by Darren Weir (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)
In the late 1990′s Hotmail was the largest free email service in the world, but now 16 years later, Microsoft has decided to ditch Hotmail and relaunch Outlook.
There are still some 350 million active Hotmail accounts and, according to The Guardian, even though Google’s Gmail has more accounts at 425 million users, ComScore says Hotmail still gets more traffic than its rivals.
In June 2012, Hotmail had 324 million monthly visitors, compared to 290 million at Yahoo mail and 278 million at Gmail.
According to CNet.com, Hotmail users are now being invited to transfer their accounts to the Outlook.com portal and keep their existing addresses. And it seems to be catching on.
In the first 6 hours of offering the switch, one million users signed up. Computer World says most users will see the new interface the next time they open their Hotmail account, if not you just have to go to the Options menu and click “Upgrade to Outlook.com.” You can get one of the new Outlook.com addresses just go the website and click the “sign up” button.
Hotmail’s successor is promising fewer display ads and new connections to social networks like Facebook and Twitter and will eventually integrate Skype to compete with Google Talk.Microsoft VP of Windows Live tells The Guardian, “We think the time is right to reimagine email. So today, we’re introducing a preview of Outlook.com.” “We realised that we needed to take a bold step, break from the past and build you a brand new service from the ground up.”
According to CNet, there’s no word yet if or when Microsoft will pull the plug on Hotmail.com, but it is expected to happen eventually.
This was originally published in Digital Journal [Link]
With Facebook’s announcement that they will begin participating in Real Time Bidding platforms, the company has taken the first step out of its walled garden of data. Facebook will begin tracking user behavior across the web and using that data to target ads to users when they are on Facebook. For instance, if you visit Best Buy’s website and look at a digital camera, Best Buy can use that interaction to show you an ad for the same camera the next time you are on Facebook.
While this is certainly a win for direct marketers and retailers, it is also an interesting admission by Facebook: “Our existing data might be an insufficient mechanism to target advertising.” There is no doubt that Facebook is sitting on a treasure trove of user data, but they have had trouble leveraging that data to create effective advertising programs.
By monitoring the rest of the Web and targeting their ads based on user behavior elsewhere, they seem to be admitting that they do not, in fact, have the holy grail of advertising and they may not be the Google-killer they have been lauded as. Sourcing data from outside of Facebook seems to be Facebook’s first step into the standards-driven ad world.
The central promise of Facebook has always been that they have better data than anyone else because their users share everything with them. However, one of the biggest issues for marketers is how to best leverage that data. Facebook provides limited and proprietary ad formats making display advertising cumbersome. Their method of targeting interest-based ads does not fit the search marketing mold, making simple copy and paste of search campaigns difficult as well.
This move is also a blow to Facebook’s trailblazing image. They were supposed to rewrite the rules on how advertising is conducted. Their ad format is their ad format, and marketers can either fit their mold or they can go elsewhere. This strategy worked for Google, who forced ads into 95 characters of text and set the standard for text ads online. But it is not working for Facebook. That they need to look elsewhere for data is an admission that they cannot rewrite the rules of advertising the way Google did.
This is not to say Facebook is waving the white flag just yet. They still have a robust ad business, mountains of data, and hundreds of millions of users. While this is certainly a big step for Facebook, there will hopefully be further integrations yet to come that will allow marketers to leverage their data. The first iteration of Facebook exchange allows advertisers to target ads within Facebook based on user behavior elsewhere. The next logical step is to export Facebook’s data to external websites to target traditional display ads. Imagine the ability to use Facebook data in RTB exchanges. Couple firsthand knowledge of a user’s interests with the massive scale of the inventory available and you have quite a compelling product.
The only thing holding Facebook back right now is likely privacy concerns. They followed users around the web with Beacon before and got burned. They will enter the market carefully, but it is a pretty sure bet that they will become an RTB data provider in the near future; and then they might just become the juggernaut they are hyped to be.
Over the past 10 years, Ammon traveled a career path that has touched all facets of the search marketing business. He has managed large-scale campaigns in industries as diverse as enterprise technology, healthcare, gaming, pharmaceuticals, and tourism. Ammon has worked within search engines, with marketers, and with agencies, giving him a unique perspective on the search industry from many angles. Ammon currently spearheads the search and analytics department with TRAFFIQ, a digital media solutions provider.
by Andrew Moran (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report published Sunday, South Korea’s high-speed Internet penetration rate topped 100 percent for the first time among the group’s 34 nations.
The OECD published data in a report this weekend that highlights worldwide wireless broadband subscriptions and the average domestic high-speed Internet penetration rate. It also looked at high-speed Internet subscriptions for mobile devices.
On a global scale, the number of wireless broadband users is up 13 percent from more than a year ago for a total of 667 million (590 million in June 2011).
The OECD gave the No. 1 spot to South Korea and is the very first OECD country to surpass the 100 percent mark.Data from the agency points out that there are 100.6 subscriptions for every 100 people (due to the number of technological outlets not because of more Internet subscribers than people) and 47.6 mobile subscriptions for every 100 citizens. The Asian country’s rate is up from 89.8 percent from the year prior.
South Korea edged out Sweden, which garnered 98 percent, followed by Finland with 87.8 percent, Japan with 82.4 percent, Denmark with 81.5 percent, Norway with 77.9 percent and the United States with 76.1 percent.
This report suggested that Mexico, Turkey and Hungary were at the bottom as they garnered 7.7 percent, 8.9 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively.
Both analysts and market experts say the high-speed Internet penetration rate is due to the extension of smartphones, reports the Korean Herald (via Google Translate). Furthermore, South Korea’s fast networks have permitted applications to become the precedent for much of the smartphone users.
Meanwhile, Switzerland was on the top of the list for fixed broadband Internet.
The report showed that the European nation had 39.9 subscribers for everyone 100 inhabitants, while Netherlands (39.1) and Denmark (37.9) followed.Chile (11.1), Mexico (10.3) and Turkey (10.1) were last on the list.
This article was originally published in Digital Journal [link]
by Leigh Goessl (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)
Washington state is changing the dynamic of voter registration this week. According to several media reports, in the very near future there will be an app that will allow residents to register to vote through Facebook.
Facebook is integrated with many facets of daily living, but Washington’s initiative is a first. The state has been allowing online registration since 2008, and was the second state to do so. Currently, only 13 states allow online voter registration, none of which involve Facebook.
Reportedly, the state wants to simplify the process for voters and make it easy for people to register. Facebook users will be able to access the application from Washington’s secretary of state Facebook page.
“In this age of social media and more people going online for services, this is a natural way to introduce people to online registration and leverage the power of friends on Facebook to get more people registered,” Shane Hamlin, the state’s co-director of elections told the Associated Press.
According to Mashable, the voter registration app has been designed by Microsoft.Linking up with Rock the Vote, Washington state’s voter registration page will also be embedded into that site in an effort to reach out to the younger voters.
Ars Technica reports Hamlin described how it will work: “Your name and date of birth are pulled from Facebook profile, then it operates exactly as it does if you’re not in Facebook. Our state database checks to see if you’re already registered. If you are, it will take you to MyVote service, [where] you can update registration information. You also need a Washington state ID or driver’s license. We do another real-time check to match that this is a real person who is registering.”
Once a person registers to vote through the Facebook app, users will be able to “Like” the app and recommend it to friends. Hamlin told the media that Facebook will not have access to Washington’s database, he noted that registrants would be giving information to the state agency, not Facebook.
Although, according to Mashable, there may be some collection of data by third parties.
Washington residents can expect to see this app launched sometime this week.
This article was originally published in Digital Journal [Link]
by Lesley Lanir (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)
Bought by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion in stock, YouTube has changed from being a place for uploading videos, to a popular news site for news organizations, and professional and citizen journalists.
Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism examined 15 months’ worth of the most popular news videos on YouTube’s “news & politics” channel from January 2011 to March 2012.
The PEJ team began by tracking 295 news videos during the 15-month period. However, 35 videos were removed from YouTube before the research was completed, so a sample of 260 videos was used.
For each week, the researchers identified the five most weekly videos that received the most views and looked into:
• video type and length
• popular topics
• the producers
• who uploaded them
Popular videos topics were Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami, Russian Elections and Middle East Unrest.
The results of the research showed that citizens are uploading their own news video creations and are also avidly viewing and sharing videos produced by professionals. Almost 40% of the most watched videos were identified as from citizens.
It was also seen that news organizations are using ‘citizen content’ within their reports and that clear ethical standards have not been developed on how to correctly attribute the video content being uploaded and shared.
The researchers also noted that:
• News organizations sometimes post content filmed by citizen eyewitnesses without attribution.
• Citizens are posting copyrighted material without permission and the origin of some material cannot be identified.
All this can lead to falsified news reports with the viewers having no way of verifying what they are watching.
PEJ listed the following as the key findings of their study:
• Popular news videos tend to depict natural disasters or political upheaval.
• News events are short-lived but they can outperform even the biggest entertainment videos.
• Citizens play a significant role in supplying and producing footage.
• Citizens are also responsible for posting a lot of the videos originally produced by news outlets.
• Personalities are not a main driver of the top news videos.
• Unlike in traditional TV news, the length of the most popular news videos on YouTube vary greatly.
Digital Journal contacted Amy Mitchell, Deputy Director of Pew Research Center’s PEJ to find out more.
Why do you think people are turning to YouTube for News videos?
The YouTube platform offers a new form of video journalism. Individuals can bear witness to events in a new and powerful way. As with other social and web-based media it also allows people to watch these moments on their own agenda, and to share them with others.
Are you surprised at the type of news videos being viewed?
There is a wide variety of videos in the mix of most viewed across these 15 months. In some cases they are major international events that were also covered heavily in the mainstream media. But in other cases, they demonstrate the way that as in blogs and other social media more obscure events can quickly gather massive interest. One element that was rather consistent was the event be centered around events rather than people – which supports the idea of bearing witness to events. Fully 65% of the videos studied did not feature any one individual.
Are you surprised at the types of videos available, the quality etc.
One finding that stood out was the complex interplay between citizens and news organizations. All stages of the process—Capture, production, posting– the data show both citizens and news organizations involved in different ways depending on the video and the news events. There is also a solid mix of raw footage and edited, with citizens and news organizations offering a mix of both.
Do you think adding a video enhances interest and pumps up views no matter what the news story?
It is unwise to make vast generalizations like that. Certainly certain events are more visually oriented than others and there are hundreds and thousands of videos that attract very few viewers. That said, more and more, producers of information are thinking about a multi-media approach, using all four methods of consuming information: visual, audio, text-based and graphical.
Do you think more people in the future would rather watch videos than news on TV?
Again, I would prefer not to answer such general questions like that. Network news offers something different than videos on YouTube and there are still somewhere around 20 million people watching network evening news daily.
See the the full PEJ study and report: YouTube & News
This article originally appeared in Digital Journal [Link]