August 28, 2015
The world seems to be focused on the stock market excitement. I want to highlight a paragraph in the dead tree edition of the Wall Street Journal. You might be able to access “Mobile Readers Abound—The Ads, Not So Much” online. Not my problem. Pick up the real newspaper. Flip to the Business & Tech” section and look for this paragraph on page B1 of the August 24, 2015 edition:
It [lagging mobile device ad revenues] is a similar story at News Corp’s Dow Jones & Col, publisher of the Wall Street Journal. More than half of unique visits to the Wall Street Journal Digital Network—which includes the Journal, MarketWatch, Barron’s, and WSJ Magazine—now come from nondesktop devices, but mobile accounts for less than 20 percent of the network’s digital ad revenue, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Interesting comment. So as the world goes mobile, Google goes Alphabet. Publishers perspire.
Without ads, where will online information journey? I would recommend that real journalists who cannot identify co workers as anything other than “a person familiar with the matter” consider podcasting. There may be jobs at Alphabet too.
Stephen E Arnold, August 28, 2015
August 10, 2015
It looks like real publishing companies are now into tattoos or, at least, into leveraging ink’s growing popularity. The Verge reports, “The Desperate Book Industry and ‘Tatvertising’ are a Perfect, Tragic Match.” Reporter Kaitlyn Tiffany tells us that Hachette Austrailia put out the call for a model willing to be tattooed and photographed as part of a promotion for the next Steig Larsson book, “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.” Tiffany likens the effort to a practice, widely considered predatory, that was common just after the turn of the millennium: websites paying those desperate for cash to have ads tattooed on them, (sometimes on their faces!) But, hey, at least those people were paid good money; apparently the reward for this scheme was meant to be the tattoo itself. The article elaborates:
“But why the [heck] does it need to be a real tattoo? When reached for comment, a representative from Razor & JOY, the advertising agency in charge of the campaign, told me, ‘The character of Lisbeth doesn’t do things in half measures — and so we wanted our marketing to capture this passion.’ The representative also explained that the compensation for the woman who is cast would be something… less than monetary: ‘This campaign is an opportunity to give a truly passionate fan a free tattoo that is unique to a strong literary character.’ And a new type of degrading, unpaid labor in the publishing industry was born.”
I’m not sure I’d personally consider this scheme “predatory,” but apparently Tiffany was not alone in her outrage. I visited the link she supplies in her article, and was greeted with a take-back notice; it reads, in part, “The campaign was conceived with good intentions … but some people have been offended. As this was never our intention, we have listened and we have decided we will not continue with the tattoo element of the campaign.” At least the company was wise enough to make a change in response to criticism. I wonder, though, what they will come up with next.
Cynthia Murrell, August 10, 2015
August 6, 2015
Doubts still remain among users as to whether or not Microsoft is fully committed to the on-premise version of SharePoint. While on-premise has been a big talking point for the SharePoint Server 2016 release, recent news points to more of a hybrid focus, and more excitement from executives regarding the cloud functions. Redmond Magazine sets the story straight with their article, “Microsoft’s Top Office Exec Affirms Commitment to SharePoint.”
The article sums up Microsoft’s stance:
“Microsoft realizes and has acknowledged that many enterprises will want to use SharePoint Server to keep certain data on premises. At the same time, it appears Microsoft is emphasizing the hybrid nature of SharePoint Server 2016, tying the new on-premises server with much of what’s available via Office 365 services.”
No one can know for sure exactly how to prepare for the upcoming SharePoint Server 2016 release, or even future versions of SharePoint. However, staying up to date on the latest news, and the latest tips and tricks, is helpful. For users and managers alike, a SharePoint feed managed by Stephen E. Arnold can be a great resource. The Web site, ArnoldIT.com, is a one-stop-shop for all things search, and the SharePoint feed is particularly helpful for users who need an easy way to stay up to date.
Emily Rae Aldridge, August 6, 2015
August 4, 2015
I love reading the dead tree edition of the Wall Street Journal. This morning I learned that “Apple and Google Race to Predict What You Want.” The print story appears in the Business & Tech section on B1 and B6 for August 4, 2014. Note that the online version of the story has this title: “Apple and Google Know What You Want before You Do.” There is a difference for me between a “race” and “know.”
Nevertheless, the write up is interesting because of what is omitted. The story seems to fixate on mobile phone users and the notion of an assistant. The first thing I do with my mobile phone is find a way to disable this stuff. I dumped my test Microsoft phone because the stupid Cortana button was in a location which I inadvertently pressed. The Blackberry Classic is equally annoying, defaulting to a screen which takes three presses to escape. The iPhones and Android devices cannot understand my verbal instructions. Try looking up a Russian or Spanish name. Let me know how that works for you.
Now what’s omitted from the write up. Three points struck me as one which warranted a mention:
- Predictive methods are helping in reduce latency and unnecessary traffic (hence cost) between the user’s device and the service with the “answer”
- Advertisers benefit from predictive analytics. Figuring out that someone wants food opens the door to a special offer. Why not cue that up in advance?
- Predictive technology is not limited to a mobile applications. Google invested some bucks into an outfit called Recorded Future. What does Recorded Future do? Answer: Predictive analytics with a focus on time. The GOOG like Apple is mostly time blind.
Predictive methods are not brand, spanking new to those who have followed the antics of physicists since Einstein miracle year. For the WSJ and its canines, isn’t new whatever today seems bright and shiny.
Stephen E Arnold, August 4, 2015
July 29, 2015
Here’s a unique pair of graphics, particularly of interest for anyone who can see themselves enjoying a cup of joe in London. Gizmodo presents “A Taxonomy of Hip Coffee Shop Names.” The infographic from Information is Beautiful lays out London’s hipster coffee shops by both naming convention and location. Both charts size their entries by popularity– the more popular a shop the bigger disk (coaster?) its name sits upon. The brief write-up sets the scene:
“As you walk down the sidewalk, you see a chalkboard in the distance. As you step a little closer, you smell the deep musk of coffee emanating from an artfully distressed front door. Out steps a man with a beard, a Mac slung under his arm, sipping from small re-useable flat white-sized cup. You’ve stumbled across another hip coffee shop. Now, what’s it called?
“Information is Beautiful … breaks the naming structure down by type: there are ones themed around drugs, chatter, beans, brewing, socialism and more. But they all share one thing in common: they sound just like they could be hand-painted above that scene you just saw.”
So, if you like coffee, London, hipsters, or taxonomy-graphics, take a gander. From Alchemy to Maison d’être to Window, a shop or two are sure to peak the curiosity.
Cynthia Murrell, July 29, 2015
July 16, 2015
I read “Google’s Mobilegeddon Moves Hitting Marketers, Sites.” The write up reports an action by Google that I had not considered. The ballyhooed mobilegeddon hit my radar months ago.
Here’s the big news, according to ZDNet:
there’s a 25 percent gap between what they pay for clicks vs. what they get. “Parity or click through rates are growing faster than cost per clicks,” said Gaffney [presumably an Adobe principal wizard]. “We’re not even close right now. To see the gap widening is troubling.”
My view: Get used to it, gentle reader. The GOOG has a number of strings, but some of the chunkiest and most curvaceous in terms of revenue have been on “The Biggest Loser.”
As a result, the revenue mavens at the Google are beefing up other revenue streams.
Adobe is cheerleading for Facebook, but seems to be quite placid when the Zuck wants Flash to be disappeared.
Google, Zuck, Adobe: What’s this mean pour vous. Spend more, get less. Enjoy the excitement of the new feature “World That Click Streams Abandoned.”
Stephen E Arnold, July 16, 2015
June 25, 2015
The main point of an advertisement is to get your attention and persuade you to buy a good or service. So why would ads be hiding themselves in a public venue? Gizmodo reports that in Russia certain ads are hiding from law enforcement in the article: “This Ad For Banned Food In Russia Itself From The Cops.” Russian authorities have banned imported food from the United States and European Union. Don Giulio Salumeria is a Russian food store that makes its income by selling imported Italian food, but in light of the recent ban the store has had to come up with some creative advertising:
“Websites are already able to serve up ads customized for whoever happens to be viewing a page. Now an ad agency in Russia is taking that idea one step further with an outdoor billboard that’s able to automatically hide when it spots the police coming.”
Using a camera equipped with facial recognition software programmed to recognized symbols and logos on officers’ uniforms, the billboard switches ads from Don Giulio Salumeria to another ad advertising a doll store. While the ad does change when it “sees “ the police coming, they still have enough time to see it. The article argues that the billboard’s idea is more interesting than anything. It then points out how advertising will become more personally targeted in the future, such as a billboard recognizing a sports logo and advertising an event related to your favorite team or being able to recognize your car on a weekly commute, then recommending a vacation. While Web sites are already able to do this by tracking cookies on your browser, it is another thing to being tracked in the real world by targeted ads.
Whitney Grace, June 25, 2015
June 8, 2015
The next time you go to sell or buy an item, pay attention to the message the price is sending. Discover reports that “The Last Two Digits of a Price Signal Your Desperation to Sell.” Researchers at UC Berkeley’s business school recently analyzed data from eBay, tracking original prices and speed of negotiations. Writer Joshua Gans shares a chart from the report, and explains:
“The chart shows that when the posted initial price is of a round number (the red dots), like $1,000, the average counteroffer is much lower than if it is a non-round number (the blue circles), like $1,079. For example, the graph suggests that you can actually end up with a higher counteroffer if you list $998 rather than $1,000. In other words, you are better off initially asking for a lower price if price was all you cared about. [Researchers] Backus et al postulate that what is going on here is ‘cheap talk’ – that is, an easy-to-make statement that may be true or untrue with no consequences for dishonesty – and not an otherwise reliable signal. There are some sellers who don’t just care about price and, absent any other way of signaling that to buyers, they set their price at a round number. Alternatively, you can think that the more patient sellers are using non-round numbers to signal their toughness. Either way, the last two digits of the price is cheap talk.”
Gans notes that prices ending in “99” are apparently so common that eBay buyers treat them the same as those ending in round numbers. The team performed a similar analysis on real estate sales data and found the same pattern: properties priced at round numbers sell faster. According to the write-up, real estate agents are familiar with the tendency and advise clients accordingly. Now you, too, can send and receive signals through prices’ last two digits.
Cynthia Murrell, June 8, 2015
June 4, 2015
SharePoint integration is often mentioned as one of the lowest points of user satisfaction for the whole solution. However, to be fair, SharePoint has very drastically moved away from its very simple start. Its original purpose was document sharing, and probably just Office documents at that. Now the platform is expected to handle any type of file constantly emerging in the fast-moving world of content. IT Business Edge takes a good look at the issue in its article, “Why SharePoint 2016 Needs to Address Integration Shortcomings.”
The article begins on a humorous note:
“SharePoint integration must be really hard, judging by this new infographic, “Seven Alcoholic Drinks to Imbibe as Your SharePoint Integration Project Fails.” . . . Why is SharePoint so hard to integrate? There’s the obvious reason, of course: Microsoft’s built it for Microsoft ecosystems with little concern for heterogeneous environments. Still, that’s not the only reason it’s a pain. In fact, SharePoint had integration problems even with other Microsoft solutions, as this 2012 post by an application architect shows.”
There are clearly issues with SharePoint integration, and in light of them, head SharePoint execs are discussing improvements to the 2016 platform. While it will take some time before it is known whether the changes do improve user satisfaction, keep an eye on ArnoldIT.com for the latest updates. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and his Web service gives a good deal of attention to SharePoint. In fact, his dedicated SharePoint feed is a good place to start for the latest need-to-know information.
Emily Rae Aldridge, June 4, 2015
April 24, 2015
Wow. I read some interesting and often crazy stuff. But this is a keeper. Navigate to “Google Builds a Data Platform That’s the Last Piece of Its Ad Empire. Connects Dots for Marketers and Challenges Facebook.” Never mind that the Google has been working on the data platform thing for advertising for what is it now, 12 or 13 years. Never mind that the guts of the ad system’s interfaces have been a project at the Google for more than a decade. Never mind that the guts of the data platform idea originated before Google hired Drs. Halevy and Guha along with hundreds of other scientists and engineers eager to knit together data from Google’s various repositories. But, hey, it is an advertising Web site, and I assume advertising experts are a heck of a lot more informed than little old me.
Of course, Google faces regulatory scrutiny for any move it makes, as well as talk of anti-competitive practices. In fact, the company was charged in Europe last week with behaving like a monopoly in search. The ad tech community has been concerned that Google is offering all the services that lock advertisers into its ecosystem and squeeze out rivals.
What the write is about is the “lead” which Facebook has over Google. The problem is not technology, in my humble opinion. The problem is that Google is focused on technology and Facebook was built to allow a person to get a date. Facebook followed its social-human thing, and the GOOG has been embracing the ever lovable zeros and ones. There are Googlers at Facebook, but Facebook will not become a Google. I would argue that Google cannot become a Facebook.
The data platform is secondary to the source of the information fueling the respective systems. Facebook users are the content sources. Google’s content comes from other places. Both companies face significant challenges and neither is likely to morph into another.
Why not merge into a Googbook or Facegle? If it works for Comcast and Time Warner, it might work for Google and Facebook. Ad buys just become easier. Ad people often prefer the easy approach.
Stephen E Arnold, April 24, 2015