track

Facebook Pay To Promote Feature

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5914226/facebooks-pay+to+promote-posts-feature-has-arrived

Facebook's Pay-to-Promote Posts Feature Has ArrivedWe’ve heard rumblings that Facebook was testing a system called Highlight that would allow people to pay to promote a post, and now obnoxiously enough, it’s starting to show up.

Chris Cantalini, who runs a music blog called Gorilla vs. Bear, tweeted that he was posting a track by Holy Balm when he was presented with the above prompt. It asked him if he wanted to pay as much as $100 so that just one post, one song, could reach an estimated 39,000 people. For the record, only 37,000 people already Like Gorilla vs. Bear on Facebook.

This is just one instance, and the feature is supposedly not just for brands, but individuals as well, so it means we might be seeing Highlight in more places soon. Now that Facebook’s IPO has tanked, perhaps it’s looking for some fresh cash. [@GorillavsBear]

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Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 digital No Comments

Microsoft Burns Another Half Billion Online

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-microsofts-online-operating-income-2012-4

The good news: Microsoft has stabilized the amount of money it loses online. The bad news: It’s still on track to lose almost $2 billion online this year.

This quarter Microsoft lost $476 million. But, a year ago in the same period it lost $776 million. So, progress!

chart of the day, msft online operating income, april 2012

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Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

iPhones recover market share in Q4 2011, but Android draws the first-timer crowds

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/06/npd-iphones-recover-market-share-in-q4-2011-but-android-draws/

NPD: iPhones recover market share in Q4 2011, but Android draws the first-timer crowds

According to the latest research from the NPD group, Apple has got its second wind in smartphone sales. In the same quarter that saw the iPhone 4S reinvent the wheel obey our every vocal whim, the trio of available models soaked up a total of 43 percent of the US smartphone market in Q4 2012, apparently knawing away at Android’s market share of 53 percent held during the rest of 2011. However, Google’s mobile OS appears to be the debutante smartphone of choice, cornering 57 percent of new purchases, with 34 percent going for Apple. The remaining 9 percent is distributed between the smartphone also-rans, with the likes of Windows Phone and BlackBerry languishing in that anonymous grey bar at the top. The top five handsets from NPD’s Mobile Phone Track service is an Apple and Samsung love-in, with iOS devices claiming the three top spots, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S II (we assume collectively) and the Galaxy S 4G. NPD’s blow-by-blow commentary on this increasingly two-horse race awaits below.

Continue reading NPD: iPhones recover market share in Q4 2011, but Android draws the first-timer crowds

NPD: iPhones recover market share in Q4 2011, but Android draws the first-timer crowds originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 06 Feb 2012 13:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Motorola’s Releasing Intel-Powered Androids Later This Year [Intel]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5875005/motorolas-releasing-intel+powered-androids-later-this-year

Motorola's Releasing Intel-Powered Androids Later This YearIntel’s about to get its peanut butter all over Motorola’s chocolate. And, in addition to the Reese’s Pieces, we’ll see the first Intel-powered, Android smartphone in the second half of this year.

The two companies announced today that they’ve signed on for a multi-year strategic relationship which will span multiple platforms—including tablets and phones. Specifically, Motorola hopes to employ Intel’s low power system-on-chip architecture. “With Android as the leading smartphone OS globally and advancements in computing technology we see tremendous opportunity.” Sanjay Jha, Chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility told Business wire. Intel’s new Medfield chip could to be on-board.

And, while the phones may not end up as sleek as the Intel design reference above, with the Medfield’s ability to support up to a 24MP camera and 1080p playback, Apple may have some real competition on its hands. What’s more, given that Google owns Motorola, these phones could very well have an inside track to the latest and greatest Android OS builds. [Marketwatch]


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Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 news No Comments

Digital music finally outsells physical media, books look on in alarm

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/05/digital-music-finally-outsells-physical-media/

Nielsen

That sharp sucking of air you heard at the end of 2010, well, that was the record industry wincing as sales of CDs continued to tumble while digital media sales remained flat. The relieved exhale that you just heard echoing through the atmosphere? That was the collective sigh of executives who just picked up the latest Nielsen report indicating that digital music sales are on the rise again and, for the first time ever, have finally surpassed physical media. Sales as a whole were up, but while CDs were down 5.7 percent, digital track sales were up 8.4 percent and digital albums a stunning 19.5 percent (perhaps most interestingly, though, vinyl was up over 36 percent). CDs still outsell virtual albums by a factor of two, but it’s clear the trend toward binary media is back on track. It may be a narrow victory but, with 50.3 percent of the market, audio files are new king of the hill. Check out the full report at the source.

Digital music finally outsells physical media, books look on in alarm originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 05 Jan 2012 18:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, January 5th, 2012 news No Comments

Digital music finally outsells physical media, books look on in alarm

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/05/digital-music-finally-outsells-physical-media/

Nielsen

That sharp sucking of air you heard at the end of 2010, well, that was the record industry wincing as sales of CDs continued to tumble while digital media sales remained flat. The relieved exhale that you just heard echoing through the atmosphere? That was the collective sigh of executives who just picked up the latest Nielsen report indicating that digital music sales are on the rise again and, for the first time ever, have finally surpassed physical media. Sales as a whole were up, but while CDs were down 5.7 percent, digital track sales were up 8.4 percent and digital albums a stunning 19.5 percent (perhaps most interestingly, though, vinyl was up over 36 percent). CDs still outsell virtual albums by a factor of two, but it’s clear the trend toward binary media is back on track. It may be a narrow victory but, with 50.3 percent of the market, audio files are new king of the hill. Check out the full report at the source.

Digital music finally outsells physical media, books look on in alarm originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 05 Jan 2012 18:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, January 5th, 2012 news No Comments

Here’s The Information Facebook Gathers On You As You Browse The Web

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-tracking-2011-11


mark zuckerberg f8

Facebook stirred up privacy concerns when it came out that its “Like” and “Share” buttons appearing all over the web actually report your visits back to Facebook servers.

Now Facebook engineering director Arturo Bejar has shared what personal information the company retains with its tracking cookies, as reported by USA Today.

When you’re logged in, Facebook will keep a timestamped list of the URLs you visit and pair it with your name, list of friends, Facebook preferences, email address, IP address, screen resolution, operating system, and browser.

When you’re logged out, it captures everything except your name, list of friends, and Facebook preferences. Instead, it uses a unique alphanumeric identifier to track you.

Keep in mind that Facebook isn’t tracking your entire browsing history, just your visits to sites with “Like” and “Share” buttons.

Bejar told USA Today that Facebook technically could link your name to your logged-out browsing data, but he “makes it a point not to do this.”

Why does Facebook gather all this info and what do they do with it? By keeping so many details, it makes it easier to identify fake accounts and scammers. By keeping track of what users “Like” around the web, Facebook can show people ads that will be the most interesting to them and generate more revenue.

Despite Facebook having the best intentions — wanting to maintain a high quality user experience and generate ad revenue — you can see why privacy experts are concerned.

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Friday, November 18th, 2011 news No Comments

An Evolutionary Step In iPad Gaming [Ipadapps]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5582559/osmos-for-ipad-ambient-gaming-tailor+made-for-the-tablet

Osmos for iPad: An Evolutionary Step In iPad GamingWhen the iPad was unveiled and I started to imagine the types of games a 9″ touch screen might engender, I envisioned gorgeous, intuitive and, above all, immersive experiences. Osmos for iPad is one of the best I’ve found yet.

The game, which is adapted from a well-regarded PC version and costs $5 in the App Store, puts you in control of a tiny blue organism, a mote, which you direct around the screen, growing in size as you absorb the smaller blobs around you. Of course, all sorts of challenges, including bigger motes trying to absorb you, complicate that mission.

But what’s really special about Osmos is the experience of controlling that game play. Tapping behind your mote scoots him around the screen, predictably, but at any time you can pinch to zoom in or out, allowing you to navigate a tight passage or survey the level at a distance. Additionally, you can swipe with one finger to alter time—drag left and all the motes slow to a crawl, drag right and they shoot around like bouncy balls. Different speeds and levels of zoom have situations in which they’re uniquely useful, and these elegant controls are the perfect complement to the game’s polished visuals.

Osmos teaches you these gestures in early levels, but after that there’s little instruction. You’re given a basic goal and left to your own devices to go about achieving it. Depending on your style, the game play can be rambunctious or meditative, and often it’s both in the course of one level.

There’s not a huge variation in the game play, admittedly, and it’s so engrossing that I imagine most players will zip through the Odyssey track pretty quickly (there’s an arcade mode that lets you play levels one at a time, too). But in some ways this simplicity is the game’s biggest asset, because it allows for a remarkable cohesiveness between all of its elements, from game play and visual style down to the soundtrack and menus. It’s not only a “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” type thing; here, the whole is so dazzlingly packaged that you don’t really think of the “parts” as parts at all.

For me, Osmos on the iPad is an experience first and a game second, and it uses the iPad to achieve game play that would be impossible—or, at least, not nearly as compelling—on any other platform. At its best, the iPad isn’t just an app machine or a gaming device but a portal into some other environment all together, and I hope that developers will follow Osmos’ lead and strive not just to adapt familiar gaming experiences to the tablet but to create new ones for it entirely. [iTunes]

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Friday, July 9th, 2010 news No Comments

How Major Labels Cook the Books with Digital Downloads [Digital Downloads]

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/jl5xTTh-ZxM/my-6247-royalty-statement-how-major-labels-cook-the-books-with-digital-downloads

Tim Quirk was the singer of punk-pop outfit Too Much Joy, signed by Warner Bros. in 1990. Now he’s an executive at an online music service, giving him insight on digital sales data and just how labels fudge their numbers.

I got something in the mail last week I’d been wanting for years: a Too Much Joy royalty statement from Warner Brothers that finally included our digital earnings. Though our catalog has been out of print physically since the late-1990s, the three albums we released on Giant/WB have been available digitally for about five years. Yet the royalty statements I received every six months kept insisting we had zero income, and our unrecouped balance ($395,277.18!)* stubbornly remained the same.

Now, I don’t ever expect that unrecouped balance to turn into a positive number, but since the band had been seeing thousands of dollars in digital royalties each year from IODA for the four indie albums we control ourselves, I figured five years’ worth of digital income from our far more popular major label albums would at least make a small dent in the figure. Our IODA royalties during that time had totaled about $12,000 – not a princely sum, but enough to suggest that the total haul over the same period from our major label material should be at least that much, if not two to five times more. Even with the band receiving only a percentage of the major label take, getting our unrecouped balance below $375,000 seemed reasonable, and knocking it closer to -$350,000 wasn’t out of the question.

So I was naively excited when I opened the envelope. And my answer was right there on the first page. In five years, our three albums earned us a grand total of… $62.47.

What the fuck?

I mean, w! e all kn ow that major labels are supposed to be venal masters of hiding money from artists, but they’re also supposed to be good at it, right? This figure wasn’t insulting because it was so small, it was insulting because it was so stupid.

Why It Was So Stupid

Here’s the thing: I work at Rhapsody. I know what we pay Warner Bros. for every stream and download, and I can look up exactly how many plays and downloads we’ve paid them for each TMJ tune that Warner controls. Moreover, Warner Bros. knows this, as my gig at Rhapsody is the only reason I was able to get them to add my digital royalties to my statement in the first place. For years I’d been pestering the label, but I hadn’t gotten anywhere till I was on a panel with a reasonably big wig in Warner Music Group’s business affairs team about a year ago

The panel took place at a legal conference, and focused on digital music and the crisis facing the record industry**. As you do at these things, the other panelists and I gathered for breakfast a couple hours before our session began, to discuss what topics we should address. Peter Jenner, who manages Billy Bragg and has been a needed gadfly for many years at events like these, wanted to discuss the little-understood fact that digital music services frequently pay labels advances in the tens of millions of dollars for access to their catalogs, and it’s unclear how (or if) that money is ever shared with artists.

I agreed that was a big issue, but said I had more immediate and mundane concerns, such as the fact that Warner wouldn’t even report my band’s iTunes sales to me.

The business affairs guy (who I am calling “the business affairs guy” rather than naming because he did me a favor by finally getting the digital royalties added to my statement, and I am grateful for that and don’t want this to sound like I’m attacking him personally, even though it’s abo! ut to se em like I am) said that it was complicated connecting Warner’s digital royalty payments to their existing accounting mechanisms, and that since my band was unrecouped they had “to take care of R.E.M. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers first.”

That kind of pissed me off. On the one hand, yeah, my band’s unrecouped and is unlikely ever to reach the point where Warner actually has to cut us a royalty check. On the other hand, though, they are contractually obligated to report what revenue they receive in our name, and, having helped build a database that tracks how much Rhapsody owes whom for what music gets played, I’m well aware of what is and isn’t complicated about doing so. It’s not something you have to build over and over again for each artist. It’s something you build once. It takes a while, and it can be expensive, and sometimes you make honest mistakes, but it’s not rocket science. Hell, it’s not even algebra! It’s just simple math.

I knew that each online service was reporting every download, and every play, for every track, to thousands of labels (more labels, I’m guessing, than Warner has artists to report to). And I also knew that IODA was able to tell me exactly how much money my band earned the previous month from Amazon ($11.05), Verizon (74 cents), Nokia (11 cents), MySpace (4 sad cents) and many more. I didn’t understand why Warner wasn’t reporting similar information back to my band – and if they weren’t doing it for Too Much Joy, I assumed they weren’t doing it for other artists.

To his credit, the business affairs guy told me he understood my point, and promised he’d pursue the matter internally on my behalf – which he did. It just took 13 months to get the results, which were (predictably, perhaps) ridiculous.

The sad thing is I don’t even think Warner is deliberately trying to screw TMJ and the hundreds of other also-rans and almost-weres they’ve signed over the years. The reality is more boring, but also more depressing. Like I said, they don’t actually ow! e us any money. But that’s what’s so weird about this, to me: they have the ability to tell the truth, and doing so won’t cost them anything.

They just can’t be bothered. They don’t care, because they don’t have to.

“$10,000 Is Nothing”

An interlude, here. Back in 1992, when TMJ was still a going concern and even the label thought maybe we’d join the hallowed company of recouped bands one day, Warner made a $10,000 accounting error on our statement (in their favor, naturally). When I caught this mistake, and brought it to the attention of someone with the power to correct it, he wasn’t just befuddled by my anger – he laughed at it. “$10,000 is nothing!” he chuckled.

If you’re like most people – especially people in unrecouped bands – “nothing” is not a word you ever use in conjunction with a figure like “$10,000,” but he seemed oblivious to that. “It’s a rounding error. It happens all the time. Why are you so worked up?”

These days I work for a reasonably large corporation myself, and, sadly, I understand exactly what the guy meant. When your revenues (and your expenses) are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, $10,000 mistakes are common, if undesirable.

I still think he was a jackass, though, and that sentence continues to haunt me. Because $10,000 might have been nothing to him, but it was clearly something to me. And his inability to take it seriously – to put himself in my place, just for the length of our phone call – suggested that people who care about $10,000 mistakes, and the principles of things, like, say, honoring contracts even when you don’t have to, are the real idiots.

As you may have divined by this point, I am conflicted about whether I am actually being a petty jerk by pursuing this, or whether labels just thrive on making fools like me feel like petty jerks. People in the record industry are very good at making bands believe they deserve the hundreds of thousands (or sometimes millions) of dollars labels advance th! e musici ans when they’re first signed, and even better at convincing those same musicians it’s the bands’ fault when those advances aren’t recouped (the last thing $10,000-Is-Nothing-Man yelled at me before he hung up was, “Too Much Joy never earned us shit!”*** as though that fact somehow negated their obligation to account honestly).

I don’t want to live in $10,000-Is-Nothing-Man’s world. But I do. We all do. We have no choice.

The Boring Reality

Back to my ridiculous Warner Bros. statement. As I flipped through its ten pages (seriously, it took ten pages to detail the $62.47 of income), I realized that Warner wasn’t being evil, just careless and unconcerned – an impression I confirmed a few days later when I spoke to a guy in their Royalties and Licensing department I am going to call Danny.****

I asked Danny why there were no royalties at all listed from iTunes, and he said, “Huh. There are no domestic downloads on here at all. Only streams. And it has international downloads, but no international streams. I have no idea why.” I asked Danny why the statement only seemed to list tracks from two of the three albums Warner had released – an entire album was missing. He said they could only report back what the digital services had provided to them, and the services must not have reported any activity for those other songs. When I suggested that seemed unlikely – that having every track from two albums listed by over a dozen different services, but zero tracks from a third album listed by any seemed more like an error on Warner’s side, he said he’d look into it. As I asked more questions (Why do we get paid 50% of the income from all the tracks on one album, but only 35.7143% of the income from all the tracks on another? Why did 29 plays of a track on the late, lamented MusicMatch earn a total of 63 cents when 1,016 plays of the exact same track on MySpace earned only 23 cents?) he eventually got to the heart of the matter: “We don’t normally do this for unrecouped bands,” he ! said. “B ut, I was told you’d asked.”

It’s possible I’m projecting my own insecurities onto calm, patient Danny, but I’m pretty sure the subtext of that comment was the same thing I’d heard from $10,000-Is-Nothing-Man: all these figures were pointless, and I was kind of being a jerk by wasting their time asking about them. After all, they have the Red Hot Chili Peppers to deal with, and the label actually owes those guys money.

Danny may even be right. But there’s another possibility – one I don’t necessarily subscribe to, but one that could be avoided entirely by humoring pests like me. There’s a theory that labels and publishers deliberately avoid creating the transparent accounting systems today’s technology enables. Because accurately accounting to my silly little band would mean accurately accounting to the less silly bands that are recouped, and paying them more money as a result.

If that’s true (and I emphasize the if, because it’s equally possible that people everywhere, including major label accounting departments, are just dumb and lazy)*****, then there’s more than my pride and principles on the line when I ask Danny in Royalties and Licensing to answer my many questions. I don’t feel a burning need to make the Red Hot Chili Peppers any more money, but I wouldn’t mind doing my small part to get us all out of the sad world $10,000-Is-Nothing-Man inhabits.

So I will keep asking, even though I sometimes feel like a petty jerk for doing so.


* A word here about that unrecouped balance, for those uninitiated in the complex mechanics of major label accounting. While our royalty statement shows Too Much Joy in the red with Warner Bros. (now by only $395,214.71 after that $62.47 digital windfall), this doesn’t mean Warner “lost” nearly $400,000 on the band. That’s how much they spent on us, and we don’t see any royalty checks until it’s paid back, but it doesn’t get paid back out of the full price of every album sold. It gets paid back out of the band’s share of every albu! m sold, which is roughly 10% of the retail price. So, using round numbers to make the math as easy as possible to understand, let’s say Warner Bros. spent something like $450,000 total on TMJ. If Warner sold 15,000 copies of each of the three TMJ records they released at a wholesale price of $10 each, they would have earned back the $450,000. But if those records were retailing for $15, TMJ would have only paid back $67,500, and our statement would show an unrecouped balance of $382,500.

I do not share this information out of a Steve Albini-esque desire to rail against the major label system (he already wrote the definitive rant, which you can find here if you want even more figures, and enjoy having those figures bracketed with cursing and insults). I’m simply explaining why I’m not embarrassed that I “owe” Warner Bros. almost $400,000. They didn’t make a lot of money off of Too Much Joy. But they didn’t lose any, either. So whenever you hear some label flak claiming 98% of the bands they sign lose money for the company, substitute the phrase “just don’t earn enough” for the word “lose.”

** The whole conference took place at a semi-swank hotel on the island of St. Thomas, which is a funny place to gather to talk about how to save the music business, but that would be a whole different diatribe.

*** This same dynamic works in reverse – I interviewed the Butthole Surfers for Raygun magazine back in the 1990s, and Gibby Haynes described the odd feeling of visiting Capitol records’ offices and hearing, “a bunch of people go, ‘Hey, man, be cool to these guys, they’re a recouped band.’ I heard that a bunch of times.”

**** Again, I am avoiding using his real name because he returned my call promptly, and patiently answered my many questions, which is behavior I want to encourage, so I have no desire to lambaste him publicly.

***** Of course, these two possibilities are not mutually exclusive – it is also possible that labels are ! evil and avaricious AND dumb and lazy, at the same time.

Reprinted with permission from Too Much Joy.


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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 digital No Comments

lift in search due to paid TV advertising

List of 2009 Superbowl spots on AdAge.com

http://adage.com/superbowl09/article?article_id=134136

Lift in search is a great indicator of interest. Modern consumers may be inspired by TV ads, but they usually go online to do more research for themselves, to inform their own purchase decision. The following examples show the lift in search after Superbowl commercials or for launch of products like Subway Footlongs. The use of unique, made-up words makes it easier to detect lift in search (see related post: made up words are great for tracking buzz and search volume ). There is now a correlation between offline paid advertising and online behaviors of modern consumers that can be tracked and ultimately related to sales.

What is harder to do is track lift in search from smaller TV media buys or from terms which are generic — e.g. American Express OPEN, Proctor & Gamble’s TAG (men’s deoorant), etc. And furthermore, people may or may not remember the brand name itself and may type in a more general search query — e.g. “talking baby” instead of” e-Trade” or “dancing lizards” instead of “SoBe LifeWater.” And most people usually forget to type in special URLs specified in the ads. So the opportunity is to 1) use made-up words which can be used to detect lift in search and 2) search-optimize around other more generic terms that people may search for if they remembered the ad, but did not remember the brand name itself.

key learnings include:

1. only the superbowl TV ads generates enough awareness to drive lift in search volume detectable above the noise or normal levels

2. made up words are useful in correlating paid advertising and subsequent online actions (e.g. search) because most users forget or are too lazy to type special URLs

3. is is always better to have real analytics from the site to see when paid campaigns hit; site analytics will also reveal more information about users including demographic information, what they are looking for, and even whether they “convert” to a sale or a desired action — like print off a coupon, etc.

Notice the January spikes for several of the examples below — these are their Superbowl ads in action. But also notice how sharp the spikes are — most of them go back to prior levels within 1 – 3 days (see related post: the ephemerality of the Superbowl halo )

Source: Google Insights for Search

footlongs

jackinthebox

dennys

ecoimagination

godaddy1

lifewater

drinkability

etrade

cash4gold

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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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