Will the real Stephen Conroy please stand up?

I came across the article today – its pretty funny.

Twitter impersonations are a problem on Twitter, but at least this one was obvious and very witty. It’s a fake twitter account of Stephen Conroy, Communications Minister.

Read about it here and on mumbrella.

Fake Stephen Conroy = Leslie Nassar

I’m out like the fake Stephen Conroy,

Matthew Ho.

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Jim Cramer & tulipomania

I really like this video which unspy posted on my blog earlier.

To me its just not fair that hedge funds and corporations can manipulate the stockmarket. It’s the notion that there is no such thing as “market correction” or equilibrium. I believe George Soros said this as well in his book. It’s not a science because there’s humans involved. 

Financial market regulation was an area I could not ignore in my studies as a lawyer and accountant. In fact, I did a thesis on it =P Shenanigans and antics pulled by Jim Cramer’s days as hedge fund don’t give normal people a chance in the stock market. They’re shifting huge piles of money around in back rooms to create artificial lifts in stock prices or spreading rumours to make a stock go down. Essentially, they are screwing with people’s money and the overral stock market. It’s nothing new, its always been going on. 

The fact is that some CEO’s have lied and financial reporter’s don’t do enough digging around to reveal the truth. Financial reports don’t necessarily tell the truth either – sometimes the real info is hidden deep in the notes or in off balance sheet financing and never reported. If it is so opaque what trust do we have in financial markets? There always seem to be a hidden truth and unbelieveable faith that things will get better and an ideal of constant growth.

It’s tulipomania all over again. Check this from wikipedia:

“Tulip mania or tulipomania (Dutch names include tulpenmanie, tulpomanie, tulpenwoede, tulpengekte, and bollengekte) was a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which contract prices for bulbs of the newly introduced tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then suddenly collapsed.[2] At the peak of tulip mania in February 1637, tulip contracts sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. It is generally considered the first recorded speculative bubble.[3] The term “tulip mania” is often used metaphorically to refer to any large economic bubble”

I’m out like the bubble bursting,

Matthew Ho

When advertising & marketing meets Johnny Law

Last night I watched American Gangster (again!) featuring Denzel Washington, one of my favourite actors. I’ve seen it before when I was visiting New York in a Times Square movie theatre. Denzel, uses the “johnny law” phrase a few times when talking about paying off “Johnny Law” i.e. paying cops to turn a blind eye to his nefarious activities.

I’ve always been curious about technology and the law. And now more so. Technology is an evolving beast, where the business models are constantly changing and new competitors, trends, viral campaigns emerge overnight. Whilst the law is seen as conservative, slow to adapt, and very traditional. Generalisations yes, but ask any lawyer or laymen and they’ll agree with these perceptions. Evidently, these two are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The law seeks to maintain order and protect society, yet also to enable the creation of new ideas and businesses. The internet is disruptive, fast moving, changing and global in its reach. Law is often seen as jursidictional, often applying to only member states (i.e on country by country basis) unless treaties are ratified by Member states.

On Wednesday morning, I attended an Advertising and Marketing law CLE. What is a CLE? It means “continuing legal education”. For those that are unaware, I’m still a qualified lawyer (amongst other things) and to maintain your status as a lawyer, you need undertake ongoing education. It might involve some lectures, preparing presenting a lecture, or watching some videos.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this lecture but went with an open mind. I heard the following lectures:

1. New commercial models in advertising and marketing using the internet 
2. Comparative advertising 101
3. Copyright in advertising
4. Children & the law

Topic 1: New commercial models in advertising and marketing using the internet 

They were well presented, but the most useful to me was probably Internet Business models by Peter Leonard. Peter is a partner at Gilbert & Tobin, and counts Google amongst his clients. He described some basics about adwords and how it worked – I knew most of this stuff since I do some work on adwords. However, he had some really interesting points on whitelisting v blacklisting of keywords, something which I was not aware of. 

Blacklisting of keywords

Apparently, some brandnames are “blacklisted” on google, so advertisers can’t use them. For example, “Toyota” can only be used by Toyota. A car reseller, wholesaler, etc… can’t use that term. People are very careful which words they blacklist since it does not enable to aforementioned parties to advertise on google. And google applies this policy on a global basis. So if Toyota actually had a reseller in china under a distribution arrangement, they could not buy that keyword to sell a Toyota car.

Contextual and behavioural advertising

The other relevant thing he discussed was contexutal and behavioural advertising, which is becoming quite a big area in the online marketing world. Advertising has always been about relevancy and recency. Erwin Ephron developed the recency theory which is about showing someone an ad when they are in the mood to purchase. The idea of “top of mind”. It’s not about showing them an ad 3 times to get it to stick, rather at the right time when they want to buy. I believe that is what behavioural advertising and contextual advertising seeks to do as well – tying relevancy and recency together. 

 Behavioural looks at your past behaviour on the internet – which websites you’ve been to, how you use the internet. Contextual advertising is 3rd party advertising based on the content on the website (i.e. your current session on the web).  The whole idea is to serve you more relevant ads. Websites now, may reserve a space on their site for advertising local content to you based on your IP address – you’ve probabaly seen it! Look at an American website, yet its giving you ads for Australian flights or credit cards. Online advertising has gotten smarter. It was really insightful because at ad:tech and even in my work, these are topics which people are talking about. third party advertising, serving of ads, affiliate marketing, etc… On the flip side, there are privacy concerns, because your ISP tracks where you’ve been and keeps all the information about each individiual user. To me, this is also two competing concerns – serving you more relevant ads v capturing your private information.

It enhances the user experience and the advertising by having geographically and behavioural based ads, but aren’t you worried that someone is keeping tabs on you?

Other interesting points he discussed was how keywords get bought, and the difficulty of proving trademark infringement for keywords. Since the prices and the allocation of paid ads on Google was constantly changing, its hard to prove in such a dynamic environment. 

I must admit the other seminars weren’t as relevant to me or as interesting, hence my interest did drop off. Copyright issues in advertising were ok, about database compliation and the rights attached to that. Children and the law & comparative advertising was extremely boring, but still handy to know. I learnt that advertising needs to get clearance from legals, very important so you don’t get sued (!) and meets all legal and regulatory requirements. Also, there’s so many various regulatory codes for each type of media (radio, tv, outdoor) and legislation. 

I’m out like Johnny Law, 

Matthew Ho.

Ad:tech – Day 2 by pictures

I visited ad:tech sydney again on day 2 (Wednesday, 11 March 2009). This time I arrived later in the afternoon at 2.30pm. 

I was there to help out with the exhibit. I was at the Next Digital stand from 2.30 – 4.30pm. I also took a bunch of pics and posted them on Flickr and below as well.

It’s interesting being an exhibitor as opposed to a visitor walking around on Day 1. Some people walk up to you just to chat and find out what it is about, others have an interest or something they want to pitch at us. I think the most important thing is to be nice and have a casual chat. Not everyone is interested in hearing the marketing spiel and you have to be ready for all types of questions.

There’s a lot of people at ad:tech that are very tech savvy, and you have others there for the 1st time who looked like they just walked off the street. Overall though, it seemed pretty quite and there was not a lot of people walking around. It look like ad:tech was winding down on Wednesday afternoon.

Next year, I’d like to go to some more of the seminars, possibly even the paid ones. I hear the chatter on twitter from following the hashtags (#atsyd, #atsyd1, etc…) and there seems to be a lot going on.

When I look back, I realise that I have progressed in this industry and it is a humbling experience that a year ago, I wasn’t even working in digital. Now, I had the priviliege and the opportunity to talk to people at ad:tech as an exhibitor about online marketing regarding email marketing, analytics, etc… They say that 1 year in online is equivalent to 7 dog years. I believe that’s so true. Online just moves so fast, new things are emerging all the time. As I’ve heard people say, it may be changing but the fundamentals haven’t changed.

Overall, ad:tech was very good for checking out some new things. One of the most important things I was exposed to was affiliate marketing and traffic marketing, and different companies in this area. These aspects about online marketing I would never had learnt about sitting at my desk at work.

I’m out like ad:tech,

Matthew Ho.

Jim Cramer v Jon Stewart: The Showdown

I’ve been watching these videos for the past hour or so. They’re very interesting, particularly given the current financial climate.  There’s been a feud brewing between Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” and Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show

I’ve actually got one of Jon Stewart’s books on my shelf (its brilliant!). FYI – Jon Stewart is a comedian. These two networks are supposedly sister networks as well. Watch these unedited & uncensored videos, they are very insightful – I was addicted! (note: the daily show posting these vids on their website)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Based on what I have seen, Jim Cramer was pummeled by Jon Stewart. It was a three round knockout, that destroyed Cramer’s credibility. However, Cramer accepted too much blame. Could ANYONE have predicted some of these crisises and collapses?? If you put yourself out there and tell investors to buy Bear Stearns and then it crumbles, should you accept some of the blame? 

It reminds me of 5 – 7 years ago when people were recommending Enron, Worldcom, etc… and then they collapsed. I don’t think the CNBC network and Jim Cramer should be solely to blame, even though they made those recommendations. Yes, they could have done more due diligence, but it is a crazy stock market out there. Cramer should have stood up for himself more. Jon Stewart didn’t even give him much of a chance to respond either. He just kept knocking him down blow after blow.

The impact is once in a life time, however similar “shocks” have happened before. See Enron bust, Dot.com bust, Asian Crisis, and Black Monday 1987.

I’ve never doubted that there is manipulation in the stock market, some legal, and some illegal.  

Here’s the original video Jim Cramer did a few years ago, discussing how hedge funds manipulate the stock market:

I’m out like Jim Cramer’s career,

Matthew Ho.

Ad:Tech Sydney – First Day Impressions: talking to myspace.com, netpartners, post click, girls.com.au

adtech_sydney

Ad:tech started in Sydney today. It’s a 2 day expo, with similar events held in San Francisco, Paris, London, Chicago, New York, Singapore. It’s basically for online marketing companies, for those involved in advertising technology. The official line is:

“ad:tech is an interactive advertising and technology conference and exhibition. Worldwide shows blend keynote speakers, topic driven panels and workshops to provide attendees with the tools and techniques they need to compete in a changing world”

I arrived there around lunch time.  I had my express check in pass (thanks ad:tech!), so got buzzed in pretty quick. The first stand lo and behold was Next Digital/Commquest! Which is my company – more on this later.

I was in a rush because I was supposed to go to the Yahoo search masterclass. In the corner of my eye, I saw a guy from my media buying class who’s a dedicated search guy. However, when I got there, the seminar was over. Disappointed, I trudged back and went to the Yahoo search stand and asked them what it was about. I also asked them for notes of the presentation and hopefully they can email it to me. Hit me up if you would like a copy of the notes.

Overall, ad:tech didn’t actually look that full. Maybe its because I expected it be at full capacity. Or perhaps, there were seminars going on. There’s paid seminars, with 3 different tracks but to go to them you need to have a conference pass which costs $1k. I’m just going to the free stuff =) You can check out the different stands, talk to people, and listen to the free seminars. It reminds me of a big careers fair!

Next Digital has got prime position, near the front door and we’ve decked it out in a hospital theme with hospital bed, flasks of weird liquids, IV drip, and doctors walking around with stethoscopes. The theme its “Digital Health Check”, and we’re offering free audits of digital marketing strategy, websites, etc.. We are taking appointments and doing followups. Kate Kendall, editor of marketing mag called it  best stand at expo. Have a look here:

nd-stand-ad-tech

Next Digital was giving a talk after the Yahoo one, so I briefly saw my director Mark Edwards, speaking about digital strategy.  Its a small seated area with about 30 seats and people were standing in the back, 3 rows deep! He had some really good content, however the sound quality was quite poor.The mic and the speakers weren’t loud enough. For the guys standing in the back like me, you couldn’t hear him clearly. As the stands are right next to auditorium area,  there’s so much background noise. It’s a shame and it something the organiser’s will have to look at for next year. Perhaps move the speaking stage a little bit further into a quieter area and turn up the mics!!!!!!!!

I spoke to a couple of interesting people /companies at the stands. Vincent and I walked around and spoke to the following stands. I’ve provided a short commentary on each one:

Fox Interactive 

Websites : Myspace.com, Rottentomatoes.com (movie review site), ign.com (similar to gamespot.com), Askmen.com.

We were talking to Sharon May-Tanous, Group Sales Manager, and she showed us a new feature on myspace.com. There’s this function called “Myspace recharge” where u can recharge your phone by buying credits / topups. Very cool. I’ve always advocated that social networks should do more in the transactional & ecommerce space, given that we spend so much time on there. According to Nielsen research, time spent on social networking has overtaken personal email. Myspace are also releasing a new visa credit card as well, targeted towards younger people. Its going to work like a prepaid debit card. It will be an interesting move for them.

They had a very cool stand with lots of monitors. If you look at the above sites I’ve listed in the heading and click through, you’ll realise that their are Australian versions with localised content. That’s something that they are trying to push, localisation. Rottentomatoes.com is mostly made up of American movies and reviews, so its good a move to have some Aussie content in there too. 

I told her I didn’t use Myspace anymore and she got a bit grouchy LOL. I’ll stick with Facebook, but I’ll check Myspace.com for music related stuff. FYI, I’m name dropping here, but I met Brett Brewer, one of the co-founders of Myspace at the Digital Tipping Point a few weeks ago. He’s sold off myspace to Rupert Murdoch and is now CEO of a social networking advertising company called AdKnowledge. He’s a very cool guy, down to earth, and I guess I’ll have to hit him up on myspace?  

Netpartners – Content network advertising / traffic broking

This area is new to me. I’m still new to search marketing and online advertising, but I understand the basics like clicks, CPM, CPA, conversions and al that jargon. But there’s this whole new area regarding content network / affiliate marketing, etc.. It’s to do with advertising on 3rd party sites, publishers, etc… I spoke to Alan Wan, Affiliate Manager, he explained to me what it was about and I think I got the gist of it. Netpartners is a Hong Kong outfit, mainly targetting US and UK markets. I have to do a bit more research in to this area regarding affiliate marketing. At ad:tech, there were a number of stands, I would say 1/3 selling these services. It was pretty funny, because he was talking English to us and as we were winding down our conversation he asked if we spoke Chinese! Vincent and him started talking, and then I joined in, but I don’t think he understood me very well since my Cantonese is pretty bad and heavily accented. 

Post Click – affiliate marketing

We spoke to the BD manager there. I’ve actually heard of them. Post click specialises in niche affiliate marketing. I’m still getting the hang of this term – its advertising on a network of sites. e.g. you would like to advertise to websites in Indonesia targeting students coming to Australia. They would go represent you and negotiate, and source sites for you to advertise on. They must have relationships with traffic brokers (a new term I learnt) and work out how much you have to pay for CPA, cost per action which is for lead or conversion generation if someone clicks on an ad. Post Click most likely takes a set up fee and a slice of the action e.g. CPC of 1 cent (cost per click of $0.01). 

Girls.com.au / Femail.com.au

I’m not sure why but we wondered over to this stand. We were just curious, and it was right next to ours. They’ve got 2 websites which are online magazines targeted towards females. Girls.com.au has a demo of 18 – 35, skewed towards younger females. Femail.com.au has a demo of 25+. These mags have been running for about 10 years online and has similar content to Vogue, Cleo, etc.. The opportunities are for advertising towards a very specific demographic. 

They also own female.com.au and redirect all the traffic to femail.com.au. however, they are not going to switch over to female.com.au because of the search engine rankings – its already been optimised (SEO baby!!).

CABO Networks – Pay for performance marketing

I spoke to Jurgen Cautreels, who’s over here from Miami. These guys have offices in Miami and Sydney, that’s TWO awesome beach places. They do stuff related to traffic marketing, lists, and email marketing. 

iAD & Pureprofile

I’ve lumped them together even though they are two very distinct companies. Only because they have both presented at our offices. I like iAD, but I feel that their technology is way ahead of its time. When they came into our office and explained their product, they left a lot of us dumbfounded, including me. If you can’t explain to a bunch of people that are pretty technology savvy, your going to struggle with other people as well. Even their blurb in ad:tech is hard to understand – something about a multi-function device, etc…

Ad:Tech on Twitter & Blog

If you are keen to follow with the latest adtech updates, check out twitter. People are twittering using the following hashtags:

#adtechsyd

#atsyd

For the 3 different seminar tracks, there’s also:

#atsyd1 

#atsyd2 

#atsyd3

There’s heaps of ad:tech tweeting going on, and I’ve been following the conversations via twitter and tweetdeck (i’ve got my search groups on for each hashtag!).

You can also check out ad:tech brain blog, I’ve been reading and commenting on it over the past month or so. 

See you there

If you are going to be there, look for me at the Next Digital /Commquest stand in the late afternoon. I’m going to be there in a white coat, and also checking some of the other stands and seminars. 

I’m out like day 1 of ad:tech, 

Matthew Ho aka inspiredworlds

How to manage your email inbox

Like all working professionals, I get bombarded with emails every day. Its that dreaded feeling in the morning, when you open up your inbox, and there’s a bunch of emails waiting for you already. Before you get started at work, you are dealing with these new emails. Not to mention the ones that constantly keep coming into your inbox. At the end of the day, you feel that all you’ve done is answer emails and have done nothing productive. I found a great set of tips from NY Times on how to manage your inbox. 

Check it out here.

Their tips were: 

  • Archive
  • Check your inbox 3 times in the hour (i.e. every 20mins). I try to do it every 30 mins, but sometimes i just can’t help but keep it open
  • Turn off auto-notifications (this is the worst feature! keeps you hooked into email)
  • Respond immediately, if the response is going to be less than 2 mins
  • Longer than 2 mins response, flag it and come back later

I’m out like letting your inbox control you!

Matt