Archive: December 2005

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Year that Was: “Call It Web 1.5 & Shake On It”

Once in awhile you stumble on a smart post and decide to read a bunch of the author’s work, and then you say to yourself — “man, this guy was right about pretty much everything!”

I liked this review of Orkut. Seems about right. A year of renaissance in “high school cliques” and not-quite-there apps definitely-not-for-the-masses.

Up with progress! Down with Kool-Aid!

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Friday, December 30, 2005


How to tell the difference between Web 1.0 and 2.0.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Remember 1999? (Revisited, again…)

Let’s hope another thing that happens soon in this industry is that we all get over this obsession with averages. Let’s call it a Trend to Watch for 2006 through 2008, or so.

The awesome spectacle of efficiency in online advertising pricing that we saw unfold from 2002 to date has taught most advertisers and publishers that user behavior is highly specialized, granular, and context-specific.

I just glanced at some CPM equivalents from a keyword campaign, as I’m wont to do. Let’s assume that the current CPC’s we’re paying are fairly rational as we’ve been managing this account for two years now. Some of the CPM’s are well below $1. On important core keywords — and again, this is proven to be a rational price — the effective CPM rate is over $600.

Oh, the folly of the 1998-2000 frenzy of fixed-price CPM’s. Instead of CPM rates “declining,” or softening, they collapsed. If $35 was an “average” CPM at a certain point in online history, was that meaningful? Likely it was, but only if you were selling ads, or stock. That average is surely much, much lower today. But on impactful customer acquisition opportunities, the CPM equivalent is much, much higher. Basically, online, CPM rates range from 10 cents to $1,000. That’s great news for buyers and sellers alike. It’s the equivalent of assessing the quality/density of a mineral ore, or a diamond mine. It just makes sense.

I’m not suggesting at all that all media should be pay for performance, because no ad seller should be forced into becoming an equity partner in an advertiser’s business. But it is always instructive to ask how much uncritical acceptance there is of the prevailing metrics in any industry. Imagine being led to believe that one impression is much like another, for the purposes of pricing ads.

Will television be the next major area to be affected by a more critical analysis of such metrics? Ratings, impressions, all those old saws… we know that cable came on the scene and that ad prices got “differentiated” in the TV world. But that differentiation meant that CPM rates shot up for some very specific cable channels, and flattened out or “softened” for prime time network spots. That’s not nearly radical enough, of course. Fasten your seat belts.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


2006: A Novel

Another year gone by, and what’s really changed?

Seth “Free Prize Inside” Godin reminds us once again that it’s the contents inside the book, not the cover, that ultimately matters.

So it’s with some dismay that I read the business pages in the dying days of ’06. The Globe and Mail is encapsulating the year’s television commercial reviews “of the ad agency creatives, by the ad agency creatives.”

Anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty would at least acknowledge that ultimately it shouldn’t be a question of whether this year’s Molson Canadian commercial is interesting, but whether Molson Canadian itself is interesting. It isn’t. It’s the same beer, year after year. A so-so brew in a formerly magnificent market segment that’s in a long, steady decline. And we know where to find it. In the Beer Store, in packs of 6, 12, 24, and 28 if they’re really going to town with the marketing gimmicks.

But put product quality or compellingness aside, even. Do the campaigns measurably move the needle on sales, to a degree that exceeds the cost of the campaign?

Ad agencies (even the one that still bears his name) must do all they can to distract us from a sensible maxim put forth by David Ogilvy himself: the effectiveness of a campaign should be judged by its success in creating new customers, or generating rapid uptake of a new product.

And the hand-wringing of female ad agency execs over sexist campaigns presided over by their well-paid sisters in rival agencies — baffling. If you wanted to be high-minded, surely you wouldn’t be in the business you’re in at all. That your sisters approved said campaigns suggests that you, too, would do so, had you been in their shoes.

So what the “ad agency reviews by ad agency people” series really does is to prolong the interruption marketing discourse of the TV-industrial complex (thanks C.W. Mills and Seth, for the cool buzzwords), allowing execs to rat on each other for not being quite clever or high-minded enough.

The lesson we should learn is that when the same old people keep dominating a discourse even though their measurable results are deep in the red, they’re probably grasping at straws. And if you’re looking for your soul, probably the ad agency roundtable will be the wrong place to discover it. Case in point, one of the reviewers criticized the Telus bunnies, probably in a bid to wrest some business away from upstart agency Taxi.

For shame. Every ordinary person I’ve talked to loves the Telus bunnies. Talk around the bar (while drinking anything but Molson Canadian) doesn’t say “Wow, this account sure is on autopilot.” It’s more like “I don’t care. I can’t help it. I love those bunnies.”

Cute bunnies and souls aside, the future will belong to those who measure.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Friday, December 23, 2005

Rubel Sees Comments Search in His Crystal Ball

The effervescent Steve Rubel over at Micro Persuasion today kicks off his blog series, 2006 Trends, with a promise of a new trend discussed every day for the rest of the year. He claims that’s 10 trends for 10 days left in the year. I don’t feel motivated enough to check the facts, so I’ll take him at his word.

His first trend is one of those stupid simple yet brilliant ideas that makes you wonder why it doesn’t exist already. If 2005 was the year of blog search, then 2006 will be the year of blog comments search.

Steve makes an excellent point that comments often contain very good information that sometimes clarify a point a blogger made or reveals it to be false. Yet you would be hard-pressed to find any comments in search engine results today. Sure, many comments are often of the personal-attack sort or proclamations of
“frist!”, but I’m sure smart programmers can find a way to strip those

As the big players try to find new sources of information to mine, comments do seem like a probable target. This effort will likely prove more difficult than it seems on the surface, however. Systems like Haloscan don’t seem to be easily indexable, but you better bet that comments providerswill have a strong incentive to find a way to make their systems play well with Google and the others.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Kill My Landlord, Kill My Landlord

The distance between hope and reality with some Web 2.0 startups is vast, as noted by Om Malik and commenters on “People Power vs. Google.

It reminds me of an idea I had this week. Why on earth are all these tiny-to-midsized successful companies in downtown Toronto renting space in all these office buildings, instead of owning the space? Wouldn’t we all be better off if we just got together and formed some kind of massive building ownership co-op covering 28 blocks of prime downtown real estate?

And then I woke up and realized there was no hope in hell.

The sceptics carry the day, for now, in the assessment of the potential for “social search”. But it is important to remember:

  • The Internet and search themselves are (for the time being) democratizing, liberating forces
  • The premise of Google itself was democratic — a link’s a vote
  • Search companies like the Open Directory got big with so-called people power, but the premise, business model, and ability to automate wasn’t strong enough to carry implementation through to full practicality
  • Promising niche startups like are also riffing on the idea of people power — Chris Tolles recently spoke of the impact of “citizen journalism” on news consumption and creation patterns

There are broad “people power” trends that will affect the status of today’s “Internet search landlords.” It’ll be interesting, as always, to watch the ways in which the gigantic resource of the open Internet plus venture capital availability go up against brand and monopoly power. Need we recall that the Microsoft colossus has been beaten soundly (in this realm) by yet another feisty startup?

What would be truly remarkable? A feisty startup that topples today’s (Certified Non-Evil) $125 billion colossus, that doesn’t turn into an enormous privately-owned brand, but just a valuable service that people use.

Maybe the very problem is assessing the act of sharing information as something that needs to be mediated through (yet another) “company” and its “proprietary/groundbreaking technology.” There’s a lot of old technology lying around — some of it controlled by existing massive monopolists — and what we do with that technology is in itself groundbreaking.

So the #1 complaint about Web 2.0 rings the most familiar: it’s old wine in new bottles. And, if bigger, traditional players facilitate “social search,” is that any different, any better, any worse, than if a feisty startup does it? Arguably, it’s less tied up with pecuniary gain, since the founders of the leading companies have already made their pile.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Into the Frozen Shopping Tundra… Where Google Dares Not Tread

Who can’t use a tool that will answer your email, stir your drink, fix a flat tire, and comb your hair, all at the same time?

Inspired by a client, the New Hampshire-based Swiss Knife Shop, last week I decided to pick up a few Victorinox stocking stuffers of the “can’t miss” variety. Searching online, I was pleased to see with a healthy selection of Swiss Army products for the Canadian online shopper. Most of the listings are from two major retailers, and Mountain Equipment Co-Op, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Google still isn’t in that space – and most of the other major players (with the exception of eBay and Amazon) are still doing a weak job of serving the Canadian online shopping comparison market. Calgary-based ShoptoIt is trying to defy the odds, to do a good thing for the Canadian online retail market. Outside of the U.S., online retailers are not easy to cobble together, and user bases are hard to build.

Search engines – be they major ones or niche comparison sites – are driving unprecedented amounts of traffic to offline retailers this holiday season, helping the savvy ones build their brands for next to nothing. Keyword prices are still a bargain for the largest retail players, which unfortunately may not bode well for smaller operations.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


More NYC Transit Opportunism

Far be it from me to give free exposure to a competitor, but this image in Did-It’s Seasons Greetings email tickled my funnybone.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Easter Egg at Christmas: My Personal Blog

Few — OK, none — of you know that I also post on a personal blog set up for me by friends at Blogware. I post really dumb things there, the kinds of things that give blogging a bad name. It’s not going to give Jill Whalen Exposed or David Krane’s blog a run for their money, sadly.

The main purpose was to test the functionality of Blogware, which is excellent. But who knows, I might say something interesting soon. 🙂

Posted by Andrew Goodman


On the New Yahoo Ad Sizes

Yahoo’s text ad length will be getting shorter in January, as we found in a recent communication from the company.

The night of the announcement, some colleagues had a brief scare seeing the new ad format being tested at Yahoo Search. Without enough lead time to compensate, carefully-crafted ads would have their calls to action truncated by the new shorter length.

Speculation as to the motivation includes the thought that Yahoo Search Marketing wants to make it easier for existing Google advertisers to simply patch their campaigns over to Yahoo. Probably that is part of it, but more than that, it’s likely revenue-driven. It might even be aesthetically driven. A more economical look might be getting better reviews from ordinary search engine users.

There are enough differences between the AdWords and Y!SM platforms that a simple “patch-over” is not usually going to do the trick, in any case. For now, Y!’s platform is difficult enough to use that a typical advertiser is spending more time on a campaign that generates half the volume (or less) as a Google AdWords campaign.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Sunday, December 18, 2005

When Safe Isn’t Safe – Google Firefox Extension

According to this security expert, when it comes to safe browsing, the devil’s in the details.

Google’s taking steps to guard users against phishing and deceptive content, which is to be applauded. (In the advertising program, advertisers with landing pages Google thinks violate user privacy are also being penalized.) But it looks like this will require a good deal of persistence, sensitivity, and effort. Bumpy road ahead.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Achilles Heel of Offline Advertising: Measurement?

Did the Google magazine advertising experiment flop?

In this brilliantly-researched Business Week piece by Ben Elgin about the Google print ads pilot program, we learn that nine out of ten advertisers lost money on the print ads.

Of course, part of the problem with ads like this is that it might take several years to test and refine them, and even to fully measure impact. The jury’s still out. What we do know is that the advertisers involved are unanimous in their view that these ads paled in comparison to their online campaigns.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Friday, December 16, 2005

AdSense Gettin’ Better all the Time

Since I blogged so many moons ago that AdSense sucked so bad I could foresee its demise, Google has addressed many of the things that turned me against this former savior of web publishers.

One annoyance was that you couldn’t get AdSense reports e-mailed to you. Well, now you can get your earning reports delivered to your inbox daily, weekly or monthly. Very nice, except I can’t seem to open the zip file format Google uses with the built in zip utility in Windows XP. Hmm, a plot to encourage us publishers to finally pay for that copy of Winzip we used until XP gave it away for free?

Another cute feature: themed ad units. Depending on your account settings, you can adorn your AdSense ads with holiday-themed images, like pumpkins, turkeys and snowmen. Again, I struck out, however, again when trying to make this one work on my wine site. I’ll keep at it, though. I’mm convinced those snowmen will make my CTR shoot through the roof… legitimately this time! 😉

Google also says their link units have been “optimized” for better performance. If you haven’t seen this case study of making link units work better, check it out.

Finally, Google made some marginal progress in making the AdSense for search more flexible. Except it’s pretty lame for black and gray to be the only additional background choices. Here’s a question for the big G:

You let us customize the ad colors to the hex code, so why not let us have total control over how we integrate the Google site search box?

Read the full scoop: “What’s New – December 2005 on AdSense Support

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt


Thursday, December 15, 2005

OMFG, Yahoo Mail Beta Rocks

Absolutely stunned. That’s how I feel about the new Yahoo Mail. It’s far cooler than I even dreamed possible. It’s like upgrading from a rusty Ford Pinto to a sleek Audi TT. Oh, the tabs! The drag and drop message filing! The RSS feeds! Oh the joy! Christmas came early.

This new toy has been in my possession for a mere few hours, and already I’ve forgotten that it’s a web-based mail client and not a desktop client. You can delete messages simply by typing the Delete button my keyboard! It’s just so natural.

I know it’s old news, but here are some screenshots of the new interface, since I’m too lazy to take my own.

I’m sorry Google, but oh dear lord, Gmail pales in comparison to Ymail Beta. Does everyone have this now, or is it still in phased rollout?

Anyone, anyone? Bueller?

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt


Wanted: More RSS Feeds?

Lifehacker has the goods on a new blog that features a “unique or interesting RSS feed everyday.”

OK, if you’re an RSS nut like me, chances are you already subscribe to nigh a hundred RSS feeds. What are the chances you are facing a severe RSS feed deficiency? I’d say they’re not good.

Which reminds me of something I wanted to point out a while back. Who in the world needs an RSS search engine? Sites like Blogdigger and Daypop just seem so useless to me.

RSS feeds are simply one way to deliver content from a website, they’re not an end unto themselves. Yet another example of a solution looking for a problem, I say.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt


The Acid Test: Can You Opt Out?

Our lives in this online direct response world have ups and downs, and we grumble. But let’s put it in perspective.

Today, as I do every six months, I paid my car insurance bill. In Ontario, car insurance is required by law, and you have to buy a certain amount of liability insurance, too. The only way to avoid buying car insurance is to not drive a car.

I don’t know what I’m getting for my money, but I do know this much: it isn’t “insurance.”

If I have a serious accident – say, to the tune of $4,000 – that insurance company is then going to turn around and recoup every last penny in the form of significantly increased premiums. “And more,” comes the helpful contribution from my better half.

So I guess this is some kind of legalized extortion, then. If I could, I suppose I’d probably shop for the liability insurance part and the personal injury, death, and dismemberment parts, in a more competitive marketplace. When it came to the actual vehicle, I’m pretty sure I’d “self-insure” if I had the choice. After all, if I have a $4,000 accident, I’m going to pay it all back anyway, right?

So turning to matters nearer and dearer to this blog, we are so focused on comparing your Yahoo Search Marketing and Google AdWords opportunities, and in talking to our clients we hear many complaints about certain kinds of traffic, poor reporting, etc.

Some of those complaints are totally valid. The most valid complaints are related to the parts of the network, or features, you can’t opt out of. The second most valid complaints are about the stuff you can’t control very well. And the third most valid complaint is about poor reporting that makes it difficult to understand what you’re doing, let alone control it. We can get into a lot of specifics about the shortcomings of the two platforms on all fronts.

Stepping back from it, though, I know this much. At least it isn’t legislated extortion. You don’t have to buy advertising. No one’s putting a gun to your head.

But insofar as online traffic to many of us is a little like owning and driving a vehicle, we’ll feel compelled to keep pecking away at all of the above, the most valid, second most valid, and third most valid kinds of complaints.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Up With IE! To the Hand that Feeds!

In all of the industry snobbery that makes slow adopters into an “outgroup,” we’ve forgotten: people who work at tech companies, and early adopters of tech, could be less likely to click on the very ads their whole Web 2.0 world depends on for economic survival. Think about it: folks who do the heavy lifting for companies like Yahoo and Google actually post openly about how they dislike advertising; about how “in a perfect world,” companies would “just get found.” Imagine if they were the actual user base!

So I say hooray for IE and IE users!

Also, let’s revive AOL, and line dancing too. You think I’m kidding?

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Is Browser Market Share a Useless Metric?

John Pallatto of eWeek wrote an interesting column that really got me thinking. He asserts upstart browsers like Firefox and Flock need not rock IE’s world to be considered a success, and that browser market share is basically an irrelevant statistic that doesn’t mean anything.

He says we are narrowly focusing on the old paradigm of the outdated “browser wars” and missing the bigger picture that there is plenty of room for alternative browsers and innovation beyond IE:

“The point is with hundreds of millions of Internet users around the globe even one or two market share points equals an audience of millions. That explains why the intense focus we see on whether Firefox can steal more market share from Explorer is really irrelevant.

Firefox should never be considered a failure even if it doesn’t build its market share much beyond the 8 to 9 percent portion it reputedly holds now. That it has been able to build a user base of millions in the face of the Explorer’s market saturation is a remarkable achievement by any measure.”

I think he is right on the money here. And although new players like Flock don’t have a strong business model yet, I believe they can still develop a sustainable model, as long as they have funding and the dedication to build a superior product, as Google did in its early days.

If you think about the millions of blogs purported to exist, and as one who publishes a blog myself, I have to believe there is a commercial market for software like Flock that makes it easier to manage a blog. I for one can attest that I’d rather pay some kind of fee than to see contextual pay-per-click ads embedded in the browser application, which was one of Flock’s plans the last time I heard.

Actually, the more I think about this, the more I like the concept. What would stop Flock from charging some kind of fee if their software kicks butt? Maybe that’s their stealth plan.

Thus far, however, it’s not quite as easy to blog to a blog in Flock as I would like. But it’s still early in the game. Maybe we will yet see the rise of commercially viable, specialty browsers unlike anything that exists now.

And blogs are just one unique aspect of Flock. I suspect there could also be a market for selling browser extensions that provide valuable functionality. I wouldn’t be surprised if some independent marketplace for extensions popped up in the next year for buying and selling extensions, with Flock taking a cut. Why shouldn’t those clever extension developers get paid, too?

Hmm, that gives me an idea! 🙂

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt


Friday, December 09, 2005

The Nice List: Traffick Feels Holiday Love

It’s starting to be the time of year when you clap people on the back and wish ’em well.

I can’t promise this will be the last post like this, but here’s a start.

Warm holiday wishes from me to:

1. Toronto. A great place to come home to. A near-foot of snow fell last night, just in time to put up the latest in energy-saving lights. This is how winter has usually looked to me. On Christmas Day 1982 (the year the disco had lost all its charm to me), it got as warm as 17.2C (63 degrees F). Let’s not get crazy.

2. Chicago. To all the Chicagoans who so warmly welcomed us at SES. Above all, the band at Buddy Guy’s. And of course, Buddy Guy himself! You haven’t lived until you hear Buddy Guy singing the blues about how frickin cold it is, and inventing a little number that went, in part: “Hey all you Yahoo people, why don’t you call me on the phone?”

3. The U.K. From this site’s search referral logs, we notice you do a lot of searching for online marketing topics, really giving those Americans a run for their money!

4. Stanley Bing. Sometimes, reading his column, I get the strange feeling he is actually me.

5. Fellow SES speakers like Chris Tolles, Tim Mayer, Brad Byrd and so many others, who invariably teach old dogs the new tricks they didn’t think they could possibly learn.

I can see it’s going to be difficult to mention everyone, so I’d better stop before I get too far. For example, I might get in trouble for not mentioning Christine Churchill, Dana Todd, or, say, Danny Sullivan! Or Karen Deweese or Chris Sherman! And those other hundreds of “Yahoo People” (as Buddy might call you) I somehow manage to think about each and every day. If I don’t get a chance before the year ends: thanks!

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

MSNBC Gets Web Video Right… Almost

Checking the news this afternoon, I see that is also promoting its own online video feeds. In a small rectangular box titled Video Highlights, a tiny video stream immediately loads when you view the page. And guess what, it’s using Flash video! Huzzah, no pop-ups and media player loading time.

But wait.

If you click on any of the video highlight headlines, you must indeed endure the dreaded video pop-up window. And even worse, MSNBC doesn’t even support Firefox! D’oh!

At least we’re getting warmer…

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt


Breast Idea I’ve Seen in a Long Time

Our friend Jennifer Laycock has one day left to turn a profit. She could really use your support.

In return for you whipping out your credit card, you’ll get a whimsical breast-feeding-themed “T” – perhaps a perfect stocking stuffer for that special someone.

It’s all part of Jen’s 30-Day Zero Cash Internet Business Profit Experiment. With the instinct only a marketer (and mother) could have, she knew she’d need to sell something worth talking about.

Certainly, as Danny Sullivan’s keynote address implied yesterday, it never hurts to have an army of search marketers on your team when you need some heavy lifting done. And as Danny charmingly reminded us: it’s incumbent upon influencers to use their powers for good.

Good luck, Jen. I believe you have 24 hours left.

Hmm… what to wear to the next marketing conference… lime-green cotton Omniture scarf, breast milk promo shirt… or both?

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Barry Blogs SES Chicago… 100% Live

Rustybrick blogs like a champ! Today’s entries include one I moderated today, Meet the News Search Engines with Chris Tolles of and Nathan Stoll of Google News. Amazing. I couldn’t even hear the keyboard tapping. On the other hand, everyone in the room heard my cellphone ringing inside my overcoat onstage during the Q&A. D’oh!

Edit: actually it’s an army of bloggers. I knew Barry couldn’t be in four places at once.

And these synopses are only a taste of what goes on in sessions, particularly in Q&A. To experience the full effect, SES attendance is a must.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Thank You, Client, for Ad Rotation Observation

Many ideas flowing at this week’s Search Engine Strategies in Chicago.

In the session on Creating Compelling Ads, some talk turned to the testing process and when or how to continue testing after the initial wave of testing may have yielded a definitive winner.

There is no definitive answer to that one.

This did remind me of an interesting point, though, one that was brought up some time ago by a smart client of mine. Google’s ad rotator will rotate ads evenly so you can test them. 50-50 if you have two ads in an ad group. 25-25-25-25 if you have four, and so on.

What AdWords doesn’t offer is a way of rotating ads with a weighting set by you. Where a custom weighting would come in particularly handy would be if you had high confidence that a single ad was the best one (that you’ve discovered so far among several alternatives) for a given ad group. Introducing a new ad to test is stealing away too many ad impressions, lowering economic performance if you wish to continue trying new ideas. In other words, after a certain point, testing may hurt you, or at least be a nuisance that hurts as much as it helps.

Not so if you could split the impressions 95%-5%, to test a “contender” ad at a much lower volume than the current winning ad.

You could argue that the same effect would be achieved by just trying the contender ad for a few hours. But the results of the test are probably more reliable if spread out over a longer time period.

If Google offered a way to test “contender ads” at a smaller % of rotations, then the question about when to stop testing, or how often to initiate new ad tests, would be easier: never; and a bit more often than you do now.

Additional ad testing aids that the major paid search providers could include? How about a menu system to help you organize and make notes on previous ads (something better than just “view all ads including deleted ones”), or a way of moving copy elements around so that materials you’ve used in parts of a large campaign might be easier to manage and apply to other parts?

Tall orders, but we’re always on the lookout for an edge around here. 🙂

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Monday, December 05, 2005

Video Killed the Instant Gratification Effect

Poor has been trying so hard lately to get us to notice its free video streams.

At one point they emblazoned the logo with the phrase “with free video.” Then more recently they added a subsection above the “fold” that called out which online news stories carried related video feeds. Cute little icons of video projectors beckoned me with moving pictures behind a deceptively simple click.

Now, this morning, CNN has upgraded that subsection to a very slick-looking Flash panel that is scrollable and inviting. There’s just one small problem with CNN’s free video.

It doesn’t work.

Well, it “works” in the sense that if you click on a video link, you’ll eventually see video. But it doesn’t work for me.

The total elapsed time from the moment of clicking to actually viewing the stream can be anywhere from 10 seconds to a few minutes. That’s because the following steps have to take place before the video loads:

* a pop-up window must launch
* Windows Media Player must load in the pop-up window
* the connection must be established
* a commercial must play

CNN, can you see that this is simply too much waiting around for something that appeals to our sense of instant gratification? If you truly want to promote adoption of your online video streams, try making it easier to view them.

Instead of using Windows Media Player and pop-up windows, why not use Flash video and Ajax technology? Maybe if you delivered the experience the way I want to experience it, I might experience your precious video more often!

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Tough Crowd

Perusing Amazon reviews, I came across this three-star rating for David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man.

If I had known this book was published in 1963, I probably would not have bought it. The fact that other reviewers called it a “classic” should have tipped me off.

I did enjoyed reading it, so much so that I read the entire book the same day I got it. I especially like his advice on how to choose an ad agency.

I imagine much of the advice is as true today as it was in 1960, but a lot of the advice is as dated as Ed Sullivan. It is left to the reader to decide what to ignore and what to cherish.

In case you’re wondering, Aristotle fares well on Amazon. Maybe the secret is to get really, really outdated.

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Friday, December 02, 2005

Hasbro Takes Back the Planet

The Google Maps – RISK mashup has run afoul of Hasbro’s intellectual property rights, it seems.

“OK, we don’t want anyone to get hurt here. Let me see your hands. Now throw the gun on the floor, nice and slow. Now stand up and slide it across the floor. Throw that knife on the table. Now Peru. That’s right, Kamchatka too…”

Posted by Andrew Goodman


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Firefox 1.5 Download Ready

All you Firefox fans can rejoice, for the fairly long-awaited 1.5 release is available for download here. Fore more information, see the release notes.

I’m sure by now most interested readers are aware of the new and improved features in 1.5, so I’ll just round up my favorites:

* Reorderable Tabs. Dang, it’s about time. Also, if your mouse has a scroll button, you can easily close a tab by clicking it. Nice and handy. Firefox was starting to seem too slow and inflexible for me, especially after testing out the developers release of Flock, which has both of these capabilities.

* Faster Browsing. Again, Firefox was feeling sluggish to me. With 1.5, I can’t quantify it, but I do believe it’s faster.

Least favorite features:

* Automatic software updates. While admitting that I don’t fully know how this will work yet, anyone whose played in Firefox long enough knows that newer versions tend not to play well with certain extensions. Supposedly 1.5 has better extension handling, and shouldn’t cause conflicts as in previous 1.0.x versions.

* Clear Private Data. Really, who needs one keyboard shortcut to clear all your private info? If you need this, you’re probably doing something you shouldn’t be!

For a complete list of all new features and bug fixes, see the Unofficial Firefox 1.5 changelog from Burning Edge.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt

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