Six of the Best: Internet/Technology edition ~ Brand Mix

Friday, February 20, 2009

Six of the Best: Internet/Technology edition

Here's my summary of interesting things I read (or saw) this last week. All in the rough and general area of technology and the Internet:

1) Facebook's New Terms Of Service: "We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever." The Consumerist
Story/furore of the week came from the Consumerist which reported that Facebook had changed its terms of service to allow it to do what ever it wants with your content. This unleashed an entirely expected torrent of criticism including this cartoon from All Things Digital. Facebook has now reversed course and gone back to its old terms and that led to the most interesting post on the whole saga: Josh King wondered how Facebook could have failed to anticipate the reaction and did not have a plan to weather the storm (apart from capitulation)

2) The Social Media Starter Kit: altitude
Recommended by Olivier Blanchard in this post, Altitude Branding's Amber Naslund Social Media starter kit describes the "nuts and bolts" of social media including recommendations on smart phones, Twitter desktop clients and blog platforms. This is just one of a series of posts on social media. Others cover subjects such as Facebook and LinkedIn and the "whys."

3) Is Google search usage falling? Thought Gadgets
Is the sky falling too? Ben Kunz has some interesting analysis that suggests that people may be using Google's search engine less than they used to. He's take an array of common search terms (like florist) and shown, using Google Trends, that their search volume is down over a five-year period. Even terms like "financial services" which you'd expect to be higher. It's not a completely scientific approach and, for me, a plausible explanation is that people are just getting more sophisticated in their search strategies, using more complex search word combinations. But still...

4) What Would Micropayments Do for Journalism? A Freakonomics Quorum
Whether Google has peaked may be a matter of debate but there's no questioning the decline of newspapers and the challenges they are having finding a new business model to take the place of the old one. Most papers have given their online content away for free, cutting out one revenue opportunity. This quorum is a very interesting discussion about the possibility of using micropayments to generate revenue for journalism content. The general consensus: Not much hope, especially since the genie is already out the bottle.

5) Fabled City of Atlantis Spotted on Google Earth? The New York Times
As I reviewed (for free) the technology section of The New York Times, I came across this story. It reports: "British aeronautical engineer Bernie Bamford sighted a mysterious grid of undersea lines while browsing through Google Earth’s new underwater search tool. The strange pattern was spotted off the western coast of Africa, apparently near one of the possible sites of the legendary island." Google says "No" -- it's just the remnants of the sonar of boats looking for the city.

6) The results are in and the winner is . . . a clear eye
Tom Asaker lists the innovations that Nightly Business Report say have changed the way life is lived and the way business is done since its premiere in 1979? Top of the list is the Internet, followed by PCs, mobile phones and email. The whole list is here. What's up for the next 30 years?

Bonus video: Boom Goes the Dynamite on Greg Rutter's Definitive List of The 99 Things You Should Have Already Experienced On The Internet Unless You're a Loser or Old or Something. Did you catch Will Smith saying that at the Oscars when he screwed up a line? See 2:30.

That's it. See you next week for more stories from the world of brand strategy.


Jeffry Pilcher said...

Re: Drop in Google Searches

Perhaps, over time, people have accumulated more URLs in their memories and "bookmarks."

I don't need to Google "flowers." I now know I can go or

Most people can recall a lot of URLs off the top of their heads. Five years ago, a lot fewer.

I think this is just the natural evolution of a new innovation, similar to the stages discussed in marketing: awareness, familiarity, knowledge, preference, loyalty, advocacy.

Martin Bishop said...

That's what Ben thinks as well. Maybe you are both right but it's just so different from my own experience. I use search for everything, even as a spell checker, and I rarely type in a url.

Jeffry Pilcher said...

I use Google as my primary spell checker too. The spell checker that comes with Mac's widgets is inferior and frustrating.

Personally, I use Google a lot. I Google everyone and everything. I use a lot of the more advanced search features like +/-, link:, site:.

I think they should teach Google search techniques in public schools.

Ben Kunz said...

Jeffry - exactly my thoughts. The trouble I'm having is other stats show total Google searches are up, even as Google Trends show search volumes declining for many common terms. I'm open to any new data to try to solve this riddle.

- Could search volumes be up abroad and declining in U.S., e.g. existing consumers use it less frequently?

- Could search volumes be migrating from obvious terms to the "long tail" of obscure phrases?

My real belief, which is difficult to prove, is users are finding new ways to navigate via bookmarks, RSS, blogs, Facebook, Twitter -- and all the hours using these new navigation systems are hours not spent using Google. Google is still very effective, but the trend needs to be addressed as PPC gets more challenging and competitive.

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