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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Why Widgets Dont Work

Posted by iBlog on May 13, 2008

We knew widgets had gotten overhyped when we learned of the launch of a Widget Marketing Assn. When a marketing tool leaps from obscurity to cottage industry with its own trade group in just a few months, a bubble is surely brewing. Deep in your heart, dear marketer, you know this is true.

It didn’t take long for the fad to take flight. Widgets are small, easy-to-forward bundles of software that let users play with graphics and information online. Apple (AAPL) included a version of widgets in a 2005 operating system update, and suddenly Mac computer users could easily check weather forecasts or stock quotes from little flashy icons. The marketing world really began to take notice in May, 2007, when Facebook announced any software coder could easily build widgets for its vast online social network.

Ah, the dream! Marketers suddenly had a new way to reach the millions of computer users, especially desirable young consumers, who spend more time inside Facebook and other social networks than traditional, stodgy Web sites. The idea was simple: Create a cool widget, add your advertising message, and hope users pass them virally to all their friends.

Receive, Hunt, Do

But marketers are making a big mistake if they think widgets will help them build deep inroads with this demographic. To understand why, consider the mindset of the people spending time spiffing up their profiles and socializing online.

They are doing, not hunting, and you’ll have a hard time reaching them when they’re in this mode. There are three modes, or mindsets, people take on when they use interactive communications: receiving, hunting, and doing. You receive a phone call. You hunt for a book at the library. You take an action—say, writing an article such as this.

The history of the Web is a transition between these phases. Back in the mid-1990s, most people were happy to “receive” information on the Web. Content (meaning Web sites) was king, and so AOL, EarthLink (ELNK), and marketers responded by trying to create “sticky” Web portals where people would spend long stretches, returning often.

By 2000, the Web expanded, and millions of Web sites meant we all got lost. So consumers entered “hunt” mode, and Google (GOOG) arose as a powerful search engine helping us rapidly find stock quotes or sneakers for sale.

But “do” is where the Web is headed in 2008. Millions of people—mostly the under-35 demographic—have signed up for Facebook, MySpace (NWS), and Twitter. They are leaving single Web sites behind and becoming immersed in social media. Now Internet users can create, contribute, network, edit, share, even steal online, and pass it to hundreds of friends or colleagues. Google Docs helps you edit spreadsheets; Mint.com watches your bank and credit-card balances; Twitter lets you track the thoughts of friends.

Diversion vs. “Core Conversation”

The entire mindset of a person engaged on MySpace or LinkedIn is different from that of a hunter on a search engine. A Google user is walking into a store. A Facebook user is walking into a bar.

A clever widget is nothing more than a jukebox in the back of the social throng, a nice diversion, but really not part of the core conversation


Posted in Technology | 2 Comments »

Learning From Facebook

Posted by iBlog on May 13, 2008

For most business executives, Facebook remains a remote, somewhat mysterious, online frontier. Many executives harbor strong doubts that Facebook is at all relevant to “real business.” After all, isn’t it just a bunch of college kids sharing photos of drinking exploits and trying to hook up with each other?

Let’s start with the stats. Facebook now brings together 66 million online users. While many of these users are students and recent graduates, users 35 years old and older account for more than half of Facebook’s daily visitors and are the network’s most rapidly growing demographic. Currently the average Facebook visitor spends about 2.5 hours per month on the site, which was founded in February, 2004, and was valued at $15 billion three years later when Microsoft purchased a 1.6% share of the company.

Facebook is still largely a social environment where very little commerce occurs. In fact, many businesses have expressed concern about the low click-through rates on advertisements placed on such social network sites. Products are generally not bought or sold on Facebook, but it is becoming an important site for creative talent and businesspeople to achieve visibility and build networks.

On the Edge, But Not Marginal

Dismissing Facebook as irrelevant to business would be dangerously shortsighted. Yes, it is on the edge of traditional business activity, but it is an edge where new approaches to business are being tested and refined. Like most edges in the business world, it may look marginal at the outset, but has the potential to redefine business more broadly over time.

Consider the momentous decision by Facebook in May, 2007, to make its site available to independent, third-party developers to offer their applications to the network’s participants. In one fell swoop a single edge between Facebook and its users fragmented into thousands of edges where a growing number of independent developers can connect and interact with Facebook users in very diverse ways. Developers, drawn by the large numbers of Facebook users, swarmed in to offer a bewildering variety of applications. At last count Facebook had attracted 150,000 active developers, who are now generating more than 20,000 applications.

These edges are fertile with innovation because participation requires such a small investment in time and money. Last fall, psychologist B. J. Fogg taught a class at Stanford University in which he assigned students to develop Facebook applications. During the 10 weeks of the class, 73 students developed applications such as Kiss Me, Oregon Trail, and Secret Admirer, that have since resulted in 25 million installs and, by the end of the class, were attracting about 1 million daily, active users. These applications have generated more than $500,000 in ad revenue since September. At least three companies were formed by students in the class.

Ads Into Action

Edges not only spawn product and service innovations; they also catalyze business-model innovations. On Facebook, for example, the fragmentation of development activity made it inevitable that brokers would emerge to help entrepreneurial application developers monetize the results of their programming efforts by connecting them with advertisers. One of the most prominent of these early brokers is SocialMedia, a company formed by Seth Goldstein, a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist who recently migrated from Silicon Alley (the infotech neighborhood of Manhattan) to Silicon Valley.

Goldstein sees a massive shift in the online world of communications and advertising, shaped by social network sites like Facebook, as applications provide a new context for placement of relevant advertisements. Rather than placing an online ad on a page of static content, why not place it in an application at appropriate points within a sequence of user actions? To take it further, why not make the entire application a promotion for a product or service?

Posted in Current News, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Facebook Raises $100 Million

Posted by iBlog on May 13, 2008

Facebook is about to stuff more cash into its already full coffers. Having raised $360 million in the span of seven months, the social network has clinched another $100 million.

Palo Alto (Calif.)-based Facebook will raise the additional funds to purchase servers, powerful computers designed to ensure the site can handle a swiftly rising number of users and the dizzying array of whiz-bang applications people add to profile pages. “It will be used entirely for servers,” Facebook Chief Financial Officer Gideon Yu says in an interview.


Posted in Current News, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Google Sponsors Moon Landing Prize

Posted by iBlog on September 14, 2007

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – Web search leader Google Inc. will sponsor a $30 million competition for an unmanned lunar landing, following up on the $10 million Ansari X Prize that spurred a private sector race to space.

Like the Ansari X Prize, which was claimed in 2004 by aircraft designer Burt Rutan and financier Paul Allen for a pair of flights by SpaceShipOne, the Google Lunar X Prize is open to private industry and non-government entities worldwide, organizers said before an official announcement on Thursday.

Read the full article in Reuters

Posted in Current News, Technology | 1 Comment »

Does Social Media Make You Dumb?

Posted by iBlog on September 13, 2007

The “Mainstream Media” has had somewhat of an antagonistic relationship with “New Media”. Journalists have bemoaned blogging on several occasions, stating simply that “Journalism requires journalists”. Once again journalists are gracing us with another study linking the success of the social news sites to the downfall of society.The study, conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), compared the mainstream media’s headlines for one week against those of a host of user-news sites. Specifically:

“PEJ took a snapshot of coverage from the week of June 24 to June 29, 2007, on three sites that offer user-driven news agendas: Digg, Del.icio.us and Reddit. In addition, the Project studied Yahoo News, an outlet that offers an editor-based news page and three different lists of user-ranked news: Most Recommended, Most Viewed, and Most Emailed. These sites were then compared with the news agenda found in the 48 mainstream news outlets contained in PEJ’s News Coverage Index.”

Read the full article in TechCrunch

Posted in Business Psychology, Creativity & Culture, Digital Media, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology, Videos | 1 Comment »

Sprint Nextel Rolls Out Shopping Service

Posted by iBlog on September 13, 2007

Called Mobile Shopper, the free service essentially replicates the experience of shopping online but on a mobile handset. The service also allows shoppers to compare the prices they see in stores with those offered by more than 30 online partners.

Customers who like what they see can order items on the spot with a credit card.

“Mobile shopping on a handset, being able to do real-time price comparisons … is really the advantage that we see and something we think our users are going to get really excited about,” said Charnsin Tulyasathien, Sprint’s group manager of consumer applications and GPS solutions.

Read the full article in Yahoo

Posted in Current News, Technology, Telecommunications | Leave a Comment »

Stepping Out Of iPhones Shadow

Posted by iBlog on September 12, 2007

In the decade since its birth, High Tech Computer has become the old faithful of the Taiwanese electronics industry. Other companies experience their ups and downs, but HTC—one of the world’s most advanced designers and manufacturers of smartphones—has always just charged ahead, each month reporting bigger and bigger sales. That consistent performance helped HTC rise to No. 2 in this year’s Asia BusinessWeek 50 rankings. The good times of ever-expanding sales and soaring stock prices, though, now seem to be ending for HTC. The company’s Taipei-listed shares have lost a third of their value in the past year amid investor concerns about increasing competition in HTC’s key market—phones and PDAs that use the Microsoft (MSFT ) Windows operating system. HTC is the world’s biggest supplier of such devices, which have many more computer-like functions than ordinary cell phones or handhelds. <!– if (!window.OAS_sitepage) { var BW_site; // use for new ad site var BW_page = “/magazine”; var OAS_listpos; // use to restrict the number of available page positions document.write(”); } //–>

Read the full article on BusinessWeek.com

Posted in Creativity & Culture, Current News, Digital Media, Technology | Leave a Comment »

The Right Way To Use Web 2.0

Posted by iBlog on September 12, 2007

Three Keys to Successfully Exploiting Web 2.0

Entrepreneurs are eager to use the rapidly emerging social networks and blogging tools to get closer to their customers, but first they need to develop a business strategy, according to members of a high-profile panel in a recent discussion at the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest. Panelists included representatives of Technorati, Facebook, and Wetpaint, who offered the following suggestions for best using Web 2.0 techniques:

Read the full article in BusinessWeek.com

Posted in Sales & Marketing, Social Networking, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Small Business Communication Tools

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Working with clients across great distances, Steve Bridges needed a better way to exchange information and collaborate on projects. E-mailing large documents wasn’t efficient. Inboxes got filled up or, worse, documents got overlooked. To remedy his situation, Bridges, IT manager for advertising firm La Agencia de Orci, decided to employ an extranet.

Read the full article on Fastcompany.com

Posted in Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, Small Business, Start Ups 101, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Cities Struggle To Go Wireless

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Whether it’s delivering Internet to low-income people, busting up a high-speed monopoly, rebuilding a battered community or making their workers more efficient, hundreds of the nation’s cities are itching to build wireless networks, often with noble goals in mind. But cities moving too fast to make fast connections are finding some unexpected roadblocks along the way.

Read the full article in Fastcompany.com

Posted in Technology, Travel Industry | Leave a Comment »

Double Click Makes Banners Less Boring

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Internet banner ads are a story of the haves and have-nots. At the top end of the market live highly interactive rich media units with full video capability, while at the lower end reside more uninteresting units limited by file size constraints.

Read the full article in AdWeek

Posted in Advertising, Creativity & Culture, Sales & Marketing, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Arc Animates AP in Asia

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Hewlett-Packard, the No. 1 PC seller in the world, is turning to animation for its latest Asia-Pacific interactive business-to-business push from Arc Worldwide in Singapore, part of Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett.

Read the full article in AdWeek

Posted in Advertising, Asia Business, China Global, Creativity & Culture, Digital Media, Innovation, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Google Aids Account Planning

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

SAN DIEGO Is Google a planning tool?

That was the contention of Penry Price, Google’s director of North American sales, who spoke here yesterday at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Planning Conference.

Read the full article in AdWeek

Posted in Advertising, Finance, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Trade Shows Take Care of Business

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Virtual trade shows, expos and conventions are coming into their own. While event producers all insist that virtual shows won’t replace real-world shows, there are some decided advantages to attending, hosting or exhibiting at online events. Entrepreneurs save on the costs of travel, booth materials and employees’ lost productivity.

Read the full article in Entrepreneur Online

Posted in Advertising, Innovation, Sales & Marketing, Schmoozing, Small Business, Start Ups 101, Technology, Trends & Ideas | Leave a Comment »

Taxing Mobile Phones In The Developing World

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

It has been hailed as the development tool of the century. It has revolutionized business in Africa and Asia and has allowed the poor to cross countless institutional hurdles. And despite a paucity of electricity, infrastructure, and support services, the people of the developing world have embraced it with open arms. It is the cell phone, and it is changing the reality of economic opportunity. With cell phone technology it is possible for health-care workers in rural Africa to summon ambulances to remote clinics. It is possible for one woman on the Congo River, completely illiterate and lacking electricity, to operate a successful food distribution business that connects with restaurants in distant cities and towns. It is possible for migrant workers without a reliable postal service to send messages in a matter of minutes.

Read the full article in Harvard International Review

Posted in Technology, World News | Leave a Comment »

The Key(Words) To eCommerce Success

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Once a cutting edge technology itself, e-commerce is poised to benefit from another emerging technology originally developed to aid marketers with their online strategies — paid search.

Read the full article in Fastcompany.com

Posted in eCommerce, Online Retail, Retail Market, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Technology – Boom, Bust & Beyond

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

In 1876, the president of Western Union brushed off Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone as little more than an “electric toy,” and the company called Bell’s proposal to put one in every home “utterly out of the question.” Oxford University professor Erasmus Wilson predicted that when the 1878 Paris Exhibition closed, the electric light would “close with it and no more will be heard of it.” A Michigan banker advised his client not to invest in Henry Ford’s company in 1903 because “the horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty.” And Microsoft founder Bill Gates freely admits he was years behind in seeing the promise of the Internet. If the past two centuries are any guide, great technological innovations–railroads, telegraph, telephone, electricity, cars, radios, the personal computer–must overcome initial skepticism, if not abject fear, before they can take root. But then there is the inevitable cycle: Entrepreneurs begin to recognize a novel technology’s potential; newcomers rush into the market, drawing venture capital, which in turn spawns even more companies and investment. Because stock price in this phase is pegged to possibility, not revenue and profit, almost all of the players do well, even though most, if not all, bleed red. Some succeed spectacularly at this Ponzi-like scheme. Share prices shoot skyward in a speculative frenzy.

Read the full article in Fastcompany.com

Posted in Technology | Leave a Comment »

The Flying Car

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Once again, we lurch towards our Jetsons-inspired future, this time, courtesy of NASA. The space agency selected The Cafe Foundation, a group of aircraft engineers, to host its Personal Air Vehicle Challenge, a $250,000 contest to see who can design a flying car for the common man. Their belief is that a nation of flying cars will reduce congestion, air pollution, and the time it takes to get to the in-laws.

Read the full article in Fastcompany.com

Posted in Technology | Leave a Comment »

Online Advertising

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Where have all the stores gone? What’s happened to the products? Have i-business and e-commerce surmounted traditional retailers and planted the flag for a dotcom dynasty? No, not yet, but you certainly couldn’t tell by watching TV. Or tuning the radio dial. Or passing a billboard.

Read the full article in Fastcompany.com

Posted in Advertising, Sales & Marketing, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Innovation Scouts

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

How creative businesses in technology and media are unearthing new ideas in unexpected places–from an American Idol-style contest at Adobe Systems to eBay’s new “disruption” team. Meet the new cool hunters.

Read the full article on Fastcompany.com

Posted in Creativity & Culture, Innovation, Talent Development, Technology | Leave a Comment »

The Future of Online Advertising

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Watch the full video on CnnMoney.com

Posted in Advertising, Sales & Marketing, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Will the iPhone Land You a Date?

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Watch the video on CnnMoney.com

Posted in Technology, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Facebook or Myspace?

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Aug. 6, 2007 issue – For young people, the burning question of our time is “Facebook or MySpace?” It’s the contemporary equivalent to a previous generation’s “Paul or John?” or “Betty or Veronica?”

View the full article in MSNBC.com

Posted in Social Networking, Technology | 1 Comment »

The United States of Technology?

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

NEW YORK (Fortune) — As we celebrated the nation’s birthday, I asked myself a patriotic question: Does the United States still lead in tech? As an American myself, my lens is inevitably distorted. Even so, the answer is hardly an unqualified yes.

On the positive side, this is the country where some of the most important breakthrough products are still being created. The iPhone came out of Cupertino. As the packages say: “Designed by Apple in California.” And here some of the most revolutionary new Internet businesses are still being incubated – including Facebook of Palo Alto, Second Life (created by San Francisco’s Linden Lab), and Salesforce.com (Charts), also of San Francisco. Each is pointing the way to whole new ways of doing things online

Read the full article on CnnMoney.com

Posted in Technology | Leave a Comment »

Web 2.0 Reinvents the Press Release

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

The business of do-it-yourself publicity has two entrenched heavyweights, but a Web startup is trying to disrupt the game: look out, Warren Buffett. Fortune’s Oliver Ryan explores the new world of PR.

Read the full article on Moneycnn.com

Posted in Company Reviews, Public Relations, Technology | Leave a Comment »