Gamble on the News

    Posted: January 29th, 2008 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

    As a news junkie there is a new website where I can put my predictive powers to good use, As the AP reported Tuesday this new site allows users to wager on real-time news event outcomes. Similar to the Hollywood exchange or Yahoo’s Buzz game ,users get points for predicting the correct outcome of a particular news story. These predictive market game sites are complete “popcorn”, but can earn you some serious bragging points to fellow news / tech junkies.

    Wave your Hands in the air…

    Posted: January 27th, 2008 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

    Carlton Screen Advertising in 2007 deployed an interactive advertising system that placed Sony’s eye toy into Movie Theaters. In the video below you can see that the application has its flaws (even with a marketing manager yelling out directions) nevertheless it sure looks fun. As the home theater is slowly killing the Movie Theater, community interactivity could be a great way to bring people back.

    Imagine this system being installed to all major theater chains as a way for movie goers to “choose their own adventure” during the movie. Much like the Web 2.0 movement of connecting communities it would be great if Movies tapped into consumers need to have unique experiences. In a previous life as a Walt Disney World Cast member I’d often wittiness families disembark “Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin” with huge smiles on there faces. Why?, because they got to interact with what historically was a passive ride experience. For Kids/Adults to have control gave each a seemingly unique experience in a controlled linear plot line.
    Buzzlightyear at the local Movie Theater

    LocaModa-Free Mobile Interactive Applications

    Posted: January 25th, 2008 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Mobile SMS Interactive Campaigns originally started with Huge Campaign Budgets for giant interactive billboards held in Times Square:


    • Coca-Cola unveiled one of the world’s first Mobile interactive billboards, switched on in Piccadilly Circus, London. The 99-foot billboard responded to the day’s weather and interacted with people looking at it from the ground via optical sensors. It was (to my knowledge) one of the first billboards to be able to respond to text messages from onlookers text messages.


    • Dove Campaign for Real Beauty employed an interactive billboard in Times Square that served as a public forum answering the question “What is beautiful? As people walked by they vote on the “beauty” of the billboards rotating images. As votes were cast via Mobile SMS a tally would appear in real-time aside the image.
    • Yahoo! Automotive utilized an interactive billboard in Times Square to promote itself. The billboard allowed people to play a car video game on a 23-stoires tall billboard via their Mobile phones.

    In the years since the launch of these huge installations the technology has been made available to anyone for FREE. A company here in Cambridge called LocaModa has taken the spirit of these interactive displays and built a solid back end system that anyone can play with for free. LocaModa’s founding tenants:

    “LocaModa was founded on the insight that out-of-home networks such as Wi-Fi hot-spots, narrowcast digital signage, and IP-based entertainment networks (jukeboxes to cinemas) can be leveraged to provide interactivity, presence and commerce for mobile consumers. With the disruptive force of the web already spreading to out-of-home media, it’s clear that “The Web Outside” will become a major platform for measuring, tracking and monetizing consumer intent.”

    This small screen interactivity has some great applications dependent on the situation and space. Bars and restaurants have used their technology to entertain customers with community games and message boards as they wait for a table or sit/stand at the bar. The technology could also be used for various on-site promotions at a myriad of venues.

      As it is Web-based it does allow users online and in-person to interact forming an interesting social talking point at any venue. Currently you can test several different application demos on there site:

      LocaModa-maze game A Maze game where you use your cellphone as a gamepad

        Locamoda Word Game A Word game where multiple players form words on the screen using sms

            Locamoda city Guide A City guide that uses voice guided telephone prompts to show you items on Google Maps.

                Locamoda also offers a Free application called wiffiti, which allows mobile users to send text messages to any web-enabled display. In 10 minutes I created a board and is currently live:

                ABC helps Lost Fans using AdWords

                Posted: January 24th, 2008 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

                As a Fan of ABC’s show Lost I questioned when the show would return, with the Writers Guild strike it seemed very “up in the air”. After a quick Google search for the keyword “Lost” I got the following results page:

                ABC's Lost does Adwords Right

                ABC is bidding on the term “Lost” which is not surprising, but the Ad text is splendid. As you can imagine a healthy portion of those querying “Lost” are looking for the air date and time. The Ad text delivers that message to Lost fans at zero cost to ABC. Even if a Lost fan did click the paid ad it’s likely a <$0.15 CPC.

                “Yeah that’s nice, but my Campaign is B2B focused”

                While ABC has it easy with show times and dates placed in Ad text at no cost*, any Paid Search campaign can benefit from answering a users question without clicking the Ad text. A clear cut example for a B2B campaign would be to bid on the conferences and events your sales staff will be at, and have Ad text saying “Meet us at CES” or “Find us at Booth 102″. While this tactic does limit an ability to track and measure success via a Search Engine report, you should have some directional success data from booth / sales staff.

                Google Mapping Product Update

                Posted: January 23rd, 2008 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

                As first reported on TechCrunch Google’s Marissa Mayer gave a great 10 minute update on Google’s mapping technology products (Earth, Maps, Streetview) at the Digital, Life, Design conference in Germany on Monday:

                UNTRACEABLE - Sony Pictures Just Gives Up on Research

                Posted: January 22nd, 2008 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

                This weekend amidst the cold Boston weather I saw the trailer for Untraceable produced by Sony Pictures staring Diane Lane & Colin Hanks (Tom Hanks son) . The premise according to Sony Pictures website description tag (kudos to my SEO brethren at Sony for using Metatags on a 100% flash site) is:

                “Within the FBI, there exists a division dedicated to investigating and prosecuting criminals on the internet. Welcome to the front lines of the war on cybercrime, where Special Agent Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) has seen it all until now. A tech-savvy internet predator is displaying his graphic murders on his own website“ and the fate of each of his tormented captives is left in the hands of the public: the more hits his site gets, the faster his victims die. When this game of cat and mouse becomes personal, Marsh and her team must race against the clock to track down this technical mastermind who is virtually untraceable.

                Now UNTRACEABLE is a horror flick so I can understand if the films budget could not hire a copyeditor, but there are a few things that just bother me about the premise of this film:

                1. The metric that the “killer” is using to kill his victims is Hits.

                Anyone who has any involvement with web metrics knows that Hits are “so 8 years ago”. Hits are How Idiots Track Success. The killer in this film would clearly care about the correct measurement if he built a site getting millions of page views per hour. At minimum the killer would use Google Analytics.

                2. Millions of people looking at Live Video and your not using akamai?

                Akamai during the Live Earth worldwide concert help stream over 15 million live video streams. Now if the killer in this film was to have millions of page views perhour he would likely need some help from a Streaming Media Service. A single server just could not handle the load.

                Now I understand this movie is a Horror film, but the plot seems to take place in reality. As such the killer’s device of murder should not be so inaccurate. People crave details, look at ER, CSI, and House they are only good because you believe the detailed jargon. It’s almost as if an exec at Sony Pictures dusted off an old script from the late 90’s and gave it a “green light” to fill the post-award movie season.

                Ascii Text Ads on AdWords

                Posted: January 9th, 2008 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

                As users suffered from banner ad blindness earlier this decade, a number of new surveys suggest the same trend is happening with Paid Text ads. While I have not seen data to suggest any reason to panic it does lend support for a vigilant “Test & Learn” credo.

                While doing some research I found a great example of a company in Germany that tested the use of Ascii in there text ads. While I’m a tad bit suspect of this story being 100% as Ascii would not be allowed by the “too much punctuation” filter in AdWords, it is a good example of the overall idea of “testing and Learning” from your own and competitors Ad Text. As a Online Marketer and user nothing is worse than seeing the same offer repeated 10 times on the right side of a search results page.

                The company is located in Germany and that could be the reason for the exception.

                ascii text ads

       is a car rental company as such the Ascii art depicts two types of cars. As the ads stood out from the crowd of Text ads the company claimed they had a 47% increase in there campaigns click-through rate. I’d be very interested to see how many of those users based on this ad took an action (quote request, email sign-up…), as I’d suspect with such unique Text ad’s they likely garnered a high level of Looky Lou’s. If “Brand Awareness” by impressions and clicks was there success metric I’d be certain they hit the mark with this campaign.

                Iowa Caucus on Google Maps

                Posted: January 3rd, 2008 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

                While the Caucus is likely to be a complete toss-up see how the great state of Iowa is involved via a great Google maps mashup:
                Google Maps Iowa Caucus

                Re-writing the Global Library

                Posted: December 27th, 2007 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

                In recent week there have been great examples of data collection for a greater good. The first example I found out from the PBS show Wired. It was about the history and future of CAPTCHA. Luis von AhnA from Carnegie Mellon University explained the confusing acronym means “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”. As Carnegie Mellon owns the trademark and rights to most technology in use on millions of forms on the web it was interesting to find out that this simple security technology is actually doing a lot of good.


                Read the rest of this entry »

       was on Fire

                Posted: December 12th, 2007 | Author: MO | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

                This past holiday season I was amazed at how efficient’s operation has become. As this was my 8th year doing the majority of my holiday shopping online this was the first that every gift came 48 hours after ordering from On the other hand the two gifts that I bought from did make it prior to the holiday, but it took an unremarkable 5 days. It should be noted that my use of the term “efficiency” is used in the terms of time alone. As far as eco-friendliness did beat as they sent one box for every three items bought verse Amazon’s 1 to 1 gift to box ratio. Although the pile of Amazon boxes did make a great fire which saved me from turning on the oil heat.

                *Update: I was made aware that burning cardboard is not a great idea as it can increase the likelihood of a chimney fire*