What I learned at ad:tech

adtech.JPG What a difference a year makes! Last year is seemed as if blogs were only given a polite nod and tolerated as something vaguely intersting but mostly for the geek fringe. The majority of the attention was given over to the SEO black arts. This year blogs are a given while the social media darlings of YouTube & MySpace are the focus of everyone’s attention.

Worth the price of admission alone was one of the panelists (I think it was Dave Evans of Digital Voodoo) who defined Social Media as, “communication and media that doesn’t require interruption.” That is so true! Successful advertising in social media is not a pop-up ad for an irrelevant product – it cannot get in the way of what I want to do or who I want to reach. Successful integration of a brand into social media is going to facilitate the conversation. It’s going to be that funny clip that I can use to reach out to someone, it’s going to be images that I want to associate with by adding them onto my blog sidebar, it’s going to be a service that allows me to connect or communicate in a way that I couldn’t before.

Other notables:

Garrick Schmitt from avenue a/razorfish said that, “the tag cloud will become the mullet of web 2.0.”

This was funny because I ran into the father of the term “folksonomy” a couple of days earlier and he was going off on how tag clouds are overrated (he’s now posted about it).

Shawn Gold from MySpace on perspective, “To us, the refrigerator is the refrigerator. To our grandparents it was technology.”

It may seem strange to call MySpace a messaging platform but that is exactly how it’s being used. I heard of one music promoter who has so many friend requests that he has hired someone to manage his profile for him. This doesn’t sound so strange if you think that people hire others to answer & screen phone calls as well. I also met someone who has a 500 friend profile and he was asked if he would sell his profile. This did seem odd to me – I never thought I’d see a social network commoditized as if it was a World of Warcraft character being sold on e-Bay.

Shocking stat of the show: World of Warcraft has 5 million users as of Sept. 2005 and currently something north of 6 million today. The typical user plays 27 hours/week and most of these users will stay on the platform for over two years.

Cool mobile app: Mobot – turn your cameraphone into an image recognition device. I saw a demo where a guy took a picture of a Coke can and it recognized the logo and went to a special landing page on the phone’s browser.

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