News round-up: 28th April 2010
- Apr 28, 2010
This week’s movers and shakers in the digital industry: Google censorship data | YouTube rentals | Oxford 5th fastest broadband in the world | Ciao Media | Memset | Brightcove | Tug | InvisViewMedia | Artemis8 | Tradedoubler | TigerSpike | White Hat Media | Sponge | Adobe Scene 7 | Youth Media | rubicon project |Maxymiser | Aedgency | Think Apartments | Hotels.com | Supadu | Chameloen Net | Tagman | Invisihand | Autonomy | eKomi | CarRentals | MayFlex | Stripeylines | Bristol Media | SLI | Savoo | Magnetise
Google releases list of government censorship requests
Internet search giant Google has revealed that Brazil's government has made the most requests for information or censorship. However figures for China, which censors great swathes of online information, have not been revealed. The search giant has launched an online tool breaking down the figures which it hopes will be "just the first step toward increased transparency" Google could not include requests made by Beijing because the information is regarded as a state secret. Instead, Brazil tops the list, with 3,663 data requests between 1 July and 31 December 2009. The US made 3,580 and the UK came third with 1,166.
Brazil was also made the highest number of requests to Google to remove content with 291 calls between July and December 2009. In second place was Germany with 188, India with 142 and the US with 123 requests. If China were included it would almost certainly be in the top spot.
"The vast majority of these requests are valid and the information needed is for legitimate criminal investigations or for the removal of child pornography, " David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, wrote on the company's blog.
"We believe that greater transparency will lead to less censorship. Government censorship of the web is growing rapidly: from the outright blocking and filtering of sites, to court orders limiting access to information and legislation forcing companies to self-censor content."
YouTube debuts online rental store in US
YouTube's movie rental store has opened in the US following a trial in January, as it looks top rival the likes of iTunes and Amazon. Despite a trial of rentable Sundance film festival titles bringing in an estimated $11,000, the rental store is now available in the States, offering films like Reservoir Dogs and Bass Ackwards for rental. The site is charging up to $4 for newer films, with rental periods ranging from 24 hours to 72.
Oxford has fifth fastest broadband in world
Oxford is among the top five cities in the world in terms of average broadband speeds, according to a study. Oxford has the fifth-fastest average broadband speeds in the world according to the quarterly State of the Internet report from broadband monitoring firm Akamai. It is one of only four English cities to make the top 100, along with Southampton, Bristol and Cambridge who sit in 57th, 58th and 73rd respectively.
The study recorded average connection speeds of 14,463kbps in Oxford, 8,371kbps in Southampton, 8,292kbps in Bristol and 7,840kbps in Cambridge. The only world cities ahead of Oxford were Berkeley and Stanford in California, Chapel Hill in North Carolina and Masan in South Korea. However, the UK didn't even make the overall top 10 countries list. Earlier this year the Government pledged to secure a minimum of 2Mbps for every home and business in the UK by 2012 as part of the Universal Service Commitment strategy.
Ciao Media helps bloggers earn contextual ad cash
London-based media applications company, Ciao Media, have developed a new solution for those wanting to monetise their online creations. The contextual system, developed especially for online advertisers and publishers, automatically reads the pages of websites and inserts clickable ads between the paragraphs of content – linking them to relevant commercial information.
It’s free to use, paying the site owner each time someone clicks one of the Ciao Media adverts. It’s also simple to install, simply requiring insertion of a small HTML code into the existing website code.
Memset Acquires URL Shortening Service, Is.gd
UK cloud provider, Memset has today announced the acquisition of URL shortening service, Is.gd. The purchase comes days after both Amazon and Twitter announced they are rolling out their own URL shortening services putting the longevity of small players in jeopardy. But Memset has secured the future of Is.gd and plans to maintain it as a non-advertising-supported, free Internet service indefinitely, giving users assurance that their Is.gd URLs will be around forever.
Although deemed as a small player, Is.gd has been growing rapidly, with 25,555,164 links being shortened in March 2010 compared to 1,120,416 in March 2009 Details of new improvements will be launched over the next few months.
Brightcove supports Facebook Open Graph initiative
Facebook rolled out the Open Graph and its new set of Social Plugins at the f8 conference which enables Facebook users to communicate, connect and share via Facebook on any website that integrates the new Open Graph Social Plugins.
Video firm Brightcove is announcing its support for Facebook Open Graph and releasing new Facebook social plugins for Brightcove's online video player framework. The first two to be rolled out today include the new "Like" button and "Recommendations." Both provide a real-time flow of Facebook-powered information about video content that can be shared on news and entertainment websites.
Jeff Whatcott, Brightcove’s SVP Marketing outlines what this means in a blog post:
Arthritis Research UK appoints Tug for online campaign
Arthritis Research UK, the charity leading the fight against arthritis, has appointed search marketing agency Tug to deliver an online advertising campaign for its latest campaign Starting with Arthritis.
Starting with Arthritis was launched in April to help raise awareness and provide support for families with children suffering from juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). JIA affects 15,000 children and teenagers in the UK.
Tug has been appointed to help raise awareness of JIA through a strategic PPC campaign designed to increase online donations and direct people's searches for information and help on arthritis and JIA to the Arthritis Research UK main site and the Starting with Arthritis micro-site. As part of the campaign Tug will also help raise awareness of Major Phil Packer's London Marathon Challenge. Major Packer, who sustained severe spinal cord injuries whilst serving in Iraq, will walk the Virgin London Marathon in 26 hours, helping to raise money for 26 charities, with Arthritis Research UK as one of the chosen charities.www.tugsearch.co.uk
Recruitment firm pilots tool to help candidates stand out from the crowd
InvisiViewMedia, a new web service that allows the sender to be in control of the information they send, is being trialled by Recruitment Express in Woking, Surrey. The recruitment agency is trialling the service to ensure that the CVs and personal information it sends on behalf of its candidates arrives securely to the desired recipient, avoiding risk of interception. Using the service from InvisiViewMedia will also enable the recruitment firm to stand above its competitors as the first to use the system.
Each invite code costs £2.50 plus VAT with no minimum spend. To begin using Invisiview Media to send confidential CVs, visit www.invisiviewmedia.com
lastminute.com appoints Artemis8 as Search Agency
lastminute.com has appointed Artemis8 as its search agency for its lastminute.com Ireland and Travelocity brands, as well as its sole PPC partner for lastminute.com in the UK.
Travelocity is the leading provider of consumer-direct travel services, offering a large number of sites in 12 languages, for leisure and business travellers. Artemis8 has been tasked with further increasing the coverage, awareness and sales generation through the search-marketing channel. Furthermore, Travelocity markets and distributes travel-related products and services directly to individuals through Travelocity and its various brand websites and contact centres. For business travellers, Travelocity BusinessSM provides the integrated online corporate travel technology and full-service offering of their GetThere® product, along with the online expertise of Travelocity.
Expedia Renews TradeDoubler Affiliate contract
TradeDoubler as signed a two year contract renewal with Expedia Inc., the market leader in online travel services. The contract provides Expedia with TradeDoubler’s affiliate marketing services across all public and private publisher segments using TD Affiliate, as well as tracking performance of other partner activity using TD Integral. The contract covers the Expedia brand across 12 European markets and the Hotels.com brand across a further 16 European markets. The renewal follows 60% growth in Expedia’s business transactions as a result of Expedia’s initial two year contract with TradeDoubler in 2008.
Tigerspike debuts Battersea Dog and Cats Home iPhone app
TigerSpike has launched the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home iPhone application. The app went live on the 20th of April. The Battersea iPhone app is free to download from the App Store Jon Bodenham of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home said: “We are delighted to be the first animal charity in the UK to release an iPhone app. iPhones are such iconic devices that allow people to keep in touch with content on the go. Now, supporters of the Home and iPhone owners can get the latest news from Battersea at the touch of a finger. These are very exciting times for the Home.”
Kids TV show Chuck the Eco Duck picks White Hat Media for web promo
‘Chuck the Eco Duck,’ a new animated series aimed at pre-school children, is launching an online campaign to promote its TV debut later this year. Search and social media specialist White Hat Media has been appointed to create a website that will be the hub of all promotional activity surrounding the first thirteen-part series, as well as an entertainment and educational resource for children, parents and teachers. Chuck the Eco Duck’s website will host specific areas for education, games and the pre-school age group.
Zavvi attracts 10,000 new customers with mobile marketing campaign
Zavvi.com has attracted over 10,000 new customers with a re-launch mobile marketing campaign. The campaign, created and run by mobile marketing agency Sponge, encouraged people to text in and enter a draw to win £1,000. All entrants received a unique code sent to their handsets to obtain a £1 discount on any order placed on the Zavvi.com website. Posters throughout the tube network in London promoted the competition.
Over a one month period in December 2009, 24,000 discount codes were issued with over 19,000 redeemed; generating over £150,000 of revenue and adding more than 10,000 new customers to Zavvi.com’s database. Zavvi, which folded on the high street last year, re-launched online in November under new owners The Hut Group. The company appointed Sponge to increase consumer interaction with the Zavvi.com brand as well as drive people to the website. Sponge, which specialises in mobile marketing campaigns, high-end mobile websites and apps, also worked closely with Zavvi.com to use social media and deal forums to publicise the offer.
JD Sports re-appoints Adobe Scene7 as rich media platform helps push online sales
JD Sports has re-appointed Adobe Scene7 following the rich media platform’s role in increasing online sales. The sportswear retailer’s website has seen sales grow since implementing both Scene7 and Adobe-owned Omniture in 2008. jdsports.co.uk, which has several million monthly visitors is using Scene7’s Dynamic Imaging across all of its product categories to allow users to see fine detail; enabling them to make more informed purchase decisions. It’s also helping the retailer to reduce return rates.
Youth Media lets digital advertisers target students
Youth Media, a youth media network, has launched a new, ground-breaking range of opportunities for marketers aiming to reach students, with the introduction of branded app facilities on its unique YouthWire Desktop Platform. The new facilities will allow advertisers to increase brand engagement with the student market, drive traffic to their websites and stimulate increased sales.
The Desktop Platform has previously been purely a channel for ad campaigns and interactive panels but now it will provide a new range of digital tools, such as widgets for marketing campaigns. The Platform is currently installed on more than 24,000 PCs in 34 universities with a reach of more than 650,000 individuals and 26,000 PCs in 98 colleges, with a reach of more than700,000. Individual students average six sessions a month, with an average dwell time of 86 minutes.
Rubicon project debuts new REVV platform for advertisers
the Rubicon Project has launched REVV for demand (RFD), a technology platform that enables demand partners who participate in the REVV Marketplace to execute entirely automated inventory and audience buys while gaining actionable insight into publisher transparency rules and ad quality restrictions. REVV for demand builds upon the company’s Permission Control 2.0 technology, which allows publishers to set pricing and transparency controls; before these rules were set it was not possible to automate the buying and selling of inventory safely.
REVV for demand, in conjunction with Permission Control 2.0, is designed to solve the issues that stemmed from the lack of clarity around transactional rules in the digital advertising ecosystem – including channel conflict, data leakage, transparency and ad quality. REVV for demand provides partners (such as ad networks, exchanges, rep firms, other publishers, agency exchanges, DSPs) access to more premium inventory, much of it exclusively available through this platform, than available through any other source.
Lastminute picks Maxymiser for conversion boost
lastminute has announced a strategic partnership with conversion management expert, Maxymiser, to boost online sales and provide customers with a more personalised shopping experience. Following a three-way competitive pitch, lastminute.com selected Maxymiser’s conversion management suite, including content optimisation, personalisation and consultancy services, in order to generate significant additional reach and revenue for the business. Maxymiser will also play a central role in helping lastminute.com to review, refine and enhance its ongoing conversion management strategy.
Initially, Maxymiser will be running A/B and multivariate tests (MVT) across the landing pages of the lastminute.com website, trialling different web page layouts, sequences and content on each page. These tests will help to improve the number of customers navigating further into the site and create a more engaging online experience for customers at every stage.
Aedgency promotes Sylvie Stankovic to head up new advertising division
European performance-based marketing specialist Aedgency has created a new business unit to meet the increasingly sophisticated demands of online advertisers with digital advertising specialist Sylvie Stankovic at its head. Sylvie Stankovic heads up the division in the newly created role of Advertising Director. The new business unit was developed to ensure the monetisation of all ad inventory through the close cooperation of each of Aedgency’s specific advertising departments. All customer facing department heads report to Sylvie and she is tasked with working with them to build out Aedgency’s business in existing and new markets and to maintain the smooth running of all teams.
Think Apartments Reaches First £1 Million in Online Bookings within 10 Months
WiseTiger today announced that short-term apartment letting specialists, Think Apartments, has seen massive growth in its online sales using a newly developed website and integrated booking system; realising £1 million in just 10 months from online direct bookings. Think Apartments originally approached online and offline communications agency, WiseTiger with a brief for a new website, Google AdWord management, email marketing tools and integration with their online booking engine.
Hotels.com appoints new Head of Technology
Hotels.com, the world's leading hotel booking website, has today announced the appointment of Dr. Michael Remedios as its new Head of Technology. In his new role Remedios will undertake total responsibility for the Hotels.com technology platform and will lead the company's technology team to integrate, build, release and maintain the Hotels.com site(s) worldwide. His role will also see him building the Hotels.com technology team in London, firming the development processes, leading innovation to improve site quality and working to increasing customer satisfaction on the site.
World Archipelago launches Supadu digital marketing toolkit at London Book Fair
World Archipelago the award-winning creative technology agency, announced today the official launch at this year’s London Book Fair of Supadü, the digital marketing toolkit designed for publishers. The toolkit enables publishing houses to quickly and easily build marketing microsites without any technical expertise. Supadü, first developed with Simon & Schuster in the U.S., is made up of 23 customisable applications that enable the creative and marketing departments of publishing houses to create fully interactive and visually rich web pages without any dependency on 3rd parties.
Web pages are easily customised through a drag and drop approach that allows users to put applications together in different combinations to produce a very large variety of layouts that have SEO-friendly coding, integration with standard metrics packages and access level control to ensure proper work flow procedures.
Simon & Schuster uses Supadü™ to build websites for authors, books and promotions that also include applications such as polls, slideshows, video timelines, and incorporates content from Twitter and YouTube.
Chameleon Net puts book lovers at the heart of Picador’s new site
Picador, imprint of one of the UK’s largest publishers, Pan Macmillan, unveils its new website today. Designed and developed by digital agency, Chameleon Net, the new look picador.com replaces the imprint’s previous website and CMS, with the aims of better engaging its audience and enhancing the popular Picador brand. Beating seven other agencies to the contract, Chameleon Net has created a uniquely designed site that acts as an inclusive hub for a community of book lovers to interact with each other and the authors of their favourite books and poems.
Integrated with Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr and Facebook, this user-centric site enables both consumers and the trade to join the discussion and keep up to date on the latest news, in whatever way they choose. Updates on events, reviews, webcasts, blogs, polls and comments are displayed on the site’s “wall”, with a commenting system allowing registered users, authors and staff to post their views on content relating to authors and featured titles. A ‘suggest a link’ function, dedicated book page, and an emphasis on Picador poetry all help to further extend and rejuvenate the site’s existing community.
Subaru appoints TagMan to deliver online campaign tracking
Subaru of America Inc is working with tag management system TagMan to manage and track the online marketing and advertising campaigns running across its main website (www.subaru.com). The company has appointed TagMan as its global 'container tag'. This will enable its media agency, Carmichael Lynch, to track tags from display, paid and natural search and email campaigns. The system will also allow them to monitor search keywords as well as the entire path to conversion that any user takes to buying from its main site.
TagMan is also being used to track Subaru's official dealer network of 550 websites across the US. The tag management system will allow them to control campaign tags across the sites using various regional groupings of campaigns at any given time. Subaru will now be able to add, edit and remove tracking tags more efficiently and manage future spend much more effectively. Simplified
tagging will reduce the company's IT costs and improve ROI.
InvisibleHand to work with beauty retailer Direct Cosmetics
Online shopping tool InvisibleHand has added Direct Cosmetics to the list of retailers that it works with. The move takes the number of UK retail brands it covers to 45, giving online shoppers even more choice and opportunity to save money.
InvisibleHand automatically finds consumers the cheapest prices when shopping online. It has already identified over £9 million in savings since its launch in August 2009 and has recently rolled out onto Internet Explorer taking it into the consumer mainstream. Direct Cosmetics was established in 1977 to supply branded beauty products at discount prices. Its partnership with InvisibleHand will help it to showcase products and extend its market share by introducing its website to new customers using the price comparison tool.
BA picks Autonomy for conversion drive
British Airways is using Autonomy Optimost’s Marketing Optimization Platform to boost customer engagement and significantly drive up conversion rates on its website, www.britishairways.com. Autonomy Optimost was selected after a competitive procurement owing to its technological superiority, unique managed service, comprehensive marketing optimization offering and excellent track record of generating unmatched results for its clients. In order to ensure that its website continues to work to its full potential and to monetize on the visitors attracted to it, British Airways was looking for a simple and easy-to-use managed service solution, which requires minimal reliance on IT support, can automate complex tests of millions of variables and perform advanced intelligent analytics for maximum results.
eKomi Launches Product Review Software for Online Retailers
eKomi, a provider of independent customer service and satisfaction feedback software, has today announced its individual product review technology as an add-on to its existing eKomi solution for customer feedback for online retailers. The eKomi Product Review Saas Social Commerce Technology solution comes with a web based interface that is simple to install, fully automated and completely anonymous. With this new solution, award-winning eKomi will help retailers and consumers gain more trust, satisfaction, value and revenue from their online shopping experience.
The eKomi solution works by automatically sending an email to customers an agreed number of days after the shipment of their purchased goods. The email contains a link inviting the customer to review their purchases and provide any feedback on their shopping experience including any individual comments.
Carrentals.co.uk launches ‘Raising the Standard’ campaign
Price comparator Carrentals.co.uk has launched a new campaign – ‘Raising the Standard’ – to help consumers identify the best available and highest quality services for their travel requirements. Raising the Standard has been created to campaign for fairer and more honest services in the travel industry, with Carrentals.co.uk looking to help consumers avoid paying over the odds and to prevent travellers being faced with unnecessary additional charges or restrictions.
The new Raising the Standard campaign, which can be found at http://forum.carrentals.co.uk, consists of a forum, blog and selection of downloadable advice papers, all of which are aimed at helping the public overcome any travel problems they may be worried about, with these new resources designed to help make sure consumers are equipped with a depth of knowledge on the different options available to them when travelling – topics covered include everything from car hire to flights, accommodation to holiday health, and travel insurance to holiday extras. The forum provides travellers with a place to raise issues or problems they have faced in any part of their holiday and Carrentals.co.uk will be inviting a number of travel industry experts to offer their comments to the forum to help answer customer queries and respond to any complaints that may be raised.
Mayflex Launch World Cup Fantasy Football Game
Mayflex, the cabling infrastructure, networking and physical security solutions distributor, is once again running a fantasy football game to commemorate the forthcoming World Cup that will take place in South Africa in June 2010. Mayflex is inviting customers and suppliers to sign up to the game which allows them to pick their own 'dream team' made up of any of the players taking part in the World Cup. Points are awarded based on the actual results of the matches and the league table is updated after every match played.
The Mayflex World Cup Fantasy Football game is free to take part and participants have the chance to win a star prize of a 40" Samsung LED Wide Screen TV, a World Cup Football shirt of their choice and a selection of World Cup books. There will also be smaller prizes of World Cup football shirts on offer and for those participants that sign up by 21st May, the chance to win one of five 'early bird' prizes comprising a blow up chair, football shirt, leather football and crate of beer - to be delivered just in time for the World Cup starting on 11th June. The sponsors include: APC, Aruba, Belden, CommScope, Cooper B-Line, CPI, Excel, Extreme Networks, Fluke, LevelOne, Overland, RiT and Samsung.
StripeyLines launches shopping comparison iPhone app
Portaltech, a UK eCommerce systems integrator and consultancy, today announced that it has enhanced its StripeyLines iPhone app with the official release of StripeyLines V1.0. Originally launched at the end of 2009 in beta, StripeyLines is fast becoming the essential shopping companion for bargain and info hungry shoppers who want to ensure they are getting the best deal for a product, wherever that deal is, online or on the high street.
StripeyLines allows shoppers to instantly scan the barcode of goods in-store to compare pricing, or to check product and customer reviews. Shoppers can also use the app to create wishlists of products they want to buy at a later date, or share their new finds on Facebook and Twitter with friends and family. Shoppers can even use StripeyLines to instantly link a scanned CD to iTunes and listen to that CD whilst in store. The customer then has the option to choose to buy in store, download straight to their iPhone from iTunes, or go to Amazon or Google to check pricing and customer ratings.
Mentors mean business for Bristol’s creative business community
A new website dedicated to helping creative businesses in the city grow has been launched today by Bristol Media, one of the biggest creative networks in the UK, which helps support, develop and grow the sector in the West of England.
Called Bristol Media Mentors, the new initiative has brought together a group of the city’s leading creative entrepreneurs and business people who work across the digital, design, animation, TV and film production and publishing sectors to offer virtual mentoring support to creative businesses in the South West region.
To access the free service, members simply log on and post a sector specific or general business question. The question is then automatically sent to all mentors and the response then shared by being posted on the site, allowing any Bristol Media member to contribute and share their experiences too. A running archive of all the answers will also be available for members to refer to at any time, giving them access to a whole host of business support that they can refer to as and when they need it.
Which? updates site search with SLI
Visitors to the website of independent consumer champion Which? (www.which.co.uk) can now find the information they’re looking for more easily with the implementation of ‘Learning Search’ from on-demand site search specialist SLI Systems. The improved search experience for visitors has already received positive early feedback from its customers and comes as part of a complete overhaul to the site, during which the existing search function came under scrutiny.
SLI's technology is designed to enhance the end-user experience by continually learning from visitors to the site, which delivers increasingly relevant site search results over time. This means that users can find what they are looking for more quickly.
Simon Bird appointed UK Director of Retail Partnerships for Savoo.co.uk
Savoo.co.uk, a voucher code site has appointed Simon Bird as the second UK-based person to join its team as UK Director of Retail Partnerships. Bird’s appointment is testament to Savoo’s heavy investment in working towards its goal of becoming number one in the UK voucher space, replicating the success of savings.com, its US parent company.
Birds’ role will be to work closely with UK retailers and networks to maximise the value received through affiliate channels. In his role he will initiate and build mutually beneficial partnerships advising on strategy and helping merchants to achieve their goals in the online retail and voucher space, securing deals such as Argos vouchers.
Magnetise Partners with Brightcove for VideoLead
The Magnetise Group, a marketing technology company that improves the reach, return and accountability of digital engagement, today announced it has partnered with Brightcove, the leading online video platform. This partnership will support and enhance the upcoming launch of VideoLead, Magnetise’s unique online video advertising and engagement platform, whilst enabling joint Magnetise and Brightcove customers to take immediate advantage of the fully integrated, turn-key solution.