Amazon Gets into the Tablet Biz with Kindle Fire

Last week, I succumbed to temptation and bought an iPad. Now, I’m wondering if I made a mistake because Amazon’s new Kindle Fire is looking mighty good to me.

Kindle Fire is just one of four new Kindle-based products Amazon is launching today. On the lower end, there’s a new lighter, smaller, Kindle. Finally, there’s a Kindle Touch (for all those people like me who keep trying to scroll through Kindle ebooks by touching the pages) and a Kindle Touch 3G.

The big news is the Kindle Fire, a highly media-focused tablet which comes with a very reasonable price tag — only $199. For that price you get full Kindle ebook functionality with the addition of video, music and full color web browsing.

Internet Ad Revenues Reach New Heights

Internet ad revenues are climbing, which must mean people are buying. (Or at least, I hope so.) According to new numbers from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, ad revenues hit $14.9 billion in the first half of this year. That’s a growth rate of 23.2%.

The second quarter of 2011 was record breaking, with a reported $7.7 billion over $6.2 billion from the same time last year.

Small Screen, Big Payoff

Although growth was good in all segments, video took top honors with growth equal to 42.1% over last year. Video is slowly becoming a viable option for advertisers of all sizes since video hosts such as YouTube have made it easier to do. You also have to look at the sheer number of videos that are popping up online. Now advertisers can choose from a wide variety of short form videos or hook their wagon to full-length TV shows and movies.

Facebook: This Time it’s Political

Facebook is about to tighten their ties to Washington D.C. with the formation of a new political action committee.

Facebook sent out this quote by e-mail:

“FB PAC will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

Facebook has been strengthening their political position for awhile now, but they’re still far behind Google and Microsoft who have spent upwards of $3 million on lobbying to Facebook’s half million.

It’s an understandable move, especially since their re-design comes complete with a boatload of new privacy issues. They’re going to need some clout as lawmakers struggle to keep up with the changes in technology.

About.com Identifies the Three Mindsets of Search

Why do people search online? According to a survey commissioned by About.com, they do it for one of three reasons. They want answers, they want to be educated or they want to be inspired.

Answer Me, is all about finding a quick solution to a problem or that little detail that’s niggling at your brain. “How do I get a broken light bulb out of the socket” to “who is that actor I just saw on TV?” Quick, doesn’t always equal urgent, but the searcher still doesn’t want to spend a lot of time on this. About says marketers can capitalize on these types of searches by presenting ads with clear benefits. “Smudge-proof” mascara, “dinner in under 10 minutes” or an exercise DVD that will help you “lose 10 pounds in 10 days.”

There Are Too Many Apps For That

This past weekend, I gave into temptation and bought myself an iPad2. I wasn’t as thrilled as I thought I’d be but that’s another story. This story is about apps, because one of the first things I did, when I took it out of the box, is look for apps to load.

I started with the ones I use most on my iPhone, like Skype, eBay and GetGlue. I also use a lot of shopping apps, but those didn’t make sense. I won’t be taking my iPad to the grocery store, but I do carry and use my iPhone there. Then I remembered the advice I’m always giving in this column — iPad apps shouldn’t simply be resized versions of iPhone apps or web pages, they should encompass the whole iPad experience. And therein lies the problem.

Google+ Business Profiles Are On the Way

Marketers, start your Google+ engines! Speaking at Ad Age’s Digital West conference last week, Google’s Christian Oestlien, said it’s “close to unveiling Google+ business profiles.”

Right now, only Ford and General Motors have official profiles, but since Google+ opened the gates to everyone and anyone, a few “unofficial” profiles have popped up for brands such as Snapple and Taco Bell. Most of these branded pages are blank which leads me to believe people are place holding in hopes of a coup. It’s not going to happen, though, because there’s no limit to how many times the same name can be used.

If a company wants to complain about misuse of their logo, Google+ will listen and possibly shut down the offending profile, but it doeesn’t sound like verification will be a priority at all.

Bing Launches Daily Deal Aggregator

Daily deal sites are out of control. They’re like. . . well, you know. . . everybody’s got one. Now Bing has one, but instead of running their own deals, they’re aggregating the ones that are already out there.

In theory, it’s a good concept. In practice, I’d say they have a little work to do.

First off, the PR on the site says it’s all about daily deals, a phrase that has come to take on a certain meaning. A daily deal is one of those short-term, limited quantity, discounts usually for some kind of food or service. But the top line on Bing’s very graphically-oriented deal site is dedicated to retail items with a “find the best price” engine attached to each. That’s not a daily deal. That’s not even necessarily a deal!