You Can’t Stop The Web Rush

Imagine having a web site name catered to the service or product your offering. Right now, domain names end in .com or .net or .whatever country you are from (i.e. “.au” for Australia).

There is talk of an expanding domain names to “.shop” or “.florist” or “.pepsi”, etc…. It will allow for more creative and innovative website names, and for webpages to brand themselves. Hence the reference in the article below to smart and greedy people to buy up web real estate. Like squatters, people will descend on these new available names and then negotiate with people that wish to buy them.

People underestimate the importance of domain names. You can always choose an alternative one, however in terms of search engine ranking website results, having a good website name that is related to a search term can make a difference to where your website ranks. It is one of several criteria used when ranking websites and also its just familiarity with the name. How many times have you typed in whatever you wanted and just added a “.com” to find out what it was?

I’m out like the web rush,

Matt.

=======

Domain name boom ‘like gold rush
Simon Mossman in Melbourne
June 27, 2008

HE Australian spearheading an expansion of the world wide web says the introduction of new generic domain names will be like the opening up of land during Australia’s gold rush.

Paul Twomey, president and chief executive of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), is predicting an explosion of new top level domains (TLDs), such as .car and .shop once the first applications are made early next year.

Speaking from Paris where more than 1700 delegates from 150 countries have packed a four-day internet conference to discuss the next generation of developments, Dr Twomey said the expansion would revolutionise the way people, companies or organisations expressed themselves on the web.

“This is our largest-ever meeting. A lot of people are very interested in the way the internet is developing,” Dr Twomey told AAP.

This is very significant, it’s going to be like opening up land in the wild west of 1800s Australia or America, though it’s more west than wild.

“We are discussing a virtual geographical expansion of the internet … a bit like Ballarat in the gold rush era, with many people staking their claim.

“This is all new virtual real estate.”

Delegates and stakeholders are discussing policy development at the Paris forum and the first applications for new TLDs could be lodged as early as next April.

Dr Twomey said hundreds, if not thousands, of generic domain names could be created, including brands like .ebay or .pepsi, as well as broader product groups like .ship, .shop, .car or .florist.

Languages other than English will also figure into the new generation of domain names, with TLDs in Cyrillic or containing Roman alphabet characters, Dr Twomey said.

“All the languages of the world can become domain names. We’ve been doing some testing using Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia,” he added.

Get your ADMA on

I don’t know why, but there’s heaps of marketing conferences/talks going on. Its hard to keep track of it all. This is a big one – because I keep seeing junk mail for it 😛

It’s the ADMA forum. ADMA stands for Australian Direct Marketing Association. It’s the premier body for Direct Marketing. Its not the main marketing body, which is AMI (Australian Marketing Institution). So what is direct marketing? It encompasses things like flyers, brochures, emails. Its marketing that is visible and direct to a specific consumer. Contrast this with tv or radio ad which is targeted at a general audience, or a bill board advertising which is to the whole world.

Its being held for the next 3 days (Wednesday 25 June 2008 – Friday 27 June 2008) at the Darling Harbour exhibition centre. And guess what folks, its free!! Check out the words from the website:

Australia’s most innovative marketing and direct marketing suppliers are lining up to meet you at ADMA Forum 2008. From printers and mailhouses to digital & mobile marketing agencies, ADMA Forum boasts over 100 exhibitors who will be on hand to show you the new solutions they’ve found to help you make greater connections with more and more customers.

Also on offer, and not to be missed, are the FREE seminars within the exhibition hall, given by industry leaders, on the hottest topics at latest techniques. For more information on the free seminar programme and what else you can see and do at the ADMA Forum Exhibition, visit the ‘FREE Seminar Programme’ link above.”

Exhibition Opening Hours:
Wednesday 25 June 10.00am – 5.00pm
Thursday 26 June 10.00am – 6.30pm
Friday 27 June 10.00am – 4.00pm

I’m thinking about going on the Thursday or Friday during my lunch break. If anyone is interested, please let me know.

Also, I posted recently about the UTS public lecture on emerging media. I wasn’t able to attend but I found the next best thing! There’s a digital recording and white paper which can be found here. Only in the digital world!

On somewhat related note, I got accepted into a post grad marketing course @ UTS. Its part time, and there’s 4 subjects to complete. I’m on my way to becoming a fully fledged marketer!

I’m out like free exhibitions,

Matt

On demand tv – Hulu v Youtube

I found this website called Hulu via my favourite technology / business blogger, Mr Mark Cuban. He talks about a new website which allows you to watch movies and tv shows online, for free!

What’s the catch I hear you cry? They have pre roll ads, and ads during the shows. Pre roll ads are basically ads that show before you watch the video. Kinda like movie previews before the actual movie. The advantage is that you can watch anytime, as you demand it. Its a partnership by a couple of online giants AOL, MSN, Myspace, Yahoo. At the moment, they are mostly showing stuff from some of the major US tv networks.

Its explained a lil better on their website:

“Hulu brings together a large selection of videos from more than 50 content providers, including FOX, NBC Universal, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. and more. Users can watch current primetime TV such as The Simpsons and The Office the morning after they air, classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Married…with Children, movies like The Usual Suspects and The Big Lebowski, and clips from Saturday Night Live and other popular TV shows and movies.”

This is a pretty big thing from the TV network/movie studio industry. But I did notice recently, that you can actually download old tv shows from www.nbc.com for free! Without any ads! I was searching for a tv series called the Black Donnellys which Rahul had told me about. I’d seen the tv pilot about a year ago, and really liked it. And then I was searching for where to download it, and I read on a website that they stopped showing the series after 10 episodes and simply put the last 3 online to download! I recall that another friend Nina, mentioned that you could straight up download episodes without ads from the NBC website. This huge back catologue has just opened up!

Consumers of online content, have been downloading tv and movies for years, with an ever increasing intensity. It’s what we want – to be able to download what we want and watch it whenever we want. We were downloading the new episodes of Heroes and Prison break before it hit Australian tv! If I wanted a movie, I could easily go to www.torrentreactor.com or www.mininova.com. Type in the name of the movie, tv show, cartoon, song or album that I wanted. And viola! I’d have it in a matter of hours or by overnight.

Its the online environment we are living in now. It was only a matter of time before it became official to download/stream these via legitimate means. I went to a networking conference and heard the Marketing Manager of Channel 9 speak. He mentioned that he saw Australian tv is moving that way too, having the option of streaming tv and movie content from their website.

The restrictions with Hula is that you can’t watch it if you are outside the States. Which sucks! And you can’t download, only stream – i.e. you can watch it, but you can’t have a copy of it on your computer and pass onto a friend.

However, I’m not sure what is going to happen to DVD sales. For the past decade, that has been a huge boon for tv networks and movie studios. If you can watch it online for free, will you still want to buy it? It will still appeal to DVD enthuasists who still want to own copies of their favourite tv series and movies.

But hey, things are changin’!

I’m out like Youtube 😛

Matt.

Big Brother is Watching……

The controversy continues as debate rages as to whether we should be targeted with advertising based on the webpages stored in our Internet Service Provider’s history. Major privacy issues abound – do u want someone knowing where you have been and giving you advertising based on that?

We are starting to see more targeted advertising. Notice that website you log on to , that has nothing to do with Australia and all of a sudden there are Australian ads on there? They’ve tracked your ISP, they know where you are surfing the web from. Now, they are checking what websites you go to, building a little profile of you and selectively directing advertising based on your history.

————————————————————————————-

Watching while you surf
Jun 5th 2008
From The Economist print edition
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11482452
Illustration by Otto Detmer

Online advertising: New ad-targeting systems, which determine users’
interests by monitoring which websites they visit, are proving
controversial

IS IT a worrying invasion of privacy for web surfers, or a lucrative new
business model for online advertising? A new “behavioural” approach to
targeting internet advertisements, being pioneered by companies such as
Phorm <http://www.phorm.com/> , NebuAd <http://www.nebuad.com/>  and
FrontPorch <http://www.frontporch.com/html/index.html> , is said to be
both of these things. The idea is that special software, installed in
the networks of internet-service providers (ISPs), intercepts webpage
requests generated by their subscribers as they roam the net. The pages
in question are delivered in the usual way, but are also scanned for
particular keywords in order to build up a profile of each subscriber’s
interests. These profiles can then be used to target advertisements more
accurately.
Suppose a web user is idly surfing a travel blog one Sunday afternoon.
He visits pages containing words such as “holiday”, “flight” and
“hotel”. The behavioural-targeting software watching him inside the
ISP’s network registers and categorises this apparent interest in
travel. Later, when he logs on to a social-networking site to see what
his friends are up to, advertisements for an airline or hotel chain pop
up alongside the postings and photos. The depressing prospect of having
to return to work the next day prompts him to click on an advertisement
and book a minibreak for the next weekend.
To advertisers, this all sounds great. Behavioural-targeting firms are
doing the rounds in Europe and America offering the prospect of working
out what web surfers are thinking, perhaps even before they know
themselves. If this really works, advertisers will be prepared to pay
more to place ads, since they are more likely to be clicked on. That in
turn means that websites will be able to charge more for their
advertising slots. A small cut also goes to the ISP that originally
gathered the profile information.
The companies involved suggest that internet users will welcome all
this, since more accurate targeting will turn internet advertising from
an annoying distraction into a genuinely helpful service. “This idea
that we don’t provide a service by doing this is as far from the truth
as it’s possible to be,” says Kent Ertugrul, the boss of Phorm. “It
creates a situation where there’s less rubbish bombarding you.”
But not everyone likes the idea. Opponents of behavioural targeting have
kicked up the biggest fuss in Britain, which is where the technology
seems to be making the most progress: the three biggest ISPs (BT, Virgin
Media and TalkTalk), which together account for around 70% of the
market, have all signed up to use Phorm’s technology. Since news of
their plans emerged in February, over 13,000 people have signed an
online petition opposing the system. Legal and networking experts have
argued that it constitutes an unauthorised wiretap, and is therefore
illegal. Richard Clayton, a computer-security expert at Cambridge
University who has taken a close look at Phorm’s systems, did not like
what he saw. Proponents of behavioural targeting, he concluded, “assume
that if only people understood all the technical details they’d be
happy. I have, and I’m still not happy at all.”
Phorm, which is now trying to get American ISPs to adopt its technology
too, emphasises that consumers will be given the option to opt out of
the system if they do not wish to use it. It points out that information
about individuals’ surfing habits remains within the custody of the ISP
(which already has access to such information anyway), and that user
profiles merely associate keywords with an anonymous serial number,
rather than a name. Its profiling system ignores sensitive pages, such
as those from online-banking sites, and will not be used to target
advertising for pornographic sites.
Critics worry, however, that behavioural targeting fundamentally
undermines the trusting relationship between ISPs and their subscribers,
by allowing a third party to monitor what millions of people are doing.
They also worry about Phorm’s previous behaviour. Until last year it was
known as 121Media, and it gathered information about internet users’
interests by getting them to download “adware”, which was included in
bundles with other pieces of software. This software then monitored
users’ surfing habits and used the resulting data to target “pop up”
advertisements of the kind that once blighted the web.
All this was legal, but it won 121Media few friends among PC users, who
found its software difficult to remove from their machines. The
revelation that the company, since renamed Phorm, conducted a secret
trial of its new technology with BT in 2006 and 2007, monitoring
thousands of customers without telling them, has not helped its image.
As the controversy swirls, Google, the 800-pound gorilla of the
internet-advertising industry, is quietly watching. ISPs around the
world have looked on jealously as Google has grown rich on their
subscribers’ web-browsing, while the ISPs have been reduced to “dumb
pipes”, ferrying internet traffic for subscribers but unable to win a
share of their online spending.
Phorm and its ilk promise to change that, by offering ISPs a chance to
get their hands on a slice of the fast-growing online-advertising pie.
Behavioural-targeting firms also like to portray themselves as feisty
underdogs taking on mighty Google, which is itself the cause of concern
about online privacy. Phorm points out that its system does not retain
detailed information about web usage as it builds its user profiles-in
contrast to Google, which keeps records of users’ search queries for up
to two years. (The European Commission recently called upon Google to
delete such information after six months.) “If people knew what was
stored right now, they’d be shocked,” says Phorm’s Mr Ertugrul. His
company’s system, he says, is “the model for privacy online”.
Even so, most web users are happy to strike an implicit deal with
Google: it provides an excellent free search engine in return for the
ability to display relevant advertisements. The quid pro quo with
behavioural targeting, says Mr Ertugrul, is that ISPs will start making
money from online advertising, which they can then spend on upgrading
their networks, without raising prices for subscribers. “This is a way
of funding the internet,” he says.
Behavioural targeting is not necessarily a bad idea, but imposing it
without telling people is likely to annoy them when they find out about
it. Without adequate disclosure, an “opt out” system looks like
snooping; but an “opt in” system, given all the fuss, now looks like a
tough sell.

Free Lecture on blogs, wikis, and youtube…..

My old university has a free lecture on web 2.0 topic. I actually paid to go a similar lecture by the Australian Marketing Institute. I wanted to go to a Law Society lecture last week on Internet and copyright/terms of contracts for websites, but alas I was sick. The details for the free uni lecture is below:

UTSpeaks: Hearing, Seeing, Knowing More
This public lecture explores the phenomenon of emergent media – blogs, Facebook, YouTube, podcasting, wikis and more – for their social consequences and the long-term change they may bring about for people, politics and public and private sectors. Speaker Dr Jim Macnamara is UTS Director of the Australian Centre for Public Communication and has had a distinguished 30-year career working in professional communication practice.

Date: Wednesday 11 June 2008 from 6pm
Venue: University Hall, Science Building, 745 Harris St
Free parking: Peter Johnson Building basement car park 702-730 Harris St, Ultimo
RSVP: Tuesday 10 June 2008 to robert.button@uts.edu.au or (02) 9514 1734

UTSPEAKS: is a free public lecture series presented by UTS experts discussing a range of important issues confronting contemporary Australia. To subscribe to the UTSpeaks public lecture series, register at http://sendstudio.itd.uts.edu.au

——————-

On a more historic note, the Apple iphone comes out soon! And they are unveiling the Apple Store next month. They’ve also planned a store in Chatswood and Melbourne. I’ve been to 3 or 4 apple stores in my travels around the world (New York, Tokyo, Osaka, and San Francisco) and I loved all of them!

I’m out like the pre-Iphone days!

Matt

Bumptop – a new type of computer desktop

Our computer desktops are 2-D, looking very plain and boring. A new innovation is Bumptop – an idea centered around a real life desk. It allows you to organise files and programs like you would on a desk, making piles, shelves, bumping files around, flicking through files like a pack of cards and so on. I’m not sure about the usefulness of it, but it does represent a change in the mentality of a computer desktop.

Most of us are used to our computer desktops being neat and ordered – but to make them like a messy desk?

You be the judge. Check out bumptop website and video here.

I’m also checking out the cool products expo at Standford.

I’m out like 2-d desktops,

Matt.

Loans for startups by young people

I was surfing the web for a site on personal finance, and came across this gem. For anyone starting up a business, particularly if you are young, one of the major challenges you face is obtaining finance. This organisation called ENYA (Enterprise Network For Young Australians) and NAB have partnered up to offer microfinance loans for young people aged 18-29 to start up a business.

Interest rates are 9.95% which seem pretty decent to me, considering the market rate for house loans has to be 7.75% (dont quote me on it, its an educated guess). Amounts of $500 – $20,000 can be borrowed. The only requirement is that you have to a sound business plan and be willing to take on a mentor.

For more information, check it out here. One of the founders of the organisation is Daniel Clarke, a guy that went to my school and was a few years ahead of me. He was dubbed one of Australia’s youngest millionaries and had several IT businesses.

If you think about its a really good initiative. Most financial lenders are reluctant to lend money to start ups and young people, considering their lack of a track record and business experience. Also, the amount of money involved and the risk involved, is not really worth it on their part. So its something worth investigating, if your looking at starting up your own business.

Make me think about putting together a business plan………….

Matt