We’ll be off the grid for the next week, but you can track Santa on Twitter here.
David LaGesse at US News posted a brief piece on “Googling your fridge,” or the practice of finding tonight’s recipe using refrigerator contents as search terms.
This behavior is so widespread at this point that it’s already a business model. Recipe search engines abound, and we’ve personally used the site Cookthink to narrow down our culinary options from time to time.
As helpful as it’s been, it still can’t compensate for those unfortunate nights when all you have on hand are take-out leftovers. Combining chinese food with hawaiian pizza produces less than desirable outcomes.
Who needs a top ten list revisiting stuff that was big last year? Fast Company has 8 expert predictions on the evolution of Web 2.0 for 2009. Most of them are variations on the same theme -open platforms, increased portability and mobility of user data, etc, etc. Pretty safe bets, though a few experts go out on a limb and see advertisers finally getting social media marketing right.
In our opinion, founder of Hush Labs (and former CEO of Rackspace Hosting) Rick Yoo’s prediction is particularly prescient;
“I’m not sure that things will evolve the way people have seen in the past. I predict that it’ll mostly be about trying to figure out what users really want and what they find most important then fine-tuning things based on that feedback. The pace of evolution may really slow down by comparison, but the user experience will be far better.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Today’s New York Times poses an interesting question: do we overrate basic research?
It’s a pretty loaded piece that takes on most of today’s favorite faux-controversial topics (Mr. Obama’s BlackBerry, the rise of China and India, America’s declining economy, and techno-nationalism). We almost didn’t make it through the entire article, when it seemed to suggest that as a nation, we ought to cut spending on research.
However, the reasoning behind this blasphemy is basically sound. According to Amar Bhidé, a professor at the Columbia Business School, the possibility for “midlevel innovation” is inevitably lost in the shuffle of a big research budget allocated from on high.
Midlevel innovation is defined as anything
…from a venture capitalist tweaking a business model to trim costs by a few percent to a technician fine-tuning his company’s business software to save a couple of data-entry steps in the accounting department.
It basically boils down to finding new ways of using existing technology, not spending big bucks to invent something totally new from scratch. It makes sense, and its something we’ve been helping clients do for a long time through research.
Most companies today need research in the first place, because they have previously relied on the latest technology to solve all of their business problems. Our task is to figure out how to help them use it efficiently, effectively, and profitably.
War is costly – even the browser variety. It’s never a bad thing when implicit standards (ahem, Internet Explorer) are challenged. However, as Firefox, Chrome, etc continue to gain market share, web designers are hard pressed to keep pace with the idiosyncrasies of various browsers.
According to one alarmist press release, page load times, missing graphics, and entire check-out procedures can be compromised if a website hasn’t been optimized to accommodate all manner of web browsers.
Online retailers in particular will be at risk this holiday season, for reasons entirely unrelated to the current economic landscape. The look and functionality of a single site can vary dramatically from one browser to another. For e-commerce websites, this essentially amounts to the entire shopping experience.
The conspiracy theorist in us wants to believe the entire browser war conflict is actually the collective brainchild of brick-and-mortar shops, looking to shore up their books come Black Friday. In all seriousness however, it does beg the question of how an unstable browser market will effect your business. Does it really matter whether or not customers can find your company’s website if they can’t actually use it?
We may never crack the code of what makes a video go viral. Still, if Shiba Inu Puppy Cam is any indication, cuteness is a huge factor.
The live video stream pretty closely approximates the experience of standing at a pet shop window, minus the puppy mill related pity. At the end of the day, what is successful video but a sanitized version of reality?
When you’re too old to go trick-or-treating, selecting an appropriately ironic Halloween costume can be difficult and time consuming – not to mention stressful. No need to resort to the pregnant nun this year. Dear Jane Sample has suggested ten simple, yet elegant Halloween costume ideas, inspired by the advertising agency.
You can see the entire list here, but these are our personal favorites;
1. Brief – This one is simple, wear some briefs and nothing else. If you have a less then perfect body (or a realist self-perception and know you have a less then perfect body) or you live in a cold climate wear a skin-toned body suit underneath the briefs.
2. The Revised Layout – For this one, you can just wear a flattened cardboard box with an ad layout on it, with mark ups and comments. Common revisions to include are:
- Bigger logo
- longer copy
- more legal
- comments like “I don’t like blue” or “my 2 year old could do better”
- Addition of bad stock photography
9. Web 2.0 – Dress all in white, attach some webs on to your clothes and stick a “2.0″ on your forehead. Add a “kick me sign” to your back and explain that Print stuck it on you when you weren’t looking.
10. Bad Advertising ideas – Think of yourself as a collage and randomly stick “bad advertising ideas” on yourself. If you are lazy you can just stick the words on yourself, but if you are a keener add the actual campaign names and visual. Some examples:
- Consumer Generated
- The recent Microsoft campaigns
We think it’s mighty interesting that Knol, Google’s “Wikipedia Killer,” is finally assuming some relevancy with it’s new debate format. Controversies as conversations certainly help television network ratings, so it’s little wonder that;
The aftermath of the US financial bailout bill is the first topic discussed.
Economists from the conservative Cato Institute and the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI) have posted differing opinions as Knols. Now readers can post comments and in theory, recommend changes to the text. (Good luck with that.) This is just the first of several debates Knols will host in the handful of weeks leading up to the US Presidential election. (via ReadWriteWeb)
Realistically, readers won’t be “participating” in debates between experts. In theory, it’s a fresh take on the whole Town Hall Meeting format, as readers will be more like speech writers, recommending changes to endorsed responses. This may be a bit optimistic on our part, but how great would it be if the electorate could shape precise answers, instead of just posing superficial questions?
Maybe there’s a silver lining to this whole bailout S.N.A.F.U. Maybe, just maybe, network executives have figured out that vast web exposure is well worth the “loss” in ad revenue.
Take CBS for example. David Letterman’s reaction to McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign (among other things) is available on the CBS website (edited and with ads), while pirated versions have also been posted on YouTube (full monologue, no ads). In total, the clip has about 3.5 million views. That’s 250,000 for CBS and 3.2 million for the pirates.
According to AdAge, CBS execs are well aware of the numbers, and the existence of pirated versions;
Like all TV networks, CBS routinely demands that YouTube take down unauthorized clips of shows. So why haven’t they taken down this one? They won’t say it, but it seems likely that the network has decided that the publicity the “Late Show” is receiving from the clip is far more valuable than the few ad dollars that advertising might generate.
How long do you think it will take for print newspapers to have a similar ad model epiphany? Let’s hope it happens before the industry needs a bailout.
One of our favorite ways to knock out a quick and easy blog post is to discuss (take a shot at) the cause and effect relationship between Facebook activity, and employment situation. We post about Facebook a lot, so we couldn’t resist when Stan Schroeder over at Mashable had this to say about the career intelligence of heavy Facebook use;
If you’re a Facebook user and are at the same time interested in doing whatever you can to help your country, you may have seen an odd advertising campaign there from Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service.
The Facebook ads bear text messages such as “Time for a career change? MI6 can use your skills. Join us as an operational officer collecting and analysing global intelligence to protect the UK.” Obviously, someone over there at the secret service thinks that an average superpokin’, donut throwin’, penguin fondlin’ Facebook fiend is spy material. When I think about it, perhaps they’re right – who else is better suited to do deep data analysis than someone who hasn’t got anything better to do than waste time on Facebook all day?
As a market research firm, maybe we should consider recruiting a few of these prime analytic minds from the Facebook talent pool…