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A leading innovation and marketing blog from Braden Kelley of Business Strategy Innovation

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Follow-up: Other People's Money

Just came across a Seattle Times article talking about how Microsoft is going to produce digital short films for Xbox Live.

Buried in the article in a single sentence was the following:

"The pilots will also be distributed over MSN and Zune."

So, Microsoft is halfway home by starting to produce content that people might find interesting.

Now they should leverage the infrastructure they are putting in place to produce content and partner with Microsoft Advertising to make and distribute content that site owners will find useful.

As we discussed in the original article, producing and syndicating useful content in key verticals then might encourage small site owners in those verticals to switch from Google Adwords, and lead to a larger query share for Live Search down the road...

What do you think?


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Friday, July 18, 2008

False Advertising?

I came across an interesting web site the other day that made me wonder if someone shouldn't start a class action lawsuit against the fast food companies for false advertising.

How many times a day are people snookered into going into McDonalds or Taco Bell or Kentucky Fried Chicken by an enticing food picture, only to receive a microwaved, smashed indigestible piece of junk?

The site has wonderful side-by-side pictorial examples of the promise versus the reality.

What would you do if you bought a new car based on the model you saw in a brochure and the dealer drove a discolored, dented vehicle with cracked windows and half-flat tires around front for you to take home?

So why is it okay for fast food companies to treat their customers in the same manner?

People wouldn't take this kind of bait and switch from a sit-down restaurant. They would send the food back.

So why shouldn't we rise up and fight back against a "fast food" restaurant in the same way?

What do you think?


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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Other People's Money

As Google's share of the search business approaches 70%, Microsoft is left needing a bold move to remain relevant.

While Live Search is a good product, Cashback will not save them from the Google monster.

Let's look at the problem that they are trying to solve. Or rather, let's look at what Microsoft is trying to achieve in the search business. Ultimately, Microsoft is trying to become the ad platform of choice. Being the search engine of choice would be nice too, but it is not their primary goal.

So if Microsoft wants to be the ad platform of choice, what do they need to do?

Well, first they need to become the number one choice for contextual advertising distribution. This should be the primary goal. Moving up in search engine popularity should be a secondary goal. If Microsoft marshalled their resources towards dominating contextual advertising, search popularity would follow as a byproduct. Why?

Well, if you run a blog or some other kind of site, and Microsoft is sending you a check every month, are you not at least a little more likely to use Microsoft Live Search as your default search engine?

What then happens if Microsoft offers to add cashback from personal Live Search behavior to contextual advertising syndication payment accounts?

What then happens if Microsoft partners with Amazon or NewEgg to offer discounts on Microsoft merchandise to contextual advertising distributors through a gift certificate conversion scheme?

Finally, what then happens if Microsoft tries to help solve the content creation challenge that millions of small site operators face?

It costs money to create content for your site. What if Microsoft offered site owners relevant ad-supported content for their site for free (possibly focusing on key verticals)?

Mmmm.... It's starting to add up...

More content on site... More visitors...

Would that be a bad thing? Wouldn't everyone win?

So, what are you waiting for Microsoft?

Your opportunity is here, your opportunity is now...

What do you think?


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Will Big Name Animation Talent Succeed on the Web?

Recently announced was a deal for Google to syndicate a web-only series of content by Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy, via its AdSense network.

The hope is that the content will be attractive to advertisers as will its syndication to a targeted set of thousands of web sites where Mr. McFarlane's target audience (typically young men) tend to gather.

It remains to be seen whether enough advertisers will show an interest in buying pre-roll, bottom banner, or brought-to-you-by style advertising to support Google's investment.

Extending the unconventional approach is an option for advertisers to work with McFarlane to create animated ads to go with the content (for an extra fee of course).

The one thing the New York Times author appeared to miss, and that Google may miss to, is the ancillary revenue Google stands to earn from incremental PPC or other advertising from increased impressions and clicks on the sites where these sites will likely appear. Google may or may not be able to sufficiently isolate this benefit, but they will still earn the revenue. This additional, difficult to measure, revenue may hold the key to making this experiment a success or a failure.

It is this second revenue source that leads me to think that this Google approach to boosting ad revenue might be a good innovation--if they can find the right content and measure the secondary revenue effects.

What do you think?


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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Government Opens Up to Innovation

Name one of the leading governments for fostering innovation?

If you said the United States, I think you are wrong. While the United States government may dole out a lot of research grants, the United Kingdom tends to take a more active approach in encouraging citizen innovation.

Witness this article from the BBC web site about a competition launched by the UK government at showusabetterway.com to find innovative ways of using the masses of data it collects.

The article profiles three different websites including:
  1. Crime Mapping
  2. FixMyStreet.com
  3. Rate Your Prison

I would love to hear about what countries you think are the most successful and stirring up citizen innovation.

Comment away...

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