“Going Google” Overseas and in the Sky With VA

“Going Google”  Google’s new advertising campaign for their app division, recently launched in the US but the company is now taking their campaign overseas.  Google claims that there are currently more than 2 million businesses and 20 million users that use Google Apps for their workplaces.  Google will be running their new ads globally in train stations and airports, as well as in print and online, in countries such as the UK, France, Canada, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

This new global launch is a compliment to the US launch, from August, which had billboards describing why information technology managers switched to Google Apps from Microsoft and IBM.   There will also be full-page Going Google ads in the New York Times, The Economist, Business Week, Forbes and Fortune.  Google will also run online ads in the Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Bloomberg and Fortune.

For more information on Going Google, go to: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Messaging-and-Collaboration/Googles-Going-Google-Ad-Campaign-Expands-in-US-Ventures-Overseas-240320/

Virgin America was the first airline to offer Gogo Inflight Internet service on every flight, which began in May 2009.  As an early holiday present, Google has partnered with Virgin America to offer free Wi-Fi on all flights during the holiday season, from November 10th – January 15th.   This new Google sponsored offer saves fliers up to $12.95, depending on the length of your flight.  Virgin America estimate that currently 12-15% of their guests are purchasing this Gogo service, but I am sure that once people test the system out for free, there will be a large increase in users come February 2010.

http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/index.php/free-wi-fi-on-virgin-5658/

Technology Takeover: iTunes University and GPS Shoes

Yes, you did read the title correctly, there is now such a thing as iTunes University (iTunes U).  There are hundreds of universities and business schools including University of Cambridge Judge Business School, Fuqua School of Business, and Yale School of Management that are making recordings of their lectures, seminars, conferences and even course content available to the public via iTunes and YouTube.

The public availability of this content means that people who want to learn, but don’t necessarily have the money for a 2-year MBA program, nor do they care about the degree, can access all of this information FREE of charge by downloading it from iTunes University

YouTube EDU was launched in March and hosts channels of hundreds of universities, including 45 universities in Europe and Israel.  It has videos of lectures and discussions from business schools such as INSEAD, ESCP Europe and UC – Haas School of Business.

Another awesome resource is Academic Earth, which hosts videos from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford.

For more information on these resources as well as MIT’s online course content, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/10/16/online.university/index.html

Part two of the technology takeover are these new Isaac Daniel Compass and Blue GPS shoes (now with extra bluetooth).  These shoes connect with your Bluetooth compatible phone, resulting in the ability for everyone to know where you are whenever they would like.  They come in a variety of colors and have models for walking or running.  Though these may seem a little strange, it could come in handy for the adventurous runner who often goes off trail or if you just want to keep track of your significant other.  For more information on these shoes, go to: http://www.switched.com/2009/10/16/new-bluetooth-gps-shoes-keep-track-of-you/#continued

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Super-Pre Roll Online Ads Available Now

ScanScout, an online video ad network, has debuted its new Super Pre-Roll ad unit.  ScanScout believes that this unit is a more interactive alternative to traditional online video ads because it attaches multiple interactive “overlay” placements in various positions on the screen.

Super Pre-Roll ads have the ability to provide advertisers with more useful data on video campaigns because the Super Pre-Roll format allows advertisers to conduct polls, provide coupons and collect user data.  These ad units can even be considered for those advertisers who are budget conscious, as ScanScout allows companies to use existing creative.

For more information about these ad units, go to: http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/digital/e3i77c099eee89951ef5cd2d6a65e79d4f1

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Would You Pay For Web TV?

Comcast Corp is trying to make it more difficult for consumers to watch television online for free.  Comcast in in talks with General Electric to acquire a majority stake in NBC Universal, owner of free-web tv site Hulu.  Hulu is currently the most popular site in the US for watching tv shows (with 40 million unique viewers in August) and if Comcast succeeds in acquiring the 51% stake in NBCU, they plan to turn Hulu into their cash cow.  The Comcast deal would not only allow them to start charging for Hulu content but it would combine its cable assets with NBC’s cable networks, movie studio and theme parks.

Comcast, the largest US cable operator, has continually downplayed the growing number of online tv watchers as competition, saying that there is no reason to fear people will drop cable to watch shows online for free.  They developed a service called TV Everywhere with Time Warner Cable, which allowed consumer to watch shows on the web, as long as they were TWC paying subscribers.  But Comcast now realizes that Hulu is indeed a silent competitor with their products.  NBC and Fox created Hulu so they could in fact compete with Comcast, and now that Hulu is the sixth most visited site in the US, Comcast is trying to halt their competition.

For more information about the potential deal and the potential effects, go to: http://www.reuters.com/article/companyNews/idUSTRE5942UI20091005

SFO Asks Passengers to Offset Their Carbon Footprint

San Francisco International Airport has just unveiled its new “Climate Passport” program, which allows passengers to purchase carbon offsets for their flights.   The program works by travelers visiting one of the 3 kiosks inside of the terminal or going online to flysfo.com, travelers will input the number of miles their trip will cover, how long it will take and the number of passengers they play to buy offsets for.  The kiosk and/or website then can calculate the carbon footprint of the flight.  Once the amount of Verified Emission Reductions is set, 3Degrees – the local San Francisco carbon and renewable energy marketing firm that manages the Climate Passport kiosks, “sources carbon offsets from The Conservation Fund’s Garcia River Forest Project and the San Francisco Carbon Fund, to ensure an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases has been reduced. ”

The cost of offsetting your carbon footprint can be anywhere for a few bucks for local flights up to $70 for international travel.  Contributors get a certificate that indicates  what preservation effort their money is going towards.

The initial reviews of the program are mixed, as people don’t really have a concrete explanation of where their money is going, even though a certificate is printed.  But the airport is excited about being the guinea pig because they believe that whether or not travelers donate to the program, the Climate Passport undoubtedly raises awareness about the environmental impact of flying.

Will you contribute the next time you are flying out of SFO? I know I am definitely going to check it out next time I am there.  If you have any thoughts, we want to hear from you!

For more information, go to: http://3degreesinc.com/press/news_article/156/

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Starbucks and Instant Coffee?

Well, it was only a matter of time until the coffee chain that charges upwards of $4.00 for a coffee entered into the instant coffee world.  Starbucks started selling is Via instant coffee in Seattle and Chicago about eight months ago, but now they are going to start going national with the product, including selling it in its Canadian stores.

Although instant coffee has not won over American taste buds yet, Starbucks hopes that Via can change their minds.  With instant coffee accounting for nearly 80% of coffee sales throughout Europe, Starbucks knows that if they can change the image of instant coffee from a drip-brewed knockoff, they just might have a successful product, especially in these times where people can no longer afford to spend $4 a day on coffee.

Via will be sold in cylindrical 3-packs for $2.95 or 12-packs for $9.95 and currently comes in Colombia and Italian Roast flavors.  Via will have a marketing campaign that includes television and a large-scale distribution to about 1,500 sites outside of its Starbucks stores.

For more information about Via, its national launch and the challenges Starbucks will face with this product, go to: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Starbucks-rolls-out-Via-apf-273848205.html?x=0

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Add Your User Comments to Any Website With Sidewiki

Google has been quite busy lately.  It was just last week we told you about their new way to view news with Fast Flip, then Google went ahead and bought reCAPTCHA, a company that will help fight against spamming and fraud services, and just yesterday Google updated its Sync technology to provide push email for smart phone users.  Now, Google is presenting to us, Sidewiki, a tool that allows users to post and read comment about any website, or attach comments to specific content on a webpage.

Sidewiki hopes that users will share their expertise and knowledge, by adding value information to the existing content on websites.  Google will continue to uphold its standards by showing the most relevant Sidiwiki entries first by analyzing each submission (using an algorithm that promotes the most useful, high-quality entries) and and making sure those entries are at the top of the Sidewiki tool.   In order to access and use Sidewiki, you can download the Google Toolbar (Firefox and Internet Explorer) or install it directly from google.com/sidewiki.

I think this tool is genius! Just yesterday I was online looking to buy a futon and wanted to get other users reviews.  Instead of having to open up a whole new tab or window to do a separate search for user reviews, I would be able to have access to that information from the page that I am going to purchase it from.  I think that the Sidewiki tool will provide more usefulness than people can imagine.  When you start using the Sidewiki tool, let us know what you think.  Is it helpful to you? Or is just an added window that takes away from viewing your content cleanly?

Here is a video that walks you through Google’s Sidewiki: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsjJOsx84MA&feature=player_embedded

Maximizing Your Retail Database

With all the technology we have available to us now, it should be a no brainer for direct mail advertisers to save some money by targeting people who are actually interested in their product.  In a new Forrester study, it was found that only 10% of consumers feel the direct mail they receive is relevant, while only 7% feel that the email marketing information they receive is relevant.  Consumers overwhelmingly believe (62%) that they get too much direct mail, while 66% believe they get too many emails.

These numbers show that people don’t mind direct mail or emails, when it is something they are actually interested in.  There seems to be a disconnect between what direct marketing companies say they do, in terms of targeted marketing, and what is actually being sent out to the masses.  It is proven that retailers have access (or could develop access) to data that is transactional, behavioral, demographic and attitudinal to customize communications.  But due to how expensive and time-consuming sorting out all this data can be, many retailers are choosing to ignore it.

AdAge has put together a list of 10 tips on how to maximize your retail database, which should help in cutting down time and costs in taking on a large database project.

  1. Understand the data you have
  2. Take responsibility by assigning someone to take charge of data-driven marketing
  3. Remember that not all customers are created equal
  4. Determine customer value by determining how recently, frequently and how much a customer spends with you
  5. Consider starting from scratch
  6. Collect and use customer preferences
  7. Keep it simple
  8. Personalize communications
  9. Pare down
  10. Connect the insights

It is so important right now for companies to begin looking at their marketing costs against their bottom line, you could save your company a lot of money if you aren’t wasting paper and time on consumers that take your direct mail piece and immediately dispose of it in the trash.

For more information on the 10 suggestions above, go to: http://adage.com/article?article_id=139151

Watch 3-D TV at Home

Mitsubishi and JVC are reported to be working on 3-D television systems for your home, which will be available for purchase in 2010.  The price of the 3-D TV is not expected to be substantially higher than some current High Def televisions in the market right now.  Since 3-D requires twice the data, some critics argue that it is not ready for people to have in their homes, as it will take up an unworkable amount of television bandwidth.  But those who have viewed some ESPN’s sports coverage in 3-D would take that chance, especially when you can feel like you are in the game.

These new televisions would be able to play shows in 2-D or 3-D.  Watching sports on a 3-D television would be really entertaining, so the 3-D would be great, but CNN in 3-D, well that’s not as exciting, which is why the 2-D is also offered. They also boast that video games would be available in 3-D, a very important point for that market demographic.

Although you will need 3-D glasses for the first generation 3-D televisions, experts believe that technology will make 3-D TV posssible without glasses in 10-15 years.

I definitely think that having the option to watch 3-D television and movies at home would be a luxury, especially because then you are not shelling out $15 a person at the movie theatre.  Will our Rox readers buy these first generation 3-D TVs? Or will you wait to see how they work, what the actual cost is with all the extra equipment, and what they come out with in the second generation before you buy?

For the full CNN article, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/09/18/3D.home.television/index.html

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Read News Faster With Google Fast Flip

Google just debuted its Fast Flip feature, which is a news hub that simulates flipping through newspapers or magazines.  The feature allows readers to view articles from over forty-eight major publishing outlets, combining the best elements of print and online articles.  The thumbnails of the stories load extremely fast and the feature lets you browse sequentially through bundles of recent news, headlines and popular topics, as well as feeds from individual top publishers with ease.  You not only get to read snipets of the articles but if you click on a particular story that interests you, it sends you to the publisher’s site where you can get the full story as well as sort through each section.

Google Fast Flip has partnered with the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Salon, Fast Company, ProPublica and Newsweek.  Fast Flip isn’t Google trying to further destroy the paper media industry, in fact they boast that revenue from the ads placed around the articles will be shared with these publishers.  Google’s theory is that the faster people are able to read articles, the more of them they will read, driving more ad revenue to publishers.

Find out more about the web feature and mobile versions at: fastflip.googlelabs.com

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