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Archive for March, 2008

Youtube = <$20 million?

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Boggling at the claim that Youtube sold less than $20 million in video ads in ’07.

SXSW echoes

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Jeannine and Kevin took a bunch of great photos at the party that Blogads through with our friends at Deepfocus, Indiewire, IndieLense, NPR and PBS.

SXSW has posted the podcast from the Suxorz panel I organized and moderated.

Former Ad-tech chair Susan Bratton called it “the best panel” at SXSW in ’08. Thank you Susan.

But I disagree vigorously with Susan’s critique that the “lack of preparation is palpable” at SXSW and “poorly moderated sessions go on and on for more than an hour without a single, actionable insight delivered to the patient crowd.”

I loved this year’s gossip and black technology panels, both of which sparked spontaneous combustion between members of the audience and panelists. Actionable insights aren’t what SXSW is about for me… it’s connecting with people I love, a bunch of great experiences, glimpsing some new dimensions that don’t necessarily arise out of a pre-baked moderator agenda but out of the mood of the room. I thought the Lacy/Zuckerberg interview was fantastic at a meta-level… watching Sarah fall on her face and witnessing the crowd’s merciless twit-heckling was one of the most interesting social media experiences I’ve had in a long while. Ditto the Metrics panel.

What’s ahead?

by henrycopeland
Thursday, March 20th, 2008

A reporter quizzed me about what’s ahead for advertising in coming years. Here’s a summary of what I told him:

a) Shilling. Social media, p2p publishing, crowd-sourcing, blogs, comments, video, Netflix ratings, social networking… nearly everyone online is creating content in one form or another. As “audiences with audiences” become the norm and conventional one-to-many media is dwarfed, companies will increasingly seek to buy or co-opt individual spokespeople to carry their message covertly or overtly. The temptation to do this covertly is huge, since non-disclosed proselytizing has a bigger impact. But obviously this is horrible civics, and shilling rots the public discourse. Companies nudging the industry down this slipperly slope include Payperpost (recently renamed to hide their business model) and BzzAgent.

b) Pay-to-play. With online content doubling every 18 months (Google estimate), we’ll see the volume of information grow 100 fold in the next 10 years. If you think our infosphere is noisy now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. To penetrate the chaos, more companies will pay carefully targetted consumers to get their attention. Here’s $500 to test drive this car. Here’s 20 cents to listen to this song. It’s the model folks use to market time-shares, but with lots more algorythms and subtlety built in.

c) Advertainment. We’ll see more advertiser-authored fictions that seek to entertain even as they deliver a kernel of a commercial message. This means ARGs like AudiA3 and Beta7, or videos like Tea Partay and Subservient Chicken, or more serious stuff like BMW films.

d) Networked advertising. Advertising will become network-based as opposed to channel or individual based. Background: advertising was previously conceived and delivered either per channel (for example via a particular publication or TV show) or per individual (ie through direct mail or micro-targetted online ads.) The emergence of millions of vibrant and interlocking social networks — everything from Facebook to DailyKos to PerezHilton to Twitter to Boingboing to WorldofWarcraft — means that marketers can aspire to connect with people as social beings. Why is this revolutionary? Many purchases are made socially: you decide what car to buy based on what friends are saying; you pick your t-shirt based on what certain friends are wearing. I’m not sure how that translates for your article, but it’s the Big Picture. The ad for Secret Lives of Women, now running on PerezHilton, is a stab in this direction — an advertiser’s attempt to connect with a particular very densely networked community of 22-30 year-old-women in exactly the community and style they already inhabit on a daily basis.

e) You build it, you buy it. We’ll see more companies work with the reader/audience/consumer to build a brand or product. The premiere example of this is threadless.com; the threadless community creates t-shirt designs, votes on t-shirt designs and then buys those same t-shirts. Blogads.com’s logo was created by our users and voted on by our users in 2005. Though at the time I hated the design, today its a huge hit and people beg for our t-shirts. Think Move-on’s Obamain30seconds. Or in a stretch, think Amazon Kindle, in which Amazon has consolidated all the market intel it has gathered peddling other people’s products to build its own sellout gadget. People are more excited about buying things they’ve built AND stuff they’ve built usually fits their needs far more powerfully. The marketing and the manufacturing become a continuum.

An old friend

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

One of Blogads’ biggest supporters just forwarded a link to an article I wrote in 1993 about an entrepreneur named Paul Panitz. It brings back lots of great memories. Here’s the lede:

Asked about his black Converse All Stars, Paul Panitz, a 46-year-old millionaire, volunteers that they cost $19 five years ago. Later, he recalls buying an office chair for $50 at a 1981 auction. And on a given afternoon, he may be found in a copy shop not far from the Danube River, reminding employees that a copy machine uses six times less toner when operated with its lid closed.

I’ll write more later about Paul.

Blog bubble

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Michael Arrington surveys the VC and angel craze for investing in blogs and blog networks:

In short, I believe the money is being, for the most part, wasted. If a VC hands you a check, their intention is not to hang around for 20 years while you build a nice lifestyle business for yourself. What they want to see is an exit, preferably a 10x or higher exit, within 3-4 years. But something tells me that few of these networks are going to be able to grow quite as easily as they think and reach those liquidity events.

Amen brother.

$2 trillion bailout?

by henrycopeland
Monday, March 17th, 2008

Try this thought experiment and see if your head (or wallet) explodes:

Hedge funds use borrowed money to finance their nearly $2 trillion in assets. With no way to value those securities and with banks refusing to lend against anything but gold and treasuries, many of those hedge funds will soon be forced to liquidate. The Fed can’t let that happen, so it volunteers to take all those securities as collatoral.

The taxpayer ends up owning $100 million worth of ugly securities that it has effectively “bought” for $2 trillion.

And we thought the Savings and Loan crisis of the late 80s, in which taxpayers ate a $90 billion loss, was ugly.

No wonder gold is at $1000 an ounce. It’s looking like the only way out of this mess is 15% annual inflation for 5 years.

Brilliant ad

by henrycopeland
Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Whew, now we’re getting chemo!

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

In a big red box right now on CNNFN.com: “Dow soars 417, biggest point rise in nearly 6 years, as investors cheer Fed’s move to pump $200B into the banking system.”

It’s amazing to me that this Fed move comes as a relief to anyone. This reminds me of some kind of sad joke that would go like this:

Patient goes in to the doctor’s office thinking he’s got a nasty cold. Doctor diagnoses cancer, prescribes chemotherapy. Patient goes home and tells his wife, “Good news honey! My doctor’s given me really strong medicine for my cold.”

Maybe all this buying is short-covering? Or maybe the down market has had far more rotten rumors built into it than we’d all guessed?

Or maybe the market will go down 10% in the coming month.

Sarah Lacy stuck in her bubble

by henrycopeland
Monday, March 10th, 2008

Blogads intro video

by henrycopeland
Monday, March 10th, 2008

With lots of weird options and allies, we’ve had trouble explaining our functionality in under 4 minutes. I’d welcome your thoughts on how to improve this video. Once we’ve got it polished, we’ll feature more prominently on the site.

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