Monday, September 29, 2008

DM Boot Design Winner - the Problem with UGC

A few months ago I wrote about this competition for Dr Martens - users could design a boot, and the most popular (as voted by the public) would be made and sold in stores around the world.

The winners have now been announced - this one, as chosen by the panel of judges, and this one, as voted for by internet users.

A bit underwhlemed by the people's vote? This is what happened. Users on the forum site SomethingAwful decided that they wanted to win the competition, and asked forum users to vote for boot designs made by forum members every day. In the end all of the top 10 boots by public vote were made by forum members. This thread details what they did, and this post very articulately explains the point of the mission:

"The original idea was to win the contest with an awful boot, not an awesome one. This was in order to show Doc Martens that it's a bad idea to leave these decisions to the internet.

Obviously some of us think Snowboot is truly awesome, while others maintain that it's awful. Either way it's not the sort of boot that would've won without us, nor is it the sort of boot you'd actually expect to be properly marketable, so I think we did what we set out to do."

Shame. This is one of the problems with user generated content, and why completely open votes can be a bad idea. The way around this (& I hope that DM do this next year) is to have a panel produce a short-list of say 50 boots, and then ask people to vote on those, rather than let internet voting decide everything.

Update - they've now launched a t-shirt design competition here.

"The 50 designs with the most votes will be in with a chance.

A team from Journeys and Dr. Martens will pick the winner, plus 20 runners-up."

X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing on YouTube

This is a really good illustration of how YouTube is now used as catch up TV for people in the UK.

The two most popular Saturday night programmes at the moment are The X Factor (ITV) and Strictly Come Dancing (BBC). this morning on YouTube clips from these two shows make up 14 out of the top 20 clips; 11 for X Factor, and 3 for Strictly Come Dancing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Diesel XXX Viral

You have to admire this:

To commemorate Diesel's 30th (XXX - geddit?) anniversary.

Probably not safe for work, and likely to get taken down by YouTube, although *technically* it's all in the mind of the viewer.

This link is likely to stay live for longer

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Visual Search for

This is a great example of how visuals can be more intuitive than words in search.

The site takes you through several steps, asking you to choose the type of holiday (city, beach), activities you want to do (pictures of walking, galleries, sports events etc), types of hotel room, types of restaurant, how you want to feel, how many people are travelling, and so on.

It will then suggest hotels in a specific city, or even suggest places you should be travelling to.

Very neat example, and I'm sure soon many sites will be offering similar interfaces.

Wii WarioLand on YouTube

This won't work if I embed it - click here to see this excellent viral for Wii WarioLand

Update - it's global - Russian version is here (albeit in English)

Update - 2010 - The original Warioland can be seen in all its glory here

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Facebook Lexicon

I love the old Facebook Lexicon, and guess what, I'm pretty positive about the new updated version too.

The original Lexicon allowed you to look at the relative volume of mentions for different terms on people's Facebook 'Walls'. The new Lexicon allows you to look at lots of the granularity behind that data for key terms.

So far the list is pretty limited, and very US-centric (Obama, McCain, Baseball, Hockey , etc) and I expect that they'll be offering a paid service to marketers to look at custom lists.

The new Lexicon allows you at terms, or combinations of terms to see the demographics of the people using the terms, associations of different terms with the chosen term (e.g. Obama and Democrat), the Sentiment of the term (so what percent of mentions are positive), the pulse (what other things people write about), and Maps (US, UK & Canada only) of where the people writing about the terms live.

In this example we can see that for people percent of mentions of Obama or McCain that are positive over time:

& this one shows that sentiment for Palin has been falling since she entered the race (at a very high level), but is still above McCain:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul Songs

I like this promo for the new Oasis album Dig Out Your Soul.

A disc is covermounted on this week's NME magazine, with sheet music and song melodies for 4 tracks from the new album (or you can find them online here)

Rather than give away the songs for free the band want to hear the fans do their own versions, and upload them to this YouTube channel. So far the single, The Shock of The Lightning, is the most popular, presumably because the fans know what it's meant to sound like.

For example here is one version:

& here's someone doing 'Bag it Up':

Great competition - let's hope they get lots of entries.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New adidas Site

The site has had a nice little re-design, by colleagues in two Isobar companies, de-construct and Molecular.

The new look has lots of content areas. Globally the look is the same, but local offices determine the content that people in their country see.

As you can see from the pics, the content areas expand when you mouse over. Very nice!

Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Comedy

The Family Guy guy's new online cartoon site is now up and running, sponsored by Burger King.

I like how well it works, and also how the sponsorship idents are done in the same style as the show. Also the fact that it works in the UK, and they let you embed.

UPDATE - but I really hate how the embedding has the sound on as default, so that anyone coming to the main page of this blog gets blasted out by it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Icebreaker Baacode

I love this idea from the New Zealand outdoor clothing brand Icebreaker.

Each of their merino wool products (sweaters, t-shirts etc) now comes with its own 'Baacode' which you can use to look up exactly where the wool came from, right down to the sheep station. Then you can see a video of the station itself, and the farmers. There's a demo here.

Via the ever-reliable Springwise Newsletter.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Next Online - Won't Deliver to an Office Address

File under me having a rant...

Today I tried to buy something from the Next website, and had got through to the ordering process when they told me that they could not accept an office address for delivery.

I get all of my stuff delivered to work rather than having to worry about being at home when the delivery comes. This arrangement works well for me, works well for Amazon, and works well for almost every other company that I buy stuff from. But apparently Next will only deliver to a residential address. I'm assuming that they've been stiffed in the past by people and admittedly you can't do a credit check on someone's work address, but I can't be the only person to decide not to use them as a result.

Finally, when I emailed a complaint to them, I was told that they would respond to my email 'within 14 days'. What century are they living in?

Update: I've now had an email from them, and apparently the first delivery has to be to your home address, but after that you can nominate a branch of Next for the delivery to be made to, and then pick it up from there. Curiouser and curiouser (but still no good).

Monday, September 08, 2008

Keds Studio

A few months ago I wrote about the DM Boot Design competition, in which users could design a boot to be made by Dr Martens, but this, in my opionion is far better.

This new site by Keds allows users to design their own Keds, from 3 different shoe designs (or 2 more for kids), and then buy the finished shoe.

But there's more. Say you realise during the process that you're not actually very good at this, you can then buy other users' designs instead. Really nice idea, and the shoes, with all the personalisation and individual manufacture only cost $50 - $60 each.

It's all powered by Zazzle - who seem to specialise in allowing people to make one off designs, and even have a special licenced Disney collection. Very, very cool.

Photosynth by Microsoft Live Labs

Photosynth is a great new application from Microsoft Live Labs, and open for people to explore here.

You need to install it to see it, but it's well worth the effort. Photosynth combines static photos, using the parts that overlap to allow users to create a long landscape or a 3d view.

2 of my favourites:

The Grand Canal by Vaporetto

The Boxer

Monday, September 01, 2008

Google Android Winners

Last week Google announded the winners of its Android mobile application developers challenge.

Android is the open source mobile operating system that Google hopes will offer competition to the iPhone platform, but across multiple handsets. To get developers excited about it, they offered prizes for the best application ideas, and these winners have now been announced.

A few of the applications make you say 'Huh?", but many more sound very useful, including:

GoCart - scan a barcode on your phone, then find cheapest prices online and in local stores

Cab4Me - find a local cab, anywhere in the world. Order a cab anywhere with a single click

Wertago - find the hottest parties locally, and coordinate nights out with friends

The cliche with mobile is that w're always about 18 months away from take-off. But now with these, and the popularity of the iPhone we could really be getting there.

Complete list of winners here
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