free html hit counter RoundUps Archives | Page 4 of 17 | John Battelle's Search Blog

Value Above the Level of the App

By - March 18, 2010

….is the topic of my Thursday Signal over at the FM blog. From it:iphone-apps.jpg

….the architecture of “apps” is broken, and marketers can have a role in fixing it.

Broken? But it’s just getting started, right? Well, yes – and no. Apps are great, but they lack any number of characteristics that we’ve come to expect from a truly “Web 2″ world. First (and certainly foremost), apps are not connected, in the main, to other apps. They are single use-case driven – a fact that often makes them compelling. But however useful a focused app may be, it can only get more useful if it could communicate with other apps, the way that great web services do. After all, a core tenet of the Web 2 movement was APIs and web services. YouTube would never have become a signal service of the web without being embeddable onto blogs. And blogs would never have risen without RSS.

Second, apps, for the most part, live in “AppWorlds” that are closed and vertically integrated (at least for Facebook and Apple). That means they don’t live in an open, market-driven environment, and are taxed by the owners of distribution channels even before they reach the consumer. That’s not an ecosystem that will drive second and third orders of innovation.

Third, apps live in a world of clutter….. (more)

  • Content Marquee

FM Signal Up

By - March 17, 2010

Over at the FM blog…forgive me the light posting here this week. A lot of offline writing and travel keeping me busy. Stay tuned for more regular posting shortly….

FM Signal: Wired's "iPad Demo"

By - March 14, 2010

I’ve posted Monday’s Signal over at the FM blog. From it:FM-signal-header.gif

What I find interesting is the media’s response to the iPad (and I include tech blogs in the category of “media”). Overwhelmingly, the media wanted to believe that a hip magazine like Wired (caveat, I was a co-founder) would, natch, have the hippest iPad demo, a demo that, natch, would prove the viability of … the media’s own threatened business model!

The truth, however, is a bit more complicated.

The Wired demo was pretty much the starting gun for a month of media frenzy about how great the iPad is going to be. Wired’s own posting about its demo is titled “Wired Magazine on the iPad”.

However, the truth is this: This demo was made using Adobe software (not available in native runtime on the iPad) and run off a Dell laptop. I’ve confirmed this with Adobe. Also true: the software used to create the demo will absolutely NOT create or compile apps that work natively on the iPad. And this is due to decisions made by Apple. Yes, there is a kludgy workaround that Adobe has authored, but it’s handicapped, to say the least. As much as the Apple would like to claim it has banned Adobe for technical reasons, by all accounts outside of Cupertino, Apple has banned Adobe due to control and economic issues: It simply doesn’t want developers able to create software from which Apple won’t profit.

Friday Signal: Location Location Location

By - March 12, 2010

Screen shot 2010-03-12 at 7.17.59 AM.pngToday’s Signal is brought to you by the letter B. For Baseball. Every year around this time my son and I head out to Scottsdale, where our beloved SF Giants play Spring ball. We play hooky for a Friday and see a few games. It’s bliss.  

So despite a few interesting bits of news about location services, Signal will be a bit weak today – back at you strong on Monday. Here are some links worth perusing:

In stock nearby? Look for the blue dots. (Google Blog) Local is the new black. In this case, Google closes the loop between local, mobile, and commerce. Great idea, but it needs scale and participation from major retailers. Lucky for Google, it has AdWords. Which nearly every major retailer uses. Watch this space.

What’s Happening—and Where? (Twitter blog) As I said…location location location.

Foursquare and Starbucks Team Up to Offer Customer Rewards (Mashable) Foursquare is the new black of location for marketers.

AOL Launches Lifestream As New Standalone Product. This Is What Google Buzz Should Have Been (TC) Mike likes him some AOL.

Who Are We Really? And Why Marketers Should Care (AdAge) Smart commentary on our multicultural reality.

Google Is Bing’s 4th Largest Referring Source (SEL) Google is the heart pumping the oxygen of attention around the web (at least, it is for now.) So this isn’t that big a surprise. But it is kind of fun.

Thursday Signal – Repeat After Me: Apps Are (Currently) Myopic (Or…We've Seen This Movie Before…)

By - March 10, 2010

Screen shot 2010-03-10 at 8.26.08 PM.png

I’m not claiming to be deeply informed about the app marketplace, which Google stirred up today (and, to my mind, the market could use a few more spoons). But I do use apps. At least, I use enough of them to feel like a nearly typical member of the species (as compared to a few of my peers, who are so deeply involved in AppWorld that they have – just maybe – lost a bit of perspective.)  

So, here’s my beef with AppWorld. In short, it reminds me of computing back in about 1987. Yeah, 24 years ago, back when I was a cub reporter for MacWeek, I covered the burgeoning world of Apple and Apple developers. And trust me, I’m getting a pretty strong sense of deja vu. I guess being old counts for something.

Back in the late 1980s, folks who developed applications for the new Macintosh OS had two very strong sentiments about Apple. One, they LOVED the company and its Macintosh development environment. They loved it for what it was, for what it could be, and for the opportunity it presented to them – a newly fallen bowl of virgin powder, into which clever and entrepreneurial programmers could strap it on and push off to lay fresh tracks. Imagine the possibilities! A program that let you paint with your mouse! A program that let you visualize otherwise mute spreadsheets! A program that taught you how to type by watching actual fingers move on a keyboard on the screen! Holy cow, the possibilities were limitless!

But then there was the second strong sentiment. I’ll sum it up in a phrase: F*cking G@#$%damn Apple! The company was impossible to work with, utterly controlling, miserly with its developer tools, overbearing in its demands, myopic in its decision making. In fact, an entire organization sprung up, the Macintosh Developers Network (I think, not the current MDN, which is a UK org), seemingly driven by its members need to console each other in the face of the inscrutable Cupertino. (Apple never did really embrace the MDN, though I found in its members some very good sources…).

So let’s fast forward to today. Once again, Apple has created an extraordinary new environment for developers and entrepreneurs, and once again, it has fostered pretty much the same two sentiments.

But unlike the late 1980s, this time the world is different. It’s connected. It’s web-driven. The Web is the World, and the world demands connections.

But so far, what I’ve noticed most about apps in AppWorld is that they are, for the most part, all about themselves. They’re not connected to the greater web, and they don’t encourage you to move seamlessly from one app to another, depending on your intent.

And that, to my mind, can’t stand.

Just a thought. Now, onto some good linkage:

Google Launches the Google Apps Marketplace (Mashable) As I said….

comScore Reports January 2010 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share (Comscore) Because you can’t get enough datapoints about something that confuses us all.

Engage your users to survive, Google tells newspapers (Guardian) Google, lecturing publishers on engagement. The world is truly upside down.

Gen Y Goes for Online Banking (eMarketer) Take heed. Are you offering your services online? Why not?

ARM sees over 50 new iPad-like devices out this year (Computerworld) Thank God.

Why MySpace Co-Presidents Aren’t Worried About Growth (PaidContent) Well, I doubt that will last.

FTC Said to Ask Google Rivals for Statement on AdMob, May Signal Challenge (Bloomberg) My my. Hmm. My.

Corporate Branding Goes Rogue (AdAge) “Social media is not just another tactic to be tacked onto the proverbial backside of a corporate identity system. It needs to be recognized for what it is — the disruptive technology that radically changes the game. So much of what operated in the old corporate branding model simply does not apply anymore.”

RealNetworks’ Rob Glaser on why Apple’s model must be stopped (TechFlash) ….and as long as I’m on the hobbyhorse…comScore: Android Shows Strength As Mobile Web Usage Grows (SEL)

Announcing The Fifth Annual CM Summit: Theme and Initial Lineup (FM blog) I had to remind you of this, didn’t I? Great lineup….

Ad Publishing Tool Bridges Traditional And Online Media (MediaPost)

Google Gains Traction In Display-Ad Push (WSJ via ATD)

Weds. Signal: Get Me a Mobile Strategy or You're Fired!

By - March 09, 2010

201003091750.jpg(Cross Posted to the FM Blog, where Signal will have a permanent home soon)

Mobile. It’s on everyone’s lips, but no one knows what the hell to do about it. At least, that’s what I hear from every single marketer I talk to, and I’ve made it a point to talk to a lot of you in the past few months.

It’s a source of significant frustration: Everyone’s saying mobile is the next thing, but no one has a solution for how to market in the space in a way that delivers the four pillars of brand marketing: Scale, Safety, Quality, and Engagement.

Sure, you can now buy banners across ad networks in mobile, and lord knows that ability has paid off handsomely for AdMob and Quattro (acquired by Google and Apple, respectively, for very large multiples of very small revenues), but honestly, we all know that’s not an endgame. More like an opening gambit in a chess match where nearly everyone feels like they’re playing checkers. (Except Steve Jobs, natch. He’s got it ALL figured out).

OK, forgive me the snark, but if Apple has this figured out and the rest of us are consigned to tithe at the church of iPad/iPhone, we’re well and truly screwed.

Ditto for the strategy of “I’ll get me a cool app”, which feels about as innovative as “Get me a viral video” did back in 2007. I’m not saying having a good app isn’t part of a great mobile strategy (I love what Oakley has done for surfers, for example), but one good app don’t a solution make.

Earlier in the Signal, I wrote about MOLRS, my entirely non-viral and made-up acronym for Mobile Local Realtime Social. My point was this: Mobile is not a singular use case. Mobile is related to an ecosystem of local (where I am), realtime (what I’m doing right now), and social (who I’m with, who I want to tell about what I’m doing, etc.).

I sense the answer to a truly quality, scaled marketing solution in the “mobile” environment has to do with understanding this broader framework. It’s a complicated landscape with way too many middlemen at the moment. But my Spidey senses are tingling, and something’s about to happen, I can feel it. If only I knew what it was….

Meanwhile, here are some links to chew on, much of it MOLRS related. It’s better than eating your phone. (image credit )

Internet Services: Mobile Advertising: The Hype, The Hope, And The Financial Reality (Weisel – pdf download) This is a research report sent to me by Thomas Weisel’s Jordan Rohan. I’ll probably get in trouble for posting it. Maybe.

Foursquare Introduces New Tools for Businesses (NYT) Analytics so businesses can figure out what they want to do with Foursquare. Smart.

Just In Time For The Location Wars, Twitter Turns On Geolocation On Its Website (TechCrunch) As I said earlier, expect Twitter and Facebook to play for the Checkin signal in the Database of Intentions.

Facebook Will Allow Users to Share Location (NYT) Hey, wait, on the SAME DAY! Seems *everyone’s* MOLRS are coming in at once…

US online ad spend set to overtake print (Guardian) Well of course it is. About time.

Bingo! Microsoft’s Search Numbers Keep Going Up (Paid Content) Bing gains, Yahoo! loses.

10 neglected interactive marketing best practices (iMedia)

Tuesday Signal: The Internet Is A Human Right (And Spending Is Up. Yippee!)

By - March 08, 2010

Well, it’s Monday night, but I’m in NYC, and I am pretty sure Tuesday is going to be a blur. So here are the links I read on the plane out here (love that Wifi). Expect news from me soon on the themes and lineup for FM’s annual CM Summit (this week I hope) as well as the annual Web2Summit. Meanwhile:

Internet Access Viewed as Fundamental Human Right (AllThingsD) Our culture is coming to a conclusion that makes a lot of sense to me – connection is a human right.

Time To Take The Internet Seriously | David Gelernter | Edge | 4 March 2010 (Edge) Hard to follow, but the fundamental argument is one he’s made for years: Lifestreams are coming, the old web structure is … old.

CMOs to Ramp Up Hiring, Budgets; Double Social Media Spend (MarketingProfs) Are you kidding me? What’s not to like about this story?

How Do You Keep Mass Influencers Engaged? An Example from TripAdvisor (Forrester) Ya’ll know I love case studies.

All Your Apps Are Belong to Apple: The iPhone Developer Program License Agreement (EFF) I am not feeling warm and fuzzy about the business constraints Apple places on its own ecosystem. It’s rather like the Patriot Act. Open up, Apple. Open = more profits in the long run.

Don’t Blame Your Community: Ad Blocking Is Not Killing Any Sites (TechDirt) A counterargument to the Ars post I noted yesterday. TechDirt is an FM author and the programs he notes are FM programs.

Statistics for a changing world: Google Public Data Explorer in Labs (Google Blog) Google creates a visualizer for public data. Do more of this, pretty please, Google.

MediaForge Ads Charge Only When People Interact And Buy (ClickZ) Interesting model. Good luck with that….

Monday Signal: Block Those Ads!

By - March 07, 2010

Monday’s Signal round up is light. The news was a bit boring over the weekend, and I’m OK with that. We all watched the Oscars and enjoyed the suspense of disbelief. I tweeted that it feels like, as a culture, we’re closing in on One Big Mass Media Event each month. Oscars, Super Bowl, New Year’s Eve….What’s the next one?

Meanwhile, I am doing a lot of writing/producing right now. The theme for Web 2 this year is really, really interesting (it centers on points of control and strategy across the Internet), and we’re also a few days away from unveiling the new CM Summit site (the theme this year is “Marketing in Real Time” – and the speakers are extraordinary). Not to mention some deep stuff I’m working on for FM and the future of its business (off to NYC this week for more on that). Oh, and yeah, I want to update that Database of Intentions post I did last Friday. Lots of great input from all of you – in comments, Facebook, Twitter – and I’ve decided that for sure, we need to add a Signal for Commerce. Health, Music, others – I am not sure about yet. More on that soon.

Meanwhile, the links I did find worth digging into over the weekend:

Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love (Ars Technica) Finally, a publisher (one who was with FM until our pals at Conde Nast purchased them) sounds off about ad blocking. Ken, the founder, created a program that blocks content from folks who block ads. He didn’t run it for long, but read the piece. He learned a lot, and engaged with his audience as a *publisher*. Well done. I love that Ken did this, and can’t wait to read all 1400 comments. Money quote: “Imagine running a restaurant where 40% of the people who came and ate didn’t pay. In a way, that’s what ad blocking is doing to us.”

Drafting a New Blueprint for the Client-Agency Relationship (Jones&Bonevac) This topic ain’t going away, it seems, in fact, it’s coming to a head.

Clorox App Gives Consumers Content They Want (eMarketer) All marketers are publishers. Who said that?

Monopolies, Retransmission Fees, and Screwing Customers (AVC) Fred puts one more story into the ongoing narrative of traditional media coming to terms with the Internet.

18 Use Cases That Show Business How to Finally Put Customers First (MarketingProfs) Always a sucker for case studies….

Friday Signal: Google Google Google!

By - March 04, 2010

2349s4-marcia_brady_00000138.jpg(image) Today I’m not going to write a piece and then append links. You’ve been giving me a lot of feedback, and you miss my in depth stuff. Honestly, I’m doing a lot more of it – both recently and in the intentional near future. Much of it has been at the top of Signal pieces. But Fridays are different, it’s when I will write the equivalent of a weekly column. I have a piece in me that will come, ideally, after this round up post. Meanwhile, as I perused the news of the last day, I was struck with how much of it involved Google, and the pure breadth that involvement spanned. Behold, Signal, the at-least-half Google edition:

Google Makes A Bid For More Premium Display Dollars With ‘Above The Fold’ Ads (PaidContent) Look, publishers, one chip at a time, Google is doing stuff that means you have to raise your bar. Sell stuff they can’t. If you want tips, email me.

Stars make search more personal (Google Blog) Google is adding a star rating system to its search results. Amazon, anyone? or Twitter?

In three years desktops will be irrelevant – Google sales chief (Silicon Republic) Bill Gates would be spinning in his grave. But he’s not dead yet.

Search your Android phone with written gestures (Google Mobile Blog) Another search innovation from Google.

Google Research head dubs holy PageRank ‘over-hyped’ (The Register) PageRank? Overhyped? NEVER.  

Google To Begin Indexing The Internet In Real-Time? (The Next Web) This story was all over the web Thursday. In short, it’s a new way for Google to get (more) real time signals. But honestly, not a huge deal. I don’t think. Correct me if I’m wrong…

Getting to Know You, You, You, You (MarketingProfs) A recent Nielsen study found that global consumption of social media increased 82 percent from Dec. 2008 to Dec. 2009 in the 10 countries surveyed, with users spending an average of 5.5 hours on their sites of choice per month. Hello!

Adobe On Its Way To Being A Role Model For Interactive Marketers (Forrester) I met with Ann an hour before Shar did. I’m an Ann fan.

Sit. Walk. Slouch. Communicate. Create. Consume. Why the iPad will be a hit (Denuo) Rishad has a good point, and given my rant on the subject, I’m very open to different points of view. He states the iPad will be a hit because “it is about a state of stature and a state of mind, not a state of technology.” Yes, but when I slouch, do I cease being a social, web connected being? I think not. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do with a digital device, Apple! In particular, if something strikes me, and I want to go from “slouch” to “stand” or “Sit”, well, WTF?

Mobile Users Want Personalized Services (eMarketer) …two-thirds of mobile users around the globe are interested in “smart” services that would feed them information based on personal preferences, location, time of day and social setting. YES.

The New Commandments (Vanity Fair) WTF, Battelle? Look, guys, it’s Friday. Aren’t you paying attention? I always throw an odd one out on Friday. Money quote: Thus we are fully entitled to consider (the Ten Commandments) as a work in progress….What emerges from the first review is this: the Ten Commandments were derived from situational ethics.

Thursday Signal: Google's AdSense Cookie – The Untold Story

By -

susan.jpgToday in Signal we take a walk down memory lane, of sorts, because sometimes such a journey helps us prepare for what lies in the path ahead.  

Early last week I ran into Susan Wojcicki, VP of Product Management for Google. Now, Susan is more than just another Google VP, she’s also on Google’s operating committee. Oh, and the person in whose garage Google was founded, not to mention Sergey’s sister in law. If Google were a family, Susan would be something of a matriarch.

Susan had just gotten off stage at the annual IAB conference, and I caught up with her as we were both leaving. We got to talking about all things AdSense, and I mentioned a story I had heard recently – without divulging my source, the story went that some at Google believed AdSense had been rolled out too early, before it was ready for primetime.

Now, nothing will provoke the ire of a product person more than a charge such as that, and I’ll admit my own ignorance of this fact even as I spoke. Susan disputed my story, and then responded that if Google was too late on anything, it was putting a cookie into AdSense. “We didn’t do that until late 2008!” she reminded me – and did so only as part of integrating DoubleClick into the Google Content Network. And the company didn’t really commercialize that cookie until March of last year, when it implemented the Ads Preferences Manager, a sets of controls that I noted at the time was industry leading (and I’ve been a pretty harsh critic in this area, as you may recall.)

All this stopped me short. Somehow I missed this story – I just assumed that AdSense dropped a cookie on all of us, and had done so since the service was launched back in 2001. After all, Google has been Keeblering the web for as long as I could remember, as a fair share of critics had already pointed out. I figured AdSense was just integrated into the master Google cookie – one Oreo to rule them all, right?

Wrong. Turns out, there was quite an internal debate within Google about whether adding a cookie to AdSense constituted a breach of consumer privacy. Early on, a decision was taken that it might, and for years, AdSense had no cookie at all. This severely limited AdSense’s ability to create competitive marketing products – putting Google years behind other ad networks in the race to provide behavioral and interest-driven audience segments to its customers. (One could even argue that early decision augured the acquisition of DoubleClick itself, but that’s pure speculation.) I mentioned to Susan that given all the scrutiny it recieves, Google probably doesn’t get enough credit for demonstrating such sensitivity. She concurred.

But the story tugged at me. Here was another historical anecdote about Google, oft the subject of privacy ridicule, once again struggling with a question that, to be honest, just about every other company on the web had already settled (and yes, my company FM also sets cookies.) I then pinged Google PR to get a bit more background. From a spokesperson’s response:

We didn’t launch this service until we had developed the Ads Preferences Manager, which allows users to view and edit the interest categories we use. We also developed browser plug-ins (link) to make the opt-out from the cookie persistent. Today, each week tens of thousands of users visit the Ads Preferences Manager. For every person who decides to opt out, 4 people edit their preferences and 10 do nothing.

Why do I tell this story? Well, for once, I just wanted a record of it somewhere, so I could point to it as I report on other privacy and marketing data related issues. And secondly, as a reminder of what’s at stake as we, as an industry, begin what is certain to be a very long dialog with Washington and others about the role of data in marketing. Google delayed implementing industry standard technology for years because it feared a backlash amongst consumers, a backlash that never came. And it’s important to think about why. To my mind one reason is the Ad Preferences Manager. It’s not perfect, but it’s an important start, one that others (like Facebook) have come to mimic. The more our industry acknowledges that instrumenting consumer controls – what I have called the Data Bill of Rights – is critical to the success of their platforms, the easier our dialog with government will be.

Keep this in mind if you’re a regular reader of this site. Remember the Database of Intentions, my first “meaty” post back in 2003? I’ll be updating it soon, and the issue of rights to that data has never been more important.

Onwards to today’s linkable bits:

Sorrell questions rush to social media (FT via IWantMedia)

Google Responds To Privacy Concerns With Unsettlingly Specific Apology (The Onion) Just kind of funny, in an unfair but to be expected way.

Sony Readies Gadgets to Rival Apple (WSJ) Oh God, please, please Sony. Please do this right. Please make it an open system, not vertically integrated? Pretty please? With sugar on top?

The Internet of Things (McKinsey) Watch this space.

Turn your skin into a touch screen (Conrad Lisco) Watch this and then ask yourself, are we really going to be tapping into iPhones in ten years? Didn’t think so.

Facebook and Twitter Access via Mobile Browser Grows by Triple-Digits in the Past Year (Comscore) More proof of the undeniably obvious link between Mobile and Social (oh and Local and Realtime…yeah, MOLRS, baby.)