Readers comment on the Kindle, remnant advertising and a creepy clown

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readers_small.jpgADOTAS — In our latest poll, most readers said that Apple has every right to decide what goes on its iPhone and the government should stay out of it. We also has some spirited comments about the demise of Active Response Group/Brandarama; Amazon’s Kindle; and how a clown became a Rorschach test for online advertising.

It’s time to (really) monetize inventory

Russell Glass:
“Rob, I completely agree and this is where Bizo plays for our pubs — they’re earning an average of almost $4.00 for their remnant from us. However, it requires 1.) a valuable audience and 2.) the ability to target beyond run of site.

Data and targeting is a big slice of where the middle tier is going to come from (and it will also drive up the value of the top tier). Publishers need to be thinking “segmentation” of their audience — this is where they are going to find significant opportunities to increase their CPMs.

Russell Glass
CEO
Bizo”

Tom Feregusaon:
“I agree – there will always be remnant inventory. A network can’t offer the same customization that going direct can. That is their value prop. So no need to compare apples to oranges. Publishers should embrace networks and network aggregators and learn how they can add significant value to their business”

Raleigh Harbour:
“I agree, the gap between Premium/Direct and Non-Premium is too wide… publishers and advertisers alike are missing a big opportunity to match the right traffic with the right campaigns.

The benefits of this middle tier of inventory such as ad serving priority, ad placement and true audience targeting make all the difference when it comes performance and campaign goals (whether branded reach, pure direct response or a combination thereof)

As this segment of inventory gains traction and awareness, we’re going to see it become a big $ opportunity in the market.”

Ciaran:
“I think publishers should stop seeing “remnant inventory” as some kind of economic burden. Develop an exchange strategy. Go to the exchanges and set up your buying/link partners. Introduce your data into the trade.

There are plenty of platforms out there that allow you to get insight into your data, and this will ultimately add value to the impressions you’re trying to sell.

The networks and yield optimisers have an important part to play in raising ad prices, but publishers need to start looking at the trading platforms as an important sales channel.”

Active Response Group/Brandarama on the chopping block

Kat:
“Google Mpell, and you’ll find a lot of people who haven’t received certificates, items, etc. I’m not pleased with their services and would encourage others not to use their servcies.”

TNK:
“I also was shafted by Mpell. Not much I could do about that as an individual. I filed a complaint with the company that engaged their services to alert them to how their customers are treated. Hopefully, this will cause them not to work with Mpell in the future. This is not a time to find loopholes to avoid redemptions.”

Dee:
“I have been waiting several years. I did everything correct to receive my gift in the beginning. I then rec’d a letter from Mpell telling me to spend the money and send a receipt to receive my gift. I did just that, then was advised that YourTopBrands took back their promotion and Mpell had nothing to do with them anymore. I just rec’d the following email and am very distraut! I am now out $250.00 for falling for this not to mention the membership fees spents yrs ago on the products needed to fulfill my reward. The website for YourTopBrands or Active Response Group no longer exsist and the phone for YTB (877-312-7263) gives me a fast busy signal when i call now! MAJOR SCAM, I CAN’T BELIEVE I FELL FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Denise,

According to our records, you may be a claimant of one or more consumer prize(s) from one of our consumer rewards sites.

Active Response Group, Inc. (”Active Response Group”) is the parent company of YourTopBrands the Brand that you originally registered for.

As you know, many businesses have been hurt badly by the financial downturn and the credit crunch that followed the collapse of the subprime mortgage markets. Active Response Group, like many other firms, though not involved in any way in those activities, has seen its revenues drop dramatically. As a result, we found ourselves in very serious financial difficulty.

Despite taking various steps to reduce our costs and preserve value, we became unable to make our debt payments to our senior lender, Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. (”Hercules”). Hercules had lent Active Response Group ~$10,000,000, which senior loans were secured by all of our assets. Since we were unable to pay our current payments, Hercules has foreclosed on its collateral and has sold Active Response Group’s assets to a third party via an auction process. While the details of the transaction are subject to confidentially provision, the highest offer was insufficient to pay Hercules in full.

Unfortunately, Active Response Group’s inability to pay Hercules in full means that with certainty Active Response has no funds to satisfy any consumer prize claims. Our customer service center is no longer in operation, and we will be winding down the affairs of the company under state law. So this is the last communication you can expect from us and we have no means of conducting further contact with you.

We are of course very disheartened by this turn of events, as we know you must be. We thank you for your patronage and wish you the best.

Very truly yours,

Customer Care Department”

Trouble for Amazon Kindle

Linda Woods:
“I love my Kindle! I was hesitant at first, but when the new one came out, and I watched the sales video showing how it worked, how easy it is, etc, I was sold. Now, I’m a fan. I love how light it is. I love that it’s effortless to turn a page. I love the cripsness of the typeface and ability to increase font size so that I dont have to use my “readers”. I love that for a trip where I might take 2-3 books, weighing a ton in my carryon, now I take Kindle which fits in my purse. My only complaint is though there is a large selection of choices, my preferences are not always represented. So, I still buy and read books, but when I get to read a book on Kindle, it’s so much fun. I do not read anything of any length online. I read so much darn email, the last thing I want to do is read a book on my computer. So the experience on Kindle is quite different. I also like when someone recommends a book or I think, gee I might like to read that, my Kindle is in my purse, and I can just order a free excerpt right then and there, read that later and then purchase in a flash. Long live the Kindle!”

Edward Barrera:
“Linda,
You make some good points. But I still love the feel of a book. I’m a luddite in that respect. Guess I’m waiting for a sign.”

Joe:
“I’m usually an early tech adopter but I still don’t get the e-reader. I read 4 to 5 books a month along with a healthy dose a magazine but I can’t imagine an issue of Wired in black and white on a generic tablet. The same goes for the new textbook model. Art history would be terrible in black in white.

The beauty of books and magazines is often their design, their typeface and how they feel in your hand. Also how you peek ahead to see what is coming up or how much longer you might have to get through a bad book that you paid for an already started.

The pricing model also seems a little high when I can get any book out of the library for free for months at a time and take it anywhere with me. Maybe all that free music in the good ole days has ruined me but I don’t see myself ever picking one of these up and I think the whole idea seems overhyped and way over priced.

Plus the way that Amazon took back a bunch of books off the kindle after people purchased it is creepy. If I buy a book in a store, the only way I’ll lose it is my actions not a publisher’s decision.”

Marcela Shine:
“I was just considering buying a Kindle because of… believe it or not… medical reasons. Typing all day has led to carpal tunnel in BOTH wrists and holding books (which I absolutely LOVE) has become difficult. Especially hardbacks. I am hoping the Kindle resolves this for me because I am reading less to avoid the pain. We’ll see how this idea works out.”

Edward Barrera:
“Joe, agree. Don’t mean to sound like a nerd, but the library was my home away from home as a kid.
Marcela, that sounds like a pretty good reason. Though the Kindle keyboard might be tough, good luck.”

babslou:
“i dropped the kindle 2 about 10 days after i purchased it and had to send it back as it’s dead as a doornail. hard to believe they’d produce an item so fragile — and slippery — that once dropped it could be the end. After paying nearly $300; that’s not good news. i understand the new kindle, nearly 2x the price has rubber on the back to keep it from slipping off one’s lap or bed onto the floor and probably to protect it from impact and has also been tested against banging, impact and normal wear and tear. probably best to get that model, or wait till it drops in price.”

M. Lewis:
“Your headline is misleading. What is the trouble for Amazon.com? They sell ebooks, new books and used books. They sell a lot of other things too.

You didn’t give us a reason why you think there is trouble for Amazon.com.

I have a Kindle (original model) and enjoy it so much. With a certain pillow, I read it hands free except to click next page.”

Edward Barrera:
“M.Lewis, I’m not talking about Amazon in general just the Kindle. It’s the relationships. Can other eReaders make their products better? Because, unlike say Apple with its iPod, macs, iPhone, etc., Amazon is known for its distribution not for making products.”

April Thayer:
“I got the Kindle 2 when I started looking around my house at the stacks of books (some worth keeping, some just taking up space.) I’ve had two book sales to raise money for charity events, but I kept on buying more. So the Kindle presented itself as a management tool. As it turns out, I now read The New Yorker from cover to cover, but never did when I subscribed to the magazine. When I’m with someone and we’re having a chat about their latest favorite, I download it right there! I love the convenience, the portability, the efficiency. I still have all my books, I still buy books on paper – I just have to give the Kindle its due. It really is a sweetheart of a machine.”

Facebook targeted ad crosses the creepy line

Brian:
“What’s the big deal?

One should assume that any info uploaded to even a semi-private site like Facebook will be viewed by other people.”

Jillian:
“Oh, come on. SRSLY? Facebook uses keywords to target ads. If your friend put her occupation in her profile, which is public “metadata”. She may have decided to put that information out there for public consumption, which makes it available for use in targeting.

That’s the kind of information which really needs to be included before terms like “Big Brother” are included in the articles.”

Jeremy:
“I agree it’s creepy, but I’m up for voting on what’s creepier:

Hypertargeting used poorly vs. clowns.

I posted alternatives here to help voting:

http://measuringtalent.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/why-is-this-facebook-ad-creepy/”

Edward Barrera:
“Brian and Jillian,
Agreed. But there is a difference between people who understand how targeting works, and those that don’t. She didn’t as I believe most don’t. She has now taken that information off.

But as Facebook connect becomes universal, what information will be passed along? This is a pretty tame example obviously, but we ignore that type of reaction at our peril.”

Jordan:
“The clown is creepier.

Boggles my mind how many people don’t understand the reality of the Web. People who:
– send naked pics of themselves to others, then wonder why it’s posted on the web.
– blog/tweet bad things about their employer then wonder why they’re in trouble
– use free public online services, then complain about advertising

The majority of these people are likely only to learn the hard way. But this education process has to happen.”

Edward Barrera:
“Jordan,
Geez, a lot of clown-haters out here.
Anyway, there is a difference between going to a site, say the New York Times, and seeing advertising and going to Facebook, with its walled-in protections.
Set the privacy to only friends, believe the info has the same guidelines, and it’s not surprising that people are taken aback when some third-party says they know what you do. Even though Facebook is the only one that actually has the data.

As a number of social media executives told me, if the ad made her feel creepy, the ad crossed the line.”

Brandt Dainow:
“There’s no such thing as privacy on the internet. By design it is a public, open system. Don’t be fooled by “friends only” settings or other such rubbish. They’re only for naive users. If you blog, publish, email, or websurf, you’re doing it in public, being tracked by governments, ISP’s, marketing companies, and criminals. “Restrictions” on data exchange are, at best, partial.”

Sandi V:
“the clown is by far the creepiest part of the ad. it doesn’t surprise me that my ads on myspace are pertaining to NASCAR racing, particularly Dale Jr, I am a huge fan and it says so on my site. Just cuz my keywords get sent on to the advertisers doesn’t mean they can log in and view my photos!! duh!”

Edward Barrera:
“The whole clown thing is becoming an interesting online advertising rorschach test. Who knew? I was thinking bozo the clown, not serial killer John Wayne Gacy.”

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