Monthly Archives: May 2011

Are YouTube Ads a Necessary Evil?

YouTube fans have been living in fantasy land for a while now. Free content. No ads. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is. Because YouTube had been hemorrhaging money since its creation. But, because of that focus on the user experience, YouTube has grown into the biggest platform of user-created video in the world, as well as become the world’s 3rd largest search engine.

…and now it’s time for Google to get paid. That’s why you’ve been seeing in-video ads for the past year. And with the release of a new advertising option called First Watch, the way you experience YouTube ads is about to change.

With First Watch, advertisers can purchase pre-roll ads that run on a user’s first view of a YouTube video each day. Now, there’s no “good” time to show someone an ad. But perhaps, upon portal entry to YouTube, one’s attention level is at the highest. And if, as a user, you know that’s the only ad you’ll have to watch all day, maybe it’s a win-win?

Is the New Windows Phone Mango Leading the Way or Catching Up?

The next Windows phone OS has been announced: Code Name “Mango”. And the question is, is Microsoft simply trying to catch up to the iPhone, or leading the way in a whole new direction.

Well, there are some key differences. App Connect recommends apps via Bing search engine results. For instance, if you search for a movie via Bing, normal prioritized search results will be returned to you, but in Mango, so will recommended apps like Fandango, that lets you purchase the ticket directly within the app. A Windows rep references this predictive thinking as “from Binging to buying in seconds.”

Windows Mango OS’ “People Hub” also features deep social media integration with your contacts. It’s an interesting industry to watch right now. As mobile provider, mobile OS developer, mobile app developer and mobile hardware manufacturer all seek to develop proprietary functionality to bring in the user, who’s going to be playing catchup when the next generation of evolution comes to pass?

Facebook: Rated R

Your 13-year old cousin is on it. Your 60 year-old mother is on it. Today, Facebook might seem more like a movie theater audience for a Disney movie than the college party is was originally intended to be. So we often forget that G-rated Disney rules don’t apply here.

Facebook is the Internet. Free speech rules, for the most part, apply. And because of that, Facebook is heavily coated in profanity. More than personal usage, many people’s walls are covered with profane comments made by their friends as well. If you’re interested in the deep metrics, the 3 leading cases are the F word, the S word and the B word.

Which is leading to third-party Facebook providers who claim they can G-rate your Facebook viewing experience. I know that’s going to be a big seller with parents. I’m just mad I didn’t think of it first.

Apple’s Flash-less Video Dominates Mobile Video Consumption

When Apple said “no” to Flash video on their mobile devices, many experts thought they were being shortsighted. Why would you give up something so popular?

Well, despite flash not being playable on iPhones and iPods, Apple devices still dominate the market in overall mobile video usage with 80% of video views being spread out between the iPhone, the iPod touch and the iPad. Experts claim that this is because content producers and distributors focused primarily on these first-to-market devices, and are only now working on increasing their Android market penetration.

The next stat video content producers are looking for is how soon will mobile devices beat out home wired devices in terms of overall video penetration. And does a more compressed video format need to evolve to service this ever-streaming market?

Will Technology Make Our Days Easier or Longer

At 5 o’clock (or 6 or 7) you leave your office for the night. You go home. And you’re still at work.

iPass released a study showed that 41% of mobile workers own a tablet device (iPad), and another 34% plan on buying one within the next six months. Out of this group, nearly 90% use them at least partially for work. Mobile workers work, on average, an extra 240 hours a year. So, here’s the question. Are we all becoming mobile workers? And if so, is there a huge downside to that evolution?

Checking your e-mail constantly throughout the evening. Keeping your smartphone within reach while you sleep. Doctors all say that a clear work/life balance is integral for your health. And that line is being blurred. I don’t blame technology. I blame our usage of it.

Glenn Beck Enters Daily Deals Game with Markdown

Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News to…compete with Groupon? Really? Glenn Beck announced the launch of Markdown, a new daily deals service.

What makes Markdown different? Supposedly, it’s about pairing consumers with, not just great deals, but great companies. Companies they’re proud to partner with, and proud to send their friends and family to. What else? Well, this new online daily deals competitor isn’t going to offer daily deals. They refuse to send out a deal unless it’s amazing. If that means rarer offers, that’s what you’ll get.

That’s the business plan. But, here’s the reality. They’re probably hoping that this hooks the giant online niche market that is conservatives. It’s a weird idea. But, Glenn Beck knows how to build an audience.

Is Twitter Liable for Slander Their Users Create

From a legal standpoint, this is simply fascinating. A UK Premier League footballer  is suing Twitter for slander. His argument? That users have been reporting slanderous and false accusations about him.

Which brings up the questions – is Twitter a publication? And are we all journalists? After all, if a prominent London newspaper wrote a slanderous article, the person in question would definitely have a case.

Is this the same situation? It’s fascinating. Regardless of whether the user truly defamed the person or was telling the truth, they certainly believed they were reporting under some guise of anonymity. But, of course they’re not. They’re responsible for their actions. And in most countries, free speech laws don’t protect yelling fire in a movie theater when there isn’t one, or slander. Can you yell fire via social media? Can you slander?

Groupon Now Offers Location-Specific Time-Sensitive Deals

Groupon, the once invincible market leader in the daily deals segment; now, holding only a slight edge over LivingSocial just grew another opposable thumb in their evolution.

Time-sensitive, single day only deals. No, not to buy them. But, to use them. With Groupon Now (currently only available in Chicago), you type in your zip code, you select your category, e.g. restaurants, and you instantly see dining options near you offering instant deals for today reimbursement only.

This is a great way to find a place to eat via mobile device when you’re visiting a new area. A great way for a business to get an instant rush of traffic buying at cost or lower prices. But, in terms of long-term relationship building and financial success? We’ll see.

Google Advisor Offers Google-Powered Financial Comparisons

Does anyone else see the irony that Google has destroyed the concept of “the middle man” while simultaneously becoming the world’s biggest?

I now go to Google every time I want to avoid the middle man…and they’re continuing that evolution of helpfulness with Google Advisor.

For example, you no longer have to fend for yourself searching online for mortgage quotes. You don’t even have to use Google’s search engine itself. Now, you can use Google Advisor to help you make financial decisions, regarding mortgages, credit cards, CDs, checking and savings accounts, and more. Google is making it even easier to find the real information you’re looking for.

What Happened to Yahoo?

What happened to Yahoo? Do you remember when it used to be THE search engine. THE Internet company to be afraid of, to be in awe of? Years later, that same company ended up in a search deal with Microsoft, which has definitely helped Bing, but it doesn’t look like it’s helped Yahoo.

So that begs the question, what delusions of grandeur does Yahoo have within them? And also, what’s their realistic play to maintain their role as a player in the industry? Because, Yahoo’s talent pool is running dry. Their reach is much much smaller than its ever been. The perfect size to focus on their core strengths, if they can decide what those might be.

Perhaps they need a new and visionary leader that can breathe life into their business model? Although, I think Steve Jobs is busy.