Friday, October 30, 2009

Aggregation Corner

One of the most pervasive online trends I've noticed recently is the rise of the specialised and quirky aggregated blog. Blogs that aggregate the best (or s=worst) from either a particular site, or for a specific genre. (in fact the rise of tumblr has a lot to do with this, but not exclusively).

Here are some of my favourites:

Take a Weird Break - the strangest stories from Take a Break magazine

The best of Wikipedia

Regretsy - the worst of Etsy

YouSuckAtCraigsList - bad and dubious ads

My Parents Were Awesome - cool pics of people's parents (almost a reponse to this)

Iconic Photos

& - my personal favourite - Black & WTF

Which is full of pictures like this

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nokia Good Things signpost in London

This is one of the projects that we've been working on for Nokia.

Nokia Maps allows people to recommend places ('Good Things') that other people would like. To add to this idea we created a 50 foot tall signpost in Potters Fields, near Tower Bridge (which will eternally be known to many as the place where David Blaine did his Above the Below stunt.)

Every time a registered user tags a place on the map, the signpost turns to point to it, with the nominator's description on the signpost. Very cool!

Created by Isobar & Farfar.

More info here

Nominate your own favourite places here

& Here's one of mine

Case study

A history of Google in 2 minutes

Great promotional video from Google, released earlier this month.

What's coming next - read this summary of Eric Schmidt's take on what the web will be like in 5 years time

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Did I lose a million dollars or gain a million fans?"

Brilliant quote from Mojo Nixon, on the results of his free track giveaway on Amazon. It's the eternal question with 'free' - is the exposure worth the cost of the content given away?

Mojo Nixon was cult at best before (translation - I'd never heard of him), but now he's got a lot of exposure by giving away his music free for a limited time.

My view is that he's neither lost a million or gained a million fans (there were 173 songs being given away, so clearly fewer than 1 million people have downloaded), but he's gained a great opportunity - and it's what he does with that opportunity that matters.

Via DigitalMusicNews and Businesswire

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ThisPlace 09

ThisPlace 09 is a project that's been created by a couple of colleagues, Christian Johnsen and David Hawksworth, independent of their day jobs.

The Copenhagen Climate conference takes place on 7-18th December this year. The aim is to collate messages generated by people on the site into a book (ethically produced), and distribute this to as many of the the 15,000 delegates as possible.

People can nominate a place that matters to them that is likely to be affected by climate change, either on the site, or on twitter using the hashtag #thisplace.

More on the project at their blog here

So here is my nominated place for today - the Peak District, where I was on holiday last week.

Please get behind this if you can!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

U2ube - U2 play live on YouTube

For the first time ever YouTube will be showing a full live gig tonight - U2's concert in Pasadena will go out live across the site - if you fancy watching at 3.30am UK time.

In other YouTube news, they are now monetising one billion video views a week - approximately one in seven videos viewed on the site

Update - there were nearly 10m live streams of the concert

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eyeblaster Video Extender ad format

This pretty special - the video ad appears in the normal place - but you can increase the size of the box by dragging it around.

From Eyeblaster - Play with it here

Pulp Fiction in Google Wave

This isn't made by Google (as far as I know), but it's a great demo of the capabilities and potential of Wave, for those of us that are still a bit baffled by the hype...


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Next Generation Media

This is a presentation that I've written as part of my role as Head of Media Futures at Carat Global Management.

It's a collection of statistics and stories showing how the media world is changing, from the number using social media to the success of the iPhone app store. In each case it's one story or stat per chart, with a headline, a picture, more explanation, and a link to the original source.

At work I write a weekly newsletter that now goes out to nearly 2,000 people (colleagues & clients) and the content of the presentation comes from the last 3 months or so of these. (& in fact if you read this blog and my stats blog regularly you'll recognise a lot of it too). I've been toying with the idea of making charts out of the newsletter content for ages - finally here it is.

This is the first one; the next one will be either a little bit or a lot different in format, depending on the feedback that I get from people. I know that the links in the charts don't work... Does anyone know how to fix this?

Have a look, and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

0870 iPhone App saves users £267,000 in 2 weeks

This is another great example of a genuinely successful, useful iPhone app.

The 0870 app finds alternative, cheaper local numbers that connect to the same service (numbers with the national 0870 prefix cost more than local numbers). The app is free, but takes advertising, served through the AdMob ad server and sales house.

Simon Maddox, the app's developer has gone public with some stats on his blog - essentially, in 2 weeks:

153,135 calls made
£267,987.54 saved (assuming a £0.35 saving per minute, and an average 5 minute call time)
Plus $680.82 in ad revenue.

So far then this hasn't proved to be a major money-spinner for the developer, but it's performing a great service for the users. It's also fantastic that Simon is sharing the data.

More info at the Guardian's Technology Blog

Times Plus

Times Plus is an attempt by the Times and Sunday Times to monetise their readership. For £50 a year, or for free if they have a subscription to the newspaper, readers get special offers and special events. As a brand The Times will have great power in negotiating deals, and there are lots of unsold concert and theatre tickets, and lots of remaindered books that need shifting... (In fact, a friend's brother is a member of a list that gives him free theatre tickets at about 24 hours notice, on the condition that he has to turn up - so he gets in free to see a show, the show appears to be sold out, and everyone's happy. But - he has to go to the show, or he gets taken off the list)

Times Plus seems like a great idea, and I'm surprised more media companies haven't done it. The Guardian sponsors many events, like Glastonbury, and has a very strong community of readers. I expect them to do something very similar soon.

Friday, October 09, 2009

My review of Google Wave

I've been playing with Google Wave on and off for a week now; here's my first take:

First, it's been amazingly over-hyped, and the level of interest is out of proportion to what it does. By limiting it to relatively few beta testers they've created a whole viral storm around it. Whey I announced on twitter that I had an account (courtesy of a very kind friend at Google) I got 20 requests for one of my spare invites within 20 minutes.

So, what is it, and why all the fuss?

The 4 part screen

It's essentially a live team wiki or workspace that you can put widgets into. The screen is broken into 4 parts, with a box for navigation, one for contacts, one as an inbox, and one was the Wave.

In the example they give you pre-prepared they show a group of people planning a Barbecue together, first coming up with a shopping list, then deciding who would bring what, then inserting a widget for people to show whether they could come (Yes / No / Maybe).

BBQ planning - expand the box on the right to see full screen

& this is what it would be good for - it would replace the group emails that you get deciding where to meet up, what to do at the weekend and so on.

In a work setting it would be very useful for projects like trafficking advertising campaigns - the agency, ad server support people and media owner contacts could all sign in, update statuses, and then tick a box when the work was done. It would be much easier to follow than a long email stream.

So far, though, it's very fiddly and hard to use. There aren't many public widgets to use, and those that there are are quite hard to use. At present you'd need to be a very sophisticated web user to both want to use it and be able to (but hey - it's in beta). Of course it will improve over time, and the range of widgets available will be very important.

I only had the patience to add one point to my London map in Trippy

This is one way in which brands can get involved. The Trippy application is produced by / in association with Lonely Planet, and the popular apps will get lots of screen time.

The other way brands will become involved is to start doing customer support via Wave. For example if your car needed servicing you could get onto a Wave with your manufacturer, who could arrange a service with your local dealer, and cover lots of other details very efficiently. There's every chance that in a couple of years it'll be like twitter - it'll be something that companies need to be able to use to communicate with their customers.

Here's a post from Hill Holliday, with some other examples of the potential of Wave

Update - 5th August 2010 - Google have declared Google Wave dead.

"[...] despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.

Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web."

Thursday, October 08, 2009

What The Internet Knows About You

What The Internet Knows About You is a scary site that produces a detailed list of sites that your browser has visited, from the top 5,000 sites online. It is designed to raise awareness of the fact that your browsing history can be accessed by other sites; when you arrive at a new site for the first time it can tell what other sorts of sites you visit.

Go over to a colleagues desk and try What The Internet Knows About You on their machine - you know you want to...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Nokia - Phones get us talking

This is a new viral that we are seeding for Nokia, to promote picture sharing through Ovi, and their 6303 classic, 6700 classic, and 6600i slide phones.

The site allows you to create a personalised film, and send it to a friend, share it though a social network, or embed it on a blog. Films were made by Farfar.

Watch the video below to see how I got my inspiration this morning!

Make your own here. Big, bold images work best.

Learn how to share pictures online with Ovi by Nokia

Other films:

The Nightclub:

Learn how to share pictures online with Ovi by Nokia

The Flowers

Learn how to share pictures online with Ovi by Nokia

Make your own here.

Public Enemy attempt to raise $250,000 recording costs through Sellaband

Public Enemy are bypassign the established music industry and raising the recording costs for their new album themselves through Sellaband, a site that lets bands sell stakes in their new works.

PE are looking for 10,000 people to each pay $25 (although people can also buy multiples of $25). Investors will receive a special version of the CD, plus a share in any profits.

It's great to see a mainstream (ish) band try to do this - the widget above will track the level of money raised.

More at The Guardian

Monday, October 05, 2009

Ukraine Vs England online only

Next Saturday sees a first in UK broadcasting - for the first time ever (in recent memory anyway) no TV station will be showing a competitive England football match, so it will only be streamed online.

Setanta originally had the rights, but they collapsed earlier this year, and once England qualified no other broadcaster was willing to pay.

The match is pay per view, with an 'Early Bird' rate of £4.99 if you pay now, rising to £11.99 on the day of the match. However according to a spokesman on the radio this morning they can only have 1 million subscribers - they cannot stream to more than that number.

There's also a deal whereby if you open a Bet365 account and have a bet you get free access, and there are affiliate deals with major newspapers - for example the Daily Telgraph, The Times, and The Sun.

Sign up here, at

Friday, October 02, 2009

T-Pain sells 300,000 iPhone apps in 3 weeks

American singer T-Pain has sold 300,000 downloads of his iPhone app I Am T-Pain, made by Smule, in 3 weeks at $2.99 each. The app is basically just a branded Auto Tune function, changing your voice when you sing.

Other details are extraordinary - according to MobileCrunch the average user spends 66 minutes with the application, and so far 4.1m performances have been recorded. Great example of a next generation revenue model for music.

Here's an official video:

& here's a fan-made one:

See also - Cash from Chaos - ten examples of revenue generation

Science and Maths

I really love this new site for the Department of Children, Schools and Families by our sister agency Glue, to encourage kids to study science and maths at 'A' level.

The content's great - lots of videos and stories from people with 'sexy' jobs like snowboard designer, games developer, ride engineer, and radio producer.

The navigation feels very innotive too, without being irritating. Go and have a look

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Google Wave 'Trippy' example

Google Wave is Google's new toy, open to beta testers yesterday. I've got an invite, courtesy of a friend at Google, and I've been playing with it a bit.

So far, so frustrating though. I don't know anyone else with it (the invites I've sent out to friends take about 24 hours to be approved), so it's a bit like beign the only person you know wiht an email address.

In the meantime I've been looking at examples of what other people have done, to get a feel of what it's for and how I could use it.

So far as I can see it's like-a-real-time-wiki-that-you-edit-with-friends-and-that-you-can-use-widgets-with.

Have a look at this demo of the trip planning tool Trippy, using data from Lonely Planet, to see what I mean.

More on Google Wave in a few days when I get to play with it properly.
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