Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

Has RSS Gone Mainstream?

Monday, May 21st, 2007

RSS IconNot even close. The technology is status quo among bloggers and the blogosphere alike. It is even used by the majority on online news agencies and portals. But it has yet to reach widespread adoption among the general public.

This question came about when I pondered whether RSS was now common knowledge or whether it still lived in the web 2.0 echo chamber as we know it…

So I tried my ‘web 2.0 test’ on a couple of friends. I asked if they knew what RSS was and what RSS stood for. In all case, the first answer was ‘no’ and the second was ‘no idea’. This proved to me that RSS has not broken into the mainstream and has a long way to go.

So why is taking so long to reach a critical mass?

My guess is not because the technology is overly sophisticated or complicated to use. It is more of a question of perception. The ‘perceived’ complexity of RSS is what intimidates people and dissuades them from using the technology. The concept of ‘pulling a content feed’ is not difficult to grasp. The terminology and context placed around the system is what deters most people.

If an attempt can be made to humanize the technology and make it more user-friendly, my guess is that the adoption rate will skyrocket as people begin to realize the true benefits and advantages. The day my parents can understand the notion of ‘pulling a feed’ or even ‘feed reader’ will be the day I know RSS has made it.

Joost Adds New Channels

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Joost logoIn an e-mail message from the company, Joost states that they are adding over 40 new channels in the next week. A small sampling of channels to come includes:

  • National Geographic
  • Adult Swim
  • Spike TV
  • Heavy
  • Hasbro

Already accessible is content from MuchMusic, Virgin, and Alliance Atlantis to name a few.

Joost reiterates that they will be adding new channels on a weekly basis, so stay tuned. This bode well for the viewer, as well as the company. It creates a more “sticky” experience and drives users back. This, in turn, generates loyalty and residual traffic, and eventually, ad revenues.

I can’t wait for a ridiculous acquisition offer from a company with deep pockets, looking to break into the new-web space… Microsoft?….

Ad Network Acquisition Fever Continues…

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Ad network acquisition fever is reaching epidemic levels. This widespread phenomenon is sweeping the web landscape like a hungry flock of locusts. Just yesterday I wrote about the 24/7 Real Media acquisition by WPP Group. Then today, the last of the big three search engine players finally made a move - Microsoft acquired aQuantive for $6 billion.

This just about cleans out the entire ad network space. It appears as though no big Internet powerhouse wanted to be left behind with the big 3 and AOL all grabbing a piece of the pie.

And I always thought that the Internet signified freedom and diversity… This consolidation of sorts further solidifies the foundation of the big guns. Now, with less reliance on outside ad networks, these monoliths can focus on internal systems and strategies to expand the business.

What strikes me as funny in this situation is the order of events. Google usually strikes first, snatching up the biggest player in the industry. This not only provides solid positioning for Google with the industry, but also provides the best PR bang-for-buck. Yahoo jumps second, buying a secondary player at a slightly higher valuation. Some PR exposure may ensue, but this is usually drowned out by initial move of Google. Finally, Microsoft lags and lethargically purchases a tier-two firm at a huge premium. In most cases, the takeover turns out to be nothing more than a copy-cat action by Microsoft with little or no positive outcome.

Microsoft definite lags with respect to its Internet strategy. Saying it is weak is putting it mildly. The company needs to step up and start making smarter, more strategic moves in a more timely fashion.

Yahoo needs to focus on services. Trying to dethrone Google from the top search engine spot will be next to impossible. Maintaining a similar level of search engine quality is necessary, but innovation and re-invention should not be a priority. Yahoo needs to focus on core areas such as finance, travel, and shopping among other things.

And Google… well… Google just needs to be Google…

Google Launches iGoogle - No, It’s Not an Apple Thing…

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

iGoogle logoLast week, Google officially launched iGoogle. This is nothing overly dramatic. It was a simple rebrand of the old Google IG with some added features, including comprehensive widget support. Google is looking to make a splash in the personalized, AJAX homepage space, which is dominated by such players as Yahoo, Netvibes, and Pageflakes.

What intrigues me the most is the new name… iGoogle. Of all the names Google could have chosen, they went the ‘Apple route’ and chose to throw an “i” in front of their brand. A smart move? Or a blatant attempt at jumping on the bandwagon? Who knows… but don’t tell me they hadn’t thought of the potential consequences or discussions that would come about before choosing the name.

I will say that placing an “i” before any word or name has been around on the net for quite some time. In these cases, the “i” was meant to signify “Internet”. But nowadays, everyone attributes the “i” to Apple products such as the iPod or iPhone (lawsuits aside).

Is Google looking to cause a stir and build PR? Is the “i” simply meant to convey the idea of a personalized page? Am I entirely crazy and this post is a waste of time? Any one of these may be plausible. But I would never underestimate or overlook the foresight of this search engine powerhouse.

Blogs and Elections

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Is there any significance between blogs and elections? Maybe not in the past, but I would wager that blogs will play an important role in future elections and politics in general. Having said that, the upcoming U.S. presidential election comes to mind. Candidates who choose to leverage blogs may be at an advantage. Those who choose to ignore this communication vehicle may find themselves behind in the polls come election day.

I had the pleasure of listening to John Edwards’s keynote speech at Gnomedex 2006. He spoke about the future of politics and how the Internet/blogs/podcasting will play a huge role in democracy. Edwards expressed a deep interest in podcasting. He said it would play a vital role in his campaign. Furthermore, Edwards has become known as a Twitter power user. Now, I am a huge advocate of the use of blogs, podcasting, and the Internet in general. But my concern is this: are politicians simply ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ with respect to these technologies? Are they simply trying to appeal to a new (perhaps younger) crowd? Or do they truly believe in the technology and the power that it instills? My hope is obviously the latter of the three.

Having said that, I do believe that blogs can play a siginificant role and have a huge impact if used sincerely and strategically. A full developed campaign, with open communication and a strong support team, can make huge strides on the net and produce exponential effects given the resources at hand. The breadth and leverage of the web cannot be ignored.

Many of the most popular and highest traffic blogs on the net are U.S. political blogs. These sites attract millions of visitors every day. Should a candidate successfully tap these online strongholds, their campaigns would immediately be given a boost. Dissemination of information and PR are two major advantages to any front-runner who succeeds at forging relationships with these online political powerhouses.

Stepping back a bit, the success of the candidate must lie in their platform and their presence. No Internet technology can make up for these important characteristics. Even if a candidate does outline a strong platform, my guess is that the Internet and blogs will sway elections in the future and play a bigger role in politics than people currently realize.