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March 2006, Week 3 Marketing Archives

Friday, March 17, 2006

YouTube Tidbits

Can you imagine your life without drunk Orson Wells outakes or collegiate Pac Man shenanigans?

Luckily YouTube is investing in it's own future so we never have to go without the addictive site being blamed for record levels of unproductivity.

Digital agency, Deep Focus reached an agreement with YouTube to promote its studio clients' trailers on the breakaway video portal.

The first trailer promoted under the deal is for the likely underwhelming Scary Movie 4. The trailer was added to YouTube's "featured videos" section on Monday. Since that time, it has received more than 437,000 views. That figure rivals the number of times the same trailer has been seen on Yahoo!, where it premiered at the beginning of the month.

YouTube Tidbits By Brent Brandow at 01:18 PM
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Congress Bets On Closing Casinos

A House Committee wants offshore online gambling businesses to fold, which could send shockwaves around the advertising world.

The law would prohibit companies from accepting credit card payments, checks or wire transfers from people who live where gambling is illegal.

Online gambling is a $12 billion a year business including millions in advertising. In all likelihood this legislation won't pass, but it could push the government to regulate (and therefore receive substantial tax revenue) the industry instead of allowing companies outside the U.S. to make off with all the cash.

Whether you agree with it or not, online gambling isn't going away, but legalizing it would move a substantial portion of that money within our borders.

Congress Bets On Closing Casinos By Jason Dowdell at 11:41 AM
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RSS Ads Stream Live Info

CNET and Reuters have expanded RSS advertising from text ads within feeds to text feeds within ads.


Instead of alternating content with advertising in an RSS feed, now advertisers can send text as scrolling headlines within an ad.

For example, eBay ads could show up-to-the-minute pricing for on auction items, Fandango could scroll through the movies playing at your local theater, or CBS could advertise the night's programming all within the space of a banner ad.

Sure, this coulda been done with Javascript before, but RSS just makes it that much easier. So simple yet so brilliant.

RSS Ads Stream Live Info By John Gartner at 11:26 AM
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Microsoft Vs. IBM

While the Microsoft - Google interweb wars may put butts in the seats, the real action is on the second stage where Microsoft is shelling out $500 million to beat it chief rival, IBM.

That's right. IBM is Microsofts chief competition.

With the tagline; Microsoft: Software for the people-ready business, Microsoft's new "people-ready" push is the start of its sales and marketing campaign for the business versions of its forthcoming Windows and Office product line-up.

Speaking at the "ImpactPeople" business-user conference, CEO Steve Ballmer called out arch-nemisis IBM in a series of incindiary comments; "We're staking out a position quite different than our leading competitor. That's IBM. We are talking about making the people in the business more productive. IBM is talking about a project. We're talking about software….IBM increasingly is a services company. At the end of the day, we're a software company."

He then proceeded to throw down the gauntlet:

"There's a prevalent view that IBM is a technology company…And yet, I think in large measure, we're talking about apples and oranges."

This could be good.

Microsoft Vs. IBM By Brent Brandow at 09:52 AM
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Google Base on European Holiday

Hopefully this works out better than Euro-Disney.

Word on the street is that Google is going ahead with plans to develop Google Base, a product still in testing, into an online retail platform in Europe.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Nikesh Arora, head of Google’s European arm said, "Google wanted companies in retail – and possibly sectors such as real estate – to submit details of their goods and prices. "

According to the plan, Google will index and package the information into a consumer-friendly search engine, giving its users a virtual supermarket across a number of retail brands.

Arora also claimed in the FT interview that: “Google Base is going to have a huge impact on retailers,� and added that the move reflected internal research, which found many leading European retailers did not feel they were competitive enough online.

Google Base on European Holiday By Brent Brandow at 03:12 PM
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Video Ads El Fuego

One of the hottest jobs in 2006-7 will likely be producers of in-stream video ads. Agencies and technologies companies will need to ramp up hiring of digital video experts and developers to service the online video ad market.

Between AOL's In2tv, MyABC, and the emergence of IPTV (some of which will be ad-supported, video ad companies will be hot for the short term even if broadband TV eventually falls flat.

It's an interesting side note that domain names might not be worth what they used to be. AOL isn't using, and ABC isn't using

Video Ads El Fuego By Jason Dowdell at 11:10 AM
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Feed The Rich

With apologies to Lemmy and the rest of the boys in Motorhead.

According to a report by The Luxury Institute (yes, there really is a Luxury Institute) the interweb is a daily part of wealthy American's lives.

In fact, online apparel and accessories sales jumped 41 percent in 2005, while sales of jewelry and watches surged 31 percent. On average, wealthy Americans use the internet seven days a week for an average of 3.2 hours per day; those under 50 and worth more than $5 million are heavier users. Some 51 percent of wealthy consumers tell the Luxury Institute that they use the web to research products and services, and 43 percent say they "occasionally" or "frequently" buy products and services online.

This bears repeating: Those under 50 and worth more than $5 million are heavier users.

I'm on here all the time and i definitely don't have 5 million at my disposal, so if you were wondering, there is no correlation between time spent on the internet and yearly income. Unfortunately.

What this does mean is that the rapid development of an online market for luxury goods will continue. I guess if you have the cash, you might as well spend it...

Feed The Rich By Brent Brandow at 11:00 AM
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Netscape Tries to Digg Itself Out, the erstwhile portal heavyweight, is going to reinvent itself as a news site molded in the Digg image, according to (Who was Brad Pitt with the last time you visited

The site reportedly will be managed by Weblogs Inc founder Jason Calacanis. The race to out Digg Digg is on, and it could be only a matter of time before the company that first popularized the power-to-the-people model is surpassed by an imitator with a bigger wallet.

Alas, Poor Netscape, I knew it well (like in 1999 when it had 25 million registered users and was a haven for developers). The AOL/TW/Netscape company history is like watching a fish eat smaller fish poisoned by mercury until the larger fish becomes lethal to eat. Netscape was purchased by AOL, and Time Warner bought TBS, then AOL bought Time Warner, took and then lost the AOL name, and now none of the pieces are worth close to what they were previous to being acquired.

Found via MarketingVox.

Netscape Tries to Digg Itself Out By Jason Dowdell at 10:45 AM
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's An Ad, Ad, Ad World for MS

Microsoft is continuing to slowly open the kimono in revealing its Microsoft Live services, including now displaying ads in the Microsoft Office Live.

This could be the biggest thing to hit online advertising since AdSense came out. The user base of Hotmail and MSN alone is huge, and throw in the current and new Office users who will move to the freebie versions, and untold millions could find their way to Redmond.

The ad inventory increase could significantly shake up the pricing models, so we'll have to closely watch the options that Microsoft is testing.

Found via Adotas.

It's An Ad, Ad, Ad World for MS By Jason Dowdell at 08:05 PM
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E-Mail Marketing Actually Works*

*If you know your audience

A new-ish report by The GfK Group confirms the longstanding suspicion that accurate targeting of e-mail marketing messages makes a significant difference. Not surprisingly, E-mails based on consumers' expressed preferences are, by definition, more relevant and therefore more likely to be read and responded to.

Some interesting stats:

  • Showing a 5% increase from last year, 58% of the respondents "agreed that e-mail they receive is usually targeted to their need and interests."

  • 60% of respondents to the 2006 survey said that the e-mails they receive from companies with which they do business have become more targeted and relevant, up 3% from 2005.

  • 78% of respondents said that they do not use their work e-mail addresses to receive marketing offers.

Basically, responsible, well-researched, targeted E-mail marketing can be very successful. In order to erase the interweb telemarketer-type stigma that surrounds e-mail marketing, it would behoove everyone in the industrty to review their standards.

E-Mail Marketing Actually Works* By Brent Brandow at 04:19 PM
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Webisodes Make Ads Fun

I've written several times about how ads should be fun if they are to be watched repeatedly, and video blog site Rocketboom is betting that creating humorous webisodes can partially finance its operation.

ATM machine maker TRW had the highest bid on Rocketboom's recent eBay auction, so this week at the end of every Rocketboom program, there's a comical "adventure ad" starring host Amanda Congdon that makes repeated references to TRW.

So will other large companies jump at the opportunity to sponsor the silly and sophomoric ads to reach Rocketboom's largely male tech audience? This is a good test case to see how the vlog and sponsored content model could work. Would you want your brand used in this way?

Webisodes Make Ads Fun By John Gartner at 04:12 PM
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Google Special Character Search String Bug

Reproducible Google BugThere are only two special characters (on a standard keyboard) that return any results in Google. The other 20 symbols force Google to return a blank page. Not a page that says 0 Results Returned, but literally a blank page. Only the standard Google header and footer are displayed.

These are the only symbols that return any results.
& (ampersand)
_ (underscore)

These 20 return no result count at all and are a bug (or a feature as I'm sure Google would claim).
` acute apostraphe
~ tilda
! exclamation point
@ at sign
## pound
$ dollar sign
% percent
^ carat
* asterick
( left parenthesis
) right parenthesis
- dash
= equal sign
+ plus sign
/ right slash
, comma
< less than symbol
. period
> greater than symbol
? question mark
; semi-colon
: colon
' apostraphe
" double quote
[ left bracket
{ left curly bracker
] right bracket
} right curly bracket
\ left slash
| pipe symbol

What can be learned from this mysterious behavior in Google's search results?
The two that return search results & (ampersand) and _ (underscore) are not part of any special query syntax used by Google and are found quite often in business names (at least the ampersand is). There must be something more to the fact that the underscore returns results but I have yet to put my finger on it.

Google allows you to conduct advanced searches using specific symbols and constructs and calls them the Advanced Search Operators as seen here. Further below I show the list of Google's publicly known advanced search operators.

For example: if you want to find all of the pages Google has indexed on marketingshift you'd simply type

The key here is the ":" (colon) because it tells Googles query parser to look for a special search construct operator to the left of the colon. Thus it makes sense that Google doesn't use the ":" (colon) in determining relevance on a given page. But it makes no sense to not inform the user via the search results page of this behavior. This only explains a few symbols on the list of special characters causing the blank search results page to be shown.

The complete list of advanced search operators in Google are as follows
~ (when placed in front of a word also finds results with synonyms for that word)
" (used to search for exact phrases when enclosing a phrase in double quotes)
- (used when you want to exclude a term from the search results or to subtract numbers)
+ (used to require a term in addition to the main keyphrase in the search results or to add numbers)
: (string to left of colon denotes special type of search to execute)
* (wildcard character that represents one or more words or to multiply numbers)
/ (used to divide numbers)
% (used to calculate a percentage)
^ (used to raise the power of a number)
... (used to define a range of numbers to search between)

That leaves us with at least 18 other special characters that return no results.
` (acute apostraphe)
! (exclamation point)
@ (at sign)
# (pound)
$ dollar sign
( (left parenthesis)
) (right parenthesis)
= (equal sign)
, (comma)
< (less than symbol) > (greater than symbol)
? (question mark)
; (semi-colon)
' (apostraphe)
[ (left bracket)
{ (left curly bracker)
] (right bracket)
} (right curly bracket)
\ (left slash)
| (pipe symbol)

My best guess is that it was easier for Google to exclude all special keyboard characters by default and explicitly handle the list of known advanced search operators since that would require less resources. I also think another factor adding to them excluding the terms is that they'll have uses for them later (or are already testing more advanced query syntax currently)
and will use them in their other niche search efforts. I combed through the Google search features page but didn't find anything that gave me a better clue of up and coming (or existing) query syntax that might use the symbols but then again, I'm no Google Engineer.

But no matter what this is a bug and just gets added to the list of other Google bugs.

Steps to Breaking Google
1.) go to (duh)
2.) enter any of the 18 special characters mentioned 2 paragraphs up
3.) laugh, snort and IM your buddies the link to show them what a genius you are

Google Special Character Search String Bug By Jason Dowdell at 02:23 PM
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Public Content to Pay Publishers for Content

Consumers purchased $2 billion of content in 2005, up 15 % over the prior year, according to the Online Publishers Association.

Entertainment was the big winner, growing by 38%, in part thanks to iTunes. Consumers also laid out more cash for Games (up 22%), but general news (down 10.4%) and sports (negative 2%) took it on the chin. I think the music bubble is about to burst and see flat growth soon, but games are just scratching the surface, so 30 percent growth wouldn't be a surprise.

Advertising continues to dominate pay for content, but models with profitably coexist. By comparison, advertising on newspaper websitesalone was $2 billion last year, an increase of 31.5 %.

Public Content to Pay Publishers for Content By Jason Dowdell at 08:43 PM
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Web 2.0 Companies Vie for Google's Affection..and Money

Like a gaggle of cheerleaders pining for the dreamy star quarterback, it's always entertaining to watch the Web 2.0 community vie for Google's attention (AKA dollars).

The recent aquisition of Upstartle has provided hope companies struggling to keep their heads above water long enough for Google to (hopefully) buy them out.

Redmonk analyst and all around know-it-all Stephen O'Grady was more than happy to point out the obvious, "The general pattern is that big companies let the other companies do the innovations for them. Smaller companies can do innovation in a more agile fashion outside the boundaries of a large company, and they get acquired."

The deal has also breathed new life into speculation over Google's future plans, especially those involving GDrive.

Web 2.0 Companies Vie for Google's Affection..and Money By Brent Brandow at 04:19 PM
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Google Stock Value Worthless?

The following is an excerpt of an IM conversation between me and someone else a few minutes ago. He was asking me about whether or not I had seen an article about how you don't get voting rights or dividends when you own Google stock. I thought it was pretty funny so I decided to post it for your enjoyment.

joe: so someone posted an article on digg last week about google stock, you don't get voting rights with it, and they'll never pay a dividend

jason: dividend isn't surprising, the voting rights stem from Sergei's and Larry's motto that they control the company, no matter how much the stock market wants to

joe: but it seems there is absolutely no value in owning the stock

jason: if it appreciates then there is value to it

joe: but there is no intrinsic value to it

jason: is there ever really any "intrinsic value" to stock? I buy stock so it will appreciate, not so I can vote

joe: dividends

jason: nah, overrated

joe: i mean the book value is p/e of 20, well old poeple want the income rather than the potential for value appreciation

jason: google is not an old person stock

joe: lol
So for those of you that want to own Google stock, my advice is to not purchase if you are counting on it for retirement in the next 5 years... you'll not get that comfy feeling of having a "say-so" in what happens to your retirement.

Google Stock Value Worthless? By Jason Dowdell at 03:42 PM
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Leads Are People Too

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has developed a best practices document for generating leads so that unscrupulous folks don't tarnish the growing market for acquiring consumers.

Among the list of recommended practices are:

Advertisers/Publishers/Vendors must not rent, resell or trade the lead without consumer’s consent as outlined in their privacy policy.

Auto-responder and prompts are recommended to confirm the consumer’s interest and to provide an opportunity to halt/ continue marketing. A clear opt-out should be visible.

Publishers/Vendors will make available the registered consumer’s IP address and time stamp to show proof of registration upon request by the advertiser.

These are obvious steps to take, but unfortunately, many companies are willing to coerce and deceive consumers in order to make a buck. Not long ago I bought theater tickets, and was offered "free trials" of some magazines, but the magazines were automatically charged to the credit card that I used to purchase the tickets. Needless to say I wasn't happy and immediately got a refund for all of the magazines.

Leads Are People Too By John Gartner at 10:37 AM
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Monday, March 13, 2006

Email Marketers Gone Wild

There's a right way and a wrong way to start a successful email marketing campaign. If you do it the right way you can make some cash, if you cut corners you may end up forking some dough over to the state of New York.

Datran Media, an E-Mail marketing service, has agreed to a $1.1 million settlement with the New York Attorney General's office stemming from charges that Datran bought e-mail lists that it knew to be in breach of the originating sites' privacy policies.

New York's attorney general Eliot Spitzer stated "With this case, we hope to set a new standard for Internet marketers and consumer research companies. Personal information secured through a promise of confidentiality must always remain confidential."

Nelson Muntz was quoted as saying "HA HA."

Email Marketers Gone Wild By Jason Dowdell at 03:37 PM
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Microsoft Memo: Click to Call Coming

"Trying to squash a rumor is like trying to unring a bell." - Shana Alexander ...And when the rumor is found in the words of a Microsoft memo, it's kind of hard to dismiss. In Microsoft memo obtained by BusinessWeek Online, senior vice-president David Cole, outlined progress and key objectives for Windows Live. "We've made incredible progress on various Windows Live initiatives," he writes in the Mar. 7 note, Microsoft's customizable search-oriented portal, has more than 3 million users and the second-highest Net Promoter score. The portal is the entry point for the first release of its Windows Live Search, the site through which Microsoft hopes to make the big bucks through paid search. Cole proudly boasted that, "Over the next 3-6 months, we'll ship more innovative technology into the marketplace than during our entire 10-year history." One of the many new services of interest is a click-per-call capability that will let users connect to businesses via Web-based calls by clicking on MSN search links. BusinessWeek Online sources claim that the capability will be unveiled the week of March 13.

Microsoft Memo: Click to Call Coming By Brent Brandow at 01:59 PM
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Welcome to Productainment

Advertising is really going to the dogs. According to this NYTimes article, Proctor and Gamble is developing a series of eight commercials around a family of dogs to be featured in a mock sit(and then stay)com.

The spots will be on Nick at Nite and feature advertising breaks for P&G's Febreze product. In some ways this is a more honest form of communicating with consumers because at least the product placement here is obviously funding the creation of the content, which is more upfront than movies and TV shows placing products everywhere.

So forget the 5 a.m. infomercial or getting American Idol judges to sip your beverage. Get some funny writers and hire a few has-been actors (try Eric Roberts and Tanya Roberts) and try productainment instead.

I'm also thinking that TiVo must develop technology so that users can't skip commercials like this. Perhaps they could insert their own commercials that couldn't be fast-forwarded through, and give this service away for free.

Welcome to Productainment By John Gartner at 11:05 AM
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IRS Notification Spam Email

MSHIFT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: I'm quite certain this will be the next big spam email because it appears to come from an authoritative source and my gmail inbox has become more and more populated with them over the past couple days... another sure sign it's a winner with spammers. While most of the mshift readers may not fall for such an email I wanted to post about it so your parents, grandparents and less-tech-savvy relatives don't fall victim to the scam. Using the IRS in email scams isn't a new thing but it's been a while since it's worked and just like a bad sitcom, it's now getting more air time.

Here is the email so you'll know what it looks like. The IRS doesn't have a direct email address you can send the spam email to so for now you can comment on this post with the sender's information as well as the message they originally sent and if it becomes a larger issue we'll use this post as a resource for everyone else.

One thing to note, the IRS website tells you not to correspond with them directly via email but mandates you use one of their online forms to contact them. However, all of these IRS spam emails tell you to respond to This is just another way to tell the email is spam.

The latest irs spam email I received came from (prolly a computer that was hacked and has become a host for the email scam). The ip address was
"After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $63.80. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access the form for your tax refund, please click here

Internal Revenue Service"
The second one came from ip addy and was probably another hacked machine.

IRS Notification Spam Email By Jason Dowdell at 11:02 AM
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Under 30 and Overly Talented

Once again, the kids are alright with technology investors. The new BusinessWeek has a package of feature stories covering the youngish techies who are creating the startups that will redefine the web.

As I said last week, Silicon Valley seems poised to again party like it's 1995 as Web 2.0 replaces "dot com" as the buzzword that will get investors lining up on the doorstep.

The articles include good stuff about promising Web 2.0 companies, and a list of a dozen entrepreneurs under 30 who are poised for success.

Unlike the last euphoric round of internet investments, the money won't be thrown around in the same quantities, and companies will have to prove themselves before going IPO. Perhaps 'Net technology help us to grow the economy like the late '90s, although much of the programming may be done in India. Did you also notice that most of the new tycoons on the billionaires list are from there?

Under 30 and Overly Talented By John Gartner at 10:14 AM
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« March 2006 Week 2 March 2006 Week 4 »

  • Week 1 (12 entries) March 1-4
  • Week 2 (18 entries) March 5-11
  • Week 3 (21 entries) March 12-18
  • Week 4 (23 entries) March 19-25
  • Week 5 (17 entries) March 26-31

Here is one I received a little different than the...
by Paul
Things are so rough for me, my IRS spam notificati...
by Jack
It's absolutely not true that it would take m...
by Anon
Besides glyphs it would be nice if searches for mu...
by Fame Ous Anon
Great article, I have many times looked for an exa...
by John