This does seem to be using similar functionality to what Google launched in November, for their product search expansion, but here the brands are listed at the top of the results. The big brands are getting more exposure in the Google search results than possibly ever before.
As someone trying to kickstart a start-up on a limited budget, I'm keeping an eye on the rapidly changing search landscape.
The revolution with Adwords was -- despite the obfuscation of the secret ranking algorithm -- something everyone could join and compete with the big brands. This move seems tip the scales in the favor of the big fellas.
A few quick reactions:
It doesn't appear that you can "buy" your way in to the recommendations.
The benefit to brands is secondary. By pushing people to a branded search, from "digital cameras" to "Sony digital cameras" they are reducing the CPC for the bigger brands, assuming they are selling direct.
It's unclear how this would impact a retail player such as Best Buy, unless they have some sort of "official Sony digital camera" relationship.
This is all based on Google's Trust metrics, something that could reinforce the market leaders rather than encourage innovation.
I'm not condemning this move by Google, but we should keep an eye out for their definition of quality and trust.
We [Apple] are the most focused company that I know of or have read of or have any knowledge of. We say no to good ideas every day. We say no to great ideas in order to keep the amount of things we focus on very small in number so that we can put enormous energy behind the ones we do choose. The table each of you are sitting at today, you could probably put every product on it that Apple makes, yet Apple's revenue last year was $40 billion. I think any other company that could say that is an oil company. That's not just saying yes to the right products, it's saying no to many products that are good ideas, but just not nearly as good as the other ones. I think this is so ingrained in our company that this hubris you talk about that happens to companies that are successful and sole role in life is to get bigger, I can tell you the management team at Apple would never let that happen. That's not what we're about. Small list of things to focus on.
Most of the blog coverage of yesterday’s Facebook Developer Garage focuses on the above functionality changes and is missing the real beef of what’s going on. The changes in the Facebook Platform Policy are much more important than the functionality changes.
Zynga is the master of viral distribution and many others copy their best practices (one notable exception being Playfish, who is quite reserved on their viral features). If I were to exaggerate, Facebook has taken a long hard look at what Zynga and its copycats do and decided to forbid many of their most successful practices:
What Zynga is showing is that it is willing to copy, then innovate on high-quality games perfected by others, and use its market size, cash, and optimization techniques to do that. Its cross-promotion efforts include strategically placed buttons for Café World in other games, including hits like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, YoVille and more. In terms of money, we’ve heard from multiple sources that Zynga is spending $50 million on Facebook ads this year. Meanwhile, Zynga isn’t just coming out with quality new games. It keeps pumping out new versions of existing games, like its recent expansions of Mafia Wars.
Social game leader Zynga are reportedly spending $50MM/year to advertise on Facebook. From an advertising perspective, it is a slam dunk: highly targeted prospects with easy, immediate conversion opportunity and positive reinforcement (the viral part of the game) encouraging repeat business. It will be interesting to see what kind of site changes Facebook is going to be willing to make to improve the experience for game companies like Zynga.
It has been interesting for me to see friends and family in the 50+ age bracket get addicted, er, involved, in the Mafia Wars and now Farmville. These games have brought a lot of dedicated users to Facebook from a demographic that Facebook is not necessarily targeting. The game companies are in a unique position as a source of acquisition and ad revenue. And the opportunity for more revenue with intelligent virtual economy partnerships.
Side note: Inside Social Games is a pretty good site. Seems like a natural acquisition / partnership with the larger tech news sites.
* If you say, out loud "the internet is going to change my business" you are f**ked. It already has changed your business. All that is over. But there's some good news, it probably hasn't changed that much. All you need to do is work out which bits of your business are good and then concentrate on those.
* You work too late. Really. It's no good for you. Stop it.
This begs the question will there be two webs -- The AM web
and the FM web? The answer is yes and it already exists. The FM web is where we
go to for rich media experiences - videos, gaming – where we go to have fun. Because these
experiences immerse us, the type of marketing should be different. The AM consumption
behavior to ‘get what we need and move on’ lends itself much better to DR where
in more immersive digital experiences brand messages should wash over so we
recall them as we walk through the supermarket.
This brings us back to the misalignment. Revenue starved publishers
and budget hungry advertisers have been infatuated with demand gen dollars for
display and have gone so far as to rip DR a new one (while gladly
taking their ad network backed money). This desire for more media budget has
also manifested a false and unaccountable sense that DR ads diminish the publishers
own brand value. It’s all a bunch of crap both from a user sentiment perspective and
The lesson is that understanding the way people consume
media is paramount to optimizing it for revenue generation both with your
original content and your advertiser content.
Jonathan Mendez has a nice analogy of FM and AM radio advertising and the web. Different content and different audiences require the different ad content and types; trying to fit one size to all is not working.