Brand perils in the advertising economy

This is a screenshot of the Wall Street Journal daily email that I received this morning.
Clearly someone, somewhere in the venerable WSJ thought it was  a great idea to carry some network adverting on the mail shot – after all, why not? Money for old rope.
Problem is that it is old rope that these ads are promoting – actually worse than that. The top ad for weeks had been “6 -Year-Old Mom looks 27” which claims to promote a miracle cure for wrinkles, and the next is selling online masters degrees. Just the sorts of things one would expect the WSJ to be endorsing!

Kabbage finds niche

One of the really interesting things about the internet is the way that the data which is thrown off creates new and exciting businesses that simply could not have existed before. One such case was brought to my attention by an article in Bloomberg Businessweek about startup Kabbage
Kabbage – named after the slang name for money – has a clever risk model that analyses data from sites like eBay, Amazon and Yahoo! such as transaction history and user ratings to produce a creditworthiness score. 
By doing this they are able to advance money to small traders (they are not a bank so they can’t loan) who otherwise would fail traditional financial services criteria. 
This is exactly the kind of brand new business (Kiva is another example) entirely made possible by the essential characteristics of the web. 

Phone becomes wallet

I have been reading an interesting post from Springwise (one of my sources of innovation inspiration, by the way) which points the way to an ever greater role for the smartphone in our lives. Navigo is shortly going to be trialling a service in Paris which will allow travellers with NFC enabled smartphones to pay for their tickets with their phones. NFC is already in some Android phones and the chances are the iPhone 5 will incorporate the technology too. Is this the beginning of the end for the wallet.

Scribe – doing the job for me?

I was reading about the new feature called Scribe on the Blogger in Draft blog. This post is being written using this interesting auto-suggestion system. It takes some time to get used to reading the word forming ahead of the cursor – which you need to do if you are going to really take advantage of the functionality. And for touch-typists it is probably more of a hindrance than a help. But I can see it being quite useful if you find yourself lost for words.
One more example of the spurt of functionality coming from the Blogger team – see my last post on the iOS app.

New Blogger iOS app

I’ve just installed the new Blogger App for the iPhone which has just been released. This has been an age in coming – blogging on the go to Google’s blogging platform has been painful in the extreme while services like Posterous raced ahead with multiple very easy ways to blog on the go. Perhaps this – and the (very good) redesign of Blogspot – is more evidence of the new found determination at Google to step up the pace in all things social?