Friday, June 29, 2007

Google's "Old School" Health Advisory Council

The following was posted by John Mack on his blog (Friday, June 29, 2007)

Google's "Old School" Health Advisory Council

Google recently recruited about a dozen or so healthcare experts to form the Google Health Advisory Council (see Google Blog).

The mission of this council is "to help us better understand the problems consumers and providers face every day and offer feedback on product ideas and development."

Now, I'm not complaining that Google didn't pick me or any other healthcare blogger to be on this council. Others have already pointed out this deficiency:

"Looking at the list, it sounds like a lot of old-school, ivory tower types drafted for their titles. Not a lot of youth nor medical bloggers here, which would have been better choices, considering the demographic of the web." (see
Kevin, M.D. post).

I've probably been on Google's sh*t list ever since I posted my "
Girl from Google" (GfG) criticism back in November, 2006. So, I really didn't expect to be invited.

However, if anybody from Google read my GfG post -- and I am sure they did -- they should have realized that what they don't know about the pharmaceutical industry -- a major source of their health advertising budget -- could fill a google of pages!

I say this because Google allows or used to allow adwords that violate FDA regulations (see
Lunesta, Google, and "bAdWords") and their attitude is "We don't think it's a problem and it's not our roll to enforce the law." Thus, whenever I see Google folks at pharma industry conferences, I cringe. They just treat drug ads as if they were ads for any other product, like laundry detergent.

The Google advisory council does include David Kessler, M.D., Former FDA Commissioner and, I suppose, he could advise Google about FDA regulations -- if this were 1990 before Google was even a twinkle in Sergey Brin's eye!

There are so many loopholes in FDA regulations regarding online direct-to-consumer pharma marketing you could drive a truck through them. No, wait! There are NO FDA regulations specifically related to the Internet or the Web 2.0 (see "
Where's DDMAC's Head At?").

Undoubtedly, Google gets the vast majority of its health ad revenue from the pharmaceutical industry. Just on the basis of that fact, it needs at least one pharma marketing/advertising expert among its advisors.

Google Should Lead New-School Thinking, Not Follow Old-School Advice!

More than that, Google and other online organizations wishing to present responsible drug ads and other pharmaceutical industry communications to consumers need to include experts in pharma eMarketing, especially those experts who want and know how to do it right.

I would include, for example,
Fabio Gratton, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Ignite Health, on the list.

Working with experts like Gratton, Google could take a leading position in the development of guidelines regarding pharma's participation in social media, and what is acceptable and what is not.

Old-timey FDA commish's just won't cut it and don't expect much from the current FDA leadership either!

That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it!

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Truly Affluent Boomers Make Their Own Financial Decisions

Truly Affluent Boomers Make Their Own Financial Decisions

According to new research from Focalyst, though virtually all members of the Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) are portrayed as wealthy by the media and in advertising, only a few Boomers are truly affluent, and of these "elites" only one third relies on outside advice when making financial decisions.

In this study of more than 30,000 adults over the age of 42 in the continental U.S., only 1 in 10 Baby Boomers can be classified as Boomer Elites, defined as having an annual household pre-tax income of $150,000 or $100,000 if retired. Almost all Boomer Elites are married; college educated; and live in a residence valued at almost twice that of the average Boomer. Ninety-five percent of Boomer Elites have some sort of savings or investments versus 75% for the total Boomer population.

Profile of Average Boomers vs. Boomer Elite

  Average Boomers

Boomer Elite

Percentage Male



Married or Partnered



Children in HH



College Educated



Health Status Rated Very Good/Excellent



Avg. Market Value of Home



Source: Focalyst, June 2007

Heather Stern, Director of Marketing, Focalyst, says "... Elites... are less likely to rely on a financial planner... what (Boomer Elites) value most is no-frills information from a trusted institution that can help guide... their decisions. Boomer Elites pride themselves on having control over their finances so appealing to their need for information, but ultimately helping them feel in charge of their financial destiny, is key."

Boomer Elites have plans to invest in big ticket items such as technology products, furniture and appliances at a rate of almost twice the spending of the average Boomer. And they are willing to pay a premium for quality goods and place brand names in high regard. This is particularly true for spending on their homes which they see as an investment as well as an extension of their own image.

Planned Spend on Big Ticket Items in the Next Year (Of those consumers that plan to spend in the next 12 months)


Total Boomers $

Boomer Elite $

Difference %

Household Items




Technology Products




Travel - Next Trip




Home Improvement




Source: Focalyst, June 2007

Boomer Elites are avid consumers of media, says the study, more so than Boomers in general. On a daily basis,

  • 91% watch TV  
  • 87% read a newspaper or magazine
  • 76% listen to the radio
  • 75% use the internet

Print is particularly effective with this group as they spend an average of 30 minutes a day each on newspapers and magazines, with 4 in 10 saying that they read the ads in the magazines they subscribe to.

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Online video a 'powerful application'

Online video a 'powerful application'

By Alex Woodson
NEW YORK -- Bear Stearns analysts have criticized the News Corp./NBC Universal joint venture and the online strategies of Viacom and the Walt Disney Co. in a presentation based on its latest research.

Citing a new survey analyzing the online video consumption habits of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, analyst Spencer Wang said Friday that online video is "a powerful new application" that is best consumed on a single site with many choices.

While Google Inc.'s YouTube remains in a prime position to capitalize on this, these findings do not bode well for entertainment companies looking to expand their own dot-coms or collaborate on sites, he said.

"While we are open-minded and will take a 'wait and see' approach, we are preliminarily fairly skeptical that users will find this compelling," Wang said about the unnamed News/NBC joint venture.

Wang also was critical of Disney and Viacom's strategy of focusing their attention solely on their own Web sites, saying that this approach could only see "limited traction." Consumers value "choice and simplicity," he said, two things that media conglomerate dot-coms do not provide.

Wang did express optimism about Time Warner and News Corp.'s digital strategies because they have an "existing base of online users" with their respective AOL and MySpace properties.

When asked about Viacom's decision to sue YouTube in March for copyright infringement, Wang called this strategy "counterproductive."

"I understand Viacom's reluctance to put their content on YouTube," Wang said, "but ultimately there will have to be some sort of commercial agreement. It's in the best interests of both parties to do that."

According to their research, 57% of respondents watch video online, with 30% streaming content at least once a week. Males age 18-24 are the group most likely to watch content online, with 62% streaming videos at least once a week.

Although many users prefer online video with no ads, 48% of all respondents and 67% of males 18-34 said their preference for monetization of the platform would be a free ad-supported service with 10- to 15-second commercials. Only 4% said they prefer paying $1.99 per video, and 3% answered that they would like a $14.99 subscription to a service.

A central site for videos was important to consumers, with 56% of all respondents and 69% of males 18-34 preferring that option to different sites. According to the survey, with 42% of all respondents and 72% of males 18-34 report that they use YouTube.

Wang and Bear Stearns analyst Robert Peck stressed that YouTube remains the "behemoth" of the online video space, and they do not see any serious competitors at this time. Peck agreed with Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt's assertion last month at a Bear Stearns conference that "you tend to see power consolidated in a market leader." For now, Peck said, YouTube remains that market leader, "far and away."

Wang said that News Corp.'s MySpace could emerge as a potential competitor in this space. The "entertainment companies," though, are too slow and bureaucratic at the moment to compete in this platform, he said.

"First mover advantage is pretty critical here," he said. "MySpace and YouTube are more fleet of foot."

Because the survey also found that users are not adverse to ads during online videos, Wang and Peck are confident that online video will be able to be monetized. They also found that users prefer short videos, such as film trailers, user-generated content and music videos, and that online video is not yet cannibalizing television viewing.
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blinkx Launches AdHoc, The First Contextual Online Video Advertising Platform

blinkx Launches AdHoc, The First Contextual Online Video Advertising Platform

PR Newswire via NewsEdge Corporation :

SAN FRANCISCO, California, June 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- blinkx, the world's largest video search engine, today unveiled AdHoc, the first contextually relevant video advertising platform. Just as Google's AdSense transformed advertising on the Text Web, blinkx's AdHoc platform will revolutionize video advertising by matching compelling, customized, TV-style ads to your audience on the Video Web.

Search technology performs two useful functions - finding content, and also matching that content to meaningful, relevant advertising. blinkx's distribution strategy has established it as the de facto standard for video search on the Web, so the natural evolution was to apply that proven technology to the automatic selection of ads. AdHoc leverages blinkx's patented speech-to-text transcription and visual analysis technology to understand video content more thoroughly and effectively than any other service today, and can therefore dynamically place the most pertinent advertising against it.

Online video presents an extremely attractive opportunity for advertisers and media companies: targeted distribution with the potential for immediate action, and the availability of real-time metrics to assess the effectiveness of a given campaign.

blinkx's AdHoc platform offers content partners and advertisers a unique value proposition -- video advertising which combines the emotive power of TV promotion, with the relevance and utility of contextual search advertising. This is an exciting prospect, not only in terms of enhancing viewer experience, but also in increasing the effectiveness of campaigns.

In addition to its unrivalled relevance, the AdHoc platform offers media companies and advertisers the most flexible solution for customizing the timing and appearance of video ads, with options that include pre-, post- and mid-roll placement, as well as dynamically-selected banners, in-video mini-banners and a unique, post-roll catalog view. Partners can even select which ad databases to leverage - their own, the blinkx AdHoc platform, or even external ad systems, such as Google's AdWords.

"Until now, online video advertising was a kind of Frankenstein's monster - an attempt to cobble together technology that was built for Text Web banner advertising and apply it to an entirely new medium - the Video Web," said Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO, blinkx. "The AdHoc platform is revolutionary because it was built from the ground up to address rich media, resulting in higher monetization for media companies, more effective marketing for advertisers and, most importantly, a useful, non-disruptive experience for users."

"As video choice continues to explode, consumers desperately need tools that help them easily find what they're interested in," said Tim Hanlon, Senior Vice President at Denuo, the media futures unit of ad giant Publicis Groupe, S.A. "At the same time, marketers clamor to reach interested, though ever-fragmenting audiences with judicious and relevant ad messaging. AdHoc's contextual video approach deftly bridges those two forces, allowing information and advertising to flourish in a mutually beneficial way."

The AdHoc platform is available to advertisers, media companies and other partners effective immediately.

About blinkx

blinkx (London AIM: BLNX) is the world's most comprehensive video search engine. Today, blinkx has indexed more than 12,000,000 hours of audio, video, viral and TV content, and made it fully searchable and available on demand. blinkx's founders set out to solve a significant challenge - as TV and user-generated content on the Web explode, keyword-based search technologies only scratch the surface. blinkx's patented search technologies listen to - and even see - the Web, helping users enjoy a breadth and accuracy of search results not available elsewhere. In addition, blinkx powers the video search for many of the world's most frequented sites. blinkx is based in San Francisco and London. More information is available at

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Kosmix Partners with Revolution Health to Bring Consumers the Most Relevant Health Content on the Web

Kosmix Partners with Revolution Health to Bring Consumers the Most Relevant Health Content on the Web

Business Wire via NewsEdge Corporation :

Business Editors/Health Editors MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 26, 2007--Kosmix(TM), developer of the industry's largest Web categorization engine, today announced a partnership with Revolution Health, a leading health company, in which Revolution Health will utilize Kosmix to enhance content searches on (, its free consumer health and medical website that marries expert content and online tools with the power of social networking. Together, the companies enable people to quickly categorize and receive the most relevant, comprehensive and up-to-date information on millions of medical conditions and treatments.

With Kosmix's propriety web content categorization engine, can return consumers' search results in an easy to understand user interface. Rather than looking to general search engines for health information and having to sift through lists of unrelated links, people can use to get the best and most targeted content for their queries, both from the general Web as well as additional site-specific health resources, such as the latest clinical trials, papers and articles.

" is pioneering a new and better way to bring more health choices closer to consumers," said Kosmix co-founder Anand Rajaraman. "The combination of Kosmix and is a first step in changing the health care industry as we know it today, transforming it into an entity that will make a profound difference in our lives and the way we manage our health."

"The search box on allows people to find the information that is most useful and relevant to them -- wherever it might come from," said Matt Koll, senior vice president of Revolution Health. "Whether it is information from the trusted medical sources assembled on our site, such as and Harvard Health, from people who have similar experiences to share or from the array of sources on the Internet, Kosmix provides impressive breadth of coverage with precise sorting of results."

By intelligently presenting health content, Kosmix and give consumers the power to control their own healthcare. Kosmix's sophisticated content technology, in development for three years, eases the burden of research by doing the heavy lifting for consumers. The technology combs through billions of Web pages and structured data points to aggregate, categorize, and return the most targeted content to users.

About Revolution Health

Revolution Health Group LLC was created by AOL Co-Founder Steve Case to create products and services that empower people by putting them at the center of the health system. The cornerstone of the company is, a free consumer health and medical website that marries expert content and online tools with the power of social networking. Revolution Health also offers premium services that enable companies to provide health content and customized online tools to their employees, an insurance marketplace, and CarePages, the leading service that enables communication among family and friends when someone is receiving care. For more information go to

About Kosmix

Kosmix is developing the world's largest Web content categorization engine, taking today's Web interactions to the next level by making them more meaningful and intuitive for users. The engine is built upon breakthrough technologies in algorithmic categorization and large scale systems distribution. Kosmix has its own portal at and its technology powers content on several vertical portals in the areas of health, automotive and travel. For more information, visit

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New Advertising Network, AdPerk, Rewards Consumers for Watching Relevant Online Videos

New Advertising Network, AdPerk, Rewards Consumers for Watching Relevant Online Videos

Business Wire via NewsEdge Corporation :

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 26, 2007--AdPerk, a new kind of advertising network that rewards consumers who view online video advertising and other forms of sponsored content, launched today.

Dwell Magazine is the first publisher to partner with AdPerk and is using the new network to grow its paid circulation. Consumers are invited to watch online video ads from a range of marketers in exchange for three free issues or a discounted annual subscription.

The next magazine that will use AdPerk is Popular Science, scheduled to roll out next month.

Unlike pre-roll ads that are limited by the host site, AdPerk enables consumers to choose which companies' ads and video content they wish to view and then watch them on their own time. By rewarding consumers for participating in the ad process and capturing their attention in a related environment, marketers gain a unique opportunity: the ability to reach a motivated and demographically relevant consumer who has chosen its ad over others and willingly taken the time to watch the ad.

At the same time, the publisher is paid a real rate for issues of the magazine fulfilled by AdPerk. Advertisers currently in the AdPerk network include Duxiana, LG Electronics, Delta Faucet Company, Disney Mobile, Kleenex and others.

This new approach to advertising is premised on the idea that consumers should receive something for their time and attention. "It comes down to respect, user choice, benefit and relevance," says Barry Soicher, CEO and co-founder. "We engage users at the right time and place and give them the control they're looking for," adds Soicher.

AdPerk also gives marketers a way to experiment with video ads without using the pre-roll format. Soicher says, "This is permission-based advertising. Rather than pushing ads out, our model draws the consumer in to provide them with multiple options, ultimately allowing users to choose what content is interesting and relevant to them."

Magazine publishers draw significant traffic to their sites and AdPerk offers a collaborative way to more deeply connect with and leverage those audiences. Print advertisements can be augmented with information-rich video, allowing publishers to fully engage their constituents.

To implement the program, AdPerk places banners on the magazine's home page or other outlets, offering users free issues in exchange for watching short videos. Visitors who click on the banners are taken to the AdPerk platform, where they can select the ads they wish to view.

Consumers select ads by clicking on thumbnails of the spots. When users mouse over the thumbnail for each video, they're shown information including the name of brand or product, name of video and length. Additionally, links to marketers' Web sites and special offers are displayed to users. AdPerk offers marketers detailed metrics and insight into consumers by tracking user behavior on the site and subsequent purchases.

To ensure users pay attention to the spots, AdPerk requires consumers to confirm viewing by entering a word verification within 30 seconds of the ad's completion. Once they've done so, AdPerk gives users the choice to watch more videos or to come back at a later time by registering with the site.

As part of the non-invasive registration and checkout process, AdPerk only collects names and addresses, which are necessary to mail the magazines when earned. This information will also enable the company to introduce local ads targeted by zip code in the future.

Soicher previously served as vice president of sales at HumanConcepts, a leading software company, immediately before starting AdPerk. Prior to that, he was president and COO of InnovationWORLD, a research and publishing company he co-founded. He also previously held vice president positions at The Industry Standard and Red Herring Communications.

Co-founder is Kevin Goodman, who previously founded Slang World Enterprises, a product development firm featuring innovative and proprietary products sold through direct marketing channels including print, radio and television. In 1995, he began serving as general counsel for North Shore Agency, Inc., the preeminent accounts receivable management firm servicing the direct marketing industry.

For more information about AdPerk, please visit:

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The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Debuts Its Interactive Multiple Sclerosis Information (MSi) Web Video Program

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Debuts Its Interactive Multiple Sclerosis Information (MSi) Web Video Program

PR Newswire via NewsEdge Corporation :

CHERRY HILL, N.J., June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- A new web video initiative titled MSi (Multiple Sclerosis Information) has been launched by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA). Targeted to individuals with MS, the video series A Closer Look can be accessed on MSAA's website The first video, A Closer Look at Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms - Part 1, is divided into four segments: Effective MS Symptom Management featuring Jack Burks, MD; Understanding Depression and MS featuring Allison Shadday, LCSW; Learning about Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder featuring Daniel Wynn, MD; and Managing Spasticity featuring Donald Barone, DO.

This video series incorporates problem-solving techniques and provides viewers with an extensive resource guide, helping clients acquire the support they need. Viewers are encouraged to submit individual questions electronically to MSAA's professional Helpline staff, complete online evaluation surveys, and join periodically scheduled live chat discussions with the nation's top healthcare professionals. All video programs feature search capabilities, printable transcripts, and the built-in technology to recognize a computer's compatibility to operate with dial-up, DSL, and broad-band connections.

"This MSI video launch is our entry into virtual learning and is a great step forward for MSAA," said Doug Franklin, MSAA president and CEO. "Reaching more people in more places has always been our goal and this technology helps us to improve the quality of life for more people challenged by MS." A Closer Look is just one component of MSAA's MSi (Multiple Sclerosis Information) initiative. Through MSi, MSAA will soon offer an extensive library of on- demand video programming; web casts; professionally monitored chat rooms; and additional interactive communication features bringing knowledge and empowerment into the privacy and comfort of a person's home.

The development and implementation of MSi is made possible through the funding support of Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Medtronic Foundation, and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. As the MSi program expands throughout the year, MSAA will produce and release a host of informative half-hour to one-hour web videos covering such topics as the value of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the need for early treatment, stress management, and many other real-life issues.

For more information on MSi, MSAA, or any of the programs and services MSAA provides, please contact Amanda Bednar, public relations manager at (800) 532-7667, extension 122 or via email at

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America is a national nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to enriching the quality of life for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis. MSAA offers programs and services including a toll-free Helpline (1-800-532-7667); support groups; equipment ranging from grab bars to wheelchairs; MRI funding and insurance advocacy; educational literature including a quarterly magazine, The Motivator; Lending Library; cooling program for heat-sensitive individuals; awareness events; and more.

To make a donation to MSAA or to inquire about volunteering or fundraising, please contact MSAA at (800) 532-7667, extension 159 or visit MSAA's website at for information.

The most common neurological disorder diagnosed in young adults, multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. This disorder damages or destroys the protective covering (known as myelin) surrounding the nerves, causing reduced communication between the brain and nerve pathways. Common symptoms include visual problems, overwhelming fatigue, difficulty with balance and coordination, and various levels of impaired mobility. MS is not contagious or fatal.

SOURCE Multiple Sclerosis Association of America

CONTACT: Amanda Bednar, Public Relations Manager of Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, +1-800-532-7667, extension 122,

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Interpublic's Turnaround Effort Suffers Pair of Major Blows

Interpublic's Turnaround Effort Suffers Pair of Major Blows

No. 3 Holding Company Had Been on Upswing Before Losing GM, J&J Accounts

NEW YORK ( -- The Interpublic Group of Cos.' long-running turnaround effort may be hitting yet another snag, as the third-largest holding company runs into trouble with two of its largest clients, General Motors Corp. and Johnson & Johnson.
The current account losses mean that Interpublic must address whether the company can meet its current turnaround goals at the time of its next quarterly results, expected the first week of August.

GM, its largest client, yesterday moved about $384 million in billings out of Interpublic agencies, McCann Erickson and Lowe, to Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett. Last week, Johnson & Johnson fired McCann, Interpublic's largest agency, on several brands that collectively spend about $92 million on measured media per year. Interpublic brass is awaiting decisions on J&J's global media-agency review, expected early in July.

Layoffs loom
All in all, the exiting GM business is worth about $25 million in revenue, a loss that will likely trigger "not insignificant layoffs" at McCann, Detroit, and Lowe, New York, and the J&J brands represent $10 million to $12 million in revenue, according to executives familiar with the company. The developments mean that Interpublic Chairman-CEO Michael Roth must address whether the company can meet its current turnaround goals at the time of its next quarterly results, expected the first week of August.

The bad news follows several months of relative calm for Interpublic. Since it last restated financials, the company had avoided major client losses and even began to turn in some promising financial results, winning it upgrades from Lehman Bros., J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America.

Once again, however, some clouds appear to be gathering. Lowe Worldwide's loss of GMC, the automaker's truck division, may be the most troubling development. Over the past few years, in which Lowe has struggled with management and client turnover, GMC was a big-spending, reliable base to support the agency network's U.S. operations. The office continues to handle Nokia's N-series multimedia devices, J&J's baby products, Got Milk, XM Satellite Radio, Unilever brands Degree and Snuggle and some smaller clients, according to a spokesperson.

It's unclear whether and how the GMC loss will force Interpublic's hand on the agency. Interpublic has said in various public statements that despite problems, Lowe is a necessary part of Interpublic's offerings because it provides a strong creative solution to the more business-results orientations of McCann and DraftFCB.

Lowe's momentum stalled
"This is really going to be difficult for Lowe when you lose an anchor piece of business like that," said a consultant who manages agency reviews. "One of the things clients are always looking for is momentum, and new business is one of the criteria that a client uses to determine that. Lowe has done a good job to some degree stopping the exodus. When you look at something like that that's a critical mass of business, it's troubling."

Just last month, during a conference call about Interpublic's first-quarter results, Mr. Roth said that Lowe had made progress. "I think it's stable," Mr. Roth told analysts. "Whenever you have a turnaround like IPG is in, there are certain components that are part of that turnaround story and clearly, Lowe is one of them. And I think the investment we made in Lowe is starting to pay out in terms of the stability and the offerings that they have and we watch it very carefully."

On the J&J front, Interpublic media shops Universal McCann and Initiative are defending large chunks of the consumer-goods giant's business against fellow incumbent OMD, owned by Omnicom Group. Unlike GM's 2005 media review, which Interpublic lost to Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group, this review is not an all-or-nothing situation, because J&J is making market-by-market decisions.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Patients prefer video in study of Nexium promotion

Patients prefer video in study of Nexium promotion


by Stephen McGuire June 25, 2007

Results of a survey conducted last week showed that patients preferred online video over podcasts in AstraZeneca's "Living with Heartburn" promotional efforts featured on

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Pharmaceutical Digest - Roche's Tamiflu could halve flu-pandemic death toll

Pharmaceutical Digest
26th June 2007


A Canadian study suggesting that the best way to prevent deaths in a bird flu pandemic is treatment with Tamiflu will be good news for manufacturer Roche. The research claims that as a vaccine would take six months to a year to develop in the event of an outbreak, a readily available anti-viral treatment would be the best short-term solution and could halve deaths worldwide. However, this prediction relies on governments stockpiling enough of the drug to cover 65% of the population. In the US, the government has stockpiled enough Tamiflu to treat only a quarter of the population in the event of a pandemic. If governments decide to increase their stockpiles to meet the recommendations of the report, Roche stands to benefit from the increased demand.

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Social network, Web site launches for weight loss support

Social network, Web site launches for weight loss support

A new social network and Web site aims to help people lose weight on any diet or exercise plan and also says that it accepts advertising.'s tools include the DietFinder, which, according to the site, is the first automated tool that identifies the diet programs that are the best match with users' individual goals and preferences. The site also features a mobile food tracker with voice recognition, which lets users call in or text message what they eat and automatically record it in their online journal. The site is searchable so users can find other members with similar goals and struggles. is part of the Diet Channel and says it already has tens of thousands of members who tested the tools in the prelaunch phase.

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Ad Age report: Pharma online spending varies by company

Ad Age report: Pharma online spending varies by company

Although it still only accounted for 6.5% of total media spend, the Internet was 2006's big winner, up 17.3% from the year before, according to Advertising Age's Datacenter report on the 100 top national advertisers. Pharma's online spending varied widely by company. For example, Bristol-Myers Squibb increased its online spending 116% from 2005 to 2006, spending $17 million in 2006 compared to $7.9 million the year before, according to the report. Abbott Labs increased its online spending by 33.5% in 2006. Its spending on national newspapers dropped 79.5%, mirroring a national trend, according to Ad Age. On the flip side, Schering-Plough actually spent less online in 2006 ($4.8 million), dropping 5.3% in 2005 when it spent just over $5 million. Click here <>  to see the entire Ad Age report.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

The Five Most Important Words on your Web Site

The Five Most Important Words on your Web Site
by Nick Usborne
May 22, 2007

I hesitate to single out a handful of "must-have" words for your Web site. It brings to mind the overblown promises of "power words" and the like. "Power words" strike me as being about as useful as "power naps" and "power lunches." Heavy on hype and light on content.

However, some words really can make a difference on your site. They are not "powerful" in isolation but, in the right context, can make an important difference.

No. 1—Free

For those of us, myself included, who go on about how writing online is different, it is humbling to see how some things are exactly the same. "Free" is an extremely important word in the world of offline marketing, and it's just as important online.

In fact, in some ways, "Free" is even more important online. Much of the Web has grown up on the promise of Free:

  • Free browsers
  • Free music
  • Free software trials
  • Free subscriptions

And so on. If you have any doubts about whether users of the Web are that interested in "free"—do a quick search on Google. I just did, and got 172 million results. The number one listing? "Adobe Acrobat Reader—Download."

So don't be shy about using the word. Offer free downloads, free subscriptions, free reports and papers, free trials, free shipping, free consultations.

The Web likes free (even if online publishers don't).

One caveat: many people filter out emails that use the word Free in email subject lines.

No. 2—Sign Up

So it's two words. The point being that every site should be inviting its visitors to sign up or subscribe to an email program or newsletter.

Why? Because you need to reach your prospects by email.

People check their email more frequently than they surf the Web. Much more frequently. As you already know, to your cost, conversion rates of first-time visitors to immediate purchasers is horribly low. And that person who bailed after spending a few seconds on your homepage is unlikely to be coming back again any time soon.

So instead of hoping that your visitors will make a purchase on their first visit, concentrate instead on collecting their email addresses.

Caveat: your emails or newsletters had better be good. Good content in their inbox will bring visitors back to your site again and again. Poor content will damage your chances of ever hearing from them again.

No. 3—Buy

You need to ask for the sale. It's amazing how many sites invest in presenting products and services, but fail to close the sale. Again, conversion rates online are nothing to write home about. So make sure that you actually ask for the sale at the right moment.

Make that BUY link prominent, both by positioning it close to the product or service in question, and by boosting it with a strong graphic treatment.

The word BUY is an instruction. It tells people to do something. So make that instruction jump out and grab their attention.

No. 4—Now

Now is good. "Later" is death. If someone digs deep enough into your site to find the product or service they want, and then just makes a mental note to come back again some time, you've lost her.

The Web is an easy-come and easy-go environment. If you can't get people to act immediately, forget it.

So ask people to do things NOW:

  • Sign up NOW
  • Buy NOW
  • Tell a friend NOW

Go further still with some incentives:

  • Sign up NOW and receive a FREE report on [whatever].
  • Buy NOW and get FREE shipping

No. 5—Thank You

OK, so it's two words again. But it's the thought that counts. When you sign up a subscriber or make a sale, the job is just beginning.

Just because someone signs up for your newsletter doesn't mean that they will read it.

And just because someone buys your product doesn't mean that they won't send it back.

When visitors become customers, your work is just starting. You have a relationship to build. And the first step in building that relationship is to say thank you. It's courteous. It's the right thing to say.

Maybe this will inspire you to go back to those automated "acknowledgement" emails you wrote a few years back.

Rewrite them, be personal, say thank you.


There are other important words to consider, but I can't think of any that top these five.

Look through your site, your emails and your newsletters—and consider the places where these words could make a difference.

Then make some changes and test the results. As always, the proof is in the testing.

Editor's Note: This MarketingProfs Classic article was originally published on January 8, 2002.

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Five Critical Keys to Reaching the Boomer Consumer

Five Critical Keys to Reaching the Boomer Consumer
by Mary Furlong
June 12, 2007

As more businesses become aware of the unprecedented number of people around the world who are approaching age 60, more of them are getting serious about reaching Boomers. Call it the new Silver and Gold Rush.

Smart businesses understand that the old media—print, radio, and television—won't be enough to reach this market. To communicate with Boomers, your business will need to evaluate and choose among a wide variety of online and offline marketing methods.

Key 1: First understand the Boomer consumer

Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, number over 78 million in the US alone. One misstep marketers often make is to assume Boomers are a homogenous group—one size fits all. While most businesses have an awareness of and sensibility toward the unprecedented number of Americans approaching age 60, many are just now creating tailored products and services to serve this impending market.

There is a growing sense that the train is leaving the station—and that the competition may just be onboard. And that is fueling a growing momentum to get serious about the Boomer market and how to reach it.

The critical key to understanding this cohort—and how to market to them—is to gain insight into life-stage changes that occur in one's 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.

Boomers' lives are punctuated with change and shifts in priorities—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. These "tripping points" create business opportunities for new products, services and investments. These changes could include health and wellness issues, divorce, dealing with the empty nest, caregiving both for children and for elderly parents, loss of a parent, loss of a spouse, financial concerns, career and work changes, and retirement.

There are exciting areas of "white space," the commercial potential in underserved categories, including health, travel, passion, housing, fashion, finance, family, and relationships.

Key 2: Reach Boomers by going to them

To reach the Boomer consumer, you need to reach with them where they are. Their media consumption will change along with their new life circumstances and evolving interests. Marketers can reach Boomers through those interests at points when the consumer is most receptive.

They tend to seek out information and resources where lifestage changes cause them to focus their attention. For example, consumers are educating themselves and seeking out resources in order to take a more active roll in their own health. Weight loss and weight loss products make up a huge industry. Boomers facing the daunting responsibility of caring for an elderly parent will be receptive to new to new information, connections, providers, products and services. On the lighter side, Boomers with some discretionary dollars may spend more on hobbies, travel, and entertainment.

What are they reading, viewing and listening to? When and where? Reach them where they are.

Key 3: Meet the Boomer consumer online

Technology advances content in delivery give marketers unprecedented access to niche, highly targeted audiences. Older adults are online in record numbers. People over age 50 account for one-quarter of US Internet users. Their numbers are growing at 7-8% each year, compared with 2-3% for overall Internet user growth, according to eMarketer.

In 2005, almost two-thirds of US adults aged 50-64 and one-quarter of those aged 65 and older used the Internet, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Boomers are also enthusiastic about high-speed Internet connections: 44% of Internet users age 50-64 have this service. Broadband users tend to stay online longer, which means they are more likely to see online marketing. And broadband connections give marketers more options—they can add audio files to Web sites, and they can give visitors more opportunities to interact with their databases.

Boomers are such a large group that their behavior online is much like that of the general Internet audience. They send and read email, look up health and medical information, research products prior to purchase, get financial data, view maps, and check the weather.

Some 75% of Boomer Internet users get news online, 55% research jobs, and 31% use instant messaging, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project study.

Key 4: Your Web site is the first touchpoint

Your company's Web site is the cornerstone of a sound online marketing strategy. Prospective customers expect your Web site to teach them about you and your product or service. They also want to use the Web site to interact with you, learn how to purchase, and receive responsive customer service. You need to be providing so much valuable information that clients will want to sign up for your email newsletter and bookmark your site.

Your Web site should contain a strong call to action if you want it to generate leads. Make a special offer—sign up for a regularly published newsletter, a free information download, an opt-in to receive email and/or snail mail communications. This is how you build a house list. Your content should include useful interactive tools like dealer locators, personalized assessments and quizzes, daily updates, and features. Give visitors a reason to return often.

Key 5: Experiment with Web 2.0 technologies

We are entering the Web 2.0 era, thanks to a number of new tools that make the Internet more collaborative and participatory. The critical strength is self-selection. The viewer chooses what content to receive and when.

One example is RSS (Really Simple Syndication), which allows consumers to build their own customized information packages by delivering automatically updated content from multiple Web sites. Popular RSS "feeds" include news headlines, industry or company news, stock prices, weather reports, sports and entertainment news, and special offers. Another example is podcasting—or publishing audio and video broadcasts via the Internet. Listeners can subscribe to feeds and receive periodic, self-selected programs.

While it is important to experiment with these new technologies, it is equally important not to divert your marketing budget away from proven tactics. The most critical element is measuring success in ways meaningful for you.

* * *

In summary, reach Boomer consumers by first understanding them as they relate to your product or service. Reach them where they are with relevant content. Use both traditional and digital media and do not be afraid to experiment with Web 2.0 technologies, all the while also employing proven strategies and tactics.

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The Top Five Reasons Why It's 'RSS or DIE'

The Top Five Reasons Why It's 'RSS or DIE'
by Jason Cormier and James Clark
May 22, 2007

"RSS" stands for "Really Simple Syndication." In a nutshell, it is the technology that is enabling blogs, podcasts, and all major online news rooms. RSS is rapidly displacing email and Web sites as the preferred method for distributing online content.

However, although the syndication technology may indeed be "simple," highly effective RSS deployments are not. Success hinges on a careful re thinking of content channels and marketing strategies.

To get RSS right the first time, companies need to understand the basic paradigm shift it represents, and how they should integrate it with overall corporate marketing and PR communications.

The RSS Paradigm Shift

RSS is a relatively straightforward technology that completely changes the model for distributing content online:

  • RSS is anonymous—subscribers receive your content without ever having to provide their name, email address, or other contact information.

  •  RSS is highly focused—it's easy and essential to create individualized content channels that let the consumers choose which content is of interest to them.

  •  RSS is instantaneous—new content is instantly delivered to the subscriber's RSS reader, without the need to "surf" or manually check Web sites for updates.

  • RSS is trusted—it goes straight to the subscriber, without having to run the gauntlet of corporate or ISP email/spam filters. RSS content feeds always reach subscribers.

  • RSS is "expert"—search engines (correctly) recognize RSS feeds as highly focused content and therefore give it a higher "expert info" weighting that boosts search rankings and overall credibility.

All of these characteristics are fundamentally superior to the current models of content distribution based on Web sites and email. However, without a fundamentally new strategic plan to capitalize on RSS's strengths, many companies will spin their wheels and squander any "first mover" advantage they may have had.

RSS Offers True Choices

Marketing guru Seth Godin frequently points out that "people simply want what they want"—in the exact form they want it, and exactly when they want it. Pleasing people is all about giving them an easier and faster to way to satisfy their desires. When something pleases them, they want more of it. And when they come back for more, they tell others along the way.

RSS creates an entirely new channel for consumers who want specific content but don't want to exchange their contact information for it. They subscribe (paid or free) to receive your content anonymously, according to their own preferences.

RSS equips companies with the power to segment content—written, audio or video—for any audience. This means no more cramming all manner of content into a single newsletter to please the masses. Instead, you can now create individualized content channels that let consumers choose what's of interest to them.

Content channels might include...

  • News
  • Product development
  • Sale items
  • Sales team programs
  • Corporate or employee blogs
  • Training
  • Departmental updates
  • Articles
  • Case studies
  • Research
  • Anything else applicable to your business

This deceptively simple shift in how content is organized and distributed promotes subscriber loyalty and interaction. You'll see the positive results in whatever metric you use—readership, listenership, or viewership.

No Barriers to RSS

As a marketer, relying on consumers to come back and check your site regularly for new content is an increasingly risky proposition. With the availability of search engines, desktop widgets, and RSS feeds, fewer and fewer consumers are willing to spend hours surfing the Web for information.

Likewise, an increasingly dying practice is relying on the spam-battered email inbox as the sole repository of key information. For example, if it's important for journalists to see your information, does it really make sense to expect them to create a folder for your specific information? Not likely.

RSS feeds offer the ultimate "opt-in" model of receiving content: Consumers can easily and immediately control their secure subscription (free or paid) to information.

Unlike email, consumers receive information through an RSS feed while remaining completely anonymous. Nothing—not even an email address—needs to be submitted to receive information via an RSS feed. There is no "request to unsubscribe" step, as in email. All the consumer needs is an RSS reader, most of which are freely available.

Once a user subscribes, previously published information becomes immediately accessible and new content is delivered as soon as it is posted. With Web-based RSS readers, that content also doesn't pile-up on the consumer's hard drive. Plus, email servers are bypassed, so the many frustrating problems associated with lost emails or spam filtering are completely eliminated.

RSS Content Is High Profile

Typically, your online content lives or dies by its search engine rankings. How can you use that to your advantage? Consider this: The mission of a search engine is to be relevant. The more relevant the search results, the more valuable the information is to the searcher. When people get what they want, they come back for more and tell others along the way. Google proved this years ago by creating a superior search algorithm, one that continues to evolve and gain market share to this day.

Google's current search algorithm recognizes RSS feeds as extremely relevant content vehicles, even to the point of indexing and presenting the feed content in a search results page. Publishing content through an RSS feed is like "pinging" the search engines, notifying the bots that new content is available. This drives search bots to Web pages to index the content. The frequency and relevancy of the content increases the number of pages on your site that are indexed by search engines. This results in higher natural search rankings for your content.

RSS boosts your online visibility in many ways:

  • Syndicates your content and creates one-way, inbound links from other Web sites that reference your site as the source

  • Notifies search engines whenever your content is updated

  • Increases Web traffic via deeper search engine indexing of your site and inclusions in RSS-only search directories

  • Improves search rankings for targeted keywords (search terms)

RSS Positions You as a Thought Leader

Google, Yahoo, and MSN search engines do not rely on human intervention to rank the importance of Web sites—yet if your Web site ranks high for certain keywords, it is perceived by most that the search engine has designated your site as an expert resource for that topic. Although expert resources may be found in top search results, there is currently no reliable process that assures top rankings go only to top organizations...

This raises an important question: How valuable would it be for your organization to appear as the No. 1 Google search result for a keyword relevant to your business? Or would even appearing anywhere on the first search results page be great for your business?

Top search engine rankings have a profound and positive impact on the perception of a business as an overall market leader. This may seem intuitive, but plenty are still unaware of this simple fact.

Consider these findings from the Middleberg/Ross Media in Cyberspace Study:

  • 98% of journalist go online daily...
  • 92% for article research
  • 81% for search
  • 72% to find expert sources
  • 73% for press releases

Now imagine that a journalist is going online today to conduct research for an article about your industry. Will your company be visible? Will your content be found and seen as relevant and timely? Will that journalist be able to access back data and read the conversations you've had with your customers? Or read articles that you've written? Or subscribe to your RSS feed to see what kind of trends you find interesting?

Let's face it—the company most likely to catch the journalist's attention is the one with highly visible, relevant, and timely content that positions the organization as an industry and thought leader.

This is exactly why an RSS content distribution strategy is vital—it's the fastest and most effective way to achieve a high-profile online reputation for expertise and leadership.

RSS Future-Proofs Your Communications

RSS is the future of communication on the Web. It doesn't totally replace email or static Web pages, but it radically changes everyday methods of communicating and connecting with consumers, partners, press, and employees via the Internet.

Some organizations have been lulled into a false sense of complacency by the presence of the word "simple" in "Really Simple Syndication"; but "simple" here refers to the technical structure of how your content is formatted in a feed.

It does not refer to the simplicity of...

  • Developing an RSS strategy
  • Integrating RSS into marketing, PR, and communications plans
  • Customizing the delivery and implementation tactics
  • Optimizing your RSS feeds for search engines
  • Effectively displaying and promoting your feeds
  • Measuring results

Here's the bottom line: Transitioning to the RSS model is not simple for most organizations. Success depends on having a solid foundation in search optimization, the ability to measure results, and a keen appreciation of the new tactics used for widespread RSS content distribution.

RSS marketing should not be approached as a standalone module or feature to be added to your Web site by the techies. It needs to be recognized as a serious communications tool implemented as part of an ongoing strategy to build community, search visibility, expert positioning, loyalty, leads, sales, and brand awareness.

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A Second Look at Second Life

A Second Look at Second Life
by Joel Cere
June 5, 2007

The Second Life tidal wave has finally crossed the Atlantic and is leaping on European shores. By and large, communication professionals are perplexed about whether they should surf the hype or not.

But, to their credit, they recognize a "PR opportunity" when they see one: Over the last six months, media coverage related to Second Life (SL) increased nearly 150%1 while SL blog mentions increased 260%.2

But how long will the Second-Life media frenzy last? And if not for PR, what is the value of investing time and money with avatars when marketing budgets are under renewed pressure to deliver real returns from real consumers?

While a reality check is overdue, I would argue that there is more than meets the eye in SL, and there is genuine value to be extracted for brands that are willing to learn the dynamics of the "metaverse" and play by its rules.

Second Life is a land of plenty, not of many

There are over 2.9 million registered users in SL,3 but most reports talk of about 300,000 active users; and it is estimated that concurrent users are only around 20,000.4

Marketers are interested in knowing their audience. Reliable estimates on SL demographics are hard to come by, but it is thought that 25-45% of users come from outside the US, mostly from Canada, the UK, Australia, and Western Europe.5

SL is developing quickly outside North America, and local European enclaves such as a virtual Dublin or Parioli, a replica of a Roman street, are flourishing. SL users' median age is 32, with an equal gender split.6

Residents are marketing-savvy and patriotic

Second Life residents have been busy shaping their "little" world since 2003, but big corporations discovered this vast, untouched land only last year and decided to plant their flags on it.

Some think that Second Life could turn into another ad-funded MySpace. I wouldn't bet on that. The flood of announcements about companies being the first "fill in the blank" in SL has triggered a growing backlash from residents against brands they perceive are invading their turf.7  In addition, it is fair to say that the PR value of setting up a presence in SL diminishes over time.

When corporations occupy virtual land, they often go unnoticed. The most popular places in SL are grassroots and resident-run (mostly in the casinos/nightclubs/adult-entertainment arena...). None of the corporate outposts is achieving decent traffic in comparison. According to New World Notes, the only corporate venue that gets decent traffic is Thomson, which offers educational content—i.e., something of value.8 A lesson to all?

The right rewards beckon companies with the right expectations

Despite the hype, SL is growing fast. And it is not alone: World of Warcraft passed 8 million players in January9 and the BBC is launching its own virtual world for children.10

Consumers are moving away from watching TV and reading magazines and moving into places where they can be their own director and actor. If consumers are spending more time in virtual worlds, it makes sense for their favorite brands to follow them in their virtual life.

Toyota, Pontiac, American Apparel, Starwood Hotels are among those already established. Philips, ABN Amro and AOL have made announcements for 2007. Even the French Socialist Party has set up an outpost in SL. (Anecdotally: It is the only place where I saw avatars smoking...)

To set expectations right, buying an island in SL or commissioning an avatar of your CEO will not terraform your brand into an epitome of coolness. The value is not in being present but in being active.

Most companies in SL think about their presence from an advertising standpoint: that is, a place for people to "experience the brand." A visitor to such experiential venues (think agencies' virtual offices or trendy company showrooms) will quickly notice, more often than less, that these places are devoid of any life forms.

SL is a platform for interaction, and if there is no one to interact with the fun of wandering up and down designer glass stairways quickly wanes. Why stay or come back? Think about sustaining your investment: Spend less in building a fancy shop and more in manning the shop floor!

Think co-creative marketing and immersive learning, not clickable billboards

There are countless creative opportunities to promote your brand in SL besides virtual billboards and showrooms. The only constraints are of the platform itself. Talking of which, it is worth mentioning that when more than 40 people/avatars are confined in one place, SL slows down considerably. When organizing events, it is therefore advised to prioritize quality over quantity, as the inability to achieve the latter is seriously detrimental to the former.

Technology blog TechCrunch has another useful insight: holding SL only media announcements irritates time-poor and technology-challenged journalists11 (who often write about Second Life from their experience watching the corporate video on the Web site...)

SL residents like to create. Unless they are provided with tools to contribute to the "brand experience," they will treat your efforts the way you treat an ad poster: pretty to look at once, and nothing more.

Spending time with SL natives and enrolling them to develop your SL footprint will increase the chance of successfully blending in. For example, you could launch a competition for SL residents to design your building or hire brand supporters to engage with visitors. If you are stuck for ideas, just ask the natives. Could you sponsor local fashion designers or inviting a SL virtual car designer to your real design studio? How about limited digital versions of your products offered or sold underground to trendsetters to create some buzz? Or publishing a guide to the coolest venues?

The whole of SL is user-generated, the very same trend driven by hard-to-reach Gen Y and Gen X consumers. What better place to gather firsthand consumer insights or indulge in a bit of consumer ethnography? Your SL venue could be a perfect way to train your marketing staff across the world on social media and consumer trends and to conduct workshops—providing you with an opportunity to practice what you teach and to reduce your company's carbon emissions.

By engaging with the virtual community and offering something of value, you will turn every interaction into a genuine understanding of what makes consumers want to create and converse. This is happening now, in virtual worlds, in MySpace or in YouTube.

* * *

Stepping in Second Life is not about PR or showering avatars with ads. It provides an opportunity to understand the mindset of today's connected consumers, turning your investment in Second Life into a real competitive advantage in First Life—and delivering real dollar returns on your marketing investment.


1 Factiva. Percentage increase comparisons between months of August 2006 and January 2007.

2 Blogpulse. Keyword mentions "Second Life" over last six months as of 25th of January 2007.

3 as of 25th of January 2007.


Real Second Life numbers, thanks to David Kirkpatrick

5 'Second Life' Stats Expanded: Early 2006

6 Second Life Lessons






Joel Cere is vice-president of Hill & Knowlton's online communication practice (Netcoms) for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He blogs at and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Metz, France since 1999.

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Web content may cut into doc's journal reading

Web content may cut into doc's journal reading

Online content may be cutting into the time physicians spend reading printed medical journals, according to a white paper from  According to a survey of physicians, 81% reported that they average five hours or less per week reading medical journals of any type. Compare that to a 1989 study, which reported an average of 6.2 hours per week spent reading journals. The survey also found that 41% of respondents said they spend three or more hours per week using Web-based sources for medical information. More than half--56%--said they routinely read Medscape and WebMD. The study shows that when it comes to advertising, pharma should invest in both print and online efforts, Tom St.Peter, vice president of business development for tells ePharm5. "Print journals are a foundation for what you do online," he says.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

JC Penney Launches Desktop Widget that Pipes Deals, Fashion Tips

JC Penney Launches Desktop Widget that Pipes Deals, Fashion Tips

JC Penney has launched a desktop widget that brings deals and content directly to consumers, reports AdWeek.

Developed by independent T3 in Austin and widget company Skinkers in London, the widget streams deals, gives fashion tips twice weekly, and acts as a personal planner.

Though Web-based widgets are all the rage, JC Penney decided on the "old school" desktop widget as it was more appropriate for the core demo of women 25-55.

Other brands launching widgets include Honda, which made one that brings real-time traffic conditions to the desktop, and Southwest Airlines, which "dings" flight deals to the desktop.

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Pando Launches Grid-Computing for Online Video Publishing

Pando Launches Grid-Computing for Online Video Publishing

After its free online video publishing and sharing service drew eight million people, Pando Networks Inc. has decided to launch a commercial version with grid-computing technology, reports Internet Retailer.

The technology enables a large number of users to share computer processing power, enabling them to view the same video files downloaded from a site or streamed from a server.

This saves users from suffering content delivery problems that occur when a mass tries downloading the same thing at the same time. It also protects retailers from having to shoulder the cost of extra bandwidth.

"We’ve talked about this on a supercomputing level, and now it’s available for retailers as well as consumers," said Founder and CEO Robert Levitan. "We’re using grid computing to facilitate social networking with high-definition video."

The grid-computing system is able to support the use of online video available from websites or e-mail, blogs and social networks.

Michael Arrington on TechCrunch described Pando as easy to deploy, with extremely fast video transmissions. However, he adds that an effective DRM system will need to be implemented as Pando's distribution base widens.

The Pando software is available for free, but commercial users will be charged $5,000 per million deliveries of a 1GB video.

Levitan hastened to add, "Our goal is to eliminate 90%-95% of the cost of delivering online video."

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Exponential Debuts Free Ad Server

Exponential Debuts Free Ad Server

Exponential has debuted a powerful new ad server it says publishers can use for free, reports ClickZ.

The Expo9 server served approximately 20 to 25 billion ads per month during its beta testing period. Ads have been delivered to sites in the Tribal Fusion Network, of which Exponential is the parent. The Expo9 interface allows advertisers to target and place ads where they feel they're performing the best.

By allowing for third-party integration, Exponential hopes its system can become a one-stop shop for publishers to manage all the ads on their site or sites.

The new system, the company says, is a marked step over its previous ad server offerings because of its extensive targeting capabilities.

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