Sunday, August 26, 2007

advertising in social networks

see link, which should be automatically placed, i havent used scribefire for awhile (or posted at all in awhile) and pretty much forgot how it works.

advertising in social networks is a very interesting problem to me. as i see it the two goals are fundamentally opposed; users want to do whatever it is kids do on the facebook these days (presumably, post pictures of themselves drunk and write funny captions), specifically without being advertised to. the site wants to make money, so its sells advertising space. advertisers want to tap into this new marketing space which so often captures otherwise hard to reach demographics.

banner ads are all well and good, but they've been around for so long they've got to be pretty much completely ineffective by now. this leads marketers to try more novel approaches, like creating actual sites for whatever they're selling and trying to friend people, etc.

but users backlash against this. they perceive it as an infiltration into their otherwise pure online social world. and so they deface the site. its like the SL guys who blew up nike's building, or whatever that was.

both the site and the companies advertising on it are playing a dangerous game. in this case, more people probably found negative press on wal-mart than positive; i doubt they've earned any more shoppers through this venture. at the same time, users are mad at facebook, and it doesnt take much to get fickle user-bases to switch over to a new medium.

my advise to the wal-marts of the world; play your cards very carefully in this new game. err on the side of caution... when the kids in the facebook decide they need a new... whatever (what does wal-mart sell anyway.. everything right?), they'll decide where they want to go get it from. if they want to look at hilarious pictures from last weekends crazy party at Fred's place when his parents were out of town...they're going to get pissed at you if you interrupt that.

as for facebook, be careful not to sell out your user base too much, or they'll be gone before you know it.

i've even had thoughts of starting up a social networking site specifically designed not to have any ads... but there's obviously no money in that. still, an open source ad-free social networking site would probably catch on pretty quick.

link to what the hell i'm talking about

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Monday, August 6, 2007


if you're reading this there's a good chance you either know my friend Adrian personally, or you've come across my blog through his. In either case, congratulations are in order; Adrian recently proposed to his girlfriend Ruth, and she said yes! these two crazy (no really, crazy) kids will be getting hitched next summer, as i understand it. in whatever capacity you may no him/her/them, drop 'em a line of congrats.

makes me feel pretty old. but it will be one hell of a party. congrats Ruth and Adrian!

Thursday, August 2, 2007


on advertising in SL... dont bother, unless you can create value (and how you're going to do that for the average consumer in SL is beyond... no fuck that you arent going t0), theres not point in trying to advertise. people dont just go places to be advertised at. well, except times square.

second, i read somewhere (probably /.) that google's shown a ad-based phone to retailers. its just a prototype but its definitely interesting. free phone, free text messaging, etc etc, except presumably you have to listen to some ad before you can make your call. will people go for this?

probably, free is often too cheap to give up. the real question is how easy it will be to circumnavigate the ads while still getting the free service. once you can hack the thing up, google goes out of the phone business.

i'm not sure they belong there to begin with. yes, they've always been a targeted ad company (whether or not you were aware of it), but where else are they going to expand, and how much of this are we ok with? would you wear free t-shirts that are billboards for some cheesy product? i mean, some people pay a lot of money to do that right now?

its an interesting move and we'll see what comes of it. they may have some success in the poor sector; i dont think middle-upper class people will be willing to put up with ads in their phones. on the other hand, phones are often the one status symbol some lower-class people can afford (just ride on any given bus for proof of this) so they may not go for it either.

and how do you target the ads? i can see this as a great way to sell condoms (whenever you call your girlfriend, trojan gets a 10 sec blurb on safe-sex), but otherwise....

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

more than a month later....

the reason i havent posted in over a month is frankly there was too much stuff i felt like i could post on. i got overwhelmed, though no one was reading this stuff anyway, and gave up for awhile. this is still pretty much true. however after having been accused of writing nonsense (not really), i feel like i should update again. adrian wants a post on the recent SL "Terrorism".

can terrorists use SL to train? sure they can, for certain values of train. they arent going to hone their aim with real ak47's in there. but they can go over procedure and protocol as much as they want to, and probably get some practice flying stuff. they could build a mock white house, bomb the shit out of it, and repeat as many times as they wanted to.

"zomg!!! shut down SL NOW!!!11!1" right? please. we can't limit our own tools just because they have the potential to be abused. and SL is a tremendous tool for various reasons that i'm not going into (just wiki it).

"ok!! lets throw lots of taxpayer dollars into government programs designed to infiltrate virtual terrorist cells so we can get those bastards!!!" eh. having some presence in virtual worlds may be valuable. but i'm not convinced. there's a ton of problems here and i only feel like going into a few of them. how do you determine who's actually a terrorist and who's using the whole not-reality of this medium to just play at one (there's a huge difference there, and the slippery slope applies too. maybe we should go after everyone who plays a terrorist in CS as well?). tracking down the people behind the avatars would also be a nightmare, even if they were in the states (just ask RIAA). finally, blowing up the ABC building in SL is not terrorism; it was probably some guy who loves all the geeky things about SL and doesnt appreciate it being hijacked by marketers trying to sell him stuff. i mean, i kinda feel like blowing up a virtual whitehouse right now, with all the bullshit gonzo's spewing out etc. (data mine that, suckers!).

so call me underwhelmed on this one, i really just don't care. they could make a facebook group. "i joined al'qaida and all i got was this crappy facebook group". i still wouldnt care. cause that group is gonna be populated mostly be retarded highschool kids going through the whole "stick it to the man" phase.

other thoughts:
today outside my office some people were marching for affordable housing. i mentioned i wouldnt mind if my rent was lower, and my boss said that the way to acheive that would be to get rid of affordable housing and let the free market do its thing. with a higher supply of market-rate housing my rent would go down (this is most likely true, there are people in my complex paying $800 a month for glorious 3BR's, just cause they've been there since 1930).

should we let the free market do its thing and determine value? why should i pay more rent just so some old lady doesnt have to? does her husband serving in WWII affect that? should it?

the next place to go with this is medicine of course. i'm really not sure about it. i believe the free market works and is a good way of doing things. but it also feels so heartless at times, and i'm not sure how to reconcile that.

rugby is awesome. the rugby world cup is coming up, and i'm psyched.

uh.. i bought a ps3 and enjoy it so far. i feel like i outgrew nintendo a decade ago and havent felt the urge to go back since then. the Wii just seems too much like novelty to me. Wii sports is fun for 15 mins, then you're done.

Apple's iPhone commercials are starting to bother me (people who know me in person will not find this surprising). the first batch i saw just demo'd the features (this is the one like "say you're watching pirates of the carribean and you decide you want calamari hey ok lets look up seafood oh theres the closest". a paraphrase, of course.) but now they're like "never before has an ipod been able to do this" while it shows the guy flipping through his fucking music library or playing a video. really?!? than wtf was the video ipod doing all these years??
but thats not as bad as the most recent offender in the ads-spreading-ignorance campaign. Time Warner Cable, who i'm pretty much forced to use, has one that makes fun of verizon's latest campaign about fiber optics. TWC claims to have been "using fiber for decades, get with the program!". and its true, TWC has been using fiber optics for probably that long. of course, that has nothing to do with what verizon is advertising. TWC is talking about the internet backbone, the absurdly high-speed "tubes" that handle large amounts of traffic. verizon's talking about the "last mile" (wiki it), the part that runs off those larger lines and into your house. does TWC offer fiber optics for the last mile? no. is verizon, by doing so, offering you faster speeds? yes.

i hate deceptive advertising, particularly in this arena.

ha, i should clearly read full aritcles before commenting on them. the ABC building in SL went down due to a "computer error" rather than a bomb. but should someone bomb it, i still maintain its more likely to be some dweeb making a statement than a "terrorist". thats my take on the Second Life Liberation Army, anyway