Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, March 01, 2021

owns nothingWhen your losses keep mounting, you’ve got to blame someone. If you’re Napster’s CEO, you blame being stuck with Microsoft’s digital media file format in an iPod world.

Or it could be that no one’s buying (literally) the subscription service that Napster’s hung its hat on. Of course, when iTunes/iPod holds some 80-90 percent of the market, it is hard to make headway. In light of these complaints, I’m sure Microsoft won’t shed many tear if Napster decides to end its association with Redmond. That’ll probably happen soon enough — when Napster inevitably declares that it’s closing up shop.

I’ve discussed before that I don’t think much of Napster’s business model. I think even less of it now, actually.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/01/2021 11:51:16 PM
Category: Tech | Permalink | Feedback (2)

it pays
SES 2006 runs through tomorrow, but the Expo ended today, so I’m done too. Following the impressions from the first day, here’s what I got from Part II:

- The big winner of the show, from my personal view, was Omniture. Because they gifted me with a couple of niceties:

  • A pea-green scarf, emblazoned with the company name. Doesn’t sound like much, but it was probably one of the more quality giveaways onsite. And I like just about any shade of green, my favorite color. Besides, it came in very handy, as I’ve been running around without a scarf, despite really needing one to protect my neck from the wind chill (cut me some slack; after 15 years in Florida, I still don’t know how to dress for sub-freezing weather).
  • After being spotted wearing said scarf, I was rewarded with a $50 bill! It was part of the gimmick: Give people incentive to wear the company colors all around the Hilton. I took it. I didn’t ask the perky woman about the Sherlock Holmes-style hat she was wearing, but I did compliment her on her beads. (She was cute; too bad she lives in Utah.)

- Speaking of tchotchkes, I didn’t snag the MIVA Mardi Gras/Gasparilla party beads I mentioned yesterday. When I visited the booth, they were nowhere in sight; I guess they exhausted the supplies yesterday (or hoarded them for the next Gulf Coast parade — it’s been known to happen). But here’s what I did scoop up:

  • From PartyPoker.com — yes, there were a few gambling sites represented — a deck of playing cards, festooned with the URL and logo.
  • From iProspect, a palm-sized burlap sack full of gold-nugget looking bubble gum. Perfect match for the company’s marketing pitch as a search marketing “prospector”, and fit in well with the oversized gold-sifting pan they used for their display.
  • From Trexy, a little stuffed animal goat in the image of the company mascot. I particularly like the little green backpack he wears. Incidentally, “trexy” matches a form of the Greek verb for “to run (motion)”; Trexy is a Euro company, so I wonder if this is an intentional connection. Not that goats are particularly known for their speed…
  • From DoubleClick DART Search, a pocket-sized Webster’s Thesaurus. A neat retro offering amidst all the digital-driven media themes, and appreciated by a writer like me.
  • From Kanoodle, a tin of mints. Mints aren’t exactly original — several booths were giving those or candy away, including Yahoo! Publisher Network, but these came in a semi-stylish tin package.

- I wondered yesterday about the presence of any booth babes. Today, I found some: A couple of hotties trolling the floor, handing out placards for search wannabe Tizzo.com. Tight tshirts, short skirts — no chance they were marketing staffers.

- Only one company, Optimost, was explicitly promoting the dreaded popup and popunder ads. I’m surprised even they did; the general theme was to take pains to avoid even the sniff of content spamming and other shady maneuvers, even though most of the claims being made weren’t far from advocating similar tactics.

- DoubleClick/DART stole the second day of the show with a couple of acapella rappers who kept things lively in a normally sedate corner of the Hall. When, while announcing an imminent raffle drawing, they started chanting “6 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes” to the tune of Doug E. Fresh’s “The Show”, a smile slowly spread across my face.

That’s about the size of it. I deposited a bunch of my business cards, and hopefully they’ll bring a bunch of traffic here and feedback to my email inbox. Not the worst way to spend a couple of days.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/01/2021 11:42:47 PM
Category: Internet, Business, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback

Getting ready to head off to the second day of SES 2006. As it’s the last day of the Expo, it’ll also be my last day there. I don’t anticipate spending too much time there today, as I doubt there’ll be an awful lot of new things to look at. I’ll probably be gone by lunchtime.

I’ll post more once I actually plant myself there, in a couple of hours. For now, a couple of quickie impressions from yesterday:

- I won’t say there were a lot of them, but there certainly were enough Hasidic and orthodox Jews walking around the Hall that they stood out. I had no idea there was a special interest in website optimization among this group!

- A familiar Florida company (sorta), MIVA, had a booth in a cherry spot, across the aisle from Google’s typically expansive plot. MIVA’s giveaway tchotchkes were strands of party beads, which to most attendees probably hinted at a New Orleans/Mardi Gras theme. Personally, given MIVA’s relative proximity to Tampa Bay, I’d assume it was more of a tip of the hat to Gasparilla. I’ll stop by the booth again today and ask (and, of course, try to snag some beads); I don’t think I’ll ask them about the rumors of their demise.

More soon…

UPDATE: Here we go. Planted in the wi-fi lounge and orienting myself a bit before doing a brief walkaround. More on yesterday’s impressions:

- I mentioned already that Google had a big honkin’ spot, in the middle of the main floor. Curiously, Google Analytics had a distinctly separate booth, close but not connected to the prime Google space. A close-up view told you why: Along with the customary Google logos, there were a bunch of leftover Urchin stickers and cards strewn around. Urchin must have reserved its space for this show prior to being acquired by Google last year and assimiliated into the new Analytics division.

- Despite the focus on SEO trickin’, there’s not an awful lot of content services being offered. Most of these outfits push their ability to game Google and Yahoo! with precise keyword placement and such. There are two exceptions that stand out:

  • Backbone Media is the only exhibitor here showcasing a corporate blog implementation service, dubbed Scout. I chatted briefly with Olga Krivchenko, their Chief Strategic Data Analyst, about it. Basically positioning it as an image enhancer, citing how employee blogging has helped raise IBM and others out of their gray doldrums. But they’ve got a nice little white paper presentation mocked up as a typical MovableType post-page (complete with “Comments (5) - Trackbacks (3)”, a nice touch), and their booth shows off “BLOGGING” in big bright-blue colors. To me, it stands out bigtime among the rest of the clutter, especially since blogging is a major track issue in the conference portion.
  • InfoSearch Media has a fairly non-descript booth that stands out due to one thing: Bulletpoints that trumpet the use of copywriters and an editorial staff. Again, unique in that every other content-mill here doesn’t claim to do any real writing, but mere keyword seeding. Talking to one of the booth-handlers, I got the sense that their approach is a bit more substantive: They’ll clean up copy to actually make it compelling, while at the same time make sure it’s got the right sort of SEO-friendly terms to get picked up. It’s not a full-fledged publishing aide, and I question the business model of renting the produced pages per month, but it is unique in this context.

- Silly company names are out in force, as is de rigueur in the Web business (all the good URLs are long since cornered). Despite the clutter, it makes sense to accentuate that silliness, like Did-it Search Marketing does by adopting a frog as its mascot (”Did-it”, “Rib-bit!” — get it?). It doesn’t make much sense to play it straight and pretend your name’s not goofy. That’s the tack Hot Banana Software is taking, forgoing the predicted anthropomorphic banana mascot and using a tech-chic female model as its visual. Smacks of avoiding the obvious.

- As with any exhibit, image counts. It’s funny how many booths are using pretty women (and, to a far lesser extent, pretty men) to smile and hand out freebies. I’m wondering how many are really with the marketing department, and how many are babes-for-hire (I know they’re routine for consumer shows and such, not sure if they’ve been adopted for something like this).

- I’m picking up a small amount of trinkets. Nothing mind-blowing, but a couple of fun items. I’ll run all those down tonight.

- Finally, I did get those blasted business cards yesterday, a day late (all UPS‘ fault; not worth hassling with them at this point). They came out okay:
I think I’m going to work on a redesign for the next batch; the logo should be a lot bigger and positioned differently. But they’ll do. I’ll be spreading these around for the next couple of hours.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/01/2021 08:23:54 AM
Category: Internet, Business, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback (6)