Posts By: Imre de Daranyi

Move over Facebook, here comes Geekbook!

Actually, it’s called Quora – and
it’ll give you direct access to the next Steve Jobs and Bill

Got a question about your brave new
e-start-up? Post it on Quora and Silicon
Valley’s great and glorious will fall over themselves to give you
the answer. In fact, that’s what makes it so special – the calibre of people
involved. It’s built by two ex-Facebook engineers and populated by the Valley’s
hottest talent.

Read more on Move over Facebook, here comes Geekbook!…

Wow! New Aviva TV ad tackles the unmentionable.

Seen the new Aviva Life Insurance TV
ad? The umpteenth outing for Paul Whitehouse? Wow! After a succession of
cringe-worthy ‘comedic’ turns, they’ve pulled it out the bag. Whitehouse’s
character is his most restrained so far – an everyman father talking about his
family’s financial security; while they’re packing to go on holiday. He spends a
moment detailing the various costs they face, but at the end of the ad it’s
revealed that he’s no longer alive – just keeping a watchful eye over his loved
ones. It left me with chill because it was so unexpected. There I was, getting
ready to sneer again, when I’m hit by a bucket load of pathos. It left me a
little shaken. It’s been a while since an ad has done that. Does this mark a sea
change in life insurance advertising? Have we finally moved away from ‘imagine
if the unthinkable happened to you’? Is the great British public finally ready
for the D word? I know it’s not the first time the subject has been tackled, but
apparently this one stems directly from research. Folk said that an emotional
kick up the proverbials would be the only thing to prompt them to buy life

Read more on Wow! New Aviva TV ad tackles the unmentionable….

Facebook is dead

It passed
away at about 6:34pm, Wednesday afternoon. That’s when I went FB cold turkey –
around about a month ago.

I don’t
want to make a big thing about it (and I doubt anyone even noticed). I have no
great antipathy towards Mr Zuckerberg either. It’s just that it was a dirty
little habit that had to go.

Read more on Facebook is dead…

Are you Facebook’s ‘Billy No Mates?’

Who are your
friends on Facebook? Probably a weird old mish-mash of Aunt Renee, Bob from accounts
and that woman you met on a drunken bus ride back from Fife.
In fact, you’re probably so popular that you’ve got upwards of a
hundred mates.

Read more on Are you Facebook’s ‘Billy No Mates?’…

“Mobile advertising really sucks!”

So proclaimed Apple CEO Steve Jobs last week. It’s obviously a sideswipe at his old chums Google, but also heralds the launch of ‘iAd’ – his next ‘revolution in waiting’. What is iAd? In essence, it’s a brand new mobile advertising system – the point of difference being that, if someone clicks on an ad within a free iPhone app, they’ll no longer get transported off somewhere else. Instead, the ads simply stay within the app. Financially speaking, developers get to keep 60% of the ad revenues and Apple gets the other 40.

The real opportunity for us advertising folk is in the richness of the potential content. Jobs talks of highly interactive video content – all within the app itself. In fact, his ultimate objective is not just to deliver interaction, but emotion too. Bring it on I say! Also, in terms of reach, we can’t ignore the marketdomination of the iPhone
at the moment. There are millions upon millions and, if the iPad catches on, there’ll be even more opportunities.

Done right, the possibilities are endless. Mobile advertising will finally come of age and realise its potential. However, just like any other medium, a campaign’s success will depend on whether it genuinely engages with the recipient. I can already see the future – media-rich but dull-as-ditch-water ads by financial titans… living forever in my iPhone. In the wrong hands, interactivity and video can simply serve to prolong one’s agony and become an excuse for being uncreative! Mr Jobs has thrown down the gauntlet, let’s use it wisely.

Read more on “Mobile advertising really sucks!”…

Farce-book? Is Google Buzz set to become new social networking king?

Today the ‘Buzz’ is all Google as their brand new social status feature makes its debut. It’s automatically integrated into the already highly successful Gmail – so you don’t even have to set it up; you’re already following the people you email and chat with. If your web mail is elsewhere it’s slightly trickier. However, they do offer the option to assimilate Twitter – probably with a view to eventually squishing it! Okay, here’s the geeky bit… you can even access it on your mobile and see what people are ‘Buzzing’ about nearby and call-up Google Maps to see geo-tagged Buzz posts.So, is it really the future of social networking? Well, on functionality alone it has a big thumbs up. It’s about more than just status updates – you can include full- sized photos and watch videos ‘in update’. But do you really want this level of integration in your life? You can restrict who sees what, but there’s always the danger that you’re going to say something that someone else doesn’t want to hear. Also, friends could get jealous because they can see who you email and chat with most. Of course, if you’re happy mixing business with pleasure then this isn’t a problem. The big challenge is getting people to actually switch. There seems to be a growing disaffection with Facebook over privacy issues, so maybe now is the perfect time for Buzz to move in for the kill.

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Who’s killing Wikipedia?

It’s the perfect, self-generating business model. An
online encyclopedia that continues to grow as people update it. But it
isn’t. Well, at least not recently. According to recent reports,
Wikipedia has lost 49,000 of its volunteer editors and there may be serious
problems ahead. Actually, it’s probably all down to that word
‘voluntary’. People were queuing around the virtual block when
Wikipedia launched – all keen to pen the definitive descriptions of their
favourite tree frog or swamp rock band! However, in recessionary times, it may
be that people are less willing to give up their ‘intellectual’ time for free. Perhaps
Wikipedia has reached ‘critical mass’ too? Even if you are inclined
to make an entry, it can seem insignificant and dwarfed by the many thousands of others. So
what’s the way ahead? Especially when we already have access to
real-time information on virtually anything via Google, Bing etc? Is the
utopian dream of ‘an encyclopedia for the people, by the people’
really over? Or has it just fallen foul of the web’s notoriously short
attention span?

Read more on Who’s killing Wikipedia?…

Woolworths, Dixons – can big brands really live on in ‘Internet heaven’?

Should dying brands simply be left to expire in peace? Is it prolonging the agony to keep them on ‘life support’ in some vapid online guise? Obviously Dixons has pulled off a comeback with their controversial John Lewis baiting camaign and Woollies have got a new one in the offing. But can the brand still have the same significance in people’s lives – without a high street presence and a living, breathing sales force? Or is it just a rather sad exercise in ‘retro’. Surely it’s all too easy to buy up the name of a once great brand, stick it at the top of an Amazon imitator and expect the masses to come flocking? There’s probably a short-term novelty value of a famous face coming back from the dead, but is it sustainable into the future? My guess is that there’s going to have to be some serious brand re-engineering if its going to mean anything to anyone.

Read more on Woolworths, Dixons – can big brands really live on in ‘Internet heaven’?…

What’s your poison?

For malicious virus writers it’s virtually anything that’s
breaking news. Most recently it’s been Google search results for the hype-rumoured
death of rapper Kanye West and the managerial status of Harry Redknapp at Spurs, but in
the past we’ve seen everyone from Michael Jackson to Barack Obama succumb to
their wicked ways. Of course, their real tour-de-force was purporting to offer
anti-virus software which was actually a virus in itself!

Read more on What’s your poison?…

It’s a boy. We’re getting divorced. She’s dead.

What exactly is/isn’t acceptable fodder for announcing via social media? A pregnancy – complete with scans on Facebook? A compressed critique of landlord failings via Twitter? A video diary of your kidney stone op via YouTube?

Your viewpoint, like most questions of broadcasting ‘good taste’, will probably be influenced by your age and moral standing. However, the truth is that the question of acceptable ‘netiquette’ changes by the day. We’re all getting used to the brash immediacy that new technology brings. It’ll also differ according to the social media you use and how you use it. For instance, do you really count a loose amalgam of Facebook buddies as ‘friends’ or are they just acquaintances? Like real life, it’s more to do with what’s acceptable within your particular group than the medium itself. What if that group is made up of your mum, your manager and your childhood sweetheart though? Even worse, what’s the netiquette for announcing news second-hand? Could you be sued for disseminating the ‘secret’ forthcoming divorce of a close friend? It’s a minefield and one that the law will find hard to keep pace with.

Read more on It’s a boy. We’re getting divorced. She’s dead….