Archive for March, 2009

Why popularity could doom Facebook, Twitter

Posted by Lori Luechtefeld on March 27th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Facebook is apparently hunting for more money to support its growing popularity. (Never mind the fact that a source within the company recently went on record saying the company did not need to raise any more money and had sufficient cash to continue at its current growth rate.) Which begs the question: How much longer can social networks hold out in the current economy without viable revenue models?
It seems that many people assume that networks such as Facebook and Twitter are ultimately going to be successful because they're so incredibly popular. No one seems to care that such companies are bleeding money, with no obvious indications that they'll be finding a tourniquet any time soon.
Social networks are popular. Duh. You know what else would be popular? Free beer and pizza. If a company founded itself on the premise of giving away free beer and pizza to subscribers, I'd sign up. And I'd use the hell out of that service. But when the company inevitably ran out of money and asked me to start paying for my beer and pizza, I might consider sobering up and going on a diet.
Popularity doesn't mean much when your fans are a bunch of... Read more

New thinking sparked at my first iMedia Summit

Posted by Matt Kapko on March 26th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Smack dab between two insane, cross-country travel adventures, I had the pleasure of attending Breakthrough Summit earlier this week. It was my first iMedia Summit and I keep going back to the stellar keynotes that opened and closed the final day of the event. Adam Kleinberg already beat me to the punch in his blog post about the pair of amazing thinkers that graced the stage Tuesday morning and afternoon, but I just couldn't resist adding some more of my own after thoughts.
David Crystal kicked things off Tuesday morning with a great presentation that aptly linked the importance of semantics with the increasingly fragmented online ad market. As a linguist, Crystal has spent a large part of his career researching semantics and determining where it can contribute to the largest information database of all -- the internet. He was funny, quick on his feet and gave his entire talk from a small sheet of notes no larger than the palm of his hand. PowerPoint slides need not apply.
Nolan Bushnell rounded out the afternoon with an equally funny presentation that took the audience through his adventures in business. I am still surprised to learn that the same man behind Pong and... Read more

Semantically speaking at iMedia Breakthrough

Posted by Adam Kleinberg on March 26th, 2009 at 12:00 am

I'm writing this post on the flight home from the iMedia Breakthrough Summit in lovely Bonita Springs, Florida (lovely, although apparently you shouldn't feed the crocodiles). Another great event.
Of particular note (and I think the Twitter-mad digerati in attendance would agree) were the keynotes. Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, Chucky Cheese and 20 other startups was a riot and an inspiration

Google Clarifies Issues Around Behavioral Advertising & I'm Still Mostly Yawning

Posted by Rob Rose on March 25th, 2009 at 12:00 am

So, Google has clarified some of the privacy issues around its "interest based" advertising model - especially as it pertains to publishers using Adsense. 
I blogged last week about this and why I thought this wasn't really going to be as much of a game-changer as some people are predicting.
Rather, I think those that are concerned will opt out or use plugins to avoid being tracked.  In the FAQ blog posting, they clarify that interest based ads "will compete in the same ad auction as contextually- and placement-targeted ads" and that they will "continue to show only the ad(s) that will generate highest earnings."
This is the most interesting thing to me as a marketer - and actually makes things a bit more interesting.  I'm going to be very interested to test some "interest" based ads vs. the traditional search ads and see which ones perform better. 
The last time I did this was when Google had the Pay Per Action program - which was (to put it technically) yukky.  They've since discontinued this.  Stay tuned... It will be very interesting to see if all this privacy hype was misplaced...

Almost 21 Questions for Jeff Ma, of MIT card counting, Bringing Down the House, 21, and Citizen Sports Infamy

Posted by Zaw Thet on March 25th, 2009 at 12:00 am

My good friend, Jeff Ma is co-founder of Citizen Sports and part of the famed MIT card counting group whose story was told in the book "Bringing Down the House" and the movie 21. He has been the technology lead for two internet startups and was an options trader on the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. I grabbed the opportunity to pick his brain on sports, consumer behavior, marketing, and more...
1)      Now that everyone’s in March Madness mode – first things first, we’ve already seen W. Kentucky upset Illinois – tell us your next two upsets! There aren’t many upsets left to be had out there but I think Gonzaga could beat UNC. They have almost as much talent as the Heels and with Lawson less than 100% who knows. I actually think Arizona could give Louisville some trouble. They have NBA talent at three positions and Louisville has been prone to some lapses.
2)      I’m all about mobile, you’re all about sports – what do you see as the big opportunity for sports brands in the mobile universe? Brands need to go where people are spending their time and clearly sports fans are all over mobile. Reaching the consumer when... Read more