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New York Times Tests Spark Stories: Matching Ads with Stories Trending on Twitter

new york timesDigital subscriptions and online advertising haven’t turned into the gold mine newspapers were hoping for when they made the transition from print to screen. But when you look at the history of the newspaper industry in this country, digital is relatively new, so they’re still working out the kinks.

What they need are some fresh ideas and the New York Times has that covered.  Michael Zimbalist, head of the NYT’s research and development department, talked to Beet.TV about a new concept in ad targeting. It’s called “Sparking Stories” and it ties ads together with articles that are trending on Twitter.

Zimbalist says his team has learned a lot about demographics and the lifespan of a news article by watching it move through the Twittersphere.

Tensions Rise as ICANN Prepares to Award Generic Top Level Domains

49702_3823The domain name game is about to change and a lot of people are very unhappy — with good reason.

ICANN, the governing body for all domain names, is about to award 2,000 generic, top-level domain names to the person who got their application in before anyone else. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the core of it.

The domains are mostly generic words such as (dot) insurance, (dot) church, (dot) duck. The list also includes brand specific names such as (dot) Chevrolet and (dot) Comcast. Then, there are names that could be associated with a brand such as (dot) coach or (dot) discover.

Now, imagine what happens if Progressive Insurance succeeds in their bid to win (dot) insurance. That means that they gain control over every domain branching off that top level; www.progressive.insurance, allstate.insurance, statefarm.insurance, etc.

New ExactTarget Report Reminds Marketers, You Are Not Average

SFF20-coverI often forget that I know things the average person doesn’t. I don’t mean that to sound snobby. What I mean is that when you spend your whole day navigating the internet, posting to blogs and social media, and responding to email, you forget that some people don’t go on the internet at all. (Horrors!)

ExactTarget just released a fascinating new chapter in their Subscribers, Fans and Followers series. It’s called “Marketers From Mars.” And before they got me with the research, they hooked me with the wonderful, 1950’s space race graphics that they used throughout the pages.

The report contends that the modern marketer is like the space explorers of the past. We’re left our connected world behind in favor of technologically advanced devices and web tools. We’re Tweeting and Instagramming photos while much of the world is still talking on the phone and sifting through old snapshots they had processed at the Fotomat ten years ago.

Digital Marketing Budgets On the Rise With Content Marketing Leading the Way

Before we get started I have a quick questions which probably has a not so quick answer. Here it goes. Who thinks that content marketing is a good term to be throwing around in marketing circles? It sure gets a lot of play but it seems to be such a wide area and catch all phrase. What does it actually mean? Feel free to drop an opinion in the comments.

Ok, well thanks for entertaining that thought. Now, no matter how we define it or parts of it, marketers are still very much buying into the concept of digital. It would be silly not to in most cases. In fact, according to Econsultancy’s and Responsys’ Marketing Budgets 2013 report the digital space continues to get more and more budget attention. Note that these numbers come from the perspective of the company and not the agency side of the equation.

Companies and Digital Budgets 2013

Taking Google’s New Image Search for a Test Drive

Last week, Google announced that they were going to make changes to their image search tool. They said it was going to be faster, more beautiful and more intuitive. Guess what – they were right.

Come along while I take Google’s new image search for a test drive.

Keyword: The Birds

At first, image search looks just like it did before the switch. But once you click on a photo, everything changes.

The chosen photo used to load in an iframe on top of the source page. This was cumbersome and didn’t always function as it was supposed to. Now, the rows split apart and the chosen photo appears in a wide, black bar that fills three-quarters of the screen.

Tumblr’s New Posting Tool Puts the Emphasis on Fast and Photos

tumblr front pageTumblr may be a blogging platform but you wouldn’t know it from their front page. I don’t know if it was their intention all along but, the free blog site has become known for it emphasis on graphics over text.

Because of this, it attracts an artistic crowd. Fashion, comics, art, architecture, design – they all flourish here. As does visual humor and celeb sites with miles and miles of both legit and manipulated photos.

These numbers tell the story:

tumblr numbers

Yes, it’s a busy place. But for everything they’ve done right, their posting blank has been wrong for so very long. It was long and required too many steps. Photo handling was atrocious, which is ironic given the graphic nature of the site.

Q&A Site Quora Launches Free Blog Platform

Last week, LinkedIn announced they were shutting down their Q&A section which prompted me to ask the question “are we over the Q&A concept?” Now here comes Quora with a new twist – Blogs on Quora. I’m not sure if that helps or hurts my argument but let’s take a closer look.

The set-up is ultra simple. Name your blog, choose one of two plain themes, add a logo and you’re live. Now all you have to do is post. To test the system, I set one up to go along with my TV blog: http://tvoftheabsurd.quora.com/

quora blogThe text editor has minimal options and there doesn’t seem to be a way to wrap the text around the photos. Maybe I’m missing something. As simple as it appears, I’m still confused.