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Archive for July, 2008

Perfect Storm, Unintended Consequences, and Sexy Search

Article By: Dan Goldsmith (Dan@aclion.com)
Dan Goldsmith
I was chatting with my long time friend Sara Holoubek, Aspiring Luminary (www.SaraHoloubek.com), about the role of search engine marketing and its respective piece of the pie. She and I sensed late last year that search marketing was lagging a bit maybe hitting a plateau. Companies were not displaying an acuity or clarity to their deliverables and value prop. Mind you, we had no empirical data to go on what so ever. Sara was going on conversations with colleagues in the space and I was going on my never fail leading indicator, “What are the sales pp saying”. If the sales people love what they are doing and have no interest in leaving a company then clearly that company is paying well and on time and there is continued confidence in the company’s future. If however sales people are chomping at the bit to go on interviews then its curtains! Late last year sales people in search marketing were calling me with resumes in hand as they were all feeling marginalized. Simple feedback was that the typical compositions of SEM agencies were becoming more and greyer. They were drifting away from SEARCH and trying to be FULL SERVICE and the sales guys were having a hard time differentiating themselves from the rest. There was less SEARCH in Search Engine Marketing Agencies.
Fast forward to summer ’08 and where are we? The financial markets resemble Elaine’s dance in Seinfeld otherwise known as “….a full body dry heave set to music”. This morning the WSJ reported that America’s 4th largest advertiser, General Motors, is announcing advertising cut backs primarily in Local TV, Print, and Radio. Through it all sales people are now excited about the next 2 years and SEM hiring spec’s say something like “get me the very best sales talent and I will pay whatever it takes”. What gives, all the sudden Search is sexy again.
Here is my .02. The diversification of SEM services and product lines came at the behest of general market confidence and measured risk. A narrowing of services or a “commitment” back to original core competencies would seem to indicate a re-trenching. Combine that with recent data suggesting ’08 to show 26% net growth of ad spend. Or, another way saying it, “As goes GM goes the nation” and as such more and more major advertisers will pull TV/RADIO/PRINT dollars and place them online (how much of that pull back goes online remains to be seen). That said, the first door that NEW interactive dollars stand in line before? That’s right Search – and we all know the laundry list why.
So we have a bit of perfect storm on our hands that is bringing the sexy back to search. Search agencies are narrowing their deliverables as reaction to general market conditions at the same time that major advertisers are shifting BIG dollars away from traditional medium and into interactive which invariable means SEARCH. Proof (as far as this blogger is concerned), search sales pp are hard to find and Search agencies will pay whatever it takes to get the best of the best.
Vive La SEM

BubbleComment: Video Comments 1-2-3

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak
Well, it’s no surprise that my attention has been diverted from Video to Social Networks this week…well, sort of. This weeks article was inspired by me literally stumbling on Mashable.com

Bubble Comment“! No it’s not XXX…nor is it a Bazooka Gum rating site! Bubble Comment is fully owned and operated by kShermanStudios LLC., a privately held group located in Sausalito, CA.,
and is part of the Bubble suite of video services which include:

Bubble Guru
A subscription based video service that enables you to directly engage your web site visitors and improve web-based communications.
Bubble Testimonial
A subscription based testimonial service that eliminates all the time-consuming aspects of gathering, organizing, and posting of customer testimonials.
Bubble Joy
A free service that allows you to send richly interactive video greeting cards to all your friends and family.
Bubble Comment
A free service that enables you to share personal video comments with others on virtually any web page.

You won’t find BubbleComment advertised on kShermanStudio’s main site just yet. Simply put, it does the simple but effective task of allowing you distribute a page to a circle of contacts along with personal video recording. It’s an easy 3-step process and can’t get any easier than plugging in a VCR (unless you’re a tech-tard
…anyways, what is attractive about this product? Why would anyone take the time to do all of this when the old way of commenting works just fine for the amount of time it takes (less than 30 seconds)? Well, for one there’s no sign-in requirements No sign-in is required. Just two basic steps, and you’re done. It’s for video enthusiasts who really want to get their point across.
Give it a shot…you have nothing to lose except for your self dignity!

Viral Video of The Day – #2

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak
It’s Friday and there’s a lot going on in the world today, but I feel it’s necessary to forget everything and do what 85% of internet users do and watch a video. My fellow AC Lion executive, Dan Goldsmith, took the liberty of sending me this video. Take a moment to sit back and relax. This one is for all the gamers in the house!!

Quick Synopsis:Tech Support Humor at it’s finest! Sales guy complains of web-site failure as TechSupport is completely immersed in Halo-3!

Free Beer Friday’s @ MeetNowLive

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak

I recently attended NYTechMeetup and had the pleasure of meeting Mike Davis, co-founder of a rather interesting and noteworthy mobile social network, MeetNowLive. Hands down, one of the coolest and most attractive mobile based social network I’ve seen so far. Leave it to Mike to make something this Hot!
Check out their “Free Beer Friday’s” promotions on their site, among some basic about and contact information…but that’s it! They’ll have some account features and bar listings pretty soon, but it’s strictly for mobile devices. “Meet Now Live is a real-time, location based, mobile social network in and around New York City. Our members use their mobile phones to broadcast their current location as they party in the city.” Mike Davis took the time to write up a little blurb about who they are and what they do…read it below. Let us know what you think!

Meet Now Live (MNL) is a pioneering location-based, mobile social-networking service connecting young professional urbanites in their quest for real-time bar, event, and nightlife information in New York City and surrounding areas. Launched in April 2008, the service is available on any cell phone or mobile device with internet access.
With 2,000 bars, clubs, lounges, and restaurants in its network, MNL is the only service of its kind to allow users to broadcast their location from their favorite place of interest and invite other users to join. MNL is a free, “device agnostic,” mobile service where users can create profiles, send messages, friend one another, upload pictures, create personalized location-specific events, and plan their night on-the-fly, based on the location of their friends. Now anyone can view real pictures of real people at bars, clubs, lounges, parties, and restaurants without ever stepping foot inside.
Beta Launch: During this launch period which lasts until Labor Day weekend, MNL has joined forces with The Town Tavern, Whistling Dixies Texas Tavern, and Porky’s NYC to offer “Free Beer Fridays!”. When users “broadcast” their location from these bars, encouraging friends and other MNL users to join them, the MNL system delivers an on-screen mobile ticket that grants them the right to unlimited free draft beers.
Mike Davis
| Co-Founder
Meet Now Live, Inc.
www.MEETNOWLIVE.com

Search Month at Search Engine Land

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak
I’m usually very protective about just copying and pasting articles verbatim, but considering the nature of this blog, it makes sense in this case. “Search Month is a monthly newsletter that recaps stories covered on Search Engine Land over the past monthly.” (Read the main article here) Search Engine Land is a great source of information for the world of Online Search. It’s a great blog and I would suggest you subscribe to them by clicking this link, but feel free to read to your hearts content…below :)

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Viral Video of The Day

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak
For your viewing pleasure, here’s the viral video of the day. Listen closely to the soundtrack, because according to an AlleyInsider article, the singer is 17-year old Palbasha Siddique, and besides the 4 million+ views this video has, she now ranks as part of the top 10 music downloads on Amazon.com (above Mariah Carey and Madonna):

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

“Taking Back The Country” At NY Tech Meetup

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak
NY Tech Meetup may be my favorite event of all time. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it is definitely an amazing event. I’m using a lot of adjectives so let me explain…For one, you should know what Meetup.com is and if you don’t, take the Meetup.com Tour here. [I would have hosted the video explanation, but apparently, the minute I embedded it here, it was no longer on Vimeo.]
So there you go. That was easy. Now, the CEO and Co-Founder’s is Scott Heiferman. Scott focuses the team on the goal of a Meetup Everywhere About Most Everything.
BUT WHAT’S IMPORTANT FOR THE SAKE OF THIS BLOG IS… He’s the Organizer of NY Tech Meetup. You can find Scott’s blog at scott.heiferman.com. I had the pleasure of not knowing knowing he was the CEO of Meetup when I first met him at the June ’08 NY-Tech Meetup during InternetWeek. (*Which probably explains why he made sure to announce who he was during the July ’08 meetup, last night…so yea, I’m giving myself credit there).
So now you’re wondering, what’s NY-Tech Meetup? If you’re not asking that, then I’m assuming you’re either socially retarded or well informed and probably met me at one time or another. Either way, for you soci-tards, check out the NY Tech Meetup Site here. Simply: “On the 1st Tuesday each month at 7PM, 6 people get 5 minutes each to demo something cool to New York’s tech community (geeks, investors, entrepreneurs, hackers, etc).” It also happens to be the first and only one run by Scott. It’s a great event and Scott puts a lot of care into making sure it runs well. What’s the catch? $10.00 and required RSVP/limited attendance.
So why am I talking about this event? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD BE THERE! It hosts 400 people and the venue is spectacular. Hosted in the ballroom/entry hall of The IAC (*a perfect venue for online tech community, no?) in front of a the Largest Video Wall In The World:

“The world’s largest high resolution, edge-blended video wall resides inside the lobby of InterActiveCorp’s (IAC) global headquarters in the Chelsea District of New York City. The venue is renowned architect Frank Gehry’s first building in New York City, featuring a 10-story glass façade with contours reminiscent of the unfurled, wind-tossed sails of a ship. The audio visual design and build was accomplished by Edison NJ based McCann Systems. There are two video walls in the lobby. The larger, the West Wall, is the largest, 120’ x 11’, permanently installed, edge-blended video wall in the world, which is clearly visible from the West Side Highway.”

It’s a spectacular sight to see, and an even more effective presentation tool. I had the pleasure of getting a tour of how-it-works last night. To protect my sources, I’ll just refer to him as “SH the AV Guru”. It’s amazing, he works full time to keep that among other display (both audio and visual) systems up and running throughout the entire IAC building. Thank you “AV Guru” and I look forward to meeting you again.
As for the content, LAST NIGHT WAS AMAZING! Every time I go, I have a great and make great contacts. It’s perfect for entrepreneurs of all ages and somehow related to the interactive/new-media industry. The way it works is simple: You get 5 minutes to pitch your company followed up by a Q&A while the next presenter sets up. Are you up to the challenge?
Unfortunately, not all presentations are full of “Oooohh’s” and “Ahhhh’s”, but for the most part everything you see is impressive and innovative. Here are a few examples of companies that presented last night: Wakozi, Pluribo, DailyLit, TransClick, Cause Caller, Cloudsmith & iYear. Some of the technology was worthy of a standing ovation, but for my sake, I stay seated.
I had the change meat the CEO’s and founders of these companies and they are very down-to-earth and willing to open up about their products and I find that to be a very personable experience you rarely find anywhere else. Definitely one of the major benefits in attending this event.
Oh…one more thing: I got 2 free drinks last night. Not sure if that will be a regular thing, but it’s definitely worth going again. JUST DON’T TAKE MY SPOT! The next one is in August, so try and make it!

Hulu and YouTube: Methods of Monetization!

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak

I was recently reading a Mediapost article in their Online Video Insider Publication where they addressed the question: “Can we reach television-sized audiences using online video?” And they continued to say “The answer is, unequivocally, yes.”. That means a lot for the monetization efforts for online video. In my recent article: Online Video – Q2 Tells All, According to ComScore, Internet users in the U.S. watched 11.5 billion online videos in March 2008, up 13% over February 2008 and 64% year-over-year. And I continued to point out that the IAB is attempting to standardize the monetization of online video. Until that “standard happens” I like to keep myself up to date on what big video networks are doing now, pro and user-gen alike. I have to admit, each company has made their own attempts. For the purposes of entertainment, I chose YouTube and Hulu and covered some of the efforts made to “monetize” their constantly growing database of video:


YouTube Logo Arrested Development
AND
Hulu Logo Arrested Development


…BUT, before I go ahead and explain why, I have to point out a very entertaining and new way to monetize online video: As covered in the NYTimes article “Coming Soon To YouTube: My Face-Lift“, they have taken online advertising to a new and rather nauseating level. Plastic surgeons are offering patients free/discounted services in return for posting their operations on YouTube. The catch: They have to write a GOOD REVIEW and post a link to the surgeon’s web-site.
According to the New York Times, more than 6,400 videos of Botox, breast augmentation and Lasik appear on YouTube alone. (Article Here)
And that completes my User-Gen Coverage. Now, if you’re a hungry online video addict, I suggest Hulu. I recently started “Arrested Development” on Hulu and it has been an eye opening experience comparing their “monetization” methods.
The site itself has been out of Beta for 3 months now, and in terms of ranking, they ahve already made their way to Nielsen’s top-10 video sites. In terms of turning advertising, they’ve served more videos in May than ABC.com.
AlleyInsider.com, one of my favorite online industry blogs out there (besides this one, of course), They “estimate Hulu will sell between $45 million and $90 million of advertising during its first 12 months — April 2008 through March 2009. By the time it pays off its content partners, it will book between $12.5 million and $25 million in net revenue. (Which isn’t bad for a start-up, actually.)” They have painted a map of how Hulu will get there in their posting, “Hulu: A Consumer Success But Still A Small Business” One quote I particularly enjoyed…

On the low end, we estimate that Hulu.com will generate close to the revenue generated by, say NBC.com, which is said to generate “tens of millions” in revenue this year. On the high end, Hulu would net $90 million in gross ad sales — in the same league as some estimates for YouTube.


It seems to me that both YouTube and Hulu have their challenges set up for them, both of which are worlds apart. I’ll follow them closely as we reach an IAB “standard”, but until that happens, just keep up to date and if you see anything out of the ordinary, let me know. E-mail me anytime at Red@aclion.com Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s my lunch break and I’m almost done with Season 1 of Arrested Development :)


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