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May 2006, Week 4 Marketing Archives

Friday, May 26, 2006

Marketing as News Loses

The FCC is finally cracking down on the practice of televising commercials as news. PR Firms create slick promotional videos that look like news stories and send them to prospective clients and news organizations to get attention.

Portions of these VNRs (video news releases), such as interviews with executives or diagrams of how a product works are often edited into new pieces, but according to the FCC, 98 stations broadcast entire VNRs as if they were news. The Bush Administration got into trouble for distributing VNRs that took its position on issues such as healthcare and similarly masquerading them as news.

Today's bubbleheaded news broadcasts make it hard to differentiate anyway, but its good that the FCC is taking action. Instead of sneaking VNRs into the news hour, marketers should make their VNRs available for viewing online. VNRs that are made interactive through Flash and Web 2.0 technologies would be much more effective than text, and the bandwidth cost is minimal. It's a video world people, so why not take advantage of it?

Marketing as News Loses By John Gartner at 06:00 PM
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Lawsuit Challenges Network TiVo

The Motion Picture Association has teamed with three TV networks to sue Cablevision over plans to create a network digital video recording service.

Network DVRs are like TiVo, except instead of having a hard drive in a box next to your TV, the programs are stored on the cable company's servers.

Network DVRs are a threat to TiVo et al because they are cheaper to maintain and service and there is no additional hardware to buy. The content companies are peeved that Cablevision wants to offer the programs on demand without negotiating a separate license (aside from the standard cable carrier license).

Network DVRs could be a better way to distribute advertising since everything is controlled centrally, and cable operators are anxious to cash in on this potentially lucrative market. The lawsuit says that services like TiVo are different because the user is storing video at home and controlling the content. But I disagree, because this parallels the music services that store music online.

Cable companies would be wise to start talking with Vloggers,YouTube and video advertisers to get them into the mix.

Lawsuit Challenges Network TiVo By Jason Dowdell at 05:35 PM
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Thursday, May 25, 2006

YahooBay to Push Pay Per Call

So the rumors were sorta true - Yahoo and eBay are hooking up. Yahoo gets access to PayPay and Skype, which will be used in a click to call service, as well as placement on an eBay tool bar. Yahoo will deliver the graphical ads to eBay and get part of its search marketing business.

This deal makes more sense than a merger because the companies get to keep their independence and identities while sharing their core technologies. Yahoo gets the better of the deal IMHO as integrating Skype and PayPal wallet into a transaction service that could be completed via Yahoo Messenger, which could be the catalyst that makes micropayments more ubiquitous.

Of course eBay wins too because they will get exposure to Yahoo's massive audience. Wall Street should respond well to this as in combination the companies can promote commerce and advertising better than anyone has to date.

I would expect Microsoft and Google to be aggressive in their responses soon.

YahooBay to Push Pay Per Call By John Gartner at 12:55 PM
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Viral Marketing's Hairy Situation

Gillette is getting face time with consumers through humorous viral videos about a world where women give up shaving in response to men who refuse to do the same.

Gillette doesn't have any branding during the ads that are being promoted through YouTube, but the video points to Noscruf.org, a faux organization that protests non-shaving men and offers information about Gillette's products.

The viral video strategy can cut both ways as quirky ads can catch on with new audiences through long-format ads that can't be promoted through conventional web advertising. But if the ads are lame or are perceived as offensive, they could spell disaster. For products that might not lend themselves to viral videos, catchy ads (Aflack anyone) that merely mention a brand can still merit the spend.

Found via Advertising Age.

Viral Marketing's Hairy Situation By John Gartner at 12:20 PM
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Online Audience Not Inclusive

According to a Harris poll, 172 million American adults are now online, or 77 percent of all those of age.

Surprisingly 5 percent of folks who have access to a computer at home are not online. Wow, so there are still holdouts using floppy disks to transfer files and only playing games or typing letters?

Not surprisingly, though, is that folks online tend to be younger, more affluent, and better educated than the overall population. While advertisers like a better demographic, getting the last 23 percent online should be a goal.

Although Net Neutrality is en vogue these days, the so-called digital divide has been pushed to the back of the bus, so to speak. The $100 PC has been a dream, but perhaps ad-supported PCs and internet access could help to include those who have been left out. If you give a family a free PC and Internet access, they would use it and become a customer either now or in the future. Of course a good chunk of those folks are also unbanked, so prepaid cards that could be used for online purchases would have to be part of the equation.

Online Audience Not Inclusive By John Gartner at 09:38 PM
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Up Front Buys Move Online

The phenomenon of pre-buying inventory from network TV is shifting to online media. Auto manufacturers are buying inventory for the rest of the year to lock in now and reduce their costs as prices are expected to continue to rise.

This is a less risky buy than TV because while programs can rapidly lose or gain an audience, most sizeable publishers will continue to grow purely because more folks are going online every month or existing users are upgrading to broadband and spending more time online.

By locking in early the big brands can make sure they aren't shut out from their target destinations. Publishers like to get the cash up front too to fund expansion, so you can expect more up front buying.

Found via Marketing Vox.

Up Front Buys Move Online By John Gartner at 09:05 PM
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MLB & Pirates Need Mark Cuban

Some tandems are just meant to be. Nachos and cheese, Starsky and Hutch, Simon and Garfunkel steak and potatoes-just to name a few. Another ideal match would be Mark Cuban and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cuban, grew up in Mt. Lebanon, a suburb of Pittsburgh, and is a life-long Pirates fan. Last summer, Cuban, the outspoken and eccentric owner of the Dallas Mavericks, informed the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he had an interest in purchasing the team.
"If they ever decided to sell, I'd definitely be interested in taking a look," Cuban said. "But I'm certainly not the type to be proactive about it because that's not fair to Kevin."
Kevin McClatchy, CEO and managing general partner, who became owner of the Pirates on Feb. 14, 1996, but has yet to show any love to the sports fans of Pittsburgh. Since he started his reign as ruler of the Pirates, the team has no world series, no division titles, no wild card playoff berths and no winning seasons. The city Pittsburgh has certainly seen better days, but the blue collar crowd still loves to show up in full force to support Ben Roethlisberger and the five-time super bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Back in the day when the Steelers and Pirates shared their home field at Three Rivers Stadium,
Pitt fans saw legendary sports stars such as Barry Bonds, Willie Stargel, Roberto Clemente, Lynn Swann and Terry Bradshaw wear city colors of black and yellow. Now, the Steelers are upholding their tradition of fielding all stars such as Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis, while the Pirates are wheeling out no-namers such as John Grabow and trading away promising pitching prospects like Kris Benson.
The team's suffering has become so prolonged that disgruntled fans even started a website www.buyusmark.com, where fans can purchase shirts that read "Please buy us Mark." One of the primary reasons for the Pirates blunders has been a lack of finances. McClatchy is renowned for his stingy payrolls and is viewed by most baseball fans as a greedy owner who is at typical product of baseball's structure, which, unlike other pro sports, has no high cap or low cap for each team's salary. During his interview with the Gazette, Cuban referenced the recent completion of PNC park as a sign of progress and change, but everyone knows that a winning team is the only way to fill the seats.
"They've done their best with the Pirates, getting the stadium built," he said. "I think the Pirates have a great young nucleus for the future."
While the ballpark may be a nice upgrade, most baseball analysts don't see much of a silver lining in the team's future. Until the owners are committed to paying the hefty salaries that are needed to bring in superstars, the Pirates will continue to dwindle below mediocrity. If anyone can revive the team's financial situation, Cuban is the man. In addition to starting Microsolutions, his main cash cow, he earned his way to college by teaching disco lessons and making 1,100 dollars from a chain letter. Baseball, perhaps more than any sport, is defined by its history, and many baseball purists would object to the arrival of an innovative owner who thrives from being a nonconformist. Bud Selig, one of the most out of touch owners in professional sports, would likely have several qualms about the NBA's bad boy owner presiding over PNC park. But baseball could use some new blood in its veins, particularly after the amount of steroid problems that have plagued the league.
After all, when Jack Norworth wrote the original version of the seventh inning stretch anthem "Take me out to the ball game", in 1908, he had never even seen a baseball game. Other skeptics, including Pittsburgh residents, insist that the Pirates will never recover, regardless of the owner, because they claim the city is too much of a football town. Sound familiar? Cuban knows the demands of marketing a secondary sport in a football dominated city. Don't forget, he renovated the Mavericks and engineered them into one of the most talented teams in the league, while attracting and hooking the same fans who put their heart and soul into "America's team", the Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps, in the dreams of Pirate's fans everywhere, there's a day in the near future, we'll see Cuban spraying champagne in the locker rooms at PNC park, holding a World Series trophy and shouting, "How 'bout those Pirates!"

MLB & Pirates Need Mark Cuban By Jason Dowdell at 08:30 AM
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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Adobe Apollo Enriches Media

Adobe is developing Apollo, a universal client that will read HTML, PDF and Flash content, which could be a boon to rich media advertising.

A natural fit would be to add an RSS reader which would enable graphic content including ads to be delivered to the desktop. Today you can enclose PDF files within RSS feeds, but very few folks (iTunes allows this) are taking advantage of it.

But an RSS reader that cleanly accepts vanilla feeds plus rich media would encourage consumer use and advertiser adoption. Publishers could use RSS to send out generic and enhanced versions of their feeds with rich ads inside. You could watch Flash ads or view PDFs of a newspaper, and with RSS automatically polling for content there's no more wait for the large files to download.

All of this would be possible without a browser, which is good news for Adobe, which could deliver real-time ads within Apollo.

Found via PDF Zone.

Adobe Apollo Enriches Media By John Gartner at 02:30 PM
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Google Adds Video Ads

Bidding for placement on Google's partner sites is getting more complicated. Now keyword advertisers will also be bidding against video ads, per The New York Times.

I would expect that video ads would yield higher conversion rates, so Google will be lowering the cost of video advertisements while raising the cost of textual ads. Google expects small businesses to be active in video ads, but that may be an overestimation.

Do we really want to see more of the low quality ads from Joe's Furniture Emporium that are usually relegated to late night TV? Video ads will be an effective medium for the big brands and squeeze out smaller companies. The increased interest in video advertising will probably increase the amount of pre-roll ads for both video search engines and "premium" content sites such as Salon.

Google Adds Video Ads By John Gartner at 12:14 PM
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Monday, May 22, 2006

Spam Fight at Wrong End

Isn't it pathetic that sometimes it is easier to change e-mail addresses than filter through all of the spam in your inbox? I recently switched ISPs to save money, but also, after just a year of having a Comcast.net address, the spam flow was getting outrageous.

So now I'm using my Gmail account as a primary e-mail, and hopefully Google will do a better job at blocking spam than the cable carriers and telcos.

Verizon proved itself to be less than technically savvy enough to learn how to filter spam, having been successfully sued for blocking valid e-mails. What does it say that the free accounts like Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail are better at blocking spam than the ISPs whom you pay for the service?

If I'm reading this correctly, Reflexion is offering an e-mail service that offers multiple e-mail addresses so that spam will go to the primary and not the "hidden" account.

Net neutrality is a hot button issue now, and it seems to me that ISPs aren't doing enough to block spam at its origin. ISPs should look for spoofing at the beginning -- if the IP address is bogus, don't send the e-mail. It seems like most of the attention goes to protecting the inbox (like AOL's surcharge for delivering e-mail to its customers), when more rigorous requirements of the ISPs at the point of origin are what's really needed.

Spam Fight at Wrong End By John Gartner at 02:56 PM
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Yahoo Puts on a New Face

Yahoo's new home page (in beta) consolidates some sections while bringing more information to users without requiring a page reload.

It's the first major redesign of Yahoo's home page in almost 2 years. Narrowing the footprint of some sections while increasing navigating news and others should lead to more traffic. Also, the ad placement is similar, but the cleaner interface makes them stand out more. The design improvements from Yahoo et al will put pressure on advertisers to create more attention-grabbing and sophisticated ads as well. For example, advertisers could use dynamic tabs to showcase multiple products or offers without reloading.

There is a new text ad above the Yahoo bar (sacrilege!), but it is so small as to not offend.

Yahoo's delivering all things (and not just search) to all people and more prominent advertising could help the company to catch Google. Eventually (2007?) Google will cave and introduce ads on its home page.

Yahoo Puts on a New Face By John Gartner at 02:06 PM
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« May 2006 Week 3 May 2006 Week 5 »

  • Week 1 (19 entries) May 1-6
  • Week 2 (12 entries) May 7-13
  • Week 3 (15 entries) May 14-20
  • Week 4 (11 entries) May 21-27
  • Week 5 (3 entries) May 28-31

Yahoo Puts on a New Face
The print is way to small for those older than 40!...
by DanielRiffel
MLB & Pirates Need Mark Cuban
My best team of MLB is The Pittsburgh Pirates. Thi...
by Alison

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