Bringing a professional flair to digital video programming is an increasingly big deal for Yahoo!, with the company showing off a slew of new original video series at a presentation for advertisers, including a weekly show featuring Katie Couric. The new premium-content launches are a "watershed moment" for Yahoo!, and should prompt marketers to start spending serious money on video ads, said Executive Vice President Ross Levinsohn. "I enjoy watching cats on skateboards as much as anybody. We're shooting a little higher than that," he adds.
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ICANN has shut down its online application system for new top-level domains after the system began leaking user details. An advertising-industry group said the glitch raised questions about the integrity of ICANN's entire TLD-assigning process. "Problems can happen to everybody, but [ICANN] is a group that is supposed to be taking care of some of the key functions of the Internet," notes Dan Jaffe of the Association of National Advertisers.
Advertisers should stop fretting so much about metrics such as click throughs and impressions, says Brian Wong, founder of Kiip.me, a company that aims to use incentives to capture the attention of mobile users. It's more effective to think of online advertising in terms of "moments" -- the instants in which people actually engage with a brand -- and to focus on finding ways to maximize the value of those moments for an ad's viewers. "The advertisement was really never the 320×50 banner itself -- it's the connection that's created between the brand and the consumer," Wong explains.
Google has rolled out new search algorithms designed to reward "high quality" sites and penalize spam websites, sparking heated debate over which brand sites are benefiting from or suffering under the new regime. The bottom line, writes Danny Goodwin, is that the switch-up emphasizes the futility of trying to game Google's system. "Chasing an algorithm isn't a winning marketing strategy. Stop chasing taillights," he warns.
Microsoft is planning to add an advertising layer to Skype, said senior sales director Jahn Wolland, and is in the process of testing new ad units. One option would be to incorporate click-to-call ads into the service, Wolland said. "Microsoft is ... constantly testing advertising to determine what works best for brands, and more importantly for consumers, in the Skype environment," a Microsoft spokeswoman added.
The Melting Pot fondue-restaurant chain won 25,000 new e-mail list subscribers in just 13 hours with a campaign tied to National Cheese Fondue Day. The chain offered free fondue to all new subscribers, and launched a broad-based social media campaign promoting the offer. "It certainly exceeded expectations," communications chief Sandy D'Elosua said.
Many website designs are making use of advanced scrolling effects to dazzle their visitors, writes Carol Francis. Some sites use parallax effects to draw in potential customers, while others scroll up instead of down, or use metaphors such as dripping paint, motorbike rides or descending elevators to give their users a memorable experience.
Small businesses shouldn't be overly wary of online review and rating services, writes Stephanie Faris. The rise of game-like rating services, such as Taap.It, plus conventional review sites such as Yelp and Manta, makes it easier for SMBs to target and engage local consumers. "By localizing your listings as much as possible, you'll be able to reach out to consumers in your community and maximize your marketing efforts," Faris promises.
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