Archive for September, 2007

Out: The New In?

Standard beliefs hold that online ads are more effective when they are “in-context”, or placed near relevant content. For example, perhaps you’re more likely to pay attention to an ad for a particular brand of paint if it’s next to an article about home improvement instead of next to an article about fashion. Well, according to new research from Yahoo!, that widely held belief may be false.

Yahoo! and MediaVest studied a group of consumers passionate about a particular topic (in this case, food), and found that ads displayed out-of-context had virtually the same impact as ads shown next to related content.

This data supports proof that targeting the right people may be more important and effective that targeting the right content, and new tools are making this level of targeting easy to achieve. It also supports the idea that advertising in nontraditional outlets may not provide the high quantities of response, but the quality of response and conversion to sales may be higher. So, the next time you want to run an ad promoting your new software, you might look beyond the typical technology trades. I’m not saying it makes sense for software vendors to advertise in Dog Fancy, but perhaps it’s time you look beyond Informationweek and consider that Jane Smith, avid reader of Conde Naste Traveler and CIO of a major Fortune 1000 company, may be your ideal customer.

Read more in this week’s AdWeek.

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

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Demo Profile: Tungle

I do not have a personal administrative assistant (nor does anyone else at BluePoint for that matter, either). In fact, I have never had an administrative assistant, nor dare I use the ancient moniker now deemed politically incorrect in many circles – “secretary.” But sometimes, we certainly feel like one when trying to schedule client or team meetings or organize press interviews that might involve multiple people, particularly with folks outside of our company

This is why I was intrigued by Tungle. Tungle Corporation is a Montreal-based company that debuted a really simple, but seemingly invaluable service designed to make it easier to schedule meetings through Outlook, Notes or other calendaring applications. Tungle is a free plug-in that works like an instant messaging application. It allows you to schedule meetings with not only your colleagues, but any other individual connected to a PC. Communicating with other Tungle users is simple; connecting with non-Tungle users (as well as people you might not know all that well and do not want to share the details of your calendar with) is easy too – they simply get an email inviting them to a meeting. Non-Tungle users then get directed to a site called a Tungle space that shows them which parts of your calendar are booked, but with no detail given.

It is all free with premium features aimed at integrating with web services offerings coming. I think it is worth a look.

Demo Profile: Vyro Games – Stressed in San Diego?

Stressed in San Diego? I know in the land of perfect weather (perpetually 74 and sunny), this would sound like a real contradiction in terms…. Along the lines of “Sunny in Seattle” or maybe even “Traffic-less in Boston.” At any rate, here at DEMOfall07, one of the first companies to present on stage (and the first of several I hope to blog about) during day one of this two day conference that definitely stands out is an Irish gaming company called Vyro Games, Ltd.

Now, I am not a gamer at all, but my sons (who are normally very reserved) are very much into PlayStation and Game Boy games. When they are playing, they turn into different people – their stress levels go off the charts and invariably, the yelling and screaming are followed by an abrupt end of the game. Not a good thing and we’re often trying to get them to calm down.

Well, I might have found some help from Vyro. The company today unveiled a gadget called the Personal Input Pod or (PiP) that intends to turn traditional video gaming on its head by de-emphasizing action, speed and, well … stress and instead focus on relaxation techniques. The idea is the more relaxed you are, the better you will do in the game. They showed a dragon race on stage this morning that pitted two of their executives racing against each other. No surprise but the exec who was seated and not leading the presentation, was the winner. It was a great breath of fresh air here at DEMO and stood out.

The PiP communicates wirelessly with software on Bluetooth enabled phone, PC or game console. The Pip and the games will be released in the first half of 2008.

The company is looking for both channel partners and technology partners. The latter group would theoretically use the PiP to build additional new games that would help kids of all ages relax. I can see this helping parents, business people, hack golfers and adults a bit too.

— Posted by Tim Hurley

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

While everyone else in our region was busy last night with the big rivalry weekend and watching the Pats/Chargers game and the Sox/Yanks game, I was enjoying my own favorite past time…the start of awards seasons, and thus, the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year – TV premier season.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, TV is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have, can’t-live-without-it passion. There is no other time I look more forward to more than when all the new shows kick off and I can finally let my everyday worries be cast aside by the drama that’s going on between Meredith and McDreamy and whether the new Gossip Girl series really will finally replace the vacant spot left in my heart when the OC went away.

The unofficial start to the fall TV season has always been the Emmy Awards, which aired last night. I watch every year, starting with the pre-show on E!, to see who’s with who, who’s wearing what, and of course, who wins. Usually, the pre-show outshines the actual show itself. But, I have to say that thanks to Ryan Seacrest, a cooler show format, the stellar nominees, the Kanye cameo, and the better-than-the-super-bowl commercials, the main event was fantastic.

I was thrilled to see the Sopranos take it for Best Drama and maybe the best character on TV right now – Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold – win Best Supporting Actor. Despite the fact that I didn’t agree with all of the winners (How can you not give James Gandolfini the Emmy…it’s Tony Soprano for god’s sake!! And as much as I adore Katherine Heigl, Chandra Wilson is by far the star of Grey’s!), the show overall was entertaining, lively, and a lot of fun to watch…more fun, I’m sure, then the Sox game. 🙂

So here’s a toast to TV…for bring sexy back to the drab awards shows and making my weekday evenings more complete. Cheers.

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

Point/CounterPoint

 

 

Point: A Day Late and a Dollar Short

After shafting 270,000 of his most loyal customers and sending his stock prices plummeting a whopping $7.60 – Steve Jobs makes a lame attempt to stop the slide by offering to compensate iPhone users with a lousy $100. Imagine, you stood on line all night to grasp the coveted iPhone, only to have your entire being taken over by gremlins and spending every waking moment demonstrating your new phone to everyone you meet. If you have been carrying an iPhone for any period of time, you kow what I am talking about. You might as well have three-headed triplets in a grocery store for how much time and energy you’ve spent selling Mr. Job’s newest gizmo to every idiot that happens to see you use it.

Forget the business meeting. Forget the groceries, forget everything. For the privilege of spending half your life selling Mr. Job’s product for him – you get to pay him a whopping $500 and deal with less-than-stellar service. So he starts to feel a little bad that he is now selling the iPhone at a steep discount to all those ripe prospects you’ve helped him win over, so he magnanimously offers to throw you $100. So now you are just out $200 more than those guys who didn’t wait on line and spend their summer vacations giving live demos on the beach.

Where’s the outrage on behalf of those loyal early-adopters? If you think about it, they are the ones that built our great technology industry. I respect their courage and panache in this “me-too” world that waits to find out what’s cool. In fact, the early adopters ARE the “pioneers of cool”.

Mr. Jobs’ basic problem is that he forgot that he isn’t particularly cool, his products are a little cool, but it’s his devoted customers that are WAY cool.

I think someone might be a little big for his ibritches.

-Alison Moore


Counter-Point: I want to be THAT guy

I suppose it is a bit unorthodox to prove (or attempt to prove) your Managing Director wrong, but what the heck – what’s one more ding in your yearly review right?

First of all, you’ve gotta pay to play the game.

 

No gadget buff will disagree, being an early adopter is expensive, and many find it a point of pride to make an investment in the latest technology. This is why I, for one, am amazed at the amount of backlash caused by this price cut (That means you Matt Lauer!). While, yes, it did come fairly quickly, no one can argue that a price drop wasn’t on the horizon. Early adopters should know better than anyone that there is probably no market with a faster price drop and turn-over rate than the cell phone industry. As CrunchGear put it,

“Take a look at the RAZR. When it first came out, you paid $500 for it and now they give them away with a Big Gulps at 7-Eleven.”

 

And the same goes for the iPhone. There is no way the device could stay at $600 forever.

Second, exclusivity is key.

 

Admit it, being THAT guy (or gal) is kind of fun. I hate to say it “feeds the ego”, but in a way it does. You become part of the club, in this case, possibly the most exclusive one to date, the iPhone club. You knew the service would stink, you knew you would have to wait in line, but still, you put up the $600 or more (if you broke your old cell phone contract) to buy the “Jesus Phone”.

Some buyers may be upset because their “exclusive” group is going to get a whole lot bigger.

Third, “pioneers of cool” are product evangelists.

True early adopters welcome the opportunity to provide off-the-cuff product reviews wherever they go, that’s part of the reason why they pay exorbant prices for newly released tech. They then become the authority to their circle of friends, and get satisfaction knowing they “spread the gospel of Jobs” throughout their network.

So, to the upset early iPhone customers, I say, ”Stop Whining!” Now everyone’s invited to the party – deal with it. You still have one more iPhone than this guy.

Oh, and one more thing….

 “If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy the new improved model, you’ll never buy any technology product because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon.” — Steve Jobs from his iPhone open letter

…pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

— Posted by Andrew Soucy

The Game Changer: My Prayers Have Been Answered

 

Today, Apple released the second most anticipated product of 2007, the Phoneless iPhone iPod Touch, the device I have really been waiting for. Full touchy iPhone-esque screen, thin-as-nano size and WiFi (yeah WiFi!) for YouTube, surfing the web and iTunes Mobile this thing is amazing. Now, you can have all your songs, video, movies – even contacts and email, all on one device without the pricy phone bill for sub-par service.

And the best part? It’s not too cost prohibitive at $299 for 8 gb and $399 for 16 gb respectively (always worth the extra $100 for twice the storage).

Talk about a game changer. The iPod Touch makes those lusting over an iPhone able to obtain the same looks and most of the great functionality at a fraction of the cost. I’m sure people won’t miss the dropped calls.

Oh yeah, and the house that Steve built also dropped some new mini’s and shuffles on us, as well as an “iPod Classic”, which is basically the same iPod in new skin and more storage. An odd move in my opinion, but to each their own. Check out Gizmodo’s full run-down here.

So consider me in line, on board, or whatever. I’m just left with one question….26” Vizio or iPod Touch? Decisions, decisions.


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