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Wednesday, December 05, 2021


Just spreading the word on 8trk’s upcoming “An Apple A Day” promotion, seeing as how I’m helping launch the site. Dissemin-8-ing, so to speak (pardon the pun — or don’t).

Read on:

In service of 8trk’s commitment to expanding your interest in music, from December 10th thru December 31st 8trk will be giving away FREE MUSIC to one new winner, every day, from Apple iTunes.

That’s the “Apple a day” part. Get it? (It’s really an iTunes gift card code, but “an iTunes a day” didn’t have the same ring to it, y’know?)

There’s more! One lucky winner will walk away with a BRAND NEW IPOD from Apple – how’s that to feed your music appetite?

The rules of the giveaway are simple:

* Visit blog.8trk.com as often as possible
* Comment on any post(s) that you find interesting or answer a survey question, providing your email address in the process
* Tell your friends to visit blog.8trk.com. Okay, this one is not exactly a rule, but hey – spread the love!

That’s it. If you win you will be able to immediately go to iTunes to get that album that you’ve wanted and couldn’t find, that album you had and lost or one of any of those fantastic 8trk recommendations. Good luck!

More details and legalese right here. Yes, you will need to have iTunes loaded up on your computer in order to make use of those sweet gift card codes; but then, you’ve already got it, right? So have at it.

And to help create more comment-worthy terrain for contest purposes, you’ll be seeing a few timely postings by yours truly over at the 8trk blog. Try keeping the doctor away with all that!

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/05/2021 11:32:02 PM
Category: 8trk, Pop Culture, iPod
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Friday, November 30, 2021

I had figured the Beacon backlash would prompt Facebook to overhaul its new Social Ads system within days, and that’s just what happened, as the social network has now implemented greater user controls for opting-in.

What’s more, the company’s braintrust explicitly acknowledged the hot-button issue that made an otherwise-theoretical privacy concern real for their users:

Some users have already complained about inadvertently finding out about gifts bought for them for Christmas and Hanukkah after Beacon shared information from Overstock.com. Other users say they were unnerved when they discovered their friends had found out what movies they were watching through purchases made on Fandango…

“We’re sorry if we spoiled some of your holiday gift-giving plans,” Facebook’s Paul Janzer wrote in a posting addressed to Beacon’s critics. “We are really trying to provide you with new meaningful ways, like Beacon, to help you connect and share information with your friends.” Janzer also acknowledged Beacon “can be kind of confusing.”

That’s what it came down to: Putting a crimp in consumers’ precious shopping experience. Hey, whatever works; high principles sometimes come along for the ride as incidental benefits.

I’m most interested in what this means in terms of Facebook’s trajectory as a growing concern. This was a fairly boneheaded move, and I’m surprised more users didn’t acknowledge it as a naked money-grab, implemented ham-handedly. On the business side, the failure of this revenue-generation attempt puts founder Mark Zuckerberg on even shakier ground (given his general inexperience in strategic leadership), and I wouldn’t be surprised if his days were already numbered.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/30/2007 08:15:07 AM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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Wednesday, November 28, 2021

feel the heat
When I originally posted this handy reference to optimal webpage ad-placement, I did so with the intention of easily calling it back up via an archive search of this here blog.

That hasn’t turned out to be the case. Apparently, my choice of verbiage in that post has been impregnable to keyword search. It’s mildly pissed me off that I need to guess several times to track down what should be an easily-identifiable snippet of information.

In hindsight, calling this a “clickzone graphic” was a dumb move. I should have tagged it as a heat map for Web advertising, showing the “hot zones” on various portions of the average website page. Much more intuitive and searchable language.

So, I’ve decided to repost here, with those shoulda-been keywords inserted. And trackbacked to the original 2005 post, naturally. Let’s see this little bugger hide from me now!

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/28/2007 11:22:35 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Internet
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Tuesday, November 27, 2021

I was led to Russian fashion designer Denis Simachev’s website via this article about how he’s making Soviet symbolic iconography retro-chic.

Which reminds me of a storyline element out of the old “American Flagg” comic series. But I digress.

What I find more interesting is the layout of Simachev’s website. Instead of the standard vertical top-to-bottom arrangement of content on webages, each page scrolls horizontally — i.e., you use the scrollbar at the bottom of your browser window to navigate the complete page.

I’ve seen very rare instances of this. I remember David Bowie’s very first website presence, circa 1997, employed this same unconventional design arrangement. It certainly stood out for me.

A shame more sites don’t go this route. I’ve even toyed with doing it myself, if not here at PopStat then on another site. Not sure I can justify it for a largely text-driven content well, though.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/27/2007 11:32:39 PM
Category: Fashion, Internet
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Monday, November 26, 2021

It’s as made-up as a holiday can get:

So what’s up with this Cyber Monday idea? A little bit of reality and a whole lot of savvy marketing. It turns out that Shop.org, an association for retailers that sell online, dreamed up the term just days before putting out a Nov. 21 press release touting Cyber Monday as “one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.”

The idea was born when a few people at the organization were brainstorming about how to promote online shopping, says Shop.org Executive Director Scott Silverman. They quickly discarded suggestions such as Black Monday (too much like Black Friday), Blue Monday (not very cheery), and Green Monday (too environmentalist), and settled on Cyber Monday. “It’s not the biggest day,” Silverman concedes. “But it was an opportunity to create some consumer excitement.”

But now, the joke is on all of us, as enough buzz germinated over the past two years to make Cyber Monday all too real:

“When something’s pushed down your throat continuously and the Internet becomes more part of your life, the customs of the Internet become more part of your life,” [Ice.com Marketing EVP Pinny] Gniwisch said. “So they finally got a holiday for the Internet.”

I still think the underlying premise — that loads of people are e-shopping from the office because of faster connections than their home computers — is bullshit. In fact, most broadband households probably have faster Internet hookups than business endusers, both because of more optimized equipment and dedicated connections. And really, “cyber”? That qualifier reeks of InterWeb circa 1997.

Even with that debunkage, it’s not surprising that Cyber Monday would become embraced into reality. Another excuse for buying trinkets, with free shipping thrown in? Nothing more American than that.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/26/2007 11:31:48 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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Wednesday, November 21, 2021

When it was pointed out how Facebook’s new Social Ads program likely is playing fast-and-loose with users’ privacy and consent, I considered the issue to be, ultimately, too abstract to faze the majority of Facebookers. As long as it didn’t detract from user experience, the behind-the-scenes swapping of sensitive demographic info between Facebook and other companies wouldn’t register.

Well, it turns out the process isn’t so behind-the-scenes, thanks to a marketing-feed app called Beacon:

The new program lets companies tap ongoing conversations by alerting users about friends’ activities through the feeds. About 40 Web sites have decided to embed a free tool from Facebook, known as a Beacon, to enable the marketing feeds.

The idea is that if users see a friend buy or do something, they’d take that action as an endorsement for a movie, a band or a soft drink.

But it also raises privacy concerns.

Mike Mayer, for instance, saw a feed item saying his boyfriend, Adam Sofen, just bought tickets to “No Country For Old Men” from movie-ticket vendor Fandango.

“What if I was seeing ‘Fred Claus’?” said Sofen, 28. “That would have been much more embarrassing. At least this was a prestigious movie.”

Embarrassment is one thing. But I’m betting these social-network butterflies would get even more peeved at the prospect of a spoiled surprise:

“People should be given much more of a notice, much more of an alert,” said Matthew Helfgott, 20, a college student who discovered his girlfriend just bought him black leather gloves from Overstock for Hanukkah. “She said she had no idea [information would be shared]. She said it invaded her privacy.”

This is what it’ll come down to: Dead-simple practical examples of what happens when your online persona is tracked. If Facebookers find out they can’t buy something — a present, a book, whatever — and not have their online friends find out indiscriminately, then it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they’re going to start leaving the site.

I figured the online generation knew no boundaries in their disregard for personal disclosure, but this episode looks to be the virtual brick wall. Facebook is practically sabotaging itself out of relevance by sticking with this format, and I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t move quickly (i.e., the next few days) to start implementing opt-outs to quell this.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/21/2007 09:42:59 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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Sunday, November 18, 2021

Riding on its late momentum, Facebook launched its Social Ads initiative to demonstrate how it can make money in an innovative, seemingly user-friendly (even user-engaging) way.

Aside from questions about the legality of auto-recruiting members into advertising campaigns, some are now criticizing just how Facebook is rigging the default user settings to build an essentially shanghai-based ad network.

To give you an idea, when Leah Pearlman announced SocialAds on the Facebook blog, she claimed that Facebook would never “sell any of your information”. But… hmm… aren’t my demographics *my information*? Isn’t what type of movie I like *my information*? Who is Facebook to determine what my information is? Even though companies can’t identify me personally, they are paying Facebook for my age, my interests, and other things about me that make me who I am.

And really, does Facebook think that Blockbuster doesn’t have my identity here? I need an account to rent a movie… so obviously Blockbuster knows who I am. So Facebook is kind of saying “we’re not going to give any identifiable information to 3rd parties… as you’ve already done that”. It really doesn’t matter that Facebook doesn’t give up my email… that’s a cop-out. What they’re doing is connecting the dots… in an under-handed way.

On one level, Facebook is no different from every other software application, on the Web or off. Everyone knows (or should know) that a program’s default settings determine the vast majority of usage patterns. For instance, how many billions of Excel files are floating around out there with the standard three worksheets within the workbook — even though only one of the worksheets has any actual data on it? Even experienced users don’t bother diving into options menus to change settings unless there’s a really compelling reason to do so. In that sense, Facebook isn’t doing anything particularly new, and thus not particularly malicious.

The tricky part is that “connecting the dots” business. If Facebook really is serving as a bridge to deliver key trigger information to its partners, then that’s a serious breach of trust. It’s as though Facebook is pooling fragments of user demographics with other user-frequented sources, thereby building a data-mined version of marketing cryptography.

This is mostly speculative, but given the capabilities of software aggregation databases, not at all out of the range of possibility. If the goal is to build consumer profiles toward which to target the most refined marketing pitches possible — the greatest bang for the buck via honed audiences — then Social Ads could be the glue that helps all the other elements stick together.

I haven’t joined up on Facebook yet. When/if I do, I’ll have to cook up a bunch of fake personal info. No sense in helping them build a more-perfect machine.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/18/2007 11:37:39 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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Here’s a shout-out post to Bryson Nobles, who’s just launched his personal entrepreneurial blog, CEO Swagger.

I’ve been working with Bryson on The 8trk Project. Since I encouraged him to keep a blog in support of that venture, I’ll take partial credit for putting the bug in his ear to branch out to his own site. I think the new blog will highlight his drive to carry out Web-based business concepts, from idea-germination through to functionality, and beyond.

Hopefully, the swagger will start soon enough with 8trk, as soon as that site is ready for public unwrapping a few weeks from now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/18/2007 06:18:03 PM
Category: 8trk, Bloggin', Business
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Wednesday, November 14, 2021

How big of a believer in the new free-for-all Facebook is Lee Lorenzen? Enough so that that he’s starting a venture capital fund available exclusively to developers producing Facebook applications/widgets.

What does he expect the return-on-investment to be?

Lorenzen, based in Monterey, Calif., has founded several companies, including Shop.com, and is unfazed by criticism. He truly believes Facebook will be huge and that it is the first mainstream social operating system, taking a page from the playbook of Guy Kawasaki, Apple’s former self-proclaimed evangelist.

Lorenzen thinks Facebook will eventually become a massive Web-based mall, but with much more value because people are shopping based on their friends recommendations, with Facebook as their main portal.

The first step in that evolution was the company’s introduction last week of its Social Ads. The idea is that a purchase made by a Facebook member on other Web sites can be listed on their page, allowing their friends see, for example, what book they bought on the other site.

Is Facebook the long-awaited critical-mass online hangout? I really don’t see it. In the popular consciousness, MySpace is probably a stronger, more recognizable brand. Facebook’s stolen the thunder in terms of buzzworthiness, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way — especially not with the synergies possible at MySpace parent company News Corp. Add in the innate fickleness of social networking participants, and I’m secure in my skepticism.

If anything, I’d have guessed some VC — Lorenzen or someone else — would have anointed Second Life as the messianist online community, just by virtue of all the marketing efforts directed there. Not to mention that SL’s wholly graphical interfaces, with animated avatars and rendered landscapes, make that site that much more inviting than Facebook’s text-based format.

I’m sure Lorenzen will burn through a sizable hunk of cash before it becomes apparent that he’s bet on the wrong pony. If his fund has anything left over, maybe he can use that to seed the next Big Thing Online.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/14/2007 10:58:18 PM
Category: Business, Internet
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Monday, November 12, 2021

Not long ago, I noted how the formerly chic “e” prefix used for early-wave Internet entities — think eBay, E*TRADE, even email — had been supplanted by the new-wave “i”, as in iPhone and iGoogle. I also absently wondered which would be the next letter to come along and signify bleeding-edge Web with-it-ness.

It looks like a less-obvious and more reductive answer has emerged: Instead of adding a letter, the new style is to remove a pesky vowel or two to achieve latter-day branding power.

That’s the methodology used to update fusty old eProject, first named in 1997, to its current re-brand of Daptiv:

Daptiv is a good choice because “it sounds very current,” [Catchword principal Burt Alper] adds, noting the trend “to alter spellings to create distinctions,” citing the Motorola Razr cellphone and the photo-sharing Web site Flickr.

“But since Daptiv is based on a real English word,” Mr. Alper says, “there’s also a sense of stability” that may be missing from more fanciful coined words.

“It’s also short and easy to pronounce,” he adds, “and the dot-com domain was available for registration.”

It’s actually something of a miracle that any semi-sensible URL is free for the picking, what with domain-squatters scooping up speculative letter combinations.

I’ll note that I, myself, am currently working with a prime example of this vowel-less phenomenon: 8trk. Yes, I’m part of the problem (or the solution, depending on your perspective).

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/12/2021 10:45:55 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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Wednesday, November 07, 2021

a goner
Oh yeah, this is exactly what I envisioned when I signed up as a Google AdSense publisher: A top-level primary-placement ad link for “Gonorrhea Statistics”.

For the record, my AdSense revenue total for today isn’t markedly higher than usual. I guess it’s something of a relief that visitors to my blog aren’t itching (pun intended!) for information on STDs…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/07/2021 11:40:21 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Bloggin', Comedy
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Monday, November 05, 2021

Gee, I didn’t see this one coming. Acknowledging that he’s cobbled together the corporate equivalent of a Frankenstein’s monster, Barry Diller announced that IAC/InteractiveCorp will be split into five separate companies, in order to pull the old “unlock the entities’ stock value” maneuver.

Diller’s other motivation: To get John Malone off his back.

Here’s the shape of things to come:

When the transaction is complete, the five businesses will include:

* IAC — This unit will own Web sites such as Ask.com, Match.com and Excite as well as several other Internet properties including Bloglines, Citysearch, Gifts.com and CollegeHumor and investments in sites such as Active.com, Points.com and Brightcove.

* HSN — This unit will be comprised of IAC/InteractiveCorp’s current retailing businesses that include HSN TV, HSN.com and Cornerstone Brands as well as a portfolio of catalogs and retail stores.

* Ticketmaster — Includes properties such as Admission.com, Biletix, Billetnet, BillettService, LiveDaily, TicketService and TicketWeb as well as investments in Frontline and iLike.

* LendingTree — The parent’s financial arm will be spun off to include the LendingTree.com business as well as RealEstate.com, Domania, GetSmart, Home Loan Center and iNest.

* Interval International — This unit will also include CondoDirect, Resort Quest Hawaii and VacationSource.com.

It always amazed me that shareholders and partners went along with Diller’s years-long un-strategy of simply throwing money at anything that sorta/kinda hinted at online business. I guess nothing lasts forever. Let’s see if he can resist a repeat of the mish-mosh acquisition approach when he’s in charge of the reduced IAC remnant company.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/05/2021 10:52:14 PM
Category: Business, Internet, Media
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Sunday, November 04, 2021

With dedicated-purpose devices like media players and mobile phones proliferating, is there any solid reason to own a personal computer anymore? Not in Japan, apparently, where flat and declining PC sales is considered a harbinger for consumer preferences worldwide:

Millions download music directly to their mobile devices, and many more use their handsets for online shopping and to play games. Digital cameras connect directly to printers and high-definition TVs for viewing photos, bypassing PCs altogether. Movies now download straight to TVs.

More than 50 percent of Japanese send e-mail and browse the Internet from their mobile phones, according to a 2006 survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The same survey found that 30 percent of people with e-mail on their phones used PC-based e-mail less, including 4 percent who said they had stopped sending e-mails from PCs completely.

The fastest growing social networking site here, Mobagay Town, is designed exclusively for cell phones. Other networking sites like mixi, Facebook and MySpace can all be accessed and updated from handsets, as can the video-sharing site YouTube.

At root, what we’re talking about is the computer as a media device — media incorporating both static music/video saved locally on a drive, and dynamic Web content. You can even throw gaming in there, except that by virtue of the processing power required of games like World of Warcraft, a fully-fledged computer system is a requirement (popular lower-tech casual gaming, however, definitely falls into the who-needs-a-PC category, though).

So from that perspective, it’s true: You don’t really need a multi-megahertz beast to handle Web surfing. Aside from the larger screen size, which certainly makes Web media a better experience, having a full-fledged computer just to interact with Web interfaces is overkill.

Personally, I’ve experienced a touch of this — and that’s a pun. The main reason I bought my month-old iPod Touch was for the ability to access the fully-rendered Web without having to lug a notebook computer around. I have to say that it’s fit the bill for that perfectly, and not just when I’m out of the house: Fact is, when I get within range of my home wi-fi network, I reach for the Touch to instantly check my usual websites. That’s before I fire up my computer. In a sense, my iPod Touch functions as my Web remote control. I can’t do every single thing from the iPod — in particular, the lack of cut-and-paste capability limits what I can do interactively — but it’s pretty close.

So I can certainly see how you could do without a computer to work the Web. Even the most robust social-networking Web 2.0 sites/services are optimized for a non-PC environment. On-the-go portability trumps unnecessary horsepower, and as long as input interfacing (touchscreen, keypads or whatever becomes most effective) keeps up, it’s looking bleak for the PC…

… As a media device, that is. For work, you’re probably always going to need that keyboard-mouse-monitor setup, along with office-suite and other software. But I can see that work-personal divide opening up and becoming more dramatic.

Furthermore: I had always assumed that the compact mobile computing devices caught on in Japan early because they always were much less expensive than PCs; and they took up a lot less space, which jibed with smaller living quarters in Japan in general. I’m thinking that might have more to do with this current sales decline.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/04/2021 10:24:17 PM
Category: Internet, Society, Tech, iPod
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Tuesday, October 30, 2021

IT security researcher Mark Wade buys something from a spam email link just to see what happens, and the main reaction seems to be amazement that it led to an actual retail transaction (albeit an incomplete one, apparently due to Post Office mishandling).

This incident, although illustrative, reinforces a basic misconception about, really, the worst aspect of spam:

It’s unsolicited communication that eats up resources — yours and the networks. And — this is key — that’s the case regardless of the source and content of that spam.

That means it doesn’t matter one bit whether a spam email (or blog comment, which is what I contend with moreso these days) contains something blatantly harmful, like a phishing attempt to steal personal information; or if it contains a completely innocent request for, say, a donation to the Red Cross. Fundamentally, despite their intent, getting a hundred of one or the other jamming your inbox wastes the same amount of time and energy by having to dispose of it.

And obviously, that goes for the middle ground between those previous two examples: The shady business deal that actually results in a sale of some merchandise, and in fact achieves the 1-2% success rate that makes spam a viable enterprise. Again, the intent and ultimate result is irrelevant.

I guess the overemphasis on hacking, malware and other spam-delivered scams has obscured this reality. Bottom line, spam is spam, and it doesn’t matter what it’s sending your way. The problem is volume and management, and that’s what the focus needs to be on in terms of combating it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/30/2007 11:11:18 PM
Category: Internet
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Sunday, October 21, 2021

Here’s how to pare down the Presidential Cabinet, which is often criticized as being bloated:

Eliminate the Departments whose Secretaries are wasting time blogging.

Hello, Homeland Security’s Michael Chertoff and Health & Human Services’ Mike Leavitt!

Start packing up your desks now, boys. And be heartened that, once relieved of your post, you’ll have loads of time for blogging full-time.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/21/2007 09:02:18 PM
Category: Bloggin', Politics
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Thursday, October 18, 2021

Just in case you think nothing can stop the free flow of information and media that is the Internet: In retaliation for the U.S. government honoring the Dalai Lama, Beijing flexed its muscle at the ISP backbone level:

It seems like China is fed up with the U.S., so as a way to fight back, they redirected virtually all search traffic from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to Baidu, the Chinese based search engine.

We have reports from TechCrunch, Digital Marketing Blog and Google Blogoscoped Forums that all three engines, when used for searching, are being redirected to Baidu.

I’m wondering how much ad revenue the three search providers lost from this simple blocking maneuver — and what kind of ripple effect that will have on the stock market, sooner or later. Talk about interconnectedness.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 10/18/2007 11:48:39 PM
Category: Internet, Political
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Wednesday, October 17, 2021

Silly money is once again pouring into Silicon Valley startups, which signals the onset of Dot-Com Bubble 2.0, to be followed by Dot-Com Burst 2.0.

Or not. Because this time around, the inflated valuations are coming — and indeed, being solicited — from a different source:

The greed bubble collapsed like a Ponzi scheme. It turned out that these companies had spent all the money they raised on Super Bowl ads, robotic warehouses, and gleaming offices to hold hundreds of people. Yet there just wasn’t enough money to pay the bills, especially since the biggest source of revenue for many Internet companies was advertising from dot-coms that had just raised a round of venture capital or gone public. Most of these companies were so overextended they couldn’t adjust to the new reality: The Internet may change everything, but it takes a while.

The fear bubble has a completely different dynamic. The main drama revolves around the slowing growth of the winners of the last round — Yahoo, eBay, AOL, Microsoft. They are mainly worried about how Google is sucking up all the consumer attention and advertising money. They also worry that some little start-up will turn into the next Google.

So out of fear, these companies are trying to regain their youthful growth through acquisitions — lots of little companies like Flickr and some big ones like Skype and Avenue A.

That’s a somewhat convoluted way of saying that the merger and acquisitions market is creating the value of the average Web 2.0 startup. The stock market plays more of a secondary role, in the fluctuations of established companies’ share prices; therefore, initial public offerings don’t come into play.

Which, actually, is nothing new. As far back as 2005, it was recognized that the new start-up strategy wasn’t to achieve an IPO and stake out territory as a going concern. Rather, the idea was to position the company as a rapid-growth niche player, to the point where one (or, ideally, more) of the existing Web giants would take notice and come knocking with a buyout offer.

Presumably, this latter-day Buyout Bubble will pop as soon as the stock market starts penalizing the Googles and Yahoos for writing multi-million dollar checks for, essentially, phantom companies. That means relying on the wisdom of the financial crowds — a dicey proposition if I ever heard one.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/17/2007 11:29:56 PM
Category: Business, Internet
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Monday, October 15, 2021

legal tender
Despite the dribs-and-drabs pace, I’m overall fairly satisfied with my Google AdSense revenue generation hereabouts.

But after seeing the ridiculous dollar amounts some law firms are paying for choice keyword bids, I’m thinking I ought to start up a “Legal” category on my blog.

“Christmas recipes,” for instance, was going for 54 cents per click the other day. “Britney Spears” cost 36 cents, and “Britney Spears nude” only 21 cents.

But “Oakland personal injury lawyer” cost $58.03. “Asbestos attorney” cost $51.68. And “mesothelioma attorney Texas” — mesothelioma is a kind of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos — cost $65.21.

I’ve come across comment-board rumors of folks lucking into such a mega-clickthru; I think the publisher nets something between $10-$20 from it. I wouldn’t mind experiencing that kind of single-click payout just once — or twice!

Is this really shyster territory? To the extent that these lawyers shoot for quantity over quality, yes:

Ted Frank, the director of the Legal Center for the Public Interest at the American Enterprise Institute, said the fact that some personal injury lawyers were willing to pay $60 a click was telling, particularly given that relatively few of those clicks would bring in actual business.

“These lawyers don’t really litigate cases — they settle cases,” Mr. Frank said. “And they need a big inventory of cases. The only job of the attorney is to come up with the clients.”

“There is nothing wrong with what Google is doing,” he added. “There is nothing wrong with advertising for clients. It’s just fascinating that clients are worth so much.”…

The market for Google search terms says something, then, about the market for plaintiffs’ lawyers. For reasons that baffle economists, personal injury lawyers all charge roughly the same amount for their services, typically a third to 40 percent of any recovery.

“What explains this puzzle?” asked Alex Tabarrok, who teaches economics at George Mason University. “No one knows.” It may be, he said, that offering to work for less might be thought to signal that you are a bad lawyer.

In any event, Mr. Frank said, the high prices on Google are a direct consequence of this economic anomaly.

“Instead of competing on price,” he said of plaintiffs’ lawyers, “they compete on Google.”

Like I said, too bad I’m not writing about legal matters, like How Appealing. Of course, I did just publish this very post, laden with legalese… So, let’s see some action!

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/15/2007 11:45:34 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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Sunday, October 14, 2021


It’s time to lift the veil, such as it were.

I’ve been doing some behind-the-scenes work with the team starting up The 8trk Project, chiefly on the business-development and marketing side. That’s recently included a smattering of posts to the official blog. I chose “free_agent” as my moniker there, a double-entendre referring to both my role with the venture and my relationship with regards to “head coach”, who’s one of the founding partners.

What’s 8trk about? As I’ve alluded in previous posts here, it’s an attempt to bring the worlds of social networking and music enthusiasm together. How we bring that together is already an evolving process, and it’s fascinating to see how all the pieces are falling into place — in both positive and not-so-positive directions, depending on everyone’s perspectives.

As the post just prior to this one indicates, I’ll start cross-posting entries from the 8trk Blog to here. I don’t know that I’ll do it consistently; while I plan to markedly increase entries there, they won’t always be a good fit on PopStat. Besides, in the short time that I’ve been posting there, I’ve tried to cultivate a different, more off-the-cuff blog voice for 8trk, so it makes sense in my mind to limit the crossover. We’ll see.

More details as I deem appropriate. It’s my first real experience with a Web startup — let alone a Web 2.0 startup — so I’m really soaking things in at this stage. Where it goes is almost besides the point right now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/14/2007 10:14:54 PM
Category: 8trk, Business
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Yes, we’re living in the Age of the Legitimized Music-Act Sell-Out:

It seems as if every commercial these days has a rock band in it. What was once the mark of utter uncoolness, a veritable byword of selling out, has become the norm. More than a decade ago we became inured to the most unlikely parings. Led Zeppelin in a Cadillac ad. The Clash shilling for Jaguar. Bob Dylan warbling for an accounting firm, or Victoria’s Secret. An Iggy Pop song about a heroin-soaked demimonde accompanying scenes of blissful vacationers on a Caribbean cruise ship.

But is selling out always bad? Some say the shifting sands of the music industry make corporate sponsorship the only way for musicians to make a living. And, at least when it comes to the rap/hip-hop world, there’s a difference between “selling out” and “cashing in”.

If you’re torturing yourself over whether or not your favorite artist has created a new business paradigm, or else simply taken the money and run: Music critic-at-large Bill Wyman has come up with the Moby Quotient. It’s a fancy mathematical calculation that factors in the musical act’s existing coolness/relevance, the corporate entity’s evilness/lack thereof, the dollars involved on both sides, etc.

A question to the 8trk Powers That Be: Any chance of including a Moby Quotient widget during Alpha testing?

(Cross-posted on 8trk.com)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/14/2007 09:47:30 PM
Category: 8trk, Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture
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Tuesday, October 09, 2021

Ever since acquiring YouTube, Google has been struggling to introduce substantial monetization elements into the online video service.

The answer they’ve hit upon: Turn YouTube’s very content into ads. On the heels of a significant YouTube-tailored revamp of how it presents and sells AdSense inventory for video clips, Google is preparing to distribute YouTube-hosted clips via the AdSense network, so that select video shorts will appear on publisher sites.

These ads won’t feature the innovative video-within-video ad format being rolled out on YouTube.com; instead, they’ll feature static banner images wrapped around the dynamic video clip. But otherwise:

But Google won’t be pulling clips from YouTube’s entire library, which includes a multitude of wacky segments contributed by amateur videographers. The material sent to other Web sites will be confined to video from providers who sign consent forms…

With the new twist, Web sites participating in AdSense now can sign up to specify the kinds of YouTube videos they want shown on their pages. A Web site focused on automobiles, for instance, might want to display YouTube videos about cars and other vehicles.

More than 100 video providers — mostly professionals — have agreed to allow Google to distribute their content. Initial participants include TV Guide Broadband, Expert Village, Mondo Media and Extreme Elements.

I’ve checked my own AdSense control panel, and I don’t see any opt-in for running these new ads. If that does show up, I’ll be sure to enable it, just to get a glimpse. I already have AdSense’s traditional image/video ads running here, so it’s not much of a stretch.

It’s not surprising that Google wouldn’t include the stereotypical amateur clips in this mix. But by not doing so, it deprives this new ad channel of a less-polished presentation that, while probably toxic to advertisers, would break through the ad clutter with viewers. It seems that Google is banking on nothing more than the YouTube brand for these new ads, even if the clips — being professionally or at least semi-professionally produced — aren’t really representative of what people expect from YouTube.

UPDATE: That was quick. Checking my AdSense backend tonight, I found an option for enabling “video units”, the link for which takes you to a YouTube-hosted interface. From there, you customize the settings for an embedded video-ad player that you can paste onto your own site.

And as you’ll see if you scroll to the bottom of this post/page, I’ve gone ahead and set one up for Population Statistic. Here’s the looks of things:
PopStatTube!
Green color scheme, naturally. You can see the ad placement: A permanent banner on top, within the player’s skin, and then a fade-in/fade-out translucent one that superimposes on the video itself. Otherwise, a standard video-player interface.

The default is for Google’s AdSense bot to serve up YouTube ads that match up with pertinent keywords on the page, just like traditional AdSense does. But you can specify ad-clip providers, from a fairly lengthy list of YouTube content producers. I chose to go with the default.

Very interesting, in the early going at least. I’m hoping this placement will generate more revenue than the AdSense large rectangle that I’ve had there up until now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/09/2021 09:18:01 AM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Internet
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