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Interactive ’08

You all know I’m always up for finding a good way to translate an idea/argument/principle into words, but sometimes there really is no better way to do that than through an interactive application. Case in point: taxes.

Obama Tax Calculator

Taxes are complicated. Taxes are boring. Taxes are different for everyone, so they’re hard to effectively explain. What the Obama team’s done here is an excellent example of how an interactive application can cut right through all of that. Simply and easily, it takes a complicated proposal and breaks it down in a way that speaks to people on a personal and direct level while demonstrating the stark difference between the candidate and his competition on this issue. Doesn’t get better than that!

New Google advertising formats coming…

So marketers will again have new options for ad placement, plus new and exciting ad formats on Google properties. I think Danny Sullivan summed it up best when he said “The economic times are getting tougher, so Google’s doing its own form of “Drill, baby, drill” and tapping into reservoirs it has left untouched until now.”

Here’s a summary of the new ad formats in the works, but you can read Danny’s article on Advertising Age here.

1. “Show Products” Ads — Very cool for ecommerce sites. This ad format provides a little plus symbol under the ad copy that says “Show Products From [Merchant Name]”. Users can click on the plus symbol and product listings with images will appear beneath the ad, pushing competitors ads down the page (extra cool). Will we see this in time for Christmas?

2. Google is testing ads on Google Image Search – Banner ads (yep) have started appearing on Google Image search, near the bottom of the page. People have also seen adwords listings with images next to the ad copy.

3. Google is testing “Promoted Videos” on YouTube – Just like Adwords for video. These ads run alongside the normal YouTube search results, and allow advertisers to promote their video content on YouTube on a CPC basis.

4. YouTube “Click to Buy” links – Now you can see these links below some videos. It allows viewers to purchase products related to the videos they are viewing. It generates some revenue for Google, helps calm some compyright infringement issues, and it helps publishers convert viewers to a sale. Very clever. It makes me wonder how many times I would have bought something directly from my TV, after viewing a commercial, if I had that option. Probably too many times, especially during those super motivating infommercials…

5. More ads at Google Maps – We’re starting to see text ads show up beneath the map area on some maps.

Cheaper gas = Free Software

Just spreading the news that CodeWeavers CrossOver Mac is free tomorrow. It’s a funny story how it happened – 3 months ago Codeweavers CEO Jeremy White issued a “Lame Duck Challenge” to President GDubbs, claiming that he would offer his software for free if the President accomplished any of five goals during his last 6 months in office.

  1. Gas drops to $2.79/gallon
  2. Milk drops to $3.50/gallon
  3. US jobs exceed 138 million
  4. The Twin Cities median home price returns to $233,000
  5. Osama Bin Laden is captured
Well…due to the recent economic downturn (not necessarily due to GW), gas in St. Paul his $2.79/gallon. And tomorrow Mac users will rejoice in free software. More

Remember when…

…Hyundai first introduced cars here in the US?  They were tiny, egg shaped, econo cars that, if I remember correctly, you could get for $5k or $6k.  Apparently they’ve come a long way in 15 years or so.  They’ve got their new Genesis that they’re advertising, and they’ve got a pretty slick microsite for that model.

http://www.hyundaigenesis.com

I’m pretty impressed.  Makes good use of video, some cool pseudo 3D stuff, and… I got there by clicking on a banner ad, so their ads are good too.  Pretty nice campaign altogether.

Google Speech Recognition in Videos

I was just reading a SearchEngineLand article stating that Google has rolled out audio indexing (GAudio) for YouTube videos on the YouTube political channel and will soon roll it out to all YouTube. That’s very exciting stuff, as it presents a great opportunity for companies who publish great content videos to start seeing their videos rank for important keyword phrases, and increases the relevancy of video rankings. It’s a necessary advancement beyond using meta data to rank vidoes.

Granted, it also presents the opportunity for keyword spam in video content, ie “Governor Palin, we need you to mention ‘Maverick’ 3 times in this speech, and put strong emphasis on it once at the beginning.”

Riding in gears 6 and 7 just got cheaper

The new bailout bill does officially include a tax credit for employers to help reimburse bicycle commuting employees.  It’s a $20/month credit per cyclo-commuting employee so that the employer can reimburse for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee “for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.”

So, that new bike you’ve been eyeballing at the bike shop, now’s the time get it.  Maybe save $20 to $40 a month in gas, plus $20 from the gov.

http://www.bicycleretailer.com/news/newsDetail/1878.html

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