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Modified: 2010-01-28T04:19:08Z

Copyright: Copyright (c) 2010, Ari
 



The iPad and Online Advertising

2010-01-28T04:19:08Z

First, read Ian Schafer's excellent article over on Ad Age about this subject. Done? OK, now here's some more detail on the operational implications of this new device on publisher and advertisers. No Flash = Less Money Suppose you're a publisher with an active business selling premium ads on your site. Probably 90% of these ads are Flash. The iPad is a big hit and maybe your site is lucky enough to get promoted on the homepage or highlighted in a cool Apple TV ad. And maybe 5% of the traffic to your site starts to come from the iPad. What's the implication on ad revenue? If you were smart, you proactively targeted iPad-specific ads to the traffic to this device. This assumes your ad server allows this, which is unlikely in the short-term, but let's be optimistic. Since there are very few iPad-specific ads and advertisers don't like to be "burned out" with users through repetition of impressions, the likely outcome is that a) the iPad campaigns you sold under-delivered due to frequency constraints; and b) most of the iPad impressions went unfilled by paying campaigns. Net result: You lost money when consumers moved viewing from a traditional device to the iPad. If you weren't as smart, you did nothing special for the iPad. The result is that all those premium Flash campaigns that were supposed to run on your traditional website now ran on the iPad. Luckily, no one is dumb enough to allow a broken-plugin image to show in an ad slot, so instead of showing Flash in all those avails you showed "backup images" that are bundled with most Flash creative. You seem to have delivered to advertiser insertion orders, and everything is fine. Except, that results for the advertisers sucked, and (according to IAB guidelines) rich media vendors will start showing the number of impressions that were shown as backup images in their reporting. The net result is that your site will under-perform against sites without as much iPad traffic, resulting in less revenue. Let's Create an HTML5 Ad! OK, no problem. We just need to stop using Flash to create ads (since it is proprietary and only works on desktops and is yucky overall) and switch to HTML5. Sure, sounds great. So I'm a year out of my MFA program and I'm really, really trying hard to understand what the "timeline" is in Flash and how to do a "tween" and maybe next year I'm planning on figuring out how to use alpha channels. And did I mention I am seriously hung over from yesterday's happy hour and under deadline to deliver creative for my client's major launch? So you actually need me to write two completely different versions of my creatives, one for Flash and one for HTML5? Did I mention that based on the different sizes and publisher specs on the media plan that there are already 23 versions of the creative? So now I need to do 46 versions? And WTF is HTML5? How am I supposed to debug that? I'm just a designer, not a web developer! It's Results that Matter! Look, in the end the advertisers and their agencies are going to do what is needed to follow the customers. If there's a little learning curve for the creatives and media buyers to adapt to the iPad's success, well that's what it takes to get measurable results! You can measure the results using cookies, can't you? It is pretty much table stakes in online advertising to use third-party cookies to measure how many users exposed to an ad buy or otherwise transact with your website, and since iPad is based around Safari that's a no-brainer. No? No brainer? I didn't know that Safari turns off third-party cookies by default! Across all Apple products? Really!? You can't be serious?! So, in addition to creating brand new creative units (at huge incremental expense), I'm also going to have no way to measure reach and frequency or conversion results? Awesome! But, It's the Future! Enough sarcasm. The reality is that online publishers and advertisers are going to have to deal with the coming cambrian explosion of reading devices. This isn't going to be easy and may throw into doubt many of the underlying operational assumpt[...]



2009 Prediction Results 3-5-2

2009-12-30T00:19:47Z

My God, another year flown by. This blog has been...not exactly defunct but...let's just say I'm not updating as often as I'd like. The action's on twitter baby, have you heard of it? I've posted exactly three times since I posted my 2009 predictions, a sorry state for someone who calls himself a blogger. I'm not going to do 2010 predictions, but I will do three New Years resolutions: 1. Blog more often. 2. Drink more water. 3. Drink it from the tap, not the bottle. For the sake of intellectual honesty I will rate my 2009 predictions. Here's the history: YearResults 20093-5-2 (.375) 20083-2-5 (let's call it .600) 2007Too vague to score And here's the 2009 play-by-play: 1. The Year Video Gets Organized Half credit: There's been a lot of settling down and organizing in the video world, but VAST still needs a lot more adoption to be viable, and there's still a ton of operational friction in the marketplace. 2. Mobile (Applications) is Where the Action Is True. Mobile Applications have finally broken open the medium to brand-friendly ad innovation. Don't believe me? Try to hire an app developer and see where the demand is. Here's Ad Age's take. 3. Video On Demand to the Set-Top Gets Big False. Although many households are enjoying the benefits of going around their cable companies, the number remains very, very small (I haven't seen a figure). There's no doubt in my mind that IP-based on demand is the future of living room viewing, but the incumbent cable companies, armed with money and regulation, will fight every step of the way. 4. Apple TV Gets Serious False. Still a hobby. 5. Ask.com Makes Moves False. Unless you consider a red-state strategy as a "move"*. Always foolish to make a prediction that is dependent on Barry Diller. 6. Twitter's Revenue Model isn't Advertising True. Twitter is apparently profitable, based on selling data to MS and GOOG. 7. Twitter Portalizes in Advance of Advertising False. 8. Internet Advertising is the Only Growth Story in 2009 Half credit. Although Internet advertising did far better than any other medium, it still declined 4.6% according to eMarketer. 9. "MSN" Retired False. Unfortunately this meaningless empty brand continues to Live. I mean live. I mean bing. 10. Widgets Still Don't Make Ad Money True. Most widget companies have abandoned in-widget ads. I think most of them are actually abandoning the concept of "widgets" entirely. Now they're just asking you hundreds of fun questions on Facebook and selling your data. Cool? * - I know a funny off-the-record story on this subject if you buy me a beer. My God, another year flown by. This blog has been...not exactly defunct but...let's just say I'm not updating as often as I'd like. The action's on twitter baby, have you heard of it? I've posted exactly three times since I posted my 2009 predictions, a sorry state for someone who calls himself a blogger. I'm not going to do 2010 predictions, but I will do three New Years resolutions: 1. Blog more often. 2. Drink more water. 3. Drink it from the tap, not the bottle. For the sake of intellectual honesty I will rate my 2009 predictions. Here's the history: YearResults 20093-5-2 (.375) 20083-2-5 (let's call it .600) 2007Too vague to score And here's the 2009 play-by-play: 1. The Year Video Gets Organized Half credit: There's been a lot of settling down and organizing in the video world, but VAST still needs a lot more adoption to be viable, and there's still a ton of operational friction in the marketplace. 2. Mobile (Applications) is Where the Action Is True. Mobile Applications have finally broken open the medium to brand-friendly ad innovation. Don't believe me? Try to hire an app developer and see where the demand is. Here's Ad Age's take. 3. Video On Demand to the Set-Top Gets Big False. Although many households are enjoying the benefits of going around their cable companies, the number remains very, very small (I haven't seen a figure). There's no doubt in my mind that IP-based on demand is the future of living ro[...]



History of My Blog

2009-11-29T19:03:13Z

From Gaping Void, it doesn't get more true than this:

From Gaping Void, it doesn't get more true than this:

(image)




VAST 2.0 Released

2009-11-16T23:12:09Z

The IAB today announced the approval and publication of VAST 2.0, the new version of the Video Ad Serving Template meant to create standards and liquidity for video ad serving. VAST 2.0 is a big step forward from 1.0 in terms of clarity of implementation and purpose and fixes many issues that people were having implementing the first version. I was heavily involved in the drafting of VAST so I thought I would comment on some of the changes and the rationale. But let me be clear, this document was drafted by a large group of technology vendors and publishers and was a great group effort among people who normally consider themselves rivals or competitors. Why VAST? Let's start at the beginning. Banner ads are generally served by snippets of HTML that write out either script or Iframes containing script. One script can write out another script, and so on and so on, with the end result being an image or Flash file to show on the page. Although technically unsophisticated, this chaining of scripts works fine for the most part, and allows any numbers of vendors to work together fairly simply by exchanging tags and cutting-and-pasting those tags into each others' servers. To engineers from outside the advertising industry this sounds like a cluster, but to us, it's home. This system breaks down radically inside a Flash or Silverlight video player. These environments expect well-formatted XML describing the ads to be shown and have custom layers of code to interpret and display the ads described in the XML. Every video player is different, and most players have been built to work with one ad serving system. For example, Yahoo's video player is built to work with Yahoo's ad server. As a result of this proliferation of XML customizations, there is very little interoperability in the video world. If you wanted to start a new video ad network, you would need to write and document code for playing your ads, send that code to publishers, have those publishers rewrite their video players around your code (unlikely!), and then service the publishers when something went wrong. As an advertiser, you would be unable to run video ads across publishers since every tag would have to be customized for every publisher on your media plan. VAST is supposed to solve this problem by having a common reference XML and XSD that every video player can support. It requires work from the publishers and players, but only once, not every time they want to support another tag. Getting to 2.0 OK, the intro is running long. Time to get to the meat. The IAB published VAST 1.0 in the Summer of 2008. Quite a few publishers and technology vendors built support for VAST, but feedback came in that there were some confusing issues with the 1.0 specification, especially for complex multi-unit video formats. For example, there were multiple ways to execute an ad that contained a pre-roll video followed by an overlay from the same advertiser. There was also some cruft in the specification that didn't really make sense to the engineers building out support. The VAST working group at the IAB went through many of the issues being described and made a hard decision. VAST 2.0 would not be backwards compatible with VAST 1.0. We made this decision based on the fact that a) notwithstanding the number of companies that built support so far, very few VAST ads are actually running to date; b) the changes were really necessary; c) the effort to upgrade from 1.0 to 2.0 was not deemed that significant. The group started developing 2.0 this Summer, thinking it would be published within a month or so, then more and more issues kept arising and roughly four months later, we've got something out the door. From conversations I've had with many leading publishers and tech vendors I'd expect the first VAST 2.0 ads to run in Q1 2010, with a very quick ramp-up in industry volume thereafter. VAST 1.0 vs 2.0 I want to quickly summarize the differences between VAST 1.0 and 2.0 in this post. The IAB [...]



What Does that Dropdown Do, Exactly?

2009-03-06T19:22:19Z

Here's a fun email from my engineering group. I've anonymized the product names and done light editing to protect the guilty... On the Configuration page, there's a field called Time Interval, with the options Daily, Weekly, and Monthly. After much research, I have been unable to discover any functionality affected by this field. As such, it should be removed. Here's the story in greater detail: The field exists in [our older product], so we just copied it to [our brand spanking new] product. The going theory was that this field affects the default view for reports. I checked with the engineering lead, and the results of this field are captured in the time_slot_n column of the config database table. We then confirmed that reporting doesn't read from this table. I also checked with members of the reporting and aggregations teams to see whether they used the data for anything. Aggregation found it commented out of the code, and reporting never heard of it. We then checked with the database team, and the best we could work out was that this once had something to do with [incredibly old ad network from first dot-com boom] (as I understand it, a product from the olden days, when banner ads were delivered by horse-drawn buggies). No one is quite willing to say that the Time Interval option absolutely, positively does nothing. But no one seems to be able to work out any actual functionality. As such, I think we can safely remove it. I think followed up with the sender, who works in the documentation, to find out what the documentation (written by the prior documenter) actually says about this feature. The contextual help continues on this pattern of clarity with something like: Time Interval: Choose your time interval from the dropdown menu.

Here's a fun email from my engineering group. I've anonymized the product names and done light editing to protect the guilty...

On the Configuration page, there's a field called Time Interval, with the options Daily, Weekly, and Monthly. After much research, I have been unable to discover any functionality affected by this field. As such, it should be removed.

Here's the story in greater detail:

The field exists in [our older product], so we just copied it to [our brand spanking new] product. The going theory was that this field affects the default view for reports. I checked with the engineering lead, and the results of this field are captured in the time_slot_n column of the config database table.

We then confirmed that reporting doesn't read from this table. I also checked with members of the reporting and aggregations teams to see whether they used the data for anything. Aggregation found it commented out of the code, and reporting never heard of it. We then checked with the database team, and the best we could work out was that this once had something to do with [incredibly old ad network from first dot-com boom] (as I understand it, a product from the olden days, when banner ads were delivered by horse-drawn buggies).

No one is quite willing to say that the Time Interval option absolutely, positively does nothing. But no one seems to be able to work out any actual functionality. As such, I think we can safely remove it.

I think followed up with the sender, who works in the documentation, to find out what the documentation (written by the prior documenter) actually says about this feature. The contextual help continues on this pattern of clarity with something like:

Time Interval: Choose your time interval from the dropdown menu.



2009 Predictions

2009-01-01T14:16:18Z

Happy New Year! As you stumble around the house on this cold January 1st, grab some coffee and wish me better results on my predictions for 2009 than last year. Here's my top 10: 1. The Year Video Gets Organized Back in the dark years of 2003 and 2004 the media attention around the Internet advertising business was mostly focused on how bad everything was. Declining revenue, Punch the Monkey ads and worse, Bankruptcies, stock prices, etc. But underneath the meteor-charred skies the mammals were emerging. Those were the years when much of the current online ecosystem matured, including Ad Exchanges, Rich Media, the first video ads, etc. In 2009 the news about In-Stream video will likely be similarly glum. We're going to hear a lot about the difficulties of monetizing video, about high profile flame-outs in the space, consumer resistance to pre-roll, etc. But in the background some important fundamentals will be established: a) The VAST ad serving standard (which I was involved in drafting) will be adopted by leading publishers and technology vendors; b) The video ad formats will stabilize to a simple choice between pre-rolls and overlays; c) Advertisers will be able to buy video advertising at scale through more efficient processes and standards. 2. Mobile (Applications) is Where the Action Is Another year of disappointment for mobile ads. Perhaps, perhaps not. For the first time mobile application development and distribution has moved beyond the realm of alchemy and into the mainstream developer community. Between the Apple and Android platforms hundreds of new software companies are being nurtured and millions of installations are taking place. It is only natural that the business model for these applications will span both paid and free models, and that advertising will have a place. While a lot of attention will be paid to local advertising using the built-in geo features of the phones, my guess is that there will be a bigger opportunity for video and immersive brand advertising, taking advantage of the rich displays. Compared to the tiny text and graphical banners of WAP advertising, application ads will be something to get marketers excited about. 3. Video On Demand to the Set-Top Gets Big Content aggregators like Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu are furiously closing deals with set-top boxes including TiVo, Roxi, etc. 2009 will be the year this becomes a real trend with significantly more consumer interest than the traditional "VOD" services from cable providers. Expect to see at least one set-top on-demand ad network ("STODAN"?) as well. 4. Apple TV Gets Serious Second year in a row this is on the list. Apple likes to be a late-comer to the market to fix everyone else's mistakes. 2009 seems late enough for the living room. 5. Ask.com Makes Moves Last year I predicted that Ask would move up in share to 5%. It didn't. In fact, it seems to have become a mere arbitrage engine. But all arbitrage opportunities eventually close and the people running Ask are smart enough to know that. I'd guess it looks at acquisitions in 2009 to bulk up share and relevancy. 6. Twitter's Revenue Model isn't Advertising Twitter launches its first serious attempt at revenue and it is definitively not banner ads and sponsored search on your Twitter.com page. My guess is a branded destination pages for companies looking to improve their social presence. 7. Twitter Portalizes in Advance of Advertising Contradicting myself -- Twitter publishes "portal" pages on specific meta-topics to drive additional web and mobile traffic. These pages will eventually find themselves supported by advertising. 8. Internet Advertising is the Only Growth Story in 2009 Everyone's anticipating a major slowdown in advertising in 2009. The open question is whether online will buck the trend based on taking share from other media. I'll be quantitative and say that online grows (>0%) while every other majo[...]



2008 Predictions: 3-2-5

2008-12-29T00:28:56Z

I like to consider myself pretty knowledgeable on matters of Internet advertising. For the past two years I've attempted to prove this fact to posterity by publishing annual predictions (like pretty much every other blogger in the universe). My 2007 predictions came in a little flat, but look a lot better today (Yahoo in play, web 2.0 sites in the DeadPool). The 2008 predictions are coming in at 3-5-2; three hits, five misses, and two ties. Not terrible for predicting the future. Here's the rundown. 1. Overpriced widget acquisition Half credit. There wasn't a crazy acquisition but there was some crazy funding and valuation. $50 million for Slide -- an ad network whose palette of pixels in which they are allowed to show ads is a small segment of other people's inventory (whose inventory, in any case, retails for sub-$0.25 CPMs) without any context -- is clearly overpriced. 2. HD Video Comes to YouTube and Other Video Sites Yes. 3. Apple TV Reinvention No. I thought this was the no-brainer on the list, but Apple seems to have forgotten about the product. Probably should be on the 2009 predictions as a carry-over. 4. Twitter and the Phone Company No. The idea was that Twitter could be bundled with texting services from the mobile phone companies, thus generating revenue. I still think this is a good idea. 5. Google Gets to 75% Search Share, Ask Gets to 5% No. Google's at 62 and Ask is at 4 according to the latest figures. Note, now that I work at Google I will not be making predictions of this kind and cannot comment on the accuracy, appropriateness, or strategies relating to so-called "share", whatever that is. 6. Internet Advertising Continues Crazy Growth Yes. I said: If there's no recession I'll put US growth over 30%. If there is a recession, make it 10%. The Q3 numbers are in at 11%, no matter how weak Q4 is we should come in over 10% for the year. 7. Yahoo Stock is up 20% by End of Year Shit. You guys know what I meant was "during the year" right?8. Shake Out in the Online Music Businesses Half. While there weren't a lot of headline-generating flameouts, Napster was sold for only $54 million, and Pandora had recent layoffs, 9. Facebook Advertising is a Loser on Site... Yes. This was a gimme from the start. If it's not obvious, here's a link. 10 ...and a Controversy Off Site No. Surprisingly (to me) Facebook didn't announce any kind of crazy privacy-busting behavioral advertising scheme. There's always 2009... I like to consider myself pretty knowledgeable on matters of Internet advertising. For the past two years I've attempted to prove this fact to posterity by publishing annual predictions (like pretty much every other blogger in the universe). My 2007 predictions came in a little flat, but look a lot better today (Yahoo in play, web 2.0 sites in the DeadPool). The 2008 predictions are coming in at 3-5-2; three hits, five misses, and two ties. Not terrible for predicting the future. Here's the rundown. 1. Overpriced widget acquisition Half credit. There wasn't a crazy acquisition but there was some crazy funding and valuation. $50 million for Slide -- an ad network whose palette of pixels in which they are allowed to show ads is a small segment of other people's inventory (whose inventory, in any case, retails for sub-$0.25 CPMs) without any context -- is clearly overpriced. 2. HD Video Comes to YouTube and Other Video Sites Yes. 3. Apple TV Reinvention No. I thought this was the no-brainer on the list, but Apple seems to have forgotten about the product. Probably should be on the 2009 predictions as a carry-over. 4. Twitter and the Phone Company No. The idea was that Twitter could be bundled with texting services from the mobile phone companies, thus generating revenue. I still think this is a good idea. 5. Google Gets to 75% Search Share, Ask Gets to 5% No. Google's at 62 and Ask is at 4 according to [...]



Ari Paparo moving to blog.aripaparo.com

2008-11-14T20:17:44Z

As some of you loyal readers (ahem, both of you) may have noticed, updates to the blog have been somewhat infrequent of late. Compared to twitter and delicious blog posting seems so, well, literary*. I am moving my more frequent postings to a tumblr account at: http://blog.aripaparo.com/ If you use an RSS reader you can add this feed: http://blog.aripaparo.com/rss Tumblr is like a hybrid between a blog and the "feed" at Facebook. It includes blog postings, twitters, links, videos, etc and is updated multiple times per day instead of once per month. I will still maintain this blog for now but postings will also appear in my feed so I'd recommend updating the bookmarks and feeds. * In the Jane Eyre sense, e.g. not something one would want to do in one's free time. Although I really, really enjoyed the whale chapters of Moby Dick so perhaps I will start a Physeter macrocephalus blog.

As some of you loyal readers (ahem, both of you) may have noticed, updates to the blog have been somewhat infrequent of late. Compared to twitter and delicious blog posting seems so, well, literary*.

I am moving my more frequent postings to a tumblr account at:

http://blog.aripaparo.com/

If you use an RSS reader you can add this feed:

http://blog.aripaparo.com/rss


Tumblr is like a hybrid between a blog and the "feed" at Facebook. It includes blog postings, twitters, links, videos, etc and is updated multiple times per day instead of once per month.

I will still maintain this blog for now but postings will also appear in my feed so I'd recommend updating the bookmarks and feeds.


* In the Jane Eyre sense, e.g. not something one would want to do in one's free time. Although I really, really enjoyed the whale chapters of Moby Dick so perhaps I will start a Physeter macrocephalus blog.




A Note from the Google Mailroom

2008-09-13T00:44:49Z

As many of you know from my twitters lately I've been on a diet. My biggest temptation by far is the abundant quantities of M&Ms sitting around the Google office. They're so ubiquitous and enticing that I've taken to making my away message various taunts to the M&M fairy such as "Not eating M&Ms," "No M&Ms here," "M&Ms don't exist," etc. I just got this email from the mailroom (so professional!): Hello Ari I just wanted to inform you that Mail Services has received an Inter-Department mail piece addressed to you from "The M&M Fairy". (No Joke) Unfortunately I am not able to get in touch with the sender since "The M&M Fairy" does not appear on Moma [internal directory]. This item can not ship using Inter-Department mail service since the service is for documents only. In addition to the fact that the envelop contains non-documents, Mail Services is restricted by Google policy to ship food items. The InterDepartment envelope contains 9 pkgs of M&Ms. I just wanted to let you know in-case you are able to communicate with "The M&M Fairy" that this package will not ship. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank You

As many of you know from my twitters lately I've been on a diet. My biggest temptation by far is the abundant quantities of M&Ms sitting around the Google office. They're so ubiquitous and enticing that I've taken to making my away message various taunts to the M&M fairy such as "Not eating M&Ms," "No M&Ms here," "M&Ms don't exist," etc.

I just got this email from the mailroom (so professional!):

Hello Ari

I just wanted to inform you that Mail Services has received an Inter-Department mail piece addressed to you from "The M&M Fairy". (No Joke) Unfortunately I am not able to get in touch with the sender since "The M&M Fairy" does not appear on Moma [internal directory]. This item can not ship using Inter-Department mail service since the service is for documents only. In addition to the fact that the envelop contains non-documents, Mail Services is restricted by Google policy to ship food items. The InterDepartment envelope contains 9 pkgs of M&Ms. I just wanted to let you know in-case you are able to communicate with "The M&M Fairy" that this package will not ship.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank You




Quick Idea for Social Networking

2008-08-30T00:55:06Z

Here's a quickie. The beauty of twitter is that by limiting each entry to 140 characters you're forcing creativity. Same reason accomplished artists paint "still life with fruit" over and over again. How about this...a social network where you have a maximum number of friends. Like 15. And whenever you add another friend, you have to bump one to make room. And just for fun, when you first sign up you are automatically assigned 15 friends based on your interests. At first, you say "well, that sucks because I would have to pick and choose my friends and people would be insulted." But I'd bet the dynamic would actually be a lot more fun. More like hanging out with different people on different nights of the week. You could even take it up a notch and have forced rotation Volleyball style; every week you lose a friend and have to pick a new one. Good idea?

Here's a quickie. The beauty of twitter is that by limiting each entry to 140 characters you're forcing creativity. Same reason accomplished artists paint "still life with fruit" over and over again.

How about this...a social network where you have a maximum number of friends. Like 15. And whenever you add another friend, you have to bump one to make room. And just for fun, when you first sign up you are automatically assigned 15 friends based on your interests.

At first, you say "well, that sucks because I would have to pick and choose my friends and people would be insulted."

But I'd bet the dynamic would actually be a lot more fun. More like hanging out with different people on different nights of the week. You could even take it up a notch and have forced rotation Volleyball style; every week you lose a friend and have to pick a new one.

Good idea?




What I Blog About

2008-07-27T16:23:05Z

Created by Wordle, recommended by ANP!
(image)

Created by Wordle, recommended by ANP!




True Blood Viral Marketing

2008-07-01T01:28:02Z

I'm usually the last person to know about anything, so imagine my surprise this morning when I stumbled upon a well-executed and exciting viral marketing campaign for the new HBO Vampire series, True Blood. I was walking down Allen street when I saw a poster for what looked like a deep red colored malt beverage. Everything was there from the silhouettes of attractive people to the warning to "drink responsibly", but the product advertised appeared to be...blood. Went to the advertised website. Awesome parody of an alcoholic promo site. The "Type Finder" is hysterical. Saw a link to the blog at bloodcopy.com. A bunch of YouTube videos about vampire-related political stuff. Cool. Click to YouTube itself and link to the user BloodCopyCom and check out his videos. A lot more vampire politics and intrigue. Apparently the vampires are considering coming out of the closet! Oh my. Finally, don't forget the Revenant Ones where vampires hang out their dirty laundry (Tide even gets out Blood stains!). Side note: Wikipedia defines revenant as "a visible ghost or animated corpse that was believed to return from the grave to terrorize the living"; ooh spooky. Anyway, the series is created by Alan Ball, executive producer of Six Feet Under, so it definitely gets my attention. And, as expected, the innovative marketing campaign is by Campfire Deep Focus (while the media is by Deep Focus, pretty much the best agency around for social marketing).

I'm usually the last person to know about anything, so imagine my surprise this morning when I stumbled upon a well-executed and exciting viral marketing campaign for the new HBO Vampire series, True Blood.

I was walking down Allen street when I saw a poster for what looked like a deep red colored malt beverage. Everything was there from the silhouettes of attractive people to the warning to "drink responsibly", but the product advertised appeared to be...blood.

Went to the advertised website. Awesome parody of an alcoholic promo site. The "Type Finder" is hysterical.

Saw a link to the blog at bloodcopy.com. A bunch of YouTube videos about vampire-related political stuff. Cool.

Click to YouTube itself and link to the user BloodCopyCom and check out his videos. A lot more vampire politics and intrigue. Apparently the vampires are considering coming out of the closet! Oh my.

Finally, don't forget the Revenant Ones where vampires hang out their dirty laundry (Tide even gets out Blood stains!). Side note: Wikipedia defines revenant as "a visible ghost or animated corpse that was believed to return from the grave to terrorize the living"; ooh spooky.

Anyway, the series is created by Alan Ball, executive producer of Six Feet Under, so it definitely gets my attention.

And, as expected, the innovative marketing campaign is by Campfire Deep Focus (while the media is by Deep Focus, pretty much the best agency around for social marketing).




Mystery Woobie

2008-06-18T01:16:05Z

We've been getting a bunch of little gifts for little Noa. Thank you if you've sent something; no need if you haven't. Today a packaged arrived with a cute pink woobie blanket with Noa's name embroidered in the corner. No card. No message on the packing label. The buyer's name: "Joseph Gones". Google it, pretty much nothing comes back. Nothing in my gmail search, nothing in my address book, nothing at all. I suspect it's a misspelling of "Joseph Jones," but that search also yields nothing. The address of the buyer: 594 Broadway, Suite 1011. Hmm, sounds corporate. Google it. Points to Statement PR, a company I've never heard of with no meaningful info on their homepage and little else indexed on Google. I have three hypotheses: Mr. Gones is actually a close friend of mine and, as usual, I'm letting my Aspergers get in the way and can't remember who he is. Someone I know asked their significant other to buy us something and Mr. Gones forgot to put a note in the package. A reader of this blog sent me an anonymous gift as some sort of PR come-on in the hope that a C-list blogger like myself would write about them in some way. I've emailed them asking to contact Mr. Gones. If you're reading this and you're actually my old college roommate or long-lost sibling, please leave a comment.

We've been getting a bunch of little gifts for little Noa. Thank you if you've sent something; no need if you haven't.

Today a packaged arrived with a cute pink woobie blanket with Noa's name embroidered in the corner.

No card.

No message on the packing label.

The buyer's name: "Joseph Gones". Google it, pretty much nothing comes back. Nothing in my gmail search, nothing in my address book, nothing at all. I suspect it's a misspelling of "Joseph Jones," but that search also yields nothing.

The address of the buyer: 594 Broadway, Suite 1011. Hmm, sounds corporate. Google it. Points to Statement PR, a company I've never heard of with no meaningful info on their homepage and little else indexed on Google.

I have three hypotheses:

  1. Mr. Gones is actually a close friend of mine and, as usual, I'm letting my Aspergers get in the way and can't remember who he is.
  2. Someone I know asked their significant other to buy us something and Mr. Gones forgot to put a note in the package.
  3. A reader of this blog sent me an anonymous gift as some sort of PR come-on in the hope that a C-list blogger like myself would write about them in some way.

I've emailed them asking to contact Mr. Gones. If you're reading this and you're actually my old college roommate or long-lost sibling, please leave a comment.




Silicon Alley's Secret Weapon

2008-06-14T16:46:42Z

I'm normally loathe to compare the New York tech scene with that of the Valley. The point many of us in the city have been making for years is not that we "are just as innovative" or can "compete for talent" with the West Coast, but that we have lots of natural advantages for start-ups, including access to advertising agencies, media companies, university talent, etc. Obviously Silicon Valley is a class of its own for technology, no one's going to argue that point. So what's interesting to me lately is how many resumes I've seen from young engineers and product managers looking to move from the Bay Area to the City. What could a twenty-something go-getter in the tech field want that wasn't available along 101? In a word, girls. The first time I heard the complaint from an interviewee I thought, well, maybe he's a bit of a playa. A playa needs a field to play in. Then the second guy I talked to sheepishly mentioned that he was, you know, young, and dating, and well, the SF scene isn't that great for heteros, and you know, the girls don't exactly dress that nice, and New York, whoh, and SoHo on a warm afternoon, I mean, who needs Sand Hill road? When I asked bachelor #3 why he was interested in moving to the East Coast and he mentioned a couple of innocuous "New York is so exciting," "everyone should live in New York," I knew what was up. I said, "so you're moving here for the good looking women?" and he burst out laughing and admitted it was true. But there's hope! Coincidentally, today's news brought word that H1B applications were being used to bring Eastern European models to the US, and that legislation was proposed to increase their numbers. Unfortunately, most of them will still end up in New York. Look on the bright side, once you're rich on stock options its much easier to meet women. I'm normally loathe to compare the New York tech scene with that of the Valley. The point many of us in the city have been making for years is not that we "are just as innovative" or can "compete for talent" with the West Coast, but that we have lots of natural advantages for start-ups, including access to advertising agencies, media companies, university talent, etc. Obviously Silicon Valley is a class of its own for technology, no one's going to argue that point. So what's interesting to me lately is how many resumes I've seen from young engineers and product managers looking to move from the Bay Area to the City. What could a twenty-something go-getter in the tech field want that wasn't available along 101? In a word, girls. The first time I heard the complaint from an interviewee I thought, well, maybe he's a bit of a playa. A playa needs a field to play in. Then the second guy I talked to sheepishly mentioned that he was, you know, young, and dating, and well, the SF scene isn't that great for heteros, and you know, the girls don't exactly dress that nice, and New York, whoh, and SoHo on a warm afternoon, I mean, who needs Sand Hill road? When I asked bachelor #3 why he was interested in moving to the East Coast and he mentioned a couple of innocuous "New York is so exciting," "everyone should live in New York," I knew what was up. I said, "so you're moving here for the good looking women?" and he burst out laughing and admitted it was true. But there's hope! Coincidentally, today's news brought word that H1B applications were being used to bring Eastern European models to the US, and that legislation was proposed to increase their numbers. Unfortunately, most of them will still end up in New York. Look on the bright side, once you're rich on stock options its much easier to meet women. [...]



Noa Moxie Paparo

2008-06-10T19:32:58Z

Noa Moxie Paparo arrived at almost 2AM last night. 8 pounds 5 ounces, 20.5 inches. Mom and baby doing well. She'll have her own blog soon. Check out the Noa Blog for constant updates.

Noa Moxie Paparo arrived at almost 2AM last night. 8 pounds 5 ounces, 20.5 inches. Mom and baby doing well. She'll have her own blog soon. Check out the Noa Blog for constant updates.

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