We knew something like this was coming. Twitter couldn't get by forever just showing advertising on the website. A Twitter developer advocate has confirmed that changes are being made in the API to insert ads automatically into the stream. The system is set t o be beta tested with a small group of developers before a wide scale rollout. The developers of Twitter clients like Tweetdeck and Seesmic will get a share of this ad revenue, but no exact values have been decided.
Twitter's limited use of advertising has, thus far, caused little objection. The trick will be getting enough ads in place to turn a profit, without alienating users. As for the developers, some of them stand to make quite the handy payday from this arrangement. Twitter has not clarified if displaying the ads from the API will be voluntary or not. Would you accept ads in your Twitter stream if it meant the developer got paid?
Hunch is a newly relaunched site that aims to offer users a personalized list of recommendations based on a brief questionnaire. Users log in with their Facebook or Twitter account, then answer around 20 questions to evaluate the user's tastes. Hunch then generates recommendations for movies, restaurants, music, books, products, and much more.
Hunch uses your seemingly random answers to build a profile based on what it has learned about other people. Some of the recommendations are also based on who is in your social circle, thus the Facebook and Twitter login. Most users find the recommendations eerily accurate. Some might feel discomfort at divulging this information to Hunch, but it's really not much different than what Facebook and Google already know about you.
Have you used Hunch? Let us know how good or bad the results were.
Okay, they don't know exactly who you are, but these high-tech advertizing platforms can determine what sort of person you might be. A consortium of 11 railway companies are running a one year trial called the Digital Signage Promotion Project. The billboards will be able to scan individuals and determine their age and gender.
The identification process is apparently quite fast, requiring that people only glance at the display for a moment. Facial recognition software is used to determine who is viewing the advertisement, but the images captured are supposed to be deleted afterward. Operators will not be matching ads to individual people, only to demographics. So, we're still a ways away from the Minority Report system that remembers your purchases.
So exactly how weird does this seem to you? We're constantly being advertised to on the internet based on our demographics. Is it just the image capture element that makes these new billboards feel shady?
Apple's iPhone 4 is getting all the attention as of late, and not all of it good. Capitalizing on the bad press, Motorola and Verizon have taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times promoting the Droid X...at the iPhone 4's expense.
"Introducing the Droid X by Motorola, the ultimate smartphone," the ad starts off. "Its screen is gigantic. It's capacity is huge. Every experience from messaging to movies is larger than life. It can even connect with your HDTV so you can share things with large audiences."
The ad starts off innocent enough, and then goes into full attack mode:
"And most importantly, it comes with a double antenna design," the ad continues. "The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls. You have a voice. And you deserve to be heard."
When Google entered the smartphone arena everyone knew they had mobile advertising on the brain, but Microsoft's motivations were a bit of a mystery. Some might have assumed that they saw Windows Phone 7 as a natural extension of the desktop experience, but according to executives within the company it is being viewed internally as a powerful "Ad-Serving" platform.
In a recent interview with Business Development Manager Kostas Mallios it was made painfully clear that Windows Phone 7 is being designed from the ground up to serve ads, while still trying to maintaining the brand experience. "What you'll see," Mallios said, "is there is actually a message on that tile, so that title is actually a dynamic tile that you're now able to push information to as an advertiser, and stay in touch with your customer." In addition, a small sliding box called "Toast" will notify users of updated information or any new ads relating to the app. It sounds like users will have the option to opt out of these types of notifications, but they didn't make it immediately clear what the default settings would be.
We doubt this will have much of an impact on the quality of the finished product, but it certainly is an interesting admission given how competitive the smartphone market is these days. We expect iAds and other Android implementations to be somewhat similar, but we just hope the ads don't start getting in the way any more so than they already do.
This change would likely give application developers and advertisers access to user data they have not previously had. One key beneficiary of the change is Apple itself. With the new iAd platform rolling out, having more leeway in how user location data is used could make targeted ads more effective.
Many of these privacy changes tend to get blown out of proportion. After all, is this much different than what Google does? Our real concern here is the lack of detail Apple goes into regarding just who would have access to the data, and how long it would be retained. We know from the past AOL search data leak and Netflix records that it is possible to identify people in anonymous data. Does this new policy concern you?
GMAC earlier this year surveyed about 5,000 motorists across the country with 20 test questions taken from various state driving tests, and for the second year in a row, California boasted more bad drivers than 47 other states. If we're to take this survey as accurate, then it's fair to say that California motorists have enough to worry about as it is, so why throw more distractions into the mix?
The answer is simple: money. Facing a $19 billion deficit, the California Legislature is kicking around a bill that would allow the state to begin researching what all would be involved with using electronic license plates for vehicles. The way it would work is when a vehicle is stopped for more than four seconds, the license plate would show digital ads or emergency messages, like Amber Alerts.
"We're just trying to find creative ways of generating additional revenues," said Curren Price, who authored the bill. "It's an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront."
A company called Smart Plate has already begun developing the new plates, though is holding off on the production stage while the bill is debated. Smart Plate's chief executive M. Conrad Jordan insists that "the idea is not to turn a motorist's vehicle into a mobile billboard, but rather create a platform for motorists to show their support for existing good working organizations."
We have all heard the rough details of the Google AdMob buy. The deal was worth $750 million in cash and stock, but we had no idea how much of each was involved. Well, thanks to some SEC paperwork Google has filed, we finally know. It turns out El Goog used $530 million in stock for the deal. Most of the remainder, about $220 million, would have been cash.
We find this breakdown interesting. Google has more than enough cash reserves to have paid for the whole thing in cash. Google is currently way into the black with over $26 billion in cash. The AdMob folks must feel pretty confident that Google's stock will continue to increase in value. With the way the search giant is attacking new markets, we'd probably say that's a safe bet.
Won't somebody think of the children? Or the editors?
It seems that mass hysteria is breaking out across the Internet--or Slashdot, the only Internet a geek needs to know--about a new proposed treatment by HP and Yahoo in regards to that whirring hunk of metal and plastic in the corner of your room. I'm not talking about WALL-E, nor Jeffrey, but your printer. You know, that crude device that that basically transforms your hard-earned money into a few pages of text and color?
There are few more toxic battlegrounds than the ol' home printer, the site of a thousand separate arguments over the role a manufacturer can play in shaping your fate with a product post-purchase. It cuts to the very heart of what's an "open" environment-perhaps not in direct function or in one's ability to install Linux on a device, but rather, the concept that what you purchase should be yours to alter and modify as you see fit sans infringement or prevention by others.
According to the Internet hysteria, HP is ready to invade that sense of ownership with unwanted, location-based advertising to accompany your print jobs. But that simple generalization is, thankfully, completely blown out of proportion.
Google might still dominate the search market share, but it's no longer a solo act. And if you needed any more proof that Bing, for all intents and purposes, has been a success thus far, search marketers are starting to take notice.
"Now we're in a situation where we're going to have Bing powering up to 30 percent of the market," said Danny Sullivan, a search engine expert.
Bing isn't quite at the 30 percent market share mark just yet, but that's expected to change once the Bing-Yahoo integration kicks offs.
"That's nothing to sneeze at," said Janet Driscoll Miller, president and CEO of SearchMojo. "It's going to be a two-engine world int he future, where you'll have Bing and Google to worry about as SEOs [search engine optimizers]."
Working to Microsoft's advantage, Bing has a couple of features of interest to marketers that aren't yet on Google. When a user rolls over results, for example, a preview box pops up with more information about the website, and that's something site marketers will have some control over.