DIGITAL UTOPIA / A new breed of technologists envisions a democratic world improved by the Internet

In an article with the headline „DIGITAL UTOPIA A new breed of technologists envisions a democratic world improved by the Internet“ Dan Fost writes about the Hippie-esque dream of the social web:

Dubbed Digital Utopians by some, and Web 2.0 innovators by others, this latest wave of tech gurus champion community over commerce, sharing ideas over sharing profits. By using Web sites that stress group thinking and sharing, these Internet idealists want to topple the power silos of Hollywood, Washington, Wall Street and even Silicon Valley. And like countless populists throughout history, they hope to disperse power and control, an idea that delights many and horrifies others.

All very idealistic, and considering the following quote, Web2.0 seems to simply follow on an ageless debate:

The core of the Web 2.0 movement resurrects an age-old debate about governance and democracy, one that was argued by political philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Alexis de Tocqueville: Are the benefits of democracy — taking advantage of what Web 2.0 proponents call the wisdom of the crowds — worth risking the dark side of mob rule?

Tim O’Reilly, who coined the term, doesn’t quite see it that way:

Yet while people, perhaps reacting to the greed that fueled the IPOs of the dot-com years, saw in Web 2.0 a chance to create a new collectivism, O’Reilly said, „I don’t see it that way at all.“

Web 2.0, he says, is about business.

He says many tech movements start out with similar idealism, only to give way to capitalism. For instance, O’Reilly says, Napster introduced file sharing, but now iTunes has people comfortable with paying for music online.

Interesting article
, and an inspiring (yet rather useless) discussion.

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Where did you loose 50% of your ad budget? wants to revise a famous quote by John Wanamaker:

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half. -John Wanamaker, US department store merchant (1838 – 1922)

I know the quote, of course, as I suppose everyone in advertising does. But I didn’t know it was of someone as unknown as this chap. On the contrary, I was almost tempted to assign the quote to Mark Twain, purely because lately if feels like most thoughtful quotes come from Mark Twain, as if he is some sort of a quote-goat anytime people don’t know the real source.

In the same blog post, they write:

The advent of interactive media and online measurement has allowed marketers to target advertising messages much more precisely. Morover, it is possible to access comprehensive data on the viewers of your campagin: page views, geographic location, clicks, links, etc.
Is it time that we revised the 50/50 Wanamaker quote? Should it be more like 70/30 now?

I ain’t sure that the hard measurements that the web provides, should redefine investments alone. This might sound strange coming from someone working in digital marketing. But if you think about it: applying these measurements, you de-value the web to a purely interactional medium (which it is, most of the time, admittingly). However, by that you omitt all the effects of the contacts people have with your brand that cannot be exactly measured:

  • The impression an ad made with that one page view, even if the user didn’t click on it.
  • time spent interacting with the ad piece all together
  • triggered purchase consideration, fulfilled in brick&mortar store

Online Advertising can be measured and therefore it should be. Always.
But we should not forget, that there are so called key performance indicators that can help us understand the effect of advertising, and that can’t be measured by interaction, but purely by qualitative research. Asking the target audience about their perception of the brand, the channel interaction, etc.
Classical Advertising has been working with this kind of research all the time. And while it never helped to solve the puzzle of where the 50% of investments „got lost“, I think, purely relying on data measured through interaction, will not help either. It sounds more like a quick fix of Marketeers trying to answer tough questions by providing hard results – irrespectively of context.

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Google’s CPG Blog

German Blogger Robert Basic points me to a new blog by Google, which does not promote Google services, but instead it writes about how the CPG industry is tackling online marketing. Which makes this whole blog a service to this industry. And lets us guess about the relative importance of this industry for Google…

Our motto: all the news from Google’s ad team that fits in your fridge or pantry…and maybe a little bit more. […] Our sales teams are organized by industry so that we can focus on the distinctive qualities and business needs of our advertisers and marketers.

[..] Our goal for the blog is to communicate with you, our advertisers and agencies. We’ll talk about the ways in which CPG is tackling the changing world of online marketing and how we work with advertisers to create the best experience for their customers. We’ll also strive to keep you on top of relevant news from Google that can affect CPG.

A good idea. But will people read it? Only the long tail run can tell us.

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Back on the Blog.

After nearly a month of silence for which I can blame nothing but laziness, I am back on the blog.

In the meantime, my personal systems admin (my brother) has migrated all my webstuff on to a completely new server, I have upgraded to WP 2.0.5. and installed new plugins, I had a week of vacation (the first this year) and I also enjoyed some sparetime in grey October…

Which means, I have a lot of catch up to do on what has been happening… Or may be I just delete all unread RSS Feeds and start new.

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