Friday, August 29, 2008

Ubiquity brings mashups to all

There's a really interesting project from Mozilla Labs called Ubiquity which aims to allow users to build simple personal mash-ups for themselves. It's hard to explain but the video below does a really good job.

TES Connect

The Times Educational Supplement site has relaunched as TES Connect, focussing on jobs (as ever), community and resource sharing. It's a great looking site with some nice functionality. Well worth a browse.

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Getting smart about online ads

Paul Bradshaw on the Online Journalism Blog posts some interesting advice to newspaper publishers about how to increase the traction in online advertising.

He lists 10 ways publishers can improve the offering, working from the basic premise that the web is different from print.

Among the more thought-provoking are:

  • sell ads against dynamic content like most popular story at that particular moment,  or next to breaking news, or against exclusives
  • developing tools so long-tail advertisers can advertise for themselves (like Rick Waghorn has with Addiply )
  • getting creative with ads (email this ad to a friend, widgets based on the advertisers' interest etc)

It is interesting that it is a journalist posting these thoughts about advertising. It's well worth a read.


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Monday, August 11, 2008

Paris Hilton hits back

In the UK many will have missed the furore over Senator John McCain's "celebrity" ad which suggested Obama was more interested in celebrity than the big issues of the day such as high oil prices. (It's here if you did).

Paris Hilton, featured unwillingly in the ad, hits back in this spoof courtesy of Funny or Die

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

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Why is the oil price failing?

There was a great and simply explanatory piece in Saturday's Guardian. Read it here, but in brief:
  • project demand has been scaled back because of economic worries in the US, EU and even China
  • supply has been picking up as OPEC members beefed up production to capitalise on the high price
  • Geo-political worries (like Nigerian unrest) have eased
  • The dollar is rising again which helps: oil is priced in dollars so companies selling in other companies push the price higher to compensate for the slide in the currency's value
  • Hedge funds are getting out because of the above
Simple, no?

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Blending social technologies

Groundswell meets Will it Blend... Blendtec was one of the companies profiled in Charlene Li and Josh Bernhoff's book Groundswell. They persuaded Blendtec to collaborate in a viral video to promote the book. This was the result.

The future of the browser

Adaptive Path has been doing some work for the Mozilla Foundation on the future of the browser. There are four videos, highlighted by Lifehacker, which show various ways in which a potential browser could work in a future where the internet of things is a reality. Worth a watch, even if you don't buy all the suggestions.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Brave new world

Just reading an Outsell report on B2B media (subscription required - though highlights are available). The report charts the now familiar march from print to online and points to the continued rise of online advertising as an opportunity. The recommendations were:

  • Learn from disruptors beginning to tap the core human need to network;
  • Reclaim a share of advertisers self-marketing spend (62% is currently allocated this way!);
  • Increase the use of rich data and workflow performance solutions;
  • Re-tool for the brave new world of audience development.

This last one deserves a pull-quote:

The good news is that publishers can reach much larger and more dispersed audiences than were ever practical and profitable to reach in the print era. The bad news is that (a) reaching them requires new outlooks, new tools, and new skills; and (b) doing all this is a critically urgent prerequisite to success in the electronic era. Most publishers have changed the names and titles in their circulation departments to Audience Development, but not many have done the re-tooling required. Reaching qualified users worldwide, dynamically, on an ad-hoc basis, as their need arises, is very different from building a controlled circulation list. It is critical to know users’ demographics, workflows, and day-of-week and time-of-day behaviors, including what sites and pages users have come from and where they are going next. Advertisers pay premiums for highly receptive, opt-in users. This all requires tools, services, and analytical staff to follow users’ content consumption, response to ads and sponsors, and content purchases. To compound the difficulty, these are still new skills and experienced staff are hard to find, with some early success coming from hiring out of e-retailing, e-mail, and specialized SEO (search engine optimization) firms, supplemented with much on the job training.

Phew! Still some way to go....

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Doing things cheaply - and well

The Online Journalism Blog has a post which collects together some examples of the things that the Guardian bloggers are doing on their own with the help of excellent free tools available elsewhere. It should be an inspiration to bloggers everywhere...

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Google's new search analysis tool

Google has released an updated version of Trends called Insights for Search. It allows for comparisons over time of competing search terms as well as suggesting upcoming related terms.

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