Contextual Advertising Offline



Milk producers in Quebec put milk cartons in refrigerators in ten appliance stores around Montreal to take advantage of the moving season. (credit: Touche! phd). Kind of like that famous story about beer and diapers.

Speaking of the moving season. I'm moving into a new place this weekend, and while I'm being very project-managementy about it -- color coding, job numbers, Gantt charts and everything -- some interruptions in AdLab's schedule will be inevitable.

MIT Convergence Cultures Needs Research Director

The research group I used to be part of, the Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT, is looking for a research director. If you are into social media, fandoms, games, media consumption (aka connections planning), pop-culture and other cool stuff, this is an amazing gig. Apart from the obvious perks, you'll get a much better shot at getting into the sold-out events like the ROFLcon a few weeks back and Neil Gaiman's lecture today.

A Collection of AdWords Creativity



Royal Pingdom has collected not only examples of funnily mis-targeted AdWords ("Buy Soul on eBay"), but also some true gems of creativity, such as this job ad tied to a search for a particularly volatile stock.

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Of all the lists -- they aren't many -- this blog has appeared on over the past four years, this one is the cutest -- Top 50 Blogs Powered by Blogger.

Balihoo – Your Next Career Move? [Ad]

Building world-class software for enterprise media planners, media sellers and advertisers to help streamline the $600B advertising industry isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, as the challenge (and the opportunity) continues to grow, it turns out that we could use some help. Specifically for you media experts out there, we could use help with:

* Director of Media Buying
* Media Buyer/Planner
* Director of Client Services
* Advertising Media Specialist
* Account Director
* Product Manager

Never heard of Balihoo? We’re a cross-medium media buying and selling platform used by media buyers, media sellers and advertisers. We’re a big fan and supporter of the Advertising Lab, you can catch up on us here by reading our collection of posts.

Why would you want to hang your hat at Balihoo? First, we think our culture is pretty cool. Secondly, you have to admit that after watching our virtual office tour, the digs make for a great working environment. And last, but certainly not least, is that you get the chance to apply your media expertise to an advanced technology solution poised to revolutionize the media industry (the modest need not apply). Some pretty important folks in the industry tend to agree with us. Plus, you can’t deny the draw of our Luau/Ski day!

We have offices in Boise, ID as well as NYC and although for non-sales roles we prefer you be here at HQ in Boise, we’re willing to be flexible for the right person.

Never heard of Boise? Well, it’s actually a pretty cool place. There’s a thriving arts and music scene. Doesn’t hurt that The Knitting Factory recently purchased two local venues. Acts as diverse as Built to Spill, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and jazz singer Curtis Stigers all hail from here. We’re located 35 minutes from Bogus Basin, a local ski resort that sells season passes for $200(!) and two and a half hours from Sun Valley. You can even drop your line into the Boise River that flows right through town or head out to any number of amazing fly fishing spots a short drive from town. Rock climbing, mountain & road biking, and world class whitewater are also right out our back door. And if you’re the family type, it’s a fun, friendly type of family environment with a very low crime rate. Forbes magazine ranks us as #3 in the U.S. for “Best Places for Businesses and Careers” and National Geographic Adventure featured us in their “31 Towns Perfect for You”. We couldn’t agree more.

Interested? Find the job that fits you and hit us up at jobs@Balihoo.com. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Do Not Reply to This Email


(source)

Three reasons not to tell people NOT TO REPLY TO THIS EMAIL. First, CAPS are annoying. Second, the whole thing is kinda rude. Third, people hit "reply" anyway, and if you have "...@donotreply.com", it actually ends up in the inbox of the owner of donotreply.com domain and the greatest misdirected hits end up on this blog

"Instead of letting people just hit reply to these support mails, they make the customer click on a link," Faliszek said. "It's sad, too, because I'll get these e-mails from people and they're like 'Oh, man, I really wanted to grill, but it's not working.' Sometimes they'll even send pictures of their grill, too." (from Washington Post)

Our Shit: One Ballsy Agency Site



Speaking of disruptive agency site (re)designs, how about this one by a Brazilian agency Gringo? Compare to an earlier and more sterile version. A side note: swear words in one language usually lose much of their pungency when used in a foreign context.

Oh, yes, and keep the volume on your computer down.

-- via Armando

History of In-Game Advertising and Advergames: The First Wave

A couple of years ago, I wrote a thesis on in-game advertising. One chapter about history didn't make it into the final version, but now you can view and download the entire chapter in its original format, complete with proper references. Here, I am publishing a series of excerpts, illustrated, where possible, with screenshots and gameplay videos that have began to appear on YouTube. This first installment deals with the early years of advergames. The next one will be about brands and arcades.


The exact moment when third-party brands become part of the games is hard to pinpoint. The Internet Pinball Machine database that lists 4,832 different units contains images of the Mustang (1964, Chicago Coin) machine. It is unclear whether the makers licensed the brand name of the Ford’s new sports car that appeared in April of the same year but the website describes it as being about car culture, and the game’s playing field and backglass art incorporate images of cars that look similar to those early Mustang models.

One of the early games that appeared on mainframe computers together with Hamurabi and Hunt the Wumpus in the late 1960s was Lunar Lander. It was a text-based simulation where a player piloted a spacecraft by typing in acceleration values. In 1973, Digital Equipment Corporation (the same company that put Spacewar! on its PDP-1 machine) commissioned a graphical version of Moonlander to demonstrate the capabilities of their new GT40 graphics terminal. One of the game versions included a hidden feature:

If you landed at exactly the right spot, a McDonalds appeared. The astronaut would come out, walk over to the McDonalds and order a Big Mac to go, walk back and take off again. If you crashed ON the McDonalds, it would print out “You clod! You've destroyed the only McDonald's on the Moon!” (source)


While this cameo was most likely a joke of an anonymous programmer and wasn’t sponsored by the fast food empire, the “only McDonald’s on the Moon” was probably the first instance of a brand integrated into the gameplay. It is not clear whether this Easter egg (as hidden features are known) survived the subsequent commercial adaptations of Lunar Lander (the game was made an arcade by Atari and was also distributed on tapes for Apple I), but for McDonald’s it marked the beginning of a long involvement with the medium. Arcade cabinets would become commonplace in its restaurants; the company recently initiated a trial of McImagination game kiosks shaped to resemble corporate characters.

In 1982, McDonald’s teamed up with Atari for a nationwide contest in which the restaurant gave away 12,000 video game consoles and home computers worth over $4 million. In 1983, Parker Brothers was working on a McDonald’s-themed game with Ronald feeding hungry aliens with shakes, fries and hamburgers and with the aliens biting into the Golden Arches, but apparently the game failed to generate interest outside the 8-9 year-old demographic and the project already advertised in the catalog was scrapped.


(source)

Regardless of whether the lunar McDonald’s was authorized, by the early 1980s video games had become a large enough part of popular culture to attract at least a few marketing minds at mainstream companies. Around 1983, Coca-Cola approached Atari to produce a game to be given away as a gift to the participants of Coke’s sales convention in Atlanta. Atari came up with a special version of Space Invaders, a blockbuster game that had sold millions of copies since its release a few years earlier. The rows of aliens were replaced by the letters P, E, P, S, I and the command ship above them was replaced with a Pepsi logo. The player controlled a ship whose goal was to shoot down as many enemy characters as possible within the three-minute limit, after which the game would end and the message Coke Wins would flash across the screen. Only 125 copies of Pepsi Invaders were made, but the game eventually trickled down into the broad gamer community.




At least three other promotional games were produced and offered to the general public through mail-order by consumer goods companies that year. One was Tooth Protector from Johnson & Johnson, a bizarre game in which the main character, the Tooth Protector, was armed with a toothbrush, floss and dental rinse to protect teeth from the cubes dropped by Snack Attackers. The manual read:

The game ends if 3 teeth disappear or if 3 T.P.s are carried away and eliminated by the Snack Attackers. When you are successful in protecting the teeth, valuable points will be accumulated, and there will be no end to the fun you can have! (source)




The other game was by Ralston Purina whose commercials for Chuck Wagon dog food featured a tiny wagon rolling out from a bag of dog food and across the kitchen floor. The commercials apparently were so popular that the company decided to turn it into a computer game with the wagon as its main character. The game was appropriately titled Chase the Chuck Wagon.





Finally, there was Kool-Aid Man made by M Network for General Foods. It, too, was tied to a commercial in which a giant pitcher was breaking through a brick wall and served Kool-Aid to everyone in the vicinity; the concept was reiterated on the game’s box art and in the opening sequence. In the game, the Kool-Aid Man fought evil Thirsties who were stealing water from a swimming pool.




Whether these three games were a marketing success is hard to tell. Distributed for free in exchange for proofs of purchase, they are now considered collectible rarities unlike many other Atari titles of that period, so the companies probably didn’t send out too many units. One of the reasons why these games didn’t do well is their bad fortune of being released during the unraveling of the game industry known as the Video Game Crash of 1983. In 1982, when these titles were probably commissioned, the industry was at the peak of its popularity and profitability; that year, the American public bought $3 billion worth of games (over $6 billion in today’s money), tripling the previous year’s amount. The news media sensationalized the boom and many companies rushed to open video games division to capitalize on the tidal wave; Quaker Oats, for instance, acquired US Games and presented eight titles, mostly clones of the existing hits, at Chicago’s Summer Consumer Electronic Show of 1982. The market became saturated with bad games and numerous variations of the same concepts, and the next year the sales dropped to $2 billion, and then to $800 million in 1984 and $100 million in 1985. Quaker Oats’ game division lasted one year.

How Much Would You Pay For Free?

How much would you pay to use Twitter? How about Facebook? Gmail? Would answering a simple "How much would you pay for it?" question help us to understand how the valuable is perceived differently from the disposable?

I was going through a credit card bill and among the usual sad thoughts the activity conjures there was one relevant to this blog.

There are a lot of online services out there, and I'm actively using a fraction of them. I pay for some, but many are free. The question is, why am I paying for the ones that are on my bill even though there are free alternatives, and which free ones would I pay for if the free ride abruptly stopped, and it was either-or?

I've never bought a ringtone and am not planning to, but I think I've spent around $100 on similarly ethereal Second Life objects over a few months.

I pay for Skype and for Rebtel (very convenient VoIP for cell phones), two cell phones, but (or, perhaps, hence) no land line.

I used to pay for Angie's List but don't have any need for it after moving to a managed building. (Besides, their monthly subscription model feels wrong -- I don't need to fix my plumbing every month. Plus you need to call them during office hours to cancel.) I would pay for Craigslist if I had to. I'd rather pay on demand than monthly. I think between $5 and $10 for a week of usage is about right. I would also pay the same amount for a "pro" version with better search, even if a free standard version was available.

I gladly pay for Flickr not because I can't live without the service, but because, like many Mac users, I think that the attention that goes into designing a flawless experience deserves to be rewarded. I'm sure a part of the fee pays for the "pro" next to my name, too.

To be visually entertained, I pay for the basic cable, broadband, and a Netflix-like subscription from Blockbuster. I'd drop Blockbuster and pay the $20 monthly bucks for a Hulu-like service with a decent library of streaming movies and shows. I have never bought a movie DVD from a store or a TV show from iTunes. (Do people with large DVD collections watch each movie at least four times to justify the $20 instead of renting it at $5 each time? I know it makes sense to buy DVDs for kids since they can be entertained by re-runs forever.)

Out all the free stuff I use, I'd pay for Google if it suddenly made all of its services paid. Depending on the price structure, I'd rather be paying for a subscription to everything than piece-meal for each service. If I had to pick piece-meal, I'd pay for search, Gmail, maps and reader. I am among those Blogger users who've been demanding a paid service for years in exchange for a hint of customer service and advanced features. (To its credit, Blogger has significantly improved over time.)

I would pay for email in general if it suddenly stopped being a free utility. Unfortunately, there isn't much room for price elasticity there.

I wouldn't pay for Facebook or MySpace (especially if I were already paying for email), but probably would for LinkedIn. Probably not, or very little each time I need something, for YouTube or other similar sites. Not for Twitter or any of the instant messengers (assuming I had a cellphone or email).

I'd pay for an RSS reader (Google's, especially if it had an offline client), but don't know whether and how much I'd pay for individual blog subscriptions. Maybe it would be a buck for any ten -- so, $10 for any combination of 100 feeds a month, pro-rated weekly, with the money distributed back to publishers by the aggregating service. If it were a universal model, I wonder which blogs would end up with most subscribers.

There is, of course, a difference between paying for a service in the sense of a general set of functionalities (email, social networking, photo-sharing) and a paying to a particular provider for the service (Gmail, Facebook, Flickr).

Which sets of functions that are free do you think are worth paying for? I included a quick poll below; if you are on RSS and don't see it, please take a minute to come over and submit your answer.




P.S. There's a lot of talk and an entire upcoming book about the business model of free. I recommend F'd Companies, a book about similar models that tanked during the dot-com boom, as a fair-time reading.

Wii Advergames



There are quite a few advergames designed to be played on the popular Wii console out there. Pictured above is MINI's Pinball. Early last year (news), Wrigley's has optimized a number of its games for the Wiimote, and Live Free or Die Hard movie was also promoted by a Wii-able game (now gone). Like the iPhone advergames, Wii games are designed to be accessed through the console's browser.

Eventology from Argentina creates Wii-powered games for tradeshows to attract booth traffic (see in action in this YouTube video). [update, May 19, 2008: the devices are not Wii-based and are build by Eventology directly; see comment].



Earlier:
How Would a Wii Dance Pole Work?
3D TV With Wii Remote

TV Penetration in 1940

Found a few fun charts from the early days of television on tvhistory.tv. (Also see an earlier post on TV viewing stats from 1957 to 2007.)




100 Million Hours of Ads a Weekend?



You might have already seen Clay Shirky's now famous speech about cognitive surplus given at Web2Expo and the dramatic comparison of the time spent watching TV (200B hours a year in the US) and building Wikipedia (100M hours total).

He mentioned another number I thought was interesting: "In the US, we spend 100 million hours a weekend watching just the ads" (fast-forward to 5:52, or read the transcript). The order of magnitude seems right but I can't figure out how he arrived at his estimate. Here are the inputs I'm working with.



- Number of hours spent by men watching TV on weekends: 6.98hrs (less for women, but I'm keeping the math simple). I don't know if the number is an average across the entire population or only accounts for those who watch TV.
- Number of ad minutes per hour of TV programming: 16 (wiki), which means 3.72 hours of ads total for a two-day weekend (16*6.98/60*2).

Now, to arrive at the 100M hours number, we need to assume an active audience of 26,881,720 (100M/3.72hrs) viewers on each of the two days. How accurate is this number? I'll try to check with our media folks next week, but drop a comment if you have ideas.

Of course, this little calculation assumes that Shirky's remark was not a mere rhetorical device (hey, if we just stopped watching ads we could build a wikipedia in a weekend) and that people do watch all of the ads throughout the entire 7-hour TV binge instead of doing laundry or zoning out.

Related:
Dissecting Advertising Clutter
The Ad Zapper in Your Brains

Ikea Stuff Pack for Sims 2 Confirmed



The rumored Ikea-themed stuff pack for The Sims 2 is due out on June 24 for $19.95, according to this this now removed but cached page on EA store.

Ad copy from the site:
- Turn your Sims' living room into a haven of comfort and relaxation with a plush Ektorp sofa, a unique Expedit TV unit, a complementing Leksvik coffee table, and chic d├ęcor, like the Vanna mirror.
- Create a bold, vibrant, and revitalizing bedroom with a new Malm bed, matching chest of drawers, a shapely Storm floor lamp and a bright IKEA PS rug.
- Indulge your Sims with an office that is sure to promote order and productivity with its elegant Vika Hyttan desk, inspiring Kila desk lamp, bold Helmer drawer unit, and Lack zigzag wallshelf.

Guardian has a full-size pack shot. Some interesting stats in the accompanying article:

"In its first year, sales of the H&M Fashion software pack [for the Sims 2] reached 1m. EA also struck a deal with Ford to enable Sims players' characters to own a Focus or Mustang car. To date, 2.7m Ford add-ons have been sold."

Fisheye Quake



"Fisheye Quake is a version of quake (software rendering) that allows you to play in ANY fov [field of vision], i.e. 10 to 360 and over."

Are You a Digital Media Ninja?

Because if you are, we have -- not one, not two -- four open spots for digital media planners with different levels of ninjahood: associate media director, planner, coordinator, and assistant.

This is where in Boston the digs are, and here are the vistas. We'd be working together on a lot of stuff. My friend Tammy who sits across the hall and heads up the team could use some help with her 17 active projects clients, so there's a tangible sense of urgency. Hit her up on her LinkedIn page for specifics and tell her you're an AdLab reader.



Where the ninjas dine (and play Xbox; see that screen?)

Username Squatting

As if it weren't enough that buying a domain name requires all sorts of linguistic acrobatics, creating an account with popular social networks and other online utilities is starting to be taxing as well. Pages at myspace.com/McDonald's, GAP, Applebee's, IBM, Xerox, Microsoft, Sony, iPhone and many others have little to do with the respective brands apart from the page owners' usernames. Common dictionary words are long gone as well; here's, for example "/sex" on MySpace and YouTube.

You don't hear about username squatting much, although there was a blog post last year comparing twittersquatting to the domain name rush of the 1990s. Why is it important? Three reasons.

1. Convenience. MySpace.com/myblendtec is less obvious than /blendtec, which is taken by someone other than the socially successful blender maker.
2. Danger of misrepresentation. It is easy to recognize /billgates and /microsoft as obvious parodies, but hijacking an online identity of someone less famous can't be too hard.
3. Search traffic. Perhaps not a threat to bigger companies, but part of the search traffic for brands with limited online presence and for common words can be derailed to pages on MySpace, videos on YouTube (and stories on Digg, but that's a different story). I don't have a good "bad" example off the top of my head, but see how CBS YouTube channel ranks way above many of the network affiliates' sites. And if you search for "tequila", MySpace celeb Tila Tequila comes up above many businesses with the word in their names.

Free Trade Magazine Subscriptions [Ad]

Remember the five magazines you have never read? Here's your chance.

I got (and, obviously, accepted) a review order on ReviewMe from a site called RevResponse. The site's homepage makes the business idea sound somewhat complicated, but it isn't: you, the blogger, get paid for having your readers subscribe to trade publications and white papers for free. Since these publications are trying to build their targeted circulation so that they can charge their advertisers more money, not everyone gets the free lunch -- you need to qualify to subscribe. I don't know how the qualification process works and hence how lucrative this affiliate model is for bloggers, but if everything works as advertised, why not.

But check out the range of publications the service offers. There is some interesting ad-related stuff: Brand Packaging, Successful Promotions, and even Crain's Creativity. You can also try to subscribe to magazines that sound very cool but that you would probably never buy without a good excuse:
  • Church Production (about "church's use of audio, video and lighting equipment")
  • Church Solutions ("sophisticated, insightful articles on construction, design, staff management")
  • Meatingplace ("written and edited for red meat processors")
  • Cranes Today ("serves the whole of the Crane Industry")
  • Wraps ("inspiring the vehicle and building wrap professional")
To sum up, a win-win all around: bloggers get money, readers get magazines, and magazines get larger mailing lists. To make everything work, RevResponse offers a nice variety of promo tools that range from banners and widgets to blog-branded landing pages. See a sample widget below:

Robot Conducts Symphony



AP: "Honda's ASIMO robot conducts the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as it performs 'Impossible Dream' during a concert in Detroit, Tuesday, May 13, 2008." Watch video (if you can get it to play past the pre-roll).

Hey! Nielsen Brings Buzz to Ratings




I've been keeping an eye on Hey! Nielsen (lovely name, but the way), a place for TV fans to voice opinions about TV programming that opened last September. Nielsen's intent is to figure out how to incorporate the feedback into its ratings: "Using data from real users, Hey! Nielsen generates a Hey! Nielsen score -- a real-time indicator of a topic's impact, influence, and value. As users submit feedback, the score is created from a number of factors such as user response, blog buzz, and news coverage, as well as raw data from our sister sites Billboard.com, HollywoodReporter.com, and BlogPulse.com."

Funny, Tetris has a way higher buzz rating than GTA IV (111 to 28), even though BlogPulse shows otherwise.

Bookmarkable Advertising

Last week's news about Rolling Stone and Men's Health running promos where readers are invited to snap images of ads and send them in reminded me of a draft that I've been kicking around for a few months about bookmarkable advertising. It's not finished or polished but, I hope, useful for something.

Also, between now and when I had first started writing this, I heard about a "grabbable" banner format offered by one of the large networks. I couldn't find any references or samples, but if you know something, please drop me a line.

Oh, and I'm on vacation this week away from all things broadband so this blog is on autopilot.


People bookmark ads. They circle ads with red markers, cut them out, paste them on the fridge, carry them inside wallets, give ads away, put ads on the walls. Given the opportunity and a good reason, people archive, manage and retrieve ads. Naturally, it is in advertisers' best interests to encourage this behavior because bookmarking gives the ad another chance to do its job, which is why we often see the dotted "cut here" lines around ads.



The "dotted line and scissors" bookmarking/clipping metaphor has been extended online (source).


As a theoretical side note, "bookmarking" is used loosely here and refers to any activity of storing an ad for future reference as close to its original form as possible (writing information down doesn't count). Some activities are physical (clipping, putting away, sorting, retrieving), others are also mental (remembering where to look, creating an arrangement system, evaluating).


WHAT ADS GET BOOKMARKED?

In order to be bookmarked, an ad needs to satisfy two conditions:

1. It needs to carry a promise of some future value. Coupons are an obvious example of an ad type that gets bookmarked often. Look at how people manage their coupon collections and you will find that the complexity of some systems is as mind-boggling as Yu-Gi-Oh. Which is why there are coupon organizers for sale (do they offer coupons for coupon organizers?).

The value doesn't have to be monetary, however; it can also be informational or social. For example, a classified ad for a plumber whose services you know you'll need when you move in two months is more likely to be saved than an ad for a wedding dress you see a week after the event.

2. It needs to be easy to bookmark.

The problem with advertising on the web is that while the digital medium itself provides almost unlimited mechanisms for archiving, manipulating and retrieving the information, most online ads have all the fleeting properties of a TV commercial.

Let's look at other media.


BOOKMARKING OFFLINE

Print ads
are bookmarked more than any other type in part because print in general is easy to archive. You open a newspaper, see an ad you like, and you can either put the entire issue away, tear the page out, or cut out one particular ad. Print is also easy to annotate -- you just write on it.

Magazine ads are bookmarked too, although often for a different reason -- they are cheap and pretty dorm room decorations.



Magazine ads are bookmarked and used as wall decorations. See annotations to the original image on Flickr.


Billboards and TV ads
are usually bookmarked through a secondary medium: billboards are photographed, TV commercials are DVRed. Some are saved for their social value (look what a cool billboard I have found); other purposes might have nothing to do with the ad itself and are just part of the scenery. (Billboards can also be bookmarked with cell-phones if they sport an advanced bar code.)


Some outdoor ads are designed to be bookmarked.

Other offline media are even harder to bookmark. External devices have been invented for bookmarking radio songs (and many have flopped); you don't hear a lot about people bookmarking radio ads. Locations can be bookmarked through some kind of mechanism that involves a cell phone, such as mobile post-its by Siemens.

Generally, the more bookmarking options for content a particular medium provides, the easier it is to save advertising messages. Not so online.


THE WEB

Historically, the web medium has offered multiple ways of easy content archival, from copy/pasting to complex social bookmarking tools. Online ads, however, are not trivial to bookmark at all. Not only are they largely impossible to store for any extended period of time, but they are also difficult to go back to within the same user session. In 2003, Jakob Nielsen wrote:

Many a time we've been working on a site and noticed an interesting, relevant advertisement. This typically happens in the dead time between clicking a link to follow some item in depth and getting a refreshed page. So, we make a mental note to return and follow up on the ad. Oops, we can't. When we go back, there is a different advertisement, breaking one of the oldest principles of interaction design: stability.

Technically, there are ways to save an online ad. You can make a screenshot of the entire page and then cut out the relevant parts, or you can save the page on your hard drive, but I haven't met many people collecting online ads this way so that they can reference their sales message at a later date.

How to save an individual ad depends on the ad's type and your tech savvy.

Sites that compile online coupons usually offer some way to save and group them within the site itself. These coupons are also designed to be be printed out. I don't think I've ever seen a coupon-type ad on a third-party site that could be clipped from the site itself.

Image ads can be saved as regular images but will lose any link information, and the context they provide is often insufficient for the ad to be used effectively at a later date.

Flash ads, including video, can be downloaded using browser plug-ins with the link information retained, but these tools are not widespread.

Text link units are not really ads but rather pointers to ads.




Finally, text ads can be archived, arranged and retrieved with third-party tools such as del.icio.us. This method presents a different problem -- that of click fraud. Someone can easily collect a dozen of links from AdSense ads on this site and click AdLab (and perhaps the advertisers) out of this particular business. Also, after the links expire, the bookmarks will not be pointing anywhere because the ads are not archived.


WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

Advertisers could equip their ad units with a clipping mechanism -- a small scissor icon that, when clicked, would produce a printer-friendly stand-alone version of the ad with extended information for future reference.

Online ad networks could offer a repository of all offers they serve and a link that says "view more offers from this vendor" or "view similar offers".

An ad repository could be offered by ad filtering services such as AdBlock Plus, which may work out well for all parties. (See? Ad filters may turn out to be a good thing.)

... to be continued

Apple Eyeing Virtual Store?



Is Apple prepping a 3D shopping interface? A Second Life resident thinks it might (via Brand Flakes) if the new patent is any indication. The patent was filed in September 2006 and published a couple of weeks ago. (Follow a lengthier discussion.)

There have been a couple of fan-made Apple stores in Second Life before: see this set of Flickr pictures of one such store and a video of another one below.





This is me in a bootleg Apple store in Second Life in early 2006. The store was selling iPod and iPod shuffle replicas but was eventually shut down. There, you could also pick-up a black outfit and a green "cardboard" background and walk around looking like an iPod commercial.

iPhone App: Music Synchronized With Gait



"synchstep (now for the iPhone & iPod Touch) plays songs from your music library that match your pace. Every step you take lands in-time with a drum hit, a bass pluck, a piano chord."

Somewhere, an ad mind is thinking: "Great! Now we can play an ad variation that corresponds to the natural rhythm. Gait-optimization."

Letters to the Editor

The letters from readers and PR people (who might also be readers) that have accumulated over the past couple of weeks:

This week's winner is this letter from Paul: "have a lage [sic] roof it measures 250 sq mtrs at our office and wondered if you were interested in looking at the prospect of using it for advertising? Google map it de74 2 dh its on the East midlands approach flight path." [ed.: If you are interested in a roof, drop me a line and I'll put you guys in touch.]




Parmesh Shahani, a good friend with whom we worked together at Convergence Cultures, just got his new book out. It's titled Gay Bombay, and if it's anything like his grad thesis, it's brilliant mixture of astute cultural analysis interwoven with breath-taking personal stories.


Andy Fletcher on what's wrong with ad agencies: "I believe there are just three things wrong with being an agency today: 1) How we are selected, 2) what we are asked to do, and 3) how we are compensated. Other than that, sheer perfection."

Another idea marketplace.

Lot's of fancy display ads at EyeBlaster's Creative Zone, "a comprehensive gallery of digital ads as they appeared on the Web."

"TRA brings precise measurement of advertising effectiveness by matching the ads people actually receive with the products those same people actually buy. For the first time, advertisers now have a way to find out precisely what they are receiving for their advertising spend, and can shift to better-producing media to lift ROI."

Saatchi's Kevin "Lovermarks" Roberts talks about digital and other stuff: "More than 70% of purchase decisions are made in store. Most stores are a nightmarish experience, devoid of mystery, sensuality and intimacy. They are set up by product category rather than consumer experience, with limited screen properties." Right on.

We7 offers 500,000 ad-supported streaming music tracks from Sony BMG.

Next PSFK conference will be on July 17 2008 at Fort Mason in San Francisco.