From time to time I run across a really bad ad that I cannot help but to comment upon. The following banner ad appeared on MySpace. At first blush, it’s readable. Look again and it’s filled with spelling errors, spacing problems and more! Chances are high that you did not notice the errors at first.
Click on the ad for a larger view
The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Sometimes it misses words entirely …
Count the number of “F”s in the following text:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE
RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC
STUDY COMBINED WITH
THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS
How many did you count? The answer is at the bottom of this blog post.
Finally, here’s a clever ad on a Guiness coaster that you might need to be a bit drunk to read. It will be reflected in the glass when it’s full.
The answer is six.
There is no question that ad money is now chasing consumers who have turned to the Net over traditional media. This past year has seen a spate of acquisitions by Google, AOL, Microsoft as well as agency holding companies. WPP, for example, appears to be gobbling up interactive/digital shops at a fast pace. The independent digital shop is fast going the way of the dinosaur.
Add to this mini-frenzy the desperation of old-line media companies worried that their businesses are losing traction, moving quickly forward to absorb high traffic content sites …. blogs, social networks, wireless and niche initiatives, often without a roadmap, and you have the ingredients for runaway valuations in these subcategory companies.
Some of the valuations are running away with themselves. Facebook valued at $16 Billion having yet to find a business model that works!? Google with a “conservative” market cap ($224 Billion) almost seven times that of Yahoo!
It appears many of these subcategory valuations have been ramping up to the late 90’s levels. Underperformance by companies like Facebook or MySpace will likely happen. When it does, history will repeat with a significant correction.
In reality, MIT, committed to advancing education and discovery through knowledge open to everyone, allows open access to its course curriculums under an initiative they are calling OPENCOURSEWARE (OCW).
There are no requirements and the courses, over 1800 of them spanning MIT’s entire curriculum along with thousands of course notes and assignments, are free to all.
Of particular interest to my readers are the offerings under the Sloan School of Management.
This dream and amazing gift has been in the works since 2001, launched with just 50 courses and accessed by over 35 million individuals worldwide. MIT expects to add 200 additional courses in 2008. Materials are published under an open license that encourages reuse, redistribution and modification for non-commercial purposes.
As for me, I’m off to the Global Entreprenuership Lab.
As shoppers flock to the internet to avoid long lines, they must also navigate the shipping alternatives that can quickly eliminate any savings, especially with last minute delivery options.
Enter FedEx, UPS, DHL and USPS.
They are all vying for the retailer’s business while wooing shoppers …. Some spending in excess of $100 million on ad campaigns.
Kudos to the FedEx agency, BBDO / Germany, that created the print campaign that places two UPS delivery trucks on one of FedEx’s carriers.
FedEx had a history of creating memorable, edgy advertising that imbibes a sense of humor into every campaign. BBDO has been the FedEx lead agency for eighteen years and I suspect they will be around for another eighteen.
The design of the FedEx logo, by Lindon Leader back in 1994, as senior design director for Landon Associates, survives to this day as an example of award winning creativity using reverse optics in a very clever way.
Have you ever really looked at the logo? Look at the first version below. Do you see an arrow? Now look at the second version. You’ll never look at the logo again without focusing on the arrow!
Play with simple things
Do whatever you want whenever you want
Look for affection when you need it
Get serious once in a while
Forget about diets
Show some affection
Get angry once in a while
Change your look
Be happy, above all, regardless what your challenges may be
HAVE A GREAT THANKSGIVING!
ADS WE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT
I believed our business hit the skids with … Head On! Apply directly to your forehead!... a commercial embarrassment for the ad biz, until one of my readers happened upon the following.
This is not a joke, and with all due respect for my female readers, you’ll get a laugh, I promise!
$$$$ DIALING FOR DOLLARS $$$$
On Monday, Google will have announced the coming of the Gphone, supported by a suite of software based on Linux. On the heels of that announcement, which includes a consortium of top tier companies in the mobile computing space, Google will not release details on the phone’s design or manufacturer which is rumored to be China’s e28.
Choosing e28 as the Gphone manufacturer and Linux software provider is an ingenious move that will certainly trump the popularity of the iPhone. Imagine a phone that makes calls using a low cost VOIP system on cellular networks and WIFI while seamlessly integrating data across diverse technology platforms. Add to that an open platform that will allow any programmer to develop add-on applications ala Facebook and you have the makings of a revolution in Mobile technology.
As the Gphone positions itself in a high-tech market that is now dominated by Apple, it will need to match, if not exceed, the Apple design team’s ability to pull together a sleek, sexy look for the product.
The strategy balance between business use (the Blackberry user) and personal use (primarily by young adults) must be carefully weighed if the market is to be successfully penetrated by Google. Initial pricing will be crucial.
While click costs can run from a penny and up, the most diligent of advertisers are those who bid against competitors to appear at the top of a search query.
At the top of the list, lawyers appear to be shelling out significant sums for a single click. The ambulance chasers are targeting patients with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos.
The high click payout is positioned against an average seven figure settlement.
Do I hear $70.00?!
TOP 15 PAYOUTS
The holiday we all participated in as kids (and now as adults) arrived on our shores in the early 20th century. Halloween is said to have originated in Ireland during Samhain, a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and regarded as 'The Celtic New Year'. Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The Ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. Today, fear = profits.
Commecialization of the holiday in the US dates back to 1903 when the first postcard appeared, followed quickly by a catalog of decorations by the Dennison company.
Halloween ranks as one of the largest retail “candy” holidays surpassed only by the Christmas season and Valentines Day. Eighty percent of homes are expected to participate and ninety-three percent of children plan to trick or treat.
Over seventy percent of adults now plan on participating, further fueling expenditures that top $8 Billion a year. Halloween is not just for kids!
New York City hosts the largest Halloween celebration …. The Village Halloween Parade. Started by Greenwich Village mask maker Ralph Lee in 1973, the evening parade now attracts over two million spectators and participants, as well as roughly four million television viewers annually. It is the largest participatory parade in the country if not the world, encouraging spectators to march in the parade as well. This year national sponsors include Starbucks, Jet Blue, Perrier, Bacardi and many others.
For a fun list of 530 phobias, click here.
To get you in the mood …..
Randall Rothenberg, recently appointed President of the IAB, is taking the association to new heights, and the digital community by storm. Not afraid to face-off conventional thinking, Randall is transforming a stale IAB into a forward thinking, progressive leader.
The following text, borrowed from Randall’s “Clog” (I, A BEE), outlines the IAB’s newest collaborative initiative: Marketing-Media Ecosystem 2010, or …. Lighting a fire under the community of marketers who are way too comfortable to admit they need help understanding and playing in the digital sandbox.
“We are on the verge of finding a cure for They-Don’t-Get-It Syndrome. Everyone in marketing during the past 20 years has suffered from – and with – They-Don’t-Get-It Syndrome. It first afflicted the marketing and media industries during the initial wave of agency mega mergers in the 1980’s, and became increasingly widespread and painful as the digital era took hold. A malady familiar to students of business dysfunction, its primary sufferers are members of evolving industry value chains. You can tell whether a company has been infected when its executives routinely profess: “Oh, we get what’s happening. The problem is they don’t get it.” Marketing-Media Ecosystem 2010, a groundbreaking collaboration among the Association of National Advertisers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and Booz Allen Hamilton, may lead to a cure for this debilitating marketing disease…”
To read the Clog: www.randallrothenberg.com
And a “Thank You” to Randall, for giving me a break from blogging this week!
A SENSITIVE SUBJECT
E-ink and e-paper, capable of storing energy like a conventional battery can be used to power low level lighting for night reading, while the vision for stacked reams of the versatile paper is to power automobiles.
Heat and light sensitive papers are no longer uncommon, but marketers have yet to consider their use in communications.
Heat / Light sensitive paper displays can, for instance, support menu changes on billboards from breakfast images to dinner images, attuned to either light (time of the day) or heat (sun-generated).
Wallpapers, designed to change with temperature fluxuations are also making headway. The illustration that follows shows an egg whose ink is tempered to show how cooked it is.
Finally, a UK company came up with an ingenious use for heat sensitive ironing board covers that will “remove” a draped towel or clothing from either a male or female model when heat is applied. A true relief from the boredom of ironing! The gimmick is available for roughly $27 from Prezzybox.
Pudding Media, a small San Jose startup, with development staff in Israel, founded by brothers Ariel and Ruben Maislos is “growing” a technology that marries voice recognition with ad-serving technology in a unique and potentially powerful way.
The company provides free phone calls via browser in exchange for tapping into or “eavesdropping” into your conversation. The system recognizes spoken keywords. Combined with profile data provided for the “free” service, algorithms will determine which ad offers are best suited to your profile during the conversation. Ads are displayed on your PC or e-mailed to you (eventually directed to your cell phone as well) with the expected result to be a click-to-action.
The company, whose management team is heavy with technology experience, is funded by VCs to include Opus Capital, an experienced venture team that has played an integral role in the early stages of many successful companies, such as Bridge Communications, DoubleClick and FedEx.
The single concern with the platform focuses on measuring real consumer need for free calls given broad, low cost (often free as well) VOIP access and the over-riding issue of privacy and security.
Although the technology is innovative, the business model will likely need to change.
For mode information, visit their website at Pudding Media.
WE INTERRUPT THIS COMMERCIAL FOR ….
Yet another commercial, superimposed logo, pop-up promo or screen-crawl. Television broadcasters have run away with promotion overload pushing viewers to lash back by tuning out.
Scheduling commercials to satisfy revenue demands is understandable … some would argue to the point of driving audiences to the competition …. The Internet.
Today, the number of commercials is no longer regulated by the FTC (except for children’s programming). Broadcasters do, however, attempt to adhere to a maximum of 18 minutes (36 30-second commercials) per hour! That figure does not include in-program superimposed promotions.
I’ll interrupt my rant so that you can hear what the comic, Lewis Black, has to say …. humorous but true!
Enjoy the laugh.
HOW DO YOU SPELL G-STRING?
As new forms of digital, or electronic, commerce and communication take root in our lives, so has the syntax that evolves to help us interact with one another.
The Oxford dictionary does not have a policy on e-words. It does, however, show the e-prefix denoting the use of electronic data transfer through the internet.
E-mail started in 1965 as a way for multiple users of a time-sharing mainframe computer to communicate. E-mail was quickly extended to become network e-mail, allowing users to pass messages between different computers by at least 1966.
Other findings and polls taken over the last 10 years seem to support the hyphenated version, or e-mail, while some authorities claim the email version as most suitable.
A 1995 search on about 40 million words of Usenet news articles, counted the following forms:
Total without hyphen: 27378
Total with hyphen: 29622
In yet another study, articles posted to alt.usage.englishbetween mid-May and mid-September 1995, found 604 instances of"e-mail" and 235 of "email".
Many dictionaries favour "E-mail", which can be justified by analogy with such forms as "A-bomb", "C-section", and "G-string".
From time to time I will happen upon a site that I believe deserves praise for the information it provides … at no cost, and the ease with which you can navigate its contents.
Zillow.com is, very simply, a real estate valuation tool. Type your home address into its search field and, in seconds, the site will provide you with a host of information ranging from an estimated property value and square footage to the year it was constructed. The site also provides an aerial photo (courtesy of Microsoft’s Virtual Earth), estimated taxes as well as the last sale date.
The site generates its information on over seventy million homes on a county by county basis. Naturally, not all county municipalities carry matching data and in some instances the estimates are provided as a range. The site will, however, let you know how complete the data is for the area you’re searching in. My guess is that the site originated as a tool for the real estate trade and has broadened to the consumer market with close to 1.7 million page views per month. And yes, it accepts advertising.
Want to know what your neighbor’s home is worth? Can’t wait to drop the “confidential” information on that house that sold in the Hamptons last month at the next cocktail party? Want to explore the value of your own home or NYC condo in today’s market and put it up for sale? Zillow it!
While the sale of a home is a matter of public record and is accessible with a simple visit to a town clerk’s office, most owners would rather the information be kept private …. or as private as possible and not necessarily open to broad public view “on demand”.
Although home values rise and fall with the country’s economy, the digital revolution has forever changed its landscape.
FORTY DAYS AND FORTY KIDS
This commentary will likely not be the first you will read on the controversial new CBS reality show, Kid Nation.
The premise of the show is to take forty kids, aged eight to fifteen, to an abandoned ghost town in New Mexico and let them bring the town back to life and create a society complete with its own government. Parents were forbidden to interact in any way with the kids or the production … and that’s where the swirling controversy begins. Many are finding the production highly offensive.
Questions concerning adult supervision, child labor laws, physical and psychological health of the children and insulation from state authorities are now haunting CBS and the show’s producers. Advertisers are getting cold feet as well.
Although it can be argued that the parents willingly accepted the conditions under which filming would occur and that the children wanted to undertake the challenge, some would suggest that they are too young to make rational decisions and that their parents had no right to “sign certain rights over” to CBS.
In either case, the children were not forced to remain on the set and could opt out of the production.
The real question here, outside the legal issues, is what the purpose of the show is? Most, including those who argue against the show, believe it was to see how the kids survive the ordeal. Although we might never know the motive, beyond ratings, for CBS, there are valuable lessons to be learned …. not for the kids, but for adults.
As adults, we manage societies governed by rules that are often created by our governments, corrupt or otherwise. Children are unencumbered by rules and are “tainted” only as they mature into adulthood. A child’s innocence sparks creativity and nurtures an open and honest environment built on trust and confidence.
We can all learn by watching children play, work, laugh and ask questions. It is, perhaps the single most redeeming factor the show offers that may have been overlooked in the swirling controversy.
SINGING IN THE RAIN
A while back, I commented on an invention for an “Internet Umbrella” …. an umbrella designed to tap into the internet on a pliable screen. The effort scored a resounding zero on a one to ten scale as a complete waste of time (unless, of course, your hobby was to waste time tinkering).
As a variation on a theme, a Korean company, SDesign Unit, announced the completion of a design for an umbrella that incorporates four wafer-thin, pliable speakers into the fabric of the umbrella. The speakers can connect to MP3 players (or other audio sources) to play favorites or even listen to radio broadcasts (SIRIUS and XM …. are you listening?).
The concept recently won the International Forum Design award. SDesign is now turning its efforts to securing contracts for production models.
The concept has real merit and should take off with some hot creative shop taking the lead with a forward thinking client. The concept can lend itself to extensions for beach umbrellas, shade awnings, or promotional vendor pushcarts.
Gene Kelly never had it so good!
MORE ROUNDS THAN ROCKY BALBOA
As much as things change, they stay the same.
The controversy in the print world is now focused on whether or not publishers should guarantee their circulation base on an issue by issue basis. The controversy is not new .... but agencies and marketers need to stir this pot once again .... because most of the industry cannot get its act together when it comes to audience measurement.
Frankly, the act is tired. Over three years ago, I posted commentary on just this topic offering a solution to the problem (you can find the commentary at MediaLifeMagazine if you care to humor me).
Yes, the publishing groups have had some ups and (mostly) downs over the last few years. So let's beat them while they're down. Let's not applaud all the positive contributions they've made over the years -- negative reinforcement works best!!
Margins are shrinking --- for everyone. And we all have bigger battles to fight. The mere act of suggesting issue-based guarantees will, in the end, amount to a hill of beans while the related costs to support any such plan will, again, eat away at every one's bottom line.
Instead of coming up with schemes to squeeze another nickel out of the publishers, let's consider opening a real dialogue here and "play nice" in the sandbox, working with publishers, clients and agencies to forge partnerships that foster growth and encourage new thinking.
Let's stop running in circles.
NOW YOU SEE IT --- NOW YOU DON’T
Marrying the “magic” of technology with a commercial message is a challenge marketers are faced with every day. “Breakthrough” marketing events inspired by creative, marketing and media professionals can be fun and exciting while, at the same time, making a strong connection with the consumer.
Consider the common digital camera.
Because the camera sees a broader spectrum of light than the human eye, content in these “invisible” wavelengths can be created to generate displays that, while invisible to the naked eye, can be seen when imaged with a digital camera. The company that is exploiting this technology is Kameraflage ( www.kameraflage.com ), founded by Sarah Logie and Conner Dickie.
Uses for the technology can range from contests driven by hidden messages, forwarded to an advertiser (and creating a database in the process), to watermarking movies or photos to prevent pirating.
Audiences can be encouraged to seek out these messages and build a brand around an interactive experience, where discovery, sharing and technology play a leading role.
The fashion industry is the first to utilize the new technology, generating a form of self-expression that will likely result in controversy …. defining jurisdiction between hidden images and physical reality.
WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS .. OPEN THE DOOR
The digital world is moving at such a rapid pace that many marketers simply do not have the bandwidth to keep up with, or take advantage of, opportunities and innovations in the marketplace.
One such underutilized digital tool is the BDA (Branded Desktop Application). You might even have it installed on your own desktop in the form of the widely distributed WEATHERBUG…..83 million users do! Another successful BDA is Southwest Airline’s DING …. a desktop alert mechanism that matches a user with special offers that meet their criteria. Since 2005 it has generated over $80 million in direct revenue for the airline.
BDAs have bee around for quite some time. Advances in software development raised the BDA to a higher level, creating the “stickiness” that so many marketers hold dear. As a CRM tool, it’s a marketers dream. BDAs can report on a wide range of usage behavior, tied back to any number of databases that serve up “alerts”…. and generate revenue in the process. Flu Alerts, developed for Roche, tie back to a national database that tracks the spread of influenza and warns users when certain levels are reached.
BDAs can take many forms or morph into others. They are becoming viral and develop as social networks, both public and private, to communicate with other users that maintain similar interests. Gadgets and Widgets are part of this growing trend.
This is not a passing phase. Don’t let the marketing opportunity slip by.
Digital media has come a long way. Today it represents fifteen to twenty percent of all advertising dollars and will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate, but still outpacing traditional media growth.
As traditional or “analog” media converges with digital media, we will see the need for agencies and marketers to take a hard look at their media investment strategies. Actual measures of performance and accountability will rein where AC Nielsen program ratings and pass-along readership were the hard currency for “projected” delivery.
But in order to best take advantage of both worlds, it will be necessary to sink the digital island. Why?
I recently attended a meeting at a digital agency where digital strategies flowed like the Euphrates. Following two hours of digital discourse I could not contain myself any longer.
Yes, the digital world is growing. It’s sexy and it’s bold and new and promises a rosy future. But …. eighty to eighty-five percent of the world’s media is NOT digital. If you want to make an impact in that world, you need to reach out and understand the analog space. Today it drives your business…. digital does not drive theirs.
There has long been a disconnect between these two worlds. If both are to grow, they need to collide and become one. This makes it difficult for agencies steeped in tradition to accommodate change. Staffing resources that can play in both worlds are limited. And the vision to make it one world is not easily articulated.
My mission is to sink that digital island and bring its people back to the mainland.
GARMIN SEZ TURN RIGHT, TURN LEFT!
As GPS devices move into the mainstream and prices drop, look for marketers to secure positions with “soft” advertising.
GPS devices can integrate with points-of-interest (POIs) that make driving from point A to B a more pleasurable experience. The key to successfully integrating locations for service-oriented stops (Dunkin Donuts, Preferred Gas Stations, Fast Food Eateries, Banks, Hospitals, etc.) is for the user to request or “opt-in” for location downloads to the device. This direct personalization can be a boon to marketers.
Today, roughly twenty percent of online users own a GPS device …. And that number is exploding with shipment revenues tripling over the last twelve months. The market is expected to generate $5.4 billion by 2008 and is expanding to hiking, walking, biking and more.
The next phase is for the technology to be embedded into more common devices …. the cell phone or PDA, driving traffic to retail outlets.
While GPS devices are positioned to enhance the consumer experience, B to B applications have also taken off.
Partnerships developed today between advertisers and service providers are sure to reap benefits in the not-to-distant future.
"You're travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound ... That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!
YOU CAN'T "HOLD MY HAND" ONLINE
In the mid-sixties it was the Beatles that drove teens wild. What are the most popular raves for teens today? It’s not MySpace and it’s not YouTube or even Google.
According to a recent Nielsen Report (June 2007) US teen’s online preferences are moving away from instant messaging and towards sites offering social networking tools, music lyrics and photo sharing.
The lesser known sites are unique in that the teen composition of their audience is three times that of the larger social networking sites – although their penetration of the audience is much smaller.
Sites ranking in the top ten include:
CreateBlog.com: Takes the number one slot as a community driven one stop resource website for Myspace, Xanga, Blogger, Livejournal, MoveableType, Wordpress and more, where you can find Myspace layouts, Xanga layouts, avatars and icons.
PLyrics.com: Reflecting the favored music taste of online teens, this database of punk and punk-derived song lyrics is the number six most popular site among teens right now. Posting song lyrics on profiles and as comments is a common activity among social networking teens.
WhateverLife.com: The number five most popular site among teens is actually a blog operated by a single 16-year-old girl. Seen as the authority on MySpace page customization, WhateverLife offers all the codes, tools, layouts, links and detailed step-by-step tutorials for users to personalize their profile pages.
While these sites are all the rage with teens-in-the-know today, be forewarned that the audience is fickle and can make or break a site overnight. But for the moment, they are the sites that readily resonate with the teen audience. Because these sites reach a relatively small number of teens, they are the perfect testing ground for creative concepts in a highly focused environment.
If your objective is to reach a broad number of teens, then a best bet is Photobucket.com. Although lower on the composition measure, it reaches about twenty-five percent of the audience on a monthly basis with staying power.
Every so often a programming concept comes along that develops as a perfect fit for a number of sponsors. In this case, the BBC is producing a documentary on “A Year With The Queen”. The documentary camera follows preparations for the Queen's 80th birthday and a visit to the United States. Cameramen had unprecedented access to the royals for a year.
Unlike its U.S. counterpart (PBS), the BBC is not permitted to carry advertising or sponsorship on its public services. This keeps them independent of commercial interests and ensures that they can be run instead to serve the general public interest. The BBC is financed instead by a TV license paid by households. This guarantees that a wide range of high-quality programs can be made available, unrestricted, to everyone.
PBS, in the United States, is supported by funding outside the traditional advertising realm. It accepts sponsorships and identification breaks for those marketers wishing to communicate “on a higher plane”.
Brands and products like Chuck E. Cheese's, Intel, McDonald's, and Lipton Noodle Soup have taken advantage of the new guidelines to create livelier sponsorship segments with traditional trappings, including jingles and corporate slogans. Did I say “a higher plane”?
Nonetheless, without some sort of commercial adaptation, PBS would likely not survive in the U.S. The import of syndicated BBC programming reduces the need for original PBS programming, reducing the need for funding.
And who better to sponsor “A Year With The Queen” when it arrives on our shores than Hallmark, Seagram’s Crown Royal, Crown Publishing or ….. Dairy Queen?
IT'S NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S GAME ANYMORE
If you’re over 40, chances are good that you’ve had first-hand experience with the game of BINGO. It’s no secret that the centuries old game that started in Italy in 1530 (it was called BEANO then) has entrenched itself in the US market and that it has had a resurgence online.
Today, an estimated 1.6 billion people play the game at bingo halls across the country annually. To put things in perspective, that staggering attendance number is almost more than the amount of people who attended movie theaters and bowling alleys, combined. Add to that, the number of visits to the online version of the game and the statistics become mind-numbing.
So why aren’t smart marketers leveraging this craze to gain access to countless numbers of consumers? Many believe that the age group that plays the game is 65 plus. Not so online. The average age of a player is 41 and 70 percent of them are female …. Many are moms.
Half of the online players are addicted and play every day! That kind of loyal market is gold for any marketer.
Here are the online age stats from one study:
Online Bingo is decidedly a younger person’s game. Sponsorships of Bingo games, chat rooms and communities is an under-utilized outlet that can be easily dominated by a first-to-market advertiser.
EMAIL FRAUD ALERT - HOW MUCH FOR THAT CREDIT CARD?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2007
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice has recently become aware of fraudulent spam e-mail messages claiming to be from DOJ. Based upon complaints from the public, it is believed that the fraudulent messages are addressed "Dear Citizen." The messages are believed to assert that the recipients or their businesses have been the subject of complaints filed with DOJ and also forwarded to the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, such email messages may provide a case number, and state that the complaint was "filled [sic] by Mr. Henry Stewart." A DOJ logo may appear at the top of the email message or in an attached file. Finally, the message may include an attachment that supposedly contains a copy of the complaint and contact information for Mr. Stewart.
THESE EMAIL MESSAGES ARE A HOAX. DO NOT RESPOND.
These spam email messages are bogus and should be immediately deleted. Computers may be put at risk simply by an attempt to examine these messages for signs of fraud. It is possible that by "double-clicking" on attachments to these messages, recipients will cause malicious software – e.g., viruses, keystroke loggers, or other Trojan horse programs – to be launched on their computers.
Do not open any attachment to such messages. Delete the e-mail. Empty the deleted items folder.
If you have received this, or a similar hoax, please file a complaint at
How much do hackers sell your identity for?
UK Credit Card $6, US Credit Card $3, Compromised PC $8, Complete Identity $16
A new trend is emerging that suggests marketers start mapping out their product(s) life stories strategy. This trend is especially important to food companies where the ability of a consumer to trace the origins of a product will soon play a role in product credibility.
In the case of Dole Bananas, for example, “traceability” starts with the ubiquitous and low-tech sticker that you find on the banana. Each banana’s sticker will identify the origin of the product with a three digit farm code.
Go to Dole’s site (http://www.doleorganic.com/ ), text in your farm code … in this case “776” … and you’ll be taken to “Don Pedro’s Farm” complete with photos, a description of the farm, it’s certification and a link to Google Earth for a birds-eye view.
Driven by the lowly banana sticker, the integration with high-tech internet capabilities allows the consumer, for the first time, to become one with the product. As the number of food recalls increase, this application will be in high demand … and eventually be expected of firms operating in the food chain.
Companies already on the bandwagon are coding Eggs, Olive Oils, Fruits, Vegetables, Meats, Wines and more. It’s only a matter of time before the origins of the cotton in your shirt will carry a traceability code.
Take the process one step further …. integrate it with barcodes, QR codes and RFID tags, and using the scanner capable phones now prevalent in Japan, we will have the ability to call up, on-demand, more information than we ever thought possible.
And now for a bit of levity ….
YOU'RE FIRED! NO, WAIT! ...YOU'RE HIRED!
In a bold move and in anticipation of an industry caught in the throws of a revolutionary upheaval, US News and World Report fired its editorial staff writing for the printed edition several months ago.
It promptly rehired them to write exclusively for the online edition. What is so remarkable is that the printed edition is now an offshoot of the online edition. Faster to market, news on the fly … the consumer has a wide choice …. a printed version of the news is no longer the choice.
This week, following in the footsteps of US News, in a move heralding the importance of the online edition, BusinessWeek moved its top editor, John Byrne, from its print publication to lead www.businessweek.com . The company’s site registered a 22 percent increase in monthly users during the past year with 6.7 million unique users per month. By contrast, the printed edition registered a 10 percent drop in ad pages during the same period with a 900,000 circulation rate base in North America.
The difficulty the magazine business faces stems from a business model that cannot easily translate from a printed page to an online page. The face of the buyer has changed and the sellers need to cope with that change in an effort to understand how their new model fulfills the needs of the new online market mentality.
The change is permanent and growing. In the scramble to monetize the online versions and the millions of inventory impressions (many of which go unsold), publishers cannot afford to stray from their compass … that of editorial integrity and relevance.
What looms on the horizon? Independent networks that will categorize the news genre and offer a “network” of competitive online news sites with relevant content and sold, in part, through an online auction based model.
When Will The Other Shoe Drop?
Launch date for the iPhone: June 29, 2007
Waiting with baited breath, we can expect campers to line outside the Apple Stores the evening before it goes on sale …. for the privilege of spending $499 to $599 for the 4GB or 8GB models.
Oh! Did you want a carrier for that iPhone? Both AT&T and Apple have yet to announce service plans for these phones. Just 15 days to launch and millions of callers don’t know what to expect to shell out on a monthly basis to stay connected.
To take advantage of all the services and communication applications, many have estimated an annual cost of $850 before taxes on the low end. Buy-in will likely require a 2-year contract. Total entry cost: At best, $2300 including the phone.
This from a fellow blogger: “iPhone users will expect their new whizzy phones to work as they do in the advertisements. When you want to surf the Web, press the Safari icon and be on your way. When you need to get in touch via text, email or an SMS message is the way to go. When you want to find directions to the local pizza shack, Google Maps takes you there. The last thing you want is to access one of these options and discover it doesn’t work because you haven’t signed up for the correct data plan or that it does work but, whoops, you’ve exceeded your data limit for the month and it’s going to cost you a buck fifty to check the baseball score."
Before you put on your running shoes to get to your local Apple Store, understand what it’s going to cost you to be “cool” for a few months.