• Report: Google Going After TV
    By and large, Google, with its billions in ready cash, still represents the single biggest threat to traditional media. Case in point: CEO Eric Schmidt unveiling the search giant's plans to bring its search engine to TV screens. The company is building an electronic programming guide (EPG) that enables TV viewers with a broadband set top box to choose from a wider array of video and film content. As Schmidt points out, an EPG is little more than a search engine for television; Google thinks it can create a world-beating system. However, rival Microsoft may already have a head start: ...
  • Vonage Could Eat Consumer IPO Risk
    Things have gone from bad to worse for Vonage Holdings Corp. and its underwriters since the firm went public last week. The Web telephony company just conducted the most unsuccessful initial public offering of the last two years that saw its stock plummet 26 percent in its first full week of trading. It's been so bad that Vonage may be forced into an unusual contingency plan that was spelled out in its SEC filings. Vonage says it will cover the cost for investors who balk at the agreements they made to buy shares during the IPO, letting its underwriters, Deutsche ...
  • Report: The Net Has Never Been Neutral
    Wired summarizes the current state of net neutrality in Congress, outlining the subtle differences in the six competing bills sifting through the Senate and House of Representatives. Some favor broadband providers, others favor net neutrality--the idea that access to bandwidth should be equal and unfettered. However, when you take a deeper look at how the interlacing networks work together, you see that there's nothing neutral about the way traffic is rerouted and blocked everyday. In fact, the article says, "ISPs must often fight to get their data carried on neighboring networks, and those who are willing to pay extra reap ...
  • Marketing To Online Avatars
    Harvard Business Review writer Paul Hemp says you should be marketing to virtual world-avatars, the online alter-egos of the legions of consumers who play massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). The virtual worlds he's talking about include Second Life, World of Warcraft, and the Sims, the most popular MMOGs that collectively reach tens of millions of users. Hemp notes that usage of avatar-driven worlds continues to grow and most marketers are missing out; he says avatars reveal the "hidden pieces of a person's emotional makeup" and targeting them could pay off. He goes on to say, in effect, that avatars ...
  • Acclaim to Publish Free Ad-Supported Games
    Aside from its Tony Hawk franchise, U.S. video game publisher Acclaim hasn't had a solid hit in years, but the publisher, which went bankrupt in 2004, has now decided to test the uncharted waters of massively multiplayer online games, developing publishing from the Asian market but tailoring them to the U.S. market. The curious shift is also underlined by a changing business model: its games will be free to download and will be supported by ads and the sale of virtual items. The oft-described "free game" model has been talked about but never implanted in North America, but it's been ...
  • Report: Marketers Not Buying The Newest Media
    Marketers are reticent about buying emerging media platforms like video games and social networks, according to fresh data from Forrester Research. In a survey of 253 interactive marketers, 72 percent of respondents said they have no plans to buy in-game advertising and advergaming. This is not surprising, given that advergaming really only suits those advertisers with enough money to create, find distribution and then buy media to market their advergames. In-game advertising, on the other hand, has such a small reach that it's only for those advertisers dying to reach die-hard 18- to 34-year-olds who spend the majority of their ...
  • Skype's Manifest WOM Destiny
    Skype, eBay's red-hot Voice over Internet Protocol subsidiary, is "one of the great word of mouth stories" writes Pete Blackshaw, board member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and well-regarded expert of the world's oldest marketing channel. In his article, Blackshaw notes that he was one of the last people he knows to start using Skype, but he did so at the sustained insistence of colleague (and MediaPost Online Spin writer) Max Kalehoff. In fact, I also only started using Skype after a very good friend "insisted" that I do so. Why all this insistence? A WOM expert and ...
  • Bullish Analysts Weigh In On Google's Video Ads
    Analysts have mixed views about Google's new video advertising program. Some, like Emily Riley from JupiterResearch, predict success: "Brand advertisers have plenty of money to spend on the Google network. It's the next generation," she says. Two things that work in Google's favor are certainly true: brand advertisers definitely have money to spend on the Web,and there's a dearth of video ad inventory out there. Opening Google's contextual network video ads addresses the latter problem, but brand advertisers also want to see volume; the trouble with Google's new program is, ads aren't viewed unless someone clicks "play." Google execs say ...
  • Virgin Mobile USA: 'Watch Our Ads, Earn Free Calls'
    Virgin Mobile USA, one of the smaller networks in the U.S., is launching a new program that lets its users earn free calls for viewing and responding to ads on their phones. Each month, users can get up to 75 minutes of free calls per month if they look at and reply to ads in equal measure. Virgin Mobile USA, which is a joint venture between Sprint Nextel and UK-based media company Virgin, hopes the offer will appeal to its customers, the majority of whom (65 percent) are under 30. Such an offer will surely be taken up by its ...
  • Blogger: Let's Get Realistic About Municipal Wi-Fi
    Following the (generally) positive reactions of San Francisco and Philadelphia, it's not surprising that most major cities are planning, or at least pondering, a municipal Wi-Fi network, but as Business Week blogger Olga Kharif points out, expectations need to be brought back to Earth. Why? A couple of myths that are being floated around need to be squashed: first, these Wi-Fi networks will not be free to use, and second, they won't provide ubiquitous access across entire cities. Unless Google is powering your lower-speed network, don't expect free access, and note that not even Google can afford to offer ...
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