Category: Digital media

Another new content paradigm: the meta-site

Burt's Bees Content Ad
Burt’s Bees Content Ad

You could think of as one giant, in-house version of Outbrain. The newly launched site pulls the top content from a network of owned and partner sites, then mixes in native ad content. Other sites in the network act as farm teams for TotallyHer, which is what gets promoted by site owner Evolve Media. Hmmmm.

TotallyHer Launches as Native-Only Site for Brands.

Will the Role of Chief Marketing Officer Disappear?

As global mobile traffic approaches half of all website visits, every company wants to be “digital first.” And, as @RandSchulman says in this article, because so much of a B2C company’s interaction happens online, digital marketing has become the central force in many companies.

Should companies rethink the role of the CMO in the organization — or maybe do away with it in favor of some new job like chief digital officer?

Hear from Schulman, as well as PwC and Camford Management Associates in Is the CMO Dead?


Can You Quote Donald Duck?

I’m honored that a rather elderly article I wrote for on synthetic humans is referenced in a book review in the Yale Journal of Law and Humanities. The article was written in the early days of computer animation, when “virtual humans” — computer-generated characters that could interact to external stimuli — were just beginning to be possible.

Image Is Everything is one of the first stories I wrote for was about the possible that virtual versions of famous people could be used commercially without their approval — a notion that seems quaint in this era of cyberstalking and digital personae.

Here’s the official citation:

Johnson, Peter (2001) “Can You Quote Donald Duck?: Intellectual Property in Cyberculture,” Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities: Vol. 13: Iss. 2, Article 4.
Available at:

See also an early story for ClickZ, Putting Virtual Humans to Work, and

Will We Really See the Demise of Cookies?

Internet cookies are the Mark Twain of marketing: We’ve been hearing they’re dead — or should be abolished — since the commercial web began. At AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O conference in San Francisco last week, one speaker warned that marketers need to find a solution by June, thanks to browser makers making do-not-track the default setting. We’ll see.

Read it: Should Marketers Fear the Cookie Apocalypse?

PHOTO: Plutor

Brands Move to Newsroom Model

This strategy is not limited to these two companies; I’ve gotten a lot of pitches in the last two weeks about corporations paying for original content to be published onmore traditional journalistic websites. And there’s a new breed of web publishers taking advantage of this.

Before you start moaning about the ethics, my journo friends, companies now seem to realize that they need well-written content that isn’t just advertorial. And hey, someone has to be willing to pay us to write.

Brands Move to Newsroom Model

How to Cover an IPO

I’m rather proud of this story, even though it’s pretty “inside baseball.” While the advertising technology sector may be opaque to most people, it’s huge and it matters. Please note the story elements I brought in:

  • Analysis of the company’s growth and revenue vs P&L, debunking the “the company isn’t making money” approach some journalists took
  • A Forrester analyst’s sector comparison
  • A customer’s viewpoint on what direction the company might take
  • Discussion of why the company filed now
  • A look at what it might spend some extra money on

Will Marin’s IPO Let It Buy an Ad Server?

ESPN Creates 100% Viewable Ad Inventory

x games screen shot
copyright ESPN

Digital advertisers and publishers seek a better method of counting whether an ad has been delivered. Impressions served is the standard metric, and it’s based on whether the web server delivers an ad as part of a page request.

Unfortunately, with today’s highly cluttered web pages that render slowly, this metric doesn’t tell the advertiser much, as I wrote in a story about comScore’s validated Campaign Essentials (vCE), used by USA Today.

ESPN did something smart when it redesigned the site for its X Games: It used a mobile-style swipe navigation that it says creates 100 percent-viewable impressions. Read about it in my ClickZ article about the mobile-forward X Games site.


Renault’s App Store Could Create a Sixth Ad Medium

Good timing on this article, in light of the buzz Ford got this week for announcement of its open developer program.

I spoke with Patrick Hoffstetter about Renault’s plans. Hoffstetter leads Renault’s Digital Laboratory. Because I also cover digital advertising, I was especially intrigued by his mention of the prospects for creating what will be another screen to which ads can be served.

Okay, I know. No more ads. But still. Think about it. Just like search ads are so effective because you actually are looking for something and they help you find it, ads and promotions delivered to your car could help you identify local businesses or give you a reason to choose one merchant over another. Yeah, the Starbucks mobile coupon thing. Okay, I know.

Read the Q&A, it’s interesting!