It's been a rough couple of weeks for the online advertising business.
Trying to capitalize on the grassroots video craze, some companies have encouraged homemade ads for their products--only to find that they don't always send the most flattering message, as GM learned .
A few days earlier, News.com showed how other companies were unwittingly advertising their wares alongside racy content , an issue later picked up by the Wall Street Journal as well. The bottom line? These incidents are only the latest examples of Madison Avenue's long-standing ineptitude in Internet advertising . If Jurassic advertising agencies had taken the medium seriously a decade ago, they may not be so far behind the curve today.
Blog community response:
"It's fascinating to watch the megalithic dinosaurs in advertising vent about the unfairness of it all. Somebody changed their world, and they're not at all happy about it. In point of fact, they should be happy they still have a chance to turn things around...even if it is one minute to midnight." -- RepMan
"They give lip service to online and emerging media but they don't get it. Adding an 800 number or a URL to an ad is still considered a slight to the creative team. The notion of sequencing, simulcasting or integrating messages or audience segments among media is a foreign idea which is perpetuated by siloed departments and competing units." -- Manhattan Marketing Maven
"Whether it's a media conglomerate, ad agency or P.R. firm, everyone is looking for the Next Big Thing as the technology revolution makes innovators and execs quick on their toes to keep up and stand out." -- Casey Westlake
Do you vaguely sense themes in presidential speeches, but don't have time to catalog the transcripts and index each word? It's not a problem, because Chirag Mehta does.
In the geektastic Presidential Tag Cloud on his blog, chir.ag, Mehta uses a simple scroll bar to let visitors track speeches from the earliest presidential talks of the Founding Fathers to George W. Bush's addresses, with the most popular words appearing larger than the others.
Several themes begin to emerge, some to be expected, others less so. Adams, Jefferson and Washington, for instance, punctuated their presidential addresses with words like "assembly," "constitution," "delegates," "fundamental" and "rebellion."
Lincoln peppered his phrasings with "constitution," "emancipation" and even "insurgent." In fact, every war-time president gets into the military act. World War I commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson discussed cruisers, battleships and destroyers, while FDR was partial to "democratic" and "dictator." Peacetime presidents, from Rutherford B. Hayes to Bill Clinton, lean on similar domestic-agenda talking points like appropriation, currency, unemployment, deficit, crime and welfare.
But who knew the dominant phrase in Lyndon Johnson's Great Society speech was "classroom"? Or that after "deficit" the first Bush overused "love" and "breeze"?
Of course, you don't need to be a history major or even an American to know that "terrorist" is George W.'s buzzword of choice.
The OPPO Digital LT-2007 is both eye-catching and invisible.
How's that you say? Well, this sleek and stylish 20-inch LCD TV/DVD combo is definitely attention-grabbing, but it's also easy to imagine it blending seamlessly into pretty much any decorative scheme.Credit: OPPO Digital
That's because the muted white and gray color scheme is enclosed in translucent casing. OK, so it's kind of reminiscent of my old Apple G4 display, which is probably why I heart it even more.
But, back to business: It's a flat-panel TV with a slot-loading DVD player in front, and a dozen or so audio/video input and output connections peeking out from the back of the adjustable base. The included flash card reader will present your photos too. The pixel resolution is 800-by-600, and the LT-2007 plays a host of video, audio and picture formats.
For $599, OPPO says the TV/DVD combo is great for dorm rooms, kitchens and offices--you know, small spaces.
NEW YORK--Standing in the front of a room packed full of corporate executives, journalists, and representatives from Madison Avenue's biggest advertising companies, on Tuesday afternoon Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg formally announced the social-networking site's new advertising initiative, an ambitious program deeply rooted in viral trends and "trusted referrals."
Called Facebook Ads, the new program is threefold: advertisers can create branded pages, run targeted advertisements, and have access to intelligence and analytics pertaining to the site's more than 50 million users. Partners can participate in all three components of Facebook Ads, or a combination of them. "When you put this all together, you get some pretty amazing things," Zuckerberg said of the program, which he said took "four months or so" to develop.
Through the branded pages program, advertisers can design custom pages with information, content, and custom applications--"any application that was written for users on the Facebook Platform," Zuckerberg explained. Facebook users can sign up as "fans" of that brand, install branded applications, and other activities that will all show up in their profiles' "mini feeds" and on the "news feeds" that are broadcast to their friends lists.
"When people engage your page on Facebook, that's going to spread information about your brand virally through the social graph," Zuckerberg said. "It becomes a trusted referral."
And with a "Beacon" application, this can connect to advertisers' external homepages, which Zuckerberg demonstrated by pretending to sell a pair of Adidas sandals on eBay; a Facebook window popped up and asked if he wanted to share news of the sale on his Facebook profile.
Additionally, Facebook has unveiled targeted advertisements that will allow marketers to target by any information inside Facebook profiles, from relationship status to favorite television shows. Zuckerberg demonstrated the interface by targeting a hypothetical running shoe ad toward women aged 18 to 30 in New York who have listed "running" among their interests.
"With this interface, you'll be able to target exactly the people that you want," Zuckerberg said. "This is some really powerful stuff, and nothing like this has ever been seen before."
Finally, Zuckerberg showed how Facebook Ads will also give advertisers access to tracking and analytics information about exactly who they're reaching and what kind of trends are appearing all over the site. "As you run ads on Facebook, you'll be able to see the exact mindshare that your brand is getting."
He assured the audience that this will not compromise members' personal privacy in any way. "No direct personally identifiable information is ever shared back with marketers," he explained.
Facebook Ads, which officially launch Tuesday night, will be accessible through the company's sales team as well as through an online "self-service assistant." Launch partners, which had been rumored to be limited to a select nine or ten, include The New York Times Co., Blockbuster, CondeNet, General Motors, STA Travel, Fandango, CollegeHumor, Joost, Six Apart, Coke, Sony BMG, Verizon, and several dozen others.
The unveiling of Facebook's advertising program was hotly anticipated, with rumors flying around for weeks about exactly how the fast-growing company would tackle the tough issue of how to advertise on a social network--where people go to "poke" their friends, not search for new products to buy.
But last month, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a $240 million stake in Facebook, valuing the young company at $15 billion, with the intention of expanding its existing advertising partnership. Then, Facebook saw some of its thunder stolen last week, when Google revealed its OpenSocial initiative largely to counteract Facebook's momentum, and rival MySpace.com announced a targeted advertising initiative of its own .
But that wouldn't dampen Zuckerberg's enthusiasm. In his well-rehearsed keynote address, reminiscent of Steve Jobs' legendary Apple product unveilings, the 23-year-old CEO explained that "we are in a time in history where more information is available and people are more connected than they have ever been before."
He repeatedly described Facebook Ads as a revolution in marketing. In the last century, he explained, the cost of communication was vastly higher than it is now, and media channels were only available on a macro level. "In the next hundred years, information isn't just going to be pushed out to people. It's going to be shared across the billions of connections that people already have," Zuckerberg said. "Pushing out your message isn't enough anymore."
There's already a federal indictment of a woman accused of running a call girl ring in Washington D.C. A deputy secretary of state, Randall Tobias, has resigned. Tobias admits to using the services of Pamela Martin & Associates only for back rubs. Deborah Palfrey, the woman who ran Pamela Martin services, is gaining some notoriety in the blogosphere .
Palfrey is threatening to call many prominent D.C. men into court to testify on her behalf. Clearly, Tobias would happily back up Palfrey's claim that her service was about massage and fantasy, not prostitution.
So where are the names? ABC News was apparently given all of Palfrey's phone records from years of transactions in Washington. Yet so far ABC has only hinted about the men found in those records . ABC does say a Bush administration economist, a prominent CEO, some military officials, lobbyists and the head of a conservative think tank are on the list. There are two things to keep in mind: First, ABC wants to carefully confirm names and phone numbers.
Second, the May ratings period began April 26 and ends May 23. The more public curiosity about the names, the bigger the ratings when ABC does finally release them. There are numerous e-mails from ABCNews.com readers asking for the names; inquiring e-mailers want to know. Sadly for Internet users, most of the names will appear on TV before they appear on the ABC Web site. ABC's TV profits are still far greater than what they make off the Internet. Bet we see most of the best big names before May 23.
Microsoft said on Tuesday that it has finalized its purchase of data warehousing specialist Datallegro.
The company also detailed its plans for the technology, saying that the purchase will pave the way for Microsoft to create "a new solution based on Datallegro's technology that extends Microsoft SQL Server to scale into hundreds of terabytes of data."
Doing that, though will take some time. The final version of that product is slated for the first half of 2010, though Microsoft said it will begin giving customers and partners access to early "community technology preview" releases within the next 12 months.
Microsoft announced its plans to buy Datallegro in July. Last month, Datallegro and its CEO, Stuart Frost, were hit with a patent infringement suit . Microsoft declined to comment at the time, but Frost said in a blog posting that "after analyzing the claims, we feel strongly that they're completely without merit and intend to vigorously defend our position." Frost also said that Datallegro was considering asking the patent office to re-examine the patent in question.
Update: A Microsoft representative said Tuesday that Microsoft will not sell Datallegro's products to new customers while it works on the combined effort, but said it will support current customers and that Microsoft plans to "upgrade them to the next release that will be integrated with the SQL Server product line."
I asked Microsoft for more details on why it will take two years to do a combined product, and was told by a representative that "We are not providing additional details on the product roadmap at this time, we will be sharing more information at the BI Conference Oct. 6-8."During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina .
Everyone knows that defending the alternate-history Earth of "Resistance: Fall of Man" from alien invaders or slicing through a horde of enemies in "Genji: Days of the Blade" can make for perspiring palms. Sure, a little sweat might add to the excitement of the game, but it also makes it harder to keep a grip on those ever-important controllers, which can heat up easily due to their heavy power consumption.Credit: Logitech
Just in time for the release of Sony's PlayStation 3 , peripheral maker Logitech has unveiled a PS3 version of its ChillStream controller , which has a built-in fan-based cooling system designed to keep the hands of gamers cool and dry. The fan pushes air in the direction of the user's palm and the four fingers most frequently used to slay dragons and engage in other game-crucial pursuits; the air stream can be set to high, low, or off.
That aside, Logitech plans to time the release of the product with the arrival of the PS3, which is slated to make its appearance on Nov. 11 in Japan and Nov. 17 in the United States. The $40 controller, which comes in metallic silver or glossy black, plugs into the PS3's USB port and makes very little noise, Logitech says--a good thing, given the potential interference such noise could cause with gamers' endless shouts of victory and anguish.