• Disney Begins Test; Releases Ad Details for Online Episodes
    Disney has enlisted ten advertisers in a test of its plan to distribute TV content for free on the Web. It's testing a new ad system, whereby it will show a single interactive ad during each commercial break rather than a flurry of 30-second spots. The test starts on May 1, when the company will start offering streaming video of "Desperate Housewives," "Alias," "Commander in Chief" and "Lost" about 12 hours after each episode airs here on the East Coast. An ABC exec told Reuters the company may lost money on the test, because Disney is only charging advertisers for ...
  • Analysts: Gates & Co. Ramp Up Spending In Prep for Web-Wide War
    The New York Times thinks Microsoft, which released good first-quarter results yesterday, is ramping up spending in preparation for war with Google and Yahoo. Analysts, in particular, were surprised with the company's predictions of significantly higher expenses in the next fiscal year. Investors balked at this and the company's projections of flat profits, despite what will be the company's largest release of new products in over 5 years. Analysts were confused by the news; one, from Goldman Sachs, said,  Skip to next paragraph "There is something really big here that we haven't put our fingers on." Another: "It's ...
  • Report: Advertisers Not Buying IM
    A new report from JupiterResearch says just 7 percent of marketers incorporate instant messaging programs into their marketing plans, which is surprising, especially because the major instant messaging providers are AOL, Yahoo, and MSN, three publishers just about everyone in the business buy ads from. You'd think advertisers would make instant messaging a routine part of a larger network buy, but I guess not. Between 30 and 40 percent of the portals' search users regularly use IM; these users are often logged in for long periods of time, though their direct usage varies. Also, IM users tend to be young, ...
  • Nintendo Renames System; Gamers Scream
    Nintendo's new game console, expected to hit stores later this year, finally has a name: Wii. (Pause) No, that's not a typo. Yes, that is the worst console name ever. It's so bad, in fact, I bet nobody buys the system and Nintendo goes bankrupt. Pronounced "we," the name is supposed to emphasize that "this console is for everyone," Nintendo says. Apparently, a lot of thought went into the name, too. Ugh. Maybe it's the annoying way they've decided to spell it, but game site editors and gamers contacted by CNN agree that the name sucks. Several questions arise: why ...
  • Once Again, Yahoo Helps China Lock Up Dissidents
    In China, Yahoo is beginning to look like a tattletale who's only too willing to tell the government about the "subversive" activities of its users. The company has now been cited in four separate reports aiding the Chinese government in the capture of dissidents. Each of the writer/reporters has been outspoken about government censorship and the suppression of human rights. In this latest case, from a Human Rights in China report, the offending dissident was thrown in jail for 10 years for "incitement to subvert state power." The man's journals, written under his real and pen names, contain essays about ...
  • Podcasting: A Viable Marketing Opportunity?
    What's the big deal with podcasting? Despite all the buzz, Ad Age says the Web's newest Wild West industry lacks direction and established players. Effective third-party audience measurement is one way to settle an industry that will ultimately revolve around the buying and selling of ads, but for the time being, usage is so small and reports are so varied, marketers are forced to sit on the sidelines and wait. Varying reports say anywhere between 5 and 10 million people have downloaded podcasts; eMarketer claims regular listeners--those who download at least one podcast per week--number about 3 million per ...
  • What To Do About A Bad E-mail Rep
    As many e-mail marketers can attest, it's becoming more and more difficult to send e-mail. ISPs are cracking down on unwanted mailers, aggressively filtering messages and applying a something called a reputation score for each sender. A company's reputation score is calculated based on complaint rates, volume of mail sent, and response to unsubscribe requests. If their score falls below a certain threshold, e-mail service providers have been known to unceremoniously ban senders with no appeals process. Another problem is that hundreds of places compute e-mail reputations in their own way, making it a costly challenge to keep up. E-mail ...
  • Report from The SEO Trenches
    If the latest Google Dance has left you short of Google juice, or quality linkage, you may need to hire a search engine optimization firm. This little industry has sprung up in response to how major search engines are constantly tweaking their search algorithms. As many of you know, Google ranks sites based on the quantity and quality of the sites that link to it.   SEOs boost natural rankings on Google and Yahoo by optimizing Web site language for search crawlers and mining the Web for links and other little tweaks that help bring more users to your site. ...
  • New to Washington, Net Firms Learn Lobbying Lesson
    Net Neutrality recap: in a vote of 34 to 22, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce rejected an amendment that would effectively bar the practice of network operators favoring one content provider's Web traffic over another. This is definitely a defeat for any Web firm that isn't a network operator, including Google, Yahoo, Intel, eBay, and Microsoft.   The larger bill, which passed 42-12, means nothing changes on the consumer end (i.e. they won't have to pay anything). Operators still have to let consumers access the content, applications and services of their choice, but some of their favorites could ...
  • AP: Webaroo Fails To Impress
    Webaroo, the application that lets you download relevant Internet content to your laptop or phone for on-the-go  browsing, always seemed too good to be true, and is, according to an Associated Press report. You might ask: how does the service know what kind of content is relevant to you? Users download "Web packs" like 64 mgs of world news or 6 gigabytes for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. There are also packs for specific cities or topics of interest--the AP mentions soccer. You can also customize Webaroo to download content from sites you frequently go to. One of the problems ...
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