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August 2006, Week 3 Marketing Archives

Friday, August 18, 2006

Google AdSense Got Game

Google Adsense expert Joel Comm created a Flash game that demonstrates how to make money using AdSense. The tycoon-style game lets you select a type of content, the placement of ads, how much you spend on marketing (via Google) and other parameters.

It's a simplistic version of the real challenges of launching and profiting from a website, but a good primer on things that nascent publishers need to consider. Comm has written several books about online marketing including a title about AdSense, so he is speaking from experience.

Google has a little glitch with AdSense in the past week as a coding screw up prompted some users to receive a request to install software if they clicked on an AdSense ad. The problem existed for 4 days before being fixed, according to eWeek's GoogleWatch.

Google AdSense Got Game By John Gartner at 12:19 PM
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Dooce On Stupid Pet Tricks

You gotta watch this,Dooce Stacking Treats On Her Dog especially since it's Friday. Shannon sent me a video of Dooce stacking doggy chew treats on her dog's head and the dog just sat there until she said it was okay and then he dumped them off his head. All the other pictures of her dog are of his gnarly fangs and titled stuff like ChupaCabra but this is a completely different side of the dog. Nuff said, watch it, it's funny. Someone should nominate her for Stupid Pet Tricks on Letterman.

Dooce On Stupid Pet Tricks By Jason Dowdell at 09:30 AM
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Red Hot Chili Peppers Get Social Philanthropy

I guess it was about 4:30 am Red Hot Chili Peppers New Video - Tell Me Baby and I was sitting on the couch in the family room switching back and forth between VH1 and MTV. Yes, this is what happens when I can't sleep at night. I go downstirs as quietly as possible (so as not to wake the girls) and get a glass of water, then try to think about nothing... but thinking about nothing is that much harder when you're trying to think about nothing. Anyway, on with my story.

So I'm watching VH1 and the new Red Hot Chili Peppers video for their new song "Tell Me Baby" comes on. The scene is a small room, probably no more than 25 ft wide by maybe 30 ft deep. It has black soundproof walls, cheap acoustic tile ceilings (if you're sitting at a job in corporate America somewhere just look directly above your head and you'll know the type of ceiling I'm talking about). Then one after another, aspiring musicians of all ages, start telling the camera why they came to California... The director tries to get you a bit jaded by showing the guy in his late thirties with a mullet that says the music industry handed his butt to him, and then a woman in her late 20's early 30's comes on saying the same thing. Just to keep things interesting they throw in one or two young dudes that are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed who haven't let go of their dreams but have no clue they're being mocked in the video.

So at this point I'm like, this is ridiculous, RHCP is ragging on these average people who had a dream and the dream has pretty much been crushed - that's not cool! And that's when I realized I followed the exact stream of consciousness the director and the band wanted me to follow.

Because then, one after the other, each of these aspiring rock stars of all ages, shapes and sizes get to jam with the Chili Peppers... the look on their faces is priceless. And then you realize that the band hasn't gotten too big for it's britches and that they're the same old rag tag bunch of dudes that look really funky, love California and love making music. At the end of the video, every one of these average people is in the frame and they're all jamming at the same time, it's a great feel good moment.

So What Does This Have To Do With Social Philanthropy or Marketing?
Well, a lot. The Chili Peppers are giving back to those that had a dream and took a shot at it and failed. They're saying thanks for the support you've given us and we want to include you in the video because we were there once. That's pretty cool if you ask me. It's also a fantastic way for a band to connect with their audience, especially in the PR crazed internet / MySpace fanclub climate we're currently in.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers Brand
Okay so this may seem like a bit of a stretch but there is a great lesson for all aspiring entrepreneurs, musicians, marketers and anyone else interested in being successful as a person or brand. RHCP is staying close to their target market, people of all ages that have an eclectic taste in music. Those that also have an affinity for California earn bonus points with the band. These guys aren't trying to be Madonna and change their style just to stay on top of the latest trends. No, they have the same style they've always had but it just sounds differently and because we're humans we feel like we have to put a label on it but their true fans know it's just the Chili Peppers' sound that that's it.

By staying true to themselves they've created a brand image that is easily identifiable by only those they want to listen to their music. Their passion for life and especially music comes out in every song. Now I'll admit, I personally think Anthony Kiedis sounds terrible in concert and that he must spend a lot of time in the studio recording vocals... yet I'm still drawn to his band's music... that's powerful branding.

If you want to help the band's brand out you can vote for their video in this year's VMA's.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Get Social Philanthropy By Jason Dowdell at 07:32 AM
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PPC Click Fraud Has No Single Answer

The lengthy piece in BusinessWeek about the recent click fraud conference is a good summary of where things stand, but it's missing a few things.

The model offered by ContextWeb of separating the compensation mechanism between publishers and advertisers could eliminate much of the click fraud on small publishers sites. ContextWeb's model pays publishers on a CPM basis, so there job is only to worry about bringing the traffic and they would have no motivation to click on their own ads. Advertisers can pay by the click or other methods, and the ad network figures out how to balance the two to make a profit.

There could still be competitive click fraud in this scenario, but that's a much smaller problem. Of course publishers would have a hard time arguing for better rates based on their click throughs if they didn't have the data, but they could always shop for multiple advertisers if they aren't fairly compensated.

The article omits the part that better analytics (IP tracking, open reporting on Google's behalf of repetitive clicks, etc.) can have in addressing click fraud. While there is a recommendation for third-party auditing (which would have Google et al throwing up the trade secret defense), I'd take it even further.

The companies who have won click fraud lawsuits and the search engines they sued should jointly fund an independent R&D effort for improving click fraud detection. Forget the settlements; instead put the money towards research that would have to be approved by both search engines and advertisers. The research company signs NDAs with the search engines, so no secrets are let out.

The move to pay-per-action will continue until these other solutions are fully implemented. PPA could also be implemented while compensating publishers based on traffic as above.

PPC Click Fraud Has No Single Answer By Jason Dowdell at 12:22 AM
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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Marketing of Cookies Half-Baked

The Web Analytics Association is going on a campaign to clear up consumer concern about cookies (according to MarketingVox, and this is a good idea. Marketing firms and technology companies need to partner to make the placement and use of cookies more transparent.

Behavioral advertising companies such as Seevast (formerly Kanoodle) place cookies to track user behavior so that they can deliver ads that are more relevant. We can all agree that more relevancy is good for everyone (enough with the dating ads, I'm married!), and the message has to be made clear that cookies that don't identify the user do not invade one's privacy.

Since many people do not want all of their online adventures to be tracked (even anonymously), the browser should make it easy to turn cookies on and off, and to block individual sites from adding cookies. Firefox allows you to prohibit specific sites from placing cookies (see Options), while IE has more generic cookie blocking tools. Turning off cookies could be made through a key command, or even a small icon on the toolbar.

To gain user trust, publishers should make their cookie-placing actions more obvious. Most of the cookies you receive list only the IP addresses from ad networks, making it a chore to figure who put them there and for what end. By associating each cookie with the website destination and adding a link to the website's cookie policy publishers would remove much of the FUD.

Finally, wouldn't it be useful to add a page's tags or keywords to the cookie information so that marketers could see how the content of a pages are related? Analyzing the words on a page is more of a chore than parsing a brief list of tags, and would be a boost to behavioral marketers.

Marketing of Cookies Half-Baked By John Gartner at 09:52 AM
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AOL Buying, Is a Social Net Next?

AOL is on a spending spree, buying video game website and instant messaging technology company Userplane, but their work is far from complete.

The best thing the company could be would be to hire the R&D talent that could put them in front of instead of several years behind the innovators. Sure, their purchase of Netscape hasn't turned out too well. I mean when was the last time AOL or Netscape developed anything first? AOL was the first successful instant messaging company, and we all know what Netscape did.

The pressure should be on Jason Calacanis to come up with something that sets rather than follows a trend. We always see the fruits of Google Labs and the researchers at Microsoft and even Yahoo, but AOL?

Or, the more expensive alternative is to bet the farm on being able to monetize the social network crowd through advertising. While AOL has made substantial coin in subscription fees, the company has also been adroit at pumping customers with lots of ads in between their searches and IM sessions.

What was the AOL crowd -- youngsters and their parents who were too lazy to learn about the "real" Internet -- have become more savvy and moved on to MySpace and YouTube. While users of the social networking site they bought would cry about AOL "Netscaping" them, AOL knows how to sell to a younger audience, and the acquisition would give the social network the gateway to lots of ad revenue.

AOL Buying, Is a Social Net Next? By John Gartner at 08:12 AM
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

AOL Turns to Gold Digging

AOL might literally be digging for gold to get back at a spammer. The company is reportedly considering tearing up the yards of relatives of Davis Wolfgang Hawke to find gold bars that the spammer supposedly bought out of his ill-gotten gains.

AOL won a judgment for $13 million against Hawke for spamming its customers, but he skipped town. Now AOL wants to look for buried treasure in the homes of his family members.

It is ironic that AOL should search for gold from a spammer after releasing what has been calling a "goldmine" of personal information about its customers.

AOL really could use some good PR about now.

AOL Turns to Gold Digging By John Gartner at 11:45 AM
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HitTail Feasts on Leftover Keywords

HitTail is a free (for now) analytics tool that tracks the words that searchers are using to find your blog or website and suggests less popular keywords.

HitTail has been getting good reviews as an addictive method of tracking your readership. By putting some code on your pages, you can track reader behavior in real time, and reshape your content accordingly.

Rather than paying through the nose for keyword buys, optimizing your site for natural search can be a more effective (if slightly more time consuming alternative). It will be interesting to see how HitTail author Connors Communications prices this tool once it leaves beta stage.

HitTail Feasts on Leftover Keywords By John Gartner at 11:19 AM
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Google Puts Coupons on the Map

Google and mailbox-stuffer Valpak are teaming up to put local coupons alongside Google's Maps. Pinpoint a destination and you'll get coupons from the closest small businesses.

It is surprising to me that Google is introducing this as a free service to advertisers -- why risk reader wrath and not get anything for the trouble? Perhaps Google is hoping that if small businesses see a benefit that they will advertise elsewhere.

According to Adotas Google will eventually integrate AdWords into Maps, which will be very lucrative for the company. I would also gladly give up some demographic information to personalize my coupon experience and save a few trees by only getting the coupons online.

Today, you will see sponsored ads if you search for a business through Google Local/Maps, but no ads if you only enter a destination. While the services are related, I don't think searching for businesses through the Maps interface is the best way to entice advertisers or satisfy consumers.

Google Puts Coupons on the Map By John Gartner at 05:29 PM
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Advertisers Could Open Sports Archives

Time Warner Cable is sponsoring a video on demand service that will give Dodger fans access to archival footage and daily video updates. The "Dodgers on Demand" service will be a free service, and is unusual in that baseball (as well as the other sports) are protective of their content.

But baseball could substantially increase ad revenue by getting sponsorships of archived games that could be available online or through video on demand. Currently MLB charges $3 to buy a classic game, while ESPN classic shows famous contests in the off-season.

It shouldn't be much of a challenge to be able to find a sponsor willing to be featured throughout a game who would pay more than they are earning from pay-for-view. The off-season is the perfect time to market the games, and getting sponsors to pay for the storage and broadband costs, so it would be all profit for baseball.

Found on via MediaPost.

Advertisers Could Open Sports Archives By John Gartner at 04:25 PM
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Monday, August 14, 2006

Interactive Ads Need Standards

One of the limiting factors for advertising over high speed broadcast networks (including satellite, cable, and telcos) and through DVRS could be the ease of creating interactive ads. TiVo is signing up folks like Coca Cola with "showcase" interactive ads, but that requires understanding TiVo's interactive technology.

So if TiVo advertisers would like to create an interactive ad for Verizon's broadband TV service and DVR combination (which added the ability to play recorded shows on 3 different TVs simultaneously), they would want to use a single creative and tracking system.

OpenTV is trying to serve that purpose with its advertising platform. The company works with digital TV, cable, DVR providers and has managed more than 1500 campaigns. If interactive TV advertising is to be a success, it must be as easy as running campaigns online, where web standards are well documented.

Interactive Ads Need Standards By John Gartner at 05:44 PM
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Podcasters Explore Revenue Stream

Like online video, podcasts have millions of loyal followers with little in return revenue, but that may soon be changing.

According to a Marketing Sherpa survey, podcasts are rated by marketers as very effective lead generators, so more companies are likely to start offering podcasts.

Answering that call is web-hosting company GoDaddy launched a $4.99 per feed Quick Podcast service. The company didn't mention anything about integrating advertising, though, in its press release.

Publishers such as Wired and The Advertising Show (which partnered with Podcasting advertising company Kiptronic are realizing that there is money to be made from their audio content.

Tracking podcast (as well as other RSS feeds) is very difficult with the rudimentary log files and analytics out today, so Oneupweb, developed the PodTractor service for marketers to measure podcast performance.

Podcasters Explore Revenue Stream By Jason Dowdell at 04:50 PM
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Interesting Blogger Error - Geek Sleuths Wanted

I just clicked on a link to a photo on Matt Cutts' blog that someone put in the comments section.Error from Blogger Photo Server Most Google / Blogger errors don't interest me at all but I thought this one was pretty interesting and holds a few pieces of information I find useful. Pieces that deal with the clustering methods Google uses for serving up blogs as well as photos they host for blogger blogs.

Can any of you put the pieces together?

I've included the exact error page (source code is correct) so you'll see exactly the same thing I saw.

Interesting Blogger Error - Geek Sleuths Wanted By Jason Dowdell at 03:52 PM
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« August 2006 Week 2 August 2006 Week 4 »

  • Week 1 (10 entries) August 1-5
  • Week 2 (14 entries) August 6-12
  • Week 3 (13 entries) August 13-19
  • Week 4 (15 entries) August 20-26
  • Week 5 (11 entries) August 27-31

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