Monthly Archives: May 2009

Transparency, choice and education is the way forward for online privacy

A parliamentary body of MPs and Peers – the All Party Parliamentary Group on Communications – is to conduct an inquiry into internet traffic, including behavioural advertising and online privacy. The Group asks whether the Government should intervene over behavioural advertising or whether it should leave it to users, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and websites. The Group also asks whether there is a need for any new initiative to deal with online privacy. The Group has sought ‘written evidence’ from interested parties and will be meeting with key stakeholders in mid-June.

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The power of mobile

At the IAB we’re always talking about mobile’s ability to influence – ournewly launched Mobile Handbook is a good example of this.

A recent example shows just how powerful the medium can be…

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Bing it or bin it?

Back in the day we marvelled at ‘search’. It was like questioning the all-seeing internet oracle and being granted a whole world of knowledge. How we laughed when it threw up weird fuzzy-logic responses. Remember the rumour that the world would end if you typed ‘google’ into Google!?Not any more. Now you want the one result you’re looking for, and you want it now!Enter Bing – the new search, or should I say ‘decision’, engine from Microsoft. Its aim? To shift work from consumers to search engines – actually answering more queries on the search engine page itself, without having to click through to the result. You enter ‘weather’, it’ll give you an instant forecast based on your IP address/location. You enter ‘flights’, it’ll tell you whether the fares are likely to go up by tomorrow morning.Is it really so new though? Google already offers much of this functionality. Also, I think it might get on my nerves after a while. Like some over keen minion that jumps to conclusions before I’ve even finished a sentence. If the inference is wrong, I’ll have to start all over again anyway.Ho hum. They are throwing a multi-million dollar campaign at it though. Will it be enough to make people switch from Google though? We’ll have to wait and see.

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AOL and Time Warner in the divorce of the decade

Forget Madonna and Ritchie, Jen and Brad or even Macca and Mucca, today’s news that AOL is to finally split from Time Warner is the divorce of the decade.

Some nine years and three months after their very public, ostentatious wedding, the veteran film and publishing giant Time Warner is walking away from its younger partner, AOL, due to what can only be described as “mutual disappointment”.

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Bing-bong – anyone home?!

Microsoft has unveiled its new
search product, Bing, and no doubt search marketers and commentators around the world are creating as
many puns as possible. The name Bing may seem a little unusual, but choosing this name certainly
creates attention and hype.

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The demise of the music press

While music magazines have been struggling for a long time, the news last week that independent titles Plan B and The Knowledge were closing still came as a blow to the industry.

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Editor’s blog: Recession puts wind in bean sales

There’s a silver lining in the cloud of every recession, and today I read that the downturn has led to a 21.6% increase in baked beans. Celebrations all round at HJ Heinz, not to mention Crosse & Blackwell (depending who won this particular bean war). Beans really are a recessionary barometer, as cheap comfort eating comes back into vogue. If you pour them, steaming, on a slice of toasted, buttered Hovis, you can get right nostalgic.

As usual, however, this isn’t entirely good news. As we all know, the haricot bean once consumed has its complex carbohydrates broken down in the gut, and one of the by-products is methane. And a colleague tells me that methane is several times more potent as an agent of climate change than carbon dioxide. You just can’t find an unalloyed positive story anywhere at the moment, can you?

But this socio-economic/political funk we’re in does lead to acts of total idiocy. The news reaches me today that such is his level of disgust with the UK political system that David Van Day, one time member of Dollar, mobile burger salesman and pantomime villain from ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’, is planning to stand for Parliament. Given a toss-up between him and the poisonous nastiness of The Telegraph’s Simon Heffer (also mulling an election bid), I wouldn’t know where to place my cross. Even dear old Terry Waite, who spent years chained to a Beirut radiator, is threatening to come out of retirement and stand for the House on the Squeaky Clean ticket.

Whichever way you look at it, there will be no shortage of waste gas being emitted over the coming months.

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The demise of the US press

There’s been plenty of debate recently about the demise of the regional newspaper in the US. The Observer’s Paul Harris wrote on the subject at the weekend, arguing that Philadelphia is likely to be the first US city to lose all of its daily papers.

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Why 27,586 people probably love Marks and Spencer a little bit more.

For a while now I’ve been trying to avoid Twitter like the plague. Not because it offends me in any way but purely just to make a point, to myself, that I’m not the kind of person to be dragged along by the bandwagon, mile after mile, knees furiously grazing, clothes ripping on the gravelly floor and the air filled with my cries of ‘but it’s cooooooool! Everyone is dooooing iiiiiiiiiit!’

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Creative account handling

I don’t think creativity belongs only in the so-called creative dept. In fact, that’s often the least creative place.

As Edward de Bono said, “There are lots of people calling themselves creative who are actually mere stylists.” Creativity isn’t a particular discipline. It’s the quality of originality and unexpectedness that you bring to whatever you do.

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