zondag 27 februari 2005

Click fraud threat looms

When explaining the way I use Google's AdSense on a few websites, the first reaction of almost anyone is: "so I can just keep on clicking and make you rich?"

"Higher prices have turned click fraud into a cottage industry. Some swindlers have hired cheap overseas contractors to sit in front of computers and click on targeted links all day. Others are developing sophisticated software to help automate and conceal click fraud. On the other side of the fence, entrepreneurs like Dmitri Eroshenko are trying to develop technology solutions to counteract click fraud. "This has become a real cat-and-mouse game," said Eroshenko, who runs Clicklab in Miami. "Advertisers are going to have to accept a certain level of click fraud as a cost of doing business."

maandag 21 februari 2005

You're hired

Sometimes it is easy to forget companies you do business with are basically reducing cost because you're increasingly helping yourself. The return is more than money however, apperently it's being in control what makes us happy...

"But when done correctly, self-service systems have proved that they can both save money and make customers happy. This suggests that they could indeed transform the service economy in much the same way that mass production transformed manufacturing, by allowing services to be delivered at low cost in large volumes. Though it may take five years before most transactions are conducted via self-service, says Mr Kolsky, “we're definitely moving in that direction.” In other words, you never know who you might be working for next."

Chief humanising officer

The Economist on corporate blogging, profiling Microsoft's Robert Scoble. Who else....

"Boring old press releases—where everybody is constantly resigning “to spend more time with the family” and what not—are totally ill-suited for responding to most PR issues, such as rumours or independent commentary, he says. He can imagine blogs completely replacing press releases within ten years."

Google the Librarian

Is the librarian a better filter than Google's PageRank?

"Then, too, search engines make it all too easy to filter information in ways that reinforce pre-existing biases. A Google search on "voting machine fraud," for example, will turn up popular Web pages that feature those words prominently, most of which will support the view that voting machines make election fraud easier; opposing sites won't tend to feature that language, so will be missed in the search. A researcher exploring the same topic in a library would be more likely to encounter diverse points of view."

zondag 20 februari 2005

A mobile approach for erotics

"Over 40% of all mobile content sold is erotic" said Dimambro "but a lot of 'adult' content which is on the market today is still coming from sources not intended for mobile, and is launched without proper optimization or design. The key to success in this new market is understanding the mindset of the adult consumer, the capabilities of the mobile environment and ensuring value for money."

Not sure how they came up with this 40% figure, but it feels a bit unlikely considering the ringtone business. It's a matter of definition as well I guess. Anyway, their approach towards developing content seems ok, and I'm curious what really differentiates it from regular web content when she refers to 'the capabilities of the mobile environment'...

zaterdag 19 februari 2005

Open API's

Flickr's CEO Stewart Butterfield on the use of open API's:

"On the strictly practical side, I think we had one person inquire about using the SOAP version of the API. I don't know if any apps were actually built. There is at least one application built on XML-RPC. But all the others--I don't even know how many there are--are built on the REST API. It's just so easy to develop that way; I think it's foolish to do anything else."

Real virtual lives

"Computer Gaming World, the game magazine, called World of Warcraft "a game world so insidiously addictive, so rich in imagination, so fun and beautiful and funny and charming that we have no desire to ever log out and resume our real lives."

What do they mean by: "and resume our real lives"? Why make the distinction? Is a virtual world like WoW not part of the real world? Isn't it real time people spend there, aren't they having real fun there, aren't they learning real things, aren't they making real friends, and aren't they making real money in that game?

Meaning scales

I've mentioned Hugh MacLeod's How To Be Creative manifesto before. He's turning it into a book, and gives a profile of potential readers. I guess I'll by the book...

"It means we're starting to recognize that our work is just as much part of real lives as our evenings and weekends, that our jobs are not mere economic units that pay for "our real lives" outside the office. Our jobs ARE our real lives, dammit, and we're going to fight like hell to make sure that people recognize and respect this, not just our colleagues, but even sometimes ourselves."

Go Daddy go!

Was just looking at Go Daddy's Super Bowl ad(s). Great example of a commercial that has enough appeal to be distributed virally. And I like the combination of broadcasting the 'official' one and than putting all the 'unoffcial' ones on a web page, especially the "The Full "Web Only" Censorship Hearing". Disclaimer: I already was a customer before I saw the ads...

Steal this bookmark!

Like I said before, tagging is hot. Salon has a nice article looking into the matter, balancing the pros and cons of this phenomenon. I think Microsoft's MacLaurin sums it up best when he says:

"I'd say it's more a matter of figuring out who knows where the good stuff is, and less about finding new friends by tagging. I cannot imagine forming a relationship with someone because we tag our photos a similar way on Flickr."

"Red-Button" ads via SMS

Telco operators will have to rethink their MMS strategy if they're interested in the advertising dollars and euros that will be spent on mobile marketing. At the moment WAP push is the preferred mechanism for 'red button advertising'. It will also be interesting to see what will happen to other 'red button' mechanisms like Semacode, NFC and RFID.

"This functionality is of course not new. SMS has been used to respond to ads on other media for the last few years, but the formalised way in which it is now being offered is new. This formal stamp of approval is an important step, industry insiders believe, in driving uptake of mobile marketing -- and, interestingly, of mobile content, as the reward for interacting with ads is increasingly a WAP push message driving recipients to the mobile Internet."

dinsdag 15 februari 2005

Geotags or geospam?

Some good comments on geotagging, a very interesting phenomenon that's getting a lot of attention lately. Geotagging basically lets users get information on their mobile devices based on their location.

"The basic technology for geotagging makes sense. It may face an empty room problem right now, but as it gets used, the graffiti and clutter problem becomes a bigger issue. At that point, it's no longer going to be about the technology of geotagging, but technology to help filter out geotagging. People might as well get started on that aspect now, figuring out ways to better designate tags so people only see what they want. Otherwise, people are going to view geotags as geospam, and the entire technology won't go very far at all."

zondag 13 februari 2005

Word of mouse

Seth Godin is telling us that this internet thing is just getting started. Indeed, some people need a reminder every now and then.

"You know what killed the first crop of stupid $100 million Internet consumer service startups? Advertising. They all believed that they need to spend millions to build a brand. Today, we've got proof--every single (no exceptions!) Internet success is a success because of Unleashing the ideavirus. It's not TV ads. It's word of mouse."

Locking in your customers

Amazon knows how...

"Amazon just announced that you can pay $79 and get a year's worth of superfast shipping in exchange. For anyone buying more than a few items a month, it's a no brainer. But this has nothing to do with saving money on shipping and everything to do with Amazon's innate understanding of human nature. Once you buy in, every single time you buy something from any other store (online or off) you'll say to yourself, "ouch, I can't buy this here. I'll be wasting the money I spent at Amazon."

Google by the numbers

No revolutionairy new thoughts here, but if Google's business is a mystery to you, read the Business 2.0 article. Understanding Google may inspire you for your own (yet to be created) business.

As Google co-founder Sergey Brin put it in the quarterly conference call, AdSense is a "huge untapped resource" that "ultimately will have a faster rate of growth" than Google's main paid-search business. He also hinted that Google is working on some improvements to AdSense that should help make it a bigger contributor to revenue. If that happens, Google will become even more intertwined with the structure of the Web itself.

Webcam as a social lubricant

A New York Times article on the advent of videochatting. Nothing new, but it has some nice quotes. By the way, I just bought a webcam for my laptop so add me to your MSN contact list if you feel like trying: yme@bosma.tv. Or Skype me at yme_bosma.

"One guest even gave the camera an impromptu strip show. "The Webcam turned out to be a better social lubricant than alcohol," Ms. Colter said."

Recommendations and social software

The need for recommendations could be a possible source for the development of added services by social networking companies like Friendster. I've written about that before. But they (your friends) are not necessarily the best source for recommendations on everything, it's important to remember that.

"In other words, the assumption that there's a correlation between the people I like and the products I like is a flawed one. To use an analogy, Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, famously uttered this truism (now known as Joy's Law): "No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else." The same might be said of recommendations. No matter who you are, someone you don't know has found the coolest stuff."

maandag 7 februari 2005

Folksonomies tap people power

Metadata, tagging and folksonomies are hot topics in the blogosphere these days, and with good reason. They truly add value, it will be interesting to see how marketeers will (try to) exploit this.

"In a broad folksonomy, Vander Wal continued, there is the benefit of the network effect and the power curve because so many people are involved. An example is the website of contemporary design magazine Moco Loco, to which 166 Delicious users had applied the tag "design." But 44 users had also assigned the URL the tag "architecture," 28 "art," 15 "furniture" and so on. That means that because so many people applied so many different tags to Moco Loco's site, it could be located in a number of different ways."

The weblog question

Here's an issue I deal with very often....

"As more professionals create Weblogs, those opinion-filled Web sites where a mix of anecdote and insight can stir interest in one person's observations or an entire company's strategy, the complexities and questions are beginning to surface. Who owns Weblog content? What are the risks? And how far should employees go in sharing their thoughts?"

The Long Tail

Chris Anderson's Wired article on 'The Long Tail' has been one of the most inspiring and referenced articles of the last couple of months. Chris has continued his discussion on this topic on The Long Tail weblog, and one of the issues still very much open for debate is defining The Long Tail concept in the first place. Here's a Wikipedia entry that should help you out...

"A former Amazon employee described the Long Tail as follows: "We sold more books today that didn't sell at all yesterday than we sold today of all the books that did sell yesterday." In the same sense Wikipedia has many low popularity articles that, collectively, create a higher quantity of demand than a limited number of mainstream articles found on a professional site such as Britannica."

zondag 6 februari 2005

Steal this show

I think this is whisful thinking, but who knows. If it's made really easy, payment as well, it might have chance in the short and mid term.

"Mr. Poltrack of CBS said that according to his network's research, a large number of viewers would welcome the chance to pay $1 to watch each television show, if they could do it on their own schedule and with the ability to skip commercials. With commercials, they'd be willing to pay 50 cents. And because the average viewer sees only half of a show's episodes, he said, this on-demand viewing won't hurt the regular showing."

The mobile entertainment discussion

The never ending story on whether mobile video is going to work. Broadcast style that is. Although it's definitely not a mass-market yet, I think there are enough signals that indicate consumer demand. I know it firsthand through our 2GOTV initiative in cooperation with Vodafone, and it's not hard to imagine other TV content that might do good on a mobile device. Even broadcast style. Think of sports, news and other 'item based' content. Ok, may be not movies, batteries alone will prevent that from happening today, but the fact that not everything works does not mean nothing works. However, it will be difficult to develop a good revenue model. And a good distribution model since bandwith costs are way too high at the moment. We need experiments in order to learn about the possibilities, it's just to easy to say it won't work.

"Simply moving entertainment to a mobile device and calling it mobile entertainment is missing the point. If there's no reason for that entertainment to be mobile, there's no reason anyone's going to be willing to pay anything extra to get it."

Controlling the conversation

The way Volkswagen is handling the issue of a parody commercial that showed a terrorist blowing himself up inside a small but tough Polo is not the way to go. The world is changing and this is not what advertisers should do in order to take advantage of it. You might want to follow Russel's advice "to ask the admen to withdraw it and bung them a few thousand dollars to remake something you do like - the PR would have gained them much more than the money spent combined with their legal costs."

"Advertisers want to control the conversation; that is human nature. Whether you're selling a $5 billion brand or a corner taco stand, you'd rather have folk talking about what you want, not what they want. My advice has been the same for a while: "Control the conversation by improving the conversation."

zaterdag 5 februari 2005

Next generation gaming

The last session I attended during Imagina 2005 focused on the impact of the next generation game consoles (Xbox 2 and Playstation 3) on game development. The panel was discussing the potential for ever more realistic games enabled by ever more powerful CPU's. But this discussion made me wonder why these game developers are not taking better advantage of most powerful CPU available, the human brain. There should be more games that 'facilitate' imagination. More realism in games means less imagination in my opinion, which is a waste of resources....

vrijdag 4 februari 2005

Too much wireless...

At the Imagina 2005 conference there were two interesting lectures on NFC (by Philips) and RFID (by ASK). It made me wonder why we have so many different wireless standards that are, at least partly, overlapping in terms of applications. Besides these two, think about Bluetooth, Zigbee, IrDA and Felicia. Here's an article that focuses on the same question, and they conclude that consolidation is inevitable.

"Security is the big issue for wireless payments, and here infrared, which requires line-of-sight connections, has a natural edge over broadcast-radio schemes like Bluetooth. "Banks like infrared because it is short-range and point-to-point. You are not transmitting sensitive financial data to the person behind you," Brown said."

Yellow Pages: next generation

"The Amazon unit (A9) rolled up and down the streets of 10 major U.S. cities snapping the pictures of storefronts. Call up a business or an address at A9's Yellow Pages and you get a picture of the shop."

This is a clever way of 'listing' businesses, and I can also see potential here with regard to location based services. For instance, using a mobile device you try to find a specific shop based on its picture and at the same time you can look at reviews for that store submitted by previous customers.

The intimate planet

I'm in Monaco now, at the Imagina 2005 conference. Since, unexpectedly, the language used is French, I decided to take out my UMTS enabled notebook and surf away looking out over a sunny Mediterranean Sea... Then I read this post by John Barlow who had some experiences while travelling that made him realize the world is a very small place. Sitting here, it's difficult not to agree.

"Anyway, I feel as if the Global Village became real to me that night, and, indeed, it has become the Global Dinner Party. All at once. The small world has become the intimate world."

donderdag 3 februari 2005

Sell side advertising

I've posted before on this interesting concept, advertisers should look at it if they want to understand what their future might look like.

"There will come a time, and not so long from now, when advertisers will just post their ads, plus some data about them, and how they want them to perform, and how much they are willing to pay for leads generated by them, and the net will do the rest."

Free porn

The way the internet, more specifically search engines, work... I'm sure it will do the trick here on yme.nl as well...

"Two years ago, PC Mag tech columnist John Dvorak wrote a piece entitled "Free porn", to prove that merely including those words in an article would massively increase the traffic for that piece -- since pornhounds regularly search for that phrase and will click on anything that seems to point to that promised land. Apparently, it worked. Two years later, that column has remained on the most-read list of articles at PC Mag's site."

dinsdag 1 februari 2005

Off topic

But I just liked the idea, and I paid my 10 dollars.....;-).

"The deal is you send the Time Travel Fund $10.00 and they will invest part of the money until time travel is possible. When time travel is possible - say in 500 or 1000 years - they will use the money to bring you to the future. The site has financial calculations that show that $1 invested today at 5% will be worth $39 billion in 500 years, so there will be plenty of money to make this happen."


Bright, a new magazine on tech/life/style is out in The Netherlands. It's a sort of mix between Wallpaper and Wired, but then in Dutch... I wrote a column about what I think is a 'tech lifestyle' for Bright01, page 18..

Long Tail TV

Wish I was in the TV business. Must be great. Why? Because there's going to be a bigger audience then ever thanks to new distribution mechanisms that allow us to bring TV content to many niches. And many niches = masses. It's called Long Tail TV.

"If today I watch CSI Miami, but on my weekends go out hang gliding and am a huge hangliding fan, when the California hang gliding championships end up being broadcast through a microcontent platform I will end up watching that instead of CSI."

Finding cybersex

Spending most of your time behind a screen is one thing, having sex through that interface is something else...

"Role-playing games attract people with strong imaginations and the ability to evolve a fantasy over a long period of time. And even online, there's nothing solitary about an RPG. To make the fantasy complete, you must interact with others in a shared adventure of the mind."