4 posts categorized "Web/Tech"

10/20/2008 A Selling Ad

I’m always on the lookout for groups trying to push online advertising to the next level. That’s why Adgregate's ShopAds caught my attention. Its premise is that you can complete purchases right within the ad itself. No click-throughs, no landing pages.

Most online ads still suffer from animated billboard syndrome. Providers like PointRoll and Eyeblaster, Adroit and Offermatica have allowed us to engage with customers from within the banners themselves, providing a less interrupted and more effective dialogue.

Adgregate has now taken that a step further. Now you can convert sales from right within the advertising. At first glance, it seems that book and music publishers have taken the first plunges. That’s probably a good target for ShopAds. I mean you’re probably not going to make any high-end purchases through a banner ad. But things like music or audio books, both of which you can preview within the ads, make sense. So do downloadable films or TV shows. All of the above assume some prior knowledge of the product.


Which raises the question: What else would you buy through a banner? Clothes? Not likely. Electronics? Probably not. Ringtones? Absolutely.

I think ShopAds might even be a boon for non-profits, if they could ever figure out a way to use them. Properly placed, with the right message, might increase their fund-raising opportunities. Think about a relief fund ShopAd next to news about Katrina or the Sunami.

Last month, TechCrunch 50 named ShopAds as one of its finalists. It will be interesting to see who starts using this in a significant manner.

What would you buy through an online ad?

10/02/2008 Managing Inspiration

I get a lot of e-mail and read a lot of Web sites. Most information I pass through quickly, but every once in a while there’s some tidbit that spurs some big thought and is worth saving. If you’re like me, you’ll bookmark the page or save the e-mail. The trouble is trying to get back to that information especially after some time has passed.

I usually search through my e-mail or bookmarks, and then try to figure out where that content is. The Web and computers, with all their searchability, are still hard places to find things, or rather, re-find things.  

So now I’m playing around with a tool called Evernote. It let’s me grab anything, images, text, URLs and put them into searchable notes. It can even scan text in images. Now I know what to do with all of those business cards that I don’t want to transcribe.

The two biggest advantages I see so far are the very good search tool built in, with text recognition, and the fact that its device agnostic, meaning you can use in on your computer, from the Web, or with your mobile device.

So far, it’s helping me keep track of the little information items that are important to me. The question is whether I’ll keep this up or find it too much to keep up with.

But it’s a great idea. Applying Web search to my personal items seems like a forward thinking thing to do.

I’d love to see something like this on e-commerce sites, so that rather than saving the whole item in a shopping basket, I can grab distinct pieces to my personal shopping folder. And keep them there.

09/24/2008 What? You don’t Skype?

I love it when I find a great technology tool that solves all sorts of problems. That’s one of the reasons I love Skype. Skype isn’t new; it’s been around for a while now. I had an early account, but no one, alas, to talk with.

Over the past year or so I’ve turned more and more of my family and colleagues on to it. At home we use it to talk to family in Sweden. At work, I use it to videoconference with team members for virtual collaboration.

From a work perspective, it’s invaluable. Talk about being geographically agnostic. Skype lets me connect with co-workers all over the world, and even ones down the hall.

That’s why I’m still surprised to find a huge number of people who don’t use it. I’m especially surprised at people in the digital and traditional communications business. I’m not talking about the Skype phone with subscription; I’m talking about the free one you can use on your computer.

I mean, my 80 year-old mother uses it to connect to her grandchildren.

If you aren’t using this you really need to start. If you decide not to, then the sound you just heard is the world of new media passing you by.

09/12/2008 Internet killed the Propaganda Star? Not.

Seth Godin got me thinking with his post “Spin” about the current political campaign.

I always believed that the Web would end the Propaganda Age. To me, this age began with modern 20th century mass communication. Fascists and dictators started and developed the new mass propaganda in the 30’s and 40’s (Hitler and Stalin). Democracies refined and finessed it (“Duck and Cover”). The free market ultimately exploited it (The 30 second spot of the 60’s).Propaganda2

In the past, democracies protected themselves against propaganda by a strong 4th estate in news journalists. Communist countries had no such luck. I’m reminded of the old Soviet joke: In Pravda there is no Tass (“News”); in Tass there is no Pravda (“Truth”).

Today our news journalists seem more like entertainers, coveting the advertising dollars to keep them afloat.

While propaganda isn’t going out the window, the Web and the information age were supposed to provide enough knowledge to make us powerful enough to defend ourselves against it. By empowering and engaging individual people, we would be strong enough collectively to fight back. I think this has happened on the commercial side of life. Discussion boards, blogs, personal reviews and even Twitter have given consumers a truer picture of products, services and everyday life. We now have a vast network to consult with for every purchase or decision imaginable. What a dream come true!

But a look at the current political season shows that propaganda is alive and well. The Big Lie machine developed in the 30’s has reared its ugly head throughout the first part of this century. While we get heroes like John Stewart fighting against this, the major broadcasters continue to chase the money and regurgitate the propaganda.

Right now the Web doesn’t seem like it’s enough to combat this, unfortunately. Whether that’s due to micro fragmentation or something else is the big question.

Is the Web incapable of harnessing mass movement because at its core it’s a personal, one-to-one experience? Is engagement only possible online to move small crowds, but not large ones?

Why should an unknown person influence what car I buy but not whom I vote for?

Right now, it feels pretty depressing.

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