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February 2007 Marketing Archives

Friday, February 09, 2007

Is Google Favoring YouTube in Search Results?

More and more I've been noticing YouTube listings among Google's search results pages in high positions. According to's link command, has just over 1 million backlinks giving it extreme link credibility but this is nothing new. Youtube has had an enormous amount of links but not until recently have YouTube links been showing up so high in SERPs. Other than the links, YouTube listings have very poor SEO so why this sudden change? Has Google placed an emphasis on YouTube in its results to increase exposure?

Maybe so, but if it is not the case users could effectively be killing search results. Wikipedia has effectively placed itself in just about every search result and with YouTube entering a similar level with its search strength that leaves us regular folks 8 out of 10 spots on the first page of SERPs.

Does anyone think we could get everyone to add 'nofollow' to their YouTube embeds sort of like Andy's NoFollow Wikipedia campaign?

Is Google Favoring YouTube in Search Results? By Matt O'Hern at 12:22 PM
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Yahoo Smokes Google With Pipes

Yahoo is looking to shake it's reputation for being a relative technical lightweight with the release of a new web services tool for combining and manipulating data sources.

Yahoo's Pipes, as explained by TechCrunch is a graphical tool for creating applets that can take in RSS or other data fields, search, sort, and reorder it, and spit it out as RSS, SMS alerts or text.

For some time I've expected someone -- more likely Google or Feedburner -- to come up with an easy way to combine and filter RSS feeds. While Pipes can do a lot more, Yahoo could put it to work instantly by creating a tool that lets readers customize MyYahoo. For example, you could pick the half dozen or so news sources you want to track and come up with your own way to rank and categorize their latest articles.

Marketers can create custom Pipes to track their competitors and themselves as they are covered in the media.

Good going Yahoo, I can't wait to see where you and developers take Pipes.

Yahoo Smokes Google With Pipes By John Gartner at 12:05 PM
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Cisco Buys Into Social Nets

Computer networking company Cisco Systems is trying its hand at social networking with the acquisition of San Francisco's Five Across.

Social networking services that provide a platform user generated content and community are like the web hosting services of the 90's -- an extension of what bandwidth companies offer. It is surprising that mostly corporate Cisco would purchase a small SN firm, but the company must view community as having a place in the enterprise as well as for consumers.

While social networking has its place in business, it is probably overkill to assume that people will actively participate in communities for many of the companies that they do business with. Do I really want to join the Accenture, Pep Boys or Wal-Mart community? Social networking is a shift for marketers, but only when the products are considered purchases and a consumers feel a need to bond with other buyers and want to share their stories.

Cisco Buys Into Social Nets By John Gartner at 10:22 AM
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Publishers Get Access to Blinkx Video

Video search engine Blinkx has created a widget so that bloggers and publishers can easily embed videos on to their pages, a function that YouTube has had for some time.

Blinkx, which won a "DEMOgod" award at the DEMO conference, rolled out "blinkx it", which scans the text of a webpage and delivers relevant videos, sort of like "AdSense" but delivering videos instead of ads.

Blinkx' widget is different from YouTube, which enables publishers to link to individuals videos. This simplifies the process and provides access to multiple videos, but some publishers may want to promote a specific video. The company doesn't seem to be sharing revenue with publishers, and despite the wealth of content, there are not many ads being displayed, so there may not be much revenue to share.

With more than 100 content partners, blinkx continues to offer a better depth and breadth of results than YouTube. The biggest challenges for video search engines are to categorize and tag content so that users can discover the most relevant content to them. All of the video search engines also woefully under utilize their advertising potential today.

Publishers Get Access to Blinkx Video By Jason Dowdell at 09:58 AM
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Jobs' DRM Stance Part Deux

Thanks to those who thought it worth their time to disagree with me about my characterization of Steve Jobs.

To clarify, here are the words of The Man himself about why he won't license FairPlay DRM to other music device makers:

The second alternative is for Apple to license its FairPlay DRM technology to current and future competitors with the goal of achieving interoperability between different company’s players and music stores. On the surface, this seems like a good idea since it might offer customers increased choice now and in the future. And Apple might benefit by charging a small licensing fee for its FairPlay DRM. However, when we look a bit deeper, problems begin to emerge. The most serious problem is that licensing a DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak.

So DRM is so unstable that if they share any of the code with consumer electronics' companies, it would be compromised. That is just posturing as an excuse not to license the software. Microsoft and other companies license their to hardware companies, but Apple is above all that. I thought the geniuses in Cupertino could figure out anything?

I agree with Jobs that DRM is flawed, and that it is hypocritical for the music industry not to protect digital files on a CD while requiring online music sellers to do so. But my point is that he's calling for an end to DRM assuming that it won't happen and out of interest not to the consumers but to Apple. It is the right argument for the wrong reason.

Does anyone really think that if Europe didn't threaten to close down the iTunes stores that Mr. Jobs would have written his treatise on digital music and DRM? No way. Also, my peers at Wired News point out that Jobs is mum on video copy protection, again an inconsistent stance.

Since it is unlikely that DRM will go away, Apple should license FairPlay to car stereo and portable MP3 players to appease Europe, give consumers increased flexibility, and put a few more bucks in Apple's coffer. If FairPlay's DRM becomes compromised, it will be because an end user reverse engineered the code, not because some hardware company decided to sell the secrets.

Jobs' DRM Stance Part Deux By John Gartner at 08:56 AM
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Amazon Delivers Movies to TiVo

Amazon's decision to enhance its movie download service by enabling videos to be stored on TiVo boxes will put it ahead of the pack, at least for now.

While there are "just" 1.5 million Tivo's that are broadband ready in the U.S., there's no reason why anyone with a TiVo would switch to Amazon instead over NetFlix or Blockbuster. No returns, decent selection of movies and TV shows, and you don't have to wait for discs to arrive by the mail.

The only way to improve the service would be to offers a subscription rental service. You could get up to 10 movies per month (three on your computer at a time) for $19.99, and never go to a rental store or wait by the mail box again.

Until Netflix or Blockbuster get into the download biz, or Apple gets a wider selection of films that can be rented and not just purchased, then the Amazon/TiVo tandem will be hard to beat.

Amazon Delivers Movies to TiVo By John Gartner at 08:01 PM
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Sour Apple Wants to Free Music

Steve Jobs is acting like a 5-year-old by suggesting that all copy protection be removed from digital music. The much adored Apple chief is responding to Europe's threatened boycott of iTunes by suggesting that if his protectionist policies aren't followed, then no one should be able to protect music.

It doesn't have to be so. iPods and iTunes are both proprietary and protectionist in nature so that Apple can continue its policy of allowing (for the most part) only Apple software to be used with Apple hardware and vice versa. Apple wanted to maximize iPod sales, so it would not license iTunes software to other MP3 player companies. Europe didn't like that plan, and sued to open up iTunes or end sales there.

So Jobs says instead of allowing iTunes and iPods to mix and match with other digital devices, let's remove copy protection altogether. But Apple could make money by allowing other devices to play their music through licensing deals. Or, they could allow tunes to be converted by licensed users to MP3 format if they want to burn them to CD and play them (gasp) in the car or on the home stereo. But Apple wants none of this new world reality. RealNetworks similarly makes it a pain in the arse to move music from its proprietary format to other devices.

While many music fans would undoubtedly love removing all copy protection, the music industry and Apple's competitors won't be so thrilled. I'm doubtful that all copy protection will go away, and in the end, a compromise will be reached. But we'll have to suffer Jobs being Jobs for a while, as he threatens to take his toys and go home rather than sharing.

Sour Apple Wants to Free Music By John Gartner at 08:50 AM
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

TiVo Watching You Is Okay

TiVo is anonymously collecting data about which ads and programs are watched or skipped through as part of a plan to sell data to advertisers. I have no problem with this policy as long as the data is stripped of personal information and as long as users know that their viewing habits are being randomly sampled.

Do I care if my DVR knows that I always skip commercials? The only way I might is if they start raising my rates compared to other consumers because of my habits. DVRs are a threat to advertisers, so TiVo is correct for developing services that can enable them to create more relevant and interesting ads. Heck, I would sign up in a minute if I could have some control over the types of ads that are shown during my programs.

In the future we may see targeted ads during recorded content, and possibly during live broadcasts. TiVo could see your demographic -- married, over 35 and with kids, and pass up the ads for dating services and substitute ads for family vacations or vehicles. Just as in the online world, increasing relevancy will give advertisers a better return on their investment and make viewers happy. A little concession in privacy for those who opt in is worth it.

TiVo Watching You Is Okay By John Gartner at 10:03 AM
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Super Bowl Ads Get Search Support

Advertisers who shelled out the big bucks for a Super Bowl spot have finally seen the light by buying corresponding keywords. According to MediaPost, 58 percent of big game advertisers also bought pay per click search ads for their brand names.

Car companies still don't get the online/offline integration possibilities, according to the article. I'm surprised that more ads don't include URLs indicating where they can be seen again. Another great opportunity is to create a microsite around successful Super Bowl spots.

The companies should create faux back stories around the characters, put them in new situations with different results, or create MySpace pages for the ads.I searched on budweiser and rock paper scissors on Google but did not get the ad among the search results.

Having the ads hosted on YouTube will increase the return on investment from the expensive Super Bowl ads, but marketers should plan ahead and package the spots that they feel are the strongest with online content and special promotions.

Super Bowl Ads Get Search Support By John Gartner at 09:38 AM
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Monday, February 05, 2007

Video Leads Interactive Shift

If I were a 20-something creative person looking for the next big thing to push my career forward, I'd be honing my video advertising skills. Video advertisements that are informative and interactive will likely be the fastest growing and most lucrative areas of online marketing in the next decade.

Companies such as Brightcove, which provides the technical resources for video content distribution, and TurnHere, which specializes in video production, will be in high demand to create interactive video ads.

TurnHere partnered with interactive agency LaunchSquad to create video profiles of some of the fresh faces in technology startups. The companies expect that netizens would much rather see and hear about the latest technologies and movers and shakers than just read about them.

Brightcove signed a deal to provide the infrastructure for distributing advertising content from Disney's Buena Vista. While we will be a text and image world for much of our media consumption for years to come, the balance will soon start tilting to be much closer to 50-50.

Let's face it, the majority of the audience that you'd want to advertise to already have broadband access and are using YouTube or watching videos on CNN already. If you want to compete for the 35 and under consumer, you have to add video content into the mix. Product launches, user testimonials and "back story" insight are appropriate stories to tell through interactive video.

Video Leads Interactive Shift By John Gartner at 09:51 AM
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Community Sites Spur Loyalty

Brands such as Toyota are greatly enhancing consumers loyalty by creating media-rich websites to encourage customers to share their passion for the company's products. Toyota has created a website for hybrid owners to tell their stories about why they drive a Prius or other hybrid.

The site allows people to upload images and video and automatically converts the content to Flash 8 through technology from VitalStream Holdings. It's a sleek and compelling website that gives personality to Toyota and shows the faces of the individuals who are passionate about their products.

While some may question the value of "preaching to the choir," I'm sure many people who post their stories (11,000 and counting) have shared the website with friends. Enabling people to link to the Toyota site from their MySpace or other personal website creates an inexpensive viral network.

This strategy won't work for every brand (are people that passionate about Coke or their tax software?), it works for companies in industries such as technology, auto and fashion where brand loyalty and passions run high.

Community Sites Spur Loyalty By John Gartner at 09:25 AM
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Friday, February 02, 2007

Publishers Snap Up Social Media Sites

Publishers continue to realize that the fastest path to increasing online revenue is to embrace social media, and acquiring Web 2.0 startups gets you there faster.

Sports Illustrated parent Time, Inc. just bought to acquire the community of fans who can generate volumes of traffic.

Being able to comment on, rate, and share stories is essential to online publishing, and buying a site that already has the tools in place (and audience) saves the cost of in-house development. Allowing fans to participate provides the loyalty that will keep them coming back.

While online ad revenue is growing quickly, it's still not enough to make up for print revenue losses. Sports Illustrated gets 15 to 20 percent of its revenue from online activities, but there's no reason why that figure couldn't be at least one-third with the proper implementation of social media.

The news isn't something "out there" for us to read and move on anymore. It's interactive, and the new media stars are in a good position to help old media make the transition.

Publishers Snap Up Social Media Sites By John Gartner at 02:24 PM
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Local Field Getting Crowded

Freefor Networks will compete with Craigslist and CitySearch for local search service with 172 local websites in the U.S. and U.K.

The beta launch offers free business listings and includes travel, restaurant and dating information. The company is also offering free web hosting for individuals to create their own sites ala MySpace and is advertising supported.

The interface is attractive and it is more comprehensive in breadth than Craigslist, although it will take some time to get to the depth of the well established local sites

I wish them luck because while local "community driven" sites have lots of room for improvement, the field is already crowded. The market only has room for a few sites to be successful, and the yellow pages directories that have revenues from print have the upper hand.

These companies are all fighting for the top spots in results pages, and their ability to optimize for the search engines in general and local search is a major draw for advertisers.

Local Field Getting Crowded By John Gartner at 01:57 PM
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Your 2007 Doh! Marketing Award Winner

January may have just ended, but we have already witnessed the most dunderheaded marketing ploy of the year. Congrats to Turner Broadcasting for shutting down bridges and highways in Boston by placing suspicious lighting devices near public pathways.

Hanging "Lite Brite" type devices near areas that would make likely bomb targets was stupid, even if Beantowners may have overreacted a bit. In this post-911 world, you don't put anything with batteries and wires near bridges or tunnels.

Also, what genius thought it would be fun to have a cartoon character flipping off drivers? No one likes to be given the bird, even in jest.

The bar has been set too high (or is it too low?) for anyone to top this year.

Your 2007 Doh! Marketing Award Winner By John Gartner at 06:36 PM
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Welcome to the YouTube-rbowl

Only in America could a website started by a few guys with zero capital hold sway over one of the world's biggest broadcast events.

This year's Super Bowl will feature four user generated ads, and the most clever professional and amateur ads will be seen repeatedly by millions on YouTube. Doritos and GM are among the brands that will be touted by amateur ads that cost a fraction of professionally developed ads.

YouTube will host all of the ads post-Super Bowl, and will hold a contest for rating the best of the bunch. Like American Idol, this is direct democracy and capitalism at work, giving the spoils to the victors. Established brands will likely continue to incorporate some user generated creatives, which will keep the big agencies humbled.

Once interactive TV goes mainstream (it could happen), we'll likely see more ads being rated and more companies willing to try user generated ads. This is a marketing shift that is here to stay.

Welcome to the YouTube-rbowl By John Gartner at 05:41 PM
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February 2007 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (15 entries) February 1-10
  • Week 2 (12 entries) February 11-17
  • Week 3 (10 entries) February 18-24
  • Week 4 (4 entries) February 25-28

Super Bowl Ads Get Search Support
You are absolutely right. The big companies do wha...
by Stop Foreclosure
Jobs' DRM Stance Part Deux
DRM is a pain in the proverbial. Not just on music...
by Tom Waits
Jobs' DRM Stance Part Deux
Who is this twit writing this crap? My God you ar...
by Sage Advice for moron marketing
Jobs' DRM Stance Part Deux
Apple's Fairplay is the least intrusive of an...
by James Bailey
Jobs' DRM Stance Part Deux
"Microsoft and other companies license th...
by Tedious

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