Google Lets Web Surfers ‘Mute This Ad’

Recently, I read a productivity article that said that control is an illusion. We think we have control over parts of our day, but the truth is, the universe will do as it wants and all we can do is hang on for the ride.

Depressing, but kind of freeing, don’t you think?

I thought about that article when I read Google’s blog post on their new “Mute This Ad” option.

The concept is pretty simple. A web surfer comes across a Google Display Network ad that they don’t like. They click the X in the corner and voila, the ad is “muted.” Going forward, Google will try its hardest not to serve that ad to that person ever again.

The Rise of Couch Commerce (Infographic)

Online sales by way of a tablet has been dubbed Couch Commerce, but could as easily be called Bed Commerce since nearly equal numbers of people do it from either location. Then again, I suppose people could easily misconstrue “Bed Commerce” so it’s probably best that we stick with the couch.

The furniture in this equation is important because it represents a shift in how we shop online. There’s a psychological difference between sitting down at a desk and firing up the PC to shop, and sitting on the couch shopping while you watch TV in the evening. The size of the tablet and the touch screen makes it more engaging and since you’re sitting there watching a Storage Wars marathon anyway, there’s no need to rush. In other words, tablets turn shopping into entertainment and we humans do love to be entertained. (As evidenced by the fact that we’re watching Storage Wars.)

Twitter Gets Transparent, Detaling Law Enforcement and Takedown Requests

We’re all familiar with the Miranda, the legal warning given to everyone who runs a foul of the law. But it might be time to add a few lines to that warning, including, “anything you Tweet can and will be used against you.”

Twitter just released their first Transparency Report and it includes 849 data requests from law enforcement in the first half of this year. Twitter granted 63% of those requests and those numbers on are on the rise. Twitter says they received more government requests in the first half of 2012, than they received in all of 2011.

Netflix Breaks Own Record with 1 Billion Hours Viewed in June

In June, Netflix customers sat down to more than 1 billion hours of TV, movie and clip viewing on the former-mail-order-only service.

The announcement came via Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings’ Facebook page. Which seems odd to me, but then Hastings’ track record in regard to public speaking hasn’t been the best.

Netflix’s milestone is significant for several reasons.

1. It proves you can come back from the brink.

A little more than a year ago, Netflix was in deep trouble with subscribers not only jumping ship, they were actively campaigning to take their friends with them. Reed Hastings spoke too soon about anticipated changes to the system and then his quick turnaround on the subject made things worse. Now, here they are breaking records for viewership. Just shows you what you can get away with when you’re the best game in town.

Karmaloop Turns Twitter Hashtags into T-Shirts

Streetwear online shop Karmaloop has teamed up with Twitter on a clever, social media promotion. They’re asking fans on Twitter to create a hashtag worthy of being featured on a T-shirt. Anyone can submit a tag, then it’s up to the masses to choose their favorites.

Currently at the top of the pack: #MomentofTruth, #FreeNiro, and ironically #DontFollowTheHype.

The rules say you can submit a whole Tweet but there are only a few scattered through this week’s offerings, so apparently the majority of fans aren’t imaginative enough to come up with a whole sentence.

The contest was inspired by Karmaloop’s #TEES Collection, a line with #hashtags from youth culture icons like Clinton Sparks, Hopsin, Freeway, and Chris Webby. And I’ll be honest here and say, I have no idea who any of those people are.

Facebook Says Advertisers Need Patience, Then Pushes New Like Ad to TV

Brad Smallwood, head of measurement and insight at Facebook told a reporter for the Wall Street Journal that “it takes about a year to get the results of one campaign.”

That line appears as the final statement in a piece about how Facebook is trying to woo back GM who earlier this year pulled 10 million dollars worth of ads off the social network.

Let’s revisit that line again; “it takes about a year to get the results of one campaign.”  A year? As in 365 days worth of paying for ads to run on a very popular website but I shouldn’t expect to see any results until I’ve burned through the whole 10 million dollar budget?

Simon and Schuster Links Online and Offline with Book Cover QR Codes

Remember QR codes? We haven’t talked about them in awhile because. . . well. . . the only people that seem to care about them are the corporations who stick them on everything.

Publisher Simon & Schuster is one of those corporations. They’re putting QR codes on the back cover of their new  releases. Why? They figure people will scan them, visit their website, and maybe sign up for a newsletter which they’ll get by email.

Yeah, good luck with that.

S&S does get props for their attempts to mix offline and online readers. They have a number of excellent, book related mobile apps and according to PaidContent, 26% of their sales are now digital. Nice, but I still don’t see how the QR code fits into the mix.