Monthly Archives: June 2007

Risky viral – Halo 3 campaign

Believe it or not, this is a screenshot from an integral part of the £multi-million launch campaign for Halo 3 on Xbox360: a viral marketing campaign.
There are even street teams in New York posing as UFO fanatics handing out ‘We are not alone’ leaflets, according to gamesindustry.biz.
My opinion? The Blair Witch viral campaign was unique because everyone believed the film was a low budget documentary gone wrong. Can the same techniques be used for big $bucks$ video games campaigns?
Read more about the viral campaign on gamesindustry.biz. Or take a look at the campaign website itself.

Dennis to revamp UK websites after sell off of US arm?

Dennis Publishing is thought to have sold its international interests in magazines and websites Maxim , Stuff and Blender to equity fund Quadrangle Group according to paidContent.org.

Does the retention of the UK versions of Maxim and Stuff mean we can expect revamped UK sites soon? Ones which perhaps borrow elements of Dennis’ online only monekymag.co.uk publication?

Vertical communities to challenge YouTube and MySpace.com

It’s like a throwback to the year 1999! The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has claimed that vertical sites will displace the likes of YouTube and MySpace.

I personally think that publishers of hobby and interest magazines will ultimately fare better against the big guys, but hats off to the ATP’s balls (sorry).

Read how ATP’s new community platform by 10Duke is destined to whup ass.

Online ads signal change in Future

Magazine publisher Future has seen online ad revenues increase by 66 per cent during the six months to March 31st this year.

Reporting pre-tax profits of £8.6 million, compared with a loss of £1.6m last year, the publisher said that online ads now accounted for 13 per cent of ad revenues overall.

The increase in profits, which is thought to have been the result of senior appointments and higher investment in its online division, was delivered in spite of first half revenues slipping from £107m last to £96.3m.

The alliterative Stevie Spring, chief executive of Future told MediaGuardian that no-one should “write off magazines,” despite the growth of online revenues.

“There are some things that you want to read on the bog, in the bath, in bed … and there are some things where you just want a quick fact or just want a review or want to add your view to an online forum,” she said.

UPDATE: Seb Bishop, president of pay for search network Mviva (previously espotting.com) is joining Future as independent non-executive director.

Roger Parry, Future’s chairman said Seb’s, “creative background, internet business experience and Anglo-American focus are a perfect fit for our new strategy.”

Seb is also chairman of Steak Media Limited, a UK search engine marketing agency and sits on the board of Adjug Limited, an online advertising exchange.

Yahoo launches new celeb portal – OMG! Paris Hilton already on home page…

Yahoo! US has launched a celeb portal called OMG!, a partnership with US TV gossip show ‘Access Hollywood’.

OMG!’s launch is in line with the portal’s strategy to develop content microsites which revolve around key hobbies and interests, attracting users and in turn, advertisers.

I doubt we’ll be seeing contextual search ads for Paris Hilton videos, but it sounds like a great opportunity. Check out the Lipton drink ad.

Still no news on why Yahoo! 360 has been taken off the portal’s home page. Is the portal winding it down to make way for the buy up of an existing social network – e.g. Facebook?

Read more about OMG!

Yahoo introduces content rich ‘passion centres’

A while back Yahoo announced plans to develop new content channels (also known as ‘passion centres’) in collaboration with expert content partners. It believed that developing interest led microsites would pull in and keep more users on the Yahoo network.

I’ve just seen its Sport microsite by Eurosport and I’m impressed – especially the design and inoffensive layout.

It’s interesting to see Yahoo going back to its roots of being a destination site full of rich content. Okay, it eventually took an axe to its content production teams, but this new strategy appears to have worked well (pending traffic figures).

Yahoo US has already launched a Nintendo Wii themed microsite. Despite looking like it’s been designed by the team behind Wrigley’s Extra, it’s the first time I’ve seen a Yahoo service pull in content from its very own flickr.
MTV revealed in November 2006 that it too was looking to explore vertical interest sites.

So long Yahoo 360?

Links to Yahoo 360 have been taken off the portal’s front page, adding fuel to the fire on Yahoo’s alleged interest in social networks like Facebook and Bebo.

Yahoo 360, the portal’s own brand social network, similar to the likes of MSN Spaces and MySpace, could be described as social software’s best kept secret in that very few industry players – including staff at MySpace – don’t know it exists.

Just how it’s faring with users themselves is unknown, but Yahoo 360 didn’t appear in Hitwise’s recent research piece on social sites, while MSN Spaces did.

The service, which has the potential to be as successful as MSN Spaces, appears to have little in the way of promotional links on the main Yahoo portal, despite a fair amount of activity around the time of its launch in 2005. Since then, it has been relegated from a prime slot on the home page to a second level ‘All Yahoo! Services’ panel.

Is the move an admission that Yahoo 360 isn’t quite working? I’ve so far dismissed the recent rumours of it’s interest in the likes of Bebo et al – but is it paving the way for a revised product or strategy?

Will Yahoo 360 still be around in a few months time? As someone who’s had Yahoo as their homepage for over 10 years, I do hope so.

User generated content drives offline retailer sales

I’m not normally one for posting washing powder like testimonials (‘I used this word in my SEO campaign and my traffic increased ten fold!!!’), but…this is a nice case study on how UGC can work nicely offline.

Ever been to Borders book shops and read the hand written reviews of books written by shop staff? Now take this nice touch and open it up to your entire customer base online.

Read the full article by Marketing Sherpa.