Last night I watched most of a two-hour 20/20 about consumer-created content. Predictably, much of the program focused on the ridiculous and the raunchy. 20/20 presented a cavalcade of YouTube silliness, and introduced viewers to a blogger who shares every intimite detail of her life (in and out of the bedroom) with hundreds of thousands of web reader, the publisher of college-athletes-gone-wild site BadJocks.com and snarky celeb basher Perez Hilton.
None of this was news to me, and I figure it isn't to you either. But what really struck me about this program was that, as in any primetime network slot, the commercial pods were full of ads from blue-chip national advertisers, many of which probably wouldn't be caught dead advertising against this very same content online. Apparently wrapping CGM with commentary from professional broadcasters and presenting it on a different screen makes all the difference. ;-)
Jon Fine's Media Centric column in this week's BW advises advertisers to "get weird" and embrace what really makes the net (and web video in particular) tick. Good advice, but seriously, nothing gets weirder than the disparity between who'll advertise adjacent to CGM when it runs on TV and who is willing to risk running against CGM when it appears in its native state.
(NOTE: To be fair to 20/20, the program was not all about the seamy side of consumer content. They did also highlight some of the ways Internet video is being used as a tool by citizen journalists to champion social causes, present unique views on world events and more. But the clips of women dancing in their underwear and farting dog videos certainly dominated the airwaves last night.)
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Mark Cuban is remarkably consistent. He has been down on the Google acquisition of YouTube from day one. His latest Blog Maverick post continues the thread. Mark's analysis of a recent selection of "most watched" GooTube videos is compelling, while it shows the videos themselves to be, well, not so compelling at all. And this isn't a rant against user generated content, per se.
From Mark's post - "What's interesting is that Gootube has gone corporate. Its primary application is to host commercials. Commercials for TV shows. Commercials for Products. Commercials for cheesy websites. Gootube may host a bunch of user generated content, but thats not what people look at."
Mark questions whether this is the "future of TV" and notes that, of GooTube's top 20 videos, nearly all are either uploaded commercials or scams disguised as pornography (it's hard to tell what purpose some of these serve, but a few appear to have been created by new vloggers looking to garner attention - to that end, I suppose their trickery worked...) A mere 3 out of 20 are actual user generated content. Sounds a lot like your email box without a SPAM filter, doesn't it? SPAM has all but killed email marketing, is a blight among social networks and is now becoming the heart of the GooTube product offering. Sad...
I knew Cuban back in the day, before Yahoo! acquired Broadcast.com, when we were both hacking away, trying to turn internet radio into a business. Back then, we certainly had our share of disagreements. Ironically, one thing we did agree on was the massive, industry-changing impact online radio would have. This was back in 1999 and I still have a print out from Kurt Hanson's Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN) wherein Kurt roundly (and rightly) trounces the two of us for being (shall we say) a wee bit optimistic about consumer interest in listening to radio stations over the internet.
But when it comes to GooTube, he makes a strong argument that the honeymoon is over.
I don't really know Gavin Heaton - we've exchanged a couple of notes, he's stopped by and left an encouraging comment or two here at the blog - but as a reader of Servant of Chaos and member of this rag-tag community of marketing bloggers I feel like I do know him a bit. So I was saddened to learn that his father-in-law, Noel Davies, and several of Noel's friends had been seriously injured in a cycling accident just before Christmas, when the driver of a car hit them during a group ride. Though in critical condition, thankfully all seem to be pulling through and on their way toward recovery.
You can track their progress here, wish them well here and if you would like to do more you can make a donation here. And if you're a blogger, please spread the word -- take the graphic (provided for this purpose by David Armano) and use it in your own post.
I would like to join Gavin's other blog-friends in sending Noel and the others my best wishes and the hope that the new year brings a speedy recovery.
It could be the time of year or the flu bug I'm battling, but one way or another I don't feel like I have anything to say.
Maybe this is just a symptom of another kind of bug that is making the rounds of the blogosphere -- Armano had it last week (and he's OK); Chris at Pour Out and Bill at MicroExplosion had the blog blahs in early November and (egads) ended up chatting about ME!!! I'm sure it has happened to countless others.
So I suppose it's OK to have nothing to say, but man it feels strange. It's not that there's nothing going on in the world of media and marketing - despite the holidays, there's plenty going on. I just don't feel much like writing about any of it this week, and I'm not going to force it.
But rest assured, I'll be back for 2007. That's a promise or a threat, depending on your point of view. :-)
Memetrackers Tailrank and Megite have both launched video sections that, like their core blog tracking services, rank the videos that are getting the most play throughout the blogosphere. This makes it easier for consumers to follow the conversations about those videos as they take place across a wide range of blogs, all without having to hunt and peck around the blogosphere.
My readers already know that I dig Tailrank and memetracking in general, and that I think that video search stinks. Now, the new Tailrank and Megite offerings don't solve the video search problem outright but they do help web users sift through the vast video long tail by tracking which web videos are getting the most traction (and viral spread) through influential blogs. In a world where there are millions upon millions of video clips to choose from, this provides consumers with a potentially powerful filter to separate the good from the bad.
So there's been this meme making the rounds of the marketing blogosphere, wherein a blogger reveals five little known facts about him/herself and then "tags" five more bloggers to do the same. And so on and so on and so on. I thought I would get away scott free but, alas, I've now been tagged twice. Once by CK and once by Will Humphrey. Damn you both. :-)
Well, here are my five things - a veritable "holiday grab bag" of uninteresting facts that I'd rather not share with my fellow bloggers:
I was "this close" to becoming a sociologist.I'd taken the exams, written the essays, sent the applications. I was ready to head off to grad school and do the PHD thing, when one of my professors suggested that, before committing to a life of academia, tweed jackets and pipe smoking I "explore the real world." Inexplicably, I took that to mean, "get a job in advertising" and so I did. Interestingly enough, during my job interview, the man who would ultimately give me my first job in this business could not understand how someone who had studied sociology could be looking to work in advertising. Sociology, if you don't know, is essentially the study of communities. My, how times have changed...
For a number of summers during my teen years, I marched with a drum & bugle corps.I should point out to the uninitiated that a drum & bugle corps is not the same thing as a marching band - for one thing the instrumentation is entirely different but also, drum corps is at least one half of one smidgen less geeky than marching band (albeit still more geeky than, say, C++ programming.) So, as a member of the brass line of a competitive drum corp I toured the country on a bus, stood under the blazing southern sun in a wool uniform and shako hat, and can actually say that I have slept on the gym floors of high schools in many backwater towns across this fine nation of ours (well, not yours Will - "ours" meaning "mine.")
I am a published fiction author.Let me qualify that - we're not talking novels here. The fiction has been short and the venues have been smaller than small. But I have had several short stories and a few short-short stories published in a handful of online and print publications. Unlike this blog (which is a labor of love - or more likely a love of labor), I was compensated for the publication of those stories. Oh, and when I say fiction I specifically mean HORROR fiction. Go figure. (In fact, Google still turns up some references to my fiction and if you go to Alexa and use the Way Back Machine you may even see early incarnations of www.gregverdino.com from the days when I used to write.)
If you think I'm a geek now, you should have seen me a few years back.In one of my many attempts to escape the marketing business (I've tried repeatedly but keep coming back) I took a job working for a small technology consulting company. While working there I earned two Cisco certifications, one of which is in IP Telephony. This is ironic because today I have a Cisco 7941 Series IP Phone on my desk and even with a certification I can't figure out how to initiate a conference call.
I hate the word "galore." I don't know why but this has always been so. In fact, even writing this paragraph is bringing me to the verge of nausea. Other words I hate: beige, slacks and panties. Again, don't know why. Interestingly enough, I have learned of a creative director here at Digitas who also counts beige and slacks (or even worse, the phrase "beige slacks") among his least favorite words, and according to the latest issue of Esquire magazine Katie Couric also hates the word "panties." She prefers "underpants" - I don't have any particular preference but I think it's the hard "t" sound in the middle of "panties" that bothers me.
And with that, I am happy to tag some of my blog friends - or more likely "former blog friends" once they realize they've been tagged. So let's hear those dirty little secrets: Darren Herman, Hooman Radfar, Matt Haverkamp, Sam Karp and (because I can only imagine what he will come up with) fellow Digitasian Jeff Flemings who runs The Digital Hive.