Thursday, April 05, 2007

Study: Boomers do Research on Web, Reach'em via Integrated Plans

Study: Boomers do Research on Web, Reach'em via Integrated Plans


Among baby boomers and mid-lifers - those in their early 40s through mid 60s - 72 percent are broadband-connected, and 82 percent use the web, according to a recent study by ThirdAge Inc. and JWT BOOM (via the Center for Media Research).

However, unlike younger generations, those 40 and up are not watching videos, writing blogs, playing games or downloading music, notes the report. Rather, they are online primarily to research products, find info for themselves and their families, read news, and so on.

Research results point to the value of integrated media plans when marketing to boomers and mid-lifers, as 92 percent visit a website after they've read about it in a print article; also, 89 percent typically visit a website after seeing a print ad, and 83 percent visit a site after seeing a television ad.

Boomers are becoming increasingly important as the U.S. population is set to become one of the "oldest" in the world: In the next 15 years, the 50-64 age population will grow 50 percent, and the 65-plus population will grow 32 percent; the traditionally coveted 18-40 Gen-X and Gen-Y populations, combined, will grow only 3 percent.

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Boomers Embrace Casual Games to Keep Sharp

Boomers Embrace Casual Games to Keep Sharp

Anxious about the mental cost of aging, older people are turning to games that rely on quick thinking to stimulate brain activity, according to the New York Times. Casual gaming site PopCap Games, for example, says last year 71 percent of its players were older than 40, and 47 percent were older than 50; moreover, 76 percent of PopCap players were women. is getting similar results. According to Electronic Arts, the game publisher that runs the site, people 50 and older accounted for 28 percent of visitors in February - but also for more than 40 percent of total time spent on the site. And, on average, women spent 35 percent longer on the site each day than men.

"Baby boomers and up are definitely our fastest-growing demographic, and it is because the fear factor is diminishing," said Beatrice Spaine,'s marketing director. "Women come for the games, but they stay for the community. Women like to chat, and these games online are a way to do that. It's kind of a MySpace for seniors."

And, apparently, the Nintendo Wii is becoming a hit in retirement facilities. Baltimore-based Erickson Retirement Communities, which manages 18 campuses around the country with 19,000 total residents, is installing the consoles at each location.

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LookSmart Signs blinkx To Power Video Search

LookSmart Signs blinkx To Power Video Search
Thursday, Apr 5, 2007 6:00 AM ET (Mediapost)
LOOKSMART SIGNED A STRATEGIC AGREEMENT with to power video search results on Through the deal, FindArticles' rich video content will include news clips, short documentaries, TV content, movies and other appropriate search-driven topics.

The site will offer categorically relevant videos under its Arts & Entertainment and Business & Finance sections first, moving to other categories throughout the spring and early summer. The additional video content is designed to increase visitor frequency and time spent with FindArticles. In addition to growing the audience, the video enhancements will provide new opportunities for advertisers.

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This Is Network TV, This Is Network TV On Drugs

This Is Network TV, This Is Network TV On Drugs: Data Reveals Fewer, Longer Spots
by Joe Mandese, Thursday, Apr 5, 2007 8:00 AM ET
AFTER YEARS OF STEADILY INCREASING their supply of TV commercials, the major broadcast networks have suddenly begun reducing the number of spots they air. Explanations abound for the sudden downturn abound, but the chief culprit may be drugs. Not people using them, but people advertising them. In 2006, the networks carried 11,546 spots during prime-time, 196 units, or nearly 2% fewer than they aired during 2005, and nearly 7% fewer than they broadcast in 2004, according to the network commercial trends section of Nielsen's annual Television Audience Report.

But in a corresponding trend that might at first glance seem to defy the laws of advertising physics, the networks actually aired more commercial advertising time. They aired 5,429 minutes of prime-time commercials during 2006, up more than 2% from 2005, and more than 3% from 2004. The reason: The networks have been running fewer total commercials, but more longer format commercials each year.

The percentage of 30-second commercials aired by the major broadcast networks declined to 57% in 2006 from 58% in 2005 and 59% in 2004, while the share of 15-second commercials declined to 33% in 2006 from 35% in 2005 and 37% in 2004, according to the Nielsen data. During the same period, the number of 60-second commercials jumped to 8% of network prime-time TV in 2006, from only 5% in 2005 and 3% in 2004.

The Nielsen data shows a similar pattern for network daytime TV, and at first glance it might seem like the networks have intentionally cut back on the number of commercial messages they air to reduce overall advertising clutter, but some knowledgeable observers say it has less to do with improving their viewing environment and more to do with boosting their bottom line. The networks are simply taking more ads from a category - direct-to-consumer prescription drug ads - that require longer TV commercial lengths to inform consumers about side-effects and mandatory disclaimers, explains Jon Swallen, senior vice president-director of research at TNS Media Intelligence.

The phenomenon is concentrated in one specific product category. The story is, 'Look what DTC pharma advertisers are doing.' The story is not, 'Look what prime-time advertisers are doing.'" he says.

According to Swallen's analysis of TNS MI's commercial tracking data, the mix of network prime-time commercial messages for DTC brands has "decidedly shifted" in the past year, with 60-second commercials now accounting for 74% of all prescription drug ads on television, up from 41% in 2003. During the same period, the percentage of 30-second spots aired by prescription drug marketers declined from 29% in 2003 to 13% in 2006.

"Why the big shift in 2006? Well it was about a year ago that drug companies announced a voluntary code of conduct with regards to consumer marketing, in response to public criticism and the threat of government regulation," Swallen explains. "One of the key guidelines was to provide more information about risks and alternative courses of treatment. The companies have followed through on this pledge. For example, pay close attention to a print or TV spot for a cholesterol drug and you'll likely see/hear mentions of exercise, diet and lifestyle as alternatives to a drug regimen. That stuff wasn't there pre-2006. These deeper levels of information are driving the marked shift towards longer length TV spots."

Joe Mandese is Editor of MediaPost.

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And Now For Something Different: Ads That Bounce

And Now For Something Different: Ads That Bounce
Thursday, Apr 5, 2007 6:00 AM ET (Mediapost)
INTENDED AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO pop-up or banner ads, has launched a space for advertisers to turn their messages into a game. Businesses advertising on the site can enable their ads to move in spinning, rotating, oscillating motions that will differentiate them and draw in users. When visitors try to "catch" the ads, they click into the advertiser's page.

"I wanted to do something radically different," said Tom Kerasias, founder of the company based in Laval, Quebec. Ad space begins at U.S. $200.
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Thursday, Apr 5, 2007 6:00 AM ET (Mediapost)
SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK GATHER.COM AND the Touchstone imprint of Simon & Schuster Publishing have narrowed the field to 20 semifinalists in their First Chapters Writing Competition, dubbed "American Idol for Books." says its membership doubled since the competition was announced and 2,676 manuscripts were entered by novelists from across the country. The winner's book will be published.
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Google lets users create own maps

Google lets users create own maps

Thu Apr 5, 2007 2:01AM EDT

By Eric Auchard

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc. is out to make map-making simpler, giving away tools for ordinary users to pinpoint locations, draw routes and attach photos or video to existing online maps, the company said on Wednesday.

The Web search leader, which set off an explosion of creative map-making among professional programmers after introducing Google Maps two years ago, is now offering MyMaps, tools for everyday users to create maps in a few mouse clicks.

Let your imagination run wild, spatially speaking: Pinpoint your favorite restaurant locations. Return from a world tour and plot out landmarks along the way. Take photos from a recent hike and use MyMaps to illustrate locations along the trail.

"Who better to create maps than local experts?" Jessica Lee, product manager for Google Maps, said in an interview. "MyMaps makes map-making universally accessible to anyone."

Creators of custom maps can publish them so other users can find them when searching Google Maps. Users of Google Local search will now see relevant user-generated MyMaps show up in a special section along with traditional commercial results.

Or they can choose to leave their MyMaps unlisted for personal use or to share with a select group of friends.

See the new features by clicking on the MyMaps tab now available at Google Maps (

MyMaps can also feature YouTube videos or other snippets of Web content in small windows that appear when a user clicks on pinpointed location. Anyone comfortable with the trick of adding small bits of hypertext code to a Web site or blog or MySpace profile can add video to MyMaps in just a few clicks.

Feeling uninspired? Just search out an address on Google Maps and add MyMaps locations automatically to anyone of your existing maps by clicking the button that appears saying "Save to MyMaps."

Instead of telling stories in chronological fashion using text or pictures, map-making this easy allows people to narrate their lives location-by-location.

Lee describes how one Google employee recreated their resume on MyMaps, where each job or education entry was pinpointed by location.

Leave it to a Google engineer to create a map featuring the locations where great computer languages were invented in recent decades: Another employee created a map of life around Google's Silicon Valley headquarters at

Another more fanciful example charts monster sightings worldwide, from Godzilla to Dracula, Mummy, the Blob, King Kong and Bigfoot, Lee said. (

MyMaps is initially available in the United States and the national versions of Google in nine other countries including Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Spain.

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FBI checks gambling in Second Life virtual world

FBI checks gambling in Second Life virtual world

Wed Apr 4, 2007 7:05AM EDT

By Adam Pasick

NEW YORK (Reuters) - FBI investigators have visited Second Life's Internet casinos at the invitation of the virtual world's creator Linden Lab, but the U.S. government has not decided on the legality of virtual gambling.

"We have invited the FBI several times to take a look around in Second Life and raise any concerns they would like, and we know of at least one instance that federal agents did look around in a virtual casino," said Ginsu Yoon, until recently Linden Lab's general counsel and currently vice president for business affairs.

Second Life is a popular online virtual world with millions of registered users and its own economy and currency, known as the Linden dollar, which can be exchanged for U.S. dollars.

Yoon said the company was seeking guidance on virtual gaming activity in Second Life but had not yet received clear rules from U.S. authorities.

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for Northern California declined comment.

Hundreds of casinos offering poker, slot machines and blackjack can easily be found in Second Life. While it is difficult to estimate the total size of the gambling economy in Second Life, the three largest poker casinos are earning profits of a modest $1,500 each per month, according to casino owners and people familiar with the industry.

The surge in Second Life gambling coincides with a crackdown in the real world by the U.S. government, which has arrested executives from offshore gambling Web sites.

Most lawyers agree that placing bets with Linden dollars likely violates U.S. anti-gambling statutes, which cover circumstances in which "something of value" is wagered. But the degree of Linden Lab's responsibility, and the likelihood of a any crackdown, is uncertain.


"That's the risk; we have a set of unknowns and we don't know how they're going to play out," said Brent Britton, an attorney specializing in emergent technology at the law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Tampa, Florida.

Britton said Linden Lab could potentially face criminal charges under the 1970 Illegal Gambling Business Act or the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The latter law, passed last year, takes aim at credit card companies and other electronic funds transfers that enable Internet gambling.

"What they did was go after the processors, and made it a crime to process payments that relate to online gambling sites. Linden could potentially be held as the same sort of processor," said Sean Kane, a lawyer at New York's Drakeford & Kane who has studied the legal issues of virtual worlds.

"If you're buying money on the Lindex (a virtual currency exchange) and utilizing it for gambling purposes, Linden could have a much higher level of responsibility," he added. "If they would be found in violation, that's difficult to say, but I can see a much stronger case being made."

Linden Lab's rules prohibit illegal activity.

"It's not always clear to us whether a 3-D simulation of a casino is the same thing as a casino, legally speaking, and it's not clear to the law enforcement authorities we have asked," Yoon said.

Even if the law were clear, he said the company would have no way to monitor or prevent gambling in Second Life.

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Pepsi Puts Tools In Place For Consumers To Create Can

Pepsi Puts Tools In Place For Consumers To Create Can
by Nina M. Lentini, Thursday, Apr 5, 2007 6:00 AM ET
FEEDING INTO YOUNG CONSUMERS' DESIRE to discover and personalize, Pepsi is offering anyone a chance to design a can and win 10 grand. The tools to do it are online at

It's all part of the beverage giant's 2007 initiative to make its product new and exciting by changing the design 35 times throughout the year, letting consumers design a billboard for the company, which is up in New York's Times Square, and now offering its can as blank canvas.

The winning design will appear on 500 million Pepsi cans in national distribution, the company says.

Would-be artists can use tools that are available online or their own design programs. The top designs, determined by an in-house panel, will be posted at the site, where consumers will vote for the winner.

"We did an extensive global youth trends study, and the key findings were that young people embrace change, they're constantly exploring and they're into personalization," says a Pepsi spokesperson. "We believe the best way to connect with them is to offer a world of online discovery through our ever-changing packaging. The Pepsi package designs feature unique Web addresses that take consumers to exclusive online content, games, contests and sweepstakes."

In upcoming months, consumers can expect to see three special cans designed by musicians The All-American Rejects, Big & Rich and Pharrell Williams. These cans will feature Web site addresses that will take fans to exclusive footage of the artists and offer information on their new projects.

Nina M. Lentini edits Marketing Daily. Email her at
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J&J Takes Preventive Online Measures To Preempt Birth Control Backlash

J&J Takes Preventive Online Measures To Preempt Birth Control Backlash
by Christine Bittar, Thursday, Apr 5, 2007 6:00 AM ET
TRYING TO STAVE OFF ADDITIONAL damage, Johnson & Johnson is looking to preempt negative online attention for its birth control patch, Ortho Evra, and has been buying the rights to negative domain names. Some of those include very morbid-sounding e-ddresses such as and

J&J, via its Ortho McNeil Pharmaceuticals unit, makes and markets many of the top-selling brands of birth control pills, including Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, and Ortho-Novum. Its Ortho Evra birth control patch, however--which came on the market in the U.S. in 2002--is facing consumer lawsuits due to blood clots and strokes.

The brand, via a warning from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in November 2005, does carry a sterner warning of blood clot risk. While all birth control pills (and many other medications containing estrogen-based hormones) carry a risk of blood clots and other complications, the risks are larger with the birth control patch, as women are exposed to higher level of hormones versus oral medications.

While none of the domain names purchased and registered by J&J were in use, it's quite possible that they would have eventually--maybe sooner rather than later, likely by litigators who have become quick to pounce on pharmaceutical companies.

"It's really a best practice move," says Larry Mickelberg, Senior Vice President/Marketing of Medical Broadcasting Co., an interactive pharmaceutical agency that just yesterday announced a consolidation with parent agency Digitas to form Digital Health.

J&J's preemptive damage control may in part come from learning what not to do by watching Merck's experience with Vioxx, its arthritis drug that is now off the market. That situation prompted Web sites with names like, and others also referenced by medical malpractice attorneys in TV spot ads. "Vioxx has definitely changed the rules for drug companies," says Mickelberg.

A study from February 2006 showed that blood clot risk was doubled for women using the birth control patch versus oral contraceptives. In addition, women who use the patch are exposed to 60% more hormones than those who take birth control pills.

The appeal for many women who use the patch, however, is convenience--a benefit that is played up in Ortho Evra's direct-to-consumer print and TV ads--as well as lowering the risk of an unwanted pregnancy in the event one forgets to take the pill.

Christine Bittar can be reached at

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Digitas Consolidates With MBC To Create Digitas Health

Digitas Consolidates With MBC To Create Digitas Health
by Gavin O'Malley, Thursday, Apr 5, 2007 6:00 AM ET
SCALING ITS HEALTH CARE BUSINESS, Digitas has combined its existing health care practice with the interactive agency it acquired last year, Medical Broadcasting Co.

Serving now as a stand-alone marketing agency, Digitas Health will be led by David Kramer, a co-founder of MBC, who as CEO of Digitas Health will report to Digitas President Laura Lang.

"This is bigger than a rebranding effort," said Lang. "You need expertise in this category because it's so complex, and MBC will bring that to all of our business."

Betting on the growth of health-related Web marketing, Digitas last year acquired Medical Broadcasting Co. for $30.4 million (with the possibility of additional payouts over the next three years, based on performance.)

"The health care marketing landscape is undergoing a shift in terms of how people ... interact with health information, placing emphasis on integrated and digital channels," said Lang.

The acquisition gave Digitas relationships with eight of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies--AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and GlaxoSmithKline, among them--as ranked by worldwide health care revenue, according to Merrill Lynch. Prior to buying MBC, Digitas already counted Pfizer and Wyeth as clients.

The U.S. pharmaceutical and healthcare industry will spend $975 million on online advertising this year, according to eMarketer. That's up from $820 million last year, while eMarketer expects that number to rise to $1.19 billion next year.

MBC co-founder Linda Holliday told OnlineMediaDaily her company sought out Digitas because of clients' growing interest in online marketing.

"We see our clients taking online spends from 3 to 5 percent up to 20 to 30 percent over the next couple of years," said Holliday, adding: "We expect within the next five years that online will make up the majority of their spend."

Additionally, traffic to health-related Web sites continues to grow substantially. At Health, for example, page views were up an estimated 78% year-over-year in February, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

In December, Publicis Groupe signed a $1.3 billion deal to acquire Digitas, the Boston-based online ad agency with sales of $565.5 million.

Digitas Health will be headquartered in Philadelphia, but will also operate across the Digitas network of offices, including New York, Chicago, and Boston.

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Fired editors launch online medical journal

Fired editors launch online medical journal; 'Academic freedom' behind free website that accepts no ads from drug industry

Toronto Star via NewsEdge Corporation

The editors who were fired or resigned over the editorial-independence controversy at the Canadian Medical Association Journal have reunited to start their own free, online medical journal.

Open Medicine will be a peer-reviewed, independent open-access journal that does not accept advertising from pharmaceutical or medical-device companies. It is published only at  The launch date of the first issue is April 17.

The virtual journal's publisher is John Willinsky, a professor in the faculty of education from the University of British Columbia.

Co-editors are Dr. Anita Palepu, an internist with St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver and Dr. Stephen Choi, an emergency physician from The Ottawa Hospital.

The idea of starting an open-access journal began shortly after the firings of the CMAJ's former editor Dr. John Hoey and senior deputy editor Anne Marie Todkill in February 2006. The two are on the editorial team of the new publication.

"It's the academic freedom issue that is really at the heart of this," said Willinsky. So is independence from a professional organization like the Canadian Medical Association and freedom from advertising dollars from drug companies, he added.

Deciding to go without advertising support from pharmaceutical companies adds to the integrity of Open Medicine, said Palepu.

"There has been lots of data supporting the consequences of medical journals becoming dependent on this type of advertising," said Palepu.

"We didn't want the pharma industry influencing us editorially in any way. They have a vested interest in what doctors read."

The journal is also conceived with the idea that there should be no financial barriers to accessing information that can benefit human health and scientific advancement. The authors of studies posted on the journal retain ownership and control over the articles they produce, unlike other medical journals that maintain copyrights. Simon Fraser University's library is hosting Open Medicine's website on their server.

On these fronts, the Canadian journal is following the lead of PLoS Medicine, an online peer-reviewed journal published by the Public Library of Science - a San Francisco-based non-profit organization of scientists and physicians.

It's reported Hoey and Todkill lost their jobs partly after a disagreement with publisher Graham Morris over the issue of an investigative story the journal undertook concerning the privacy rights of women and the sale of a contraceptive drug.

Hoey and Todkill's firings were largely condemned throughout the international medical community. After the move, many members of the CMAJ's editorial board resigned in protest, concerned over editorial autonomy, including Dr. Jerome Kassirer, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Palepu resigned from her position as the CMAJ's associate scientific editor. "We started thinking about this at the end of March last year. We were so naive, thinking we could launch in September 2006 on volunteer labour and no funds," she said. "It's incredible where we are now."

Hoey and Todkill won the 2006 National Press Club of Canada's World Press Freedom award. However, the two have not been able to discuss the reasons why they were let go due to a confidentiality clause that prevents full public disclosure on both sides.

Last May, the Canadian Medical Association's then-president Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai, told the Star the editors "were not fired over the issue of editorial independence" but for "irreconcilable differences."

Dr. Paul Hebert, a clinical scientist who practises at the Ottawa Hospital, is the new editor-in-chief at the CMAJ, which has published continuously since 1911.

<<Toronto Star -- 04/03/07>>

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Manhattan Research: Docs use Google first for pharma info

Manhattan Research: Docs use Google first for pharma info

Source: ePharm5(tm)
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Google is a physician favorite when it comes to searching for pharmaceutical information online, according to Manhattan Research's latest ePharma Physician analysis. According to Meredith Abreu, vice president of research at Manhattan Research, nearly half of physicians researching pharmaceutical information online have the Google search toolbar downloaded to their desktop. Overall, 95% of physicians report that they use a search engine to find medical information online, Abreu tells ePharm5. "Today's doctors are creative in the ways they are using search, with certain segments of physicians reporting they use search as a form of clinical decision support to answer questions and assist in diagnosis," she says. Physicians are also increasingly interested in next-generation search technologies that scour the Web for medical blogs and video. Other topics covered in the Manhattan Research study include physician search behavior analysis, including search terms used, search complexity, and frequency of search engine use for medical information.
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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Social Networking's Next Phase

Social Networking’s Next Phase


Source: New York Times


SAN FRANCISCO, March 2 — Next week Cisco Systems, a Silicon Valley heavyweight, plans to announce one of its most unusual deals: it is buying the technology assets of, a mostly forgotten social networking site, according to people close to the companies’ discussions.


It is a curious pairing. Cisco, with 55,000 employees, makes networking equipment for telecommunications providers and other big companies., run by a company with eight employees, has been trampled by newer social sites like MySpace and Facebook.


But along with the recent purchase of a social network design firm, Five Across, the deal will give Cisco the technology to help large corporate clients create services resembling MySpace or YouTube to bring their customers together online. And that ambition highlights a significant shift in the way companies and entrepreneurs are thinking about social networks.


They look at MySpace and Facebook, with their tens of millions of users, as walled-off destinations, similar to first-generation online services like America Online, CompuServe and Prodigy. These big Web sites attract masses of people who have dissimilar interests and, ultimately, little in common.


The new social networking players, which include Cisco and a multitude of start-ups like Ning, the latest venture of the Netscape co-creator Marc Andreessen, say that social networks will soon be as ubiquitous as regular Web sites. They are aiming to create tools to let ordinary people, large companies and even presidential candidates create social Web sites tailored for their own customers, friends, fans and employees.


“The existing social networks are fantastic but they put users in a straitjacket,” said Mr. Andreessen, who this week reintroduced Ning, his third start-up, after a limited introduction last year. “They are restrictive about what you can and can’t do, and they were not built to be flexible. They do not let people build and design their own worlds, which is the nature of what people want to do online.”


Social networks are sprouting on the Internet these days like wild mushrooms. In the last few months, organizations as dissimilar as the Portland Trailblazers, the University of South Carolina and Nike have gotten their own social Web sites up and running, with the help of companies that specialize in building social networks. Last month, Senator Barack Obama unveiled, a social network created for his presidential campaign by the political consulting firm Blue State Digital.


Many of these new online communities cater to niche interests. Shelfari, a Seattle-based start-up, recently began a service to let book lovers share their opinions. This week it received an investment from


Mr. Andreessen’s Ning, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is fashioning itself as a one-stop shop catering to this growing interest in social networks. Anyone can visit the site and set up a community on any topic, from the television show “Battlestar Galactica” to microbrew beers. Ning users choose the features they want to include, like videos, photos, discussion forums or blogs. Their sites can appear like MySpace, YouTube or the photo sharing site Flickr — or something singular.


Those setting up Ning communities can pay $20 a month if they want the site free of text advertisements delivered by Google. They also have the option of delivering their own advertising, as CBS does on Ning-based social networks for its shows “CSI” and “The Class.”


Mr. Andreessen said that even with its two acquisitions, Cisco might be underestimating the ease of combining technologies behind and its earlier acquisition, Five Across.


“The idea that Cisco is going to be a force in social networking is about as plausible as Ning being a force in optical switches,” he said., which developed the technology that Cisco is now acquiring, almost led this new social networking phase. In 2004, the U2 singer Bono approached the company and asked it to create a separate network for his antipoverty campaign,, according to several former employees., founded by Mark Pincus, a prominent Silicon Valley angel investor, decided to remain focused on building a destination site, like Friendster and MySpace.


Bono went on to create the network with Yahoo. Mr. Pincus left in 2005 but repurchased the company from lenders last summer when it was nearly out of money. Today, is primarily used by artists who attend the annual Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.


Executives at Cisco and Utah Street Networks,’s parent company, declined to comment on their deal or its terms. But people close to the discussions said would remain an independent site, while its underlying technology would go to Cisco.


Several former employees have left to start their own firms offering social network tools. Alexander Mouldovan, who had been a product manager there, started a company called Crowd Factory to design social networks for large companies. He is now building services for several telecommunications customers and says the new model makes more sense for Internet users.


“If I’m into fly-fishing, that is where I’m going to spend my energy online,” he said. “I don’t think it is easy for MySpace and Facebook to adapt and bend to the needs of individual brands.”


One challenge is getting users to join new social networks when there are few other members. For example, Google helped Nike design its soccer community site, called, but it does not appear to have significantly attracted users.


“I think this will work for certain kinds of brands, and other brands are just barking up the wrong tree,” said Paul Martino, a former chief technology officer who is now the chief executive of Aggregate Knowledge, a service that taps the online behavior of other users to provide shopping advice.


Another challenge is persuading users to enter their information over and over when they join new online communities. To solve the problem, several firms are pushing a standard called OpenID, which would let users sign on and easily transfer profile information among social sites.


Marc Canter, a former consultant who has created his own social networking firm, People Aggregator, was an early supporter of OpenID. “Humans are migratory beasts, and we do not want to re-enter our data every time we join a new site,” he said. “Users own their data and should be able to move it around freely.”


Cisco is positioning itself for the day when mainstream consumers are spending much of their time taking part in these online communities. With the acquisition of, it is also trying to further its quest to become a consumer-oriented company. In the last few years, it has purchased the wireless router company Linksys and the set-top-box maker Scientific Atlanta, giving it a significant presence in many American homes.


Dan Scheinman, the mergers and acquisition chief who led the Linksys and Scientific Atlanta purchases, now runs a new division at Cisco called the Media Solutions Group, which has been responsible for the deals for Five Across and


After the Five Across acquisition, Mr. Scheinman said in an interview that Americans were quickly changing their media consumption habits. He said his new group would let Cisco help its media customers, like TV networks and cable companies, develop their sites and move more of their content onto the Web.


“Part of our job is to form a relationship with media companies and deliver technologies and services to them, so consumers can consume what they want online,” he said.

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WiFi in the Sky: Airlines Prepare Cabin Hotspots

WiFi in the Sky: Airlines Prepare Cabin Hotspots


The days when airplanes offer a hiatus from being connected to the office are numbered.

After years of discussion and delay, U.S. airlines will start offering in-flight Internet connections, instant messaging and wireless email within 12 months, turning the cabin into a WiFi "hotspot." Carriers are expected to start making announcements around the end of the summer, with service beginning early next year.

Like it or not, airborne cellphone chatter still has a flying chance in U.S. airplane cabins, as well, despite a recent indication that the Federal Communications Commission will keep a ban in place.

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Ipsos Study: Americans Love Streaming Video

Ipsos Study: Americans Love Streaming Video

Americans still love their TV, but online video has also found mainstream acceptance: At the end of 2006, nearly six of ten Americans (58 percent) age 12 or older with internet access had streamed some form of video content online, according to findings released by Ipsos Insight from MOTION - its biannual digital video study.

In other words, 44 percent of the U.S. population age 12 or older - some 100 million people - have streamed digital video online. Moreover, over one in four Americans (28 percent) age 12+ have downloaded a digital video file, with a significant amount of overlap between the two types of digital video.

Among those that stream video online, teens and young adults are the most likely to do so: three in four of all teens age 12-17 and young adults age 18-24 in the U.S. have streamed digital video content online. Moreover, they are more likely to have higher incomes and be highly educated, even more so than others with internet access.

This highly coveted demographic appears to be watching digital video more and more on PCs or portable devices. Teens and young adults, on average, have stored 20 percent of their entire video library either digitally (on a hard drive) and/or have burned it onto DVDs.
Among the various types of video streams offered online, shorter video clips, such as those on video-sharing sites like YouTube, are by far the most preferred.

Three-quarters of all digital video streamers have streamed short news or sports clips; two-thirds have streamed amateur or homemade video clips. Roughly 40 percent of those who have streamed or downloaded video content have accessed YouTube.

Other video file sharing sites, such as MySpace and Google Video, are also common destinations for video streamers, with about one in five having accessed those two sites as well.
Though short video is the rage, most Americans have never streamed or downloaded a full-length TV show or movie. Nevertheless, many seem to find the idea appealing: 43 percent of digital video downloaders and streamers express some level of interest in downloading full length movies in the near future, and 38 percent express interest in full-length TV show downloads.

The most common barriers to downloading are users' unwillingness to pay for content and the perceived difficulty of burning files onto DVD - presumably to later watch on TV sets.
"Obviously, with more technology coming onto the market facilitating the sharing of video files between PC and TV, some of today's purchase barriers may soon begin to dissipate at some level. Yet, this also seems to illustrate the virtues inherent with streaming shorter video clips for today's video enthusiasts: easy 24/7 access to preferred content for reasonable fees or free via entirely ad supported models," said Executive Vice President of the Ipsos Insight Technology & Communications practice Brian Cruikshank.

The MOTION Winter Wave study was conducted in two phases. A representative US sample of those 12 years of age and older was conducted in December of 2006 to determine the prevalence of digital video behaviors. A follow-up online study was conducted in January of 2007 among those 12 and older in the US that have downloaded or streamed video content online.

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The Wonderful World of Webkinz

The Wonderful World of Webkinz

By Cory Treffiletti


Source: MediaPost Publications


Once in a while I come across brilliance, and this week I came across Webkinz (


The trend in social networking is to create and develop niche networks that reach a specific audience and encourage interaction.  Webkinz is a social network tied to a toy company that targets young children and places them in a virtual world that is safe, exclusive, and appears to be a lot of fun!


The deal is that you spend about $10 to buy the company's plush toys, which come with a code that enables you to adopt and interact with the avatar for your toy in their virtual world.  The Webkinz world is similar to Second Life and Sony's Home, but obviously targeted at kids.  You earn points from adopting other characters and you can use your points to decorate your home or do other things.  You can also interact with other characters, but only using one of the 900 preset discussion elements, so that your kids do not give away too much info and cannot be pursued.  It's a safe, fun, friendly environment for kids!


What I love about this is, it continues to signal the future of online social networking by tying the Internet to the real world.  The goal of the company is to sell the plush toys, but the virtual world is a hook and it keeps people coming back!  I read about the Webkinz first in Fortune, which noted that there are approximately 1.1million visitors who spend an average of 154 minutes in this environment (source: Nielsen NetRatings).  This is more than users spend in MySpace or Facebook, the two leading social networks online.


This world would obviously be an amazing place for commercial messaging, but so far there is none. There appears to be no easy-to-hijack elements of Webkinz  in which to incorporate advertising, and I think that's great.  The revenue model is purely based on selling the plush toys, and has made Webkinz one of the leading toy companies in the US.  It fosters an offline activity for online interaction.  Cross-media opportunities abound for Webkinz, fundamental of which is the push for consumers to buy more plushies.


So next time you are trying to determine how your brand can leverage the Internet, search out companies like this.  They do an amazing job of leveraging the Internet to push a product, and having that be the focus of their company.  I am sure they will inevitably revisit the social online component as well and blow that out, but I hope they maintain focus on the brand. 


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Zillow Adds Own Ad System, More Web 2.0 Features

Zillow Adds Own Ad System, More Web 2.0 Features




Real estate site this week launched "EZ Ads," a do-it-yourself system that allows users to create an ad and purchase space locally, by geography or ZIP code, reports MediaPost.


Another new addition is a question-and-answer function similar to Yahoo Answers, along with a digg-like feature allowing visitors to rate answers as "helpful" or "not helpful."


What has made the site attractive to advertisers such as Lendingtree, Washington Mutual, Bank of America and dozens of others is the quality of its visitors: 84 percent own a home, most are affluent, and they're concentrated on the East and West Coasts.


Last month, Zillow ranked No. 7 in site visits in the real estate category, according to Hitwise. Lanched in the first quarter of 2006, the site has surpassed expectations. Its founders had projected 1 million unique visitors by August 2006; instead, Zillow attracted 5 million unique visitors in just three weeks.

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DoubleClick Unveils 'Nasdaq' Plan For Advertisers

DoubleClick Unveils 'Nasdaq' Plan For Advertisers

by Joe Mandese, Wednesday, Apr 4, 2007 8:00 AM ET

DOUBLECLICK, THE AD-SERVING GIANT THAT dominates the online advertising business, today is expected to announce plans to develop an open market exchange for buying and selling digital advertising inventory much like Wall Street's Nasdaq exchange. News of the plan, which was first reported in today's edition of the New York Times, comes amid a renewed interest in online media buying exchanges, and also as potential suitors like Google and Microsoft begin circling DoubleClick, which has been put on the block by its owner, private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

The concept of a Nasdaq-like exchange for buying and selling media is not new. It was first proposed by Julie Roehm two years ago during an address at the Association of National Advertiser's Television Advertising Forum in New York, when the controversial marketing executive was at DaimlerChrysler and before she had joined Wal-Mart. Roehm's idea took root and has generated some of the greatest traction on Madison Avenue to date, and has culminated in the test of the so-called eBay Media Marketplace later this year.

eBay was given the assignment to develop the infrastructure for creating an open market exchange after members of the ANA and a steering committee heard pitches from companies including DoubleClick and Google.

To date, Google has been most successful in establishing what effectively is an open market exchange for online search ads via its AdWords system, and has begun incorporating radio advertising time into it and now plans to add TV advertising inventory as well, via a deal with satellite TV provider EchoStar.

The sudden explosion in online buying exchanges is reminiscent of a period during the late 1990s when big players ranging from to Media Passage and even Enron tried but ultimately failed to make a market around buying and selling media time and space online.

But DoubleClick has what appears to be a running start, because it already controls a critical mass of the server market for online advertising and manages the reporting and accounting systems for many of the biggest online advertisers.

While the ad serving marketplace is almost entirely around online advertising, it is expected to become a big factor for other media as their inventory becomes digital and can be delivered via computer-based ad serving systems. Many believe Google's moves into traditional media presage that, and DoubleClick's chief online ad serving rival, Aquantive's Atlas unit, has been pushing into the video ad serving market with an eye toward managing advertising on television digital set-tops.

According to the New York Times' report, DoubleClick likened its new exchange system to a "mix of eBay and Sabre," the airline industry reservation system used by travel agents, which is also at the core of many consumer booking systems like Orbitz and Travelocity.

"The service will let advertisers see information about what competitors bid for particular ads, in the same way that eBay shows visitors past bids," the Times reported. "And it will let publishers try to ensure that they sell their ad spots at the highest possible price, the way that airlines try to do with the seats they sell."

The exchange is the latest chapter in what has been a storied company that begin in the mid-1990s as spin-off from Poppe Tyson, a unit of one-time Madison Avenue giant Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt before it was turned into high-flying publicly traded Internet darling DoubleClick, whose shares ironically were traded on the Nasdaq exchange.

In 1995, private equity firm Hellman & Friedman acquired DoubleClick and took it private again.

Joe Mandese is Editor of MediaPost.


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Google Bows Web Site Optimization Tool

Google Bows Web Site Optimization Tool

by Tobi Elkin, Wednesday, Apr 4, 2007 6:00 AM ET

ADDING TO ITS ALREADY ENORMOUS toolbox, Google today launches Google Website Optimizer, a product designed to help Web site owners test drive different landing pages in order to determine which designs drive the most conversions.

Depending on the type of business, those conversions might be sales, downloads of information, viewing video, and other kinds of transactions.

Website Optimizer, which was released as a closed beta in fall 2006, is integrated with Google AdWords and free to AdWords advertisers. Google considers Website Optimizer the third leg of the proverbial stool with AdWords dedicated to driving Web traffic and Google Analytics focused on measuring Web activity.

The new Website Optimizer is dedicated to converting visitors into customers and improving Web pages, according to Tony Leung, product manager, Google. The tool allows advertisers to receive up to 10,000 versions of a Web page.

"This tool lets you have one page, add a few Java scripts and then when visitors hit the page, there are different combinations served," Leung said.

Most Web sites, Leung said, are designed in the dark in terms of the kinds of landing pages that work most effectively.

"We were trying to solve a problem about which types of landing pages work," he said.

Website Optimizer allows advertisers to have one page, perhaps a home page, add some Java scripts to the page, and then be able to show visitors different versions of that page. Advertisers can then track and see which version is most effective for their purposes in terms of driving return on investment.

The new tool represents one of the biggest product launches in a while for Google's AdWords business, Leung said. Advertisers can sign up for Website Optimizer at

Separately, Google also launched a new partner program called Google Website Optimizer Authorized Consultants. Optimost, EpikOne, Future Now, ROI Revolution, and, providers of conversion optimization services, are charter members of the group.

"Until your conversion rate is 100%, there's always room for improvement," Leung said.

Tobi Elkin is Editor-at-Large, MediaPost. Email her at


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Web site delivers medical info with a personal touch

Web site delivers medical info with a personal touch

Connecticut Post (Bridgeport) (KRT) via NewsEdge Corporation :

Mar. 29--Dennis Lynch has always felt that some of the best medical advice comes not from doctors, but from people who have dealt with the same illness or surgery as you. They can tell you first-hand what to expect, what to worry about and what you shouldn't concern yourself with. But when Lynch, an entrepreneur who lives in Long Island, N.Y., had an angiogram about 10 years ago at 26, he had a hard time finding that kind of personal information.

An angiogram is an imaging test that uses X-rays to view the body's blood vessels, and is often used to study narrow, blocked, enlarged or malformed arteries. Lynch's procedure was recommended by his cardiologist, who explained to him the nuts and bolts of the procedure: risk factors, recovery, etc.

But Lynch wanted a more detailed take on what the angiogram would be like. He wanted to know if it would hurt or if he should be scared. He wanted to know what it would feel like. To his dismay, he couldn't find anyone in his age bracket who had undergone an angiogram. "There was really nobody for me to talk to," Lynch said.

Lynch never forgot how that felt. That experience is a big part of why he founded, an Internet TV channel that broadcasts videos of real people who have gone through real health issues, from anorexia to cochlear implants to cancer.

The goal, Lynch said, is to provide a place where people like him can go and find firsthand information on a variety of ailments and procedures. Though he stressed that medical professionals play an essential role in health, and that isn't a substitute for a doctor's care, Lynch said the site provides people with a human perspective they might not get in a doctor's office.

"You're always looking for peer-to-peer information," he said. "You're always looking for someone to add some comfort and understanding to what you're going to go through."

In researching, Lynch said he found that a number of people didn't trust most of the medical information they found online, and what reliable information they did find was fairly impersonal. The stories on, on the other hand, provide personal details on what it's like to find out your child has a hearing impairment or how it feels to be overweight, then lose 50 pounds.

The site, which launched about six months ago, has more than 100 videos posted on it. About half the videos are produced by staff and the other half are sent in from contributors across the country. Lynch said there are strict guidelines for the site's content. The pieces need to be short, well-produced and informative. They also need to have a certain intangible quality -- a human touch.

"You need to share something about yourself," Lynch said.

Those who have contributed to the site include Cori Magnotta, 23, of Middletown, a recovering anorexic. In her video, Magnotta talks about how societal, and family pressure led her to feel self-conscious about her weight, which, in turn, brought on her eating disorder.

Magnotta made the video at the request of the National Eating Disorders Association, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia. She said she liked the concept of the site, and compared it to the A&E TV show "Intervention," which chronicles real-life stories of people battling addictions.

"It's like a mini version of that," Magnotta said of "It's a glimpse into people's lives, even for a few minutes."

Some of the videos have supplementary testimony from medical professionals. For instance, there's a video of Dr. Debara Tucci, director of the cochlear implant program at the Duke University School of Medicine commenting on a piece about a mother whose young son was hearing impaired and had a cochlear implant.

The doctor's testimony focuses on the medical aspect of the implant, while the mother's story centers on the personal end. About one third of the "real people" videos on the site have accompanying commentary from a physician, and Lynch said that, eventually, all the videos would have corresponding testimony from a doctor.

Locally, representatives at area hospitals weren't familiar with, but think it's an interesting concept. Dr. Jose Missri, chief medical officer at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, just recently viewed a few of the videos on the site, and was impressed. He liked the candor of the patient testimonies, and felt that the physician commentary on some of the pieces added a nice balance.

"Something like this, that relates the experiences others going through the same thing, can be very helpful," Missri said.

Bridgeport Hospital spokesman John Cappiello said the channel seems like a sort of virtual support group. Though it isn't a substitute for consulting a doctor, Cappiello said it might be comforting to some people.

"It's an interesting use of the Internet and electronic media and perhaps it some benefits for patients," he said.

For more information on, visit the site, or e-mail Lynch at

<<Connecticut Post (Bridgeport) (KRT) -- 03/30/07>>


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Internet health info facilitates doctor-patient relationships

Internet health info facilitates doctor-patient relationships


Source: ePharm5(tm)
To receive these articles and others like it, click the link below to sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.


The National Cancer Institute recently studied how consumer access to online heath information can change patients' perceptions of their doctors. Cancer patients who are just beginning to use the Internet to find information distrust their doctor's advice, but the more often patients used online information services, the more satisfied they became with their doctor's care. In other words, the more they learn, the more they trust, because the information online ends up validating physicians' advice. Therefore, referring patients to high quality information about their illness on the Internet may improve the doctor-patient relationship, according to the authors of the study. The Center for Connected Health is one of the few health institutions attempting this kind of doctor-patient extension, and so far it reports good results. Cleveland Clinic also is using blogs and podcasts in teaching scenarios and is looking at using them to deliver timely information to the doctor at the bedside, but has yet to incorporate physician-patient interaction.


Click on the link below for more information on the report.



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Archi-Tech Launches Interactive Reporting Portal for Pharmaceutical Sales, Marketing, and Managed Care Data

Archi-Tech Launches Interactive Reporting Portal for Pharmaceutical Sales, Marketing, and Managed Care Data

InView Delivers A Dashboard Of Key Performance Indicators, Dynamic Graphs, And Custom Metrics To Drive Sales Planning And Reporting

West Trenton, NJ - April 3, 2007 - Archi-Tech Systems, a leader in pharmaceutical data analysis and reporting solutions, today announced the launch of InView, an interactive reporting portal offering quick decision support and opportunity tracking to the pharmaceutical field force. InView is a turnkey solution that integrates pharmaceutical sales, marketing, and managed care data from a broad range of sources and documents to create on-demand charts, graphs, and other relevant metrics. This provides sales representatives, managers, and executives with instant access to the information they need at the touch of a button.

Designed with the field force in mind, InView offers an easy-to-use dashboard for business intelligence, instantly creating actionable reports with data from multiple sources - all in a single view that can be accessed offline at all times, from any location. InView works with data stored anywhere within an organization, including:

·  -Data from syndicate providers like IMS, WK, or Verispan; SFA systems like Dendrite, Siebel, or in-house applications; and internal prescriber demographics, market definitions, and sales force plan alignments

·  -Analytics and reports created in Archi-Tech's DART (Data Analysis & Reporting Tool) solution

·  -Custom data from multiple channels including specialty, longitudinal, retail/non-retail, and more -WordR, ExcelR, PowerPointR, and other documents/reports

"Archi-Tech is committed to making it easier for pharmaceutical companies to manage and use the volumes of complex data they receive in order to be more effective when making sales calls, planning strategies, and tracking opportunities," said Prashant Kohli, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Archi-Tech. "InView instantly puts actionable, graphical data in the hands of the sales team, whether they need to pull up doctor profiles and generate target lists on their laptops between office visits, or run competitive analyses, review pull-through opportunities, and monitor quota attainment from the home office."

InView's flexible reporting features make it an ideal tool for anyone from management to sales reps. Data can be viewed in any configuration, across any geography, plan, or market, via customized, client-defined screen views that feature simple, one-step pull-down menus. Users can drill-up or drill-down in seconds, and quickly export to multiple report formats.

About Archi-Tech

Archi-Tech Systems is a leading provider of solutions for instant analytics and powerful reporting for pharmaceutical sales, marketing, and managed care departments. Balancing deep data expertise with advanced technology solutions and a unique service model, Archi-Tech addresses the full scope of a company's data analysis and reporting needs, no matter how simple or complex.

Archi-Tech's InPressR engine is the industry's most powerful indexing and compression technology - delivering unmatched query response times for any type of data, from any source, regardless of volume or complexity.

In addition, the Archi-Tech team offers more than 100 years of combined experience with industry leading data vendors, and direct pharmaceutical client service experience. This translates to a unique understanding of the data, and exactly how our clients need to use it. For more information, visit ###


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