Living in a digital world

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Facebook SocialAds network

Very interesting info on the rumor around the new Facebook ad platform – from (the excellent) Valleywag

“We called it: Facebook is launching an ad network that will reach far beyond its website, much like Google’s AdSense. Now others are confirming it. A source told AllFacebook the SocialAds ad network Facebook will announce in New York on November 6 will work by installing cookies on members’ browsers. Then, when these members visit publishers in the SocialAds network, Facebook will serve ads, targeted by the personal information it has on those users. The skeptics’ take? Some in tech aren’t convinced the information a Facebook user puts in the profile indicates any useful information, such as an intent to buy. But then again, the advertising industry plans to fund Sex and the City reruns for the next 40 years with tampon commercials. Just getting basic demographics right will count for a lot. “

October 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Silver Surfing Social Networkers

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Source: E-Consultancy

As the graph shows, the 55+ market has been responsible for an increasing share of website visits over the past 3 years. They are forecast to have the biggest growth in internet use in the next 6 years.

By 2012 nearly 70% of all 55-64 year olds and around 1/3 of people aged 65+, will use the internet at least once a week.
(nVision Research. 2006-based projection)

But, how they are using the internet offers much more insight. An Axa survey of over-65s in 11 countries has found that internet use has overtaken traditional pastimes of DIY and gardening. It reported that:

* 40% of retired people are regular e-shoppers
* Travel tickets are the most popular item, with 45% regularly booking online
* 84% use the internet for keeping in touch with friends and relatives via email
* The next most popular online activity was ‘looking for information’, selected by 83%
* 35% go online for banking activities

(Source: All from Internet Statistics Compendium E-consultancy 11th July, 2007)

Social networking sites are popping up specifically for this age group, which mirror the functions of the younger Facebook. One example, of many, is the 50+ site Eons where members can build a profile, upload photos, chat with others their age, book travel, date online etc. The site claims to have 1 million clicks a month.

However there is speculation that the market is saturated with these targeted sites and infact, the over 50’s would rather be part of the younger sites like Facebook. Users over 35 now account for the majority of Facebook members

Perhaps the true value for this online market is not through dedicated social networking sites to their demographic. Rather sites that link relevant content for them to social networking facilities relating to that content.

A great example of this is Waitrose.com. It has linked its e-commerce facility with discussion forums and recipe scrapbooks that members can build up. It even has a canapé calculator to work out how many you need for your party.

As this market continues to grow as a viable online target, more research will be done into further segmenting the over 50’s age demographic rather than treating them as one homogenous market. What are the different needs of a 55 year old, 65 and 75 year old surfer and what will they be in the future?

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

iPhone web apps

I’ve said before that the screen and the usable, full web browser on the iPhone makes it the first mobile phone I’ve used that opens up the mobile web to being more than a frustrating curiosity.

Here’s a couple of great examples of sites and brands using the mobile web in interesting and clever ways, whilst you can view these links in your desktop browser, they only really come alive and prove their usefulness on the phone – if you’re in WWAV, pop over and i’ll show you on mine:

- Lastminute.com have created talking phrase books for 5 major european languages – www.coolgorilla.com/iphone – the clever bit on this is that they link to sound files that you can play if your dodgy pronunciation lets you down.

- www.munitime.com – tells you when the next train will arrive at your stop on San Fransisco public transport.

- Twitter on your iPhone – lets you keep up to date and send tweets from your iPhone

There are hundreds of these web apps at – www.apple.com/webapps

The best ones all have two things in common, they are:

1. Location specific – they are more useful if you are in a specific location and/or
2. Time specific – they get more useful if you are in a hurry or need info right now

October 28, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Air driving

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Here’s a cracking little site extolling the virtues of getting a driving ban. Those being the chance to enter the prestigious 2007 Air Driving Championships.

Air Driving by is, by its very nature, a crap pastime and not a patch on actually driving driving, and the creators of this site have got the look and tone spot on. The message is delivered through a very authentic looking “bad’ website. The layout looks cheap and the copy is trash, and both do equally well to convince the viewer that this “air driving” lark might actually be a real alternative for those youngsters silly enough to have lost their precious licenses due to driving misdemeanors.

It’s the details that make this site work, from the ugly air driving out-takes, to the bargain bucket bucket seats, and the fact that it’s just plain funny. No better way of getting the yoof to think twice about playing silly buggers on the streets than having a good old laugh at the ridiculous situations of those who have.

Posted by: Simon Attwater

October 17, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Can being green in a virtual world work for BP’s brand image in the real world?

Games publisher EA (Electronic Arts) has teamed up with BP to include the energy giant’s presence in the latest edition of their Sim City game franchise.

SimCity Societies will add a new feature effectively adding an element of climate change education to the game. Using ‘bad’ energy sources will damage your carbon rating, but choosing a variety of BP Alternative Energy sources like wind/solar power or hydrogen/natural gas power plants, will lower your carbon rating and effect the quality of life in your in-game city.

What’s in it for BP? Well, as one blogger posts, “BP is likely betting that branding renewable energy in this virtual world will have a positive impact on brand awareness, favorability and purchase intent in the real world.” And maybe so. What’s in it for EA? Well, money of course, but the presence of real brands also adds to the authenticity of the in-game environment.

As virtual worlds become more and more commonplace (with the boundaries between real and virtual blurring – see earlier vodafone post) and enter the mainstream, how brands behave virtually will surely impact their reputation in the real world. Discuss…

NB: SimCity is one of the most popular PC game franchises ever and has sold over 18 million copies.

October 17, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vodafones InsideOut on Second Life

We’ve all gone a bit quiet on Second Life recently (after Facebook became the shiny new toy of choice) but it’s still alive. I’ve been a bit negative about Second Life in the past, however I am positive about the future of metaverse type worlds. I think we are currently in the “Trough of Disillusionment” and these type of worlds will become genuinely useful and interesting in the not too distant future.

hype cycle

Vodafone have just launched a really interesting service that moves us along the curve to the “slope of enlightenment” – it connects your avatar to the real world. It allows avatars to call avatars within the game, whether on or offline, (and vice versa) but interestingly will route the call to your real world mobile whilst preserving your privacy.

Have a look – http://secondlife.vodafone.com/what.aspx

October 16, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IBM Green?

For blog action day I thought it might be worth pondering whether large corporates can make a difference?

One big brand that claims it’s doing its bit is IBM. They’ve launched a ‘retail green initiative‘ that argues Big Blue is striving to extend the life of POS tech (meaning equipment lasts longer before becoming obsolete and requiring replacement), educate retailers on more sustainable ways of doing business – eg by making a case for sustainable shipping policies and the use of recycled materials.

IBM announced in May that they’d be investing $1 billion in green technologies and services over the next decade.

A corporate PR job – or a real commitment to change?

October 15, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do The Green Thing

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Do The Green Thing is a great site that launched earlier this month, aiming to help as many people as possible to do something to help protect the environment.

There are already a whole host of sites around aiming to do the same thing. But, what makes this one really different is the way it addresses the whole issue in a fun way – and its beautifully crafted style (no surprise, given that one the people behind it is Naresh Ramchandani, formerly of advertising agency St Lukes).

There’s a vast amount of fun content (the videos in particular are fantastic) and to encourage you to keep on doing the green thing you can sign-up to receive regular videos with ideas of more green things to do.

(This post is part of Blog Action Day - 15,000 blogs of all shapes, sizes and specialisms uniting for one day by publishing posts about the environment)

October 15, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wattson – supercool green gadget!

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I’ve been wanting to post about this for a while, but waited until now because today is Blog Action Day – with some 15,000 blogs of all shapes, sizes and specialisms (including this one) uniting by publishing posts about the environment.

We all know that we shouldn’t leave our TV, DVD player, etc. on standby when they’re not needed because of the amazing amount of energy that is wasted. But, because you don’t see the impact of such simple actions it’s easy to forget.

Well, not any more. This wonderfully cool little gadget is a Wattson. Using a wireless transmitter attached to your electricity meter or fuse box, it shows you – in Pounds Sterling (or Euros, Dollars, or Yen) – exactly how much electricity your home is using at any time. Plus, to help remind you to do the right thing it also glows blue when you’re not using much electricity and flashes red when you’re using a lot.

It’s been voted one of the top ten green gadgets by The Guardian – and it’s on my Christmas list.

October 15, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

MySpace to follow Facebook with application platform launch?

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Rumours are bouncing around the web that MySpace is preparing to launch its 3rd party developer platform at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco next week.

Creatively called ‘MySpace Platform’, it is expected to comprise a set of APIs and a new markup language that will allow any developer to produce advanced applications with the ability to access member information (profile data, friend list, activity history, etc.) – rather than just sit on the surface of the site as a plethora of MySpace profile pimping options currently do.

This launch has been expected ever since Facebook opened itself up to 3rd party applications in the same way back in May – in a move that has contributed significantly to that site’s astonishing growth since then.

For digital marketers MySpace platform will offer a whole range of new opportunities to engage with the MySpace member audience in a far more sophisticated way than ever before. For those watching the race to be top social networking site, things look set to get interesting again.

October 13, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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