If you are nostalgic for the dot com Super Bowl ads circa 2000, you might want to check out the SuperDotComAds from Meebo, Technorati, and others on YouTube.
Where will I be this weekend instead of watching the Super Bowl? With all of the other geeks at RecentChangesCamp, of course! I just Tivo the game to watch the commercials anyway.
RecentChangesCamp is free, and it runs from Friday morning through Sunday afternoon in Portland. If you are in the area, you should check it out. Proposed topics include wikis, collaboration, identity / OpenID, and more!
Flickr has found an interesting way to leverage the data from their community of users. When pictures are uploaded to Flickr, meta-data about the camera used to take the pictures is uploaded along with the the photographs. Flickr is now providing this information for anyone to view, while using it to drive traffic to Yahoo shopping (as most of you know, Yahoo owns Flickr).
I like their innovative approach to reusing the data; however, Yahoo is not as good at Google about distinguishing between content and advertising.
For example, the main part of the camera page prominently displayed at the top shows a “Featured Model” camera, which is actually an advertisement. In tiny light gray letters under the feature, you’ll find this small disclaimer: “Featured Model is a sponsored placement.” The idea is really cool, but credibility with users would be increased if Flickr / Yahoo flipped the approach to feature the content (which cameras are really being used) while still providing clearly delineated advertising from sponsors.
Google’s plans to digitize libraries of books has come under fire from publishers eager to protect copyrights; however, publishers participating in Google’s Book Search Partner Program are seeing a significant benefit. According to Reuters, publishers participating in Google’s book search and Amazon’s Search Inside programs are benefiting from additional sales:
“Google Book Search has helped us turn searchers into consumers,” said Colleen Scollans, the director of online sales for Oxford University Press.
She declined to provide specific figures, but said that sales growth has been “significant”. Scollans estimated that 1 million customers have viewed 12,000 Oxford titles using the Google program.
Specialty publisher Springer Science + Business reported sales growth of its backlist catalog using Google Book Search, with 99 percent of the 30,000 titles it has in the program getting viewed, including many published before 1992.
“We suspect that Google really helps us sell more books,” said Kim Zwollo, Springer’s global director of special licensing, declining to provide specific figures because the company is privately owned.
“Our experience has been that the revenue generated from Google has been pretty modest, whereas the Amazon program has generated more book sales,” Penguin Chief Executive John Makinson told Reuters at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week. (Quotes from Reuters)
These examples highlight the importance of open marketing that lets people see some of the content prior to buying. In many cases, showing some of the book can generate interest in a book that would not have otherwise caught someone’s eye. It also gives people the opportunity to see what they are buying, mirroring the brick and mortar book buying experience of leafing through a book. Hopefully, this trend will continue, thus giving buyers more information about potential purchases leading the way for Google and others to find similar opportunities to add value outside of the book market … who knows what Google might come up with next.
TechMeme just released their new sponsorship model, and their approach is bit different from what we have been seeing on most sites. The typical sponsorship model involves either Google-style AdSense ads or TechCrunch-style sponsorship logos. Both of these are great models; however, I think that the TechMeme model is the best possible model for TechMeme, and it would also work well on other sites.
For anyone not already familiar with TechMeme, it “is an entirely automated web service that looks at what bloggers are talking about, and linking to, and decides what is news based on that analysis.” (Quote from TechCrunch). The sponsors have a place on the sidebar (clearly labeled as the sponsorship section) where the sponsoring company’s most recent blog entry is displayed along with their logo. In other words, to refresh their ad on TechMeme, the company simply needs to add a blog entry, and the new link will propagate to TechMeme via an RSS feed.
I love this model. I almost never click on banner ads or sponsorship logos; however, if I see an interesting blog entry from one of the TechMeme sponsors, I would certainly click on it. I suspect that this model will drive more people to click through the ad, thus driving more traffic from TechMeme to the sponsor than a traditional ad might be expected to generate. The end result is that these type of ads will have more value for the sponsoring companies and TechMeme just might be able to charge more for these ads in comparison to a traditional ad.
Jeff Jarvis, an expert in online advertising, says:
“I like it. It’s relevant; it’s human and not automated; it’s appropriate to the form. And it pays. … I think this works and I’ll be eager to hear the sponsors’ experience. I’d love to have a such a unit here.” (Quote from Buzz Machine).
I will be curious to see how others follow this example or modify it to create similar ads on other sites.
YouTube looks like it is finding a way to generate revenue from their large user base:
Beginning Tuesday, YouTube will roll out its first Brand Channel, where Warner Bros. Records will promote Paris Hilton’s debut album, “Paris.”
Brand Channels are much like the channels created for all YouTube users who upload their homemade videos to the site, though the purpose of a Brand Channel is to sell a product rather than to simply promote one’s ability to attract an audience for their work.
YouTube will help drive traffic to the Brand Channels it sells, and the channels might have sponsors, as is the case with the Paris Hilton Channel, sponsored by Fox’s “Prison Break.” (Quote from Washington Post)
Marshall Kirkpatrick from TechCrunch weighs in to say:
YouTube reportedly pays more than $1 million each month in bandwidth costs and some people have been concerned that it would be a challenge to turn its huge traffic into money. Thus Paris Hilton to the rescue. (Quote from TechCrunch)
Overall, I think that this is an unobtrusive way to generate revenue without jeopardizing the user experience. With any luck, YouTube can make enough money off of this effort (and similar efforts) to pay for the increasing bandwidth costs that come with being a popular video site.
It took a few minutes to adjust, but so far I like the new del.icio.us home page. The “HOT NOW” section distracted me from blogging with a bit of serendipitous web surfing to reminisce about my favorite comic strip (Calvin and Hobbes), create a blacklist in Gmail, and even “How to Get Six Pack Abs”.
The ad-supported model seems to be the business model of choice for most web 2.0 companies, and Yahoo is no exception. Yahoo has decided to finally make some money on del.icio.us through advertisements. The ads only seem to be appearing on search pages, which is probably a good way to introduce ads with minimal impact to the overall user experience. I am a fan of the advertising model for web 2.0 companies: companies with cool technologies make enough money to stay in business, and the service stays free or low cost for the consumers. The advertising model works well as long as it stays fairly unobtrusive. Steve Rubel suggests that Yahoo will may also start monetizing other del.icio.us pages. I plan to keep watching to see how the advertising supported model evolves for del.icio.us.