Posts filed under ‘Widget Advertising’

Gary Busey(isms) in a Widget

If the future of viral marketing takes the form of a widget I was recently informed about titled, Gary Busey on Business, then please take me back to the days when print, radio and TV ads were king. The widget, part of a viral marketing campaign for VOIP small business provider GotVMail, points to a larger trend in online celebrity endorsements, while leveraging SplashCast’s widget platform.

With a half-nod to the Chuck Norrisisms that spread faster across the net than a jar of Skippy, the former Buddy Holly impersonator seems to be getting the first and last laugh, which seems to elude his audience.  Designed by social media agency StepChange Group, with the exception of a GotVMail song, Gary Busy doesn’t overtly promote the sponsor, as try to create a viral sensation.  The affect, however, is that of a forced, poorly delivered diatribe on all things Busey.  All that’s needed is a laugh track, because no one is dumb enough to actually laugh at Busey’s monologues.

For all Busey fans in Web 2.0 land, and I’m not sure if anyone fits within this category, after seeing this material, then the widget is a perfect way to get a daily dose of the big toothed man himself.  And, if by chance, GotVMail were to get some additional phone business as a result, then who can argue with the new face of interactive marketing.  But, if a Busey makes a noise in the forrest and no one installs it, then is it a successful social media campaign, or just another asshole sounding off in the digital ether.

Gary Busey spuing his business acumen

Gary Busey spuing his business acumen

August 28, 2008 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

The Four Questions of Pull Marketing

Widgets, Social Networks and Blogs, oh my. The changing web habits of today’s consumer begs the question, can a company build an online presence without the need for an exclusive .com address?

It’s a simple question with profound implications. Since the season of Lent and Passover is soon upon us, I thought I’d break it down into what I’ll call The Four Questions of Passover Pull Marketing:

  1. Have web services evolved to the point in which we’ve serviced ourselves out? The answer is increasingly becoming yes. We are starting to see the RSSification of our lives. Some call it lifestreaming, others news feeds, but one thing is for sure, it’s changing the consumer consumption chain from a push to pull medium. From recommendations, to recent games played, to up-to-the-minute declarations, whatever you’re doing is being broadcast in one way or another, either internally via the ad network, or externally via social feeds. This new Pull environment is actually the biggest transformation to take place in media since the invention of the printing press, and quite possibly even more dramatic.
    social networking services
  2. Has the rise in user-generated content (also known as social media) and its many entry and exit points challenged the traditional way of thinking? Absolutely. Just ask the Obama Girl, Lonely Girl, and the Dancing Around the World Guy if they would have been household names without YouTube. Brands are next to exploit the power of social media.

  3. Why on this day is the new social graph allowing for radically different online business models? Facebook turned a new page by allowing developers to tap into their members’ social graph to give viral marketing some wings and a way to fly. Others quickly, and not so quickly, followed suit. There is a furious pace of innovation taking place right now within the widget/embedded applications space because web services no longer have to stand alone, like an island in a big dot-com sea. While the cost of driving potential customers to a web site became astronomical, by taking your app to the customer, via Facebook, or MySpace, or Bebo, or iGoogle, the entire economics of customer acquisition is turned upside down thanks to the power of the social graph. Now, developers can worry about building a good niche app and those within the niche will find it. Water eventually finds its own level, and so do web apps. The good ones float to the top, the bad ones sink to the bottom.

  4. In what ways do marketers need to adjust their brainwaves to thrive in this unchartered pull universe? Navigating the decentralized web requires an entirely new mindset, new forms of advertising/pr/promotion and incentives. And to help marketers track, analyze, test and enhance campaign effectiveness in this pull environment, it also requires entirely different analytics to measure “engagement,” “viral pass-along rates,” and “frequency.” Creative marketers will discover the winning combination of delivering the right message to the right consumer via the most effective channel, whether it be social media, social networking, widget marketing, or the combination of all three.
social media marketing

    So, maybe it’s not so clear whether a business needs a web site of their own or not. As my friend at Sprint recently informed me, “web sites are so old school.” If that’s so, we need to move beyond the antiquated view that the web is round to understand that in a decentralized web, there are many intersecting circles and your business needs to be at the nexus of your customer’s networks, wherever they may be.

    March 20, 2008 at 2:45 am 1 comment

    Hey EA – Welcome to the Widget Game

    Pogo LogoIt wasn’t too long ago that video game publishers and developers looked down on online gaming. Considered too low-brow for the big production focused studios, online games were like the bastard step child nobody wanted to recognize as part of the family.

    I know the shame of being the unwanted sibling only too well, having traveled to EA’s Cupertino headquarters in 1999 on acquisition talks representing Kasparov Chess Online, Kasparov Chess logoone of the largest online chess networks. Company chairman Garry Kasparov was, and still remains, the most recognized name in chess. A brand onto himself, Mr. Kasparov is as saavy a businessman as he is at chess. KCF offered players of all levels a free chess gaming platform from which to challenge, play and chat with one another, maintain a chess rating (the equivalent of crack for chess players) and read daily chess news. We also sold chess-related merchandise and subscription-based Master class downloads – rather revolutionary for the day. Back in those days, we called it the 4C’s – competition, community, content and commerce.

    If only we would had been better futurists and called it “social gaming,” it would still be in business today. Those discussions with EA never went very far, but I’d like to believe that it helped them realize the potential. Several months later, EA acquired Pogo, the largest independent gaming network at the time. And, as all things must end, Kasparov’s 20+ year reign as world chess champion ended, and so did Kasparov Chess Online, unable to ride out the great bubble burst of 2000, as it’s now known as. EA went onto grow Pogo’s audience, while diversifying its revenue streams.  And Kasparov went onto challenge Putin in the Russian elections.  We all know how that will turn out.

    So when EA/Pogo announced a new Facebook widget for Pogo members, I was intrigued. After all, Pogo was all about social gaming, even before the term became the winner of the Most Repeated Buzz Phrase at the recent 2008 Gamers Developer Conference (GDC), in San Fran. Had they started to spread their tentacles to harness Facebook’s social graph?

    Pogo Gaming Widget for Facebook

    Well, yes and no. While the widget allows Pogo subscribers (read: paid members) to display their profile information, avatar and point totals, receive Pogo-related news, and link back to Pogo for a few selected games, it falls short in leveraging Facebook’s viral strengths.

    First, all users must be registered Pogo members. Not sure what the overlap is between Facebook and Pogo members, but since Pogo targets women over 35, while Facebook reaches a decidly different audience, I don’t expect much crossover between the two.

    Secondly, all games simply link back to the Pogo hub. There is no game integration within Facebook. Ah, the old hub-and-spoke strategy feels more like the bait and switch made popular at consumer retailers like The Wiz.

    Is EA just clinging to the old and familiar business model they’ve groomed so nicely since the Pogo acquisition? Or is there simply a disconnect between the old guard and the new — the centralized web vs. distributed networks?

    Maybe the new social network-centric gaming companies like SGN and Zynga know something that the executives at Pogo have yet to figure out. Let me give them a hint — Facebook gamers want to play in their own backyard, not a click away in someone else’s playground. Maybe it’s the old Groucho Marx joke, “I would never want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member.”

    Pogo Facebook Widget

    Note to self: Remove Pogo Widget from my Facebook Profile.

    February 29, 2008 at 3:20 am Leave a comment

    Gigya Launches Widget Ad Network

    Gigya LogoFiled under “we saw this coming,”  widget distribution and metrics provider Gigya has launched its own widget ad network, providing marketers with a cost-per-install model that is sure to get attention from some major advertisers.   Gigya joins the ranks of ClearSpring and WidgetBox, who have all announced similar offerings recently.    Gigya plans to price its ad units at $2 – $5 per install.  They have yet to announce their participating widget publishers.  One thing is for sure, widgets are aiming to be the next rich-media ad format.  And, looking at the widget landscape, they are emerging as a cost-effective, engaging new tool for online marketers. You can read their spin on it from the Gigya press release here. TechCrunch has a good recap here.  

    January 15, 2008 at 9:22 pm Leave a comment


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