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Why .anything is a bad idea
June 30, 2008, 2:49 am
Filed under: Brand protection, Domain names, ICANN, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

The news last week from Paris that ICANN is about to blow open the entire domain name industry got me thinking, mainly along the lines of why on earth this would be a good idea, given that history is littered with examples that suggest it is not.

So why would opening-up the domain name market even more be a good idea? ICANN started going through a similar motion back in 2001, when it feared that the .com ‘real estate’ was quickly going to run out. After the launch of .info (which has been reasonably successful) ICANN decided it was a good idea to launch industry-specific domain suffixes. In principal you might think this makes sense, but in practice, suffixes like .museum and .travel proved to be massive flops with both consumers and brands.

When it comes to surfing the web, there is a huge disconnect between what ICANN wants and what the public’s collective consciousness is willing and able to accept. For consumers, the standard expectation remains .com, and no matter how liberalised the market becomes, brands will never stick two fingers up to .com domain and only secure their .brandname address instead. We’re too far gone for that to ever work out.

Industry-specific domains have struggled for that reason.

Country code domains such as .uk, .de, .fr etc have enjoyed success simply because they assure the person looking for a website that the information they will find will be relevant to their local market and in a language they can understand. They provide a genuinely useful filter. A .anything policy would provide a completely useless filter.

As for the threat the new plans will pose to brands -and a lot has been made of it in the press this past week – but in fact at $100,000 to set up your own domain, the price tag will remain largely prohibitive for any large-scale cybersquatting, domaining or speculator activity. Besides, and perhaps more worryingly for ICANN, brands have already shown some resistance to the never ending process of defensive registrations in response to yet-another-new-suffix-launch. You just need to see how much lower take-up of .asia was compared to .eu just a few years before, that it seems domain suffix fatigue may be setting in.

Complicating the system even further under the guise of liberalisation suggests whatever ICANN is trying to achieve, it is not going about it in the right way.



The Telegraph and its widgets

The Daily Telegraph is making strides in implementing its online strategy after the latest ABCe figures revealed that the Mail Online had overtaken it to become the UK’s most popular national newspaper site in May, with 18.7 million unique users.

Crucially, the Telegraph isn’t just thinking that having a Facebook and Twitter presence is the key to a great digital strategy, like so many of its rivals. What the Telegraph has realised is that just as social media allows individuals to consume media in a more fragmented and personalised way, so they can actually benefit from that, by allowing individuals to follow personalised sections of Telegraph content. The dream for content owners trying to fight against falling traditional media circulations, is being able to segment and offer their content online to their audience in a completely personalised way. It’s quite an involved process to achieve that when you consider how broad a national newspaper’s coverage is, and how many segments that could be, but the Telegraph has taken a big first step on that road, and with these widgets is making an important stride into the mobile space too.

What is worth noting about the Telegraph’s approach is that six of its eight new widgets are all designed to drive traffic and engagement with Telegraph TV – the online video that’s become so important to all the major newspapers. Beyond that, there’s a breaking news widget and a toe in the water with a slightly more ‘niche’ European Championships Football widget. Apparently there are plans to launch further specific sports and business widgets shortly.

Above all this shows the Telegraph’s open approach to digital and clear understanding that it’s not just about pushing people through the Telegraph.co.uk front page, or amassing a number of fans on a Facebook page or twitter feed, but giving people direct access to the content they are really interested in, in the way they want it. We’ll just have to see in the next two or three months how big an impact that will have on the ABCe figures…



Diffusion is hiring!
May 8, 2008, 8:43 am
Filed under: Diffusion, PR, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Can’t get no satisfaction? Following a string of recent client wins the Diffusion team is growing! We are looking for talented and ambitious individuals to help drive and implement next-generation communication campaigns built around our media relations, Social Media and Search marketing core. Please see our current vacancies below. We’re always on the look out for the best talent across the industry so if you’d like an informal chat about how we could help grow your career, drop me an email.

I thought PR was about more than just endless cold-calling? We’ll we think you’re 100 per cent right. At Diffusion we’re looking for a candidate who wants to build their career within a 21st Century PR and Communications agency. As an ambitious graduate with a strong academic record, you will have over a year’s PR experience under your belt either in-house or in agency. You’ll also be an enthusiastic ‘digital native’, with familiarity with all things Social Media second nature.

Working across our Digital practice you will have an insatiable hunger to get real results through both media and Social Media relations. You will have equal enthusiasm for both consumer and business campaigns, for household names and new start-ups, relishing the challenges they each present.

At Diffusion through our commitment to training we will future proof your career. You will be equipped with both the traditional and online skills needed to deliver communication campaigns that really connect, both today and tomorrow. As a crucial part of a new agency you will have a unique opportunity to rapidly grow your career in a dynamic, entrepreneurial environment and carve out your own niche. Or you could carry on updating that call-round report.

To apply and for further information, please send your CV to ivan.ristic@diffusionpr.com. For more information on our Talent Management approach and benefits packages click here.

Closing date: 5 JUNE 2008: No recruitment agencies please.

 

You really need a fresh challenge. With over three years as a PR professional you have an address book bulging with media contacts across the digital media, marketing, technology and national press. You have a real interest in how brands are using the web to engage with customers and a real desire to represent the companies who are pushing the boundaries of marketing services innovation. As an account manager you have demonstrated you can build relationships with senior decision makers based on trust, honesty and confident and considered client counsel.

Now you’re asking yourself – what next? As a Campaign Manager at Diffusion we promise you three things: innovation, responsibility and real job satisfaction. By working with leading players in our Marketing Services practice, you will be given the opportunity to help shape and deliver innovative campaigns. These will use your skills and love of media relations enhanced through the latest techniques in Social Media and Search.

You will be given the responsibility to manage and grow your own team and portfolio of clients through extensive involvement in new business development. You’ll not only get job satisfaction from doing brilliant work with great colleagues for fantastic clients, though we think that always helps. Through our commitment to Talent Management we offer fast-track career development to the brightest and you’ll be rewarded with a progressive salary and benefits package. Is this the challenge you’re looking for?

To apply and for further information, please send your CV to ivan.ristic@diffusionpr.com. For more information on our Talent Management approach and benefits packages click here.

Closing date: 5 JUNE 2008: No recruitment agencies please.



Are newspapers really on the brink of extinction?

That’s what an interesting article in the latest edition of The Economist claims, specifically looking at the US newspaper market. The piece uses the faltering fortunes of the New York Times as a case in point, citing slipping circulation figures and advertising revenues being down 12.5 per cent on the same time last year. Now the two are, to a large extent linked. What is to blame, I hear you ask? well nothing other than The Big Bad Internet offering free, 24/7 news coverage and taking with it a share of the classified advertising newspapers relied on for so many decades.

But that’s the bad half of the story, the good half of the story is the vast oppotunity the The Big Bad Internet is offering media companies. People’s habits have changed, and the 24/7 news market moved away from newspapers a long time ago to TV and cable news networks. It’s just gone online too in the past five years. So what’s the big problem? Well there isn’t one if you accept how media consumption has changed and adapt. London’s Daily Telegraph has done so and seen it’s web site traffic surge.

Newspapers will never die – there will always be a huge market of individuals who like the experience of leafing through a newspaper, and getting stuck into more detailed news analysis and features. Those same people will likely be getting their breaking news fix online. I can say that with confidence because I am one of those people.

The key for newspapers is to understand that dynamic and look at what kind of publication you are, want to remain and adapt to reach your audience through the channel they want to receive you through. IDG is one media house that’s done that successfully and is doing very well out of it. Now it’s time that others follow suit, rather than moan about how traditional media consumption no longer exists.

Change, is after all, a good thing. Isn’t it?



Does Google have the key to monetising online video?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt came out earlier this week saying that he hasn’t yet figured out the perfect solution for making money from online video. His comments come after Google’s earnings report revealed that the $1.65bn acquisition of YouTube is yet to reap the kind of financial rewards that were hoped for.

But across the board, advertising in online video is something that still hasn’t been addressed properly, and the PCTV market is going through an interesting phase. Lack of content has already forced the once heralded Joost to retreat to the US and niche content areas. Hulu is doing well with content, but finding many of the same issues with advertising as the rest of the market. Meanwhile others such as Vuze are hoping that a technology advantage in delivering high-def content will help them gain cut-through.  

But while different online video providers are fighting to carve out their own niche, none has yet addressed the major issue for driving advertising revenue – and that is finding a genuine format and solution that works for advertisers – and educating them about it.

Schmidt was typically cryptic about what answers Google has planned saying only that top secret new products would be launched this year and that the advertising format – whatever it is – will be valuable to consumers as well as advertisers themselves. He insisted they will go far beyond the in-line text ads, overlays and top and tail ads that are already common with online video.

 Until then, plenty of others are just playing catch-up and trying to squeeze more value out of a model that is far from perfect. Warner Bros has just announced that it will offer its DVD film titles online, on-demand on the same day they release the DVDs, which is progress, but a long time coming… Will Google come to the rescue?