Sometimes winning the brand wars is all about timing. Yesterday was Microsoft's day to shine. The software giant released a new product meant to loosen Google's vice grip on the search market. They hope that Bing will change the way people search online. But then a funny thing happened. Google had its own product launch.
While Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was announcing Bing at the All Things Digital conference in San Diego, Google unleashed the Google Wave, a product in development for over four years. And while Ballmer spoke to a room full of executive, a group of Google engineers announced their news to 4,000 developers armed with free Google phones at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco.
Andrew Keen is a former entrepreneur who has since recanted his enthusiasm for Silicon Valley and come out as an outspoken opponent of Web 2.0. Keen is no stranger to controversy. His 2007 book “Cult of the Amateur” argued against the wisdom of crowds and he is known for incendiary commentary, like the time he likened Web 2.0 to a communist society or when he told Stephen Colbert that the Internet is worse than Nazism. In case you were wondering, here’s his definition of blogging: “It’s all about digital narcissism, shameless self-promotion. I find it offensive."
Keen now writes at The Great Seduction, twitters @ajkeen, and speaks on a variety of topics. This week, Keen wrote that Facebook’s infusion of $200 million from Russian investors signaled “the final act of the Web 2.0 tragi-comedy.” Econsultancy caught up with him via phone while he was in Alabama this week (“studying the natives”) to discuss the death of Web 2.0 and what comes next.
The "Year of Mobile" may forever be on the horizon, but a new survey by
Harris Interactive says that consumers are getting more comfortable
making purchases through their cell phones. The question of course, is
what they're willing to buy.
The study, commissioned by mobile credit card security firm Billing
Revolution, found that 1,883 of those surveyed were cellphone owners
(93 percent). Almost half (45 percent) said they think shopping via
mobile phones is “somewhat safe,” though just over a quarter (26
percent) feel that mobile shopping is completely safe.
Younger people are of course more comfortable giving away their
financial information on their phones. 59 percent of those 18-34 found
mobile shopping somewhat safe, versus 34 percent of adults over 55.
Also, 50 percent of men find the concept of shopping via cellphone
somewhat safe versus 39 percent of women.
The gaming industry is often referred to as recession proof, but the general inclination of people to purchase goods that can
entertain them at home in tough times is not enough to fuel the gaming
sector right now. The $1.83 billion console industry fell 18% in March and 8% in
However, those numbers have less to do with the flailing economy than
the state of the gaming console business right now. All three of the
leaders in the space — Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3, and
the Nintendo Wii — have not launched new consoles in about three years.
Rather than start selling new products, they're looking to marketing tactics and repositioning what they already have on the shelf to increase sales.
News of Microsoft's new search engine Bing is all over the web today after CEO Steve Ballmer announced his company's new product today at the Wall Street Journal's All Things D conference. But curious searchers will have to wait. Bing.com won't be live until June 3rd.
Press releases introducing the product sent viewers to a blank page this morning. Microsoft has since put up a landing page and demo video.
Bing is hoping to redefine search - calling its new product a "decision engine" instead of a search engine. But launching a product that won't be ready for a week?
Consumers can laugh with — or at — your product. As long as they're buying it. That's the lesson that the makers of The Snuggie have learned. The sleeved blanket manufacturer created a tongue in cheek add that went viral online. And now the band Weezer has joined the cult.
Frontman Rivers Cuomo told RollingStone that Weezer will release its own branded Snuggie called the Wuggie, to coincide with the release of its new album. The news is good for the Snuggie, and also has a lesson for other sleeved blanket manufacturers (there are a few).
The Snuggie was not the first to come up with this idea. In fact,
they were at least third to market with a product that combined the warmth
of a blanket with the sleeves of a sweater. Creators of The Slanket and the Freedom Blanket both vie for that claim.
But not many people realized they had been trapped by the limitations of blankets and sweaters until Snuggie ads appeared on TV.
Welcome to the new blogvertorial. Last week Gawker launched a new blog called BloodCopy, "the blog about vampires by a vampire." Except this site dedicated to all things vampiric is not a
Gawker property, it's an ad campaign for the HBO show True Blood.
The copy on the site is not marked as advertising, and is written from the point of view of a vampire. Entries from the blog will be syndicated to Gawker's Media's eight properties,
including Jezebel, Gizmodo, and Kotaku. The posts will have a gray
border, but look otherwise just like Gawker posts written by staff
members (save for the vampire obsession).
Monetizing viewership is a recurring problem online. But companies need to be prepared for spikes in popularity, whether they expect them or not.
Case in point: Susan Boyle's now infamous rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream." Susan may be bounding ahead in the competition for "Britain's Got Talent," but she's not making the show's parent company ITV any money online. YouTube videos of the singing sensation still don't have ads in the U.S. Because ITV hasn't figured out where to put the money earned on YouTube, the network is wasting 1000s of views a day.
TVGuide.com may be known for its association with skulls and knives, but that is exaclty what visitors will see when they go to the television programming site today. However, the shift is not an effort to toughen up TVGuide's image. It is an advertisement.
TVGuide has partnered with the A&E show Tattoo Highway to tatt up its logo. Paul Greenberg, TVGuide's evp and general manager, tells Minonline: “This was a mutual idea. When you
cultivate relationships like we have with A&E you can work
Magazines may not be able to sell subscriptions in this terrible economic
climate, but that doesn't mean that their brands and expertise should
go to waste. Publishers are hoping to get a little pocket change as
well as brand extension out of the iPhone's lucrative app store. Last week, People.com launched an iPhone app for $1.99 and other publishers are announcing plans to follow suit shortly.
Hachette Filipacchi, which owns titles Elle and Car and Driver, plans to
launch iPhone shopping and auto apps later this year. Meredith
Corp., which owns Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle,
plans to launch mobile apps in areas related to their titles this year
as well. And Conde Nast, which has already entered the space with apps from
Epicurious and Style.com, plans to start charging for new and premium