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Friday, January 14, 2005

Microsoft Reveals Changes to Longhorn

Link here. OK, so Microsoft will drop the "Home" and "Pro" labels with the next version of Windows, because they are "not descriptive" enough. Huh? Sounds pretty clear to me, even though I still don't understand why the Home version won't network with other Home editions.

They won't discuss the official name of the next OS yet, although the conventional wisdowm says Windows 2006. Boy, does that sure sound futuristic. I guess the next version after this will be Windows 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Cue ominous startup music!

Microsoft also might integrate the Tablet PC and Media Center versions of Windows into the main version of Windows. Say what? With Longhorn already at least a year late, they're thinking about doing something differently? I'd say it's way past time for that, considering the first beta release is only months away.

I'm not in any particular rush to get my grubby paws on the next Windows, but it sure would be nice to know what to expect, like airtight security?

Posted by Cory | | | Permalink

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Times to Google: Hire More English Majors!

No, not to make sure that ads are better-written. Rather, to debate at length whether the tenor of the editorial standards is 'prescriptivist', or some such thing.

Here's what I think. (I know you were expecting this "here's what I think" part. But I did fool you somewhat by not writing about the seven other much more important bit of search industry news from the past couple days.)

We're running out of establishment figures to rail against. Take Bush. I mean, we really needed that guy in office. Without him, would we, the Jon Stewarts of the world, have any function whatsoever? Clinton was cooler than us, and that just won't do, at least for our self-image.

Now what about this What Not to Wear show? Brilliant. In real life, of course, no one could give two hoots what you wear. A couple of weeks ago, I went to meet an industry colleague in preparation for a meeting with a client. He was in a suit and tie, I in a sweater looking like a slob; it was the first time we'd met, so I felt both silly and resentful. "Man, I really should have picked up my dry cleaning." And then, "I mean does this guy not get it? We're changing the world here, not wearing ties. I'll bet he collects cuff links."

Then I went to meet him and the client, on the client's premises. This time I showed up wearing a nice suit (no tie though) and a flashy overcoat I'm still not sold on. This time, my colleague was in something like a sweatshirt. Also, he was slouching the whole time. None of this mattered. It appears that when it comes to how you dress or how you sit, you might as well flip a coin.

This surely must be shattering to the fashion industry's pocketbook, and to the self-image of those who always dress for success. What Not to Wear is an important bit of fiction. Those who play along with the show's premise and believe that image is everything get their ego stroked; meanwhile, those who feel like they disagree with the whole thing can snicker up their outdated sleeves about the whole thing being "prescriptivist." Perfect! Both the establishment and the 99.5% of the planet who believe they're anti-establishment get what they need.

So back to Google, and their editorial rules for advertising that appear to err on the side of "old-fashioned" English. Google's like that clever cousin who's either just a bit too cool for their own good (making Establishment Gramps feel comfortable as he weaves tales of hubris) or just a bit too uptight for the 'rest of us.' Overeducated hawkers of thongs can rest secure in the knowledge that they would use the edgy construction of "them" -- em, to be exact -- if only "they" (or as I like to say, "ayy") would allow it.

Google's your uncool cousin. It's like the government young people would rail against, if the act of even bothering to rail against the government weren't proof that you bought into the very importance of all that.

They're like a government you wouldn't bother to overthrow (because you'd be too cool to bother). But instead would lightly critique in a Times article that only lightly plugs your lacy thongs, which you sell on the side. Down with The Guvernment! In a detached, please-buy-my-stuff-and-be-titillated-by-my-tale sort of way.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Got Permission? Marketing with the Grain in 2005

The second annual AD:TECH study (questions asked of attendees of fall Ad:Tech, sent in Dec. 2004) offers a good sense of what marketers are finding on the ground, and what they're expecting for the new year.

The leading marketing method for online marketers -- 45% of respondents said it works "great" -- is emailing a house list. Hot on its heels, though, with 41%, is paid search.

All email didn't fare that well, of course. Emailing a rented list and email newsletter ads were right at the bottom, with only 12% and 13%, respectively, saying they work "great."

Marketers are all talking about, and budgeting for, the same things, it seems. Leading the way in the "will increase budget" category is complete website revamps, with 32% of respondents believing that their companies will get moving on long-overdue overhauls this year. 24% stated that search engine marketing was slated for a significant increase. 20% had something less drastic than massive site overhauls in mind -- they believed their companies would budget more for "custom landing pages" in '05.

Respondents also felt like they'd be measuring and optimizing better with the help of sophisticated analytics and bid management tools. With over half of respondents planning to make better use of these tools, it looks like market demand for them is actually slightly ahead of the tool vendors' capacity to release all the features everyone wants.

All in all, marketers are keenly aware that there is much to do this year to ensure that their companies are reaching prospects in as efficient a manner as possible (without burning the permission they've fought so hard to earn.) Related software and service vendors couldn't be happier.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Monday, January 10, 2005

Fare Thee Well

The SMA, a new search marketing industry association, already underway internationally, starts a North American chapter.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Blogging as Grassroots Journalism

Big developments in the blog world seem to happen every day. To wit:

Many in the technology community know who Dan Gillmor is. If you don't, he is the now-former tech columnist at the San Jose Mercury News who actually, willingly resigned his prestigious and well-paying gig as one of the leading tech journalists in the world to... start a blog.

Say what? Well, surely it's because he's got dollar signs in his eyes.

Nope. Gillmor's got ambitious goals beyond simply making money. He wants to help lead or at least assist in the development of this new form of "grassroots journalism." Last July, he wrote a book about this transformation of the old rules of media, called We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People.

His new blog, which launched last week, is similarly called Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism, Etc. Don't have much to say about it yet, because I just discovered it today, but suffice it to say that Dan's blog is now part of my RSS reading list powered by Sage, syndicated in Firefox.

If you need any more evidence that this new era is rapidly upon us, consider the Asian tsunami disaster. Business 2.0 columnist Om Malik rightly points out that the disaster's first news was reported not by CNN, but by average folks with camera phones and mobile blogging capability. He believes that this decade will reinvent news in much the same way that cable news defined the 1990s and network news took flight in the 1960s.

With all the attention bloggers are garnering, it's clear that the revolution has officially been bloggerized.


Posted by Cory | | | Permalink

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