Friday, January 30, 2009

Her Morning Elegance (flash)

Oren Lavie's stop motion music video in bed (rated PG).

Under The Bridge Literal Version (flash)

The Red Hot Chilli Peppers's song with very literal lyrics (rated PG-13).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Studios Testing Online Ads in Shows

Donna Speciale, president, investment and activation, MediaVest Worldwide, said she liked the idea that Disney was experimenting with what works in terms of online advertising, But she also expressed concern about possible clutter mimicking the TV world, where networks have gotten 'crazy' with the number of ads

(from Multichannel News).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Web Use is Double TV Use

A new IDC study of consumer online behavior found that the Internet is the medium on which online users spend the most time (32.7 hours/week). This is equivalent to almost half of the total time spent each week using all media (70.6 hours), almost twice as much time as spent watching television (16.4 hours), and more than eight times as much time as spent reading newspapers and magazines (3.9 hours)
The time spent using the Internet will continue to increase at the expense of television and, to a lesser extent, print media, said Karsten Weide, program director, Digital Media and Entertainment at IDC. This suggests that advertising budgets will continue to be shifted out of television, newspapers, and magazines into Internet advertising.

(emphasis added, from IDC - Press Release, via heavyBlog).

Campaigns Are for Wars, Not Web

Most large brands, and the agencies that represent them, are still thinking in what I [Jackie Peters] like to call a "campaign mentality." Prior to the social web and the democratization of everything, pretty much all marketing strategy was campaign based. Let's think about how campaigns work: they are typically top-down, one-directional, one-to-many crusades designed by the originating party to convince an "audience" of something. Essentially, this mentality is the antithesis of how the social web works. For marketers to be successful on the social web, whether they are a big brand or a small one, they need to start thinking about contributions and let go of the campaign mentality

(from heavyBlog). A short name for the social media efforts done in the service of a larger marketing plan is often "social media campaign" as if people are to be carpet bombed. Something equally concise is "social media initiative" and suggests beginning something, like a conversation.

I've also begun to reconsider the word "target" when discussing the intended recipients of a message. Perhaps "audience" or "people" as the identifier may work better.

Validation (flash)

A fable about the magic of free parking. Starring TJ Thyne and Vicki Davis (rated PG).

Urban Hack Attack ep. 1 (flash)

Building hacked, awesome ensues (rated PG-13).

SAW + High School Musical Trailer (flash)

Mash-up trailer of HSM 3 and Saw V (rated R).

Friday, January 23, 2009

When the Pope Twitters

The internet changes quickly. Last week I had in a conversation that created the title of this post as a possible title for a post discussing the future when the web becomes a reality for people not traditionally engaged online; they'll embrace the ubiquity of the internet as a communications tool (not merely information storage and retrieval). Today the Pope launched his own YouTube channel, and again we find that future = now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Facebook is Big

150 million people around the world are now actively using Facebook and almost half of them are using Facebook every day. This includes people in every continent-even Antarctica. If Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth most populated in the world, just ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria

(from Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang).

Videos Make Google 1st Page of Search Results More Easily Than Text

Not only are video results increasingly common in Google's search results, but your videos stand a much better chance than your text pages of being shown on the first results page.
...on the keywords for which Google offers video results, any given video in the index stands about a 50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of results than any given text page in the index. Those are some attractive odds

(from Forrester Blog For Interactive Marketing Professionals).

Two-Way Online Video Ads

Banner ads are now no longer just uni-directional, it would seem. A campaign being run by Pepsi called "Dear Mr. President" is allowing people to record a video message straight from an embedded banner on a standard website. Empowering consumers to not only interact with the banner but actually create content and push it back to the advertiser, it's perhaps one of the more innovative uses of online video advertising today

(emphasis added, from ReelSEO). An image of one of the ads:

image of one of Pepsi's 'refresh everything' ad banners that allows video upload directly from the banner

Bratz Dolls Unrealistic Expectations of Head Size (flash)

The Onion News Network examines how Bratz are convincing girls that to be hip and beautiful they have to have gigantic heads (rated PG-13).

Evolution of Dance 2 (flash)

Judson Laipply is back with the official sequel to 'Evolution of Dance' (rated PG). The original Evolution of Dance is still online.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Future = Now

I'm tweeting this from a MacBook Pro running Windows 7, talking to Gavin who's 30K in the air & downloading awesome web show. Future =now.

(from George Ruiz's Tweet).

Poken Connects Social Networking Applications to Real World

A device for sharing your social networking profiles with people you meet in the offline world.

Just tap poken-to-poken, and you are instantly connected to your friends and colleagues. Choose how people view your contact information, and view your friends' pages on Facebook, MySpace, and many other networks


Monday, January 12, 2009

Online Scale, Subject Size for Online Video

Brad Winderbaum, the online auteur behind "Satacracy 88" and other tiny-screen serials, once explained online scale to me. In Hollywood movies, faces are meant to be larger than life. On TV, the face of the performer should approximate in size the face of a viewer on her couch. In online video, Winderbaum says, details of the human body, seen at closer range, are ideal. The human eye is the defining shot: think of that little YouTube screen with an eye in it, at actual size

(from Virginia Heffernan in The New York Times).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Full Micro Jacket (flash)

Gamer jargon and internet reference heavy parody of a scene from Full Metal Jacket (rated PG-13).


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Epic Fail: Lisa Caputo and Citibank Marketing Emails

Citibank sends many non-essential emails to their customers, and today sent this:

At Citibank, we make your e-mail security a top priority. We understand that your e-mail provider undoubtedly features a blocking or filtering system to help you cope with the problem of unwanted solicitations.
As a result, we are concerned that you may be missing your Citibank e-mails without even knowing it. If you think that might be the case, we urge you to 'whitelist' Citibank e-mails by adding us to your address book of trusted senders before delivery is interrupted

So I decided to reply, with this (please forgive my seething not-really-concealed anger):

When you send me far too many non-essential marketing messages, why would I add you to my address book? Spamy tactics on your part equal no-you-don't-get-on-my-white-list decisions on mine. If you'd like assistance with your email tactics, please let me know.
Best of luck, and thank you in advance for not "marketing" (read: email blasting like I'm a target in a war) to me just because loop-holes in the can-spam act seem to suggest you can with out prison or fines. If this email returns undeliverable, I'll blog about it.... and you. How many ads will you have to buy to undo the damage to your brand? Does Lisa Caputo, I believe the Chief Marketing Officer of Citigroup, want her name associated with such fail? Does she want it Googled, for the rest of her career? Do you? Bailouts aren't needed when companies treat customers as people. Please help me blog about your wins by giving me more.
I clearly like you, I chose to do business with you. Thank you,

And their systems sent this back:

You have responded to an email box that cannot accept replies.
If you require assistance, please contact us at

Citibank received $300,000,000,000 in bailout money from the US government (tax payers) 6 weeks ago. Citibank and Citigroup's failures are various and big. Treating customers better could help make bailout unnecessary in the future. Spending some of the money on retraining their marketing department could also be a wise choice.

PageRank is Dead, Long Live Page Rank

Go to Google and enter "find Chuck Norris" then press I'm feeling lucky. It's a Google Bomb.

The number one result for "find Chuck Norris" beats out about 8,750,000 other pages, but only has about 136 sites linking to it. What's notable is that these sites that link to the number one result do not have particularly high PageRank. One linking site has PageRank 5, and there are a bunch of PageRank 1, 2 and 3s; most seem to have no PageRank at all.

This does suggest that many links from high PageRank sites are not needed to be a number one result on a fairly competitive keyword. Google returns results we [Google] believe are the most relevant to the user. Relevancy is determined by over 200 factors, one of which is the PageRank for a given page (from Google's support page about how they crawl, index, and serve the web).

PageRank is not the be all end all of high search rankings it may have once been. It is still one factor Google uses, even if only 0.5% of the factors used. However, Google has also publicly said that the PageRank publicly displayed by Google's systems is not current (usually 3 months old) and is not the private one their systems use to decide rankings.

Is PageRank dead? Or useless? No. PageRank is convenient. When discussing Google rankings with people who aren't focused on or don't have knowledge of search marketing, PageRank is a deceptively concise number that is often used to express success and value regardless of whether either actually exist. It suggests a page is good if the PageRank is high, and bad if it is low. But PageRank does not tell you how successful a site will be at ranking highly.

More important than ranking, PageRank has no relationship with whether a site will be successful; A page's purpose (selling things, engaging visitors, entertaining with Chuck Norris references, etc.) can be fulfilled with no PageRank at all. Also, a page with high PageRank can fail utterly to accomplish anything constructive for anyone (at least short term).

Success online, as in life, is about success itself, as one defines it (e.g., sales, sign-ups, informed visitors, improving the world, happiness). If your page is hugely successful and has high PageRank, wonderful; if it's hugely successful with low or no PageRank, that's wonderful too. PageRank is only one metric among many, and it's tempting to put more value on PageRank than actually exists.

Many times PageRank has been discussed with clients, or other "stake holders," with regards to a site or page's value, and while this easily graspable shorthand may make us feel good, it also can keep us from addressing real value. At the same time, given the secrecy of Google and other search engines' algorithms, many feel utterly in the dark about search rankings that can vastly effect success, income and job security. PageRank is the promise of seeing inside the black box of how search rankings are decided, a promise often broken.

In the absence of clear objectives and metrics, PageRank can be an appealing substitute, but in reality PageRank is only one of many, many elements that need considering. When PageRank is used as the only gauge of a page's value, success or health it leads to bad conclusions, just as using a child's height as the only gauge of the child's health, success or value would lead to bad conclusions.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

International Spy Museum (flash)

This Spy Museum in Washington DC lets people with spy credentials in free (rated PG).

Cat Plays Piano (flash)

This is what you get from $850 worth of cat piano lessons (rated PG).

DRM Has Problems

Yyesterday within a major media corporation there was discussion about iTunes removing Digital Rights Management (DRM) from their entire library. Upon learning that users will have to pay to upgrade tracks they'd already downloaded to DRM-free tracks, one employee said that is terrible, that is also why I don't buy.

Even those who work for the media companies agree with the sentiment that music or movies with DRM leads audience to break the law, and leaves audience to decide if they want to pay for that privilege:

text of comic: Thinking of buying from or iTunes? Remember, if you pirate something, it's yours for life. You can take it anywhere and it will always work. But if you buy DRM-locked media, and you ever switch operating systems or new technology comes along, your collection could be lost. And if you try to keep it, you'll be a criminal (DMCA 1201). So remember: if you want a collection you can count on, pirate it. Hey, you'll be a criminal either way. (if you don't like this, demand DRM-free files)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Event: Focus on Film at Social Media Club LA

I'm on the panel Social Media Club LA tonight: Focus on Film, effect of social media on the film industry. Students and members are free. Tickets are on sale for another 30 minutes or so.

Update January 20th: Video of the Effect of Social Media on the Film Industry panel I sat on at Social Media Club Los Angeles is now online.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Astronaut Interrupts Golf Match (flash)

USA is officially the first country to land an astronaut on a putting green, in the middle of a game no less (rated PG).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Traffic Estimates for Other's Sites

Guessing how much traffic someone else's web site gets is inexact at best. Using more than one free tool can give rough numbers, though they'll vary widely and not always be accurate. Here are a few I've tried:

Makes pretty graphs, and uses relatively standard numbers (e.g., unique vistors, page views per visit, etc.). I haven't tried their premium services but imagine they're simlar to their free offerings, only more in depth and specific.
Their profiles break down some good demographic information as well as basic numbers like visits. They seem to give some insight in to who visits, not just how many.
The grand daddy of such sites, Alexa's rankings have been what has pushed some sites into the popular consciousness. They also include useful information like how fast a site is compared to the net at large.
Their numbers seem slightly inflated, but the month by month bar graphs are some of the simplest I've ever seen.
comScore - not free
Offers nothing free for an individual site, but seem widely well regarded. Is almost for the web what the Nielsen ratings are for TV (though Nielsen will hate me saying that since I think they offer web ratings too).