Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Kindle Price Drop Not Enough

October 12, 2009

Last week, starting to feel the coming competitive heat and perhaps having exhausted the market for early enthusiasts, Amazon’s Kindle 2 saw a price drop from $299 to $259. The company also launched an “international version,” which works in “100 countries” and uses AT&T as behind-the-scenes network (vs. Sprint  in the US; CDMA vs. GSM).

Last week also saw discussion of Barnes & Noble’s forthcoming eReader, to be powered by Android. It joins a growing list and will reportedly have built-in WiFi and a six inch color display, which the Kindle does not. As I’ve written before, even before it has really started to go mainstream, the eReader market is already intensely competitive. Kindle is clearly the most visible device and the leader accordingly.

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But Sony has a device that starts at $199 (apparently backordered), still $60 less than the Kindle. And others to gain attention in this initial “land grab” phase will likely go lower. In order to hold and grow its market Kindle will have to drop prices further and/or improve and expand the functionality of the device — in other words: color screen, better Internet access experience, maybe apps, etc.

There will be tablets (Apple, Android) that tap into the apps available for their respective mobile handsets. This may prove to be a competitive advantage and could support higher prices. But the Kindle, without a developer ecosystem, apps, broader media capability or aggressive pricing, may find itself losing out over time to more fully functioning and cheaper models.

Indeed, we may even see the eReaders given away at some point — like PC printers — by publishers and/or retailers to accelerate the eBook market.

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Reader: Here’s another eReader from LG, which is solar powered.

Local Listings & Google LBC Ad

October 9, 2009

A number of people have commented on my remark that Google’s Local Listing Ads “don’t compete with AdWords.” I spoke quickly and not very clearly, or I didn’t accurately convey what I meant. What I meant was that the Local Listing advertisers don’t compete in the AdWords marketplace — not that the ads themselves don’t compete with AdWords.

In fact the Local Listing Ads are more prominent than AdWords in some respects because the blue pushpin makes them “pop.” See this example:

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Though there’s no creative/ad copy the Local Listing Ads are visually more prominent and thus could well drive more clicks than traditional AdWords for local lookups. So yes in this sense they do compete.

Separately I was just made aware of a trial TV and online video campaign for Google’s LBC. The narration is by Google’s Carter Maslan beginning a new career as voice-over talent:

Seriously, this is very effective and if something like this is done for the Local Listing Ads it could be quite successful.

To those who believe that Local Listing Ads will never “work” because they’re not being “sold” I would say think again. We’re entering a new period when many local businesses will be motivated to self-provision if the value is clear and the tools are simple.

Vook Launches: Multimedia Books

October 1, 2009

I first wrote about Vook in April. Today it appears the site has formally launched with four titles:

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Vooks have text but also filmed scenes or sequences. It’s essentially a new medium envisioned by Brad Inman, who founded Turn Here. To call Inman’s timing impeccable might be an understatement in this case. Here’s what the email announcing the launch said:

The Vook Team is pleased to announce the launch of our first vooks, all published in partnership with Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. These four titles—Promises, a romance by Jude Deveraux, The 90 Second Fitness Solution, a fitness book by Pete Cerqua, Embassy, a thriller by Richard Doetsch and Return to Beauty, a health book by Narine Nikogosian—elegantly realize Vook’s mission: to blend a book with videos into one complete, instructive and entertaining story.

With the iPhone, other smartphone platforms and forthcoming tablets this will become a hot medium. Indeed, all future digital books will probably incorporate video in some way (either author interviews or Vook-like scenes).

Canada’s YPG Refreshes iPhone App

September 17, 2009

Picture 127I finally got around to testing and comparing some of the YP iPhone apps yesterday, something I’ve been meaning to do literally for months. Among the ones looked and and compared were:

  • YPMobile
  • Superpages
  • Sensis (Australia)
  • Eniro (Sweden)
  • YPG (Canada)
  • Pages Jaunes (France)
  • Dex

It’s quite interesting to see what features are present or missing on each of them. While there are some differentiated elements on some of them, most don’t stray too far from a basic template. There are some clear leaders in the group but no single app that “brings it all together” in a breakthrough or break out way. Which is your favorite? Do you use any of them?

The update of the YPG app adds SMB video to many of the profiles (AT&T is the other app that offers video). Here are the list of new or improved features on the YPG app, from the press release:

  • Full access to merchant content, including video and photo montages
  • Business, Person and Reverse phone number look-up
  • Save to your favourites (My Favs) and/or address book
  • Share listing results with others via email/sms
  • Local proximity-based search using GPS & Maps
  • Direct connect to Voice Search (no charge usage)

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YPG also has an Answers product (not a part of its app), which conceptually is the same as Aardvark. While Aardvark was something of a longshot before its iPhone app, it how has a much greater shot at mainstream adoption. And it works pretty well in my experience.

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Related: Praized and YPG launch “real-time” local search site Calgary.com:

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Praized appears to be hitting its stride with implementations like this.

TurnHere Hits Video Milestone

September 1, 2009

Picture 20TurnHere announced that it had produced its 20,000th video. In honor of that the company is running a promotion that gives away free video and other prizes to SMBs throughout September:

Enter for the chance to win a professionally produced custom video profile of your business and $1000. You could be one of 400 to receive a high-quality video that can be used on the Web. Plus four Grand Prize winners will also receive a $1000 gift card.

Every week in September 2009, one winner will be randomly selected to receive a $1000 gift card for Costco, Best Buy, Staples or FedEx Office, winner’s choice. Grand Prize winners will also receive a custom Business Profile Video valued at $599, produced by TurnHere Internet Video.

Metrics firm comScore recently reported “158 million U.S. Internet users watched online video during the month [of July], the largest audience ever recorded.” YouTube remains the largest video destination online.

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There’s no question that video is helpful for advertisers and SMBs. Eventually it will simply be part of a list of things one must have: website, check; Facebook page, check, video, check . . . and so on.

Google Taps SpotMixer Tools for Online Video Ads

August 31, 2009

Picture 10SpotMixer, for those who don’t know it, is a DIY video creation platform. I first wrote about the company and competitor Mixpo in March, 2008.

In January of this year Google announced a partnership with SpotMixer (a unit of One True Media), integrating the latter’s DIY ad creation tools and content into the TV Ads marketplace (SpotMixer is the only DIY platform Google has autorized so far). And just as Google TV Ads has expanded to online video sites and the Google Content Network, SpotMixer is now available on that side of the house to, so to speak.

In other words, SpotMixer DIY tools can be used to create online video ads or repurpose and edit existing TV assets. Here’s a succinct description of the deal from an advance copy of tomorrow’s press release:

Following Google TV Ads’ successful partnership with SpotMixer announced in January 2009, SpotMixer’s technology is now being integrated into another Google advertising offering. SpotMixer’s innovative DIY ad creation platform – the only one to be integrated into both Google TV Ads and the Google Content Network – automatically converts an advertiser’s existing AdWords text ad into a tailored video ad within the advertiser’s AdWords account. The solution dynamically changes templates and content to ensure that each video is different. Customers can further customize their ads by adding their own photos and video and incorporating a voiceover. The result is a professional-quality, high-performing video ad at a fraction of the cost of traditional video production.

Here are some example ads from SpotMixer:

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SpotMixer came somewhat later to the online video ad market and competes with a range of providers: Jivox, Mixpo, Spotzer, Turn Here, Spot Runner, FourSpots and several others. But the site has distinguished itself through this Google relationship.

One of the striking things about SpotMixer that it uses templates to convert existing AdWords campaign text copy into a video ads automatically, although this capability is not entirely unique to SpotMixer. The marketer can then customize and change the ad if it/he/she wants to.

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SpotMixer VP Kathleen Farley told me that on the Google TV Ads side about “95%” of advertisers using the SpotMixer platform did actually customize their campaigns with new images, audio and/or ad copy. In some cases they used audio from existing radio campaigns. This high rate of customization is interesting in the context of the ongoing “push vs. pull” debate around sales and self-service in the small business market. AdWords marketers are a motivated group, however, so I’m not entirely surprised that the numbers are this high.

Advertisers could simply create a single campaign for online and TV. But there are differences between the mediums that implicate audience attention, ad length and tolerance of ads (depending on the context). Accordingly, I asked Farley and CEO John Love about creative “best practices.” After all it’s one thing to simply create a video (the automated creative is a slide show with audio) and another thing to run an effective TV or online video campaign. They said that the templates were being regularly optimized to incorporate best practices and learnings (sorry) from campaigns in the market.

SpotMixer has also partnered with Google on an SMB video ad contest that runs through mid-October. It offers a $25k prize (credits toward national TV ads) for  the best video ad created with the SpotMixer tools.

Here’s a video explanation of the original SpotMixer-Google TV Ads deal and how the tools work:

TV vs. NP Smackdown: IB Local Index

August 28, 2009

Internet Broadcasting has come out with a June update to its “IB Local Index,” which focuses on the reach and popularity of TV and newspaper sites. Here’s what the company says regarding the leading sites in the top 50 US markets:

  • Newspaper sites dominate in the top markets. In each of the top 10 markets, a newspaper site garnered the most local visits.  Newspaper sites were #1 in 31 of the top 50 markets, overall.
  • Wide range in the margin between winners and runner ups. Top sites had, on average, more than twice as many local visits than the nearest competitor.  This margin between #1 and #2 sites ranged from as little as a 2% difference, to as much as a 20x gap.

Here’s the company’s table regarding the top “local media” sites in each of these markets:

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If you want to see the full list go to the IB blog.

Spotzer Gets Nod for Video from YPG

August 27, 2009

Picture 6Spotzer has become Yellow Pages Group’s video platform/provider of choice according to a press release out yesterday:

Under the agreement, Spotzer will film and produce live onsite shoot videos of YPG customers for YPG’s industry-leading website, http://www.yellowpages.ca. Spotzer, which maintains a network of videographers across Canada, will shoot and produce the videos at YPG customer locations.

Spotzer started as a kind of explicit imitation of SpotRunner for Europe but has evolved and now appears to be thriving with the capacity to produce custom video as well as offer pre-produced video, which was its original model.

Video Coming to Print Mags

August 20, 2009

Desperate times call for creativity and here’s some from the world of magazine advertising, as reported in MediaPost:

With the advent of paper-thin digital video displays, it was only a matter of time before video turned up in print publications. Now, CBS is trumpeting a revolutionary “video-in-print” promotion for its upcoming fall season that will appear in the fall TV preview issue of Entertainment Weekly, due out on newsstands on Sept. 11.

Orchestrated by OMD, the CBS promotion — which also highlights its exclusive new partner Pepsi Max — centers on an interactive screen manufactured by Americhip, Inc., which can deliver both audio and video content.

The thin battery-powered player, located in the middle of a print ad spread, allows readers to watch five brief promotions for CBS’ “Monday to the Max” lineup . . .

This ad may be quite effective for CBS but magazines must be careful not to do too much of this sort of thing. This might become the visual equivalent of perfume ads in fashion magazines, which can be highly (ob)noxious and off-putting. If we start to see Las Vegas-style blinking and talking ads in magazines people will likely run the other way. But the technology does point toward a larger trend: an effort to make traditional media more “interactive.”

I’m going to guess that these ads also have analytics capabilities (or one day will).

Google TV, YouTube and Geo

August 13, 2009

Picture 124This is a collection of tidbits from Steve Stukenborg’s Local Search Summit keynote. He’s Google TV Product Manager

Various sources on the data:

  • TV ads platform now in use for YouTube as well
  • 40% surfing Web while watching TV. TV top offline influence on search behavior.
  • TV getting very fragmented, like Web: 120 channels on average. Google like fragmentation because it can target and aggregate audiences
  • Millions of set-top boxes via partnership with Dish Network. There are partnerships with other national networks (though not other cable cos beyond local provider Astound). Ads can appear on TV next day
  • Google pushing for model that charges advertisers based on how many actually watched the commercial, rather than audience for the show itself
  • 1988 DVR penetration was 0% today its 22%
  • Google TV seeking to build “network” from “long tail” of smaller networks and audiences
  • National brands using Google TV to drive people to local stores/local providers
  • He discusses the various ways that small advertisers can get ads made: marketplace, SpotMixer
  • Does audience targeting via data from Equifax and Nielsen. That data is matched to set-top box IDs, though not personally identifiable information.
  • Nice discussion of analytics and how TV analytics can be overlaid on Web analytics to show whether TV is driving search volume and traffic to site.

Case study (ooVoo)

How did TV ads campaign affect site traffic and search volumes? TV ads drove 500% increase in traffic and searches increased by 269% during campaign.

Stukenborg says there was a “residual effect” — continuing traffic and brand lift after conclusion of campaign

Case study (ShoppersChoice)

People coming in through TV URL were “twice as likely to convert.”

Case Study (Realty Executives)

“Traffic to their site increased exponentially.” Their objective was to build awareness/traffic for local affiliates.

Stukenborg acknowledged that traditional SMBs aren’t using the program and most of the advertising is national right now.  I asked him whether any of the YP publishers or third parties developing video on behalf of of SMBs were using TV ads to gain TV and/or YouTube distribution. He said there has been internal discussion about that but “no.”

More to discuss here, but I’m in the middle of another conference session.

News: Geomentum, News Corp, Ad Dollar Shifting

August 6, 2009

I’m once again squeezed for time — going to be at Inman Real Estate Connect in SF today speaking about mobile —  but here are some interesting things going on:

News Corp. says, after yesterday’s big $203 million loss, that by “next summer” all Murdoch’s newspaper sites will be charging for access. With the exception of the Wall Street Journal perhaps, News Corp. will also see traffic and ad revenue losses accordingly. The question is: will subscription revenues offset ad losses?

Big news: Interpublic targets “hyper- local” with new unit called Geomentum that will be working cross-platform geo-marketing (including planning and measurement) to include traditional, online and mobile. The NY Times explains:

Mediabrands, an ad-buying and planning division of the Interpublic Group, plans to introduce a unit on Thursday, Geomentum, that will focus on this problem. Geomentum will be large, handling about $2 billion a year in local advertising for companies like Coldwell Banker and Nestlé Waters. It will figure out how to divide ad dollars among the almost 40,000 ZIP codes in the United States, sometimes zeroing in on even smaller areas, like a city block . . .

In a simple example, a company selling drugstore makeup for Asian women ought to advertise in neighborhoods where lots of Asian women live, and not bother pitching its products in neighborhoods heavy on white men. Once Geomentum narrowed down where Asian women lived, it would then analyze how a billboard in the neighborhood performed, versus a newspaper ad, versus a dollar-off coupon, by writing a long equation that linked store traffic and local product sales with all those variables.

DoubleClick/Google exec Dave Fall joins SMB/Local SEM marketing platform Clickable.

SMB-centric video platform and ad network Jivox launches a suite of new “video marketing” capabilities and tools:

[L] businesses can now take advantage of Jivox’s ad creation and distribution services to create and post compelling video content on their websites, in email and other marketing campaigns, on directory service sites, and on YouTube and other video-sharing sites.

Up and coming deals/coupons destination Savings.com adds Internet provocateur Jason Calacanis to its board.

As Nielsen potentially moves from “people meters” to set-top box measurement of ratings (inevitable) it will wreck havoc on networks, producers and shows. According to an article today in MediaPost:

If the TV industry were to convert to digital set-top data as the basis of advertising deals, it theoretically would shift billions of dollars in TV advertising revenues among top shows, networks and distribution platforms, according to an analysis being published today by a top Nielsen executive.

“This is not merely an academic discussion. These decisions would have major financial implications for ad buyers and sellers,” Manish Bhatia, the Nielsen executive in charge with developing the research firm’s digital set-top initiatives . . . the shifts would generate $3.1 billion in incremental advertising revenues for cable TV networks, but would cost the broadcast networks an estimated $1.1 billion.

Movement to this type of ratings system is also part of a broader move toward “addressable TV.”

Finally, Google is again the top global brand, according to Millward Brown.

TheShack: Email->Video->FB Fan

August 5, 2009

Indeed, RadioShack is becoming “The Shack,” though perhaps it would’ve been better to use the French “Le Shack” instead. No matter.

I received this email today. It prompts you to watch allegedly hip/cool/humorous commercials hosted on Facebook. And while you’re there, why not become a FB Fan:

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On the one hand this sort of hand off from email to Facebook represents a strong approach to social media and customer acquisition. However, I’m already on the email list so in one sense it’s a wash. I’m more receptive to commercial messages in email than I am on Facebook — but that’s just me :)

Perhaps it’s a hedge against declining email open rates.

Google Sells Radio Assets, Buys Video Firm

August 5, 2009

Picture 17Google has reportedly found a buyer for its radio assets. The Radio Ads program, built around the dMarc acqusition, was formally shuttered in February. According to the article:

WideOrbit Inc., a privately held company that makes software for the broadcast TV and radio industries, said Wednesday it has agreed to buy Google’s technology for automating radio ad placement. The San Francisco-based company did not disclose financial details. It will inherit 3,600 customers and an undisclosed number of employees.

One imagines WideOrbit is getting something of a deal.

Earlier this week TargetSpot,”the nation’s largest Internet radio advertising network,” announced that Eyal Goldwerger was taking over as CEO. The company says:

TargetSpot has grown to . . . more than 15.3 million unique listeners per month through distribution partners such as CBS RADIO, FOX News, Yahoo! LAUNCHcast and AOL Radio.

Also earlier in the week Pandora announced a sales deal with Clear Channel. So perhaps Google exited the Radio Ads business a bit too early. What do you think?

Separately Google announced acquisition of On2 Technologies, a company that does video compression. Essentially this will help support video on YouTube and the Internet more broadly (potentially also in mobile).

In Brief: Google, YouTube, Marchex, FTC Regs

August 3, 2009

Here are some things going on this morning/today that I don’t have time to give more attention to:

Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigns from the Apple board because he has too many conflicts of interest given that the companies compete across a number of areas now. Here’s Apple’s official statement; it’s clean:

“Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest.”

YouTube to feature local news. From the NY Times:

YouTube, which already boasts of being “the biggest news platform in the world,” has created a News Near You feature that senses a user’s location and serves up a list of relevant videos. In time, it could essentially engineer a local newscast on the fly. It is already distributing hometown video from dozens of sources, and it wants to add thousands more.

YouTube says it is helping TV stations and its other partners by creating a new — but so far not fiscally significant — source of revenue.

YouTube and the Internet more generally are a substitute for cable TV long term.  TVs or TV boxes in a growing number of homes will access the Internet. And with YouTube, Hulu and Netflix, why would I want to subscribe to pay TV — with some notable exceptions of course. Pain is coming to cable TV and more pain is coming to broadcast. Quality (not lowest-common-denominator-cheap-to-produce-schlock) is the answer. But when cost is an issue quality typically loses. TV is generally a wasteland anyway. So be it.

Marchex asks: Can Locally-Focused Display Ads Make The Phone Ring? The argument in the piece is that display should be part of the local marketing mix but that local advertisers will want to be billed on a performance basis (clicks or calls, preferably). What do you think about display and local:

  • Will it work for local advertisers? (most have not used, according to survey data I have)
  • Can it only be sold on a clicks or calls basis?
  • Must it be outsourced and created by the partner/sales agent or will self-service (e.g., AdReady) be viable at all?

As the FTC looks more closely at online advertising and data mining, stronger regulation (disclosure and opt-in/out requirements) are coming. Mark my words. Or to use the Internet cliche, “watch this space.”

NBC ‘Hyper-Local’ TV Sites Go Live

July 30, 2009

NBC is rolling out its “hyper-local” (“Locals Only”) strategy around its TV affiliates and has started to launch the sites with personnel poached or acquired from other publications. According to AdWeek:

Offering lifestyle, entertainment and news, the redesigned and enhanced city Web sites have only an oblique reference to their NBC affiliation in the upper lefthand corner of the home page, though “NBC” still leads off the Web address, i.e., www.nbcchicago.com and www.nbcla.com. As part of the official launch, city sites invite visitors to interact and engage with the site by contributing content and registering their emotions about particular stories and events. Content can be shared easily on Twitter and Facebook.

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The sites are news and entertainment news sites but also have a cityguide flavor. And then there’s the geo-targeted ad opportunity. It pits the TV affiliates directly against newspaper sites in their respective markets.

Video is a central focus of the sites.

Internet Broadcasting says that “local TV station Web sites beat all other local media sites in total local minutes in 28 of the top 50 markets. In the previous edition of the IB Local Index we found that TV sites reach up to three times the local unique visitors of the top newspaper site.”

How Much Damage to United?

July 24, 2009

Picture 12Recall that I posted about Dave Carroll and the mishap with his guitar and United’s baggage handlers. His video on YouTube about his experience saw millions of streams.

Now the UK’s Times Online claims that the episode and subsequent damage to the brand caused by the widespread viewing of the YouTube video resulted in a drop in the market cap of United, essentially costing the airline $180 million:

Meanwhile, within four days of the song going online, the gathering thunderclouds of bad PR caused United Airlines’ stock price to suffer a mid-flight stall, and it plunged by 10 per cent, costing shareholders $180 million. Which, incidentally, would have bought Carroll more than 51,000 replacement guitars.

The airline’s belated decision to donate $3,000 to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as a gesture of goodwill (Carroll said he was beyond the point of accepting money) did nothing to contain the damage.

It’s unlikely that the Carroll-related bad PR single-handedly caused this. But let’s assume that it may have contributed to some set of factors that together caused investors to sell United shares. It’s an illustration of how costly bad customer service can turn out to be in the age of social media.

As I said before, an ounce of prevention . . .

Lesson for United: an Ounce of Prevention . . .

July 17, 2009

Picture 64I’m kind of pissed off at United Airlines because they took my premier status away despite my long and heavy history (and lots of FF miles) with them. That’s my personal angle and — I must be honest — partial motivation for this post. But more abstractly this is a great example of the power of social media and how it’s tripping up “old school” companies, like United, left and right.

This story is about United baggage handlers who damaged some guitars and then refused to acknowledge responsibility. The whole episode is nicely laid out by Nielsen on the power of UGC and perils of ignoring consumer complaints. In a nutshell:

  • Musician Dave Carroll and his band saw their guitars being abused by baggage handlers at Chicago O’Hare and complained
  • United did nothing
  • Carroll wrote a song (“United Breaks Guitars”) and produced a related music video and posted it on YouTube:

Millions of people have seen it and it now ranks for the query “united airlines.”

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Nielsen offers a lengthy and thoughtful analysis of the events and impact that I won’t duplicate.

Clearly the front line and supervisory CSRs at United don’t have perspective and were mindlessly carrying out company policy in stonewalling Carroll. This video and the subsequent news coverage in major media outlets has damaged United in intangible ways. United’s brand and goodwill have been diminished if only temporarily as an airline that’s negligent and indifferent to customers. There’s a hard-to-determine yet real dollar value associated with that damage — at a minimum think of the corporate PR resources that have to go into combating this.

It’s an example of how brands and companies that deal with consumers must train and equip their CSRs differently and in fact empower lower-level people to address the facts and circumstances in front of them rather than simply using them as gatekeepers to try and get rid of annoying customer complaints. If there had been a sincere investigation and an offer of payment to replace the guitars the song (with others to come) would not have been written and the bad PR (and search results) would not have happened. As they say, an ounce of prevention . . .

Pennysaver’s Viral Campaign Boosts Print

July 17, 2009

Pennysaver, the print classifieds and coupons publisher, produced a parody of the MC Hammer “U can’t touch this” video (“Savertime“) to promote itself. It hopes the video will go viral and it’s also part of a contest the company is doing.

In addition Pennysaver is using Twitter and Facebook — and using Twitter to build its Facebook fans:

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You may find the video corny, but I think it’s pretty effective and will go viral for the company. Some people will clearly like it if not everyone does.

Pennysaver has a site but is largely a traditional media/ads publisher. These viral/social media efforts are creative and, to some degree, help “sexify” the print publication and invigorate/reinvigorate the brand as a whole.

Google City Tours: Start of Something Good

June 25, 2009

As many others have discussed, Google has introduced a new service in Labs called City Tours. It allows users to plan and manage itineraries on a map. Points of interest can be added and removed with ease and it also will make a bunch of suggestions (perhaps the best feature) at the outset.

Type in Paris for example and it provides a pre-populated list of attractions and places to visit:

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You don’t get lists of hotels or restaurants; there seems to be an emphasis on museums. But Google’s full database is accessible to this tool. To add a site/sight or location, you simply “search” for it and it’s added:

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At present an imperfect tool but still useful. It will probably get a good deal better in a short time. For example, Google has lots of video and other content about these places that don’t make their way onto this map. Also there’s no StreetView (yet) here, which would be a perfect use of the content in this travel context.

When you click on any of the pushpins, you get this kind of an info window:

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Note the pull-down ratings menu. Presumably Google will use this feedback to rank and present trip suggestions in the future. In addition, it’s probably going to look at ratings and lists from other sources (e.g., TripAdvisor) to make content and ranking determinations.

There have long been rumors about Google wanting to go into travel in a more full fledged way. By comparison Bing (Farecast) and Yahoo! in particular have substantial travel properties. Google has experimented with travel on YouTube. However there’s a great opportunity here to use Maps, YouTube, Street View, Wikipedia, Panoramio and other data to create a really useful and fun travel planning tool. There’s also a really compelling mobile use case for a more robust version of City Tours, along the lines I’m describing.

Yellowbook Has New Site Builder, More Ads

June 16, 2009

Yellowbook announced a new partner to build SMB websites: Websplanet. The company has also launched a new video/TV ad campaign “Yellowbook moments.” The one below is kind of funny.


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