EFF’s 20th Anniversary Video

July 15th, 2010

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which was founded in 1990 by Mitch Kapor (of Lotus 1-2-3 fame) and John Perry Barlow (the Grateful Dead lyricist and the man who coined the term cyberspace) and other early ‘Net leaders, celebrates 20 years of battling for citizen / netizen rights with a cartoon tribute from Nina Paley – which is funny and painfully true. It fits the brief for EFF. This is what they’re about.

How much surveillance is good for us? EFF (www.eff.org) has battled in the courts and on the airwaves for individual “user rights” from the beginning… and the fight goes on. A worthy group to support too, if you have a few dollars to spare.

I saw John Perry Barlow a few years ago at the IFI, talking about how the internet was no longer free and open. In Ireland we were in the throes of the Net Boom and no one in the audience was interested. Instead they asked him how to sell things online. He must have gone away with a raw impression of uz!

Creativity’s On Design blog

July 10th, 2010

Woofers by Sander Mulder

For a quick view of some of the best creative ideas in media, you’ll enjoy Creativity’s On Design, part of a suite of blogs celebrating interactive, cross-media and installation design. Go ahead and enjoy poking around – and be aware that not far into exploring you’ll be hit with a well-crafted lightbox pop-up ‘inviting’ you to subscribe for $99. You can ignore and you’ll still get plenty of eye-food for free and some refreshing ideas too.

I fail to understand why Creativity’s main page, which offers the latest campaigns from ad agencies, requires a $99 subscription to view. Seems to be a self-defeating approach. But do check out their “Integrated Production White Paper“, which dis-integrates some of the most productive agencies to see how their departments and their talent execute all manner of new ideas. A bit of a mouthful, but worth the PDF download. Who said getting at new ideas was easy!

On the other hand… Ken Wilber

June 12th, 2010

A friendly critic took me to task for being “harsh” about NeoOgilvy. I trust no-one at Ogilvy took personal offense, if they read the review at all, at all. To balance the picture, I’m reminded that Flash isn’t always a no-no. There are times, places and “interactive audiences” (for want of a better term) for whom it works and fits perfectly. An excellent example is the “very flash” American philosopher Ken Wilber. This is no dry and crusty academic. Ken’s all about now, both spiritually and in contemporary-ness, and his site uses Flash to perfection – a total integration of sound and visual and interactivity. You’ll find Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, and social media channels all integrated neatly. Go see it at http://kenwilber.com. If you haven’t downloaded the latest, now bug-free, Flash browser plugin from Adobe you can get it free here.  (The new Flash plug-in finally fixes security and machine-crash issues – at long last! Bravo to Adobe. Now, maybe, Steve Jobs will let you put Flash on the iPad. But somehow I think he really likes the power of HTML5.)

Ken Wilber's integrated Flash website. All singing & all dancing. And philosophy too!

Neo Ogilvy – Alas, Nothing New!

May 31st, 2010
Neo Ogilvy Falling Man

Neo Ogilvy - The Falling Man as concept?

This morning’s New Thinking, Gerry McGovern’s e-newsletter, was titled “The reason why ad agency websites are truly awful” pointing out their lack of grasp of web fundamentals – that people like to “do” things and “interact” with websites. Most of us in the web industry are aware of the pitfalls of using Flash as the frontpage or whole site too. Doesn’t seem like Neo Ogilvy got that message.

So I wasn’t greatly surprised to find NeoOgilvy.ie is a Flash site. Visually well done. Big typeface messaging. Who We Are, What We Do. Just what you’d expect from anyone selling their talents. But there is absolutely nothing NEW or NEO about it. Instead Ogilvy rolls out the usual pitch – we do it all. This is 2010. What were they doing for the last decade?

Under “What’s Different?” it says: “Our fluid understanding of digital territories underpins our approach to the development and delivery of successful consumer engagement strategies…” That sounds fine. But there isn’t any sign that Ogilvy actually grasp what “interactivity” is about. The website is an advertisement, a one-way broadcast. This doesn’t add up to a “fluid understanding of digital…”

Ogilvy needed to “show & tell” with NeoOgilvy – big time. Alas, there’s nothing new here. Except perhaps the frontpage image of a falling man. Is this image meant to impress their clients? Who exactly is falling? Client or agency? In our current climate it is an unnerving image & reminds of those who jumped off skyscrapers in New York as the Stock Market crashed.

How to promote business online

May 22nd, 2010

I’m editing a new section for Chambers Ireland’s InBusiness Magazine. In the May issue we interview 3 leaders from the SEO, Online PR and Social Media networking world, and asked them to tell it like it is in plain English.

I interviewed Eoin Kennedy of Slattery Communications (online PR and social media networking), Maurice McGee of FreshConsulting (SEO), and Peter Cullen of Interleado (SEO and web metrics) and asked them to explain their expertise in a way that the average non-technical or non-expert person could understand. The result is a very useful guide.

InBusiness May 2010 magazine cover image

See GET CONNECTED pages 52-56

Creating a website and optimising it so that your company, products and services can be quickly and easily found is becoming a standard business procedure. You don’t have to be a big brand to benefit from these same methodologies.

The arrival of Social Media has added to the places where you can promote business and brand online. When done properly, your presence in the Social Media world – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc – can lead to increased visibility with your clients and higher rankings in the search engines. Social Media is also where you get to interact with your clients. It is a perfect venue for clever and smart promotion campaigns.

Your business can benefit from understanding each, and best of all – all three together. Online marketing is no longer a maybe, it is a given. In the coming decade businesses who fail to take it up will find their markets overrun by those who have picked up the challenge and the opportunity.

READ the online edition here or on Chambers Ireland’s website here.

Feedback and ideas are welcome in email here.

Internet Ageism

January 15th, 2010

Have you noticed how ageist the internet has become over the last few years? Like other pop culture, it seems filled with bright young things – making music, sharing files, bragging on MySpace and Twittering away. We see the same ageism in advertising, film and TV. It’s as if anyone over 30 and older got left behind in the techno dust. On the web it appears to be a young people’s world.

The only problem with this view is that it is entirely false. Oh, it’s true that the advertising agencies are pushing youth – but that’s been going on since the 60’s, across all media. And under 30’s definitely have more disposable income. But the real Dollar Power, Euro Power too, is with those OLDER than 30. Last year an episode of the American TV series “Boston Legal” had great craic, supporting a septagenarian to sue “the networks” for “fair representation” at least equal to their Dollar Power. They claimed over 40% was in the hands of the “oldies”.

We’re likely to see a shift on the web in the next few years. Certainly, it is now important to understand your target age group. So why are so few companies selling the over 30s? What about the Dollar Power in Ireland of the over 50s? It would be interesting to see some research.

Merry Christmas 2009!

December 21st, 2009

Best wishes to everyone for Christmas, and may 2010 bring us all some peace… and a bit of prosperity.

Getting Your Business Online“Getting Your Business Online” – I’m editing a new series in Chambers Ireland’s InBusiness Magazine. You can read it online – CLICK HERE – and will find it on pages 58-61. Any feedback very welcome. If you would like to contribute or be interviewed for future issues – email me here.

In 2010 we will be covering many of the basic and mid-level problems business people face when trying to get their businesses working and profitable on the web. We will avoid tech-speak and talk plainly, giving best advice and directions.

The aim of the series is to empower business people to take proper control of the content, marketing and success of their business websites – without needing to become a “techie”. The focus is on doing business online.

Why Safari Books Sucks

October 24th, 2009

Safari Books Online 5 Stars for bad relationship managementAs part of a collaboration with a book publishing colleague I signed up for a free trial at Safari Books Online to see what it had to offer the book reading & buying community. Not much, as it turned out. Each time I visited I found it pretty useless. It looks like they have taken the Amazon Books “Peek & Read” idea and tried to make a business model with it.

But what really sucks about Safari Books is the ham-fisted, clumsy and lazy way they handle their email relationship with potential fee-paying subscribers like me. I signed up for the Free Trial many many months ago, and this morning comes their huge and dense email asking me to make 1 of many decisions. It starts with a breezy opener:

“Andrew,
How time flies! This note is just a reminder that your complimentary trial to Safari Books Online will expire in 5 days.  To ensure your access to Safari Books Online — and the thousands of technology, creative and business titles it includes — doesn’t end, sign up today to continue with the service. …”

Then follows a set of links and options – none of which I’m interested in – before it ends with this:

“Or you can do nothing and on 10/29/2009 we will begin your paid subscription at the price of $22.99 per month plus any applicable taxes.”

What?! Is this Stealth Subscribing? If I’m too busy or lazy, Safari Books will take my money? So, why did they open the email by telling me I’d lose my subscription if I don’t act?

Safari Books gets 5 Stars for bad relationship management, and the “thumbs down” for trying to get my subscription by stealth.

You’d think two major publishing companies like O’Reilly Media and Pearson Education would know better wouldn’t you?

What’s Hot & What’s Old Hat…

October 1st, 2009

After 20 years exploring and working on the internet – from the earliest days of the academic free-thinking Net – we’ve seen so much hype and so many “hot” topics it becomes easier for us to question the validity of many of today’s “next big things”. A few years ago Java was going to rule the world. In coming weeks I hope to review some of the latest “must have – must do” topics, and perhaps unearth the constants. (Some things have always worked and still do, even with a new coat.) We’ll also be looking at some of the simpler ideas that promise new potential.

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