Thursday, February 26, 2009

Disruption Junction, What's Your Function?

Interesting article on disruptions to ad agencies...

Personally i love disruptions. I love it when things get thrown on their head. We need to have these things happen to us on a regular basis. It's the only real way that we learn. When you get stuck in a rut of doing things in all the same, expected manner, you get stale.

If you don't like disruption, you need to get out of the way because if anything has been proven it's that disruption is the way of the future.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The News In Recap

If you want to gain a strong foothold on the state of the industry, just read the trades. Just this past Monday I took some time in the morning to glance through a number of online periodicals and came across the following (paraphrased) headlines:

  • The click is not the correct measure for online advertising (surprise!).
  • Online display is continuing to see a decline in response to the economy (whoops).
  • A one-second spot on TV provided brand lift for Miller High Life (interesting…).
  • TV is as effective as ever (of course I had to read about it on the web).

What doesn’t get covered in the media very much is what we see working well! Why is that?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Round-Up Volume 1, Issue 20: You Down With O.P.P in The Round Up?

Remember the hip-hop group Naughty by Nature? They had it going on (yes – that sounded as awkward to type as it sounded to read)! Their biggest hit was “O.P.P.”, way back in 1991 when I was just a wee lad; a freshman at Syracuse University who was peering anxiously forward to his future career as an ad guy. “O.P.P.” stood for “other people’s property” and was the biggest smash of the year, going platinum and inspiring a veritable bevy of illegal merchandising opportunities, but it can also be considered a basic rallying cry for the web in 2009. I decided to drag it back into the mainstream as the theme for this week’s edition of The Round Up from your friendly neighborhood Digital Influential.

Social media is all about O.P.P. Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 are all about O.P.P. How else can you explain the constant draw of such services as Facebook and Twitter. These services are all about voyeurism and listening in on the lives of other people, but social media can also be used to serve the powers of good! Social media can connect people with like-minded opinions or complementary skill-sets. This week’s edition of the Round Up will focus on just those types of connections.

One of the greatest things about the web is the access to other people’s experiences. In the old world we had Consumer Reports. In the new world we have RATE IT ALL ( Rate It All provides a simple interface for searching out your favorite products, music and other items and hearing what others say about it. Think of it as a product-focused YELP mixed with the attention span of TWITTER. I searched for five products and discovered viewpoints on all of them quickly and easily.

If you don’t like hearing other people’s opinions and you’re just looking for someone to help you create some charts for a presentation, check out LOVELY CHARTS ( The service provides an online tool for creating diagrams and charts, but the fact that they provide a tool for “sexy” looking diagrams that were “crafted with love” is a little bit strange and intriguing all at the same time (trust me, this is actual language taken from their site). I played with the system and it works really well. If you’re a novice at Powerpoint this may save you a lot of time since creating these diagrams in PPT can be a hassle, so take a peek and see if they can help you out!

Of course, we can’t talk about social media without talking about music, and going to a concert is the most social experience there is, right? Well, if you’re like me then you’re not a fan of the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, so you’ll support companies like SHOWCLIX ( ShowClix provides an alternative ticketing solution. A quick search for San Francisco yielded tickets to Swan Lake at the Opera House and Matt Costa at Slims. They may not have been my first choice, but they are excellent options!

Since we’re on the topic of live music, we can’t overlook JAMBASE ( which is the defacto search engine for local live music and just recently came out with a superb iPHONE application! Spend some time on their site and see what bands are coming to a city near you.

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for (to quote the iconic U2 frontman, Bono) then you should tap into the wealth of online “official sources”. You all know CRAIGSLIST, but what about ANGIES LIST ( for your home and home related needs or JUDY’S BOOK ( for information on a variety of topics! Think of them as a little more local and a little more elite.

When it comes to the iPhone App space, there’s still no shortage of O.P.P to check out. CRAIGSPHONE has a great app for accessing CraigsList and TWITTELATOR gives you access to your Twitter account. If you want to see what smart people are saying, check out the TED app and get access to the content from the TED conference in Monterey!

That’s it for this week. Have fun and keep on keepin’ it real!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Facebook Is Great For Old People

This article from Time magazine about why Facebook is so popular, for old people, is funny! It's funny because it's also true!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Branding 2.0 (according to someone else)

This presentation is worth a read as it discusses how to build brands in the current economy...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gaming Link From IAB

If you're trying to gather some information about online gaming marketing, check out this link here... from the IAB. Good primer on gaming and in-game marketing targeted to agencies and brands.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Most Depressing Page of the Web

This might be the most depressing page on the Internet. Thankfully there's no running tally, but i have to hope that from viewing the list in its full length, that we are nearing the end of the road on the lay off bandwagon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How to Measure Engagement

Interesting article on how to measure engagement. A little too complicated, but a very cool place to start!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!!

Happy Valentines Day baby!!

I love my wife very, very much!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Are You a Fantasy Fisher?

No. Really.

This is awesome! Check out Fantasy Fishing.

People bet on fishing results the same way that they manage fantasy football. If you have too much time on your hands and you like to flat out guess, try it out!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


It looks like the Kindle 2 is a hit, so far.

I have to admit that i don't own one, but they are very cool little toys. I still like holding a book and I don't know that I will change that soon, but i can totally see how I might want to jump on this bandwagon soon.

If anyone wants to buy me one, I would be very happy to use it and write about it :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I A Bee Says (and I Mostly Agree)

This post from the IAB blog is quite interesting, if maybe too long.

I agree with much of it, but i disagree with the idea that we should blame direct marketing. The fact is that branding is an overused word. I believe in the power of brands, but i do not believe in the marketers who have been building them.

I think marketers default too much to what they "know" when the fact is they are afraid to say what they don't know. You can measure everything and you should measure everything, but you should take the time to structure the media mix in a way that allows you to look at awareness, consideration and intent and use these as proxies for measuring sales. If a marketer tells you they ultimately measure anything other than sales, they are lying!

The article is smart though, and it blames the lack of creativity for the decline of value in online advertising, and that is a fact that i agree 125% with. Our industry defaults to sad, boring and way too annoying ads (dancing aliens with mortgage rates do NOT work).

Read away and digest the content. The writer is obviously smart and hopefully their upcoming event will create a dialogue with results.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some More Mobile Nuggets

These came from a series of posts and responses that i was reading recently. There's lots of good info in here to use for those of you looking to measure mobile advertising or plan to launch campaigns in it...

  • In the US in 2008, iPhone accounted for 32% of mobile ads worldwide, 46% of mobile ad placements in US, more than other smartphone OSes combined
  • There are around 1billion PCs worldwide (Forrester)There are around 4 billion mobile cellular subscribers (ITU/cellular-news) - note, doesn't mean they have Internet access.
  • By 2012, the number of devices accessing the Internet will double to more than 3 billion, half of which will be mobile devices.(IDC)
  • To many people in the world their "handheld device" *is* their computer and some countries see over 100% penetration (many mobile devices per person)

Hope these are helpful!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Round-Up Volume 1, Issue 19: Accountability, Addressability & the Round-Up!

This week’s edition of The Round-Up is focused on two words; accountability and addressability. These two words define the direction for web-based businesses in the coming months and we wanted to explore some of the companies and services that may come in handy for those of you looking for solutions!

As the economy continues to display the need for financial Ritalin to stimulate some form of stability and position ourselves for growth over the coming years, we’re afforded the opportunity to retrench and revisit the challenges we face for growth. As many advertisers and marketers are re-trenching, they’re focusing their budgets against the proven methods that work and the methods that drive results. This translates to a renewed focus on more direct forms of response-oriented marketing.

Branding dollars have been fighting a Sisyphean battle for legitimacy online for years and this recession may be the straw that broke the camel’s back! Brands want response and generating “awareness” won’t cut it anymore! Marketers want accountability and businesses want revenue. It’s a buyer’s market right now, so publishers are bending over backwards to secure longer term deals with advertisers and lock in partners that can drive sustainable revenue. Marketers are exploring new and innovative technologies that can improve performance and meet the needs for growth. This edition we explore some of these tools and services:

If you’re looking for new ways to leverage data to drive response, check out MEDIAMATH ( and MEDIA6DEGREES ( MediaMath appears to take a set of data from search and marry it with behavior to target audience and drive results. Media 6 Degrees takes data from the social graph and applies it to behavior to generate a stronger ROI. Both profess to work for brands, but I would argue the best use is for brands that want to measure ROI, not just awareness.

Speaking of social media, since everyone wants to find out how to monetize this ever-increasing category of online, OFFERPAL MEDIA ( is quickly be on the way to building the de-facto standard for creating “managed offer” programs in social media. If you want to monetize your social media audience, whether it’s a game or a survey or anything else that’s generating interest, OfferPal Media can provide a solution that works.

And just in case you aren’t advertising in social media, but you know your brand is there, check out TRACKUR ( TrackUr provides you with a tool to measure and monitor your online reputation in social media. Understanding what consumers think of your products will help you create and deliver messages that resonate, thereby driving better results!

Maybe you’re looking to explore online video as a means of generating response but the costs for creative development are too high for your tastes? Check out MIXPO ( Mixpo provides a way of creating, managing and measuring online video ads easily for either a publisher or an advertiser. Video is still growing and becoming more commonplace every day, so your advertising necessitates you explore these and other creative outlets.

If you’re a publisher and you’re looking to retain audience, you need to tailor the experience to the individual and there’s no better way to do that than through localized, targeted content. The simplest way to provide that kind of content is through EVENTFUL ( The service provides publishers a way to target their audience with local content. It seems easy enough to use and the results are great!

As for the iPhone this week, a couple of apps to check out (though they may not fit the idea of accountability or addressability but are just plan interesting)…
TOUCHPHYSICS came to me by way of Joe Jaffe and I am instantly addicted. CONCERT VAULT from Wolfgang’s Vault is a must have for the music lover. And for those of you who are comic book lovers, check out Marvel’s IRON MAN: AERIAL ASSAULT.

Thanks for reading… now get back to work!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mark Friedler's Advice for Entrepreneurs

This article from Mark Friedler is worth a read if you are an entrepreneur. Truer words have never been stated and they provide a pathway for surviving in a recessionary economy. Read on!!

How to Adapt to a Changing Business Climate - and Come Out a Winner

Guest editorial by Mark Friedler

It’s no secret that times are tough and the economy’s problems are impacting many industries. We have been blessed to be part of the high growth games industry and specifically the online games industry that has seen explosive growth. But if things are so good in our industry, why are studios closing, publishers losing money and people getting laid off? What can you do to make sure your company makes it? The climate has changed, things are tougher and now more than ever there are opportunities for you to win big.

Its tough out there and you can do it. Here are some reflections on the changing business climate and a few ideas and steps you can implement at your company today to help you succeed.

1. Accept the Current Situation. If you're fearful, admit it. How long will your cash last? If you're not sure, find out today. Don’t get caught in the headlights. Now is the time to come up with a plan that leads you to the top. Just because we get paid to make games and have fun doesn’t make us recession proof. Like any business, we need to create great products and experiences for our customers.

2. Get Focused – What does your business do better than anyone else? What differentiates you and why will you win? Huddle with your team so you're all on the same page. Set very clear goals for your business and measure your progress weekly.

3. Do the Math – Look at your finances. Do you need more funding, how much, when and why? Are you profitable and if not, when? Times are tough and venture capitalists won't fund anything just because it’s an online game, tool or virtual worlds. They will ask you to do more with less. Get ahead of them - you must have a focused value proposition and clear plan to make money. Your cash flow statement is your bible, review it weekly.

4. Eliminate “Nice to Have” Stuff – A company I was talking with at CES told me of their 3 great interconnected services to help improve online gamers’ experiences yet only 1 of these made money. They had just done a VC raise and the other services were draining cash. Did they really need the other 2 for the first to succeed? No, but the CEO loved the idea of all 3 things together. To win you first need to survive. Cut anything you can't afford or is losing money.

5. Build your Dream Team Now – There’s lots of great talent available out there. If your business is on a winning track, find some A-list people to hire (full time or as consultants) today. Show them loyalty and commitment and you'll be handsomely rewarded. Be honest with your existing team and be clear on your goals and what needs to be achieved. Great people will rise to the occasion, weak people drop out.

6. Get Some Help – Talk to your board, advisors, VCs, competitors, colleagues. Tap into your community’s knowledge base. Many people have been there before and can help. Ask your team for input. Take some quiet time to work “on your business” instead of “in your business” where it’s non-stop fire drills. Consider a mentor or a coach.

7. Love Your Customers! If you're a B2B company, ask your clients what you can do to help them. Come up with an idea to help them improve their business results. Solutions will get you more business. If you're a consumer company, pay close attention to what they are doing in your game. Competition is brutal – a recent article found more than 200 online kids’ games alone were now in some phase of development. If your product is great and you show users the love, they will love back twice as much. Give them an opportunity to be your “story teller” through social networks, referral programs and increased visibility and status.

8. Get Strong – Look at opportunities to grow with investments, acquisitions and mergers. Prices have come down and there are deals for the leaders with bold vision. One of my clients has been successful adding to their development efforts by acquiring several small, talented teams who were startups but realized they wanted focus on their work, not trying to build a company.

9. Make Some Noise! – Some companies choose to reduce their marketing and ad budgets. There are several opportunities for you to get noticed in this market with smart advertising, marketing and PR. Here are a few ideas:

10. Don’t Forget What's Really Important, Have Some Fun! – Give yourself and your team time to relax and have fun. Get exercise, try to eat better make quality time with your loved ones. Though this may sound counter-intuitive, these things will help you stay calm, focused and powered up.

In conclusion, sure the climate has changed. That gives us more opportunities to be creative. We'll need to be better, faster and more valuable to our customers. We are part of an innovative fun industry with unlimited growth potential. If we stay focused on our passion and think about why we love inventing new things, pushing the envelope and creating new ways to entertain the world we can deal even with the biggest challenges. That passion combined with a realistic plan should help us weather the new climate and position ourselves to level up to meet the coming challenges.

Mark has founded and sold 3 companies including VCast (to Verizon Wireless), GameDaily (to AOL) and Sweden’s first chain of cookie stores. He is a partner in Worlds and Games LLC and is coaching CEOs and top executives on growing successful businesses. He is a frequently invited speaker and panelist on entertainment, games and business topics at industry events including AdTech, OMMA, CES, E3, IMedia, Digital Hollywood, Digital Media Wire, EMA, MI6, Tech Council of So Cal, Game Supply Academy and other events. He lives with his wife and 2 boys in the Bay Area and can be reached at

Friday, February 6, 2009

Trends, Trends and More Trends (10)

Interesting trends that you should be reading, here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ten Trends

This link was sent to me and covers 10 trends to watch. Good reading!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Favorite Commercials: Peyton Manning

These are some of the best commercials of the last couple of years. Peyton Manning is probably the best athlete pitchman going in the game. Somehow he manages to be really funny!

Monday, February 2, 2009

LP's Are Making A Comeback

Can you believe that LP's, that bastion of old school music, are coming back? It seems they are growing, albeit slightly, beyond the kitsch factor again. Here are some fun numbers from 2008 (stolen from Rolling Stone):

  • Radiohead sold 25,800 of In Rainbows
  • Abbey Road, the Beatles album, still sold 16,500 copies.
  • Chinese Democracy sold 13,600 (and still sucked) for Axl N Roses.
  • Portishead sold 12,300 copies of its third album, Third.

It should be noted that Chinese Democracy was only available at Best Buy. I wonder if they sell a record player at Best Buy?