Friday, June 30, 2006

Second Life for Dummies

TrendWatching's recent trend newsletter is all about Second Life; well, virtual worlds. In case you forgot what Second Life is, check out my posts on Electric Sheep and Second Life. Reindeer has been a big proponent of bringing brands into Second Life since we first became a part of the world. There are enormous opportunities for brands to connect with early adopters, opinion leaders and trend setters by creating consumer-centric, entertaining promotions inside Second Life. But, as TrendWatching points out, brands have been reticent to jump in.

This newsletter is a good piece on what is truly "revolutionary" (I am not a fan of this word) about virtual worlds like Second Life and why brands should get involved. Many trend-folk use impressive words like YOUniversal branding, Brand You, Minipreneur, Insperiences, and TRYvertising to describe it.

In fact, it isn't all that revolutionary or surprising for anyone with an understanding of the human psyche. Humans like the feeling of control. We want to feel in control of ourselves and our surroundings.

Most importantly, we want to feel in control of our destiny - Buddhism, Wicca, Islam...etc. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is basic psychology. Second Life, and other MMOGs, have brilliantly addressed this need for control by creating spaces where people can have complete control over their interaction, development, commitment, social network and time. It's especially attractive for younger people who don't have these types of freedoms in real life yet. It is cheap, easy to use, constantly running, and always different. The net result is that trend setting teens are flocking to Second Life and are spending hours each day engaged with its content.

So why haven't brands flocked to Second Life the way they should have? TrendWatching is equally confused:
What's somewhat surprising is that so few brands are really jumping in with both feet, even though the conditions are very favourable. Online worlds exist, consumers are living in them, they don't mind brands joining in (to a certain degree, of course) and a host of firms and agencies are ready to assist newcomers.
Well, the word is getting out and brands are beginning to get involved. Things will get a lot hairier over the next two years in Second Life as brands do like sheep and follow the leader. Increased clutter will result in residents that are harder to reach than they are now.

So, in anticipation of this growth, why not call Reindeer and find out how your brand can get involved in Second Life?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What's your Dilly...Tag?

Announcing a new online social service for your digital persona - DillyTag. DillyTag is basically a place for everything you-related to be listed independently of the actual sites they're based on.

It's an online profile that isn't dependent on whether the latest, greatest social network survives the month or the not. It features a simple interface, pretty colors and a quick way to get your DillyTag up and running for the world to see. Once completed, you have an easy to remember ID that provides immediate access to everything else that's got anything to do with you online. This service is, consequently, brought to you by Reindeer.

What's your Dilly?

Friday, June 23, 2006

New York Times: YouTube is a credible source

It seems a staffer at our favorite small town newspaper - the New York Times - is blurring the line between work and play a little too much. Connie Chung is always a newsworthy subject but, it's quite obvious from this article where Jacques Steinberg got his lead.

I admit, this is purely conjecture, but I'll wager 2 pence that Jacques was doing "research" on for at least an hour before coming across his big break...Connie Chung can't sing or dance! As you'll see, he even included a screenshot from YouTube for all of us. Next time I need to break a story, I know where to look first.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Your mom's social network

Introducing a social network for your mom. MommyBuzz, the recently launched social network from Moxie Moms, is targeting your mom with an online service that is about moms connecting with moms; moms who want to exchange ideas & get together for fun.
MommyBuzz is the perfect solution for busy moms who want to connect with other moms, stay in touch with friends and acquaintances, and get involved with groups of moms who share a common interest. MommyBuzz allows moms to connect whenever they have time: naptime, late night, at the office or whenever,

Obviously, MommyBuzz is attempting to capitalize on a problem they perceive exists with modern moms - they are too busy and don't have time to look for the few social opportunities that exist just for them. They are also betting on soccer moms who work to be Net-savvy enough to find and participate in MommyBuzz.

I am a supporter of niche business, but I'm not sure the audience is there to justify a service like MommyBuzz at this point. My mom has enough trouble figuring out email and Microsoft Office. She would have a hard time wrapping her head around the usefulness of MommyBuzz (granted, she is not in her thirties but she does have a thirteen year-old daughter).

For those moms who are interested, MommyBuzz provides some basic social networking tools for you.
My Buzz: create a personal profile webpage to share interests and photos with friends
and other users in the community

Clubs: create and join mommy clubs with other moms sharing your interests. Clubs have
message boards and live chat rooms for members to stay in touch.

Blogs: keep a blog (i.e., weblog) about whatever...keep it private or share it with your
friends and family; read other public blogs by moms and experts

Classifieds: find and sell used mommy gear

Forums: find and share information about your favorite topics

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blogosphere News Flash

The following is a tip of the hat to blogosphere groupthink and to the power of Word of Mouth online:

The big piece of news this week is that Om Malik quit Business 2.0 to develop his mega popular tech blog GigaOm. He accepted funding from a VC and was set to announce his new gig on GigaOm at the end of the month. But, guess what, the blogosphere broke the story before he did! Valleywag, a tech gossip rag, posted an internal email from editor Josh Quittner announcing his departure.
A day later, the story was all over the blogosphere and Om’s blog broke the 5,000 rank on Alexa. That means he had between 20,000 and 80,000 views per day.

Well, I’ve read Om’s blog for a good six months now and it is generally interesting, though not as informative as it could be. He has a unique and informed opinion on complex technology related topics. With a good chunk of change to fund a daily life of GigaOm, I imagine the content will become fuller and more interesting.

We’ll wait and see…and so will all the other blog writers. Then we’ll all write a similar story about it’s progress.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Google Spreadsheets Makes News. Surprise, Surprise.

The big announcement of the week was Google Spreadsheets. It's a very cool thing indeed though, as others have noted including Michael Arrington, it's not entirely new. What I love about it is the ability to invite others to work on a sheet simultaneously with you and chat at the same time. You can actually see who is viewing the sheet.

There are definitely some key ingredients missing. Among them, the ability to create borders and merge columns. The formulas are great though. Take a look through it. You might just like it.

Habbo Hotel should be in Dubai with Armani

Mashable reports that Habbo Hotel, the highly popular cartoonish virtual world for chatting, is on track to hit sales of $77 million USD. That's 77,000,000 dollar bills in sales for what is essentially an online messaging service. I have the feeling this is flying WAY under the radar of a lot of marketing folks, although there are advertisements for real world products in game. Luckily, advertisers are quickly catching on to this area. I expect to see a lot more action in the next year from major brands as the buzz circulates.

Interestingly enough, Habbo Hotel doesn't make money by selling memberships or land like other online games. Habbo Hotel makes money by charging users for money. Users can purchase in-game currency, or "coins", with a credit card, debit card or cell phone. A coin costs about twenty cents and users purchase items in-game with coins.

I've posted on Second Life several times before and I firmly believe that "virtual worlds" can become a prevalent platform for interacting with the web besides straight browsing. Second Life is already capable of displaying blogs, flickr photos, skype services, video broadcasts, browsing the web and in-game chatting. The word is that Second Life will be announcing a built-in web browser soon (the way to browse right now is through a hack). Imagine being able to where a dress in Second Life and having it sent to you in real life from the in-game retail outlet!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Digital gets real

Recall for a moment a time when you spotted the perfect rose standing tall among the tulips. It had everything; voluptuous curves, the impression of fragility and tenderness yet every bit the matriarch of the garden. The following is probably what did not go through your head as you looked:
"Truly, this natural beauty is almost too much to behold. If I don't avert my eyes I will surely go blind and yet, I'd rather claw them out than stop staring."
No. I doubt any of us, except those luddites among us, have thought this way. I feel certain that you, like most of us, probably compared the rose to a painting or illustration of a rose.
Inner dialogue...
"Hey, that looks just like a picture. Cool...I should take a picture."

Let's agree that a real rose is much more aesthetically pleasing than a picture, if only because it has three dimensions not too mention texture, scent and reactivity. So the philosophical question is, would we rather look at a recreation of beauty than actual beauty? Hmm. It's deep, I know. But here is the real point of this entry.

Sony BRAVIA is a commercial of mass proportions. In the commercial, 250,000 bouncy balls are let loose on a very steep street in San Francisco. Mayhem ensues.

Twenty years ago, a commercial like this would have "wowed" a good majority of viewers. While the nature of the video is still interesting, digital saturation in media can take quite a bit of the "zazz" from the video. Today is fun with words day, by the way.

While this video could easily be created with digital effects, it is actually not. Those are real balls being let loose on a real street in San Francisco!
"WOW! It looks like digital!"
Has my world really come to this? I guess I need a good weekend secluded in the woods.

Here's the video:

- Marc

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Reindeer Featured in AdWeek

Thanks to Brian @ AdWeek for covering the Panasonic Online Video Fest on AdWeek

Check Out Article about the Panasonic Online Video Fest.