As a reminder to those getting this via the old RSS feed, please re-enter the feed address for the MattSnodBlog feed as feed.mattsnod.com
Thanks again to the inimitable Kris Smith of Palegroove Studios, my feed is now set up properly. I encourage you to visit the new site to see all of the crunchy goodness, extra links, and ways to get in touch with me.
If you’re on the site, mattsnod.com, you’ve by now noticed a shiny new look to the site now that I’ve switched over to using SquareSpace to manage it. They’ve got some great WYSIWYG tools for tweaking your site, and I think this is a much better look with more options to it.
If you’re subscribed to the feed, what I’ll ask you to do — because I messed up — is re-enter the MattSnodBlog feed as feed.mattsnod.com
Thanks to the inimitable Kris Smith of Palegroove Studios, my feed is now set up properly. I encourage you to visit the site to see all of the crunchy goodness, extra links, and ways to get in touch with me.
Once again, we can thank the U.S. government for stepping into the world of technology and crushing innovation with their size 18 boots of regulation. Today, the Financial Times reported that the Federal Trade Commission is pushing through revised guidelines for endorsements by bloggers.
The revised regulations would allow for a blogger to be sued for false statements in a blog post about a product that was sent by a company for testing and/or endorsement. Not only that, according to the proposed rules, the company could likewise be sued. That means that if a blogger were to get some information wrong about a product that were construed as false or misleading, both the blogger AND the company that makes the product could be sued!
This has wide-reaching ramifications for marketing and PR agencies who often send bloggers products for review on companies’ behalf — and hopefully get favorable commentary on that product. In those instances, who gets sued? The blogger? The company? The PR agency? EVERYBODY?
This is just the kind of heavy-handed, ill-informed overregulation by the U.S. government that has stifled innovation and technology. From granting cable companies and MSOs (multiple system operator) a virtual monopoly for two decades to postponing the analog television shut-off to allowing arbitrary punitive lawsuits by the RIAA to net neutrality to government spying of e-mail to the Internet defined as “series of tubes,” it’s been one uninformed decision after another. There’s a reason why the FTC and FCC is filled with people who aren’t on the cutting edge of technology — it doesn’t pay well enough. Why do you think they’re having such a hard time filling the CTO cabinet position?
The environment that best fosters growth in technology is in a free market. Mind you, the government itself used to be a haven for a great number of technological advances, but should we really count the atomic bomb?
If you’d like to lodge a complaint about this, the general phone number for the FTC is 202-326-2222. Better yet, the publicly available number for William E. Kovacic, chairman of the FTC is 202-326-2150.
According to a recent comScore finding, the average U.S. online video viewer watched more than 5 hours of video online in February 2009. Of note is the jump in ranking of Hulu as a destination for online video consumption — and more importantly — premium content.
In February, Hulu jumped up to the #4 spot among the top online video properties. Google continued to hold the #1 spot with nearly 41% of the share of videos viewed with YouTube accounting for more than 99% of that (no surprise there). In a distant second and third, respectively, are Fox Interactive Media and Yahoo.
I found it interesting that apparently so many people still watch videos on MySpace (a Fox Interactive Media property) that it keeps Fox ahead of Hulu (a joint venture between Fox and NBC/U).
Expect to see Hulu continue to rise in the rankings now that Disney is in talks with Hulu to air its content. Disney seems to be taking the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach with this. This means that Hulu will prospectively have 9 of the top 20 rated shows (w/o Mar 22), which is quite a feat, considering CBS alone holds the other 11 shows in that list. In one online destination (with a great user experience, by the way), you’ll be able to watch such powerhouses as The Office, 30 Rock, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, House, 24, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, and the list goes on. Who needs a DVR?
CBS Interactive seems to be struggling with their online video property, TV.com. They currently have 0.9% of the viewing audience. I’m not a fan of the TV.com user experience, which is why I credit Hulu with its success. Long term, I expect CBS to bite the bullet and offer their content on Hulu. Let’s wait and see.
Tonight’s episode of Lost (Season 5, Episode 6) featured a scene where Ben, Jack, Sun, and Desmond were all led into the mysterious basement of a church, created by the Darma Initiative.
Around the room were various machines, buttons, gauges, and displays. One display board showed coordinates of six locations.
For those of you who are superfans of Lost, here are the coordinates that were on the board in the basement of the church about 5 minutes into tonight’s episode. To the right of each coordinate is a link to see that location on a Google Map.
I hope you enjoy! And good luck finding the island.
The other week, I was walking in the pedestrian tunnel that goes from Times Square to the Post Authority in Manhattan. Lining the entire walkway, which takes up a whole city block, were posters promoting this season of HBO’s “Big Love.”
The interesting thing about these posters is that near each character’s head in the posters was a minipin headphone jack. The intention was for you to unplug your iPod and plug your earbuds into the jacks in the posters to hear the inner thoughts of that character. You were hit up with statements like (from memory), “My husband doesn’t know the baby isn’t his” or “I wonder if they have camera in the office — could they know we did it in the conference room?”
I thought it was a really interesting, different, and innovative bit of advertising. But this was one of those cases where you can’t really know the outcome until the rubber meets the road. As I was standing there — for a good 15 minutes and with hundreds and hundreds of New Yorkers passing by — not one person, but for myself, stopped to plug their headphones into a poster. Not a one. It was a shame really, because it was obviously a case of a risk-taking company like HBO trying a bit of experimentation.
Mind you, it could be that New York is a test market for this. Or it could be that the 15 minutes I was standing there was not indicative of its true engagement. I’m hoping it was the former and that they may find a way to modify it to entice listeners to participate, because I think there just wasn’t enough incentive to stop for a few minutes during your commute to do this.
It seems Marian Salzman may be at it again. She recently posted an article on cnn.com noting how data from a Porter Novelli poll showed that romantic feelings are on a downturn as a result of the economy. It notes two polls taken by Porter Novelli — one in 2003 and one recently — that show that numbers for women and men feeling romantic are down over that period (44% down to 42% and 38% down to 36%, respectively).
When I read this, I instantly got one of those “this doesn’t sound right” feelings. It could also have been the controversy of a previous cnn.com post by Ms. Salzman that raised my RADAR. So I did some digging and found that this, apparently, is not the case at all.
Checking U.S. census records, I created an Excel chart that plotted the annual percentage change of the GPD (an indicator of the economy’s health) with the annual percentage change of the U.S. birth rate. I figured, what better way to tell if people are ‘getting busy’ than if the kids start popping out?
As you can see from the below chart, since the 1950s, as the economy does better, fewer children are born. When the economy’s in the tank, more children are born. I guess this stands to reason … if you’re out of a job, what else is there to do?
So it seems that Ms. Salzman may have not taken the margin of error into account from the two polls. If that margin was anything more than 2%, then the conclusion is invalid. Or it could have been that she just wanted to author another thought-provoking lifestyle article. And mind you, she did. It provoked thought in me, but it should have been based on more conclusive data.
Disclosure: I am a former employee of Porter Novelli and have nothing but fond memories of my time there.