YouTube Brand Channels go Interactive with wireWAX Taggable Videos

  • Taggable video start-up wireWAX just got the Google stamp-of-approval to place its interactive videos on YouTube brand channels, where before videos files were only embeddable on third-party sites.
  • The company says getting approved was difficult — top YouTube brand users like Nike even put pressure on Google — but the partnership will greatly increase wireWAX’s exposure.
  • “Going beyond simple video ‘hotspots’ or annotations, wireWAX’s drag ‘n’ drop tool enables users to add full motion-trackable and clickable links around objects, such as faces, products or just about anything,” explains TechCrunch.
  • “The applications for such interactivity are almost infinite, but include monetizable uses such as ‘shoppable videos’, as created by the likes of fashion retailer Oki-ni. On that note, wireWAX operates a freemium model, charging for additional premium features, such as customizations, on a ‘pay for what you use’ basis.”

YouTube Announces Skippable In-Stream Ads Planned for Mobile Content

  • YouTube is enabling mobile publishing to provide skippable in-stream ads on mobile devices, which could make more videos available to smartphones and tablets.
  • “YouTube’s lack of mobile advertising has been one reason a small number of content suppliers bar their YouTube content from going out through YouTube’s mobile and tablet channels,” reports paidContent.
  • Before, YouTube only had mobile website banners, non-skippable 15-second pre-rolls and Promoted Video ads in mobile searches.
  • But the skippable ads won’t be coming to your iPhone just yet. “Don’t expect to find the ads inside YouTube’s current, aging iOS app, however. That was built by Apple. Google will build its own for iOS after Apple’s iOS 6 update rips out the app,” notes the post.

Will Facebook Sponsored Results Search Ads Challenge Google?

  • Ads are now coming to Facebook’s search results in a separate section of the typeahead results. The approach could help Facebook challenge Google for search ad dollars.
  • “It lets marketers target users searching for specific apps, Pages, and Places and insert a link into the typeahead results that points to their own app, Page, custom Page tab, or post,” TechCrunch reports. “Businesses cannot direct users off-site with the ads yet, though they can appear above the top organic result making them powerful for diverting traffic from competitors.”
  • The “Sponsored Results” can be purchased in Facebook’s native Ads API tool, Power Editor. In a move that could annoy users, Facebook has somewhat aggressively pushed Sponsored Results above the “organic result for what a user was obviously looking for,” the post states. However, users can click an “x” in the corner to hide the ad.
  • “Unfortunately, Facebook Sponsored Results may still be a lot less helpful to advertisers than those that show up on Google Search. That’s because when people search for an entity on Facebook, they’re typically looking for something very specific, such as a particular game or business, and might be more more likely to bypass ads,” TechCrunch writes. Also, the Sponsored Results “could dilute the feed’s quality, which is core to Facebook’s value to users.”
  • Facebook highlighted three primary objectives for Sponsored Results in an announcement sent to marketers:
  • 1) “Expanded distribution of your message, with placement in one of the most used features on Facebook.”
  • 2) “The ability to target what people are looking for, by appearing alongside related Apps, Pages, and Places.”
  • 3) “Flexibility to customize your landing destination, such as a specific tab on your Page.”

Apple Patent May Help Users Switch from Commercials to Other Content

  • There are numerous ways to bypass commercials today. With radio, listeners can change the station or opt for commercial-free satellite subscriptions. With TV, DVRs allow viewers to fast-forward through content they don’t want to watch.
  • A new patent granted to Apple this week is taking a different approach and could be applied to all broadcasts.
  • The patent protects a new technology for “seamless switching between radio and local media,” according to the filing. It enables a mobile device to “automatically switch between broadcast content and stored media to offer the user a type of customized content consumption experience,” Apple Insider reports.
  • The device would allow users to bypass any media they were uninterested in — advertisements, segments of a talk show, news programming, etc. — and substitute it with their own content.
  • “By using metadata from assets like Radio Data System (RDS) data, broadcast listings or published third-party schedules, a device can ‘determine when an upcoming broadcast segment or media item is not of interest to the user,'” the article explains.
  • “When such an event is detected, the device will seamlessly switch to stored media until the unwanted content is completed. Also included as methods of discerning what a user may or may not want to consume are analysis of audio or video from the source, akin to current iOS apps Shazam or IntoNow.”
  • The technology would allow users to “like” or “dislike” certain content in order to develop a preference profile. It would also look for appropriate stored content to replaced the undesired sections, using a “relevance algorithm” to keep the media consistent with the broadcast stream.
  • The post suggests the device could work well with Apple’s rumored set-top box, blurring “the line between live and on-demand television.”

A New Game for Marketers in the Era of Cloud Computing and Big Data

  • Cloud computing and big data is changing the game for marketers. CMOs will either “sink or swim depending on their ability to recognize the importance of the consumer information available to them and ability to capture and put it to use,” GigaOM writes.
  • “Marketing is being redefined in the era of cloud-delivered, self-service applications and services and Web-connected consumers,” explains Barb Darrow in the post. “Several CIOs and CTOs have told me that they agree that CMOs gaining clout in their businesses — but the most successful CMOs are those who ‘get’ that effective marketing is both broader and more focused than it’s been in the past.”
  • While marketing officers need to acknowledge the new data channels like social media, they also need to develop “narrower, less scattershot messaging” to reach customers, Darrow suggests.
  • “In order to become customer-centric and deliver a consistent message to each individual regardless of the communication channel, companies must first integrate all their customer- and prospect-related data. Up to now, organizations would silo the various types of customer-related data,” says Evangelos Simoudis, senior managing director of Trident Capital.
  • “Many firms spend lots of resources pursuing outside influencers who’ve gained following on the Web and through social media. A better approach is to find and cultivate customer influencers and give them something great to talk about,” adds Bill Lee of Lee Consulting Group.

Facebook Needs to Prove ROI in Order to Attract Big Name Advertisers

  • In Q2, Facebook grew its ad revenue 14 percent from the previous quarter, a 28 percent rise from a year ago. While this may seem promising, it’s a far throw from the 87 percent year-over-year growth seen in 2011.
  • CFO David Ebersman says the lackluster increases are in part caused by the 9 percent increase in ad rates, but the larger issue at hand is the inability for advertisers to measure return on investment.
  • During the last earnings call, COO Sheryl Sandberg said Facebook is working on quantifying the benefits their ads provide. “Though nearly all top advertisers spent money on Facebook ads in the last quarter, she conceded that the total was only a small percentage of the advertisers’ digital ad budgets. She characterized the shortfall as an ‘imbalance’ and a ‘substantial opportunity,'” reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Facebook’s online ad rivals such as Google and Yahoo are able to measure results by clicks. “But for many brands, ads on Facebook don’t consist of an offer to directly buy something. They are more akin to TV ads, which marketers study to see how brand exposure might lead to offline sales,” explains WSJ.
  • Facebook is working with big brands to create customized ad measurements based on each company. Unfortunately, one big hurdle stands in Facebook’s way: privacy.
  • “One disadvantage to marketers is the fact that Facebook doesn’t offer them access to the conversations that the social network’s 950 million users are having among friends,” notes the article. “The company hides those discussions for consumer-privacy reasons. In lieu of such data, marketers have had to use other metrics, such as how many people ‘like’ a brand’s Facebook page.”
  • In May, the site lost $10 million in ads from General Motors and it stands to lose more if it can’t find a way to prove ROI.

Has Amazon Become the One Company that Concerns Google Execs?

  • In mobile, it’s Apple. In social media, it’s Facebook. But in the world of search, Google’s biggest rival is Amazon and the online retailer poses a big threat to Google’s main business, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • “Google is a search company, but the searches that it actually makes money from are the searches people do before they are about to buy something online,” the post explains. “These commercial searches make up about 20 percent of total Google searches. Those searches are where the ads are.”
  • Compared to searching products on Google, which requires weeding out links and inputting credit card info on various e-commerce sites, Amazon offers a more seamless approach with an easy cart and checkout process — with credit card information saved.
  • On mobile devices, Amazon’s app could prove even more dangerous for Google’s smaller-screen search.
  • “If you have a Kindle phone, which comes with free movies and books because you have an Amazon Prime account, which also gives you free shipping, why in the WORLD would you ever search to buy something through anything but Amazon? You wouldn’t,” the article surmises.
  • “That’s why Amazon is practically giving its hardware away. It’s also why Amazon scares Google more than anything Facebook or Apple are up to.”

Google Believes Patent Reform is Necessary to Protect Tech Innovation

  • “After fighting the patent battle of the decade in court with Oracle, Googlers are getting publicly fed up with software patents as a whole,” reports VentureBeat. “Conceptually, they just don’t jive with innovation, two prominent Googlers have said recently.”
  • Google’s public policy director Pablo Chavez says patent wars are “not helpful to consumers. They’re not helpful to the marketplace. They’re not helpful to innovation.” And Google isn’t just sitting back and complaining about the problem; they’re taking action.
  • By filing amicus briefs, pushing for reforms, and working with other anti-patent tech companies, Google hopes to reinvent the patent system to better suit innovation.
  • “For example, currently patents have a 20-year shelf life; Google thinks this could and should be shortened. The company also advocates for strong financial penalties for lawsuit-losing patent trolls and against the patenting of abstract concepts that are only patented in the first place because they’re executed online,” the article explains.
  • Internet pioneer Vint Cerf (who invented the TCP/IP protocol and is currently VP and chief Internet evangelist at Google) jokingly suggested at a cloud conference that shooting the patent lawyers would be a logical step in creating the next big tech to replace the Internet. When the laughter subsided, he explained: “Bob [Kahn] and I knew we could not succeed if we tried to protect the Internet’s design. As it turns out that worked out really well, and I think that’s still pretty good advice.”
  • “The open ability to develop new applications and try them out has been vital to the Internet’s growth and to the space in which we currently operate,” added Cerf. “It has interesting ways of enhancing both sides of the equation.”
  • Google won its case against Oracle, but Android patent suits are still prevalent. “Ironically, just last Friday, Motorola Mobility and Google filed their own patent suit against Apple, asking for an import ban on all Apple devices,” notes the post.

New API Rules: Twitter Lays Down the Law for Third-Party App Development

  • Twitter is making commitments to its new API changes, placing stricter requirements on third-party developers.
  • For one, any app accessing Twitter’s API must be authenticated. Developers have six months to switch over to the new API v1.1.
  • Also, third-party developers will be required to get permission or “work with [Twitter] directly” once they reach 100,000 users, the company explains. For current apps, the new restrictions will apply after their “user tokens” double whatever they are now.
  • “Essentially, once any third party app hits its user limit, the developer will need to have a ‘come to Twitter’ moment at which something will happen, but Twitter’s not saying what,” explains The Verge.
  • Twitter reiterated that it does not want client apps that “mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.” Instead, the company said it “preferred that developers create analytics apps, Social CRM apps, and other types of essentially non-consumer-facing apps while avoiding traditional clients,” the article states.
  • Another change: Twitter is putting a limit on the number of API calls that can be made in an hour, making it so anyone that wants real-time analytics has to work closely with the company. Also new, hardware manufacturers will have to clear pre-installed Twitter apps on devices because they are rarely updated, Twitter says.
  • Twitter will continue to push the enriched-content “Twitter Cards,” with plans to expand. And developers will now have “Display Requirements,” not “Guidelines.”
  • “[The changes] could mean that we’ll be seeing more and more partnerships between third party developers and Twitter (likely that involve displaying Twitter’s ads and ensuring revenue flows in the right direction). It could also mean we could see the most popular Twitter apps shut down,” the article concludes.

Goko Launches New Platform for Developing Cost-Efficient HTML5 Games

  • For some app developers, HTML5 technology just means long load times and reliance on a good Internet connection. But gaming company Goko wants to prove that HTML5 not only works, but also cuts costs.
  • “It allows developers to create one version of a game that can run across multiple platforms, including Facebook, the Web and mobile,” reports AllThingsD. “Not only does that save developers money, it also lets consumers play the same version of the game on whatever device they choose.”
  • Goko is launching a number of HTML5 games across several digital platforms. The company also announced it has raised $8 million in funding.
  • To demo its platform’s capabilities, Goko has launched popular real-world card game “Dominion” across multiple platforms including Facebook, Google+,, Android and iOS.
  • “Ted Griggs, Goko’s CEO, acknowledges that there are some limitations to the technology, but for most card and board games, it’s good enough today,” the article states. “To prove that its platform is up to the task, Goko secured licensing deals with 150 well-known board and card games.”
  • “Starting today, the company’s platform will also be available to developers looking for help creating, distributing and monetizing games across multiple platforms,” adds AllThingsD.

A Look at Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo in a New Era of Mobile Gaming

  • Just a few years ago, game console manufacturers were competing against one another to grab the dominant portion of the market. Today, these big names have a new competitor: the smartphone.
  • When it was released in 2006, Nintendo’s Wii console saw a strong surge in buyers, giving the company an edge on its top rivals, Microsoft and Sony. Unfortunately for Nintendo, adoption dropped off after a few years, especially with the success of Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox.
  • On a different front, Sony and Nintendo vied for consumer dollars with their handheld gaming devices. Both Sony’s PlayStation Portable and Nintendo’s Game Boy and DS saw strong sales. The companies have since updated their devices, but haven’t been able to recreate the same adoption.
  • “Smartphones and tablets are becoming more popular and their components more powerful,” reports Fortune. “Meanwhile, major game publishers, like Electronic Arts, are realizing that gamers increasingly prefer to use those devices to play titles.”
  • “And why not?” asks the article. “Smartphones and tablets today deliver high-quality visuals at every turn. And the sheer convenience of being able to switch from a phone call or text message to a video game is too appealing to pass up.”
  • “We believe that consumer preferences may be switching decisively to mobile games, given that game quality is similar, if not better, and mobile games have the added advantage of being playable at any time, anywhere,” writes Cowen analyst Doug Creutz.
  • The gaming business is now much less about the games and much more about the new features. For consoles, this means tools like Internet streaming and motion capture could split the difference between the top three.

Media Timeline: Will Online and Mobile Soon Replace Game Consoles?

  • If the rumors are true that Microsoft is planning to release its Xbox 720 at the end of 2013, that means it’s taken eight years to update the gaming console, “decades in the world of technology,” Business Insider suggests. This lag has some (including pioneer Nolan Bushnell) thinking consoles will soon be replaced by online and mobile games.
  • Business Insider takes a look at the history of major consoles that “paved the way for ‘Angry Birds’ and other highly addictive mobile and online games.”
  • Atari Pong (1972) : “Bushnell’s ‘Pong’ single-handedly defined the video game industry (and its future) with his ping-pong themed arcade game,” the article states. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985): Set the stage for Nintendo’s gaming dominance, selling across America with popular titles like “Mario Bros.”
  • Sega Master System (1986): Created to compete with NES and boasted better graphics and the ability to run game cartridges or credit card-sized Sega cards. Nintendo’s GameBoy (1989): Preloaded with “Tetris,” the handheld console saw sales of more than one million in its first holiday season.
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1991): Had 32K colors and special effects like scaling, rotating and transparency. PlayStation (1995): Initiated the switch to CDs for games, which created a rise in piracy. Nintendo 64 (1996): Stuck with cartridges, but saw great sales due to the popular game titles.
  • PlayStation 2 (2000): “Boasted the Emotion Engine, a unique CPU customized by Sony and Toshiba allowing players to run old PlayStation games on the console, as well as modern DVDs.” Xbox (2001): Was sold with then-unknown “Halo” and quickly outpaced Nintendo’s GameCube and the PS2.
  • Nintendo Dual Screen (2004): Offered new voice recognition technology and stylus input. And in recent years: Xbox 360 (2005), PlayStation Portable (2005), Nintendo Wii (2006), PlayStation 3 (2006) and PlayStation Vita (2011).
  • Check out the post for additional details regarding each product release and gaming milestone.

Killing Rumors, OnLive Says it Has Been Sold and Will Continue Service

  • Watching people leave the building with personal possessions and white sheets of paper only fed the rumors that streaming game provider OnLive was giving out numerous pink slips — and worse, that the company was going under.
  • Now, a company spokesperson has issued a statement saying the rumors are not true and that OnLive has been purchased.
  • “We can now confirm that the assets of OnLive, Inc. have been acquired into a newly-formed company and is backed by substantial funding, and which will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services, as well as support all of OnLive’s apps and devices, as well as game, productivity and enterprise partnerships,” according to the statement.
  • “The new company is hiring a large percentage of OnLive, Inc.’s staff across all departments and plans to continue to hire substantially more people, including additional OnLive employees,” notes the statement. “All previously announced products and services, including those in the works, will continue and there is no expected interruption of any OnLive services.”
  • Even so, The Verge suggests some questions remain unanswered: “OnLive’s customers will no-doubt be happy to know that service will be maintained, but beyond that we will have to wait to find out exactly what the reasoning is behind today’s very strange drama.”

Selecting Clothes with 3D Body Scanner and iPad

  • A 3D body scanner with Apple-worthy design has just landed in the middle of Bloomingdale’s to help customers learn which clothes will best fit their body shape.
  • The scanner is made by the London-based company Bodymetrics and is the first in America and second worldwide.
  • Bloomingdale’s customers at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California can step into the scanner, equipped with 16 Microsoft Kinect sensors, and have their exact measurements appear on an iPad in just moments.
  • “Bodymetrics says it had success with a test run in Los Angeles, before making Silicon Valley (‘yes, we’re influenced by Apple, isn’t everybody,’ says Chairman Dr. Suran Goonatilake) its first American home,” reports NBC.
  • For now, the scanner is only for females, but Bodymetrics could be coming out with a male version eventually. While Bloomingdale’s remains tight-lipped on the cost, it remains to be seen how popular the scanners will become.
  • “If you don’t mind the feeling of being scanned, give it a shot,” suggests NBC. “It will very likely cut your shopping time in half, and if you’d rather keep the results to yourself, just check your iPad later, and shop online.”

Will Move to an Ad-Supported uTorrent Bring in Millions for BitTorrent?

  • Efficient file downloader uTorrent was acquired by BitTorrent Inc. in 2006 and has since become the most widely used BitTorrent application, with more than 125 million regular users worldwide.
  • In a move that may upset consumers, but provide a big payoff for expansion, BitTorrent has announced uTorrent will soon be ad-supported.
  • “Until now nearly all revenue came from the toolbar which users can install optionally when uTorrent is first downloaded. However, BitTorrent Inc. sees the need to experiment with other revenue sources with ‘sponsored torrents’ being added for all users in an upcoming release,” TorrentFreak reports.
  • BitTorrent sees an annual revenue of around $15 to $20 million — plus millions in venture capital — according to some close to the company. The added revenue from advertising could help the company further expand, the post suggests.
  • With the new approach, users’ IP-addresses will determine geographical locations, but BitTorrent maintains that privacy will be protected while attempting to bring targeted sponsored torrents.
  • “This new build will display a featured torrent at the top of your torrent list. This featured torrent space will be used to offer a variety of different types of content. We are working towards bringing you offers that are relevant to you,” explains BitTorrent.
  • The torrents can’t be turned off, but individual ads can be clicked away. The ads will also be used to promote artists and highlight updates.

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