Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Why your mobile strategy is more important than ever

And while we're looking at some mobile stats... How about this one? 38% growth in sms messages in the UK last year. The number sent topped 40 billion.
Yes, that's right, 40 billion. Or an average of 138million a day - that's well over two texts per man, woman and child (no matter what their age) in the UK - every day. And each one involves money changing hands.
There are 50 million plus mobile phones in the UK.
That's about 3 times as many phones as there are PCs - and PCs are considerably less accessible and personal to the individual.

And you think your mobile strategy is how important?

So if you're ready for the migration of web content to mobile content... catch up on Tomi T Ahonen's latest thinking HERE

What's in your wallet? Part II

Tomi T Ahonen's post about the recent Tokyo 3G conference (on ForumOxford - see resources) reveals NTT DoCoMo has scored a rapid and growing success with its pay-by-mobile model - FeliCa.
In 18 months from launch they have reached 8 million users -16% of their subscribers.
Tomi says: "You see FeliCa users everywhere... as you move around town in the subway trains, at vending machines, etc."
Pay by mobile is no longer niche - it's the fastest growing payment method going. I haven't checked recently ((if anyone knows better, do share), but if I were paypal, I'd be hooking in a mobile payment method asap.
Just one more hurrah for the mobile as THE convergent device.
And if you want to sell your print product or digital download to young people - you could be making it easier right now if you let them pay with phone credit. It's a simple way of buying on credit too (the bill doesn't come until the end of the month, after all).
See also What's In Your Wallet - oh a sim card

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

BBC to launch social networks - and your career on TV?

Now this is potentially scary - though not entirely unexpected: BBC to invest in social networking sites (over on Communities Dominate Brands)
Alan Moore discusses the BBC plan to build UGC socially-networking sites around brands such as Top Gear (while also planning to sell TV Centre - an illustration of the rapid shift from central broadcast to independant content creators).
The big advantage the Beeb has in a pitch for your video UGC (even against YouTube) is it has a reputation for putting things on the tele. Yep, your video nasty could, just conceivably, be broadcast on 'proper TV'.
Now, I don't know whether or not that is the Beeb plan - but it would be a real short-term drawer. Despite the rush to co-created content, you'd be hard pushed to find someone who wouldn't prefer that their own UGC reaches a huge number of people in one hit - and the perception remains that that's on TV.
If the Beeb ran a CurrentTV-style show straight after CBeebies on BBC4... what a head start they'd have.
That head start would only be for the short term. But it would give them the time to cement their audience into a TV-on-demand future.
If TV on demand via your pc, TV, mobile device is the real future, the TV schedule and the power of traditional channels just dribbles away.
Looks like rivals have a year before the BBC version will kick in.

Monday, January 29, 2007

YouTube will pay for UGC - how will you respond?

I appreciate I'm a little late on commenting on this one (YouTube to pay video makers, BBC) but then again, it ain't as if YouTube didn't promise as much at the time the google deal was signed.
But it does raise some interesting questions and perhaps means the rules of the game have changed.
UGC has so far been created for the glory of it, the fame, the attention, the self-satisfaction - whatever. Now the biggest and most visual example of it (ok, Blogger could argue with biggest) is saying - make good content people like and you should be paid. Note this - not just rewarded - paid.
YouTube says it didn't want to start with this model because the kind of people who were attracted by paid UGC would simply move to a higher paying one when it cropped up. It said it wanted to build a community first.
I'm not sure YouTube has much in the way of deep community. It has a great tool and people share what they create with that great tool on and in other communities.
What they have is lots of visitors with money to spend.
I guess the laws of supply and demand will prevail. It's inevitable that users will be rewarded for how well their content turns into cash. And that's where the google adsense expertise will kick in.
I suspect the google payment mechanism won't be far removed from a google adsense model. So if you make videos which no one wants to see - no money. If you make videos about things no one wants to advertise against - no money. If you make ads which get people in a spending clicking mood - big money.
Since no porn is allowed in adsense we could see the end of the titilating tag words and a reduction in teenagers dancing in their underwear. Things could get spectacularly more creative.
But we could end up with a flood of substandard TV-style ads. It'll be an interesting time.

I've got away from my original point. The biggest issue for rival media companies is of course, not the impact of payment for UGC on YouTube - but what that means people will suddenly expect from your fledgling UGC plan.

You'll likely have less fame to offer - and less cash. What's the response?
You're better off if you are well niched, that's for sure. Big fish/little pond gives you a chance.

Any one got other solutions?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Google's grand plan to take over phone and TV too

Scott Monson (from Orb) shared the following link with me; a fascinating discussion of how google is buying up network fibre left right and centre and acquiring vast tracts of land - and what it's all pointing too.
The argument is that google's grand plan means their share price is undervalued - by about eight times... click here for the post on

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Journalism Leaders forum - join in Q&A with live webcast

Just a quick plug for an event Alan Moore at Communities Dominate Brands is involved with.
On Tuesday February 6, there will be a forum in Preston (University of Central Lancashire) to discuss leading journalism into a digital age.
Details of the event (it's free) and how to get there are all in Alan's post on CDB.
Sign in as a guest through the link that follows for the webcast: join the debate (putting in your own questions) here:

Friday, January 19, 2007

A digital idea is a digital idea. Mobile and internet are one and the same

In the media world, delivering brands through channels is so cool it's hot. But I'm not entirely sure this emphasis on channels is particularly helpful.
At least, it isn't while we continue to see mobile and internet as separate channels.
In a world of digital land-grab, a blind charge to deliver the idea is often happening without a thought for its appropriateness to 'the channel' you happen to focus your world around.
This is most glaringly obvious in the mobile domain. A mobile play should focus on Tomi T Ahonen's 5 Ms. In short, it should take advantage of what differentiates a mobile device from a standard pc.
This means that if you have a great idea for a new digital delivery of your brand you shouldn't stuff it on to mobile just because you can. If it suits a fixed line play best, then deliver it there. If it offers advantages to the mobile user, make them available to the mobile user, too.
Seems obvious.
But the confusion is endemic and I'd hazard a guess it is structural. If you persist in running units focusing on mobile and other units focusing on 'internet', it's bound to occur. Indeed internal competition may actively encourage this to happen.
I can't think of a single mobile play which wouldn't benefit from the option of access via a 'fixed line' website. I can't conceive of a website which wouldn't benefit from being optimised for your mobile, or which wouldn't accelerate its performance by allowing UGC (user generated content) and social networked interaction via mobile too.
3G Mobile internet screws up the dividing line. Wifi-enabled smart phones erase it entirely.
Fingers crossed for change.

Just a quick plug....

As the latest issue of the online magazine I'm involved with, Disposable Media, is now available for download. It's a special for the launch of the new Nintendo console, hence the change to Disposable Wiidia for one issue only...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Can IT geeks become revolutionary?

If you work in an office every day, using any kind of PC or Mac, you've probably got a working relationship with an IT dept. And some days they'll fix things, some days they'll stop you doing things, and some days you can imagine them just sat there reading your emails...

Well, there is a way that the IT dept could help change your company to actually encourage creativity, growth and more money...Want to know the secret? Let me explain...

A test of mass micro-media and going ultra niche

First, my apologies for not keeping up with the blog for a few days. It's been a very busy time and one reason (one of many!) for this is the launch of
I'd appreciate it if you took a look and shared your comments below.
Perhaps first I should explain the idea behind it. This is the first site of a series I will be able to churn out now that I've had the template developed. It's intended to test whether or not a mass media company such as the one I work for can deliver a community-driven mass micro-media play.
Each of these sites run entirely on user generated content (blogs) and are funded by google adsense.
The ads are targeting extremely effectively, which means they are not only simple and cheap to implement, they are also about as close as it gets to advert-as-content. The more relevant content that gets added the more effective (read, engaging) they will be.
The sites can be launched extremely quickly and cheaply which means we only need quite small audiences world-wide to succeed.
Because we have strong brands in the markets we're launching these into, we have ways in which we can seed these sites and drive traffic to them - critical because exponential growth of the kind illustrated in Reed's Law (see group forming network theory under resources, left navigation), can't start from zero!

Why don't I just use blogger (or similar) and buy a handful of urls? Because blogs are just blogs. These sites allow every member of their community to blog together, not simply comment on one person's blog. And we get full control over how they work.

Having said all that, my fingers remain tightly crossed.... particularly as I've just discovered some of the tabs don't appear if you view on IE7 - er so just the 25% of the traffic so far... and rising.

Lesson for everyone: Test your new launches on microsoft's latest. (cough, shuffle, shuffle...)
I promise we'll get that little bug fixed asap...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I-ronic? Cisco to sue Apple over I-phone

Just when I thought I was wrong, it turns out I might be right: About Apple not being able to call their new convergent mobile device an I-phone.
I knew I'd seen somewhere that someone else owned the name. And sure enough, now Cisco systems is suing Apple in a battle to protect the I-phone name It registered seven years ago!
For the full story try here
Isn't it the case that Apple have been liberal in their attempts to stop people using the 'Pod' term in products and services?
Live by the lawyer...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Apple I-phone follows the convergence pack

Well, finally, and as predicted only yesterday, the I-phone has arrived from Apple.
There were those who thought it couldn't be called the I-phone because someone else seemed to have registered that (count me among them!). We were wrong.
There were those who prediced apple would go for really simple (ie, just a phone and nowt to do with any i-pod killing mp3 functionality). er, no.
Tomi Ahonen on Communities Dominate Brands says: "Well it took long enough. Just a few minutes ago Apple's Steve Jobs announced at Appleworld that there will be a cellular phone from Apple, which combines iPod music functionality with other top-of-the-line smartphone features, a bright big screen for video and a 2 Megapixel camera. "
Read the rest of Tomi's post HERE
It seems even those with a vested interest in divergent devices are falling into line. Who wants to carry two devices?
So how long until we see the google phone?

Everything changes....

It seems that despite the current rush to jump online, U.S publisher Ziff Davis is listing game portals 1up and EGM among the three divisions for which it is actively inviting offers. While the sites are not critically acclaimed for their standards of journalism, they are popular, and it seems to suggest the firm might be moving away from publishing? More comments around the web, including GameSetWatch.

As noted in David's last post, blogging continues to do well on the internerd. It's probably a little early to dismiss predictions of a fall over the next 11 months, but I don't think any fall will be especially sharp or significant as yet. There's still expansion to come from integrating audio and video blogging, plus social profiles etc, all into one accessible place. And I'd like to see a breakdown of blogging's rises and falls among age groups. After all, there are plenty of middle-aged and old-aged computer users still discovering things like blogging and youtube.

Plus there are more and more outlets for 'Pro Bloggers' to actively seek a living from their writing. Certainly as incentive as a pension supplement?

Lastly, and bowing to internet schizophrenia and pro blogging etiquette, I'm trying to limit my split personalities. Therefore StressedBadger is no more, and Badger Gravling has taken his place. No less of a stupid pseudonym, but it's also my name on Xbox Live, countless gaming sites and forums, and dare I say, imbued with a certain Scandinavian air of efficiency which I'm going to need over the next few weeks. Especially if, as promised, broadband returns to my house at midnight tonight.

The march of the blogger continues

There were a few stories doing the rounds towards the end of last year that blogging was reaching its peak, that people were losing interest.
I guess some are and have.
But it seems like there are enough people coming up behind them to fill in the gaps - and then some.'s latest listing shows as the 15th biggest site in the world (that's up 3 on the ranking). In the UK it's number 12.
youtube is up 5 to number 5 (that's video blogging, innit?), myspace is static (ie not free-falling as everyone piles out to 'somewhere cooler...' as we hear predicted on a daily basis) at No6.
And Orkut (see my ones to watch) has leapt up 6 places and is now the 7th largest site in the world.
All these sites are essentially blogging sites.
Perhaps that peak is a little higher up than some people suspected...

Google watchers will note that while the main site is currently No3, google owned sites dominate the top 10 (google, youtube, orkut...)

Nokia announce skype phone, I-phone due this week, BT announce 12 'wireless cities' plan

It's all kicking off for mobile operators. Free calls on your mobile is right here and right now.
Over on Forum Oxford, Tomi Ahonen revealed that Skype and Nokia are collaborating to develop a new mobile Skype experience on the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, introduced on January 8.
This is different from Skype on your mobile via your 3G internet connection (though that's possible, too, just as it is on the N73 in 3's X-Series deal.) This is making use of the N800's effective wi-fi connectivity to give you really fast skyping - so video calls should be as easy as voice.
And that's inspired a flurry of speculation that the long-awaited I-Phone from Apple (though I don't expect it to be called that, someone else registered the name long ago...) will be announced this week too (the CES conference is on in Las Vegas this week where such things occur, I am reliably informed).
And, Stef Coetzee tells us, BT has announced its Fusion phone is now going on sale in Phones4U stores and that they are rolling out 12 'wireless' cities where by March next year there will be consistent wireless coverage in city centres. BT offers calls on this wireless network at the rate of four mins for the price of one of their ordinary ones. It's hoping the growth of wifi handsets will inspire lift off.
So not only do we now have free-at-the-point-of-use internet access on 3G (X-series on 3), we're going to get wi-fi coverage (at least in cities) which should offer really fast access in double quick time.
Surely it's now just a matter of time before an operator offers a fixed charge for it all - mobile web, calls, text, wi-fi.
It's one more reason why your mobile will become not only your primary communications device but also your primary point of access to the internet. And it's happening faster by the day.
Plan for this, design for it too.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Good example of 'cherry picking' technology

With so many social networks, new web apps, and everything but the kitchen sink going online, it's nice to see one business that appears, outwardly at least, to have made a considered decision about the next tool to add to their site.
The classic LinkedIn professional networking site has now added LinkedIn Answers to allow you to get your queries answered by your professional peers and colleagues, and to impress potential employers by answering their questions.
Read more on this at The Way of the Web.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Leave me alone, I'm reading my phone...

What is about the least likely thing you'd expect to be a hit on mobile?
Teeny weeny screens must mean no one would want to spend much time staring at them, mustn't they?
I mean, that's why there are still those who witter on about the disadvantages of the mobile screen when it comes to the internet, or watching TV, like it's going to prevent users from taking up the really small screen in mass numbers.
Except we've learned over time to regard what happens digitally (and particularly on mobile) in south-east Asia as a pretty accurate predictor of what is to come for the rest of the world.
And guess what's the latest hit on mobile in Japan: The mobile novel.
It's not great news for print publishers. One of the stock arguments for the sustainability of print is its portability. "You can't take your laptop into the loo" I've heard (except, of course, you could if you wanted... haven't these people heard of wifi?).
Imagine if you can take your entire library in - or call up something new on something more convenient - your mobile.
Oh, you can. And the Japanese are showing us, you will.

The implication is that people are willing to download relatively simple content just to read. So could a newspaper or magazine reinvent itself for mobile just as books are - and charge for the download just like people pay for a game to be downloaded?

There's more, now the novelists are writing the books on their mobiles. They find they type faster on their phone's keypad than on their laptop's keyboard.

Which reminds me of this post about mobile internet: "Someone asked me this morning how much hassle it was having to text-type in all your usernames and passwords etc. Made me wonder how many people 'typed' before they were forced to do so by the desirability of accessing content on the internet via a pc. People seem ever adaptable - provided the end result is what they want," from a previous post (here)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Post-Christmas posting

I decided not to make a lot of predictions for 2007... I have, however, finally tied myself to a new broadband ISP for the new year, meaning I can finally end the internet drought at home. For the record I've picked Zen Broadband, due to their near flawless reputation, and so far, it's been pretty impressive, with payment status, activation status etc all emailed to me within minutes and hours of signing up online...

In other news, Burger King has seen a huge success in the U.S. with a range of three Xbox 360 games, selling for $3.99. Microsoft has claimed sales of over 2 million copies (report here). Given the reports of middling sales for the 360, it's particularly impressive, and shows the value of targetting your consumers effectively. A marketing blogger from Second Life-based firm Crayon points out the difference in effectiveness this camapaign, and a previous effort to attract boy band fans... It's pretty obvious which group are more likely to consume the most burgers.

And lastly, I've now been asked to become Online Editor of free online publication Disposable Media. It's a PDF download, created a by a group of people who have only ever corresponded via a forum and MSN Messenger, and it's been listed in Web User magazine as one of the top 150 free downloads, so it must be doing something right. I'm going to be creating the new website for the title, so it'll be interesting to see if I can stick to my Web 2.0 principles....but in the meantime, there are five cracking issues avaivable, plus a Nintendo Wii special imminent, at

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?