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December 2007, Week 4 Marketing Archives

Friday, December 28, 2007

Video Rentals May Save AppleTV

Apple and Fox have agreed to offer the latter's movie and TV titles for rent via Apple's iTunes platform. This makes videos available via the iPhone, iPod and Apple TV. While now the demand for full-length content on these devices is about as small as an iPod screen, the deal could save Apple TV from obvilion.

Apple TV was lame when it debuted nearly a year ago, and Apple has done nothing to shore up the device thus far. No content selection and no rentals have doomed the TV gadget, but perhaps adding rentals will revive it.

Apple will need just more than Fox to provide content if it wants to compete with Netflix, Amazon/Tivo and Blockbuster. HP and WalMart have killed their online rental programs, an indication of how fierce competition is. Apple will also have to develop some innovate subscription plans if it wants to compete. Perhaps a free three month subscription to rentals with the purchase of a box?

I'm not sold than a lot of folks will want to watch a 2 hour movie on a tiny screen, so Apple TV is the key to making this deal a success. And without a viable rental program, the Apple TV's future is as a collector's item.



Video Rentals May Save AppleTV By John Gartner at 09:38 AM
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DRM on Music Now DOA

Alas poor digital copy protection, we hardly knew ye. Warner Music Group has ended its use of digital rights management software on music CDs and will sell DRM free music on

The shift here isn't about music companies and iTunes. The underlying story is about parity between Internet distribution and real world marketing. Music makers have been selling DRM-less digital content for years in the form of CDs, so Warner joining with Universal and EMI is just leveling the playing field.

Going forward we'll see more equality in the fees associated with selling online to the brick and mortar world. We have a writer's strike right now because of this same lack of equality in compensating creative people, as well as a lawsuit from online radio stations because they are treated differently than their FM brethren.

In the next year we'll see both of those situations change as the TV companies and music publishers have no choice but to treat the web fairly.

DRM on Music Now DOA By John Gartner at 09:25 AM
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

MerchantCircle: Local Advertising for Dummies

I had a conversation last week with my dentist about advertising and he was in lockstep with me about the foolishness of phone book advertising and how local businesses are struggling to transition online.

MerchantCircle has zeroed in on the huge opportunity by creating a solution for small business owner who don't know a lick about SEM. The Silicon Valley startup already has more than 300,000 customers.

I couldn't be more in agreement with their website:

Many local businesses have been stumped when deciding where and how to advertise, and end up sinking their budget into placing ads in the yellow pages. We think the yellow pages are feeble relics of the rotary phone era, ineffective and unworthy of their outrageous prices. in the information age are much more likely to search for you on the web, and want more information about your offering than you can cram into one little static phone ad.

The phone directories will slowly die out, as well they should with their bloated ad rates and neglible results. As I've said before, Local is the biggest untapped opportunity in search marketing and will be THE story of 2008 thanks to companies like MerchantCircle who will help small businesses to find their way online.

MerchantCircle: Local Advertising for Dummies By John Gartner at 09:02 AM
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Google Follows Facebook Into Privacy Hell

It's on a smaller scale, but Google has created a similar privacy nightmare to Facebook's Beacon mess.

While Facebook started sharing information about purchases and other activities on other websites without consent, Google revised its Reader application to share things found online with a wider group of people than users may have intended.

According to the NYTimes, Reader linked a share feature for letting friends know about interesting things found online with anyone who was on a user's Google Talk list but didn't clearly disclose that fact. This isn't nearly as bad as what Facebook did because at least there was a window that opened to explain the changes in Share when users accessed Reader. However, if you use the feature infrequently like me, then you could have been sharing stuff for a while without your knowledge.

So the golden rule going forward: don't make changes that affect privacy that include users by default -- all new "features" should be opt in. While fewer people will use the service (and hence less revenue), publishers won't have to deal with the bad PR and complaints.

Google Follows Facebook Into Privacy Hell By John Gartner at 08:42 AM
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Biggest TV Ever to Go on Sale

It's bigger than your Christmas tree and ready for the living room.

A new Panasonic TV will be unveiled in January at CES that is 150 inches, or 2 x 3.5 meters. Just imagine watching Saving Private Ryan or Lord of the Rings on that puppy -- if you can find a living room that can hold it.

I mention this not just because it's cool, but the increasing size and quality of home theaters (even if they suck more juice) will force the theaters to market themselves in a different manner.

With DVD extras, multiple camera angles and being able to rewind a scene, why bother with the $8 popcorn and uncomfortable seats?

What do you think should be the theaters' new pitch? See it first? The mega-plex as a true social network? Escape the kids for 2 hours?

Biggest TV Ever to Go on Sale By John Gartner at 09:50 AM
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Why Facebook Isn't For Me

I've been suspicious of Facebook as MySpace-light since it came out, but in the interest of objective journalism, I figured I'd join and see what it offers.

After a month of experimentation, I have reached the conclusion that it won't work for me as a professional social networking tool. Now granted, I haven't tried setting up a private group, which I've heard some companies are finding beneficial. And I don't blog on it to tell my network of friends what I'm up to, because I don't have time, and if I wanted to, I would set up my own website where the world at large, and not just Facebook could see me.

I knew about Facebook's privacy concerns in publishing your activities to friends by default, but I was still surprised when the movie rental I did on Blockbuster showed up in my "News Feed." So I had to figure out how to adjust my privacy settings to block my purchases from showing up as "news" to everyone. Facebook should turn this off by default and ask your explicit permission before enabling it.

For anyone who's out of college, I see very little value in having the news feed taking up the majority of one's home page. I don't care when my friends get emails or receive a "likeness match." The only thing that might interest me is new blog posts, but those should be aggregated in an area where I go looking for them.

A much more elegant way would be to have alerts show up on the page that aggregates your friends, and if there's new activity, then allow me to see what's happening. That page doesn't indicate any activity.

Call me old fashioned, but I only want to see email messages intended for me or potential professional opportunities. Heck, Facebook doesn't even ask me for my personal or professional website. There is no easy way to search for job opportunities or integrate my professional life.

Since I'm in the Married With Children phase of life, LinkedIn is much more my style than Facebook ever will be. That's why I still have doubts that it will ever be a multi-billion dollar business. Some advertisers will want the 20ish crowd who make their bar-hopping plans online, but that's a smaller world.

Why Facebook Isn't For Me By John Gartner at 09:10 AM
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Monday, December 24, 2007

Wikia: Friend or Foe to Search?

Coming soon: Jimmy Wales will launch the Wikia open source search project to directly compete with Google and other search engines.

This competition will be healthy for the industry, but will likely meet with much more resistance than Wales' other efforts.

The idea of a transparent search engine is good. No more guessing about algorithms, but it will invite publishers to unabashedly prime their content for Wikia.

A major impediment to its success is that unlike Wikipedia, successful commercial products exist, and users may not be so happy to jump ship. Also, creating a search algorithm is more complex than writing some entries, so participation may not be nearly as high. Search is a one trick pony -- unless Wikia also provide some directory services also.

If Wikia is a success and steals market share from Google it could reduce search marketing dollars. If users are happy and there are no ads (and fewer Google and Yahoo searches), then it could shrink revenue and force search marketers to attempt new tricks. There will likely be a lot of resistance from publishers and marketers who have invested time and money in gaming Google and now have to start anew.

Via: Washington Post.

Wikia: Friend or Foe to Search? By John Gartner at 05:18 PM
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Privacy Disclosure Good for All

As a follow up to the privacy meeting held last month, the FTC has issued proposed privacy guidelines that will likely be the basis of new rules. This proposal is a big win for publishers and consumers because instead of pushing for self-regulation could have required more explicit regulations.

Publishers who use behavioral targeting would have to make their privacy rules clear and prominent on their websites, which means a privacy link somewhere that's not buried on the homepage. The language should also be easy to understand and instruct on how to opt out. Something on the first screen that screams "privacy" as well as some public service announcements to all users being tracked should keep the FTC happy.

Privacy advocates had pushed for a national do not track list which would have been an administrative nightmare and made enforcement almost impossible.

Consumers need to take more time to learn about behavioral targeting and read the fine print. The blame shouldn't be solely be on publishers as consumers need to realize that just as with putting credit card info or personal data online, their are risks that must be carefully measured. Clickalot emptor, as I always say.

Privacy Disclosure Good for All By John Gartner at 11:09 AM
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« December 2007 Week 3 December 2007 Week 5 »

  • Week 1 (10 entries) December 1-8
  • Week 2 (10 entries) December 9-15
  • Week 3 (10 entries) December 16-22
  • Week 4 (8 entries) December 23-29
  • Week 5 (0 entries) December 30-31

MerchantCircle: Local Advertising for Dummies
MerchantCircle recently crossed 500,000 members. W...
by Kevin L.

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