Just when you thought the million dollar homepage trendlet had run its course and couldn't be taken any further, University of Maryland Baltimore County graduate Jason Gunther has elevated the game with Smash My Viper. In short, the more an advertiser spends on the page for pixel space, the physical greater damage they can inflict upon Gunther's Viper. Yes, he's letting people pay to destroy his car while offering them ad space in return. Gunther hopes the ongoing saga of the slowly destroyed car, which will be covered in detail on the site and the site's blog, will keep people coming back for more and keep the impression level high for advertisers. Oh, and then there's the eye candy. And we don't just mean the sexy car. Gunther has gathered together some models, likely his friends, to slither all over the viper in typical car model poses all while the car is being slowly destroyed.
Purchasing one ten by ten pixel gets the advertiser a 6 inch key mark on the Viper. Purchasing five ten by ten pixels get the advertiser a hole drilled in the car. A purchase of 25 ten by ten pixels gets a Louisville Slugger bat smash and placement of the advertisers' 12 inch by four inch logo on the car. And, in true media negotiation style, for those advertisers who purchase 50 ten by ten pixels, Gunther will allow the advertiser to come up with their own idea such as placing a pig wearing a sweater with the advertiser's logo on it in the car for a week or have Gunther do a burnout until the tires pop.
This is ingenious. Ingenious as million dollar homepages go, that is. This is consumer created all the way. Content, promotion, sales, everything. And it has a purpose beyond simply making money. Gunther hopes to use the money to launch a business.
After months of rumors and hinting, we've learned AdBumb is being sold and sister sites 92.5 and New Media Reports are being folded. Publisher Pace Media is, on January 6, 2006, launching Adotas, a blog formatted site which will be staffed by writers from the three publications. After spotting an initial design of the site Spunker's Ben Popken writes, "Pace sales guy Ron Cummings the Second told me that if I act now, I can get 400k impressions for only $20,000, a $47,500 value. Furthermore, he said 'Since we are both located in New York let me know what kind of food you like and I can meet you for a lunch meeting.' Ron, my favorite food is green spam and eggs." Ouch. Here's a screenshot if the site has moved.
In a measure of quality versus quantity, RSS search company Feedster has launched its Feed of the year countdown. One finalist will be announced daily beginning today and at midnight on December 31, the "Feed of the Year" will be announced. The new "Feed of the Year" award was created to honor writers who have displayed continued excellence in blogging. A panel of independent judges reviewed each 2005 Feed of the Day and rated them for uniqueness, freshness, presentation, usability, and community. Prizes will be awarded to the "Feed of the Year" recipient and the top two finalists including iPod nanos and the new Video iPod.
Eluded to at a recent ad:tech conference in New York, Word of mouth research and planning firm BuzzMetrics has launched a syndicated service to measure television discussion on blogs, message boards and other social media. Called TV*BuzzMetrics, the ratings service will provide television executives and advertisers "ongoing qualitative insights that help explain key drivers of viewer engagement, and understand potential value of new programs." Making this all possible, BuzzMetrics is a business affiliate of VNU, owner of research brands ACNielsen and Nielsen Media Research.
In support of its upcoming Word of Mouth Basic Training conference in Orlando January 19-20. the Word of Mouth Marketing Association has launched a blog called WOMBAT or Word of Mouth Basic Training. The blog includes a newsletter and podcast as well. In its first week, Ketchum's Paul Rand and Intelliseek's Pete Blackshaw shared tips and advice on word of mouth issues while author Jackie Huba launched the site's podcast series.
IDG World Expo has released details of the "Syndicated Media Environment" conference track at Syndicate, scheduled to take place December 12-14, 2005 at the Hilton San Francisco. This track will discuss how new syndication and social media tools such as RSS, blogs and podcasts are being applied by old and new media companies.
The Syndicate conference shows how syndication and social media tools such as RSS, blogs and podcasts are helping to change the way businesses do business. The "Syndicated Media Environment" track is one of four tracks and a timely topic following recent news of more and more people accessing TV shows on BitTorrent and pulling the programs down as an RSS feed. David Berlind of ZDNet explained that once a TV show is digitized and loaded into BitTorrent, "not only are the broadcasters completely disintermediated from the distribution of their content, so too is their adverstising business model." We tend to agree.
Of course, the edit has been fixed now, but some rogue Yahoo edit-bot saw fit to remove Vice President Cheney's first name from a Gawker Media Wonkette post that appeared on Yahoo as part of a recent content deal because Yahoo thought Wonkette was talking about another sort of Dick. We wonder if Yahoo, knowing Gawker Media's propensity to tell it like it is, slapped a filter on the deal so as to circumvent any nasty words finding their way onto its precious pages. Well, just like contextual advertising gone haywire during natural disasters, it appears bots can't handle dick the way humans can.
While all politics are, well, political and most conversation between various entities clinging to one ideological party or another amounts to nothing more than bickering between middle school kids trying to prove who's cooler, a situation has arisen over at the BlogAds Liberal Advertising Network that's causing a bit of bitchy buzz. Rogers Cadenhead reports he's been kicked out of the network, along with Retort, Raw Story and Smirking Chimp, by network organizers Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos and Chris Bowers and Jerome Armstrong of MyDD which I always thought was a blog about bra size but, surprise, actually focuses on politics.
IBM has encouraged its employees to blog about the company and has provided blogging tools to its employees. Over 2,200 employees are currently blogging which the company sees as a powerful marketing opportunity akin to testimonial advertising and Lee Iacocca's "speak to the people" ads in the eighties. Bits and bytes. Woo hoo.
The panel entitled "Measuring Your Brand Buzz in Consumer Generated Media" moderated by Organic CEO Mark Kingdon along with panelists Jonathon Carson, president and CEO of Buzzmetrics, Pete Blackshaw, CMO of Intelliseek, Dave Balter, President of BuzzAgent and Andrew Bernstein, CEO of Cymfony, focused on how consumer generated media has become an important source of brand information for marketers and how it can me measured to benefit marketing direction.
A key recommendation from all panelists was to relinquish control. Consumer generated media can not be controlled. However, it can be listened to and joined in a way that provides marketers rich detail about brand perception and a channel through which to directly communicate with consumers. Blackshaw referred to some the the negative consumer commentary as "nastygrams" and Kingdon noted that this sort of consumer backlash has been around forever but, today, it's all happening much faster and has become harder to manage in advance.