Web This Blog

Powered by Blogger

Celebrity advertising - No, this is different!

Del.icio.us | Digg | Google | Reddit
We all know how brands are made or broken with celebrity advertising. But of late, Yahoo and Google have chosen the new way to use celebrities as a way to popularize their products.

Yahoo first came up with this idea for its Yahoo answers website. For this, they roped in the Indian President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, popular IPS officer Ms. Kiran Bedi and other celebrities like the tennis star Leander Paes. The idea was to make these popular celebrities use this medium to reach out to the people. It is a way to show that even celebrities as these have come to know the ability of Yahoo answers to reach out to the common man.

However, the logic behind the scenes are entirely different. This campaign was well supplemented by countrywide advertising along with 'cool gifts' to those participating in the discussion. The President may not have actually endorsed the product. But the purpose is served. Yahoo Answers is now a huge Yahoo product in India.

Taking cues from this, Yahoo's rival Google has tried to exploit the Cricket World Cup season to strengthen its social networking site, Orkut. Orkut has invited Kris Srikanth, former captain of the Indian cricket team as a guest contributor to one of the newly formed communities. The advertising intentions are indeed clear. This community with only around 1000 members is the first such community or Orkut with a personalized link: http://www.orkut.com/worldcupwithkrish

The success of this community will no matter depend on the success of the Indian team in this world cup, but nevertheless Google too has announced its intentions to go the celebrity way to popularize its products.

Will this pay?

This question has to be answered assuming that each of these celebrities were indeed paid to participate. I believe the Yahoo campaign has been successful since it was well backed up by mainstream ads and also it is a sustaining model of advertising as we see in the way new social celebrities like Shashi Tharoor being roped in to ask questions.

Google might not have started off too well since there are still hardly 1000 members on the community. Also, unlike in Yahoo answers, orkut requires repetitive participation which might not be okayed by all celebrities. However for events as the world cup which last for one or two months, celebrities may be roped in for that specific period.


Widget Networking - the next in-thing?

Del.icio.us | Digg | Google | Reddit
MyBlogLog has had a fair share of criticism in recent times. It was accused of revealing Google Adsense information that was hereto confidential under the Terms of Service. However, MyBlogLog continues to be popular and rightly so.

MyBlogLog has probably been the first service that has rejuvenated bloggers' interest in other blogs. Till then, communication between bloggers tended to be restricted to commenting on blog posts. But, ever since MBL got popular, bloggers tend to have struck a chord with their readers. For example, I now know many of my blog's readers by face. Thanks to the MBL widget.

Widget networking seems to be the next in-thing on the net after social networking. Widgets are small pieces of code, predominantly javascript that can be inserted anywhere in your code. MBL in particular lets you know your recent visitors.

Recently I was approached by another website who introduced to me their new widget called AutoRoll. Their product fit well into this topic, so I decided to introduce the widget on my blog. AutoRoll is a network of blogs like MBL, except that the widget for AR displays links that my site visitors would most likely want to visit. In effect, it is a self-learning widget that tracks the link which my visitors click on the widget and learns to display the most clicked ones on my blog. Similarly with my blog on other AR user blogs.

Widgets as these are getting common. Every blog has quite a few widgets running on them, which do much more than simply increase the page-loading time. For example, both the widgets that I have discussed here help the blogger get closer to his readers by knowing their preferences and tastes.

However the question remains if this widget networking phenomena shall last. There cannot be just too many widgets on a blog. The page would simply stop loading then. In my opinion, given this constraint of only a few widgets that can be put on a blog, there is going to be a fight for this blog space. And in this, only the widget that fulfils the needs of the blogger shall last.

MBL has indeed taken a leap ahead. Not only has it established a social networking between the blogger and the reader, it has also become property of one of the Internet giants, Yahoo. However the other widgets like AR need to keep innovating to make sure that they don't die a natural death. For example, while reviewing the AR widget, I felt that the 'site statistics' link not being optional can be a great negative aspect. Not all bloggers might want to reveal statistic. Another point is that over a period of time, some blogs become popular and others might not. That would mean that these less-popular ones pull out the widget because their statistics are bad compared to the links that are shown on the widget. In the course of time, the widget might come to a stage where it cannot grow further.

AR is no doubt in beta, and hopefully the product can only improve much more from here, but I am only trying to highlight the constant-competitiveness that these widgets must ensure in order to remain popular amongst users.


'Google Bombing' for the right reasons

Del.icio.us | Digg | Google | Reddit
Google Bombs are always thought of as part of technology humor; something to simply show why George Bush is a 'Miserable Failure' or to do other similar pranks. But it is also one of a very vital part of the SEO strategies for companies.

Recently I was searching for a different issue while I got across this particular search result.

A search all related to Gmail gives Yahoo as the first result. A little knowledge in Search Engine Optimization will show that Google gives high priority to the following aspects of inbound links when ranking pages:
* Number of Inbound links
* Inbound Anchor text
* Inbound page Quality
* Inbound page relevance
This is not some sort of a clinching evidence to prove that Yahoo played a dirty game here. It is always probable that there exist so many Yahoo Vs. Gmail id comparisons linking to Yahoo Mail which has caused this 'fudging' in search results. The point of this blog is not that. The point is if this can be a strategy to capture rival userbases.

Now, consider this: You are company ABC making widgets. You have a competitor XYZ. People searching for ABC naturally may end up on your website since they already know you and hence searched for you on the web. You can also optimize your webpages for the relevant keywords so that you capture people looking for widgets. But how do you capture the attention of people looking for your competitor XYZ in the search engine. What if this customer did not even know you existed for the same product/service.

Google Bombing is a nice way to advertise your product to this group of customers. It is similar to standing outside your competitor's store and handing over leaflets for your own company. The customer may end up in your rival's store eventually, but now he knows you exist and could satisfy his requirement too. It is a nice way to build a potential user base.


IM through Ads

Del.icio.us | Digg | Google | Reddit
I recently came across an Adsense ad on John Tp's blog. Here is a screenshot of the same. The advertiser in this case was John Chow, a technology blogger.

It is a new concept floating around called 'IM through Ads'. Why this is interesting is because of the unconventional way to target the audience. Instead of the usual universal way to target audience from all blogs alike, this is a new way to focus audience site by site.

Why should this be effective?

I consider an effective strategy on two main counts.

(1) Though ads on most counts are not effective owing to the 'banner blindness' factor, it isn't
that the audience does not even pass a cursory glance at the ad. An ad titled, 'I Love JohnTP.com' is given a second glance simply because the audience does not expect any website to advertise on its own webpage.

(2) There is a more critical aspect to it. JohnTP, in this case is a popular blog in itself with over 800 subscribed readers and many more loyal audience. This means that this audience knows that 'JohnTP.com rocks!' - as is mentioned in the ad. So, this is a humble way to reach the audience. The ad is akin to saying, 'Your favorite blog is awesome, no doubt! By the way, take a look at my blog. You might find it good too...'

The ad hence does prove effective in capturing new audiences.

Is it Legal?

The next question that follows naturally is if this method is legal. At first thought, it does seem illegal for me to use a trademarked logo of another company in my ads. Isn't that infringement of copyright rules? Apparently, the law is with JohnChow in this particular case. This follows from a case Google won over Geico over a similar suit that the latter had filed against the former. So, rest assured, you shall not be penalized for using the above strategy. In my opinion, if you are going to use the above strategy for popular websites, it shall and will pay.


Creative Commons
Internet Business Strategies,Business Marketing and Business Management