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CBS Jargon Meistering

May 20, 2016

I don’t pay much, if any, attention to the antics of network television giants. I noted this headline “CBS Chief Leslie Moonves Takes Aim at Competitors Dubious Ratings Claims,”  and I read the article. Perhaps the CBS top dog was referring to outfits like Yahoo?

I highlighted these words and phrases as “interesting.”

  • out-of-context data points
  • scatter market
  • out-of-the-box swing
  • stock-in-trade brand.

I am uncertain of the meaning of these phrases, but I understood this statement:

“We see money coming back to network, not that it ever left.” But when it comes to digital, he added, “The bloom is off the rose.”

Ah, a reference to Robert Burns. That I understood. I also understand bologna.

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2016

Forget World Population, Domain Population Is Overcrowded

April 5, 2016

Back in the 1990s, if you had a Web site without a bunch of gobbidly-gook after the .com, you were considered tech savvy and very cool.  There were plenty of domain names available in those days and as the Internet became more of a tool than a novelty, demand for names rose. It is not as easy anymore to get the desired Web address, says Phys.org in the article, “Overcrowded Internet Domain Space Is Stifling Demand, Suggesting A Future ‘Not-Com’ Boom.”

Domain names are being snapped up fast, so quickly, in fact, that Web development is being stunted.  As much as 25% of domains are being withheld, equaling 73 million as of summer 2015 with the inability to register domain names that would drive Internet traffic.

“However, as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has begun to roll out the option to issue brand new top-level domains for almost any word, whether it’s dot-hotel, dot-books or dot-sex – dubbed the ‘not-coms’ – the research suggests there is substantial untapped demand that could fuel additional growth in the domain registrations.”

One of the factors that determine prime Internet real estate is a simple, catchy Web address.  With new domains opening up beyond the traditional .org, .com, .net, .gov endings, an entire new market is also open for entrepreneurs to profit from.  People are already buying not-com’s for cheap with the intention to resale them for a pretty penny.  It bears to mention, however, that once all of the hot not-com’s are gone, we will be in the same predicament as we are now.  How long will that take?

 

Whitney Grace, April 5, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Paywalls Block Pleasure Reading

April 4, 2016

Have you noticed something new in the past few months on news Web sites?  You click on an interesting article and are halfway though reading it when a pop-up banner blocks out the screen.  The only way to continue reading is to enter your email, find the elusive X icon, or purchase a subscription.  Ghacks.net tells us to expect more of these in, “Read Articles Behind Paywalls By Masquerading As Googlebot.”

Big new sites such as the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal are now experimenting with the paywall to work around users’ ad blockers.  The downside is that content will be locked up and sites might lose viewers, but that might be a risk they are willing to take to earn a bigger profit.

There used be some tricks to get around paywalls:

“It is no secret that news sites allow access to news aggregators and search engines. If you check Google News or Search for instance, you will find articles from sites with paywalls listed there.  In the past, news sites allowed access to visitors coming from major news aggregators such as Reddit, Digg or Slashdot, but that practice seems to be as good as dead nowadays.  Another trick, to paste the article title into a search engine to read the cached story on it directly, does not seem to work properly anymore as well as articles on sites with paywalls are not usually cached anymore.”

The best way, the article says, is to make the Web site think you are a Googlebot.  Web sites allow Googlebots roam freely to appear higher in search engine results.  There are a few ways to trick the Web sites into thinking you are a Googlebot based on your Internet browser, Firefox or Chrome.  Check them out, but it will not be long before those become old-fashioned too.

 

Whitney Grace, April 4, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Big Data Shows Its Return on Investment

January 13, 2016

Big data was the word that buzzed through the IT community and made companies revaluate their data analytics and consider new ways to use structured and unstructured information to their benefit.  Business2Community shares how big data has affected companies in sixteen case studies: “16 Case Studies Of Companies Proving ROI Of Big Data.” One of the problems companies faced when implementing a big data plan was whether or not they would see a return on their investment.  Some companies saw an immediate return, but others are still scratching their heads.  Enough time has passed to see how various corporations in different industries have leaned.

Companies remain committed to implementing big data plans into their frameworks, most of what they want to derive from big data is how to use it effectively:

  • “91% of marketing leaders believe successful brands use customer data to drive business decisions (source: BRITE/NYAMA)
  • 87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (BRITE/NYAMA)
  • 86% of people are willing to pay more for a great customer experience with a brand (souce: Lunch Pail)”

General Electric uses big data to test their products’ efficiently and the crunch the analytics to increase productivity.  The Weather Channel analyzes its users behavior patterns along with climate data in individual areas to become an advertising warehouse.  The big retailer Wal-Mart had added machine learning, synonym mining, and text analysis to increase search result relevancy.  Semantic search has also increased online shopping by ten percent.

The article highlights many other big brand companies and how big data has become a boon for businesses looking to increase their customer relations, increase sales, and improve their services.

 

Whitney Grace, January 13, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Scientific Research Has Turned into a Safe Space

December 31, 2015

The Internet is a cold, cruel place, especially if you hang out in the comments section on YouTube, eBay forums, social media, and 4chan.  If you practice restraint and limit your social media circles to trusted individuals, you can surf the Internet without encountering trolls and haters.  Some people do not practice common sense, so they encounter many hateful situations on the Internet and as a result they demand “safe spaces.”  Safe spaces are where people do not encounter anything negative.

Safe spaces are stupid.  Period.  What is disappointing is that the “safe space” and “only positive things” has made its way into the scientific community according to Nature in the article, “‘Novel, Amazing, Innovative’: Positive Words On The Rise In Science Papers.”

The University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied the use of positive and negative words in the titles of scientific papers and abstracts from 1974-2014 published on the medical database PubMed.  The researchers discovered that positive words in titles grew from 2% in 1974 to 17.5% in 2014.  Negative word usage increased from 1.3% to 2.4%, while neutral words did not see any change.  The trend only applies to research papers, as the same test was run using published books and it showed little change.

“The most obvious interpretation of the results is that they reflect an increase in hype and exaggeration, rather than a real improvement in the incidence or quality of discoveries… The findings “fit our own observations that in order to get published, you need to emphasize what is special and unique about your study,” he says. Researchers may be tempted to make their findings stand out from thousands of others — a tendency that might also explain the more modest rise in usage of negative words.”

While there is some doubt associated with the findings, because it was only applied to PubMed.  The original research team thinks that it points to much larger problem, because not all research can be “innovative” or “novel.”  The positive word over usage is polluting the social, psychological, and biomedical sciences.

Under the table, this really points to how scientists and researchers are fighting for tenure.  What would this mean for search engine optimization if all searches and descriptions had to have a smile?  Will they even invent a safe space filter?

Whitney Grace, December 31, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

 

 

Search Provenance: Is That in France?

November 22, 2015

I find the excitement surrounding streaming apps interesting. I am not into apps for a mobile device. I use a mobile device to make phone calls and check email. I am hopelessly out of date, behind the times, old fashioned, and unhip.

That is fine with me.

Knowing what an app is doing seems prudent. I am not overly confident that 20 somethings will follow the straight and narrow. In fact, I am not sure those older stay within the rule of the road. The information highway? Dude, get out of my way.

The big point is that the write up “Teens Have Trouble Telling between Google Ads and Search Links” makes vivid the risk inherent in losing checkpoints, informational signals, and white lines in the datasphere.

The write up states:

UK watchdog Ofcom has posted a study showing that just 31 percent of kids aged 12 to 15 can tell the difference between a Google search ad and the real results just below them. They also tend to be overly trusting, as 19 percent of those young teens believe that all online results must be true. Not surprisingly, the figures get worse with younger children — just 16 percent of those aged 8 to 11 know whether they’re seeing an ad or a result.

Nothing like the ability to think and determine if information is valid. Do you want a ticket to provenance? I hear the food is wonderful.

Stephen E Arnold, November 22, 2015

The Alphabet Google Thing with Yahoo

October 26, 2015

The Xoogler, Marissa Mayer, has embraced the Alphabet Google thing.

Bittersweet?

Nah, a need to generate some real revenue. The Alphabet Google thing has Yahooligans in its thrall. Microsoft? Well, who knows? An outsider to the Googlers again it appears.

I read “Yahoo Signs Ad Pact with Google; Earnings and Revenue Miss.” The Yahoo financial picture is no longer fuzzy. I see the crisp, clear lines of the sharp revenue downturn. According to the write up:

Mayer, in her fourth year as chief executive, said the forecast was “not indicative of the performance we want.” “We are also experiencing continued revenue headwinds in our core (advertising) business, especially in the legacy portions,” Mayer said on a call with analysts.

I like the “we” and the “headwinds.”

With AOL in the pride of the Verizon lion king, Yahoo may need more than a deal with the Alphabet Google thing to deal with the financial storm. The questions I have include:

  • When will an acceptable purchaser of Yahoo surface?
  • What line of business at Yahoo will the leader of the pack identify as the growth engine?
  • What steps can be taken to produce organic revenue from the most promising Yahoo businesses?

The answers to these questions may be spelled out in the months ahead.

Stephen E Arnold, October 26, 2015

 

Beyond LinkedIn

October 26, 2015

Though LinkedIn remains the largest professional networking site, it may be time to augment its hobnobbing potential with one or more others. Search Engine Journal gives us many to choose from in “12 Professional Networking Alternatives to LinkedIn.” Like LinkedIn, some are free, but others offer special features for a fee. Some even focus on local connections. Reporter Albert Costill writes:

“While LinkedIn has proven to be an incredible assist for anyone looking to make professional connections or find employment, there have been some concerns. For starters, the company has been forced to reduce the number of emails it sends out because of complaints. There have also been allegations of the company hacking into member’s emails and a concern that activity on LinkedIn groups are declining.

“That doesn’t mean that you should give up on LinkedIn. Despite any concerns with the network, it still remains one of the best locations to network professionally. It just means that in addition to LinkedIn you should also start networking on other professional sites to cast that wide net that was previously mentioned. I previously shared eight alternatives to LinkedIn like Twylah, Opprtunity, PartnerUp, VisualCV, Meetup, Zerply, AngelList, and BranchOut, but here are twelve more networking sites that you should also consider using in no particular order.”

So between Costill’s lists, there are 20 sites to check out. A few notable entries from this second list: Makerbase is specifically for software creators, and is free to any Twitter users; LunchMeet connects LinkedIn users who would like to network over lunch; Plaxo automatically keeps your cloud-based contact list up-to-date; and the European Xing is the place to go for a job overseas. See the article for many more network-boosting options.

 

Cynthia Murrell, October 26,  2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

The Alphabet Google Thing: The Crunch Cometh

October 22, 2015

I am in a remote location with so so Internet—sometimes. I wanted to capture this write up “Google’s Growing Problem: 50% of People Do Zero Searches per Day on Mobile.” It is not the good old days from 2002 to 2006 for the GOOG. What happens when most of the folks in this third world country in which I sojourn get online? Well, I don’t think that the users will be doing the 2002-2006 search for information. I also think that zippy new users will embrace social media, apps, or maybe not search at all. Smart software can be convenient. According to the write up:

Thus where someone using a desktop/laptop might fulfil their “average” one or two searches per day by typing “Facebook” when they open their browser, on mobile that doesn’t happen because it doesn’t need to happen; they just open the app. For Google, that means it’s losing out, even though Google search is front and centre on every Android phone (as per Google’s instructions as part of its Mobile Application Device Agreement, MADA). People don’t, on average, search very much on mobile.

Is this a cup half full or half empty issue? Maybe Google can sustain its top line revenue growth. I suppose it has little choice, since the company after 15 years is almost completely dependent on a single revenue stream. On the other hand, perhaps the engine which floats the Loon balloons will run out of hot air?

Stephen E Arnold, October 22, 2015

Watson Weekly: Chasing Sales via Ads. Forget Thought Leadership

October 6, 2015

I was exploring the topics business intelligence and Big Data. I was intrigued by “Is Thought Leadership a Waste of Money?” My reaction was, “Nope, thought leadership is good.” Who wants to fool around with regular marketing methods.

What’s the write up say?

I highlighted this passage from a person who does not know about the genesis of Strategy & Business and the somewhat addled Booz, Allen executive who wanted a BAH branded Economist to generate revenue:

Once upon a time back in 1994, Joel Kurtzman, the then-editor-in-chief of Strategy & Business, coined the term “thought leader” as a means for identifying people within the business marketplace that merited our attention. Thought leaders were the individuals within their respective industries who offered fresh, creative ideas and commentary on industry problems and trends. Two decades later, much of today’s thought leadership has gone from original to repetitive. It’s not that business leaders, C-level executives, or entrepreneurs don’t have great ideas or valuable insights. The problem is a bit more complex.

But here’s the shocker. Strategy & Business was a reaction by Booz, Allen & Hamilton to publications and marketing campaigns mounted by other blue chip consulting firms.

Advertising, at least for blue chip firms, was somewhat low brow. The notion of pumping drivel into the in boxes of Fortune 1000 executives was also distasteful. Today advertising is the cat’s pajamas.

IBM is proving that nothing beats banging one’s own drum even if no one knows what the band is playing.

I opened my dead tree edition of the New York Times this morning )October 6, 2015), and what did I see? The work of Ogilvy & Mather? Sure looks like it. Big ad buy. Big images. Big assertions.

Cognitive computing via Watson. Yikes, where is the smarter planet? I did some poking around and came across “Tangled Up in Big Blue: IBM Replaces Smarter Planet With … Bob Dylan.”

IBM began to realize that the message of Smarter Planet — basically that computing is and will be integral to everything, as manifested in innovations such as smart power grids and connected cars — is no longer a differentiator for the business, explained Mr. Iwata. The emerging pattern, as harnessed and fostered by its Watson technology, is that these super computing capabilities can be built into anything digital because they live in the cloud.

IBM’s senior vice president of marketing Jon Iwata allegedly said:

“This will resonate strongly with not only our current clients but…companies and decision makers and software developers who aren’t currently IBM clients.”

The result in the dead tree newspapers I saw presented page upon page of IBM Watson marketing. Here are some of the pages from this morning’s print campaign in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal:

ibm ad

The massive ad campaign reveals that Watson consists of 100 million lines of code. No comment about bugs counts, however.

Obviously, this snapshot is too small to read. Put down your smartphone and buy the dead tree newspapers. Here are the themes I noted:

  1. Buzzwords
  2. Components that you, gentle reader, can assemble like Potassium ferrocyanide in chem lab when the teacher is inattentive
  3. Images of youthful, diverse people who are obviously into Watson
  4. Copy, lots of copy.

The information recycles that which is available on the IBM Watson Web site. The difference is that the multi page ads are the equivalent of a Bunker Buster dropped into the somewhat indifferent world of search and content processing. How will the likes of minnows like Coveo, dtSearch, Elasticsearch (now Elastic), Recommind, Sinequa, legions of business analytics firms, the specialists pitching everything from indexing (Smartlogic) to semantics (SenseBot), and all manner of information access vendors scattered across a somewhat Martian like landscape. Sure, there may be water, but can one survive on the stuff?

IBM is skipping the thought leader thing and going right to big buck advertising. I can imagine this scenario taking place in Joe Coffee’s. The IBM marketing team is meeting with the ad agency’s equivalent of Bindy Irwin. The scene is a hip coffee shop near the Watson office in Manhattan.

IBM Watson Wizard (IWW): We need something big to get this Watson bandwagon rolling?

Mad Ave Ad Exec (MAAE): Yes, big. We need to do big.

IWW: Let’s brainstorm here? Do you want another cappuccino with the neat latte art?

MAAE: Sure, sure. But make mine a macchiato.

[IBM Watson executive returns with more cappuccino and one artisan cafe macchiato.]

IWW: Who wants the macchiato? What have you got for me?

MAAE: Okay, we have been talking while you were standing on line? By the way, do you want one of us to pay for the coffee?

IWW: Nah, we’ve got more than a billion to burn. Let’s get to it.

MAAE: Here’s the idea. Imagine putting the Watson cognitive computing message in front of every, and I mean every, New York Times and Wall Street Journal reader. We warm up with some Monday Night Football buys and then, bang, we hit the buyers with the message, “Cognitive computing.”

IWW: Well, print? What about viral videos? What about social media?

MAAE: We will do that. We can pay some mid tier consulting types to send out Watson tweets?

IWW: But that did not get any traction?

MAAE: Tweets are good. We need to provide a big bang to make the tweet thing happen.

IWW: What’s the message?

MAAE: We were thinking think. But 21st century style. We want to go with outthink thing.

IWW: Out think. I like it.

MAAE: Now picture this. You know how everyone learned about chemical symbols in high school?

IWW: Yes, but I got a D.

MAAE: No problem. Here’s the picture. [Ad person grabs napkin and sketches a hexagon with a happy face.

ibm happy face

We show the components of the Watson system as little chemical symbols with codes in them.

IWW: Symbols? Codes? It looks like a happy face with an F in it.

 

MAAE: Grab your mental iPhone. Snap this happy icon with the Fd. You see “face detection.” Fd. Crystal clear. Non verbal. Immediate.

IWW: I don’t understand.

MAAE: Work with me on this. We make a list of the APIs and the buzzwords and put them into a graphic. We call the page “IBM Watson is the platform for cognitive business.”

IWW: Oh, like the structures computational chemists use to visualize complex constructs?

MAAE: What’s a computational structure whatever? I know a happy face thing with a hexagon. This gets the message across. Zap. Like an Instagram, right?

IWW: I get it. I get it.

MAAE: You like it, right? Big bang. Big splash. Big message but simple, clear, easy to grasp.

IWW: How many New York Times and Wall Street Journal readers know what API means?

MAAE: We’ve grab the upside. Wait for it. We will hook the Watson cognitive thing with a superstar. We are thinking Bob Dylan.

IWW: Bob Dylan. I remember him. Butwasn’t there some talk about drugs, political activism, maybe something with Croatia in France?

MAAE: Ancient history and myth. He’s an icon. Picture this. Bob Dylan becomes the image of cognitive computing. Can’t miss. Cannot miss. Winner. We become the messaging for API. Watson APIs will be huge. The chatter about text extraction, image tagging, and concept expansion. Deafening.

IWW: Wow, that sounds almost as powerful as the Jeopardy game show promotion. I really liked that game show thing. Watson won too.

MAAE: Right. That’s the value of post production. Now. One final point. Jules here came up with a great idea while you were waiting on line. We take the rock solid facts about Watson. Jules thinks this was your idea, and it is a great one. Watson. Only 100 million lines of code, you know, more than in a Volkswagen-type fuel emission system. We sprinkle these facts under a headline like “A cognitive business is a business that thinks.” Stir in Dylan and you can write your own ticket in this cognitive computing thing.

IWW: But what about outthink thing? You said the new hook was outthink.

MAAE: Yes, yes, outthink is the glue. Cognitive API outthink. Huge. I will send a contract over to you later today.

IWW: Do you think we will make any sales?

MAAE: Sales? Sure, sure. Winner. Be sure to turn around that contract. We need to get rolling like a rolling stone. Winner.

What other boosters did Watson receive on October 6, 2015. Well, the IBM Big Blue Boss is on CNBC. Not as perky as Bindy, but pretty excited about granting CNBC an exclusive.

One question: What about revenues? You know three years of declining revenue.

Stephen E Arnold, October 6, 2015

 

 

 

 

Stephen E Arnold, October 6, 2015

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