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Aug 2, 2008

Priority One: Make It Work. Test, Test, Test.

Sitemeter Kills Thousands Of Sites For IE Users

In yet another case of widgets going crazy and causing havoc, a bug in Sitemeter has caused a large number of websites and blogs using the free web analytics tool to fail loading for users of Internet Explorer. Users of Google’s Blogger were amongst the first to report experiencing problems with sites running Sitemeter at 6pm pacific time on Friday. The problem has since been partially rectified, although some 16 hours later and without a notification or official response from the company either via email or on their blog.

Sitemeter proudly displays a list of the most highly trafficked sites running their service on their homepage. The sites include the entire Gawker Media network, the gossip blogger PerezHilton and the popular political blog DailyKos. We verified that all of these sites were failing to load in Internet Explorer, with nothing more than a blank page and a response in the form IE error window indicating a connection issue with sitemeter.com. The issue also affected our own Techcrunch France blog, which resorted to removing the sitemeter code as the only solution. The browser error indicates that the problem was with the Javascript code that is included in each page.

Uptime monitoring services such as Netcraft did not report any downtime for these sites, since the issue was Javascript and browser-specific rather than a broader HTTP connection issue. The main sitemeter website remained operational, while hundreds of bloggers posted about the problem and our tips mailbox filled with links and complaints on the issue.

Back in May, Michael wrote about how our own issues with widget providers on Techcrunch affected the performance and uptime of this site, and how having a provider not communicate such issues makes matters worse. There is no real reason for a widely used service such as Sitemeter to go down, as there are solutions available (such as using an IFRAME) where a fault in embedded code can be bypassed and at least allow the remainder of the page to load. Worse still, there is no real reason as to why, after 16 hours since the problems surfaced, there is no official word from the company despite the level of noise from users and visitors to the sites who have embedded the service.

Adnets Weekend

Washington Post
TechPost: Advertising For Facebook Apps
Washington Post, United States - 5 hours ago
The first is the advertising network, called BannerCash. Developers put a slice of code into their applications, which serves ads to users of the app, ...
Investor Notice: The Rosen Law Firm Announces Investigation of ...
MarketWatch - 1 hour ago
The Rosen Law Firm announces that it is investigating potential civil securities claims against Harris Stratex Networks, Inc. ("Harris Stratex" or the ...
The Law Offices of Eric J. O'Bell, LLC Announce Initiation of ... MarketWatch

CBS Says Profit Rose, Plans to Sell 50 Radio Stations (Update3)
Bloomberg - Jul 31, 2008
Some investors in CBS, which gets about two-thirds of its revenue from advertising, have called for share repurchases as the stock has dropped 38 percent ...
CBS Dims Outlook Forbes
CBS Forecast Flattens on Ad Weakness Wall Street Journal
Sale of Sundance Channel Lifts CBS in Quarter New York Times
MarketWatch - Digital Spy
Dynamax Technologies and The Knowledge Zone Set Sail with Launch ...
MarketWatch - 19 hours ago
Unlike most digital signage installations, which exclusively display advertising messages, the iZone network broadcasts useful editorial content, ...
Dynamax Launches iZone Digital Signage Network in Cowes TMCnet
YourCity.MD Sets Up Largest Single Owned, Geo-Targeted Online Ad ...
MarketWatch - 13 hours ago
And, unlike existing smaller city networks, YourCity.MD is comprehensive, organized, controlled and owned by one company. "Advertisers understand that we ...
The Results Are In; MyWebGrocer’s Network Now One of the Top 2000 ...
Emediawire (press release), WA - Jul 29, 2008
Each month an increasing number of large consumer packaged goods firms are using ournetwork to reach consumers.” MyWebGrocer’s advertising network is ...
CORRECTING and REPLACING 19% of Senior Marketers - or One in Five...
MarketWatch - Jul 30, 2008
With some 44000 professionals in 104 countries, the Groupe's activities cover advertising through three global advertising networks: Leo Burnett, Publicis, ...CVE:UBS

MediaPost Publications
Collective Media Launches the Collective Video Network
Biloxi Sun Herald,  USA - Jul 29, 2008
"Launching the Collective Video Network is a natural extension of our premium advertising network and the best-in-class technology we've developed in the ...
Burst Media and PanRaven Partner to Introduce Multimedia ... Business Wire (press release)
US advertising slowdown looms over media companies
BusinessWeek - Jul 31, 2008
Disney's chief financial officer, Tom Staggs, warned that ad spending had worsened in the last few weeks, even at its ABC and ESPN networks, despite profits ...CBS - DIS - VIA.B
Ad Slump Knocks Hearst-Argyle Earnings
Broadcasting & Cable, NY - 10 hours ago
Hearst-Argyle Television Q2 earnings, revenue drop due to weak local advertising, softness at bigger TV stations. By Robert Marich -- Broadcasting & Cable, ...HTV

Social Media Weekend

The face of the Olympics?
Chicago Sun-Times, United States - 17 hours ago
When it comes to social media, however, DJI's list of most-talked-about athletes shifted around a bit. Phelps did show up in the No. 1 spot on this list, ...
Michael Phelps' wave takes swimming to new heights Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Social Media: Strategies in Content and Commerce
Digital Podcast News, CA - Jul 31, 2008
This session focused on social media and how digital media executives are using it to their advantage. Ben Grossman, Editor in Chief, for Broadcasting ...
Crowdsourcing: The Killer Development Tool Digital Podcast News
UK Government Group Calls on Social Media Sites to Do More to ...
Digital Media Wire, CA - 10 hours ago
The Committee provides a list of twenty-nine conclusions and recommendations focused on measures social media sites can take to improve filtering of content ...
The Social Media Minute
CMSWire, CA - 11 hours ago
By John Conroy Social Media moves so fast, it’s hard to keep up. Here are the week’s top stories, in scan-friendly format. Everyone’s been waiting for the ...
Can Social Media Go Local?
Inc.com, NY - 10 hours ago
Social media marketing campaigns are often intended to reach large audiences. Marketing pros usually talk about Facebook, YouTube and online groups as tools ...
Kontagent: Game-changing analytics software for social network ...
VentureBeat, CA - 6 hours ago
Adonomics and Social Media’s Appsaholic have been around for around a year. The former has been integrated with developer company The UADA, and is a public ...
OleOle Announces Fantasy Football Game Integrated Into Social ...
Free press releases (press release), UK - 14 hours ago
29 July 2008 -- OleOle, the worldwide leading social media site for football fans, today made its social Fantasy Football game available to OleOle members. ...

BBC News
Social Media and SMM: Think Like the Agarwalla Brothers ...
SearchViews, NY - Jul 30, 2008
The lesson here from a social media marketing perspective is to try to think like the brothers Agarwalla. The genius of Scrabulous wasn’t in ripping off ...
Scrabulous Creators Get Sneaky, Bring it Back as Wordscraper Profy
Return to Sender: Finding Your Inner Xi (It's Good for At Least ... Phillyist
Scrabulous Sued by Hasbro Lawdit Commercial Solicitors
BusinessWeek - Chicago Tribune
Avenue A | Razorfish Announces Creation of New Media and ...
PR Web (press release), WA - Jul 31, 2008
Such forms include social media applications that enable people to share their viewpoints and post their own videos and stories; immersive, ...TVH
How to Measure Social Media ROI for Business
Mashable, CA - Jul 31, 2008
Social media measurement is one of those topics about which everyone has an opinion, but nobody agrees on the solution. The question about how to measure ...

Blog Weekend

Washington Redskins Chris Cooley starts blog for CSN
Bizjournals.com, NC - 4 hours ago
In an effort to increase its visibility in the Washington and Baltimore regions, CSN Mid-Atlantic is launching its first video blog with Washington Redskins ...
Hackett: Wall Street Journal Business Technology Blog, "How to Cut ...
MarketWatch - 12 hours ago
... a researcher at the Hackett Group, tells the Business Technology Blog. , , ) , a global strategic advisory firm, is a leader in best practice advisory, ...HCKT
JAMIE SAMUELSEN'S BLOG Tigers should move Miguel Cabrera up in the...
Detroit Free Press, United States - Jul 30, 2008
Jamie Samuelsen blogs for freep.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Detroit Free Press or its writers. ...

Bleacher Report
JAMIE SAMUELSEN'S BLOG Tigers treaded water in Pudge-Farnsworth deal
Detroit Free Press, United States - 7 hours ago
Jamie Samuelsen blogs for freep.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Detroit Free Press or its writers. ...
MLB Trade Deadline Blog ESPN
all 182 news articles »

Live blog: Yahoo CEO faces shareholders
CNET News, CA - 9 hours ago
SAN JOSE, Calif.--We're awaiting the commencement of the Yahoo shareholders meeting, where we're expecting CEO Jerry Yang to get an earful about the ...
Icahn Blows Off Yahoo Annual, or, Reading Between the Lines Wired News
A daily dose of postings from The Chronicle's technology blog ... San Francisco Chronicle
Yahoo faces down shareholders at meeting MarketWatch
WebProNews - VentureBeat
YHOO - TPO:1584 - MSFT
Live Blog: Wie's return to PGA TOUR competition
PGA Tour, FL - Jul 31, 2008
Editor's Note: PGA.COM Coordinating Producer John Kim is in Reno this week to document Michelle Wie and her group's progress in the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open. ...

Sky News
SEC Updates Rules Regarding Web, Blog Posts
PC Magazine - 21 hours ago
Antifraud provisions will apply to statements made by a company or a company representative on blogs and message boards. A company "cannot require investors ...
Search this blog ScienceBlogs
Can Cuil kill Google? Not yet Salon
After Cuil, Blekko Will Be More Careful - But Does It Matter? ReadWriteWeb
WebProNews - Infopackets
Detroit Free Press, United States - 12 hours ago
BY SHANNON SHELTON • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • August 1, 2008 Just got off the phone with Drew Neitzel's agent, Doug Neustadt, and he gave some background ...
Medical blogs for doctors and patients alike
Los Angeles Times, CA - 1 hour ago
By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer The world of medical blogs is crowded, colorful and as diverse as the nation's population of doctors and ...
NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA'S BLOG Lions’ Kevin Smith colorful off the ...
Detroit Free Press, United States - 7 hours ago
He’s already a mini-media darling. If he plays well and keeps this kind of attitude, I guarantee you he will be an even bigger media darling and a fan ...

Aug 1, 2008

US advertising slowdown looms over media companies

Ed: Since Business Week has reported on advertising slowdown, have we seen the economic bottom? ;-)

US advertising slowdown looms over media companies

LOS ANGELES -- Earnings reports from three major media companies -- CBS Corp., The Walt Disney Co. and Viacom Inc. -- this week show the malaise in local ad markets beginning to spread to national cable and broadcast networks.

All three companies so far have been able to weather the downturn with a mix of cost-cutting, higher affiliate revenues from cable and satellite partners, and resiliency in attendance at theaters and theme parks.

But analysts said CBS could start showing cracks soon because it gets the highest proportion of its revenue from advertising -- spending that companies tend to trim in an economic slowdown.

Brand-on-Brand Advertising

Rebecca Lieb

Brand-on-Brand Advertising

...An ambitious study (PDF download) was conducted in tandem with Dynamic Logic's MarketNorms, involving four million respondents, and 2,000 online ad campaigns over a three-year period. The OPA's message? Environment matters. Particularly when it comes to boosting brand favorability and purchase intent.

"In nearly every category measured, ad effectiveness scores on branded content sites were numerically higher than on the Web in general, on portals or on ad networks. Whether it's the trust they engender or the audiences they attract, branded content sites deliver better advertising results," said Pam Horan, OPA's president.

Portals and remnant networks work fine for direct marketing efforts, the study finds. But brands need to align with brands. That, they claim, could be key in helping to narrow the revenue gap between traditional and online media.

This environmental concept is hardly new. In fact, it's basic common sense in any channel. A full-page ad in "The New York Times" costs more than a pitch in the local Pennysaver for a reason, after all.

Common sense also dictates reality-checking the relative merits of creative executions factor into the findings. A cosmetics firm investing in a CondèNet buy is far more likely likely to craft a creative execution slightly more sophisticated than the "better than Botox" execution delivered regularly with Yahoo Mail. Ads for financial institutions on Forbes.com are unlikely to feature line-dancing cowboys. Effectively, that's the difference (at least in terms of the creative) between brand and direct advertising.

Finally, branded sites are more inclined to work hand-in-glove with brand advertisers to create unique placements, sponsorships, and positioning than are ad networks. We're talking boutique here, not remnant inventory.

Nevertheless, the study contains some interesting findings, particularly at a point in time when brand advertisers have plenty of ways to deliver messaging, ranging from rolling their own media to creating brand and product channels on social media sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube.

That said, some of the study's highlights include:

  • Branded content site sponsorships were found to be 42 percent more effective than MarketNorms' overall average, and 36 percent more effective than on portals.

  • 18- to 34-year-olds are more responsive to ads on branded content sites. They're 33 percent more likely to form positive opinions about advertised brands than they are on portals.

  • CPG ads on branded content sites get a 26 percent lift in purchase intent over MarketNorms' average.

  • Video ads on branded content sites provided an 82 percent brand awareness boost over MarketNorms' online video advertising averages and a 67 percent brand favorability lift. Similarly, rich media ads scored 28 percent higher in terms of brand awareness improvement.

Impressive indeed. But while the OPA's study is no doubt keyed to attract coveted brand advertisers to its members' sites, the real message in the finding may not be to advertisers at all, but rather to those calling the shots at the branded content sites themselves...

'Generation V' Defies Traditional Demographics

The New Internet Roles with Social Media

'Generation V' Defies Traditional Demographics

The online behavior, attitudes and interests of people from all walks of life are blending together online, cutting across generations and traditional demographics and giving rise to a new online group called “Generation Virtual” (Generation V), according to research by Gartner, which coined the term.

Unlike previous generations, Generation V is not defined by age, gender, social class or geography. Instead, it is based on achievement, accomplishments and an increasing preference for the use of digital media channels to discover information, build knowledge and share insights.

Marketers will ultimately need a separate marketing strategy to reach this generation, according to Gartner.

Within the Generation V community, Gartner defines four levels of engagement - creators, contributors, opportunists, and lurkers - related to the extent to which customers engage with other customers and the level of engagement that businesses and other organizations must have to enable them:


Findings about these Generation V segments:

  • Up to 3% will be creators, providing original content. They can be advocates that promote products and services.
  • Between 3% and 10% will be contributors who add to the conversation, but don’t initiate it. They can recommend products and services as customers move through a buying process, looking for purchasing advice.
  • Between 10% and 20% will be opportunists, who can further contributions regarding purchasing decisions. Opportunists can add value to a conversation that’s taking place while walking through a considered purchase.
  • Approximately 80% will be lurkers, essentially spectators, who reap the rewards of online community input but absorb only what is being communicated. They can still implicitly contribute and indirectly validate value from the rest of the community. All users start out as lurkers...

More than Half of US Adults Text, Blog, Otherwise Use Social Media

More than 50% of US adults are using text messaging, blogging and other types of social media to regularly communicate with others, according to MediaPost, which reported results from the latest wave of Universal McCann’s large-scale “Media in Mind” tracking study.

For those 18-34 years old, the reigning form of personal communication is social media, which 85% of those in this age group say they use to connect with people they know.

Below, additional findings from the survey.

Older tech, such as email and instant messaging, are also still replacing analog communications:

  • 22% of all American adults say they rely on instant messaging, up from 9% in 2007.
  • 21% of adults age 18-34 rely on instant messaging, up from 14% in 2007.

Mobile media is becoming a dominant force as well, as evidenced by the pervasive use of texting:

  • Only 41% of US adults say they’ve never sent a text message, down 8% from a year ago.
  • Among 18- to 34-year-olds, the proportion of those who have never sent a text message has fallen to 22%, a decline of 16% from last year.

Self-publishing online and reading blog content also are growing:

  • 10% of US adults now publish blogs. That number was only 5% last year.
  • Younger Americans publish blogs at twice that rate: Some 20% of US adults age 18-34 publish a blog, up from 10% last year.

About the research: Universal McCann’s Media in Mind study is an annual proprietary survey of 5,000+ adults that analyzes how consumers relate to media and products in their daily lives.

IBM aims $400 million at cloud computing

Posted by Jim Kerstetter

IBM announced Friday that it's spending nearly $400 million on new cloud computing data centers in North Carolina and Tokyo. Big Blue will spend nearly $360 million to renovate an existing building at its Research Triangle Park campus in North Carolina. The goal is to reuse 95 percent of the existing building's "shell," recycle 90 percent of the old building's material, and make sure 20 percent of the new material is recycled. The new center is expected to be completed by late 2009.

IBM image

Big Blue also boasts that the new data center's mechanical equipment will be "50 percent more efficient than the industry average, equaling a reduction of approximately 31,799 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year." If IBM can follow through on that promise, that would be the equivalent of taking 5,800 cars off the road, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Tokyo facility will be linked to the new North Carolina facility and seven other IBM cloud computing centers in cities including Dublin, Ireland, and Beijing.

Clean air benefits aside, few should be surprised that IBM, which runs the largest computer consulting business in the world and derives the bulk of its revenue through services such as software hosting, should jump head-first into cloud computing services.

While Google caters to consumers with its Web-based applications, Amazon provides hosting services to start-ups, and companies like Salesforce.com provide an array of on-demand software, it can be easy to forget that IBM is the real heavyweight in business computing.

In November 2007, IBM unveiled its "Blue Cloud" bundle of services. And at a conference in Los Angeles in April, IBM executives made it clear that providing hosting services is nothing new to them. The rest of computer industry? According to IBM, they're new to this game.

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