Thursday, August 23, 2007

Playboy goes back to school with website

Editor's note: The best line is "Executives declined to say how much they've invested in Playboy U, saying only that the effort is "sizable" and that the advertising-supported online community may ultimately bring in revenue." Can anyone show me a content site with ads that is actually turning a profit or can be described as lucrative?

From The Globe And Mail - Playboy is heading back to school to boost the bottom line. Riding a wave of renewed popularity among consumers around the globe, Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire is set to launch a sexy social networking site dedicated solely to college students, its latest online venture as it tries to reinvigorate its stagnant finances.

The launch of Playboy U, which has similar features to those found on Facebook, comes as Playboy's 54-year-old magazine continues to lose money and readers. | Read full article

YouTube to carry ‘overlay' ads

From The Globe And Mail - Video advertising is coming to YouTube, but it won't be the type common at sites elsewhere.

Starting Wednesday, the popular video-sharing site plans to feature semitransparent “overlay” ads at the bottom of selected video clips. The ad disappears after about 10 seconds if the viewer does nothing; the featured clip automatically pauses if the viewer clicks on the overlay to launch the full pitch. | Read full article

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Online Ad Platform Launches For Community Newspapers

From Online Media Daily - WHEN IT COMES TO HYPER-LOCAL media, the undisputed champs are community newspapers. Now, three associations representing more than 500 community papers have signed on to roll out a new online display and classified ad platform,, developed by Kaesu, Inc., a three-year old firm based in Budd Lake, NJ. The Mid-Atlantic Community Newspaper Association, the Free Community Papers of New England and the Independent Free Papers of America still need to get their individual members on board, but Kaesu cofounder Joe Nicastro said that more than 50 papers are already participating. | Read full article

Phone Companies Grabbed Most of New Broadband Subscribers Last Quarter

From Research Brief - According to a new study by Leichtman Research Group, the nineteen largest cable and telephone providers in the US, representing about 94% of the market acquired over 1.7 million net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in the second quarter of 2007. The top broadband providers now account for nearly 58 million subscribers, with cable companies having 31.5 million, and telephone companies over 26.4 million. | Read full article

YouTube Launches InVideo Ad Platform

From Online Media Daily - GOOGLE'S YOUTUBE UNVEILED A NEW ad model, offering advertisers like New Line Cinema and BMW the option to run rich media and video ads within both professional and user-generated content.

The YouTube InVideo Ads are semi-transparent overlays that appear in the bottom 20% of the video player. The rich media animations show up 15 seconds after the chosen content begins, with the overlay lasting up to 10 seconds. The overlays also have interactive functionality, allowing users to click through to an advertiser's linked URL--or to launch a new player within the original window that will run a video ad and bring the user back to the content at any time). | Read full story

Bebo Teams With Microsoft For IM

From Online Media Daily - SEEKING A YOUNG AND VIBRANT audience for its Windows Live Web services, Microsoft plans to launch an instant-messaging service on social network Bebo this fall.

Going one step further, Bebo and Windows Live will be synchronized to allow users of other services to exchange contact information and communicate. | Read full story

GenieKnows Unveils Game-Focused Search Site

From Online Media Daily - HALIFAX-BASED IT INTERACTIVE SERVICES, PARENT company of the brand of vertical search engines, announced the launch of, a game-focused search portal. will provide searchers with game-related information--including reviews, blogs, discussion groups and how-to guides, as well as a search engine with algorithms tweaked to find the most game-relevant information. | Read full story

Braun Apple

From SpiekerBlog - Braun collectors like myself have known for a long time where some of the ideas came from that led to the perforated-aluminium-look of some Apple computers. I took a few photographs of my world receiver T1000 from 1962 (!). Radii and perforations look almost identical to the ones on a MacBook Pro or a MacPro, 45 years later. | Read full article

Free Newspapers Lead Way Online in Europe

From MediaShift - As big newspapers struggle with shifting business models, a new breed of free newspapers have have found their niche in many parts of the world. According to the Newspaper Innovation blog, 36 million free papers are distributed daily in 49 countries. As newspaper subscriptions lag, advertisers turn to these papers that have a captive audience of commuters desperate for a way to while away their time. | Read full article

Google Conquers the Stars After Fully Invading Earth

From Gizmodo - After taking over planet Earth Google is all over the stars like James T. Kirk on blonde alien chicks: they just added a new option to watch the skies in Google Earth. | Read full article

Charmr: Solving human problems with design

From Jeffrey Veen - This week in Washington DC, my former colleagues at Adaptive Path are holding their annual User Experience Week conference. Part of me is a little sad - this is the first one I've ever missed and was quite a labor of love when I was still with them. But another part of me is proud and inspired by what they've been showing these last few days.

In particular, they unveiled the Charmr project: A 9-week research and prototyping effort inspired by an “Open Letter to Steve Jobs” posted by Amy Tenderich on her Diabetes Mine blog. In that letter, Amy points out that far more design effort seems to be going into devices that entertain rather than equipment that keeps people alive. | Read full article

The Great Advertising Share Shift: Google Sucks Life Out Of Old Media

From Internet Outsider - ... U.S. advertising revenue at all 19 companies increased 8% year over year in Q2, to $13.8 billion ($55 billion annualized). The online portion of this pie grew from $3 billion to $4.2 billion (23% share to 30% share). The offline portion, meanwhile, shrank from $9.9 billion to $9.6 billion (77% share to 70% share). The online companies, in other words, picked up 7 percentage points of market share in a single year. | Read full article

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Offline Shopping Never Had It This Good

From New Tee Vee - The fullest incarnation of Web video has arrived, in both the best and worst sense, with cool applications of technology and crass commercialism all wrapped into one package. It’s called SeenON! Shopisodes, and it’s a custom Web video player that helpfully directs us mid-stream to details about what anything in the foreground or background is, and how to buy it. | Read full article

MTV, RealNetworks Challenge Apple Music

From The New York Times - Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks and digital media company RealNetworks announced Tuesday a digital music joint venture that will compete with Apple's dominant trinity of the iTunes store, iPod player and iPhone.

MTV will merge its Urge music service into the Rhapsody offering from RealNetworks Inc. The new offering will be accessible on computers and music players and integrated with Verizon Wireless's VCast multimedia service for cell phones. | Read full article

Paramount to Drop Blu-Ray HD DVDs

From The New York Times - Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will offer next-generation DVDs in the HD DVD format and drop support for Blu-ray, further complicating the race between the competing technologies.

Monday's announcement affects the upcoming DVD releases of the blockbusters ''Shrek the Third'' and ''Transformers,'' along with movies distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films. | Read full article

A Fourth Way to Deliver TV to the Home

From The New York Times - One of the most covert startups in Silicon Valley, the temporarily named Building B, is lifting its head up today to announce a round of funding. Though executives at the Belmont, Calif., company still aren’t saying much about their plans, they appear to have sizable ambitions: Building B is aiming to bring both television and other media content, restyled for the Internet age, into your living room in competition with your cable, satellite or telco’s IPTV service. | Read full article

Ad Growth for AOL Called Vital to a Remake

From The New York Times - Just over a year ago, AOL unveiled a radical plan to remake itself into a business built on advertising from one driven by Internet access subscriptions.

To a great extent, AOL had little choice in the matter. Customers were rapidly deserting its once-lucrative dial-up access service, and retaining them was costly.

... But a precipitous slowdown in advertising growth has raised new questions about AOL’s transformation plans. | Read full article

The Web Way to Magazine Ad Sales

From The New York Times - THE September issue of Vogue arrives on newsstands today, clocking in at a record 727 advertising pages. That “extra-extra large!” size, as the cover proudly proclaims, is more than 100 pages fatter than last year and seems to provide evidence of a healthy appetite for print advertising in the fashion industry.

Most of those pages were sold with the added value of an Internet feature that Vogue is introducing today: a broadband channel that aims to serve as both an entertainment destination and a shopping Web site. | Read full article

Coming Soon: Web Video in High Definition

From The New York Times - Video on the Web is going high-def.

Today Adobe, the San Jose software maker, will announce that it is integrating a standard format for high definition video into the newest version of its immensely popular Flash video player. Flash players currently sit on 98 percent of all desktop computers and hundreds of millions of portable and handheld devices. Sites like YouTube, and favor Flash over competing players like Apple’s QuickTime and Microsoft’s Windows Media, since Flash is relatively easy to develop for and videos play directly in the browser. | Read full article

American Airlines Faces Uphill Battle In Trademark Suit Over Google Keyword Ads

From Online Media Daily - DESPITE ITS STRONG BRAND AWARENESS and deep pockets to pursue the litigation, American Airlines faces an uphill battle in its suit seeking damages from Google for allowing rivals to buy keyword ads triggered by its own trademarks.

The suit, which was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, seeks unspecified damages from Google for allowing visitors who enter trademarked phrases such as its frequent-flyer program name "Aadvantage" or "" to see rival "sponsored links." | Read full article

User-Generated Content: Is Anyone Watching?

From Online Media Daily - YOU KNOW THAT OLD PHILOSOPHICAL question--if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, I started thinking about that as it applies to the explosion of Web and cell phone-based user-generated content (UGC). Who will watch the billions of videos being posted?

When you take out the extraordinary amount of content on the "user-generated" sites that is really stuff caught on TiVo, will anyone really care to watch the stuff that "users" actually make? | Read full article

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