can post their music, talk about music and share music with others.

PANDORA ( Pandora was born out of an ancient online music effort called the Music Genome Project. It started many years ago in an internet far, far away and finally came to fruition as this engaging form of Internet Radio. With Pandora you create a customized online radio station that’s tailored only to you and what you want to hear. Whether you’re a fan of Pearl Jam or Mariah Carey, you start out with a title or a name or a genre and the station will begin streaming music to you that it thinks you’ll like! You give it a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down” and the system learns from your ratings, further refining the song list and creating an even more tailored experience for you! Of course, this is free and supported by advertising, but the ads are beautiful full-page “skins” as they refer to them and they don’t interfere with the experience of the site at all.

MUXTAPE ( The Muxtape is the place for people who like music but hate the Internet! If you like the concept of Imeem and Pandora but want a bare-bones, completely stripped down version, then this is the site for you. You visit Muxtape and register with an email address. You then get down to business by viewing and listening to mix-tapes created by other people or you can create your own for others to hear. No pretty graphics to get in the way. No annoying ads to pop up. No navigation to other areas of the site (there aren’t any). Pretty much nothing at all except music, music and music. For the snobbiest of music fans, this is the site for you!!

So don’t waste anymore time; get clickin’ and listenin’ to your favorite artists or the artists you remember and forgot you love!

More to come!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wolverine: Books Are Fun!

I wrote a post for our Book Moments blog and you should check it out here.

What is Book Moments? It's a project where we talk about books that we read and why we like them and marry that together with video. I think you'll like it!

Rehash of Rejaw

I found a cool post about Rejaw from ReadWriteWeb and thought you might want to read it...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

AOL and Platform A: Poised for succcess?

I have a very soft spot in my heart for AOL and Platform:A. I admit it and I am not afraid to tell the whole world about it! I don't work with AOL these days and I have not spent money with them in a few years, but I still think they can do well!

AOL was my first real foray online after UNIX and I remember how much fun it was! They've come upon hard times over the last few years and lost some of their mojo, but the news yesterday that Time Warner was pulling out the access portion of the business is a good thing! Let's see why...
  • AOL is still one of the top online properties and they get a lot of business! There are lots of ad dollars still coming through the site.
  • They can launch very successful new brands... like TMZ! TMZ very quickly became a leader in the category of celebrity gossip and that is no small feat. They have a TV Show and they are are always being quoted in other locations and outlets.
  • They have smart people! They are capable of building cool sites and cool technology!
  • They have a very deep catalog of content to use in the Time Warner vaults!

How can you not leverage these 3 assets to become a success?

If I were in charge at AOL, I would start dissecting the units in my company and feature the cool stuff we're doing to the outside world. I would start building relationships with bloggers like Michael Arrington at TechCrunch and the good folks at Read Write Web. I would start letting the internal folks at AOL see some daylight! One of, if not the primary, reason Google still gets a lot of hype is that they know how to highlight their internal teams and ideas. AOL has ideas that are just as good, so why not tell us about them?

I would start building some more properties. If everyone wants premium content and they want ad networks, why not create a bunch of unique properties? Leverage all of that Time Warner content machine and get to work!

I know it sounds simple, but I really think these two ideas would help!

You heard it here first!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Time Warner Spins Out AOL Access Business

Is this really news? I guess it might be if you are still on a dial-up connection.

I know that a portion of the US is still using dial-up, but where are they? I don't know a single person connected to the internet through a dial-up connection. Is there really enough of them to sustain a stand-alone business?

Fun Facts About Affluence In America

I was reading a study on Affluence in America that was published by Nielsen (May 2008) and some fun facts popped out at me. As I was reading the study I decided to highlight some of the key findings here for you to read. If you can get a hold of the study, it's worth your attention.

1. More people are becoming "affluent" (defined as higher income households with more than $100,000 per year whereas middle income is considered $30,000 to $100,000 per year).

2. The median household income in the US increased 6.5% vs. 1997. This amounts to $48,496 per year.

3. The number of households with more than $100,000 per year income jumped 23% to 21.7 million.

4. 50% of the US, or 57.1million households, fall into the middle-class income bucket described above.

5. 34.8million households earn under $30,000 per year, which is a decrease of 7% since 1997.

6. The top 3 markets for households earning more than $100,000 per year are Los Alamos, New Mexico followed by Bridgeport-Stamford, Connecticut and Torrington, Connecticut.

There is a lot of great data in there, but you will have to see Nielsen to get it all. Reach out to them. It's worth it (and NO, they are not a client).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Excerpts On Seeding Viral Online

This article was posted on Mediapost last week and was written by Marcia Kadanoff of MuseStorm (in full disclosure, we have worked with MuseStorm in the past). The article is very detailed and I wanted to share some of the key highlights with you. For the full article, read over at Mediapost.

These active seeding programs are particularly effective:
1. Pay-per-install. An individual downloading a widget or social application is asked whether he would like to download another. If he opts in, the developer of the "other" application or widget is billed for each install--typically one to two dollars. This seeding method is best done in moderation, and there are formulas available that advise how much distribution should be purchased based on the specific parameters of a promotion.

2. Targeted seeding. A widget is seeded with select influencers, typically bloggers or individuals with large social networking communities. Their blogs or profile pages should be carefully analyzed for their areas of interest and circle of influence, or "social graph."

Influencers are particularly valuable because they are typically "multi-communicators"; They use multiple social networks to communicate and have large, deeply entwined social graphs. One very effective approach is to create a cross-platform widget that can first be posted as a Web widget for select bloggers and later morphed into a Facebook or OpenSocial application. Some marketers create a regular widget for all vehicles, plus an enhanced widget with exclusive content seeded with less than 200 highly influential bloggers on a few special-interest social networks. They have separate tracking codes, and we anticipate different levels of viral transmission and engagement.

New tools help analyze the social graph across social networks and viral environments.

3. Formal or informal outreach. One example of informal outreach is having an internal team log on to a social network, install the widget or social application, and have their friends do likewise. Informal seeding may entail leaving the first set of comments on the wall (Facebook) or profile page (MySpace), or within a widget if it allows for dynamic, two-way interactions. Informal seeding is most effective when participants understand the market and are genuinely enthusiastic.

Word-of-mouth marketing agencies offer more formal programs. For example, Target Corporation hired "rounders" to talk up its Facebook page. Although these people were supposed to conceal that they were Target employees, the word spread quickly...with predictable results. Hiring people to talk up a Facebook page or other promotional vehicle is fine, as long as the activity is authentic.

4. Emailing or other low-cost demand generation. Existing email lists can be leveraged to drive customers to download a widget or social application. This works best if a company has an active and enthusiastic installed base.

Promotional strategies complement and enhance seeding programs

Other methods help drive initial installations, even without a large customer email list. It's a good idea for companies to place widgets or mobile applications on their own sites for download--ideally adjacent to relevant content. Big entertainment companies are great at this. Also, pursue other low-cost promotional strategies, but don't expect them to deliver specific installation metrics. They are typically passive, and some are actually imprudent.

1. Directories. The iGoogle gadgets directory has about 40,000 listed; Apple's directory of dashboard widgets has over 4,400; and the Facebook application directory has over 10,000. WidgetBox provides a cross-platform directory just for widgets.

2. Search engine marketing. Since so many people discover new content through search, SEO makes sense. With the right platform, it's easy to produce widgets and social applications that are search engine-friendly.

3. Forced seeding. When Facebook debuted, marketers could insist that users invite 10-20 friends to share an application before they could install it. Forced seeding has lost favor on Facebook and elsewhere, and audiences often perceive it as spam. Companies violating Facebook's application developer guidelines could be barred from Facebook.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Funny Ad Images Are... Well... Funny!

I know that we take ourselves too seriously and in trying to lighten the mood a little bit, I found this site! It's a collection of pics featuring some of the funnier ads in the marketplace. Its worth a few minutes of your time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Round-Up Volume 1, Issue 9: Yee hah! It’s Digital Round-Up Time Again!

We wanted to kick off this week’s Digital Influentials Round Up with a quote. We searched high and low to find the right inspirational quote that would embody what we do each and every week and we found a simple one that seemed to hit the spot...

“Every artist was first an amateur.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

It may not seem immediately relevant, but it inspired us as we examined these new and innovative companies and ideas throughout the week. Every company emerges from an idea and ideas come from the unlikeliest of places. If you have an idea for a company, product or service you should pursue it! Don’t let a lack of experience or a fear of the unknown cloud your judgment and inhibit your excitement. Everyone starts from the same place and it’s the assertive person that has the initiative to learn and grow beyond the amateur into an experienced, seasoned veteran. No-one will do it for you. Be afraid to make mistakes. To be a success you have to make your own luck! With that, let’s see some of the innovative ideas that other people have been working on!

Are you tired of trying to create forms for your business? Do you need to create employment applications? Customer satisfaction surveys? Event registrations? Lead generation forms? There are many ways to do it and many of them cost at least a little bit of money. They’re free at WUFOO ( We discovered WuFoo in the development of an event registration form and we were sold immediately. It’s simple, fast and like I mentioned already, free! That’s my favorite price and I’m guessing it’s yours as well.

While creating an event registration form for a client, Jim Nichols (one of my business partners) realized that we need to do a better job of tracking our time allocations to various clients. There are a number of really expensive time tracking solutions and they’re always difficult to implement. The biggest hurdle with time tracking systems is in remembering to log your information correctly throughout the day. That’s where TOGGL ( comes in. Toggl provides a handy, free desktop application (or widget if you prefer that term) which is convenient and easy to use. Just enter time as you bounce from client to client and learn how your day is being spent! It can be an invaluable tool for a growing business. Thanks to Jim for finding it!

Peter Figueredo suggested another great site to us this week! Peter suggested we check out GENI ( He must have known how important family is to us! Geni is a great tool for managing your family history. Your family is a social network and one that can be the most fun to track. Keep a log on who marries whom and how everyone is related!

A few weeks back we featured MUXTAPE ( as a cool place to listen to music. It appears there are a few other really cool places to check out in a similar vein! We discovered FAVTAPE ( and MIXWIT ( and love how they provide a place for you to create a collage of music, pictures and just about anything you want. I love outlets for creativity and these are the types of places that can suck you in for hours!

If you like Twitter ( and you have a really short attention span for new information, you’ll love BLIPPR ( It’s a Twitter-like site that allows you to share reviews of music, movies, books, games and just about anything else in the short-format of Twitter. This type of review is probably all you really need to know if a band is good or their albums are worth listening to, so sign up and check it out!

And last but not least, if you use lots of charts in presentation then you will probably like GRAPHJAM ( I’m pretty sure it’s meant as a joke, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work them into a presentation somewhere, right? This might be my favorite (

Thanks again for reading and telling others about Digital Influentials! Please spread the word to your colleagues and let us know of any cool new sites or products in your various travels!

See you in 2 weeks!

Cuil: How NOT To Launch A New Company

Heard of Cuil? I did, but it appears that they may have made some mistakes in their launch. This article from TechCrunch details how not to launch a new website.

Check it out. From what I can make out, and it's hard to make out anything clearly, this is a simple case of over-promise and under-deliver. I tried my standard search of "pearl jam" and there was nothing there! That won't do it. Sorry.

Maybe they can recover, but we may have seen the lifecycle of a company already launch and flame-out in less than 24 hrs. That might be a record. I wonder how their VC's are feeling?

I won't throw the dirt on them yet, but we shall see what happens.