Archive for January, 2008

Digital Music Sales Grow

January 30, 2008
But Overall Sales Still Falter

Although music sales as a whole have declined, digital music sales grew to $2.9 billion in 2007 (compared to $2.1 billion in 2006), according to reports from The New York Times and The Economist (handy graphs in the latter link… especially if you fancy Beyonce). Once again, the fall in overall sales is being blamed on piracy. Understandable. I only hope a) we find better ways to curb this piracy other than DRM (or even worse, the Sony debacle of 2005) and b) this transforms music companies, which, for years, have basically served as mammoth loan sharks… with exorbitant overhead.

Interestingly, there appears to be a demographic divide between those who buy CD’s and those who download their music, according to a list of the top ten artists of 2007.


So Much For Consumer-Generated Ads

January 29, 2008

Subway is suing Quizno’s over a contest the latter company held, where users were encouraged to make commercials depicting Quiznos’ sandwiches as “superior” to Subway’s. A breakdown of the suit thus far can be read here. If you’ve been thinking of working in copyright and defamation law, now would be a good time to do so. Unfortunately, consumers may find themselves liable, not the advertisers or companies.


No Complete Access

January 25, 2008
Wall Street Journal Won’t Be Free

Hopes of the Wall Street Journal getting rid of their online subscription revenue have been seriously dashed: speaking at the World Economic Forum, Rupert Murdoch reportedly stated, “‘The really specialized (material) giving the greatest insights, that will still be a subscription service.'” However, the New York Times pointed out that Murdoch has “has vacillated publicly” about staying fee-based; the article noted that in November, Murdoch said “‘We expect to make that free.'” So why the change? Although I highly doubt Murdoch and company based the decision on this information, a Bear Stearns analyst concluded that to free, the site would need 12x more traffic. On The Long Tail, Chris Anderson explicated why that conclusion is probably false. I mostly agree with him, since the analysis is “based on an estimated CPM of $6”; that price estimation strikes me as ludicrous, because I’m pretty sure old media schedules for my clients do not include a $6 CPM.

Oh well. I was hoping I could gain access to more articles, such as “A CDO Called Norma,” especially since the topic directly affects my work. Looks like I’ll just have to wait for that raise.

My “Smartphone” And Windows Mobile

January 23, 2008

Windows Mobile

Another Reason Why I Can’t Stand Microsoft Products

Supposedly setting up ActiveSync is a breeze. Months ago when I actually used my Motorola Q for work email, it was a nightmare and I really never got it working correctly. Now, for the time being, all I want is to get my short videos and pictures onto a personal PC (scroll down to page 14 for the simple step-by-step guide). Is it wrong for me to assume that, even though I work with computers, I should not have to be a software engineer to figure out how to sync my Motorola Q with a PC? The other day I installed the Sync software and instead of being able to plug it in via the USB port and have it work its magic, I got the error message “Cannot find the mobile device.” Great. Then, I had to run a component of the software to “help” me find everything wrong with this failed connection, leading me to pages of confusing tips.

I just figure that, if the software on my Q is made by Microsoft and the software on the PC is made by Microsoft, and the software on my Q carries the name of Windows (Mobile 5.0) and the software on the PC carries the name of Windows (XP), then it should be a fairly seamless process, right?

Mark my words: the person who is going to make some of the most money in the next decade is the person who figures out how to make this digital mess work together: my AIM account (brandingme) through my Q, my Q to my MacBook (ugh, do I even want to subject my MacBook to that???), all the world’s web pages with FireFox, Safari and IE (and I guess Opera), and hell, even Microsoft software with Microsoft software.

You get my point. And trust, that person who makes it work together, he will be rolling in the dough.

[note to self: become programming language god]

Blogging For Money – The Illegal Way

January 22, 2008

Well, I’m not aware of any laws against it… but it still violates many blogging platforms’ Terms Of Service. It seems that Google can benefit from the proliferation of these, and so I want to reach back in time and revive a ‘classic’ news article on the subject.

Google Losing Fight Against Splogs?

Last July The Guardian wrote an article about “splogging.” It discusses the fight against splogs -spam blogs that abuse the AdSense program for $$$- and Google’s (apparent) lack of interest. Unfortunately, it seems one of the bloggers that fights splogs has gone radio silent, since the last update on his site was in August of ’07; I hope he simply didn’t give up the fight 😦

Facebook: All We Know Is Advertising

January 18, 2008
Facebook On The Way Up 

Although MySpace got 76% of US social network traffic, Facebook grew 51% last year and is about to surpass MySpace in foreign traffic. It’s interesting to note that although MySpace still dominates the total pageviews traffic, growth is stagnate; meanwhile, Facebook continues to make impressive gains.

Zuckerberg Makes 60 Minutes Appearance


You can watch the full broadcast on Kara Swisher’s blog (she made an appearance on the segment) Boomtown; there is additional content and a transcript available on the 60 Minutes website as well.

Zuckerburg basically quotes PR material verbatim, which is an assumption on my part, but if you watch the video I feel it will be immediately apparent. One of the highlights of the segment is when Leslie Stahl ask Zuckerburg, “You seem to be replacing Larry and Sergey as the people out here who everyone’s talking about.” He just stares at her. And stares. So she says, “You’re just staring at me,” to which he replies, “Is that a question?” Golden.

“There Have to be Ads”

The rest of the segment is pretty fair, neither a complete puff piece for Facebook or a total humiliation either. One part the stuck out for me, however, is when responding to issues of advertising, privacy and the following PR disaster, Zuckerberg states, “I mean there have to be ads either way because we have to make money.”

Hold up one second.

Dear readers, please look at that again: “I mean there have to be ads either way because we have to make money.” [emphasis mine] It’s disappointing that so many websites these days cannot think beyond the advertising revenue model; yes Google did it and is now multi-billion dollar company, but the context of a sponsored link in a search results page is much different from text ads in a Facebook profile; same goes for many other social networking sites.


Where is the creativity?! Where is the diversified bottom line? I’m guessing all of you want glorious IPO’s that a) line your pockets with cash and b) vindicate the various investments that value your product in the billion-dollar range… are you really going to get there through simply advertising? Please, be honest here.

Here’s some ideas: Badoo, a social networking site, lets a user’s profile and content be featured for $1 in a program called Rise Up. Or, you can look at a recent in the blog A VC for a great rundown of revenue ideas, some of which are from Chris Anderson’s earlier post

What Won’t Google Do?; Lazysphere Blogging

January 17, 2008

“The Search Party”

Recently the New Yorker published an article about Google’s foray into, well, just about everything.
Anyways, here’s a great quote:

As Google expands beyond search […] the risk is that the company will come to believe that its engineers can master any business, solve any problem, and that Google will lose its focus.    

So, I don’t run a multi-billion dollar corporation, but even to me it seems Google is spreading their talent too thin; it’d serve them well to stick to their corporate mission: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” That’s quite a task… so why distract yourself with other things? Is Google running the risk of Starbuck’s, that of diluting the brand? Okay, that may be an apple to oranges comparison, but I think I’ll hold my ground on that argument. I.e., Google should stick to organizing content, not producing content.

Are You A Lazy Blogger?

Steve Rubel once again makes a good point: bloggers can be lazy, meaning bloggers are joining the “Lazysphere” instead of producing thoughtful, quality content. Interesting, because a while back Rubel stated that he’d rather post less on Micro Persuasion in favor of being “into the whole micro-blogging revolution”.

Now, my two cents: it’s hard to constantly produce good content. For some of the longer posts you read here, I can spend one to two hours simply doing research… yes, that time does not even include writing. My process is to go through all of my RSS feeds, hit up some of my favorite blogs and see if I can spot a theme; then I dig a little deeper through search engines in an attempt to find more articles. I read them all. I grab the url’s of the pertinent ones and then try to form a post that includes my analysis and opinion. That takes a lot of time. And what do I get for it??? About 3 pageviews a month.

So what’s my issue? Maybe I’m a horrible writer; maybe I don’t have original, quality, thought-provoking content; maybe I don’t post enough; maybe I might not engage in the blogging community enough to draw others to my blog; or maybe people are simply not interested in my ongoing thought process of how to monetize Web 2.0 sans advertising. Whatever the reason (I’m guilty of a lot of the things I just listed), it’s hard to keep it up when you can tell for certain that no one gives a $h!t about what you have to say…

Identity, Privacy, And Web 2.0

January 16, 2008

I’ve broached the subject of privacy in a previous post, but I’ve run into a few more articles concerning the issue since then.

The Kinda Creepy YouTube Video

While looking for other material on this topic, I ran into a video from the government of Canada that attempted to shed light on how social networking sites can exchange and leverage a user’s personal information for marketing purposes.

Don’t get me wrong: privacy is very important, but the issue I take with this particular video is a) the “big brother is out to get you” tone, as well as b) they make the marketing angle sound all bad, i.e., the video says you will only get more junk mail on your doorstep, more email adverts in your inbox. This completely ignores the aim of marketing: in the fracturing media landscape, reach is not the only goal. As a marketer, I want to spend my client’s money in the most responsible way. Thus, I want to reach the people who are the most likely to be interested in buying what my client is selling, so hitting the target is more important than reaching the most amount of people; this is what responsible advertising and marketing agencies should be trying to accomplish.

Projecting Yourself Online

Did you notice the header above says “projecting” rather than “protecting”? We are putting ourselves, and our identities online. Now, we may not be the most honest, but we are the ones making the conscious decision. The New York Times published a fascinating article on how we put our best foot forward when it comes to our online persona, and quite some time ago New York Magazine had an incredible story exploring the shifting values of privacy in a new, digital generation. I highly recommend reading both (lengthy) articles.

My personal attitude about privacy online is pretty cavalier: “Marketers have already known a lot about us before the Internet came into full swing. Therefore, so what if Facebook is using Beacon?!” I’m sure that pisses off a lot of people who treasure their privacy, but honestly, I think the way things are headed your information will inevitably be viewed by someone else; the point is we need to educate ourselves on the measures we can take to protect that information: clear your cookies; actually visit the privacy settings on Facebook; and above all, delete that damn MySpace account already! It’s such a waste!

Don’t Misunderstand Me, Though

Privacy and the identity game does matter. Although many teenagers report utilizing privacy measures, MySpace has recently agreed to devote some of their resources to leading the fight against online sexual predators. There are those who are too young to be adept at protecting themselves online and require more help. I think the most heart-wrenching intersection of the privacy and identity game comes in the story of Megan Meier, a teenager who, subject to a hoax perpetrated through MySpace that turned ugly, committed suicide. I really want to say that in a case such as this, all the sentimental “this is a cautionary tale” is bullshit and is not addressing what happened on the level the incident merits. Being on the younger side, I remember seventh grade vividly; it was one of the worst years of my life. Teenagers can be merciless, and with tools such as MySpace and Facebook, they can be even more underhanded in their quest for doling out pain. It is within this tragedy that the problem of identity and privacy become even more conflated: people want to protect what information others know about them, but then can those measures be deployed to create even sneakier, meaner attacks? It also sheds light on the fact that, no matter how old some people think they are, they need assistance to safely wade through the waters of digital society.

Where Is Time Warner Headed?

January 16, 2008

Jeff Bewkes In a Personal Light

I found a great personal piece about the soon-to-be CEO of Time Warner, Jeff Bewkes. To put into context what he is up against, a few choice quotes: Richard Parsons, the chairman if Time Warner, said, “‘If I were Jeff, I would shoot myself.'” Later, Don Logan, the former head of Time, Inc., said, “‘If I were Jeff, I would follow Dick’s advice—I would go ahead and shoot myself.'” Damn, son.

God speed to you, Jeff. God speed.

MacBook Air

January 15, 2008

Apple Announces MacBook Air

Jobs’ keynote speech was, among other things, the introduction of the MacBook Air, a super-thin laptop with beefed up wireless capabilities.

So, it’s confession time: I’m a part of the Apple cult. I converted to a MacBook in April. I am never going back… except for when I am absolutely forced to use PC at work. Anyways, how bad am I steeped into the cult? I almost cried when I watched the MacBook Air demo.

One thing that floored me was that the demo shows someone using a PC. First, it was incredible that a video demo on showed someone using a PC, but it was even more incredible that Apple seems to be touting a new compatibility with their competitor. Hopefully this small step with help bridge the gap for others to start converting. We need more people in the fold!!!