Canada Uses Google Maps to Enhance Tourism Ads

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) is hoping to encourage new visitors with a unique new display ad that puts the consumer right in the middle of a famous city.

When you click on the ad, you’re taken through a Google Maps display and down into the street view. From there, still navigating inside the ad box, potential tourists can spin the camera 360 degrees while sampling close-ups of shops and other attractions.

After a few seconds, an overlay appears over the street view with a link for more information. In this case it invites you to Explore More of Canada with a Plan Your Trip clickable banner. From there, you go on to a full Canadian tourism website which features videos and slide shows highlighting the features of the city.

Will New Tax Laws End Amazon’s Affiliate Program?

On Tax Day (ironically, or maybe intentionally), Amazon will sever all ties with affiliates in the great state of Illinois, including (also ironically) film critic Roger Ebert.

Back in January, Ebert took some flack from Twitter followers who didn’t think it was right that he Tweet Amazon links. The critic explained in an interview with ClickZ that the small amount of income he made from the links went to keeping his website free for all to read and I agreed. A few ads and a few clicks is a small price to pay in order to keep reading articles such as his half-star review of Battle: Los Angeles. Now, we find the fight was for naught, thanks to a new law signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

QR Codes: Bridging the Gap Between Offline and Online

In a recent article called “Why QR Codes Will Go Mainstream,” Mashable referred to these quizzical little boxes as “the shortest distance between curiosity and information retrieval.” Very poetic.

The author of the piece suggests that QR codes are likely to become the commonplace connector between all things offline and online. He points out the fact that the code is open-source and freely available for use, that adding it to a magazine page doesn’t cost extra and that the rise in smartphone usage makes them accessible to more people every day.

All of this is true, but there’s one big downside to QR codes that I think will keep them from becoming mainstream; they don’t mean anything when you look at them. They’re cool and for folks who love puzzles, they’re enticing, but for the average person flipping through a magazine, they’re an out of focus eye chart.

The State of the News Media: It’s Not as Bad as You Might Think

As this past week has shown us, news is still an integral part of life on this planet. As the drama in Japan unfolded, CNN’s viewership jumped up 172% and Fox news saw a 47% increase in viewers. At the same time, Twitter and Facebook exploded with information from both traditional news sources and the man on the street. We may toss out the Wednesday LA Times unread but when a major event happens, we all turn to the news for information and answers.

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism has an extensive report called State of the Media 2011. Going in to it, you may think it will be all gloom and doom, but there are bright spots and hope for the future, if the media will simply learn to embrace change.

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery: Advertising That Sneaks Up on You

Imagine yourself wandering along through the internet jungle, minding your own business, checking out the virtual flora and fauna and wham — you discover a gem hidden amongst all the clutter.

Exciting, isn’t it? StumbleUpon thinks so and that’s why they’re about to release their latest advertising arena which they call Paid Discovery. Now, when you think about it, Paid Discovery is kind of an oxymoron. The word “discovery” implies that you found it accidentally and yet “paid” implies that someone put it there on purpose. Still, that’s the concept behind the new service that could be quite advantageous for creative marketers.

San Fran SMB’s Fight to Keep Yellow Pages

There was a day where the Yellow Pages phone directory had a coveted spot in every home and phone booth. These days, however, a huge number of phone directories go straight from the doorstep to the trashcan.

The Product Stewardship Institute estimates that phone books create 660,000 tons of waste per year and because they’re printed on low-grade paper, recycling isn’t easy. That’s why San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has proposed a bill to stop the unsolicited drop off of these books. He’s suggesting that instead of an opt-out program, Yellow Pages delivery would be an opt-in program and that’s a big difference.

Advertisers and Agencies Differ on Digital Spending

Digital advertising is an important part of any company’s business, but according to a new report from Econsultancy and SAS, agencies and their clients have very different views on how that money should be spent.

Looking at this chart from eMarketer, we can see that 75% of agencies thought their clients should spend more money on mobile marketing but only 62% of advertisers agreed.

On the flip side, advertisers wanted to increase their spending on search, display and email marketing. Not only did their agencies not agree, but they went so far as to say that display dollars should be kept the same or decreased.

The biggest gap is in the area of the company website. 61% of advertisers think they need to spend more while only 39% of agencies agreed.