Popular Posts

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Intimate Shopping

Dr.Media says, well finally a reporter is willing to notice what the reall issues are about privacy on the web--Intimacy.
He posits a time when if someone followed you around and made notesd on your shopping behavior we would have been upset. What about you sexual behavior, reading choices, religious interests , political acquaintances. I seem to remember a time when there was an agency assigned to this task for politicl dissidents, and those who disagreed with government. policies.Tracking shopping behavior is the least of it.

December 23, 2007

The Way We Live Now

Intimate Shopping

Information,” the apostles of cyberspace have been singing for more
than a decade, “wants to be free.” Well, maybe your information does. But
in late November, the social networking Web site Facebook
discovered that many of its 58 million members don’t feel that way. On social
networks, people can exchange photos, letters and information with people they
know, and “friend” people they don’t. Facebook has grown so big, so rich (its
market value is estimated at $15 billion) and so addictive because it offers its
users new ways to exchange information and intimacies with people they care
about. In early November, Facebook’s 23-year-old C.E.O., Mark
, rolled out an advertising program called Beacon. It would track
users onto the sites of Facebook’s commercial partners — Coca-Cola,
the N.B.A., The New York Times and Verizon,
among others — and keep their friends posted about what they were doing and
buying there.

Did it ever. A Massachusetts man bought a diamond ring for Christmas for his
wife from overstock.com and saw his
discounted purchase announced to 720 people in his online network. What if it
hadn’t been for his wife? What if he had been buying acne cream? Pornography? A
toupee? You could go on. Researchers at Computer Associates, an
information-technology firm, discovered that Beacon was more invasive than
announced. MoveOn.org
started a petition movement against Beacon that rallied 75,000 Facebook

Facebook designed Beacon so that members would be able to “opt out” by
clicking in a pop-up window. But these windows were hard to see and disappeared
very fast. If you weren’t quick on the draw, your purchases were broadcast to
the world, or at least to your network. Since people, too, sometimes want to be
free, privacy advocates urged that Beacon be made an “opt in” program, which
members would have to explicitly consent to join. In early December, Facebook
agreed to this approach.

The Beacon fiasco gives a good outline of what future conflicts over the
Internet will look like. Whether a system is opt-in or opt-out has an enormous
influence on how people use it. He who controls the “default option” — the way a
program runs if you don’t modify it — writes the rules. Online, it can be
tempting to dodge the need to get assent for things that used to require it.
This temptation is particularly strong in matters of privacy. For instance, the
“default option” of the pre-Internet age was that it was wrong to read others’
mail. But Google
now skims the letters of its Gmail subscribers, in hopes of better targeting
them with ads, and the N.S.A. looks for terrorists not only in the traditional
manner — getting warrants for individual wiretaps — but also by mining large
telecommunications databases.

So it is with Facebook’s Beacon. We used to live in a world where if someone
secretly followed you from store to store, recording your purchases, it would be
considered impolite and even weird. Today, such an option can be redefined as
“default” behavior. The question is: Why would it be? The price in reputation
for overturning this part of the social contract is bound to be prohibitively

For the owners of social-networking sites, it may be a price worth paying.
Thanks to data-collection technology, your shopping choices and preferences have
value. Who owns those choices? Common sense says that you do. If a company wants
to use you to advertise its products, it can pay you, just as Nike
pays Tiger
. But the idea that your preferences (not to mention your conversations
about them) are your property rests on an implicit social contract. And the
thing about implicit contracts is that people who can figure out ways to break
them can often make a lot of money.

The concept of “implicit contracts” was developed in a landmark 1988 paper by
the economists Andrei Shleifer and Lawrence
. Their subject — hostile corporate takeovers — seems far from
cyberprivacy, but it is not. Shleifer and Summers showed that increases in share
price following takeovers were not due to gains in efficiency, as the defenders
of those buyouts claimed. There often were such gains, but they were not the
source of the profits. The profits came from reneging on implicit contracts —
like the tradition of overpaying older workers who had been overworked when
young on the understanding that things would even out later. These contracts,
because implicit, were hard to defend in court. But the assets they protected
were real. To profit from them, buyout artists had only to put someone in place
who could, with a straight face and a clean conscience, say, “I didn’t promise

As commerce moves from Main Street to the Web, lots of businessmen are in
that position. All bets are off, and entrepreneurs are seeking new ways to make
money by trial and error. Sometimes they do so by adding value to the economy.
Sometimes they do so by abrogating implicit contracts. Like managers newly
seated after a hostile takeover a quarter-century ago, today’s online innovators
are not always skilled at telling the difference: “Your friendships are your own
business? Golly, I wasn’t here when they negotiated that.”

Beacon was a clumsy attempt to reset the default on the common-sense
understanding of discretion and to profit off the resetting. As in the 1980s,
technological sophistication, entrepreneurial genius and gains to efficiency are
a part of this story — but a larger part was the attempt to monetize and sell a
vulnerable implicit contract. Facebook was thwarted, as the corporate raiders of
years past were not, because it aimed not at pension plans and seniority-based
pay scales but at something considerably more valuable — the unwritten rules of
privacy that make civilized human interaction possible.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hollywood 2008: Fewer sequels, more risks

Dr. Media says, Happy Holidays, and here's one prediction for next year , interesting to remember that vidgames make more money than movie boxoffice.

a record-breaking summer at the box office, movie studios suffered from
a relatively sluggish fall, casting doubt that box-office sales would
top last year’s $9.2 billion.

The industry did surpass the $9 billion mark this week thanks to
strong openings for the Will Smith apocalyptic thriller “I Am Legend” -
which set a December record by grossing $77.2 million in its first
weekend - and the mix of live action and computer animated “Alvin and
the Chipmunks,” which took in a whopping $44.3 million in ticket sales.

If Hollywood has a strong showing the final two weekends of the
year, 2007 could mark the second consecutive up year at the box office
after a disappointing 2005, when grosses fell 6 percent.

Studios such as Viacom’s (VIAB) Paramount , Warner Bros - which like
CNNMoney.com is a subsidiary of Time Warner (TWX) - Sony’s (SNE)
Columbia, Walt Disney’s (DIS) Buena Vista and GE’s (GE) Universal were
the big box office winners this year. Each studio captured at least 10
percent of the total U.S. box office, according to figures from movie tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

But what about 2008?

Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with movie industry research firm
Exhibitor Relations, thinks there is a decent chance that next year
will top 2007 but that it’s far from a sure thing. That’s because many
studios are taking a gamble by planning to launch would-be franchises
next summer instead of relying on less-risky sequels.

Bock said that some non-sequels to watch in summer 2008 are “The
Love Guru,” a comedy starring Mike Myers; “Iron Man,” the latest film
based on a Marvel (MVL) comic book character; “Kung Fu Panda,” a
computer generated animated movie from DreamWorks Animation (DWA); and
“Hancock,” a superhero action film starring box office Midas Will Smith.

Two other summer films he said will be worth keeping an eye on are
“Wall-E,” the latest from Disney’s Pixar powerhouse, and “Speed Racer,”
a live action version of the cult hit Japanese anime series from the

Of course, there will also be sequels galore in 2008. Most notably,
next summer will feature the long-awaited fourth film in the Indiana
Jones series, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” and
the second movie in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series: “Prince
Caspian.” There will also be sequels to “Hulk,” “The X-Files” and “The
Mummy” as well as “The Dark Knight,” a sequel to “Batman Begins.”

But the industry has to do more than have a hot summer to exceed
2007 sales, Bock said. It’s become increasingly important to spread out
the release of big movies throughout the whole year.

To that end, Bock said he thinks that Viacom’s Paramount is making
an interesting gamble with “Cloverfield,” a movie that has generated a
lot of buzz thanks to a cryptic trailer that first aired before this
summer’s smash hit “Transformers” and Web site featuring more footage from the movie.

The movie has no big stars in it but features what appears to be a
monster of some kind on a rampage in New York City - the poster shows a
decapitated Statue of Liberty. “Cloverfield” has been widely promoted
and is from “Lost” and “Alias” creator J. J. Abrams. It hits theaters
on Jan. 18, not a date typically associated with big blockbusters.

“January is usually a wasteland for the forgotten film. But
Paramount is doing a great job of hyping ‘Cloverfield.’ I think this
one will deliver and has an opportunity to dominate in not just January
but February,” Bock said.

Bock said the “Hannah Montana” concert movie - due out in February -
could also be a big blockbuster considering how much money people were
willing to pay for tickets to this consistently sold-out tour, which
features Miley Cyrus from the popular Disney Channel TV show. Plus, it will be in 3-D, a format gaining in popularity following the successful debut of “Beowulf” this year.

And Bock said that “10,000 B.C.,” a caveman epic from “Independence
Day” director Roland Emmerich, could be 2008’s answer to “300,” the
historical action film that was a surprise smash, pulling in more than
$210 million. Warner Bros. released “300″ and will be releasing “10,000
B.C” in March.

The end of next year looks promising at first blush as well, with
the penultimate film in the Harry Potter franchise, “Harry Potter and
the Half-Blood Prince,” a new James Bond movie, a sequel to the
DreamWorks animation hit “Madagascar,” and a revamped version of “Star
Trek” all on tap for next November and December.

Still, despite all of these possible hits, Bock doubts next year
will top the all-time record of $9.4 billion set in 2004. He’s more
hopeful about 2009. Why? He points to a new “X-Men” sequel focusing on
Wolverine as well as sequels to “Transformers,” “Ice Age” and “Night at
the Museum.” Not to mention “The DaVinci Code” prequel “Angels and
Demons” and the eagerly awaited 3-D movie “Avatar” from “Titanic” and
“Terminator” director James Cameron.

“2009 is the one that could wind up beating 2004. I’m more
optimistic about that. Next year is more of a question mark,” he said.

Posted by Paul R. La Monica 8:00 am 1 Comment comment | Add a comment

Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

fyi Leaders and Followers

Dr. Media says Larry Goldman's article from DMReview say a lot in a short space, see his bullets under Unsolicited data etc., these points summarize the key elements that need to be addressed to solve the Metadata problem which grows exponentially everyday on the web. A problem which no one has solved, BUT Dr. Media knows pf some groups who have some innovative solutions in the works. I can only say the real answer lies in psychographics but not what you're used to.

Leaders and Followers

Leaders and Followers

DM Review Magazine, November 2007

Last month
I talked about traditional customer information purchases. I discussed
how these large databases of U.S. prospects and households help
marketers target the most likely prospects and how this business is
changing. Another profound change impacting the data purchasing
industry is that organizations’ hunger for transactional and behavioral
information is spilling outside of their walls. Organizations are
looking for other behavioral information to triangulate hypotheses,
identify segments and needs, and verify brand attributes. And this
information may not always be found within their own systems. Most
likely it exists on other Web sites, partners’ systems or social
networks. Last year, I discussed in this column the way firms were
aggregating information from Internet service providers to help
industries understand how their Web site was functioning versus their
competitors. They were able to rank themselves regarding traffic
patterns, understand which products were being viewed versus competing
products or understand how their own product launches and their
competitor’s were resonating in the marketplace. The new twist on aggregating Internet behavior is the
penetration of social networking and feedback sites. These sites allow
people to provide feedback on products and services, and allow
consumers to interact with like-minded people in order to receive
recommendations from the right people.

Unsolicited Primary Research Data

Social networking sites are
providing an avenue for dialog between consumers and any interested
party. Through blogs, feedback and other postings, individuals are
commenting on any and all things - from hotels to the iPhone. As
organizations increasingly leverage their online capabilities to
involve customers in product development and improvement, this type of
information will increase exponentially.

Marketers are hungry for this type of unsolicited primary research
data that takes customers out of the focus group or survey scenario.
The information that can be obtained from these types of sites

  • Feedback regarding product satisfaction,
  • Feedback regarding current marketing and advertising promotions,
  • Understanding preferences for different product or service categories,
  • Understanding preference drivers for different customer types,
  • Understanding the attributes customers assign to your brand,
  • Understanding the customer-perceived attributes of your brand that differentiate you from your competitors,
  • Understanding the customer-perceived attributes of your brand that you share with your competitors,
  • Understanding which attributes are most important, and
  • Comparing customer feedback on your product versus competitive products.

This information provides a customer viewpoint of your brand,
products and services that is hard to collect otherwise. Text mining
your own customer service information may be a proxy, but it is
error-prone based on whether the customer service agent has added their
own interpretation of various comments. These are usually
complaint-oriented and not truly product feedback. This information can be baked into segmentation models which
can drive targeted advertising. As advertising becomes a prevalent
method of revenue generation on these types of sites, ads can be
tailored to the types of implied preferences by participating
customers. This information can be used to tailor search results by
including preferences as an input, tailor or test new messaging and
start competitive campaigns.


The other aspect of these social sites provides
insight into who the true influencers are. If you ask anyone about
customer value, they will tell you that influential value is a big part
of the equation, basically, the measurement of how influential a
customer is regarding other customer’s purchases. If Oprah recommends a
product, you know you are going to get a boost in sales. If you ask
anybody how you might measure influence, you’ll probably get a blank
stare. Leveraging information created by these new social sites,
vendors are now creating models and algorithms to understand which
customers are the leaders and which customers are the followers. This
information will further help with targeted advertising and direct
marketing communications. Firms may communicate with influencers to
receive product feedback or offer special services and discounts. This
information could allow marketers to try to influence the influencers.
Research continues to show that most people trust personal contacts or
recommendations by like-minded people over corporate advertisements. The new world of social networking has opened up a brand-new
avenue for segmentation, targeting and customer feedback. This
opportunity should provide a larger, less controlled, deeper set of
customer feedback than surveys, focus groups or other traditional
primary research methods. Companies are taking this information and
creating a brand index to show the preference drivers communicated by
customers for industries like hotels. Consumers and brand managers can
compare their product versus their competitors regarding brand
attributes, consumer preference drivers, interest and loyalty, and
identify who in a social network is swaying the crowd.

Powered by ScribeFire.