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Jan 23 2006
Tension Between On-Demand and 'Old' TV
Here�s an interesting discussion in MediaPost (reg. req�d) about the tension between �programmed� (read: scheduled) TV and the emerging model of �on-demand� TV (whether online or off). The theme: consumers still want programmed TV.

Implied in this discussion is the idea that without programmed TV consumers won�t know where to point their TiVOs. There may be an analogy here between browse and search on the Internet. They�re complementary approaches to navigating content online. In this analogy, ��browse� stands for the TV program schedule.

Indeed, without some idea of �what�s on� online video consumers will have to guess and conduct random searches for content by keywords. (For past programming, i.e., �classic TV,� that works fine.)

However a pure search (�on-demand�) model is inefficient for both consumers and advertisers because it completely fragments the audience (despite the success of search marketing). So the future, as the article suggests, is some mix of scheduled content produced by big media companies with high production values and�dare I use the term again�a �long tail� of both low-end professional and user-generated video content that people can search for as their whims or needs dictate.

Of course it�s not quite as simple as all that, but at a conceptual level I think that�s what we�re in store for.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:54 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Google News: More 'Up Close and Personal'
I�ve already written too much about Google in a single 24 hour period. But what the heck . . . Google has further personalized its news site by offering �recommendations� to those who are signed in. Here�s how it works:

By signing in to personalized news and keeping Personalized Search enabled, you allow Google to track and save your news selections. Then, Google News can automatically recommend relevant stories just for you by using smart algorithms that analyze your selections. The algorithms compare your tastes to the aggregate tastes of other groups of similar Google News users. Simply put, we recommend news stories to you that have been read by many other users who�ve also read similar stories as you in the past.

The more you use Google News while you�re signed in to your Google Account, the better your recommendations will become over time. Note that we cannot provide recommended news for you if you do not sign in to your Google Account or if you turn off Personalized Search component of personalized Google News.

There�s also a new �most popular� button (which has long existed on Yahoo! news). Essentially, the new recommendations feature is like the passive RSS and news feeds/tracking that Google has been doing with its Sidebar tool.

This is another incentive for users to �sign in� to Google (create an account).

This and many recent initiatives like it are the fruit of Google�s effort, since early last year, to gather more personal and behavioral data about its users. It will be very interesting to see whether and how the recent privacy flap with the Justice Department has any long-term chilling effect on users� willingness to register or otherwise offer their personal data to search engines.


Here�s a Google announcement about News coming out of beta:

I wanted to let you know that today we are announcing Google News is graduating from beta with a couple of shiny new features. When we introduced Google News in September, 2002 our goal was to enable readers to get a broader perspective and dig deeper into the news�perhaps reading ten articles on a topic instead of one.

To do this, we developed a service that delivered news in an entirely new way by presenting it in �clusters� that displayed related articles in a single group. In only a few years, Google News has grown to 22 regional editions in 10 languages.

In addition to taking Google News out of beta, we are also introducing personalized news headlines. By further integrating Personalized Search into Google News, users can now receive recommended news stories based on their past news searches and articles they�ve read, giving them suggestions for interesting stories to explore that they may not have discovered otherwise.

Users who want to receive personalized news headlines simply sign up for Personalized Search. Then, whenever they�re signed in to their Google Account, they�ll see recommended headlines based on what they�ve read in the past. These results appear along the left hand column but users can also get a full page of recommended stories by clicking on the section. All of this is done automatically using algorithms: for example, we might recommend news stories to you that many other users have read, especially when you and they have read similar stories in the past.

We have also added another new section to the left-hand column that shows the most popular recent stories in the Google News edition you are viewing. Now you can see the top stories being published by editors across the web, other stories popular with readers, and topics that you track or are interested in�all on one page.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  03:20 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
DCCI Becoming Telmetrics
Here�s a rebranding case study�call measurement firm DCCI changing its name to telmetrics�that appeared in Ken Clark�s YPTalk blog/newsletter. Call tracking will become more important and more central to integrated online-offline campaigns in the very near future.

Call tracking will likely be the way that Google, for example, will measure the efficacy of its new radio inventory�at least the intended direct response component.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog , Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  02:26 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Chrysler and Local Click-to-Call
Now this isn�t PPCall, it�s call connection (eStara). . . but this DMNews piece offers a case study of sorts on how Chrysler is having success connecting potential purchasers to local dealers:

...80 percent of calls generated through the click-to-call technology were transferred to local dealers. Of those calls, 15 percent closed the sale...

There are many critics of click-to-call out there (they contend it requires a change in consumer behavior). But for my purposes this is an example of online-offline integration, which we should see a great deal more of, in various forms, in the very near future.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  02:01 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Local Video and Behavioral Boosting
Here�s a broad ClickZ article about media fragmentation, consumer control and video coming to local. These are all themes of the upcoming Drilling Down event. Also eMarketer compiles data from Tacoda-sponsored research showing that behavioral targeting beats contextual. The data aggregator further cites MarketingSherpa regarding the relative effectiveness of different categories of online ads.

According to a late 2004 MarketingSherpa poll, in order of effectiveness, it goes like this:

  1. Paid search

  2. Email �house list�

  3. Rich media

  4. Behavioral targeting

  5. SEO

  6. Contextual ads

  7. Affiliate marketing

I am something of a behavioral targeting skeptic, especially given the �political� obstacles it faces re privacy. But these survey results do indeed suggest it works better than contextual ads, which is not that hard to believe. Behavioral targeting is �opaque� to the user and promises greater relevance based on their interests/actions.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  01:41 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 22 2006
Wisconsin WiMax
WiMax is coming to Wisconsin (and then beyond). Some form of broadband will likely cover almost 100 percent of the U.S. within 3 to 5 years. Why? Because there are many competitors seeking to provide that access. That�s also why incumbent telco surcharges for high-speed access will likely fail.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  18:15 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 22 2006
The (Unintended) PR Genius of Google
What started out as an act of resistance toward the Bush Administration�s effort to obtain porn-related search data, has now turned into something of a PR coup for Google. I don�t think this was a calculated move but there�s a great deal of good will being generated by Google�s thumbing it�s nose at the Justice Dept. subpoenas.

Search Engine Journal quotes last week�s ABC News report and interview with Google co-founder Larry Page:

�Our company relies on having the trust of our users and using that information for that benefit,� said Page. �That�s a very strong motivation for us. We�re committed to that. If you start to mandate how products are designed, I think that�s a really bad path to follow. I think instead we should have laws that protect the privacy of data, for example, from government requests and other kinds of requests.�

In the same way that Google�s meteoric rise in search made Microsoft appear to be an underdog and thus generated sympathy for the world�s largest and most powerful software company, this legal standoff has generated sympathy for Google. The company was starting to experience a backlash that had been slowly building since Google went public in 2004.

A growing number of critics had started to believe that the Mountain View-CA company had become too big and too powerful too quickly. It was starting to appear to some as a �Big Brother,� with too much data about too many things.

And while the other portals and search engines have turned over data to varying degrees, with varying justifications and explanations, Google digging in its heels against the Bush Administration at a time when government overreaching and legally dubious behavior is all around seems almost heroic.

Indeed, the move has generated a ton of news reports and PR (most positive), although the stock fell Friday amid the standoff and concern about potentially softening revenues. But Google�s stand, at least temporarily, has reversed the perception that the company is becoming Big Brother as it fights what to some is a more real version of Orwell�s shadowy political leader portrayed in his 1949 dystopian classic 1984.

Again, I don�t think the PR angle was a calculated motivation; I think it was a secondary effect of wanting to keep its search data from disclosure. But by saying �no� to the Justice Dept. Google has raised the stakes and created some high drama that the world is now watching. And if Google now �caves� it may grab as many or more negative headlines and reactions for doing so than it gained for taking a stand.

While I personally applaud it, Google�s decision was either very courageous or very arrogant�or a little of both.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  16:35 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 20 2006
Drilling Down: Targeting the 'On-Demand' Marketplace
There�s a new consumer paradigm emerging, one in which users have almost total control over the media they consume and how, when and where they consume it. How advertisers respond to that new disruptive consumer behavior model and the increasing fragmentation of the media marketplace is what we�re seeking to address at this year�s �Drilling Down� event.

We finally (whew!) have the agenda online. It took so long because we had to cut about 10 excellent potential panels to squeeze it into two days with no breakout sessions.

We�ll announce panelists (there�s still time, contact me) and keynote speakers very soon.

It should be a very interesting show (I�m not just saying that) as we tackle our perennial local search theme with emphasis on some of the related developments in video, VoIP and wireless.

We�ll have both national and local advertisers �live on stage� in what should be two very good sessions about the changing nature of marketing and the different �national-local� and �local-local� responses to that. The local advertiser sessions are always a hit and make for some great feedback and occasionally some surprises.

We�ve also made the final session a wide-open discussion about the evolution and potential integration of online and offline media buying (which of course YP and newspapers have been doing) in the wake of the Google dMarc acquisition.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  08:10 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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