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February 2008, Week 2 Marketing Archives

Friday, February 15, 2008

Gender Divides Video Watching

Video is becoming de rigeur on many websites. Content companies need to understand that when it comes to programming content for an audience, length matters.

Chicks dig watching TV shows online while the dudes go with user-generated content from YouTube according to new data from Nielsen Online.

The data indicates that of the desirable 18-34, women are more than twice as likely to view video from network TV websites while men are more than twice as likely to view YouTube content.

So marketers at Joost and Hulu need to be sensitive in developing their content to suit the audience that they'd like to attract. Hulu, from Fox and NBC, has added Time Warner as a content partner and is looking to be the biggest "corporate" video site soon. Adding significant short form content (such as highlight clips) might be necessary to attract a male audience, while YouTube might need to put more authorized "mainstream" content to attract more ladies.

Gender Divides Video Watching By John Gartner at 09:36 AM
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Blogging for SEO to Muddy Search Rankings

SEO experts are recommending frequent blogging as the most effective way to raise the organic ranking of one's website. This marketing trend cuts both ways. While companies may become more open in the information that they share with customers and provide some value from the pointed content, the bloggers who are writing primarily to "objectively" cover a subject will likely fall back in rankings.

Ask.Enquiro cited a recent survey claiming that blogging was the most likely activity that companies would use to increase their search ranking. The site recommends highlighting your most successful posts to push them even higher in the rankings and build traffic. Another tip is to mention companies with their stock symbols in your posts so that the companies PR folks will pay attention and link to them in their news sections.

There are numerous useful blogs hosted at corporate websites that span marketing topics and don't seem like PR spew. More voices providing timely information means additional inside information as long as the corporate overlords allow writers some freedom.

For bloggers who aren't advocating a product or service, it could mean you'll have to work harder to rise above the noise.

 

Blogging for SEO to Muddy Search Rankings By John Gartner at 09:05 AM
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

TV Opens Up to Online Distribution

The TV networks are slowly recognizing that no website they will build is going to dominate video and that distribution is the key to success.

At a meeting of the TV networks discussing online distribution, execs from NBC and CBS awakened to the reality of the need for online distribution, accordingto Mediapost.

Self-containg media player widgets that can be distributed far and wide will win new viewers, the execs now say. This is a reversal of their protectionist and pay-only policies of a year ago.

According to Kevin McGurn, vice president-national sales at Hulu: "Those embedded players are our best marketing tool. We want people to come back to our content."

The networks' fears of ruining the already declining ratings have proven unfounded.

Despite initial fears that streaming its programs online would "cannibalize" NBC's television audience, NBC Universal Senior Vice President-Digital Media Sales Peter Naylor said it has actually added incrementally to it, capturing viewers the network otherwise would not have been able to reach.


Along with syndication from the top video portals, distributing clips, encouraging mashups, and providing behind the scenes video are the online tools for increasing the broadcast audience.

TV Opens Up to Online Distribution By John Gartner at 09:05 AM
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ValueClick Settles With FTC Over 'Free' Advertisements

ValueClick settled its case with the Federal Trade Commission over deceptive practices in offering products for free that had more strings than the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

This agreement should put an end to the offers of free iPods and the like that have littered inboxes and websites for years. Advertisers like ValueClick now must explain that purchases are required with their promotions. ValueClick Chief Administrative Office Sam Paisley also resigned to pursue other opportunities.

Previously the FTC settled similar cases with Adteractive and Source Media. Any consumer who thought they were going to get a few hundred bucks worth of items gratis were naive, but the new requirements for full disclosure will clarify things for all.

Now if only the FTC could do something about the "free" time shares that I'm always getting called about....

 

ValueClick Settles With FTC Over 'Free' Advertisements By John Gartner at 08:50 AM
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Web 2.0 Driving Content Management

Content management systems are adding web 2.0 features so that web publishing is completely ingrained in the content creation process.

Bitrix has updated Bitrix Site Manager CMS to version 6.5, adding features for AJAX, web clouds and tag clouds. It also includes the ability to change the layout without requiring programming.

Search engine optimization, which is so critical for publishers to attract an audience, has yet to become fully integrated into most CMS systems. SEO expert Brian Alvey of Weblogs is launching a new CMS solution that will leverage his knowledge. CMS systems have been trailing Web 2.0, but an all-in-one system will soon become an absolute must.

Web 2.0 Driving Content Management By John Gartner at 12:17 PM
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Why Internet Neutrality Matters

The FCC and lawmakers are probing how broadband providers manage their networks and how this affects Internet access.

Comcast says it uses "reasonable measures" when it slows down the traffic to sites such as BitTorrent to ease congestion. This is discrimination but it makes sense from a network management standpoint. If traffic becomes a problem, then addressing the largest bandwidth consumers is the fastest way to provide fast access to the largest number of users.

But is BitTorrent the biggest aggregate bandwidth hog? If you collect all of the traffic to the web's most popular sites at any time -- MySpace, Google, MSN, etc. -- they would surpass the traffic to BitTorrent. However, slowing down access to all of those sites may be more complicated than to a single site, and it would be to the detriment of a larger number of users.

The real questions is -- should web traffic that requires higher bandwidth to any user from any site or peer-to-peer application -- not just BitTorrent -- be managed so that the maximum number of users can have unfettered access. Any net neutrality regulation or law should address this fundamental question. The legal transfer of large media files -- which will increase as movie and music downloads via iTunes, Movielink, etc. increase in popularity. Companies that offer these types of service should not be penalized by slowing performance to their customers as they become more successful. Every service that requires more bandwidth to deliver its product to its customers should be treated equally.

Peer-to-peer file sharing exists to limit the overall bandwidth and increase network performance. Any regulation similarly shouldn't discriminate against peer-to-peer.



Also, content providers continue to discriminate in providing "free" content depending on ISP relationships. ESPN, for example, has free streams of content, but only through preferred ISPs. This practice is used to leverage relationships with ISPs, but are not to the benefit of users.

Why Internet Neutrality Matters By John Gartner at 11:18 AM
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Municipal WiFi On Life Support

Earthlink is now history as a provider of municipal WiFi.

The infrastructure costs were too high and the advertising revenue too low for Earthlink, which was inadequately prepared on the revenue side.

Why do free WiFi anyway? Cities like to offer free Internet access to bridge the digital divide and reach its lower income residents, but that noble goal costs big money because of the logistics of reaching inside apartment complexes. The other reason is to increase tourism and (theoretically) increase demand for local services.

The need for free WiFi diminishes every day as more private entities (Starbucks etc.) decide that it is in there best interest to provide it. Internet access over phone networks via the iPhone and others is also putting the web at the fingertips of many business customers.

Marketing free WiFi to the public requires clearly outlining the goals, costs and benefits. Google is probably the only company that could come close to making the economics work, and providing free web access is the opposite of being evil, right?

Cities could bridge the gap with ad revenue by charging local businesses an access fee to provide the service to prospect customers. More access means more shopping trips. For the lower-income folks, why not discount dialup or broadband access to consumers who qualify? Cities are increasingly strapped for cash, but providing ad-supported access via land lines could be much cheaper than the wireless route.

Municipal WiFi On Life Support By John Gartner at 10:25 AM
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Yahoo Buys Maven, Courts AOL

Yahoo made a smart move in buying Maven Networks. Now the company has a distribution mechanism for its online advertising platform and expand its audience of advertisers.

Video is expected to be the fastest growing component of online advertising and will therefore becoming increasingly important to down-in-the-dumps Yahoo's stock.

Merging with AOL, however, makes no sense. The company's are redundant in much of their technology and services. The primary outcome would be a raft of layoffs, and not much new. The added complexity is that AOL is already using Google's advertising services, so unless Yahoo thinks it can do a better job at monetizing (unlikely), Yahoo would be tied to a feared competitor.

Microsoft will up its ante, but that won't be enough.

I've talked about Comcast buying AOL before, and if TimeWarner doesn't want that outcome, then perhaps Comcast should go after Yahoo. Yahoo's niche is for premium content, news and entertainment searches, all which would benefit Comcast as it looks to takes Internet content into the cable realm.

This is a soap opera that is worthy of marketer's attention. A bad acquisition by any of Google's competition could diminish alternatives for advertisers.

Yahoo Buys Maven, Courts AOL By John Gartner at 09:41 AM
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Monday, February 11, 2008

User Generated Content to Lead Business Publications

Mansueto Ventures is betting big that content written by social network participants can happily coexist alongside professional business content. I applaud their courage, but not sure that a finer line doesn't need to be drawn between the mix of content.

Fast Company has a redesigned home page that mixes articles from its writers along with blogs and questions submitted to and by its social network community. The site has been divided into several categories that all share the format -- an article followed by a blog followed by a question, etc.

This model might well catch on, but for readers comfortable with the online magazine presentation it is a bit jarring. The company is hoping that all of the UGC will generate much more traffic and that advertisers will pay a premium to be associated with it.

Mansueto's Inc.com (for which I've written in the past) is putting the private businesses that it covers front and center. Inc.com wants up to a million private companies to contribute to profiles that it created and to maintain blogs. With free press release distribution and free business services, the new IncBizNet.com site could turn into a brothel of advertising if controls are not put into place.

Companies should be encouraged to contribute their expertise. The UGC can co-exist with professional content, but there is also a danger in blurring the line until it becomes meaningless. Advertisers will have the final say.

User Generated Content to Lead Business Publications By John Gartner at 08:37 AM
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Microsoft Missing Mashup Momentum

While industry momentum is pushing companies to open up their application libraries, Microsoft for the most part continues to be Microsoft. Keeping this proprietary view will only diminish its importance in the Web 2.0 world.

Microsoft created the Popfly tool for non-programmers to mashup multimedia content, but as the NYTimes points out, it is based on its Silverlight technology.

We are in a new world where mixing and matching content through widgets is expected. The visibility of leveraging existing applications -- most of which were purchased -- will pay for any development cost or loss in intellectual property.

Windows' and Office's dominance will likely continue, and tapping into those millions of lines of code online will further entrench users' commitment to staying with the platforms. Put text formatting or data manipulation tools in the hands of today's mashup crowd, and amazing things will happen.

The open-source alternatives are getting closer in their capabilities, and users are getting accustomed to the free and freely available via mashup paradigms. Opening parts of the library to all is the best long term strategy.

Microsoft Missing Mashup Momentum By John Gartner at 08:17 AM
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« February 2008 Week 1 February 2008 Week 3 »

  • Week 1 (12 entries) February 1-9
  • Week 2 (10 entries) February 10-16
  • Week 3 (10 entries) February 17-23
  • Week 4 (8 entries) February 24-29

Municipal WiFi On Life Support
Actually, it's not on life support at all. ...
by Casey Lide

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