Sunday, August 27, 2006

David Brent to succeed Bill Gates?

I missed this a few days back, but discovered it while catching up on my Smays.

Microsoft UK has hired Ricky Gervais and Stephan Merchant of Office fame (the original, of course) to do some faux training videos.

Normally I think online video should be 5 minutes or less - but I'll watch all thirty seven minutes of Ricky - just goes to show you that sometimes, it just comes down to good content.

As a matter of fact, since you're already here, why don't you watch them with me:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Everything I know about web 2.0 I learned at the strip club

I have a good friend who's an adult club owner.

A really smart adult club owner.

He runs the most successful club in the Southeast. It's been world famous for about 30 years.

He's been called the father of the lap dance.

He does it all in a 2500 sq ft. building in Tampa, FL.

Why is he so successful? - because he knows when to do something and when not to do something.

What he does is create an atmosphere.

He brings in the most beatiful women, and he makes sure they want to stay and work there. (if you read the rest of the post you'll find out how).

He makes sure the club is clean, friendly and comfortable - no smoking, no booze (which means no fights), security guards who are big but not mean.

He makes sure no laws are broken - no prostituion, no underage dancers, no drugs.

There are no back rooms, so no one has unrealistic expectations.

What he doesn't do is meddle.

He doesn't do the hiring and firing - he has all women managers to do that.

He doesn't make the dancers dress a certain way or even charge a set rate for their dances.

He doesn't schedule the dancers - they come whenever they want so they can work around their other obligations (80% of dancers are single mothers and many are in school).

The dancers aren't his employees, he's their landlord. They rent space to ply their trade (the rent is one cent a year.)

And he doesn't take a cut of the dancers' earnings or require them to pay a house fee.

His product is traffic - and it generates 2-3 million per year. 2500 square feet.

He's a pretty smart guy.

It seems that web retailers are finally beginning to understand the simple notion that their traffic is worth a lot.

Monetizing user experience. Monetizing traffic. Web 2.0 is sooooo 1976.

oops! I got through this whole post without giving you a sexy strip club pic. Here you go...

Friday, August 25, 2006

A big idea from CBS

CBS just announced that they'll be offering free content downloads for your cell phone from billboards:

Because Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology, users must stand within 36 feet of the billboard to access the video clips with their Bluetooth-enabled devices. The video clips are free. They are delivered over the wireless connection directly to the Bluetooth-enabled device without the need to use the mobile Internet, so consumers won't be charged by their carrier for data usage.

I have a love/hate relationship with Bluetooth - it's really cool, but it doesn't work as well as advertised. With that caveat, I think this is a really good idea.

It connects online content with the offline world.

It encourages widespread adoption of mobile video by letting users experience it for free.

And it gives a reasonable answer to the question I'm always asking, "why would I want to download on my mobile phone when I can stream content?"

That answer is geography. Allowing me to grab content at the precise moment I want it is a really good idea.

Go with me for a minute - scale the idea, and what do you have? People going about their day. When they get near the restaurant, they can download the menu and check it out. When they pass a movie theater, they can see a trailer. Drive past a house for sale? You can download the sales sheet and inspection info.

It's contextual ads for the real world... or at least it could be.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

From the mouth of the Scobleizer

... if a Scobleizer has a mouth...

I’ll tell you what executives from big companies (like Kraft, Procter and Gamble, GM, and others) who were at MSN’s OWN ADVERTISING CONFERENCE told me. An influencer is worth THOUSANDS of times more than a non-influencer.

Advertisers are looking for influential content producers because they get better results just by placing their ads next to the content.

So the advertiser is saying, "yeah, I know Scoble. We hang. He told me he really digs my line of shoes, so you should check them out."

And people are checking out the line of shoes.

Now if instead it was Scoble saying, "Dude, check out these shoes. I picked them out
because I dig them. Here's why..."

The number of people who are checking out those shoes and buying those shoes is going to explode.

Affiliate marketing
programs typically pay btw 10% and 30% commission on a sale. Some pay up to 70%. That makes sense - it's a very valuable service that you're providing.

You don't have to be a product blogger, you need a sphere of influence.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Scoble's taste in clothes sucks - don't buy the shoes he recommends.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Pimpin' aint easy (or why I like affiliate marketing)

I'm going to spend a few posts figuring out the angles with affiliate marketing this week...

In recent months, this model is moving from the spambots and pyramid schemers to the content providers - mostly because of Amazon (big surprise).

It's not sexy - I couldn't even find a sexy photo that fits...

But it's got a LOT of merit when you think about ways to monetize content in the web 2.0 marketplace.

Think about it...

Publisher delivers the audience so:

Publisher decides what to pimp.

Publisher knows his brand, so

Publisher decides how to pimp it.

Publisher knows how to communicate with his audience and community so:

His pimping is more valuable ($$$) than regular advertising.

Publisher is busy generating content that draws an audience, so:

Set up is quick, easy and automated - and so are metrics.

Monetizing the trust my audience places in my opinion without degrading that trust or interfering with my content - that's what affiliate marketing can do.

Monday, August 14, 2006

One more "G" could change the world

The other day, Sprint announced their plans to move forward with a 4G wi-max network to be launched in 2007.

This is a big deal for the content delivery market.

I finally got a 3G phone last week - and already it has absolutely revolutionized my workflow.

It's the speed. Speed makes the web features practical, and the email virtually identical to reading on my desktop email client. And the speed of the content delivery! Streaming and on demand instantaneous programming.

People say that appointment television is dead. They're wrong. It's just moving to your cell phone.

The 4G network will take all this to the next level - to the level your desktop is at right now, or faster.

That means seamless flow of video and audio files from the web to your cell phone to your computer to your tv - with no downloading.

Part of what makes flickr and YouTube work is that you don't have to deal with the media - slap it on your site, view it in an email, put it in your favorites and watch it over and over... it doesn't fill up your ipod or collect dust on your hard drive.

4G is the tipping point where the web experience, and even the computing experience, will become fundamentally different.

Any web service that isn't developing natively mobile components is on shaky ground.

Any company that is relying on their website to be their web presence will be left in the dust.

Friday, August 11, 2006

"Where on Earth have you been?" and other important questions

I've been very light on the posting this week because I've been busy as hell, and I haven't had a ton to talk about. Here's what I've been working on:

"Psychic" and "reality" in the same sentence: I'm in pre-production for a 5 minute web reality show that we're producing for Psychic Makeover is like a home design show, but instead of painting the walls or selling your couch, our psychic fixes your home's psychic energy. We're shooting the pilot next week.

New media is fun, but old media pays so damned good! Jeff and I are developing a reality show that has a lot of great ingredients. We met with the subject of the show last week and secured access - now we're meeting with production companies and trying to work out a development deal to move forward. The response has been really good, and I think this project has legs... unlike our most recent old media project - a reality show w/ Burt Reynolds that tanked.

Sundancing: We're working with our frequent client and partner Kontent|Real on a pitch for the Sundance Channel. KR has been asked to pitch a really cool show about green design, and they've asked us to develop an agressive web presence campaign to integrate into their presentation. We're doing a viral video, some web mock ups and some social networking stuff for the pitch. If the show gets picked up, it'll mean a really nice campaign for us.

Mine's cooler than yours: My partner Jeff just up and bought a MacBook Pro this week, and I developed a severe case of gadget envy. So I responded the only way I know how - by buying a kick ass phone.

I bought a Treo 700p and switched from my Nextel service to Sprint. I LOVE the phone. Email functionality is something I sorely needed for my work (the real reason I bought the phone), and the mobile tv features are just amazing. Having it for just one day has made my workflow so much more satisfying - bluetooth synching is da' bomb. I just like using the thing.

And it's so small, even compared to the 600, that I barely notice any difference from my old phone. So text me, email me, or call me - I'll be communicating on my new portable device from now on...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Chris Fabricant goes home

A couple of changes to announce from the Chris Fabricant Show, a great podcast that Jeff and I produce with Chris.

The show finally has a home to go along with our feed and iTunes presence.

A we've changed the format - instead of doing one 35 minute show a week, we're doing three 12-15 minute shows per week. Much more podcast friendly.

Check it out - and if you have a comment or want to bitch about the new format, email us.

Here's the skinny on the show:

The Chris Fabricant Show is devoted to the low down dirty truth of the criminal justice system -- outrageous, irreverent and fearless counter spin to mainstream media's grandstanding about crime and punishment.

Not just the headlines, The Chris Fabricant Show takes you inside the insane day-to-day of NYC criminal courts, straight from the trenches of the South Bronx, where Chris works as a public defender. We also feature weekly interviews with criminal justice insiders and commentators: cops and robbers, writers and reporters, junkies and district attorneys.

Chris, a graduate of GW Law, is the author of the notorious book, Busted! Drug War Survival Skills (illustrated by R. Crumb). Each week Chris is joined by producers Jeff Marks and Adam Elend. And Tonya Lester, our news correspondent, brings us the week's bad news -- from Duke Lacrosse to dumb ass kids doing bong hits on

If you dig Nancy Grace, you'll loathe Chris Fabricant.

Monday, August 07, 2006

BrightRED angel investor Joe Redner knows how to debate

But his opponent has the better arm...


Google reads queensboundseven

When Google announced support for video ads on it's adsense network, I said it would enable contextual syndication of content. Looks like they're doing that now... very cool:

Viacom's MTV Networks has agreed to distribute clips from its cable networks over Google's advertising network, in a test of what could become a new economic model for Web-based video delivery, the companies said Sunday.

The project, a year in the making, marks the first time Google will distribute ad-supported videos across its AdSense network from a major programming provider. The ad-supported video distribution project will begin testing later in August.

Here's a 9 minute video I CAN get into...

Here's a place where people are showing off really cool things.

And here's what we'll all be doing with our computers soon. Multi-point touch screen techology.

If you don't have the patience for the whole 9 minutes, at least watch until the photos come up - around 2:46. Frickin' amazing.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Can ad agencies be this stupid about viral video?

I don't like to use this blog as an excuse to pick on lame ideas. But that's what I'm going to do right now.

As soon as I heard that's new viral video was 9 minutes long, I thought to myself, "only an ad agency would think someone would watch their video for 9 minutes.

Then I saw it.

Tell me, what is viral about this? It's a bad ten minute reality show.

And I mean that. It's a BAD show. It goes nowhere. There's a story, but there's no plot.

What did they do? What was their pitch? What conclusions did they come to about Subway's brand?

Other than "these kids are cooky!" what did you get about the agency from this video.

And, just like before I saw it, I'm left wondering who in the hell would want to pass along this 9 minute treasure to their friends.

There's nothing inherently viral about it.

Oh right, it's "insidery" - you get access to the brilliant creative process at Great.

But access sells reality tv, not viral video. You're just demonstrating to your client that you have no idea how to make a video viral.

35,000 people have watched that video. I bet all of them are ad execs and new media people.

I think the unboomed one said it best...

hire better consultants, please... ones that are familiar with this space because they live in it not because they've researched living in it.

And, one more time for the cheap seats... How can an industry built on selling the 30 second ad come up with a 9 MINUTE VIRAL VIDEO!!!!

You don't watch tv for 10 minutes without breaking for commerials for god's sake! Who watches their computer screen for that long????

I hope that Subway takes Amanda's advice. But they probably won't.

technorati tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Stream a little stream for me

I wanted to mention the "Arrested Development" syndication deal that came down the pike a few days ago.

Fox did a multi-platform deal with HDNet getting HD rights (smart move there Mark), G4 getting cable rights and MSN getting streaming rights.

First off, it's significant that this, one of the first of its kind, happened with "Arrested" - a property with big niche appeal and longtail upside.

Important for content producers, the streaming deal included an upfront licensing fee and a 50% ad rev share for FOX. Insiders speculate that the deal wouldn't have gotten done without the upfront fee, which makes sense considering that traditional synd deals are all upfront.

It’s been hard as a general business practice to get some of these retailers to step up for guarantees,” says Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Digital Media. His group represents 20th Century That wasn’t the case this time, he said; several retailers were willing to offer a guarantee/rev-share combo. Fox already had a relationship with MSN; in addition to Fox Sports as the MSN sports anchor, MSN Video streamed some episodes of FX‘s “Black and White.” “MSN really stepped up,” he adds.

But it’s not necessarily a template either. The licensing fee provides the guarantee but Fox is still taking a risk with the rev-share, which will depend on how well MSN delivers on the advertising side. It’s also not the start of a wave of online syndie deals for Fox. Says Levinsohn, “Part of it is going to be is how well does this work?

The deal with cable upstart G4 has significance for web producers too - G4 brands itself as "the most podcasted cable network" and has big web integration.

Also, AOL announced that they will begin a beta of aol video this week at This is ad supporting streaming of VOD from content partners like MTV and Warner Bros (remember that big deal AOL struck w/ Warner Bros to stream all their old shows?).

It's obvious to me that the big players on the web are making the deals that maximize their current audience - MSN and AOL are portals, so they go with ad supported streaming in one place, while Apple and Google do download deals.

Yahoo! is still recovering from their failed attempt at content creation, but I'm sure they'll fall into line behind AOL and MSN.

How this market evolves will ultimately be dictated by how the big content producers structure their deals. The MSN development shows that there are Ad Rev deals to be made with MSN right now (they're already doing a lot of those deals).

People who read this blog know that I'm big on syndication as a model for monetizing content, so I'm very interested in what portal sites do in this space.