(large posters appeared overnight to promote the brand new yahoo.com home page)
Lots of buzz around the new Yahoo homepage which was made available as a preview today. Most appreciated the interactive elements that let you check your email and local traffic conditions without leaving the page. The team packed in a lot of information on the page (no scrollbar on my 1280 x 1024 screen) without making it overwhelming. Just right I think.
There’s a lot here to discover, subtle things such as changing of the font from Arial to Verdana for better legibility as you get smaller and the countless bits of stuff to see in the Pulse module. More details on personalization features from Scott Gatz.
OMG! I’ve been hearing all about this game as the next greatest thing but until you see it, you can’t really appreciate just how cool it is. Joystiq has links to videos from E3 that show the game in action and it looks amazing.
Certainly people want good deals, but a good deal is sweeter when it’s available someplace where people can engage. That’s why even small efforts to facilitate shared moments of self-expression make sense for PopSecret at Whatsyourpopsecret.com, or for Saab at Maintainyouridentity.net, or for msn.com at Whatsyourstory.msn.com (sponsored by Volvo), or for Tazo Tea at Tazo.com, where Tazo encourages visitors to "enlighten us." These campaigns aren’t about engaging consumers with the brand. They’re about brands enabling people to engage with one another in new, often quirky, but always meaningful ways.
Theres so much activity at Yahoo that many projects or cool little features get lost in the shuffle or overlooked. A couple of engineers were lamenting the fact on an internal mailing list and wondering what could be done to get the word out about their favorite features. It didn’t take long for a couple of them to take matters into their own hands and start their own little fan site.
One of the things I really like about this site is that it’s so down to earth. People writing lovingly about products that they just want to share with the world. It’s pretty funny at times too like the most recent post about the benefits of being able to go back and edit a review.
Another great feature is the blogroll which is the most comprehensive list of Yahoo product blogs on the web today. Slurp this blogroll into your reader and you’ll know everything you need to know about Yahoo, straight from a Yodeler.
Steve Rubel points to an interesting development of Apple’s iTunes client.
The addition of PDFs to iTunes is more than just a mildly interesting occurrence. iTunes, as a ubiquitous cross-platform app, has its own embedded browser that powers the music store. It’s conceivable that Apple could turn iTunes into a dedicated RSS reader that operates like Safari and become a clearing house for all subscription-based content. In addition, wireless is on the way according to this patent filing.
Taking this a step further, it’s also highly possible that if iTunes enhances its DRM to include other enclosures it will move into e-books and or e-magazines. Oh, and where might those eBooks be consumed?
I’d take this one step further. One of the more lucrative lines of business for the news business is the timely delivery of profiled news. Could iTunes become a platform for newspapers to delivery their premium content to subscribers? With a built-in browser and DRM, the iTunes client becomes much more attractive than email or even some of the current branded RSS readers such as the one available from USA Today.
If you’ve been following the ABC television show Lost, you may know that they’ve been building up to a season finale that would integrate the internet and game play into the viewing experience. Tonight the game launched itself with a non-descript advertisement from "The Hanso Foundation"
Any regular viewer of Lost knows that this is the Hanso Foundation plays a key role in the show and the phone number at the end of the commercial (1-877-hansorg) is the first clue. What follows is a trail via a voice mail tree that brings you eventually a website that’s been set up for the game.
I’m a bit lazy and shortcutted my way to the site via The Lost Experience which is doing a great job documenting the twists and turns of this very immersive "alternate reality game." I’m really interested to see how this all turns out but one thing is certain, by running an ad with clues to kick this off, ABC has skewered my reflex to zip through the commercials on my Tivo.
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.
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.