Ad Scientists Stir Up Online Brew

Targeting cable TV ads to a particular neighborhood has always been tricky. In the past, if a local gas station wanted to advertise only to nearby households, the ad had to be cued up manually in the equipment shed where the area’s cable lines met. But Ted (a Visible World client) used a clever trick. The airline embedded every version of the ad into a single metacommercial and sent it out over Comcast lines like a “choose your own adventure” book. When the file hit special routers that Comcast installed at the edge of Schaumburg, for example, the commercial morphed into “Viva Las Schaumburg.” The ad also responded to commands from headquarters: When seats on the Vegas routes filled up, the destination was easily changed to Florida.
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7 steps to a good company name

In 2003, the only other company that I was aware of that used a number to start off their company name was 37signals. I am sure there were more, but at that time on the web they were the only ones I could think of and therefore I didn’t see any issues with using a number for my company. If I were to start all over today I would think twice about using a number simply because there are so many sites and companies out there that employ this naming scheme.

So what are the criteria for coming up with a godo company name? Well the list is short and sweet, but that doesn’t make the process any easier. So many names have been taken up that now you are either starting to see some recycled goodies or names that come from words that don’t even exist.

In his book The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier has come up with a wonderful list of seven characteristics that you should consider while coming up with your company name. Here they are along with my own thoughts.

1. Distinct. Is it unique and does it help you stand out from the crowded field that you are more than likely entering?
2. Short and sweet (aka brevity). Can people get it out without having to take a breath in between words? The longer the name, the more likely people will come up with an abbreviation that probably won’t make sense to the person they are talking to. Does anyone even care what IBM, GE, or GM even stand for anymore?
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9 Ways to Recycle a Press Release

Stop letting good press releases go to waste! Put them to work for you with these nine tips for reusing your press release content.

What do you do with your press releases when you’re done with them? Do you file them away and forget about them? Or do they just get tossed in the trash? Well, don’t dismiss those press releases just yet. Consider these nine ideas for getting more use out of them.

1. Use them as web copy. Extract facts, statistics and quotes from experts, and use them as supporting website content. Weave into your website comments from satisfied customers or people who’ve tested your product or service as testimonials.
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Business blogging: it’s not what you do, it’s who you become

I’ve been thinking about business blogging lately.

Partly because of a months-old post on Hugh McLeod’s blog about what comes after the Cluetrain, and a post he references on Marketing Hub.

But mostly because of a need in my present business venture to spend more time listening to real people in real jobs in real organizations that we think will buy/use/promote the products and services we’re creating.
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Oops! Google accidentally deletes its blog

Google has admitted that it accidentally deleted its own official blog on Monday night. “We’ve determined the cause of tonight’s outage. The blog was mistakenly deleted by us (d’oh!) which allowed the blog address to be temporarily claimed by another user. This was not a hack, and nobody guessed our password. Our bad,” Jason Goldman, Blogger Product Manager, wrote in a posting on the Google Blog. Apparently, the Google Blog was unavailable for a short time on Monday.
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Gates: five ways we’re service orienting

Bill Gates is pouring on the SOA sauce. Service-oriented applications will underpin Microsoft’s recently announced “Dynamics” product vision, which will start emerging over the next year. That’s the word from Chairman Gates in his keynote at Microsoft’s Convergence user conference in Dallas, as reported in Computer Business Review Online.

Microsoft is rallying the troops around its latest marketing theme of “People-Ready Business,” which emphasizes role-based interfaces to enterprise applications.
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Will virtual humans replace machines?

How many times have you been rebuffed by a machine, be it a vending machine swallowing your cash but keeping its soda, or a ticket machine refusing to give you a subway ticket in a foreign country? It happened to me, and I’m sure it happened to you too, and it’s very irritating. This is why German researchers are developing the concept of virtual humans to replace these annoying machines. These virtual humans, which will interact with you through speech and gestures could be used as ticket sellers, but also as teachers for students taking e-learning courses.

Several research institutions are working on this concept including the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics (IGD).

“The idea behind the virtual character is to design the human-computer interface as naturally as possible”, explains Christian Knöpfle, head of Virtual Reality at the IGD.

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Open source community needs a haircut and to dress for success

Former Massachusetts Chief Information Officer Peter Quinn, who was deeply involved of the OpenDocument vs. Microsoft format debate, has some advice for the open source community. If you want to get traction in commercial environments, lose the sandals and ponytails, Quinn said.

“Open source has an unprofessional appearance, and the community needs to be more business-savvy in order to start to make inroads in areas traditionally dominated by commercial software vendors. (Having) a face on a project or agenda makes it attractive for politicians (to consider open source),” Quinn said speaking at LinuxWorld Australia. The “sandal and ponytail set,” Quinn said, contribute to the slow uptake of Linux in government and business, according to the story by ZDNet Australia reporters Matthew Overington and Steven Deare.
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