Recommended Reading – 12/10/08

Apps: The Newest Brand Graveyard
AdWeek says most corporate Facebook apps are failing, the victim of over-engineering, complexity, abandonment, isolation and various other factors.

Email: still #1, still a drag
It’s been said that the people who made the most money during the California Gold rush were the ones who sold picks and shovels, not the ones who panned for gold. That homily came to mind reading Brad Berens’ blog entry about a new MediaMark study showing that e-mail is the #1 Internet activity by far. The fact that the most prosaic Internet application is still the most popular attests to a reality of technology evolution: the mass market is always five to 10 years behind the leading edge.

Repeat Ad Nauseam: TV Spots Risk Driving Consumers Away – Advertising Age
Advertisers are finding that consumers have a lower tolerance for multiple messages than they once did, and viewers are even organizing ad hoc groups to protest ad saturation. consumer tolerance for repetitive ads has fallen by about half in the last 10 to 15 years. This has forced some advertisers into a corner. They can’t afford to produce enough ads to keep consumers interested. In response, they’re looking at product placements to fill the gap. Quoting:

More than 26% of TV households will have DVRs by the end of 2008, according to Interpublic Group’s Magna — that’s nearly one-third of potential customers for a cellphone, credit card or can of soup.
While it takes only three ads to cause wear-out in print — about the same as it did 10 to 15 years ago — a TV ad these days can reach the same point after only eight showings, down from 15 to 20 during the same time period.
“With the fragmentation of the marketplace, advertising on a top top-10 show brings you about half the audience it did 10 years ago,” said Nissan’s Mr. Marx.

Did Google Issue a Bear Call? – GigaOM
Om Malik sees an ominous message in a recent Wall Street Journal story about Google’s future. He thinks CEO Eric Schmidt’s comments about cutbacks and uncertainty portend a tough 2009 for the search giant. Worse, he thinks the malaise could extend well beyond next year. Google has pulled back on a lot of its experimental projects and is funneling more of its resources toward revenue-generating products. Sounds like it’s not as much fun as it used to be. Could bad times force Google to be more targeted and less innovative? Um, yes. And what’s wrong with that? Tight economic times nearly always force innovative companies to retrench. That doesn’t make them less innovative; it just makes them more focused. Everyone’s going to pull back next year. Is it a surprise that Google isn’t impervious to the factors shaping the rest of the economy?

Online social networks | Socialising all over the web?
The Economist says Facebook is trying to succeed where Microsoft failed. The social networking site has launched Facebook Connection, enabling members to sign in to other sites using their Facebook identity. The cool thin is that Connect lets Facebook members continue to banter and kibbitz with each other about topics of shared interested defined in their profiles, even while on third-party sites. A group of competitors has endorsed OpenID as a standardized way to do the same thing, but have you tried to actually use OpenID? I’m pretty geeky and I was baffled.

Google Friend Connect launches, eyes Facebook Connect
Not to be outdone, Google has quickly rushed out Google Friend Connect, its own response to Facebook. The service “allows website owners to embed social tools like review forms, comments, or photo-sharing widgets that pull data from established communities like Flickr.” Baiscally, you carry your social meia tools with you to any site. The downside, according to Ars Technica, is that ‘website owners have limited-to-no ability to actually incorporate data that users choose to interact with or share on their site.” Still, the concept has promise.

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