Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Terry Heaton: Selling Against Ourselves

Terry has another essay in his "TV News in a Postmodern World" series.

From the post:

"One day — and sooner than you might think — online ads will command greater CPMs than elsewhere, and that will do more to remove the blinking, whirling, disruptive (un)creative that passes for ads these days than any industry efforts to do so. And the important thing for broadcasters to recognize is that this will happen regardless of their efforts to slow it down, and unless they get involved in accelerating the event, the bulk of those nice ad dollars will go to smart companies from outside their markets.

So the smart thing for broadcasters to do is set up autonomous web businesses and let them do their thing, even to the point of killing the parents, if that's necessary. Along-the-way, these businesses would be free to sell against the blue smoke and mirrors that is the heart and soul of the parents' business model."


Monday, June 26, 2006

Amazonians in Second Life reports from SuperNova on a comment made by Werner Vogels of Amazon.

From the post:

“There is a group of Amazonians in Second Life,” Vogels said, “and we are building a bridge between Amazon Web services and Second Life so you can go into Second Life and actually try things on there and buy them. There are people who want to use Amazon as a platform to buy and sell things in Second Life.”

[Update:] Vogels, who is VP of worldwide architecture and chief technology officer at Amazon, tells me that there is indeed an “Amazonians” group in SL composed of Amazon employees, and that they are trying to see what it would take to create a Web-services bridge between the virtual world and the shopping site. The effort is not being done under the auspices of the company, he says.

“If we are truly a platform, we should be able to do this,” he said. “These kinds of extreme uses can teach you a lot about your platform.” Vogels admits that SL’s Web hooks may not currently be the perfect tools to support such a bridge, but he predicts success within six months or so.

From B2Day:

People already buy things in Second Life to use within the game, mostly as a form of self-expression. What would really flip my wig, though, is if some of the far-out clothing and objects designed for Second Life were actually fabricated in the real world.

And then there is always the idea of Second Life credit cards, where you'd get a real Visa card that earns loyalty points redeemable for currency in the virtual world."

See also:
Credit Cards for both Worlds

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Avatar Based Marketing: The Panel

Vedrashko at Brands in Games has the full transcript of a recent panel dicsussion about the Harvard Business article on marekting to Avatars.

Some highlights:

"Razor Rinkitink: Hello everyone. My RL name is Raz Schionning and I live and work in Los Angeles. I'm the Web Director for American Apparel - so I oversee our web sites, web development, and online marketing. AA opened the doors to Lerappa Island and our SL store a week ago and we're very excited about it.

Why did we do it and what do we hope to achieve? On a personal level I see Second Life as a budding example of the evolution of the “web experience”. The potential is amazing and very compelling. The constant expansion and participation is energizing. Our store in Second Life is an experiment in how we may establish relationships with our customers in this evolving medium. To speak like a marketing person for a moment, I see a strong overlap between SL users and AA consumers. They are sophisticated, educated, have money to spend, and fall into our target age range. So it makes sense to investigate how we can speak to this community. Not unlike the way we approach any potential audience in order to grow our business.

That said, I have few expectations about generating significant revenue right now – it's not the objective at this point. As with all the marketing we do, we’re being innovative and keeping our ears to the ground; we want to see how people will respond to our presence in SL.

Boliver Oddfellow: If I might make so bold the key to reaching today’s end users in this marketing space can be summed up in the words: don’t sell me, play with me."

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Broadband Wireless

Daily Wireless has a big post up about WiMAX and broadband wireless.

From the post:

"WiFi at 2.4 GHz is a global phenomena. Client cards used to cost $600 -- now they're $20. One year from now dual mode WiFi/Mobile WiMAX cards will be available on mini-PCI cards for laptops. Two years from now it's expected to be integrated onto SD cards, PDAs and cell phones. WiMAX at 5.8 GHz will first be used for backhaul. In 3-4 years, Mobile WiMAX, at 5.8 GHz, could evolve into a last mile solution.

Perhaps in 3 years the 2.4 GHz radios currently being mounted on lightpoles will be replaced with dual-band 2.4/5.8GHz WiFi/WiMAX radios. By then, license-free 5.8 GHz WiMAX might supply similar range with faster speeds. Dual (or triple) band phones may provide low-cost roaming. Unless cable companies get there first."

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Promax Conference: Millennials and Media

Mediaweek posts about a pannel at the Promax conference in New York this week.

From the post:

"Researcher Brent Magid says no other group of consumers will have as profound an impact on the media business over the next 10 years as the Millennial Generation, 9- to 28-year-olds, and he told promotion and marketing executives that it is imperative that they find a way to get their messages across to this group.

"If you are going to be successful [marketing your products] you must pay attention to this group," Magid said, which gets much of its information from word-of-mouth or from social networking sites on the Internet. Magid said 18 million 13-28 year olds use social-networking sites each day. But Magid warned that "the pot of gold is not necessarily [attained by] creating your own page on"

Magid said while much of the information the Millennials get is from word-of-mouth or Internet interaction, he said on-air promotional messages by the TV stations and networks is one of the most important ways to reach this group. So crafting promotional messages, a bit more cutting edge than traditional messages, to this group is vital."

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SuperNova: GM's Micahel Wiley

Via PaidContent, GM's director of new media comments on social media.

From the post:

“In the context of the social media explosion, Michael Wiley, GM director of new media, didn’t hold back. ‘The existing ad paradigm sucks, it’s woefully inefficient. It takes huge dollars to create ads on TV that run for 30 or 60 seconds and give the consumer virtually no information,’ Wiley said. ‘The opportunity is to create relatively grassroots ads, six to eight minutes long that give an in depth brand experience and are released online.’”

I agree about the existing paradigm sucking but I don't see how you can create a "grassroots" six to eight minute "deep brand expereince" that anyone would watch.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

AT&T: Your world. Delivered

So when AT&T begins to offer its cable like video services all of you personal information and usage will be monitored and "delivered" to the government or whoever else AT&T wants to give (sell) it to.

From the article:

"AT&T has issued an updated privacy policy that takes effect Friday. The changes are significant because they appear to give the telecom giant more latitude when it comes to sharing customers' personal data with government officials.

The new policy says that AT&T -- not customers -- owns customers' confidential info and can use it "to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process."

The policy also indicates that AT&T will track the viewing habits of customers of its new video service -- something that cable and satellite providers are prohibited from doing.

Moreover, AT&T (formerly known as SBC) is requiring customers to agree to its updated privacy policy as a condition for service -- a new move that legal experts say will reduce customers' recourse for any future data sharing with government authorities or others.

In a section on "usage information," the privacy policy says AT&T will collect "information about viewing, game, recording and other navigation choices that you and those in your household make when using Homezone or AT&T U-verse TV Services."

The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 stipulates that cable and satellite companies can't collect or disclose information about customers' viewing habits."

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Advertising on Social Networks

Robert Young has another great post on GigaOM. You really need to read the whole thing.

Quick highlights:

"As most now realize, the fundamental problem that social networks face when trying to monetize through an advertising-driven business model is the lack of trust. To be more explicit, while brand advertisers have historically trusted people as consumers, they do not trust them in the new role of producer (e.g. uncontrollable content)

When it comes to advertising in mass media, a big name is required since such campaigns are only effective if the viewer already knows who that celebrity is. But in a social network, micro-celebrities who are well known within their network of micro-communities could prove just as effective and potentially even more so, particularly if such campaigns are able to generate buzz, excitement and a cool-factor."


Project Serpo

I created a little blog experiment with the help of Thirst Media and a few friends.

If you want to start at the beginning of the story scroll down the page till you see the headline: New Project (Start here!)

My goal was to demonstrate how blogs could be used to organize episodic entertainment content and advertising.

It is my great honor to have been noticed by one of my heros, Terry Heaton.

From Terry's post:

"What you're likely not to notice -- unless I point it out -- are the numerous product placement ads mixed in with the ongoing story. This is not only clever but, I think, an acceptable form of advertising within an entertainment project. I've had this discussion with a major ad exec, and he wasn't as bullish on the idea as I was. This creative effort by Daniel suggests that we are right and he was wrong.

So once again, we have ideas bubbling up from the bottom that will capture the imagination of users and spawn countless others. Call me a nut, but I think this is a new form of entertainment."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Response to American Apparel in Second Life

There are a number of posts and articles talking about the launch of the American Apparel store in Second Life.


“Part of the fun of the game is creating characters to look like a model of yourself or to become something fantastic, like monsters or robots or pixies,” says Raz Schionning, American Apparel’s Web director. “People like us for what we stand for, so they’ll have the chance to dress their characters in our clothes.”


"The action was initiated when someone from American Apparel approached popular 'SL' architect Aimee Weber about opening a virtual version of the clothes store, according to Wallace.

Weber, who designed the building, said it was based on the fashion label's Tokyo showroom, Wallace reported. The sleek, mostly glass structure is shaped like two stacked boxes, and features lighting that changes at virtual nightfall.

The retailer's use of eye-catching colors and revealing cuts, though conservative in comparison with the racy, barely there styles sported by 'SL' avatars, reports Wallace, fit with SL's culture, which revolves around the pursuit of sex and fashion."

Clickable Culture:

"Unlike a handful of recent big-business appearances in Second Life, American Apparel seems to be taking a sensible, integrated approach to creating a lasting brand experience. Fashion is possibly the biggest industry in Second Life (aside from the sex industry)--surely official American Apparel merchandise will sell well in the virtual world, possibly resulting in real-world sales, too. It's conceivable that the company could also offer new clothing exclusively in Second Life, or even use the virtual world as a place to test new clothing lines."

In-Game Advertising:

"Blurred borders: the AA's Fine Jersey T dress on the web, pictured on the display (modelled both in real life and in SL), on the racks and on customer. When you touch the display, a dialog pops up inviting you to check the corresponding webpage. The real life dress costs US $26, the Second Life version costs 350 in Linden playmoney, or about $1."

On trade marks in SL, Jerry Pepper (found on Socbleizer):

"But, why is it so important that I had to wait to write about SL trademarks and American Apparel? Because they all tie in together. If corporations are going to begin launching officially branded SL products in the game, if there are already trademark infringements, that is going to impede companies from going in to the SL universe. The demographics for SL are quite interesting - the right age, the right breakdown of males/females, a good number of real-world transactions - that many companies are going to look at SL as a new place to market."

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Brightcove Marching Forward

On the heals of the recent release, today Sony and Brightcove annouce the launch of Musicbox Video.

From the press release:

"The broadband video initiative, currently named "Musicbox Video," will show content from across the entire SONY BMG library. The "Musicbox Video" players have been customized with specialized video content for individual label and artist sites. Consumers will be treated to a rich-media Flash experience featuring playlists with top videos and genres, "share with a friend" functionality, and RSS syndication feeds.

SONY BMG plans to use broadband video to generate advertising revenues. Advertisers will have a variety of options for reaching their audiences and achieving their marketing objectives - from video pre-roll to innovative video overlays, sponsorships, and other integrated packages. Brightcove will sell and deliver these advertisements."

From a recent interview with Jeremy Alliare:

"What the Internet presents is the potential to be different and to be potentially more valuable to the sponsor and to the consumers. And we think it will be much more valuable to the content owners as well. These new types of engagement with sponsorship and advertising can yield higher value.

We've talked about some formats that are interactive and allow the consumer to engage more deeply. As you introduce longer programming, I don't think the video commercial will come over to the Internet very cleanly. I don't think that's what consumers are looking for. They're not looking for a replication of a broadcast.

Marketers have to think about how to involve themselves with the content without interrupting the content. Overlays and adjacent rich media units will become more prevalent and important."

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Diet Coke/Mentos Video Meme: Three Winners, One Loser

When two guys spend $300 dollars making sodas explode by adding candy to them who wins?

The soda maker, Coke?

"It's an entertaining phenomenon," said Coke spokeswoman Susan McDermott. "We would hope people want to drink (Diet Coke) more than try experiments with it." McDermott says that the "craziness with Mentos ... doesn't fit with the brand personality" of Diet Coke.

The candy maker, Mentos?

"We are tickled pink by it," says Pete Healy, vice president of marketing for the company's U.S. division. The company spends less than $20 million on U.S. advertising annually. He estimates the value of online buzz to be "over $10 million." The company is considering striking a marketing deal with the two men responsible for one of the more elaborate videos.

The film makers: The men, Fritz Grobe, a 37-year-old professional juggler, and Stephen Voltz, 48-year-old lawyer, from Buckfield, Me., belong to a local theater company called Oddfellow theater. They got the idea after seeing a less sophisticated version online, and "We wanted to make it bigger and better and turn it into something theatrical," says Mr. Grobe.

Or the company that hosts and monitizes the video, Revver?

From PaidContent:

"The “Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment Video“, which has become very popular online (WSJ did a story here) has been viewed about 2.5 million times on - an online video sharing site that pays content creators each time a clip is viewed. It embeds clips with a single-frame ad and splits the revenue …The video has so far generated $30,000 - $15,000 for Revver and $15,000 for its creators. The clip was made for about $300."

Taken it in order:
  • Coke - too cool for school (or revenue.) Loser.
  • Mentos - $10M in free branding! Winner!
  • Two Guys - $300 investment turns into $15,000 and counting, plus future offers for content creation. Winner!
  • Revver - $15,000 and counting and now every one knows you can make money sharing videos with the Revver service. Winner!

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Friday, June 16, 2006

New Media Consortium

The New Media Consortium has a fantastic new video talking about its new campus in Second Life. If you are unfamiliar with Second Life this video will give you an amazing overview of the potential.

NMC Quicktime Video

From the post:
" During the Friday night live session from the NMC Summer Conference in and into the NMC Campus, our guests from Electric Sheep Company opened with a newly produced fine minute video NMC Campus: Seriously Engaging. This piece nicely provides an overview of Second Life, how people are building a new way of real work and interaction there, and concluding with an overview of the NMC Campus."


Thursday, June 15, 2006

American Apparel in Second Life

I think there is going to be a bum rush for this kind of activity soon. 3pointD reviews American Apparel's move into Second Life.

From the post:

Popular Second Life architect and content-creator Aimee Weber of in-world brand *PREEN* sends news that she’s just designed and built an in-world showroom for real-world fashion brand American Apparel. The store, located on a private island in Second Life, is set to open as soon as this weekend.

The fashions themselves are patterned after American Apparel’s real-world clothes, and were designed by several designers, including Aimee, though she wouldn’t say who else was involved.


In-Game Ads to Reach $400 Million by 2009

From a story on CNET, Park Associates predects in-game advertising will reach $400 million by 2009. With only $80 million currently being spent, where will all of that growth come from?

From CNET:

"The report says advertisers will be influenced by two things: First, more gamers are spending more time gaming and less time watching television. Second, gaming is becoming more of a family-oriented pastime.

"Gaming is becoming a major media. If, as anyone believes, the 18 to 34 (year old) demographic is spending more time on gaming and less time on TV, then advertisers need to figure out a way to get them back," said Yuanzhe "Michael" Cai, director of broadband and gaming at Parks Associates research group."

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Tom Evslin on Network Neutrality

This article/post really breaks down the whole net neutrality issue - in America there is a lack of compitition for braodband service and that leads to lower service and higher prices.

From Tom Evslin:

"Unless your livelihood depends on preventing further creative destruction resulting from Internet innovation, it’s almost impossible to be against the principle of Internet neutrality, the principle that underlying networks should treat all packets in the same way regardless of content.

Make no mistake, the future of US telcos, at least in their present form, DOES depend on putting the Internet genie back in the bottle. And their monopoly on lobbying strength now that AT&T and MCI are gone is even more frightening than their share of the local access duopoly.

But the main problem with what the telcos want to do to the Internet is NOT that it might siphon some revenue from Google or even that it is doubledipping. The much more serious problem is that charging according to content or according to the source or destination of a particular packet will BREAK the Internet for both current application AND future applications and that is exactly what our friendly telcos would like to accomplish.

Countries with true telecommunications competition – now including most of Western Europe and especially Great Britain – don’t have net neutrality legislation. Nor do they have a net neutrality problem. And they have higher speed access than we do with wider availability at lower prices."

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Universal Records in Second Life: Soundscape

3pointD reviews the latest marketing push by Universal to promote its artists.

From the press release:

"Working in conjunction with InWorld Studios on a landmark new music experience, Universal Motown Records and Universal Republic Records are unveiling "Soundscape," the first virtual music performance center for major recording artists in the Massively Multiuser Virtual Reality (MMOVR) 'Second Life.' "Soundscape" is a VR venue, showcase, and store, but most of all it is a place for music lovers to meet and chat in 3D. It combines all the trends on the web -- multimedia, personalization, social networking -- with the experience and synthetic animation of gaming.

This innovative online VR breakthrough will enhance the listening and visual experience of music fans throughout the online community, creating a 3-dimensional virtual reality synthetic world which allows online users to pro-actively interact with their favorite artists and music in ways never before imagined.

A user signs up to 'Second Life,' creates an 'avatar' or a 3D image of him/herself, dresses the avatar, establishes an identity, and then begins to live and interact within the world of Second Life. "Soundscape," the first virtual music performance center/venue custom built for a major recording artist within Second Life, creates an exciting new music destination for fans of Universal Motown Records Group recording artists."

From the post:

"Universal’s presence in Second Life was built out by virtual-world services firm InWorld Studios. While the Universal “Soundscape” appears to cover only a portion of the world’s St. Martin region, [<-- SL link] it's a pretty nice build, featuring a concert stage and sound booth, VIP lounges, and scattered buildings with links to purchase the artists' albums on the Web and sign up for mailing lists.

One thing that’s going to happen as a result of projects like this is that SL’s technology will quickly be pushed to the limits, and we’ll soon get to see whether Linden Lab is up to the test. LL’s business model will also get a critical test. At the moment, the company seems to add new land regions in some proportion to the growth in memberships. But as broad-based attractions like this crop up more frequently in the world, the ratio of landowners (i.e., paying customers) to basic (free) accounts is sure to fall."

Universal Motown CFO, David Ellner is on the advisory board of IWS.


Where 2.0: Jerry Paffendorf

tim at O'Relily Radar is at Where 2.0 and has this from Jerry Paffendorf of The Electric Sheep Company.

From the post:

"Jerry Paffendorf of The Electric Sheep Company is up on stage, talking about Second Life. He has a lovely formulation: people in Second Life are actually "living inside of a map." And because that map is of a world that is somewhat simpler than the real world, and has a more limited population, it's a great laboratory for figuring out problems and opportunities in location based services.

Jerry also talks about the fact that real world places have already been simulated in Second Life. There's a virtual copy of Hanover, New Hampshire, for example. He also demos a mashup of Second Life and Google Maps, where a gateway to a Second Life location appears as a pushpin on a Google Map.

Real and virtual are definitely on a collision course. I'm hoping that we can get more interoperability between the two, so that the streams of innovation merge like hydrazine and liquid oxygen, fueling a rocket to the future."

The Electric Sheep Company also runs SLBoutique, now with tags!

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Monday, June 12, 2006

All Websites are the Same

A CNN Money article highlights a fact: all websites are basically the same.

From the article:

"Any Web site can host text, audio and video, it can facilitate connections and communication between users, and it can enable those users to create and display their own text, audio or video.

But this new media egalitarianism strikes an even deeper blow against conventional thinking - and existing business models. While it hasn't much happened yet, what if big consumer brands decide to take their audiences and become media brands as well? If Coke, for example, could in effect operate its own TV station online, would it still buy hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ads in other media?"


MySpace Channels

Moving quickly to capture more ad dollars, Fox's MySpace is going to add "channels" to make advertisers more comfortable.

From Media Week:

"Already, MySpace has launched hubs geared for movie and book fans, with new channels for games and sports set to launch in the near future, according to Ross Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media. The content for new channels will not be driven by Fox's editors, but by MySpace's expressive audience, said Levinsohn. "These channels are coming from what users are telling us," he said. "But they'll be controlled."

That control is important for mainstream brand advertisers, who continue to be squeamish about allowing their brands to be part of the free-for-all environment that MySpace is known for, despite its considerable popularity. To further address those concerns, MySpace hired Hemu Nigam, a former security executive at Microsoft as its chief security officer last month."


10 Truths About the Digital Ecosystem

Geoffrey Moore has a list of ten big trends in the digital ecosystem.

A couple of highlights from the post:

"6. Games tell all. Anthropologists of future centuries can be spared digging through layers of sedimentary rock. Instead they will just need to find game machines that let them play World of Warcraft or play back the history of an avatar in Second Life. All the metaphors of contemporary culture are being acted out in one or another corner of this virtual universe. And currency exchanges are beginning to link this universe to the physical one.

The emphasis on symbolic interactions in a digital lifestyle will have unpredictable effects on self-perception and social norms. Historically the real world has set the norms and the digital world reflected them, but the obverse can be expected to be true going forward. Games can become living laboratories to explore strategies for living, a role played by literature and drama in ages past.

4. Everything is media. While advertising will not pay for everything, everything will become a potential opportunity to advertise. This means that at least some technology adoption life cycles can be short-circuited by providing the disruptive innovation for free.

If advertising is the default funder of digital offers, then consumption is the ultimate paradigm. Over time people and cultures will weary of this, and socially constructed content will become more pervasive as an escape from constantly being pitched."

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Umundo Mobile Video Uploading

From OkDork, via MobileCrunch:

"The application lets you send video you capture on your mobile phone to and then, simply by entering your phone number on the site you can view the video online or cooler, grab the code that will allow you to embed your video in other pages, like your MySpace profile.

Umundo is also very similar to another company, Abazab that itself is in a closed private beta but which offers a very similar application of uploading video direct from your phone and then providing you with code to post that video on other places where you might want it displayed.

Both of these are pretty cool applications and I can see very rapid adoption in the MySpace demographic as this takes picture sharing to a whole new level that I would call “life-sharing” or “virtual presence”. My expectation is that the next step is simply peer to peer real time image streaming, first from phone to PC and the from phone to phone. The Nokia mobile webserver application would actually support this right now on a network with sufficient bandwidth."

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Google Listens in to Help You...What?

This is just strange and maybe scary.

From TechCrunch:

"A team from Google Research has developed a prototype system that uses a home computer’s internal microphone to listen to the ambient audio in a room, determine what is being watched on TV and offer web-based supplemental information, services and shopping contextual to each program being watched. It’s strange, but it sounds like it works and people might really like it.

Google Research team members Michele Covell and Shumeet Baluja along with Michael Fink of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Center for Neural Computation were given the best paper award for their report on the system at the the Euro ITV (interactive television) conference last week. (“Social- and Interactive-Television Applications Based on Real-Time Ambient-Audio Identification” 10 pg PDF, see also the Google Research blog post on the paper.)

The system compresses the captured audio into irreversible (emphasis theirs) summary statistics which are then compared to a database of mass media statistics and used to determine what the browser should display. Possible service offerings discussed in the paper fall into four categories:

  • Personalized information layers Here’s what Tom Cruise is wearing in the show you are watching and here’s where you can buy the same clothes in your zip code.
  • Ad hoc social peer communities If you would like to chat about this show, ten of your college friends are watching it right now as well.
  • Real-time popularity ratings Nielsen requires hardware and the results aren’t available in real-time. You might want to know if there is a spike in viewers watching the show on channel 9 right now. Advertisers might want to know that too.
  • TV- based bookmarks Click to save a show or clip into your video library and there will be more than just a few shows available for watching later."

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Firefighters MoBlogging at World Cup

Via MobHappy, firefighters in Germany have a MoBlog set up for the World Cup.

From MobHappy:

"The firefighters will be attending matches and generally providing stand-by emergency support as part of the huge security operation. Let’s hope that they’re not really needed. But during the tournament, they’ll all be taking photos with their mobiles and uploading them to a collective blog.

They take the photo, send it by redirected email to Flickr, which then automatically uploads the image to their blog here."

World Cup 2006 Technology Overview

Daily Wireless has a huge post, even for them, of all things tech at the World Cup. Go read the whole thing!

From the post:

"The 2006 World Cup is - itself - a logistical record-breaker. The complex voice and data networking, the production of global television and the cellular engineering could be said to be as notable and heroic as the action on the field.

The RFID embedded tickets will have the name, address, birth date, nationality and ID card/passport number of all fans in the 12 different stadiums.

Analysts believe the mobile television market could be worth $300m over the course of the tournament. Informa Telecoms & Media predicts football fans will lead the charge to mobile television. In five years' time, one in 10 mobiles is expected to carry a broadcast receiver. Informa predicts Nokia-backed DVB-H, will sell in the region of 63 million mobile telly devices, with MediaFLO next in line with sales of 14.5 million."

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Google's Net Neutrality Page

Google takes up the cause. From the site:

"Google believes that forcing people and companies to get permission from, and pay special fees to, the phone and cable companies to connect with one another online is fundamentally counter to the freedom and innovation that have defined the Internet."

Letter from Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt:

"Today the Internet is an information highway where anybody – no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional – has equal access. But the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest. They want to build a two-tiered system and block the on-ramps for those who can't pay.

Creativity, innovation and a free and open marketplace are all at stake in this fight. Please call your representative (202-224-3121) and let your voice be heard."


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Meetings Around the World: Microsoft and Verizon

Microsoft and Verizon sponsored a study called "Meetings Around the World: The Impact of Collaboration on Business Performance."

From the press release:

"Collaboration is a key driver of overall performance of companies around the world. Its impact is twice as significant as a company’s aggressiveness in pursuing new market opportunities (strategic orientation) and five times as significant as the external market environment (market turbulence).

"The results show that collaboration can positively impact each of the gold standards of performance -- profitability, profit growth and sales growth -- to determine a company’s overall performance in the marketplace," said Jaclyn Kostner, Ph.D., best-selling author and expert on high-performance virtual collaboration. "As a general rule, global companies that collaborate better, perform better. Those that collaborate less, do not perform as well. It’s just that simple."
  • An overwhelming number (9:1) see their collaborative efforts as highly productive and believe that collaboration through communication technologies provides a personal competitive advantage, keeps them informed and positions them to take advantage of new opportunities.
  • Many like to work with teams (10:1), preferably from home (3:1) and not necessarily face-to-face.
  • A majority (5:1) feel that conferencing provides a good alternative to travel.
  • Many like to be reached wherever they are (2:1), but not necessarily all the time (9:1), which may be one of the reasons why e-mail is preferred to using the phone (3:1).

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

3GUpload Becomes

Trying to connect to the site but getting the "can not connect" alert. So we will have to settle for this.

From MocoNews:

"3GUpload — which got a $20 million investment a couple of months ago — has relaunched under a new name, The Mixxer site has a web locker to store mobile content, as well as a recommendation service which is based on past purchases."


Monday, June 05, 2006

Mobile Content Buying Preferences

According to a study by Compete, mobile buyers prefer to buy content online.

From the study:

"More than 45% of a group of tier-1 wireless carrier content purchasers said they would rather purchase their mobile content online than on their handset. The Internet’s increased selection and the ease of sampling make it an attractive channel.

However, while consumers say they would prefer to buy online, over 50% made their recent content purchase directly on their phone.

From October to January 2006, Compete observed off-portal sites (Jamster, etc.) received 2.5 times more online interest than the content portions of the carrier sites. Over 40% of the people who ended up purchasing off-portal cited content selection as the primary reason they did not buy through their carrier. Another 33% said the off-portal sites offered a better price. For those who did purchase from their carrier, the majority said they feel more secure purchasing from their carrier website."


MEM: EA VP Javier Ferreira

From MocoNews, EA's Javier Ferreira discusses EA's new strategy for mobile games.

From MocoNews:

"To this end EA will be investing “millions” to integrate mobile in its marketing message. The company will also refocus on its local level publishing presence to tap into ideas and identify what’s hot in individual markets and regions.

That’s EA’s roadmap - but what should the rest of the industry do to drive performance? Ferreira gave his top pick of the issues the industry must address to bring back high growth rates:
  1. Operators need to reduce the number of partners they deal with (and no doubt drive a stake through the heart of vampire publishers).
  2. Operators need to launch fewer games with more value. (Games need a longer shelf life and improved promotion.)
  3. Operators need to ease the squeeze on publishers. This is not ringtones and operators can’t seek the same margins. Games require time and R&D - and that effort should be reflected in the revenue share.

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GNU Radio

Headliner Wired article on GNU Radio:

"Matt Ettus and Eric Blossom's software-defined radio on the cheap is popping up in unexpected places, describing a very different radio world from the centralized model that has dominated radio history.

"Decentralized controls enable innovation at the edge -- it's closer to the computer model," says Blossom. "I think what we'll find is that people will come up with things we never really thought about."

Ettus is more concrete about the project's possibilities. Citing Wi-Fi as an example, he envisions "a world in which bandwidth is not an issue. People will create applications that will use that bandwidth, like complete telepresence."

GNU Radio from Wikipedia:

"GNU Radio is a signal processing package, which is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. The goal is to give ordinary software people the ability to 'hack' the electromagnetic spectrum, that is, to understand the radio spectrum and think of clever ways to use it."

Friday, June 02, 2006

Second Consumer: Avatar-Based Marketing

Paul Hemp has an article up on the Harvard Business Review titled, "Avatar-Based Marketing."

From the article:

"In Second Life, you live in a new body and take on the identity of your “avatar”—that is, a being you’ve created as a representation of yourself in this online environment.

Avatars aren’t the only personal creations in Second Life. Nearly everything in this world—which encompasses 50 virtual square miles and would take days to walk across, although you can save time by flying or by instantly teleporting yourself from one place to another—has been made by Second Life residents.

Second Life is just one of a growing number of three-dimensional virtual worlds, accessible via the Internet, in which users, through an avatar, are able to play games or simply interact socially with thousands of people simultaneously. By some estimates, more than 10 million people spend $10 to $15 a month to subscribe to online role-playing environments, with the number of subscribers doubling every year.

The combination of robust virtual-world commerce and the growing overlap of virtual worlds and the real world suggests opportunities for creative real-world marketers. So far, there have been few instances of real-world products being sold in virtual worlds to real-world users for delivery to their real-world addresses.

"It doesn’t cost anything for someone to create an individualized outfit, even mixing several brands," says Dave Kopp, head of community applications at Yahoo and manager of the company’s avatar program. "And it doesn’t cost anything for companies to supply the products that become part of this act of self-expression and personal brand endorsement."

More Dave Kopp:

David Kopp, Yahoo: "People want an image to represent themselves in their interactions with others."

David Kopp, Yahoo: "In the future, I think we will see much more realism, much more animation, much more interaction in avatars, and we'll move towards virtual worlds."

Paul Hemp interview:

Ad Age Digital: This concept is almost philosophical and is certainly psychological -- how did you conceive the story?

We're talking about two things here. One is the next marketing frontier, which is virtual worlds and all the rich possibilities that entails, particularly in massive multi-player online games where you have thousands of people interacting simultaneously. And [there are signs] everybody's just beginning to think about that -- Microsoft buys Massive, for example.

To get way ahead of the curve, smart marketers need to be thinking about not only "where" are these virtual-marketing opportunities, but the "who." Who are the actual consumers in this environment? Are they the consumers who pony up their credit card number to play the game or are they the avatars people have created to represent themselves in these new worlds?

The real-world human controls the real-world wallet. But it does seem to me that these 10 million avatars out there represent a distinctly different universe of shadow consumers who are able to influence their creators, make their own purchases through the hand of their creator and at the very least give some insight into the hidden desires of the creators."

From Régine Debatty:

"In Second Life, marketers can simply become residents and have their avatars try out marketing initiatives for free—something a number of companies are already doing, according to David Fleck, from Linden Lab. “People think they need to create a partnership with us, but all they have to do is join, go and buy a chunk of land, and then do what they want to do,” says Fleck.

From Clickable Culture:

"I think Second Life has engagement potential, but doesn't offer the instant engagement offered by most massively-multiplayer games (Second Life is not a game in my view), and even simpler, more controlled virtual worlds like Habbo Hotel. The best kind of engagement is with other avatars, and the more I consider it, the more I think word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way to reach residents of Second Life (aside from plastering the client software with built-in ads)."

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Verizon FiOS TV Widgets

Verizon announced today a new service for its fiber-optic television service.

From the press release:

"FiOS TV Widgets supplies one-touch, on-demand access to real-time local weather and traffic information. Subscribers use their remote control to display text-based weather and traffic on their TV screens without interrupting the program they are watching. For example, parents leaving the house for a Saturday morning of errands can get the latest traffic update without interrupting the kids' cartoon show.

"FiOS TV is grabbing market share from cable because it's just better," said Marilyn O'Connell, Verizon senior vice president - video solutions. "With our new applications like Widgets, customers can better personalize and control their TV viewing. These services also differentiate FiOS TV in the marketplace by showcasing Verizon innovation and our platform's unique capabilities."

Widgets and the other interactive services planned for the FiOS TV platform will tap the strengths of Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises network, with its powerful voice, data and video capabilities.

"Customers increasingly want to share information, photos, music and videos across a home network," O'Connell said. "Our FiOS TV platform will make this all possible. In the coming months, you'll see us add new features to FiOS TV that will make it easy for customers to enjoy a true multimedia experience."


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Online Advertising Growing

From a press release by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Internet advertising revenues for Q1 2006 were close to $4 billion.

From the press release:

"The 2006 first quarter revenues represent a 38 percent increase over Q1 2005 at $2.8 billion and a 6 percent increase over Q4 2005 total at $3.6 billion.

“The steady growth of online advertising is a clear indication that marketers continue to believe in the opportunities and effectiveness that this medium delivers in reaching and engaging their consumers,” said Greg Stuart, CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau. “The Interactive Advertising industry remains committed to the creation of a world class medium with best-of-breed standards, measurement guidelines, research and ad products for marketers and agencies.”

“The Internet continues to shape the media landscape as more advertising dollars are going online,” said Peter Petrusky, Director, Advisory Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “It is abundantly clear that marketers are seeing a compelling opportunity to leverage the Internet as a powerful medium that drives both branding and sales results.”


MEX: Defining Community

Via MocoNews at MEX:

"Frederick Ghahramani, director and co-founder of AirG, Vancouver-based mobile social networking specialists. He defined community with four key elements:
  • Identity. How the user is represented.
  • Presence. Tools like IM and ‘online now’ indicators.
  • Interaction. Content sharing, comment functions and so on.
  • The user interface and experience fits round any or all of those.
“Identity gives a reason to interact and presence makes the interactivity real time,” said Ghahramani. Pointing to his own MySpace page, he said: “What I see here is Blogger and Photoshare and then elements of, only not done as well, Friendster, only not done as well, and Napster - only not done as well. MySpace has become successful by playing a combination game.”

“How do you combine identity, presence and interactivity on a 90×50 pixel screen?.” Embed user interfaces that mimic an online experience are promising. “UI is the most important thing when it comes to mobile comunities. Ultimately it’s going to be UI innovation that will drive market success.”

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Net Neutrality: The Long Story

Wired has a long article on how the net neutrality issue is more complicated that many think.

From the article:

"Net neutrality" has many meanings, but in the broadest sense refers to a cooperative principle whereby everyone on the net is supposed to make the same effort to help deliver everyone else's traffic.

"I don't think the internet has ever been perfectly equal or neutral," says Khaled Nasr, a partner at venture-capital firm InterWest Partners. "There has always been some level of inequality." Seconds Matt Tooley, CTO of broadband optimization firm CableMatrix: "I don't think it's as egalitarian as people would like to think it is."

The debate appears to have polarized into extreme positions. But a hard look at the current situation seems to show that both sides have a point, and the best long-range solution may well be a compromise. Giving the cable firms and telephone companies free rein to do exactly as they wish is almost certainly a mistake. But micromanaging their businesses by forcing them to treat everybody exactly the same would also be a blunder.

"To say it's never been equal is obvious," says Paul Meisner, vice president of global public policy for and one of the key lobbyists pushing for strong net-neutrality safeguards on Capitol Hill. "But none of those services degrade other services on the internet. The problem arises when schemes are discussed that would prioritize some traffic over other traffic."