Sunday, October 31, 2010

Facebook mobile event November 3rd

Facebook is hosting a mobile event on Wednesday, the question is what will be shown and talked about.

Many people did talk about a Facebook phone, but Mark Z. Did deny that a Facebook phone will come. And to be honest i don't think a phone would fit in FB strategy. Maybe a Nokia, HTC etc would team up and build a total social integration phone. Google tried to ace their own phone and it sucked. Both companies don't have enough experience and not enough customer services to sell phones.

Here some ideas what could come at the event.

1. New mobile apps, including a an iPad app
Facebook mobile apps are poor, just good to use but not really good enough to do great things. The iPad is missing a Facebook app, because it could be seen as full browser device. However iPad does not support flash, therefore a special iPad app would be great.
It’s been awhile since Facebook did a rethinking of its mobile apps, and it would seem about time for the world’s largest social network to redo its suite of mobile apps, possibly with Skype and Facebook Credits (for mobile payments) integration. Many people are especially hoping to see a redone Android app, as of all the platforms, the Android app is probably the most lacking.

2. Facebook Places check-in deals
A few days ago, we heard report/rumor that Facebook is already running check-in deals for Facebook Places with a select number of partners. Facebook wouldn’t comment on this, but they didn’t deny it either, so it could be that this will at least be a part of the announcement (again, it would be a nice feature in a revamped line of mobile apps).

3. Facebook mobile SDK, app store
Facebook could announce a SDK for mobile devices to allow developers to build FB apps which are running on Androids and iPhone. However this would not really make sense for hence the developer then needs 2 SDKs? One for the Os and one for FB?
But if FB thinking to have their own phone then it would make sense.
But i think most likely FB will offer an app store the FB users have easier to find apps in FB and to start to sell apps not only free apps.

4. Announce of HTML5 only
Many apps in FB are done in flash and not really mobile friendly. FB might announce that all apps have to be done in HTML5 that they can stay on FB. Or the apps need to have a none flash version available to stay on the FB list.

5. A Facebook phone
The world’s largest social network offering an optimized phone/OS would be somewhat risky at this point, though Facebook has certainly taken risks before (with many of them paying off handsomely). This would be a risk into the hardware sector – or they decide just to offer the OS. Not sure if FB has even enough experience in OS.

The real question in our minds is who would the Facebook phone be for? Would it be a play at developing markets, perhaps leveraging deep Skype integration? Would it focus on mobile payments? Or does Facebook really want to take on the other mobile platforms head-on? Would it just be another “flavor” of Android in conjunction with one of the carriers/phone manufacturers? We might just find out next Wednesday – tune in here and we’ll let you know!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Use QR code but do it right

QR codes are getting more and more traction as I wrote last week. But many companies don't know how to get the consumer to use QR codes.

Yankee Group said that 41 percent of consumers in North America are likely to choose a phone with an advanced operating system for their next device. At that pick-up rate, smartphone volumes will make up about 38 percent of all handsets by 2013 in North America. In the U.S., the average consumer has had four phones, which increases their likelihood of wanting to have more sophisticated features for their fifth device.

But for QR codes smart phone is not necessary, only a phone which has a camera and a QR code reader available. However it is a good idea to target only smart phones because the user can choose which QR reader to use and these phones have better web browsers.

None smart phones mostly don't allow to install software and when a phone does not have a QR code reader then a camera does not help.

Before a company decides to utilize 2 dimensional barcodes, they have to know their target group. Aiming retired people or very low income households would not be a good group to introduce QR code. They won't have smart phones or are not aware of such technology.

QR codes can do a lot. Either guide the user to web page which educates the consumer to the promoted product, or a web page where the user can get coupons. A QR code can even start a download for a digital business card.

Another possibility is to have an app which the user has to download to get specials through QR code.

A company should not start to think to use a QR code but to think where a QR code can be helpful, to get more branding or more customers.

Very helpful are these codes on product displays in stores like Walmart where the retailer does not allow additional display space. The code is small enough to fit on packages or as an extra on a display.

Important is that, if the target groups is not very up to date, not only to print the barcode on the package or label, but as well to give the consumer a hint.

Very strong are sentences like "Want to know more? Then scan the code below".

Not everybody with a smart phone has a QR reader, therefore it is a good idea to engage the consumer to send a text message to 5555 (your short dial number) to receive a link to the promoted page, like "or text GETME to 5555".

Smart phones are like PCs 10 years back. We need to build the web page for different browsers and screen displays. There are right now a few common browsers for smart phones:
Safari, google chrome (android version), opera mini, skyfire and a few more.
Some of them might not be able to support flash. Either way the page should be much smaller in kilobyte size than a PC web browser page. Smart phones over wifi or 3G or Edge are not as fast as computers. The page should not take longer than 5 seconds to load.
Some smart phones have keyboards, some have only touch screen. All this should be taken in consideration when building a mobile web page.

A QR code should not link to a normal web page. Even if the smart phone has a full browser and a fast Internet connection, the screen (between 2.5 and 5inch) is too small to read a full page.

If you decide to have a TV commercial with your campaign, then include in the commercial some education about the QR code and how users can find special info by scanning a two dimensional code.

QR codes are not yet common enough to give the consumer only some product information, when introducing these codes the company should offer some incentives to scan the code. A good incentive might be a discount which the user can only get when scanning the code.

If it is good executed the consumer will post about this in Facebook, mySpace or Twitter and more people will look for the QR code in the store.

Talk on the company or product website about the code and where the user can download a barcode reader. Neo Reader, as an example, has for many phones a download. Neo Reader will recognize the phone, when the user uses his smart phone to navigate this page.
The user just needs to follow the instruction.

As a company you should as well post on your Facebook fan page that the company uses QR code, where they can't be found and what special offer the consumer gets by scanning the code. If you have a Twitter account then tweet about it as well.

The beauty behind a QR code is that you never need to change the code, you only need to change the content of the underlying page.

This means you can print the barcode with no problem on labels or packages and still have every month other messages behind.

It is important to change the results behind the code. If you don't do it then the user will not scan it anymore. A good interval is every 4 to 6 weeks.

If all your products will have QR codes on their package or a label, then it might be a good idea to build your own iPhone or Android app.
Having your own app allows you to do so much more with barcode. You can let consumers collect points or play with them scavenger hunt. The limit is the sky.
The only contra is. that you need to advertise for your application, because otherwise the consumer won't have it. There are over 250,000 iPhone apps and over 80,000 android apps, it would be lucky if many people find this app.

Make sure in the app is the possibility for the user to send a link to friends to invite them to get the application. Offer them a reason to send the invite and offer a reason to download. The reason can be as simple as to get a chance to win a car or complex as getting loyalty points. The more invites the more points which can be redeemed within the application.

Same for the people who received the link to the app, give them a chance to win a car or to get points when they sign the first time in your app.

Promote this app on your website in your commercials and on your social network.

I hope somebody will follow the recommendation, I am sure the success will speak for it.

Please check out goggles from google. This is the coolest app ever. It not only can scan and translate QR codes but you can make a picture of anything you want and google will search the Internet for it. I saw a painting I liked but did not know who painted it. I took a picture and used goggle. Within a blink of an eye i got the answer from google. Pretty cool.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Correction to my last post and Android at risk

In my last post I talked about secret SMS replicator and called it as the first Trojan on Android. I have been wrong in two ways. This software is not a Trojan, in best case it is a Spyware and more shocking there has been already a Trojan for the androids earlier this year.
The Trojan-SMS.ANdroidOS.FakePlayer.a virus for Android has been discovered by Kaspersky Lab and has apparently infected smartphones.

I did do some more research and I got more shocked, just by searching the web. i found at least a handful of spyware for androids. One spyware is available for almost all blackberries, Androids, windows etc phones. It is called mobile spy tool.
This tool does work as well on iPhones and iPad but only if they are jail broken.

I have to admit that I tested a few android phones but never really dived into possible security problems through viruses till I saw the SMS spyware blogged about it and then readers complained I don't do my homework.
The point in my last post was that Android is in danger in terms of viruses and malware because there is no controlling system in place besides self controlling through the community which is a nice idea but does not prevent to get applications with viruses or Trojan into the android app platform.

And i have to admit that I thought that viruses will be not a problem for Android because it is based on Linux and I thought there are no viruses because Linux has no executables. But i have been wrong, even Linux is not immune from viruses. Just by looking at wikipedia I could find a big list of viruses etc for Linux distributions:

Kaiten - Linux.Backdoor.Kaiten trojan horse[18]
Rexob - Linux.Backdoor.Rexob trojan[19]
Waterfall screensaver backdoor - on[20]

42 [21][22]
Arches [23]
Alaeda - Virus.Linux.Alaeda[24]
Bad Bunny - Perl.Badbunny[7][25]
Binom - Linux/Binom[26]
Bliss - requires root privileges
Caveat [29][30]
Coin [31][32]
Diesel - Virus.Linux.Diesel.962[33]
Hasher [34][35]
Kagob a - Virus.Linux.Kagob.a[36]
Kagob b - Virus.Linux.Kagob.b[37]
Lacrimae (aka Crimea) [38][39]
MetaPHOR (also known as Simile)[40]
Nuxbee - Virus.Linux.Nuxbee.1403[41]
Podloso - Linux.Podloso (The iPod virus)[44][45]
RELx [46]
Rike - Virus.Linux.Rike.1627[47]
RST - Virus.Linux.RST.a[48] (known for infecting Korean release of Mozilla Suite 1.7.6 and Thunderbird 1.0.2 in September 2005[49])
Satyr - Virus.Linux.Satyr.a[50]
Staog - made obsolete by updates
Vit - Virus.Linux.Vit.4096[51]
Winter - Virus.Linux.Winter.341[52]
Winux (also known as Lindose and PEElf)[53]
Wit virus[54]
ZipWorm - Virus.Linux.ZipWorm[55]

Adm - Net-Worm.Linux.Adm[56]
Cheese - Net-Worm.Linux.Cheese[58]
Mighty - Net-Worm.Linux.Mighty[61]
Millen - Linux.Millen.Worm[62]
Ramen worm - targeted versions 6.2 and 7.0 of the Red Hat Linux distributions only
SSH Bruteforce[64]

The list of course is much smaller than for Windows but still surprising for me.

Now the good part is that Google has in their latest OS a kill switch with allows them remotely to delete any malicious software (BTW Apple has this kill switch too and got a lot of complains and critics about this but I did not hear so much negative about the Google kill switch).

The more I search the more i read, I feel happy not to own an android phone, that at least I don't need to think about anti virus software.

A lot of analyst are saying Androids are not enterprise ready, because of this possible security problem. I think the IT departments are not ready for androids. They don't know yet how to manage the smart phones and how to make sure viruses can't come on the phones. The only company which can somehow ensure no viruses, is Apple, because of their controlling and audit system. However they have already over 200k applications some of them might be malicious and Apple just missed it when they approved. And there the 8% of jail broken iPhones which can have any virus, who knows.
iOS is Unix based but this does not mean it can't get a virus, even if there are not so many viruses for Linux or Unix out there.

The advantage of the iPhone is that IT could complete manage these phones by managing which app can be installed. Apple even allows companies to build their own apps which can be only installed through IT and not through the Apple app store.
And only registered developers can even submit apps to Apple app store. Apple might find the developer source (I hope) if there is a big security problem.

Smobile Systems is warning against using Android as enterprise phones in a report titled Threat Analysis in the Android Market. Please read the PDF if you are interested.

Android 2.2 might not be ready for Enterprise use but for sure it is shocking that over 20,000 apps can access very important user information and that we need to think in terms of a smart phone like a PC. We need to have anti virus software, anti Trojan etc, we will have these very fast phones which are slowing down because of anti virus softwares.

If we don't install anti virus then we should think at least three times if it is ok to install this or that software.

A lot of my friends are developers and complaining they can't really develop apps for iPhone, because Apple does not allow what the developers want to do.

Right now I am (as a consumer) happy that Apple does not make the developers life easy.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Trojan (technically it is not a Trojan) for Android phones as official download

Correction to my blog below:
I got many feedbacks via email and a few as comments, that this software is not to be considered as Trojan. It is more considered as spyware.

The point i did want to make is that smart phones are not excluded from things like this. Which makes is harder for users to keep up and to ensure the data is protected. It is even interesting that there is already more malicous software in the Android app makret (as one wrote in a comment).

I apologize for using wrong terms, but i stay with my point to prefer organzied and cotnrolled app store instead of allowing everything without control and to give developers too much access to the OS.

If you own an Android phone and are cheating on a significant other by arranging secret trysts through text messages, you might want to think twice about your infidelities — or at least about arranging them via texts.

A new Android application released Wednesday, Secret SMS Replicator, when secretly installed on a cellphone, will forward all text messages to any other phone without the owner’s knowledge. Watch the video here:

Zak Tanjeloff, chief executive of the app’s creator, DLP Mobile, said in a news release: “This app is certainly controversial, but can be helpful to people in relationships where this type of monitoring can be useful.”

DLP Mobile also boasts about the clandestine nature of the application: “The app is unique because there is no visible icon or shortcut to access it, so once it’s installed, it will continue to monitor without revealing itself.”

DLP Mobile is behind the Mirror App for the iPhone 4 and says it creates about 100 applications a year for the iPhone and Android.

This application is basically an official Trojan horse virus. It does not secretly access all your data on the phone but at least your SMS and send it to whom the installer wants.
It is not really a virus because it must be installed by someone who has access to the phone, but technically we could say virus.

Wikipedia definition of a Trojan horse virus:
Trojan horses are a huge security threat. A Trojan is a program that enters your computer undetected, giving the attacker who planted the Trojan unrestricted access to the data stored on your computer. Trojans can transmit credit card information and other confidential data in the background. Trojans are often not caught by virus scanning engines, because these are focused on viruses, not Trojans. Catching such threats would require the use of a Trojan scanner (a.k.a Trojan cleaner, Trojan remover, anti-Trojan).

I know many people don't like that Apple has their closed app store system and every application has to be approved by Apple, but i rather prefer this than a chaos uncontrolled application market where everybody can do what they want. If we are all only good people and believe in good things, then I would have no problem with an open app world, but unfortunately there are too many people out there who do either for fun or for satisfaction things which can harm. And the last thing I want for my phone is a virus scanner and the fear that my phone could be hacked.
If i compare my Apple computer with Windows, then the biggest difference I see is the speed of the computers after while. And always it comes down to, that i need to run virus scanner, Trojan scanner etc on Windows (to make sure I don't get infected) which slows the Windows computer down.Apple and virus? Not so many so far. Virus scanner not really needed.

DLP Mobile might have the right intension with their Secret SMS Replicator app, but many other developers will suddenly get an idea how to build an invisible app for your phone. This can be easily embedded into a game etc to scan all your phone data. Maybe it is already out there for the Android, we don't know.
I prefer to stay with my iPhone and know that it will be harder to get untruthful apps on it because we have one more level of security which is the Apple team. Maybe the security feeling is a false thinking but it helps me to sleep better.

Many of us are using the smart phones to access our bank accounts or to save passwords and credit card numbers, because it is so convenient to look only in your phone to find what we need. the phone is the item we carry the most with followed by house keys and wallets.

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The real reason why we can't buy a white iPhone 4

I did read these days an article why we can't buy a white iPhone 4 and i actually believe it (see article under my thoughts). Apple (Steve Jobs) is not happy with the color. He wants to have a perfect looking iPhone. Supposedly the home button is manufactured in another factory than the other outside parts. And it seems that the two parts have a different white shade. We need to know that these are as well two different materials and it is always hard to get same color shade on different material especially with a clean color like white.

This is a repeating of a situation almost 15 years ago when Next did build their Next Cube computer. Steve Jobs did want to have this computer in a certain black color (same as the iPhone is today). It took him 8 months till he was satisfied with the color but it was easier to finalize the color because the computer outside was made from one material.

I can believe that iPhones in white got shipped to the US and as soon Steve did see that the button is slightly another color than the rest, that he decided not to sell the phone.
He is a perfectionist and I like it. For Apple many times quality goes before quantity. That is the reason I like the iPhone. It just works. Android phones are cool because you can choose from tons of different form factors, like screen size, with keyboard or not etc. The problem is that many apps don't work well on each device exactly for this reason. Apple has only one form factor, but therefor it is so much easier for a developer to build an app and gives it a much better user experience. As a developer i would prefer to give 30% of my revenue to Apple (google does not take any money) and can avoid to test and develop my app against 200 different devices. The time and money I save is much more than 30% of lost revenue.

Read the original article about the white iPhone issue:

White iPhone spotted in New York, owner explains why you haven't got one yet

15 October 2010 1:44 GMT / By Stuart Miles

So there we were, in a lift at a press event in New York City, when we spotted a white iPhone 4 strutting its stuff in the hands of a mystery man.

A bit of covert photography later, that would make even the ardent paparazzi proud, and we'd managed to snap some shots of it in action.

We felt proud, but then we realised that for you, that's just not enough. So we went and talked to the owner to see why and how he had a white iPhone 4, when the rest of the US and the world is still left waiting.

While our inside man didn't want to give his name, he did part with some very valuable information; information that we feel the urge to share.

It turns out that One Infinite Loop (that's Apple's HQ in Cupertino) is swimming with white iPhones, and that he had a mate that "fixed him up" with his.

Why then, have you not been able to queue outside the Apple store of your choice to get one?

Well, according to our jacket wearing gent, Apple is having trouble getting its two suppliers in the Far East to match the white used in the manufacturing of the parts. The white home button colour doesn't match the white front face plate colour, it turns out.

Apple being the perfectionist that it is, isn't happy with this and therefore isn't happy to sell it to the general public, supposedly.

So there you have it. If our man is to be believed, and he seemed genuine enough, the reason you haven't seen a white iPhone 4 at your local Apple store is down to the fact that white is not always white.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

QR Code the last missing piece between mobile, brick and mortar store, social and web

QR does are two dimensional codes which are usually black and white and in a form of a square. The pixel within the square have data encoded, most likely an URL.
Smart phones with cameras can scan this code and display the encoded content. If it is an URL it will open a website.
The user needs to use either a QR scanner software or can use google goggles to scan the code.

QR codes started in Japan in 1994 when Denso invented the system. Since then the QR code usage in Japan grew extremely and is almost a standard feature on Business cards. Mostly these codes link to a page with a virtual business card which then the user can download to the phone. Japan has much longer than the US phones with cameras which is most important part to scan barcodes.

Today in Japan everybody from Mickey & Co. to Nike are getting in the act, and revolutionizing outdoor advertising in the process.

The Japanese standard for QR-Codes devised by Denso Wave is JIS X 0510 which was released in January of 1999. The corresponding ISO International Standard, ISO/IEC 18004, was then approved in June of 2000. The standard was then updated back in 2006. (ISO/IEC 18004:2006).

QR codes in Europe for advertising are since 2004 very common when camera phones started to be popular.
A Portuguese wineyard (Cortes de Cima) is printing QR codes on all their wine labels. Consumers can scan them in the store to get more detailed information about the wine.

In the US QR codes just now coming for commercial use and advertising. However companies like Philip Morris are using them since years on their cigarette packages for inventory counts and shipping. We don't have in America yet a standard for these codes like in Europe or Japan. Even Microsoft has their own code method.
The consumers here in the US get more and more interests as we can see in the search statistic at google for qr code search.

The future of QR codes
We are right now in a QR code hype and three years behind Europe and Japan. But finally we are understanding that QR code is the missing piece between on the road (mobile), brick and mortar store and Internet.
These little codes don't take a lot of space an can be scanned in any direction. But the underlying URL can bring a consumer to web pages with much more information than a store could display for each product.

Would it not be great to go to Target and find a toy for our son. But we are not sure if there are enough accessories for this toy available. We scan the code and on our smart phone opens a webpage with all accessories we could buy for this toy.

Or we scan the code, because we like the product so much, and automatically we are fans with this product Facebook page.

ItWowed.Me, a new smartphone technology platform developed by Majestic Media Ltd., allows businesses and brands to drive audiences to Facebook fan pages and convert them into fans.
"Like" something in real life? By placing a Quick Response (QR) code on real world objects, smartphone users can now scan these codes with their iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or any smartphone device and instantly "Like" the real world product or business on Facebook, thus sharing it with their friends on the social media site.

Verizon teamed with scanlife to promote a campaign to show how many apps are available for droid devices. It was an integrated campaign with print ads, banner ads and even ads on iPad. Within only three months they counted 150,000 scans. See the results here. This is a great success.

We read almost everyday about QR codes printed on walls in subways or QR codes in magazines. Polo Ralph Lauren was one of the first companies in US in 2008 who did a nation wide QR code campaign. All their print ads had codes which a consumer could scan to get directly to the product page of the advertised product to buy.

QR codes are as well perfect to combine augmented reality with real life and Internet.
Imagine you are at Walmart looking for a game and want to know the ratings and want to know what your friends are thinking about the game? Just scan the code and you instantly see the main character of the game in the screen in front of you telling you the average rating and who of your friends talked about it on facebook. The background of the screen is the store image live from your camera and the character is following your movements.
Or you want to buy a new bed, you take at home a picture of your bedroom. At the store you scan the code of a bed you like and it will instantly show up on the photo of your room. You move the bed a little around till you like the position. You save the image and send it as multi media message to your spouse who is 3000 miles away. Would this not be great?

Bottom line, the technology is easy to understand. Open the bar code scanner software and make a picture of the code and then everything else works like magic.
Brands can advertise and educate consumers without the need for more space than 2 inches of the product packaging.
This is all needed to connect the consumer with social, to offer the consumer more important information to make the buying decision or just to wake interests for the consumer to do something.

QR codes are so new and still rare in the US that even having QR codes on Internet ads will increase clicks on banners because the user wants to know what is behind this weird looking square.
The ad below got an average CTR of 1.34% which is 400% higher than industry standard and a scan rate of 0.47% which totals the interaction to 1.81%

In two years we don't talk anymore about QR codes they are just a part of our life.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Let's go social

In my line of business i hear so many times from companies the words "we need to go social". But what does this mean? Just having a Facebook page or a Facebook icon on the website is only the minimum.
Social is much more it is a philosophy or methodology. Going social is changing a company.
Before we start to think about social we need to know what social or social network is and what impact it will have in a company.
Social for marketer is marketing 3.0. Marketing expert Philip Kotler and his colleagues Hermawan Kartajaya and Iwan Setiawan have identified Marketing 3.0 as a holistic approach to customers as multidimensional, values-driven people, even as potential collaborators.
Marketing 3.0-treats customers not as mere consumers but as the complex, multi-dimensional human beings that they are. Customers, in turn, are choosing companies and products that satisfy deeper needs for participation, creativity, community, and idealism.

Going social is to engage the consumer, to build trust and then get the consumer to be an advocate of the brand.

Social networks like Twitter can help to engage the consumer, give them a place where they can talk and discuss the brand, even allow them to complain. Companies should listen to tweets and react on positive as well negative tweets. Important is not to deny negative tweets. Companies can use them to get give another view or to admit mistakes.
Facebook is a a great place to build trust with the consumer. Brands need to have a fan page and need constantly post to page, have a team or a person dedicated facebook to talk about news, to read post entries and to start discussions or participate in discussions. The consumer need to feel that they are a part of the brand, that they are important, each single fan.
Don't try to sell your products on facebook, but offer special deals through Facebook which only Facebook fans can get. This builds trust and friendship. Facebook is a perfect vehicle to communicate with your consumer better than everywhere else.

Blogs are another perfect tool to get your customer informed and to build trust. As a brand you should let everybody in the company allow to blog. Don't try to run the blog through QA or only the marketing department. If everybody can blog, your company will see an interesting phenomena. You will read a lot of good things about your company. Your employees will most likely only blog positive because of fear to get trouble.
Your customer will read how great your company is and that it does not matter which position the employee has, they love their job.
There will be as well blogs about new products and how long it took till the final product was ready and how many times it failed before it worked.
Your customer will love this, they will admire your company, they want to be a part of it.

Engage your customers by asking them what they want to see next with your product. Listen to them and let them know you do. Implement their ideas and let everybody know you did.
Starbucks has since a few years their consumer idea website ( Many new products are coming from their costumers.

When we as a company understand what Social means (engage, get trust, be a part) then we can start to build our social concept.

A few companies like Starbucks (consumer ideas) Burger King (sacrifice your friends), Zappos (twitter) and IBM (company blogs) are good examples how social can help to change the brand. All of them went through losing customers but turned it around with marketing 3.0

Bottom line is that this is a cultural change in the company and the social networks are only vehicles to practice the change.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is flash already dead?

A few months ago i wrote in a blog that i believe Apple can change the landscape in terms of flash. When Apple announced that their iPad will not have flash most critics said this will be a big problem for the ipad.
This was six months ago, and critics have been wrong. Something else happened, many websites did switch to HTML video faster than expected. First of course the xxx websites. Then hulu (which first said they would never. 7 of 10 top 500 companies are now embedding their videos using html 5.
Most of the times these companies have both versions flash and html 5 player because Firefox and IE are not supporting HTML 5 very well.
Video is one thing, but there are much more flash executions than video. Even these parts are going away. Mostly because of the big rise of mobile devices like iPhone and iPad.
The CIO of Starbucks does bring it to the point.
Gillett (CIO Starbucks) said that iDevices from Apple are used more in its stores than any others. How important is that? Well, Gillett wanted to use Flash on the social network, but there wasn’t any way he could because of Steve Jobs’ refusal to support Flash.
It does not matter if we like flash or not, Apple has enough influence to drive companies not to use flash. I personally like it because I have never been a fan of flash and think it is slow needs too much memory, many times poor developed and brings my browsers to crash. As a kind of of a tekkie I prefer plain text, and some images.
Apple is now pushing the envelop further by not anymore shipping flash plugins with their desktops and notebooks.
Androids supposedly do have flash support, however many websites will still not work perfect on a Android if they use flash. The reason is the sites are developed for desktops with mouse. Mobile devices don't have a mouse, they have a touch screen. Things like mouse over are not working.
And of course screen size is smaller, the layout of the page needed to be changed. This helped html 5 tremendous. Companies needed to build mobile versions and therefor they decided not to use flash anymore.
Apple has a page which shows iPad compatible websites, this page did not get updated since a few month. There is no need because more and more websites are compatible.

Amazing that a company which is not market leader can push a new standard forward.

I always did wonder why flash got so big, and after talking with many designers, I understand why. Flash gives designers the ability to be creative at will and bind this creativity into something which can move has sound etc without the need to understand coding or HTML. Many things which are done in flash could have bend done with JavaScript or jquery, Divs and pure HTML.
Hover this would limit the designer because they would need to work with a developer together. But both types are speaking such a different language that this seems for many designers not an alternative.
With flash, a designer can do everything, pretty fast (even no action script or flex knowledge necessary). Just designing moving objects around and export as swf. They then send the swf and a piece of code to the developer to paste the code into the HTM page. Ready and done.
Not using flash means thinking a lot more before designing and be limited by coding knowledge. The project would go twice or three time longer.
Designers will change and woke more on HTML, and this great.

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Apple is attacking Windows and Google Chrome OS in a big way

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Linux creator and Linux Foundation Fellow Linus Torvalds is one of three recipients to receive the prestigious C&C Prize in 2010.
Torvalds is being recognized for his "contributions to the advancement of the information technology industry, education, research, and the improvement of our lives," according to NEC C&C Foundation.
Torvalds developed Linux in 1991 while a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He released the operating system (OS) under the General Public License and invited others to use it and share. Today, Linux is the leading OS for smartphones and is powering next-generation mobile computing devices. It has drastically reduced the cost for developing countries that want to put computing devices in the hands of students and citizens. Linux is also preferred among the world's largest enterprises to support critical IT infrastructure.

Without Tovalds idea in 1991 to build an open source OS, we would not have been where we are now. Before Linus, crowd sourcing was an unknown development methodology. Linus basically did invent crowd sourcing.
But with open source or crowd sourcing was not really money to make, only a few companies like Redhat or Suse could go grow because they did build their own Linux distribution and make money on the service they offer.

I worked a few years at TopCoder which took the step further to utilize the crowd to build commercial applications. The idea is to cut an application in small components and then let the crowd compete to build these components. TopCoder will choose the best coded components and put them together to a final application. Over 200,000 developers are competing at TopCoder and top developers can make over $100K a year. Many of them are students and get high profile jobs at google, facebook etc because they competed at TopCoder.

But Apple, Facebook and Google are going a step further.
They invented the open development platform to satisfy the consumers. Developer world wide can develop software and games for facebook, android or iOS. They can decide if they work in teams or alone and how much the software will cost. The end user decides if the apps are good by either not downloading the app or rating it good or bad.

Apple does even go a step further. They offer an open platform but restricted and have complex approval concepts. This helps the enduser to have a better experience and developers to make more money. Apple has over 600,000 developers in their network and FB over 1 Million. Facebook made Zynga rich and made them to the fastest growing game company in the world. Without the open platform and crowd sourcing idea, neither Facebook or Zynga would be as big as they are.

Now all this worked fine for small and funny application or games which can run on smart phones or within a website like FB. But enterprise applications or useful complex apps are not really seen yet. This changes when Apple opens it's App store for Mac OSx computers.

With this platform, we will see many good and not so good applications coming up which cost less than traditional applications and can do the same or maybe better.
But the most important part is that Apple will control which application will go into the app store to ensure that the OS does not slow down or that these apps will not spy on us or bring viruses.

To find today shareware or open source application takes forever because there is no good place to go to find. There are many websites which have either for Mac or Windows tons of cheap software or even free, but they are complicated to navigate, have a lot of ads and want you to subscribe and none of them have all of the apps. These platforms are not organized have no controlling system in place etc.

With Apple's new App store all is in one place, only Apple approved apps are in there (ensure good consumer experience) and well organized.
Apple will soon release a new SDK for developers with makes it much easier for developers to build Mac Apps, like they did for iPhones and iPads. Developers can decide how much the app will cost, and Apple will keep 30%. these apps can as well take advantage of Apple's iAd system. I can see new companies on the horizon which don't exist today but are tomorrow one of the biggest Apple app developers.

Apple opens the Mac OS X word to million of developers and tons of new software. I can't wait to see how it will change the consumer landscape.

Clearly it is a step to attack the number one PC OS (Windows). Linux tried it once but failed, it was too techie and found it's main place only in government and web servers. Google is trying as well to attack with their chrome OS but i doubt it will work.

Steve chooses another much smarter path. Instead to come up with a new free OS, they will let the user decide to buy a PC or Mac. Mac has now a market share of 20% and if there are in two years hundred of thousand apps in the Mac app store, the consumer decision seems to be easy. Either buying a none sexy PC with Windows which is cheaper than Apple computers, or a computer where an user can download hundred of thousands apps with one click.

Remember even if Apple would not be more expensive, many users did in the past not buy Apple because many apps did not exist for Apple.

This might turn around and in a few years we don't buy PCs because the coolest apps are only on Mac.

But for sure this move will make Google Chrome DOA before it is even released.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

First test facetime beta on iMac

Since yesterday Apple users can download a beta version of facetime and I have to say it is really beta.

Download was easy and the install of the 39MB was pretty straight forward. Starting facetime was another story. I had to put my apple account in and hit connect, however it did not work till I figured out that my iMac was connected to the internet through Ethernet and wifi at the same time. The browsers have no issue with this but facetime does not like it. I switched Ethernet off and finally could connect. As soon you are connected it shows all your contacts you have either a phone number or an email address assigned to.

In my case 2049 contacts, but some of them are 3 to 6 times in there hence my mobile me account is a little broken after 8 years using 6 different Apples ( I only buy a new Apple every 4 years but we have multiple of them plus iPhones and iPads).
I cleaned up a while ago my iPhone contacts and iMac contacts but somehow facetime still shows duplicates. I should only have 1700 contacts.

The biggest issue is that facetime has no search. It took me a while to find my friend to make a test call. The addresses are sorted by last name but some are sorted wrong.

Since i could not find my friend I opened on the iMac my address book, but facetime is not connected with address book. This would be another nice function.
Then I went to mail but mail is neither connected to facetime, I had to search in facetime till I did find him. With search I mean scroll up and down which goes too fast instead of a slowly accelerating.

Eventually I found him and got his full address with all phone numbers and emails assigned to the contact. I had to think a second which of his phone number is his iPhone number. On my iPhone it clearly indicates the iPhone number, but not in facetime.

The image quality was perfect the sound great, when he turned his phone the image turned on my screen, pretty cool. He could even switch back and forward between his two iPhone cameras, same behavior like doing a call on the iPhone.

He was in a hurry, we could not test if he could call me back from iPhone to iMac. I hope it works fine, because when i started the first time facetime, I had to register my email address to facetime. Apple will send you an email and there you have to click on link. The link guides you to a login page to verify email address and password to your desired account.

I guess my iMac facetime will take the call if he calls me on my email address.

Overall, we can see that facetime is in beta. Search is missing, addresses are somehow messed up and no direct connection to contact book and mail.

I wondering why iChat is still around could they not merge both to one application together? It would just make sense. When facetime is running the camera is automatically used by facetime. I would prefer to run facetime all the time like my other chat and calling ups i have, but the camera should only switch on when i accept a call or when I make a call. Otherwise we don't run facetime all the time and can't get calls. Right now I need to know that I want to make a call and start facetime for this. Same if we want to receive calls we need to know before we get a call that we can start facetime, this does not make sense for me.

Adding facetime to the Apple computers will extend the facetime network by 33 million. Will facetime come for windows?
Facetime for android is not coming soon. A lot of people did write about tango which looks like facetime, but can run on 3G and wifi and is available on iOS and Android OS to make cross OS calls. However tango is not anymore available on iTunes store. Maybe i had bad luck, but you can try, just click here.
Supposedly tango got within one week 1 million times downloaded and 40% of the downloads were in the US.

Now if the iPhone comes to Verizon then there is a small issue (same qik has). No other carrier than ATT allows in the US right now to do voice and data at the same time. Imagine you are in the store and talk to your spouse. Then you want to switch to video call to show her something you see at the store. Works fine with facetime and ATT but not anywhere else.

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Mark Z. And Steve J. had dinner together - and now?

Last week Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg did meet for a dinner. Since then there were many speculations that Apple will buy Facebook.
I think the main reason was their celebration of better Facebook integration into iPhoto, a picasa photo manager on steroids. iPhoto got recently updated with iLife 11.

But the dinner could have some other topics. If we compare Steve and Mark we find a lot similarities. Both started a company very young and both skipped school to proceed their dream. Both believes they want to make a better world and scarified revenue to get closer to their dream. Apple keeps his OS only on their devices which prevent Apple to get a market share like Microsoft. Facebook did wait with their ad system a very long time to give users a cleaner interface.

Both outperformed their competition in usability which gave them big advantage and the credential to be cool. Both are extremely controlling their growth. Facebook rolled out in steps, school by school. Apple does not just develop products, they make sure they work very well before they go on the market, which gives a 12 months release cycle, in comparison the competition has a 3 to 6 months cycle.

Both needed Microsoft as an investor to help them to survive. Both are now much more growing than Microsoft. Both companies have Google as their main competitor.

Steve and Mark are eccentric and only wear certain clothes for public appearance. Mark is always wearing his zip up sweater and Steve a black sweater. Both like to control and prefer not to wear shoes in the office (when they have been young).

Both have one of the biggest crowd sourcing developer base. Apple has over 600,000 developers and FB over 1,000,000 world wide.

Both companies like the magical number 30. They both take revenue shares based on 30%.

Both could be a part of Lord of the Rings. Steve as Golem and Mark looks like a hobbit (no offense, I am such a big fan of LotR that this is a compliment).

Looking at the picture below we could almost say Mark is the lost son of Steve.

Now, Apple has enough cash to buy facebook, but I am a little doubting Mark wants to sell, or that Facebook would be a good fit for Apple.
Steve usually buys cheap companies and grow them. He is mostly interested in the technology and not reach. Facebook technology is based on open source and Steve likes to have his own closed open source system. Open to developers to use but controlled by Apple.

It is apparent that both either like each other for similarity or hate each other. There is nothing between.

Either way I believe they are going to build an alliance against Google.
Most likely that Apple will invest a billion into FB to get a few % shares and Steve Jobs might get one of the director seats in FB. Mark still has one position open he never filled.

As a return, FB gets stronger integration into iOS and both developer crowds can build easier apps which work on iOS and integrate into FB or vice versa.

Apple social music network could have instantly 500,000,000 members.

Facetime could be a part of FB. 100 times more Facetime users with one switch of a button.

FB will sell some of their ads through the iAds system at Apple. FB could increase revenue without having too much ads on their platform.

Facebook has the most chaotic application pool. It is almost not possible to find apps, maybe FB will get their own app store and starts to have not only free apps but paid apps, this could boost the revenue as well.

Apple might be integrating Facebook credit in their app stores as payment method. However both don't like to give money up but at the same time to take a big piece of the pie. This would be an interesting fight.

An alliance could be strong. Apple is perfect in design and usability. FB knows social and has the biggest member base in the world. Imagine iPhones will have perfect integrated FB, what would we buy as a smart phone? Android or an iPhone? If Androids are not so perfect in FB.

Apple opens iPhone to other carriers, this and FB as native app on iPhone will instantly double sales.

I think any force against Google is good and healthy. Google is great, but I never like to have one player dominating. Competition is healthy and always best for consumer.

Let us see what we will hear from Apple and FB in the near future.

Any thoughts from you?

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple new stunning features and taking more control

At the latest keynote from Apple we first heard how well the Mac sales went in the last five years and if Apple would separate the Mac Computers from the rest of the company then those company would be still #101 in the Inc 500 list. This is pretty amazing.
Plus auto desk is coming back to Apple OS and finally Windows will offer outlook, the best mail program in my opinion.

The next part was the introduction of iLife 11. A lot of changes to see with iLife. The good part is, if you just bought iLife 09 you can upgrade for less than $7. Otherwise the upgrade is $49 or if you buy a new computer it comes free.

iPhoto has now a much nicer full screen mode, albums are displayed like on the iPad. It has nice Facebook and flickr integration. You can see within iPhoto to each photo what your friends did post to your photo in facebook.

Now we know why Steve had a dinner with Mark Z. Last week. They celebrated their new relationship. I will talk about my opinion to the dinner in another blog.

iPhoto got much more cool slideshows templates and new book templates. It is fascinating how Apple can build such beautiful function which so much logic behind. Both slideshow and books will analyze your photos and bring the photos together either by places, by theme etc. Example if 3 photos have same clouds in the background then these will put close together. Or if images have similar time stamp and so on.

Apple knows how to do the work. Geeks would say they want more freedom, but for rest of us it is so easy now. But still the user can make any changes in order or size etc. We are only limited by the themes Apple offers, we can't create our own themes. With iPhoto 09 I thought there were too less themes but I think now are much more and maybe we can buy more in the future.

iPhoto can now send photos via email without leaving the application. There you can send the photos as attachment or use the apple templates for a cool html email.
And we learned now what Steve Jobs email address is, see image below.

The last new feature is the letterpress card function. We can now order beautiful crafted cards with our text and photos. iPhoto has a video which shows how the letterpress cards are made. The best part is the machine is from Germany. A real Heidelberger press.


iMovie got a big overhaul with 5 new features. Audio editing was in iMovie 09 pretty poor but now you can edit audio in many ways, a whole clip or only a part of a clip. You can easily change the volume, fade sound in or out or apply cool sound filters.
One step effects allows you to instantly make instantly replays or highlights of scenes.
With people finder iMovie recognized people which are tagged in iPhoto to instantly give them names or group scenes by people.
iMovie has 15 more themes with music taped in London with a symphony orchestra.
The coolest part is movie trailers. Within a few minutes users can create the most stunning trailer, not sure for what we need it but it is very cool.

Garage Band
I am not getting deep in garage band because I never used the old one and i am not so much interested into making my own music.
The new feature in garage band is that you can see how good you played, otherwise some of the existing features like guitar and piano lessons got upgraded.

How do I play is like a game, you can see if the timing is off, wrong note played and your overall performance in %. the beauty part is that the professional taped orchestra is playing with you. Get an USB keyboard or guitar and start. As soon garage band will come with drums, i will start using it.

Facetime is finally coming to the Mac. No set up to perform it just works and even turns the image if somebody uses the phone and turns the phone. Facetime is since today as beta available.

The new Mac Os X (lion)
Mac OS X will get many features from the iPad. The new Macs will have a bigger touchpad with multiple touch rather than a touchscreen. Apple believes vertical touchscreen does not work, the arms will get fatigue.
The app store concept will come to the macs. Macs will have their own app store to download applications. If you lose an app you can download the app again with no charge. What happens when Apple's DB crashes? I don't know.
Lion will have home screen similar like the iPad and groups like the the iPhone.
Any app can run in full screen mode, if wished, like on iOS, but it is not clear how it works when you have two screens attached to the computer. Can we run two apps at the same time in full screen?
Any native app will save constantly open documents and if you leave an app and reopen it, the latest status will auto resume. Which does not always work on the iPad and for sure will be sometimes frustrating on Lion.

Overall Apple takes more control especially with the app store, no easy way for people to cheat anymore. With CDs you buy an app and install it as often as you want on as many machine as you wish. The app store will take full control to deny this.
The Mac OS will come much closer to iOs and pretty sure in 24 months both OS will look and work the same. A clear identification that Apple is building their own cloud with their own idea what a cloud is. Get the software from the cloud but install it on your device. I call it the Apple app cloud hybrid.

At last, Steve presented the new MacBook Air which is lighter than the old one, has as well no CD drive (which we don't need with the app store) and the starter notebook with 11 inch costs the same like the MacBook cheapest model. I believe the MacBook will disappear. Interesting is that the MacBook Air has not solid state drive it uses flash drive only.

All new things are pretty cool and interesting but not really unexpected.
Look at some statements I made a few days ago in my blog:

....But the big question will be, what is new?

We can expect that iChat gets upgraded to face time. The OS will have stronger integration of Apple's social hubs like ping.

Most of all the OS UI might slightly change to more look and feel like the iPad. The dock could look like in iOS.

Apple will prepare their Mac OSX for touch screens for their upcoming touch screen iMac.

I have been off with touchscreen iMac but multi touch pad on the MacBook is pretty close to it.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

iPad 4th quarter sales flopped

The iPad did not sell as good as predicted. Analysts did predict that the sales for the iPad will be between 4.7 and 10 million, but only 4.2 million got sold (iPhone and iPod were as expected strong)
Steve jobs did make it clear that there will be no 7 inch iPad, because the screen would be too small. I totally agree a 7 inch is still too close for smart phones. A tablet should be big enough to be an extra device to smart phone and light enough to be more than a notebook replacement.

I was in some earlier blogs wondering if the iPad sales are not so good as expected, because we never did hear an update after the first 30 days. Now i know.

I think the sales are still strong for a device we did even not know we would ever need it. Not many would replace their desktop or notebook. It replaces netbooks, but many people did buy their netbook just less than 18 months.

But it is still more than kindle or nooks got sold. Both don't show numbers. However Amazon sold 22 million kindle books (Business insider). In average an user has bought 10 books this year. This would bring the kindle number to 2.2 million. The nook seems to be under a million.

If we compare the iPad numbers with netbooks then the numbers look bad for the iPad. There are so far estimated 36 million net books sold this year (myce). However this is only 3 million more than last year.

The question is why the iPad is not selling so good. Is the price too high? Too much competition?

I think neither. The price is not much higher than other tablets and the competition is right now more concentrated on smaller 7 inch screens.

I think the missing front camera is a big minus and the small amount of available applications (35.000 :)) and that the users are not sure yet how to use the iPad. They know it is a household computer and if Facebook would be 100% iPad compatible, the sales would go up.

I think we will see a big jump during holidays and if Apple is offering a new iPad with front camera then the next quarter sales will go double.

I don't think it helps a lot to sell the iPad at Verizon, because the iPad does not really rely on ATT anyway. I use my 3G only at work, otherwise I always use wifi. And as said, most of the people don't carry their iPad around. Most people with iPad have wifi at home, therefore they don't need 3G.

More professional applications for the iPad would helps as well to sell the iPad as notebook replacement at home. Fewer people would buy netbooks. They only buy them because they have what their notebook has (including camera) but much cheaper.

It is really funny, Apple was one of the first companies to have camera (iSight) build into their notebooks, but missed to build it into the iPad.

Will see what comes next in terms of iPad, and somehow, I am still sure Apple will sell much more closer to 8 million a quarter. Android pads will be much more sold next year but none of the manufactures will sell a single item as much as Apple.

Overall pads (android or ios) will be more sold than netbooks in 2012

And this is all Apple needs. They never want to dominate the total market in OS, they want to dominate as hardware company which they do and will a while longer.

If they would want to dominate the OS market they would sell their OS to other manufactures.

If iPads will have a market share like the iPhone (30%) then Apple is market leader as a single hardware company. Never try to compare Apple as software or OS company with Android or Windows. You need to compare them with Nokia, Acer, Dell, IBM, HP etc.

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What app should we build for the iPhone?

A recent count from shows that 50% of all iOS applications are covered by 4 categories.

Interesting that books is leading because there are iBooks, kindle and nook applications for books, but neither of them support small publisher books outside of their network.

 Games, entertainment and education is clearly an identifier that the iPhone and iPod touch is exactly what Steve Jobs wants, and entertainment and educational device.

 It is surprising for me tat social network apps are less than 1%. My guess is that a few social apps are enough to cover all social needs.

 When thinking about an iPhone app, you have to make the decision to build an app which everybody would want but to compete with thousands others, or to build a niche app which has no competition but would not attract every possible user.

 iPhone store has over 280,000 active apps, 140,000 of them are developed for the top 4 categories.
30% of all apps are free and another 32.23% are $0.99.
82% of all apps are less than $2.99

Niche apps are less than 5% of the app store but there average price is $25.5.

 The average application price for all apps is $2.85 and the average games price is only $1.20.

  • Number of apps: 250,000.
  • Number of downloads: 6 billion.
  • Revenue shared between developers: US $1.3 billion.
If my mathematics are correct, it gives us…
  • Average downloads per app: 24,000.
  • Average revenue per app: US $4,444.44.
  • Or taking into account that 30 percent of apps are free (according to 148Apps):
  • Average revenue per paid-app: US $6,259.78.

  Developing an app is the better way to go, if you want to make good money with iPhones. However games are much easier to develop.

 Either way it will be hard to get rich. Best bet is, to have Apple featured your app in their commercials. These apps get an average download of 200,000.

 Or to have a dozen apps or games developed.

 The statistics above are from, and

 It would be interesting to see the splits for the iPad because the iPad is different used than the iPhone. The iPad is a household computer and usually not moving outside of the house. Location based applications and games are less interesting for the iPad. The screen is much bigger, which I would assume would have positive effect on the application prices. The average price should be much higher (twice?).

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why advertisement?

The first ad in the US was printed in 1704 - an announcement seeking a buyer for an Oyster Bay, Long Island, estate, was published in the Boston News-Letter.
Since then advertisement in the US was born and grow a lot.
The USA's first television advertisement was broadcast July 1, 1941. The watchmaker Bulova paid $4 for a placement on New York station WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The 10-second spot displayed a picture of a clock superimposed on a map of the United States, accompanied by the voice-over "America runs on Bulova time."
Ads had always two main targets. Either to build a brand awareness or to attract the consumer with a call to action. Till 1994 the action CTA was a phone number a consumer could call or some coupon in the ad to cut out and to redeem at the store.

But then came the internet.
When HotWired decided to make money from their website in 1994, they set in motion events that would come back to haunt us all: The creation of banner ads.

AT&T was the first to dish over some money to HotWired to display the beast they created, a 468 x 60 banner that came to life on October 25 1994 (source the longest domain name)

The world's first banner was quite the ugly thing as seen below, it directed the consumer to an ATT website.

Internet display advertisement changed a lot since then and gave brands much better statistics about the effects of the ads. Before then, brands had to hire companies like Nielsen to get some statistics about their TV or Radio ads. The method is simple. Take 2000 test consumers and watch them or ask questions.
But with internet it changed and the term CTR was created. Brands could instantly see how many people clicked on their ads.
Yahoo and Google figured out that a click is more important than just showing an Internet ad, because it is easier to measure how many people did click than how many people did recognize the ads.
Therefore brands only pay per click at google, which can cost as much as $200 dollars.
Almost the rest of the world is charging by reach (cost per 1000 views) and marketer then calculate the effective costs by clicks.

At the end Internet is not much different than radio, TV or newspaper.
If a product is promoted on every page the consumer surfs, then this product will burn in the consumer brain and the consumer will eventually buy the product

Trying to think in CTR only would be a very disappointing exercise. In average a click through rate is maybe around 0.12%. And then out of these people 1% might buy a product online directly.

Display ads are building brand awareness not only CTR. For Goggle it is different, they have on their search engine only text ads, it is hard to build brand awareness without logo and visual message.

Soon companies did understand that just having ads is not enough. The ads needed to be targeted to either consumer type and behavior or to content.
They learned that consumers are recognizing brands more if they are in context to the information on the website.
But internet advertisement is in the most part much more difficult and complex than radio or TV advertisement. The reason is that internet users are pro active. They search for something, they read or they communicate.
TV or radio users are just consuming. They listen and watch as a part of getting entertained or to relax. We click commercials away but we are used to them. In the Internet we feel disturbed by ads. This is the big advantage for google text ads we don't recognize them always as ads and click many times on them because we believe that behind the link is the answer of our search.

I believe brands are going to sponsor more and more articles or recipes instead of having display ads. Imagine we print a recipe we like and one of the items is named as Hershey chocolate, would we buy a different chocolate?

Facebook is a good chance for companies to reach many consumers, but being one of the ads on the right rail is not the answer. People in Facebook want to communicate or learn about friends, ads have no space for this. But brand pages within Facebook are important but only if the brands understand to communicate with their consumers. I see Facebook as an important part of advertisement. Similar like complains hotlines, they helped to get consumers trust. In the 90es was a study that companies without a hotline for complains had less consumer trust and more negative news than companies with hotlines.

Facebook is able to allow brands to rebuild trust and to let consumers be a part of a product. However brands should not concentrate on trying to sell something through Facebook. Consumers would not like this, if they get the feeling it is all about selling.

Just having a brand page in Facebook and Facebook connect on their websites is not the answer neither. Maybe now, because it is new, but not in the long run.

The Facebook page needs to be update frequently, and more important, it should not be censored what fans are writing. The Facebook page needs to have personality, spelling errors or uncommon entries are desired. Trying to run each entry through a QA and management sign off will take the personality out of the page.

The same for other social networks and Twitter and blogs. Companies need to jump over their shadow and trust their employees. No tweet will be read when it sounds like advertisement. No blog will be tagged if it is just about selling to consumer.

Biggest success for brands will come from consumer trust and believe.
It is not about how many users did click on an ad and buy a product. It is about how many consumers will remember a brand when they go shopping and it is about how many users will buy a product they would never have bought before.

Display ads can help to build the awareness and Facebook and Twitter can help to transport the message inside and outside of the digital world.

Display ads will not go away but their measurement will be different. A big reason for this are social networks like Facebook.
Internet is still young and we are still trying to figure out how advertisement should and could work the best. What will be the right format?

To be honest i have no idea, i am still trying to figure it out. If somebody has an idea please write it here, i would like to hear it, I mean read it.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

After Gingerbread comes Ice Cream

Google Android version 4.0 will be named ice cream. But we are still in 2.2 mode and next major version 3.0 is named gingerbread.
Google has always named its Android releases after desserts.

We will see 3.0 end of this year and ice cream in winter 2011.

The really impressive part is how google is diligent in their long term roadmap and many times they keep their rollout very close to their roadmap defined 12 or 18 months earlier.

The mobile OS' creator has refused to comment beyond acknowledging Gingerbread and Honeycomb, but Forbes noted that Brown would have privileged access to Google's long-term roadmap. He would need to know which features Google wants to implement and what processors would support them. None of Ice Cream's features have been unveiled so far.

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Atomic Tom - 4 iPhones and a great song

A new music group gets a lot of attention for their not so usual performance.

They are riding the NYC subway with 4 iPhones and a speaker system. It is pretty cool. One guy plays on the iPhone drums, the other keyboard and two playing guitar.

The song they are playing is "take me out" and pretty good. It is really an interesting promotion tour.
They taped in the subway a YouTube video of their song. Within a few days they got over 300,000 views.

Hopefully we will see more such cool things done with smart phones.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Spring Hill,United States

Apple TV 2 is not what I expected

Finally I got the new Apple TV. The set up was easy but pretty annoying. You need to use the apple remote which comes with the TV. After network and library is set up you can use your iPhone. Imagine to put your network password in just using the dial wheel on the remote? It takes forever. It would be nice if I would have been able to use my iPhone from the beginning.

Different than the old Apple TV, you do not anymore pair your iPhone directly to the Apple TV. It uses home sharing, which is nice you don't need to put a pascode in. I am not sure if the iPhone remote is working when the iTunes computer is switched off. This os not a big deal for me because my media computer is always on.

The look and feel of the OS is the same as before but uses iOS instead of Mac OS X. I was expecting the look is more like iPad or iPhone.

The biggest differences is that there is no hard rive, which makes the Apple TV very silent and does not get so hot like the old one. It has only a few connections in the back, for HDMI, network, power, USB and optical sound. But if you use HDMI you don't need to connect sound. My Plasma is connected to a Bose system for the sound.

There are some more internet functions like flickr, MobileMe, podcast and netflix. I was hoping that there is as well a browser, but it might come.

There is no central search that i could search through all my media, flickr, YouTube and netflix. The search is always only within the selected category.

Hence the Apple TV has no hard drive anymore, everything gets streamed even the apple store movies. You can't buy them anymore. You would need to use your iTunes computer to buy the movies. This gives us some exercise at night when we found a movie we like to buy and need to get up to go to the iTunes computer.
But streaming the movies and shows are now much cheaper. Starting at 99 cent per episode.

I have at home a normal internet speed connection, not fast by in theory 10MB down stream. My set up is a little complicated, because I have 3 wireless networks and my apple TV goes to one and then the other to connect to the Internet.

Streaming from iTunes is like before pretty good. However Netflix streaming is everything than good.

The pictures is flickering like light on and off. Fast actions have extremely delays.

I will try to connect to Ethernet to see if it helps, or I might need to upgrade my internet connection.

Apple could have build in a flash memory which allows to stream 30 seconds into memory and then starts to play movie, this would help to get a much better netflix experience.

Right now i am happy that I did not sell my old Apple TV, the old one is big and missing netflix, but it has a hard drive that i don't need to have my iTunes running and allows me to buy movies not only streaming.

Pretty sure 2 or 3 more updates will make the new Apple TV perfect. And don't forget is is only $99 which is a third of the the old one and a third of google TV.

And it is pretty small only a quarter of the Apple TV 1. Perfect device to hide it behind the TV.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

NY Times Editor choice replaced with full version

I am reading the NY Times Editor Choice since I have my iPad. Today was an update on the NY Times app. It is now replaced with a version which has over 25 categories (instead of 6) and each category has much more articles.

However with this update are coming not only benefits. First I had to sign up and create an account which was not necessary before. This means i will get now NYT newsletters with advertisement.

NYT is using now your location (it asks if you want to) to serve targeted ads.

The application does need much longer to load and the sections don't get always updated. The user has to click on the update button.

Because there are more articles the application looks more like WSJ than before. I think there are now too much articles opener on one page and too less images. It lolls partly extremely crowded. The first page of each section looks like before with 4 or 5 featured articles and photos, but second, third etc pages have no photos only text to get more featured articles on one page. It is harder to read. The default text setting is too small. I guess they tried to make more similar to their paper print instead of trying to get best experience for iPad.

Besides this the application looks a little different but works the same. It has one extra navigation on the bottom to navigate back to previous page which slides away to open more reading space.

The biggest difference is that NYT will start in 2011 to charge for the content. Right now the content if free like the Editor Choice version.

Please follow the the link if you want to know more about the upcoming Pay Wall from NYT.

NY Times did not inform the users in their last Editor Choice edition which I would have expected.

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Location:Willowood Ln,Spring Hill,United States

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apple will give sneak preview for next Mac OSX

Apple is doing well. iPad and iPhone sales are higher than expected, the last 12 months nobody tallied about Apple's other business. The none mobile part.

But now on October 20th Apple will host a sneak preview of new Mac OSX. Which might be named lion( all last releases were animal names) as the invitation below could indicate.

But the big question will be, what is new?

We can expect that iChat gets upgraded to face time. The OS will have stronger integration of Apple's social hubs like ping.

Most of all the OS UI might slightly change to more look and feel like the iPad. The dock could look like in iOS.

Apple will prepare their Mac OSX for touch screens for their upcoming touch screen iMac.

Important to know Mac OSX is almost 10 years old, MS Windows changed in this time 3 times. Apple however did only upgrades and not totally redesign their OS.

Pretty sure we will find soon more speculations about the new features, and if not we will know after the 20th.

The company’s stock reached a high of $301.96 in Wednesday trading, surpassing $300 for the first time. It closed at $300.14, up 0.5 percent.

Investors have been upbeat about Apple as its iPad sales have surpassed initial expectations and will most likely continue to grow as consumers start buying gifts for the holidays.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Spring Hill,United States