Don’t just do something, stand there

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What if you spent one day a week (hey, even a day a month) without meetings, phone or email?

How will you know unless you try?

November 30th 2010 Uncategorized

Video: Advertising on Kinect for Xbox 360 – Film from UK Innovation Day

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Earlier this month, Kate Newton wrote about the Innovation Day we held here in London for advertisers and agencies from all over EMEA.

In this 4 minute video, using interviews and footage from the day, we showcase Kinect for Xbox 360 and what it means for advertising and multi-screen marketing.

Hear from our team on how Kinect and Natural User Interface will change the way we market to consumers, how you can get involved, and see our customers’ reactions to seeing the platform given a thorough workout on the day.

Watch out for another film about Windows Phone 7 later in the week.

Check out our EMEA advertising site for more on Kinect and a whole host of case studies and white papers on advertising digitally across multiple devices.



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November 30th 2010 advertisers

Virgin’s iPad-Only Project Hits The App Store; Heavy Download, Pretty Moving Pictures

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As expected, Virgin’s new iPad-only magazine Project has hit the App Store. Most had been anticipating it at some point later today, but it actually went live in the U.S. store right around midnight PT. We’ve just managed to snag a copy after a pretty lengthy download (these magazine makers really need to get these file sizes under control).

We’ll do a more thorough walk-through once we’ve actually sat down and read the thing. But at first glance, Project looks nice. The interactive movie cover reminds me a bit of the newspapers in the Harry Potter films. Of course, once I got past the cover, it took me a bit of time to figure out how to navigate through the damn thing. But I eventually got the hang of it.

The Project app itself is a free download, but you have to buy the issues. The first one, with Tron: Legacy star Jeff Bridges on the cover, is $2.99. But apparently that’s a one-time price for the whole month and you’ll get new content every once in a while — at least I think that’s how it’s going to work.

More to come. For now, find the app here.

November 30th 2010 ipad

If Causes Had Its Own Social Network It Would Be Jumo

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Facebook co-founder and former Obama social media guru Chris Hughes has just launched Jumo, a social network for charities, in beta today.  Jumo aims to help you discover what causes matter to you by allowing you follow specific charities as well as keep tabs on what your friends are following. Seems simple enough.

On Jumo each cause/charity has its own relevant news stream, sort of like what would happen if the Facebook app “Causes,” coincidentally started by Sean Parker and former Zuckerberg roommate Joe Green, had its own social network that allowed you to actually “friend” charities.

At first spin, the necessity for a niche social marketing platform for charities makes sense — I am usually too busy to think about how much I am actually concerned with stuff like global children’s health and usually don’t contribute to charity unless it hits me smack dab in the face, like our recent TechCrunch UCSF Challenge For The Children fundraiser did. Being able to easily track the narrative of the social and political issues that interest me the most would actually lead to more donations, at least in my case.

The best thing about Jumo is that after a quick Facebook Connect (of course) the service lets you pick from seven large scale issue topics, Arts and Culture, Education, Environment and Animals, Health, Human Rights, Peace and Governance, and Poverty and then narrows them down by specific charity. I had forgotten how much I cared about 826 National until saw the option to follow them under “Education.”

Jumo has raised $3.5 million from the Omidyar Network, the Knight Foundation as well as other angel investors and plans on making money through user payments and sponsorships. The site, much like a health food store, does give you the uncanny feeling of doing something good simply by visiting though it remains to be seen whether people will put their money where their clicks are.

November 30th 2010 Uncategorized

Instagram Captures Their First Big Brand Partner: National Geographic

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There seems to be a common cycle for many startups. First, you capture users. Then, you capture brands/celebrities. Then you capture revenues. Most startups never make it past step one, let alone steps two and three. The mobile photo sharing service Instagram rocketed past step one in about a week. And then kept going. Now it’s time to explore step two. Which is exactly what they’re doing with their first major brand partnership: National Geographic.

The partnership seems like an obvious one since Instagram is all about great-looking pictures, and National Geographic is known for great-looking pictures. “National Geographic makes a ton of sense as an initial partner – they’re a fantastic company with such a rich visual history. Given that they’re so visually oriented, it’s a no-brainer that we’re going to be trying some interesting stuff out with them over the next few months,” Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom tells us.

He notes that they’ve been talking to National Geographic for weeks about a potential partnership and what it could mean and how it could work. “Basically, we’ve been going back and forth — brainstorming ideas for how NG can participate in the community,” Systrom says. He says that it remains to be seen exactly how National Geographic will use the service, but says that engaging their fans will be a first priority.

They’d like to participate more actively with their fans through photos – whether it’s enabling people from around the world to tell their story through an interesting prompt/contest, or crowd sourcing images for an upcoming story — everything’s on the table,” he says.

They’ve also got a huge photographer/reporter base that could contribute images ‘on the ground’ as things happen — imagine a ‘live’ version of National Geographic. But again, this is all very early, and we’re excited to figure out how NG and other brands can fully utilize our platform,” Systrom continues.

Systrom also notes that while they have been talking to other potential partners, they have nothing else to announce just yet. “Talking with brands has always been on our todo list – but doing so only really makes sense when you reach a certain scale to provide a big enough audience. Instagram is quickly becoming a standard tool in people’s social media toolkit, and it’s natural to start talking to brands about how they can leverage the visual nature of Instagram,” he says.

He also declined to give any specific numbers in terms of their current userbase nuumbers, but it seems pretty likely that they’re already close to a million users (if not past the milestone).

Things are pretty busy at the old Twitter office.

November 30th 2010 Uncategorized

Why Google <3s Groupon

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The Google-Groupon acquisition rumors are coming in hot and heavy now. The day began with a rumored price of $2.5 billion, which was way too low. Now it ends with a more likely price somewhere between $5 billion or $6 billion. Whatever the price, it will likely be Google’s largest acquisition ever if it goes through (beating out DoubleClick’s $3.1 billion, and certainly YouTube’s $1.65 billion price tags).

But why is Google even interested in Groupon? It is essentially an e-commerce site, bringing consumers daily deals from local and national merchants. Google doesn’t do e-commerce very well (although it is trying through sexier product search). Buying Groupon would be a very risky $5 billion bet for Google in an unproven area outside its sweet spot of search I won’t even get into valuation, which at $5 billion would be somewhere in the neighborhood of ten times whispered revenue run-rate of $500 million. But Groupon is the clear market leader in the fastest growing new category on the Internet, and Google seems willing to pay whatever it takes to buy market leadership. As one CEO in the local commerce industry put it to me on Monday, “I think the way Google will evolve is they will want to control everything significant on the Internet.”

Local commerce is one of those opportunities where Google is putting a lot of wood behind the arrow. Google Places is increasingly front and center on the main search results page for local searches, and VP Marissa Mayer recently switched from Search to now running Location and Local Services. She is known to be a big fan of Groupon, and now it will likely become a business under her direction.

But if there is one thing that explains Google’s affinity for Groupon is its pay-for-performance model. Groupon doesn’t get paid by merchants unless it delivers customers to their doors in the same way that Google does not get paid by search advertisers unless it delvers clicks to their websites. Through its online-to-offline coupons, Groupon has figured out how to track that last mile in local online commerce between the ad and customers showing up at a store.

Google could start showing Groupon deals as tags on local searches or within Google Maps. The ability to add deals to their Places pages could make Places more appealing to local businesses as well. The biggest challenge for Google will be scaling the business from one which deals with a few hundred businesses per day to tens or hundreds of thousands. Groupon still requires a large local sales force to manage these deals, and an army of copy writers to make the deals appealing. The larger Groupon gets, the harder that becomes. And those reputed 50 percent margins are begging to collapse. With a $5 billion price tag, there will be no margin of error for Google on this deal.

Photo credit: Flickr/Matt Smith

November 30th 2010 Google

Keyword Normalization in adCenter: What You Need to Know to Avoid Missing Out on Traffic

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Plurals, spelled with an “s” – that’s what I’d like to talk about. Specifically, how plurals are an integral part of your search campaigns, and how they are treated differently in Microsoft adCenter than they were in Yahoo!’s Panama search platform.

One is the Loneliest Number

If you recently migrated your Yahoo! accounts into adCenter and have left everything “as-is,” you may be missing out on some easy traffic. Why? There is a key difference at play behind the scenes between how adCenter views keywords and how Panama used to view keywords; while Yahoo! used to assume that bidding on the keyword “car” automatically meant that an advertiser also wanted to bid on the keyword “cars,” adCenter does not.

If you’re new to adCenter, make sure to go through your campaigns and look for keywords that can be pluralized. Each keyword is treated as a separate entity, and adCenter will not automatically serve your ads for singular keywords if the searcher’s query is written in the plural form.

For example, if you are bidding on “car” but not “cars,” the following might occur:

Searcher types in “best mpg car” = Your ad shows up on Bing & Yahoo!

Searcher types in “best mpg cars” = No ad will display.

It’s a Quick Fix

If you can’t remember the last time you took a good hard look at your Yahoo! campaigns and have recently moved them into adCenter, I highly recommend taking a minute or two to make sure you’ve got all of your keywords pluralized before the Holiday traffic has peaked out. You can either export your keyword list using the Microsoft adCenter Desktop, or run a quick analysis of your highest performing keywords using an adCenter Keyword Performance Report and adding pluralized versions of your most successful keywords.

Irregular Plurals

Don’t forget about irregular plurals, either. These are the words that won’t be turned into their plural form just by adding an “s” to the end. A few examples of irregular plurals include words such as:


· Box – Boxes

· Elf – Elves

· Penny – Pennies

· Scarf – Scarves

· Mouse – Mice

· Woman – Women

· Child – Children

If English isn’t your first language and you find this to be too difficult to try on your own (I completely understand; I grew up in a home speaking Dutch) I recommend searching on Bing using the query “irregular plurals” to help you find sites that can make pluralizing easier for you.

Register to Attend a Free Webinar with the Author – Dec. 16 – Intro. to Advertising on Bing/Yahoo! Search


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November 30th 2010 adcenter, advertisers, Keywords

Comic for November 30, 2010

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November 30th 2010 Uncategorized

Google To Buy Groupon This Week In $5 To $6 Billion Deal?

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Whew. The rumors of a Google-Groupon deal are getting hotter. Yesterday, there was a report the deal was done for $2 billion. Today, there are two reports that negotiations continue with a price of $5 to $6 billion being discussed. Back on November 19, the first report of a Google-Groupon deal came…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

November 30th 2010 Uncategorized

The Tech Bubble Is Now On Twitter

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While it seems as though every other post we’ve written lately can be taken as evidence that Silicon Valley is currently in a very optimistic phase, Mike’s “Facebook Now Worth $50 Billion In Secondary Trading” pretty much took the cake, until this one.

Perhaps a better marker of the “good times” tipping point than the rumored Groupon acquisition (AND the subsequent Groupon for Groupon spoof), the highly contested Tech Bubble of 2010 now has its own Twitter address at @the_tech_bubble. And judging by the timing of its first tweet, it looks like the astronomical Facebook valuation post inspired the account. In fact I’m not entirely convinced Arrington isn’t somehow behind this.

While there were plenty of snarky blogs during the early Web 2.0 era including uncov and Dead 2.0, I’ve never seen a bubble with it’s own Twitter account. Perhaps the account itself explained it best, “Of course I have a twitter account. Twitter wouldn’t exist without me.”

Hmmm. I see what you did just there.

November 30th 2010 Twitter