Try this: An exercise in futility

Joseph Jaffe is asking us to take part in his „exercise in futility“.

He asks us to leisurely watch television and then answer a few apparently easy questions:

  • how many commercials in totality do you think you watched?
  • how many commercials did you remember?
  • of these commercials, how many brands did you remember (as opposed to „the one with the bunnies“
  • of these commercials, how many do you think told you something you didn’t know, offered up something of value, made you think differently about the brand and/or made you want to buy (or consider to buy) that particular brand/product/service
  • Bonus assignment: did any one or more commercials strike you as being particularly original, progressive, innovative in terms of message, call-to-action etc.?

I can see his point. But do take into account: if there was a similar questionnaire about regular online advertising, the result would be similarly bad (or even worse). If I read his book right, then his point is more about the irrelevance of this kind of advertising. Push advertising, unasked for, without any engaging element to it…

Downsides of Participation Inequality

Jakob Nielsen has some interesting views about the downsides of the 1% rule that I blogged about. In his article
Participation Inequality: Lurkers vs. Contributors in Internet Communities
he lists those „Downsides of Participation Inequality“

The problem is that the overall system is not representative of Web users. On any given user-participation site, you almost always hear from the same 1% of users, who almost certainly differ from the 90% you never hear from. This can cause trouble for several reasons:

  • Customer feedback. If your company looks to Web postings for customer feedback on its products and services, you’re getting an unrepresentative sample.
  • Reviews. Similarly, if you’re a consumer trying to find out which restaurant to patronize or what books to buy, online reviews represent only a tiny minority of the people who have experiences with those products and services.
  • Politics. If a party nominates a candidate supported by the „netroots,“ it will almost certainly lose because such candidates‘ positions will be too extreme to appeal to mainstream voters. Postings on political blogs come from less than 0.1% of voters, most of whom are hardcore leftists (for Democrats) or rightists (for Republicans).
  • Search. Search engine results pages (SERP) are mainly sorted based on how many other sites link to each destination. When 0.1% of users do most of the linking, we risk having search relevance get ever more out of whack with what’s useful for the remaining 99.9% of users. Search engines need to rely more on behavioral data gathered across samples that better represent users, which is why they are building Internet access services.
  • Signal-to-noise ratio. Discussion groups drown in flames and low-quality postings, making it hard to identify the gems. Many users stop reading comments because they don’t have time to wade through the swamp of postings from people with little to say.
  • In addition, he also lists some point on „How to Overcome Participation Inequality“.
    But the main point still is: you can’t overcome participation inequality. You can only optimise the way content is produced an sorted, trying to make it more suitable and/or relevant for the average users.

    Analysis of the YouTube Acquisition by Google

    PVR Wire has a good analysis of the YouTube acquisition by Google.

    Google itself is already the 3rd busiest site on the internet, and now that it owns YouTube the company has control over a tremendous number of internet users, probably a higher percentage than anyone else!

    Here is an Alexa comparison of Google Video and YouTube:

    So Google has bought themselves a few eyeballs, since Google Video didn’t perform quite as well:

    Putting criticisms aside you need only look a the amount of users and growth of YouTube to see why Google bought them. 20 million regular users, the Top 10 site on the net, and 100 million video views a day.

    According to PVRWire there are three main things Google can do now with the new pool of content:

    • Video adverts in YouTube videos: selling adverts within or rather after the clips of users, preferrably context-sensitive.
    • Selling premium video, just like on google video.
    • Licensing content to TV stations like Actually, a colleague of mine suggested to me today, that Google could start or at least support an extensive TV Network with channels broadcasting those thousands of clips clustered by topic, user votes, relevance, etc. per channel.

    Regardless of these benefits, there are two winners these days, and they may look like your average around-the-corner geek, but take care, they’re multi-millionairs now, with only about a year or two worth of work:

    The quality is a typical average user quality, with the little mishaps at the end – true user style, I like that. It has been viewed 560,859 times in the last two days, which makes it not top-video (yet), but I am confident they’ll make the top ten of their own site.

    Yahoo!’s Time Capsule

    Yahoo! has launched a time capsule:

    Yahoo today announced the launch of what is expected to be the world’s largest time capsule in history. Starting today, Yahoo! is encouraging people from around the world to contribute personal photos, stories, thoughts, ideas, poems, prayers, home movies, music and art to an online anthropology project designed to celebrate and understand life and global culture in 2006. Content from the time capsule will be broadcast directly onto the 216-foot tall Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan and sent into space through a light beam from the historic monument.

    Sounds great, let’s participate…


    Rocketboom’s ad price: $80K a week

    Frank Barnako writes about the new prices for advertising on Rocketboom:

    Baron said he’s just done a deal worth $80,000 for a week of commercials in his videoblog. Claiming a daily audience of some 300,000 people, Baron could be getting more than a $55 CPM for his ads. You could get a discount, though. He’ll sell you a week of spots for $60,000 – if he likes the commercial content. „

    Baron is in the comfortable position to have a videocast with a very high frequency of viewers, yet being under no pressure whatsoever due to lack of relevant competition…

    „I’m only going to work with advertisers I want to work with,“ Baron said, „and I’m only going to run ads I like.“

    I don’t think he can sustain that position. He has a first mover advantage, but soon enough that will be effectively challenged by all those ambitious video-geeks reading about the money Baron is making. And there will always be some that are successful.

    But then again, I do think he can make money by selling exclusive content for a subscription. That is the story of the DVD business. Package your show with exclusive background material and people will pay for it. At least until the first people will start offering this exclusive material for free, all paid for by a sponsor, for example.

    Hey, he’s making $4.000 a month on T-Shirts that are advertised badly. There must be something about his target audience, paying for these things…