Community Review MMOG

I don’t play Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG), Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), or Massive Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter games (MMOFPS), but I bet everyone knows someone who does. My nephews play, my friends children play, and my friends play. MOG (Massive Online Games) are typically subscription based services that host massive amounts of people in worlds that give them an opportunity to play and interact with each other at any given moment.
For this post I wanted to ask my friends what about online gaming appealed to them the most. The first thing they all mentioned was theme or genre. Some of them liked playing war based games like “Call of Duty” (MMOFPS), a VP of a company I worked for liked playing “World of Warcraft” (MMORPG), a friend and her husband like playing “City of Heroes/City of Villains” (MMORPG).

Then second most important aspect was the graphics. They needed to like the total look and feel of the game. The graphics needed to be detailed, realistic, have good color, good sound, and good sound effects.

The third most important thing on the list is that the Super Group needed to be with like minded people. My friends wanted to play with people who, as they put it “keep chat humorous, adult, yet kid-friendly… and mist of the people we play with are in professions like cops, social workers, computer experts and some kids, Its not a bunch of hyped up 12 year olds on Red Bulls and Pixie Sticks…hehe.” “We’ve (her and her husband) met some of them personally.” I have a feeling my friends would say that all three of these aspects are equally important, but coincidentally this is the order they all described what they liked most about playing online games.

As far as spending goes, the US spends the most on MOG games, with Britain, German, and French players following behind. More and more games are going mobile and with the increasing popularity of virtual economies it only looks like The future for online gaming is going to get better.


Speaker Review – IPG

IPG Emerging Media Lab is a subsidiary company of IPG (Interpublic Goup of Companies).  They’ve been bringing cutting-edge media technologies to demonstrate their capabilities to advertisers and agencies.

IPG provides a wide spectrum of marketing services. Core services include: -performing primary research about trends
– Consulting with other marketing professionals
– Maintaing a knowledge base of papers and data related to digital marketing and tools
– Hosting events and forging strategic partnerships, with the idea that IPG provides a unique, cutting edge environment, and a group of core experts that will benefit clients.
– Relationship building. IPG connects clients with subject matter experts.

IPG’s website makes them appear to be more focused on ‘connecting the dots’ than on drawing the map…


Industry Round Up 4.25.11

Industry Round Up

By Brigette Kidd

TechCrunch and Mashable have carved out an important niche in the industry. They are both the go to sites to stay on top of the latest changes in the industry.   Here is some from this week:

Facebook Launches the ‘Send’ button for Selective Sharing.  This will be a friend to Facebook’s ‘like’ button. All you have to do is click on a webpage that has the ’send’ button to share content with a select group of Facebook friends or any standard email addresses. This is a strategic move by Facebook, which has a mission to reinvent email using their own “modern messaging system”, as stated by Mark Zuckerberg.

WuFoo sold to SurveyMonkey for $35 Million. This is an inspirational story because WuFoo started with only $118k back in 2006. The online form maker has helped process over $100 million in transactions using its forms. This is the third purchase made by SurveyMonkey, following its acquisitions of ClickTools and Precision Polling.

Facebook Gets Sued for $1. Last February David Fagin, an AOL News Writer was blocked from sending friend requests from his Facebook account. He was blocked and labeled a “spammer” by Facebook and warned that his account would be totally inactivated if he did not stop his actions. Mr. Fagin is suing Facebook for $1.

Amazon Server Trouble! Some of Amazon’s AWS services have been experiencing technical difficulties.  AWS is the company’s cloud computing platform. A few of the sites impacted by this problem are Reddit, Foursquare and HootSuite.

Yahoo Grabs IntoNow for $20-$30 Million. IntoNow is the media check-in game that launched just 12 weeks ago! Facebook and Twitter were interested in the startup, but Yahoo grabbed it fast! IntoNow went from 0 to $30 million in four months.

PlaceIQ will Target Block by Block.  This mobile advertising data startup with $1 million in angel money will gather data from cell phones users block by block. Using GPS coordinates, zip codes and different times of the day, PlaceIQ will gather data and provide information to marketers.


TED Blog | A chance to audition your own TED Talk!

On May 24, we’re holding the first-ever audition for TED Talks. It will take place in New York in front of a live audience made up of TED staff and members of the TED community. The audition will be recorded, and the best talks could either be posted on TED.com or win an invitation for a full-on mainstage presentation at TED2012 in California early next year. Make a one-minute video to qualify for this audition. Video deadline is April 25, 2011.

We’re holding this audition to give a chance to the undiscovered talent we know is out there — and especially talent that can help us continue to reinvent the ancient art of the spoken word. At TED2012, our whole theme will be devoted to this. We’re calling it “Full Spectrum” — the rich use of technologies, formats and styles to make an impact on an audience. And that’s what we’ll be looking for in this audition.

Imagine:
– a ‘slide-blizzard,’ a presentation containing more images than words
– a talk accompanied by an imaginative soundtrack
– a talk given in front of a custom-animated movie
– clever ‘choreography’ between a speaker’s words and what we see on-screen
– improv / audience interaction
– intense campfire-style storytelling
– a brilliant performance (music, spoken-word, dance … surprise us!)
– a rant delivered at blitzkrieg pace, an intelligent comic routine, a mystery
– a remarkable new invention
– or… just an amazingly good classic TED talk with an ingenious ‘idea worth spreading’

We’d like to test some of these presentation formats and get exposed to any other innovations that may be lurking out there in how to impact an audience.

(Please note, if you submit a standard pitch for a company, concept or cause, you have zero chance of being picked.)

If you’d like to try your hand, here’s what you need to do:

1. Create a one-minute video to indicate your idea for a Full Spectrum presentation, using any of the above techniques or something brand-new. Tell us what you’ll talk about, and then show us how you’ll do it in Full Spectrum style. We’re looking for powerful presentation ideas — the video itself doesn’t need to be polished, it’s only for our internal review. It just needs to give us a sense of you and demonstrate that your presentation could have impact.

2. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo.

3. Then fill out this online entry form and give us your details, including a link to the video. IMPORTANT: Forms are due April 25, 2011, at 11:59pm Eastern time.

A judging panel will select the most compelling presentation ideas from your video submissions. We’ll invite those finalists to audition their Full Spectrum talks live at in New York on May 24, in front of the TED curation team and an invited audience. The actual audition itself will range from 3 to 6 minutes, so you’ll need to pick a subject that can be managed in that time frame.

We’re excited to see what you have to offer!

Important dates:
Deadline for submitting your one-minute video and online entry form: Monday, April 25, 2011, at 11:59pm Eastern time.
Finalists will be contacted by Monday, May 9, 2011.
Finalists are responsible for their own travel to New York and accomodation.
Finalist presentations in New York: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, in the evening. More details TBD.
TED2012: Full Spectrum happens February 27-March 2, 2012, in California.

Questions? Write to fullspectrum@ted.com, or post to the Full Spectrum open thread on TED Conversations.

– The TED team

via blog.ted.com


Book Review: The Zen of Social Media Marketing

By Shama Hyder Kaban

The title of “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” suggests that it is a philosophical approach to social media and marketing, but it’s title is misleading. While it may be thin on philosophy and introspection, it is a decent beginners “how-to” book that teaches readers about successful online social media strategies and ways to leverage social media tools for any size business.

It provides insight into how and why social media works; how it’s used to drive traffic to your website; guidelines for using Twitter, FaceBook and Linkedin; suggests tips for how to save time and energy while implementing a social media marketing plan; and provides insights on leaders in online marketing and entrepreneurs.

The book is an easy read because it uses non technical language. It’s best suited for people who are are looking for a general idea about social media marketing and how to get started.  For those who are more advance and are already familiar with various tools and platforms, it might be a waste of time. This book didn’t take long to read and was not as detailed as I would have liked it to be.

The book was written by Shama Hyder Kaban, a young entrepreneur who started her online full-service web agency right out of grad school with very little resources.  According to her website, 100% of her client relationships were the results of online efforts.

Perhaps the most useful way to describe her book is to break it down into a simple outline with the key information from each section:

Chapter 1
Talks about Online Marketing Basics and how traditional marketing has evolved over the years–where TV, radio and print are “one way street” marketing.  Kaban compares traditional marketing to today’s tools–where the audience are more engaged and informed.  She points describes the intersection of TV and tools like FaceBook and Twitter.

One take way from this chapter is the Framework for Marketing online (ACT):
A = Attract (Get attention or stand out. Bring traffic to site)
1.  Your brand – summed up in one sentence
2.  Outcome – Sum it up in one line
3.  Simple – Help your clients make more money
4.  Differentiator- What makes you different from your competitors?

C = Convert, convert people into consumers and customers.
1.  Consumption of Valuable Content + Time = Client. The more qualified the buyer, the fewer the returns.
2.  Best conversion tool, you website. FB, Twitter, Blogs can’t act as substitutes. You don’t own your social media profiles and contact list. You can convey only so much information on your profile with social media outlets. Keep in mind, social media is not a selling tool! It is an attracting tool.

T = Transform, social proof is the theory that we are more likely to do something when we see others doing it.
1.   If your service or product doesn’t deliver, you are out of luck.
2.  Tell a story. This involves telling your customers’ story—the story of what they achieved through your service or product.

Chapter 2
Talks about websites, blogs, and Search Engine Optimiztion
It starts off with explaining why a website is important and how it’s the online equivalent of your office. People expect that your website will match their perception of your business, and that it will serve to educate, market and sell (described as “EMS Theory”). It also makes a point that blogs are websites but websites are not necessarily blogs–and describes how the functions of each can be mutually beneficial.

Chapter 3
Talks about social media marketing and why it’s a good idea. Kaban lays out three strengths of Social Media Marketing:
1. Social media sites are where the people are.
2. Trust in advertising is eroding. We trust our friends more than we trust what TV is telling us.
3. Social communities are breeding grounds for interaction.

Chapters 4-6
These chapters go in depth about the leading tools for social media marketing, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Kaban makes a compelling case for why companies should use these tools. For example, she lays out the case that Facebook has more than 500 million active users and constantly growing. She shows how to navigate through Facebook and what each part does (profile, groups, pages/fan and events). The chapters about Twitter and LinkedIn follow the same format, and will provide novice readers will a good overview of how the tools can be leveraged for connecting with the public.

Chapter 7
Kaban suggests that it is a good idea to incorporate video into your website because it is the fastest growing Social Media sector. A significant portion of what people seek online is video based content, and with the success and penetration of websites like YouTube, video has become an essential tool.

Chapter 8
Kaban makes a very strong case for Creating a Social Media Policy before getting too far along. She says that it is important to “strategize first”, and that before you create a single profile, you should map out your overall strategy. What will you use to attract? What will you use to convert? What will you use to transform? Social media marketing is a long-term strategy; be patient and you will see results.

Chapter 9
The last chapter provides a decent summary of the whole book — and continues to make the case for using social media tools to attract more business, and connect will more users. Kaban makes the obvious point that behind every Twitter name or Facebook profile is a real person. The goal is to connect with that person.


Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything

Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams is a book about large communities collaborating on projects which evolve and adapt with time. The strange part is that Wikinomics is a book written by two people, not a community, and it is already woefully out of date. The authors make some confusing references to 2010, due to a recent, half-hearted attempt at a revision. But the majority of the book was written in 2006 and it shows. Badly.

They talk a lot about MySpace and make no reference to the financial crisis or smart phones. And, at one point, the authors discuss the possibility that one day Apple might make a portable, pocket computer. What, like the iPhone?

I can’t blame the authors for not knowing the future (although I can blame them for the sloppy revision). But, I couldn’t help thinking, if this book were a wiki, someone would have updated it long ago. I think the problem for me is that writing a book about wikis and mass-collaboration just seems contradictory, like having a conversation about Twitter through telegraph.

I decided to put the irony behind me and just enjoy the book on its own merits. But I found myself distracted again. This book uses more jargon than a bad comp lit seminar. I couldn’t help cringing at made-up words like prosumers, b-webs and ideagoras. I just wish the authors would forget trying to coin hip-sounding lingo and stick to the point.

They could use a lesson in brevity, too. Like several other business books I have read, the authors have a couple really good points, but they hammer them over our heads until we’re numb. In a book that is in large part about efficiency, they sure waste a lot of space, presumably just so the book is thick enough to look good on a shelf.

Nonetheless, I found the main thesis compelling.  The authors make a forceful case that mass-collaboration can produce results faster and more efficiently than traditional methods. The authors encourage companies to take an open approach to innovation and, basically, put the public to work for them.

In other words, this book describes the crowdsourcing phenomenon before the term was even coined–although I bet the authors wish they had coined it!

Perhaps most worthwhile are the well-explained examples of how businesses have used mass collaboration and open sourcing to their benefit. I particularly like how they took examples from the tech world and elsewhere. I enjoyed reading about the enormous success of a gold mining company that made all of its geological data public and held a contest imploring others to help them find new gold. On the tech side, I found the discussion of web APIs informative and it still seemed timely in 2011.

While they make a convincing case for companies to open source, the authors would have done well to consider the possible problems this can cause. An open approach may have helped Google, Procter & Gamble and IBM, but even these companies must defend their intellectual property. The authors do not clearly articulate when to share and when to protect innovations.

Also, I also would have liked to have read more discussion on how mass-collaboration can be used outside the business world, for example, on art projects.

All in all, I would recommend this book, but mostly for the interesting examples. They convincingly illustrate how mass-collaboration can be used effectively and how it can be a profitable business decision. Many CEOs would do well to take this advice, but they should take it with a grain of salt. And maybe an aspirin–they’re going to need it after being pounded over the head with the same information over and over again.


Industry roundup

1. Search marketing will grow 16% this year to $19.3 billion and 74% of North American ad agencies say their clients use Facebook, according to a study released Wednesday.

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization reported that search marketing will grow 16% this year. A survey of 920 companies was given at the beginning of the year. The report shows a rise in mobile marketing and local search was cited as the trend with the most significance with behavioral targeting is becoming increasingly important. They also discovered that more marketers are outsourcing their SEO and social media to agencies rather than having an in-house staff.

2. Why Social Media Reinvigorates the Market for Quality Journalism
Content being created, updated and pushed by links and tags to increase its relevance and ranking in search results has been a standard practice, but sites are getting more and longer page views when readers come from social media sites. Journalists have always grabbed information and put it into context to create a story, but content created by social sites are making it so users are doing the reporting. I really enjoyed this article. You can read more here.

3. Rent & Watch Movies in Your Web Browser With Walmart’s Vudu
Walmart purchased Vudu in February and instead of being a set-top box they are now licensing the service to consumer electronics makers. Walmart is a huge retailer of electronics and televisions which gives them the ability to drive sales of Internet-connected TVs with Vudu and eventually content delivery. Users can rent or buy movies and TV shows from Vudu.com, even if they don’t own a Vudu-compatible TV or Blu-ray player. Vudu has more than 17,000 titles in its library with a big focus on new releases and major studio films. Users can rent titles for 24 hours for $3.99, $4.99 or $5.99, depending on quality level. You can read more about this here.

4. Internet Ad Revenues Rebounded, Hit Record High in 2010
According to a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau revenues from Internet advertising broke records last year. Online ad revenue jumped 15% to $26 billion compared to a 3.4% decline in 2009.

Search took the biggest share of revenues, display advertising accounted for 38% of the market, but the biggest category growth was in sponsorships.

Here are some of the other categories and you can find more of the report here.

– Classified advertising accounted for 10% of revenues for 2010 or $2.6 billion, which was up 15% from 2009′s $2.3 billion.
– Lead-generation revenues were down 8% to $1.3 billion.
– Email marketing revenues fell 33%, to $195 million. That’s just 1% of the market.
– Mobile advertising, which hadn’t previously been included in the IAB’s report, is now estimated to account for between $550 million and $650 million.

5. Apple Adds “Do Not Track” Features to Safari
Safari includes an option that lets users prevent cookies from tracking their browsing behavior.
Congress recently introduced a Do Not Track Me Online bill that would allow consumers to opt out of online tracking. It would work a lot like the Do Not Call registry, which allows consumers to opt out of telemarketing phone calls. And the FTC has been exploring do-not-track options since last year.

Some major web browsers have preempted this law by adding do-not-track features on their browsers. Firefox 4 allows users to opt out of advertising-related tracking. Internet Explorer 9 has an option called “Tracking Protection” that allows users to turn off third-party ad tracking software. Google released a Chrome extension called Keep My Opt-Outs, allowing Chrome users the ability to opt-out of data tracking.

6. U.S. Government Shuts Down 3 Biggest Online Gambling Sites
The Government shut down the three online gambling sites located in the United States. Federal prosecutors accuse the sites of illegal gambling, bank fraud and money laundering and the government filed a $3 billion civil suit to recover profits. Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker allegedly disguised billions of dollars of gambling payments as online store purchases.

7. Startup Aims To Build Billboards That Target You, Personally
Immersive Labs introduced billboard technology that combines a web cam, analytics, Twitter, Foursquare information to decide what the best ad to display at that moment is.