Archive for May, 2005

Advertisement RSS & Podcasting

25 May 2005

Many bloggers have expressed their concerns towards the appearance of advertisements in the RSS landscape. Although it was an inevitable evolution, many have seen it as a violation of this wonderful ex-ad-free tool. So how about podcasting. Imagine listening to someone’s post when all of the sudden there’s a commercial break. Then what?

If you look at the history the internet and its related spin-off products have, you’ll see advertisement is following every technological evolution very closely. Marketers just ‘know’ how to turn a communicative source into a money cow that can be milked until it’s dry. You’ve seen it happen in papers, on the radio, on tv and on the internet.

After the internet and the multimedia surrounding it, we had to wait a bit until the next communication device was launched. Some attempts have been made in between the internet-boom and ‘blogging’, but none were so successful as the public notepad. Everyone has had it with the sites that turned into every search engine’s top twenty that were stuffed with ads only, so marketeers started focussing on the blogs. Just check on blogspot and you’ll pretty soon find blogs that are floating in advertisement, that pull many visitors but only have strictly commercial purposes. So people started avoiding these publicity-blogs.

So yes, there has been a breakthrough – again – in reaching out to possible consumers and in approaching them to communicate in a personal and yet still corporate fashion, where the ads just blend in.
A little while ago ‘Axe’ (the deodobrand) did some wonderful things with characterblogging. A very keened out marketingplan that has proven to be very effective. Instead of offering ads to people, people now request to see the ads. That is a very big u-turn.

In between publicity-blogs and characterblogs came RSS. Where can it fit in? It’s almost a fact that every news provider or blogger has an RSS feed or likewise format by which readers can remotely check what’s new.
It’s a very direct method of communicating, because again users need to subscribe in order to receive the info and by doing so, they express their intrest in the things being told on this blog or newssite. A very good source for marketeers to specifically target potential buyers and send them a message. So what is wrong with advertisement through RSS?

The fact is, the user didn’t request to receive advertisement and that’s why he feels violated. He’s subscribed to a feed and did so while it was ad-free. Therefor he expects it to remain ad-free, unless he has expressed his explicit consent towards the publisher of the feed.

What the RSS user needs to understand is the following :

Perhaps the publisher of the feed has noticed the Click-Through ratings are dropping when everybody remains in their feed reader, where the news is served whilst hot. Perhaps advertisers on this publisher’s site saw that too and decided to advertise less, depriving the publisher of income.
Now the publisher needs to find new means to gather financial support,
and publishing advertisement in a popular RSS feed is one solution to do so. I’ve posted an article about the guidelines of ads in RSS last week.

Some things you could consider too :

If you’re on Pay-Pal and wish to notify people they are allowed to contribute something to keep you working, you could add an item in your RSS feed named ‘Contribute to keep this feed ad-free’ in which you could explain your situation and the importance of donating.

It’s very important to respect existing readers, as a publisher, I can’t stress that enough. Given the ease of unsubscribing, you can’t afford to stuff the feed with ads all of the sudden. That’ll cost you valuable readers. Instead, try to let them participate in the procedure of the transition to a sponsored feed, by polling them first about their
thoughts. It’ll make your users feel more involved and connected too.

Are there limits on this RSS thing for the end user ?

Nathan Weinberg came up with the following hypothesis about the capacity of the RSS readers :

Imagine for a minute that RSS has replaced all traditional methods of internet information retrieval for you, save search. How many RSS feeds would that total? For an average web surfer, I would suspect about 100. For a power user, 500 (this assumed every single bit of information on the internet were available via RSS).


RSS will hit a wall as the limitations of the clients destroy the content. I hope to god its not the last one, because I’m convinced RSS has the potential to eventually replace the web as we know it. 90% of my web time is spent in RSS.

About podcasting :

Given the fast evolutionary progress, it’ll only be a matter of time when a podcast transmission is interrupted for a commercial, the same way it has been going on for the radiostations. I believe it’s pretty obvious that a publisher with a few thousand listeners can need the money to pay for his bandwidth or hosting . This is a crucial problem, especially for smalltime broadcasters who’re now stashing the audio-files on their own little hosting accounts. 50 or 100 MB is large for a site, but incredibly petite for an archive of a speech-diary.

Are there limits on podcasting ?

What is the limit of individual and independent podcasts? I say it is the same limit as the server has that hosts a spoken archive. In the end, every user should either join a big hosting company or delete his old archives, and by doing so, he in fact deletes his broadcasting history.

The limits on the other end of the line are the user’s caching possibilities, and the capacity of every one’s HD. More than with any other medium, downloading podcasts every day really fills up the hard disk fast. Stocking problems should be the first limit the end user will experience

In conlusion :

Advertisement will appear everywhere mankind goes. Shortly after the first human will have set foot on Mars, there will be a sign saying :
‘DisneySpaceâ„¢ opening soon’ or a real estate representative that sells
insurance and houses. Because you never know.

RSS takes away traffic from the sites behind the feeds, the loss of visitors and ad-clickers needs to be compensated in order to keep the site and thus the feed alive. There’s little more to say to it.

Podcasting is not so popular ar RSS, but is gaining in popularity as you read. Logical thing to happen is that advertisements will be broadcasted either announced or ad-random while listening to a person speak. It isn’t going to be very different from listening to the radio, I guess. Except that the ads itself could be very more targeted, because of the clearly marked audience.

In his comment-section, Nathan replied to a theory I’ve summoned after his predictions of the future of RSS.

Q : [...] B) There should be something like a ‘pay to receive ad free rss’ or an ‘instant authorize rss’ service, since many newssites require logins and many professional sites are to be paid for.

A : [...] Don’t be surprised if RSS feeds start to cost money. They’re big losers at the moment for publishers, and if they become more popular, they’ll go subscription. If an aggregator company was smart, it could convince all the premium sites to band under a single subscription band, like cable television, and that would be your monthly fee for all the premium RSS content. Then the aggregator makes money, the publisher makes money, and you aren’t paying a lot, but getting a lot. I’d pay for it.

So would I.


The Musical Baton

25 May 2005

It took me a little while to find the time to post this, because my days are about six hours too short to get a good night’s rest. Schoolwork is filling most of my nights and the countdown to the last big effort has begun. Starting June 4, I’ll be pushing trees in my brain and reproduce it in ink the day after. Luckily there is music to ease my mind. And here’s where the baton kicks in.

I got the baton from Sken, a student in AudioVisualTechniques. Or something. :) Thanks. It’s my first baton on this blog. [His Blog]


2.785 Files, divided over 92 folders, representing 12.9 Gb. It’s all that’s left after the PC crashes I went through, it’s what I have on CD. My last download from the internet dates from
more than a year ago.


Naked on the inside from noaneal - Listen to her songs : HERE

Noa’s a girl from my school who’s just really good in what she does.

I purchased it on the official release concert, to support the artist of course. There are pictures online… click here. (I’m on the eleventh picture in gallery number nine.)

If you are being redirected to the main page, and a pop-up opens to
sign up for a mailing, it’s time to change to another browser than MSIE


Somehow I even got my picture taken by some press photographer.
Groupie Coolz0r. Hahah. Well, it was fun. She’s adorable. That’s ok.


The album of the French Lyricist Antilop Sa. Smooth vibed hiphop, pure and very catchy. Must try : L’encre en guise de larmes.

Good tracks : All of them.
Really good : ‘L’été sera chaud‘ and ‘Attaque à Mic Armé


Eazy EThe Players Club every time I drive off the yard into life…

XzibitThe Foundation from when I met a girl who’s learned me stuff.

Joe DassinL’été Indien strangely reminds me of my dad and the sea.

Lucy Pearl - Don’t Mess With My Man what my woman needs to sing.

Tina TurnerPrivate Dancer … what comes after singing? :)

Well, in fact, there’s a lot of music I really like. All of the songs I have all carry memories. It’s weird, but every track has a face or a situation I can relate it to. These five are among the very best, but as you can see, they really differ a lot from each other when it comes to ‘genre’ or ’style’.


I’d like to know what Nathan Weinberg has on his HD or on his iPod.
Same goes for Philipp Lenssen and Tom De Bruyne.

I could also pass it on to Frantix and Randy Charles Morin. That’s five.
I don’t know if they’re all going to do it. That’s their choice. But I will ask it politely.

By the way, it’s going to be a slow week in posting again…

UPDATE 25|05°05 – 4:01 AM

Randy’s already posted his baton. I didn’t know he was such an artist.
I think it’s very cool that you can get to know people a little by their
choice of music. That totally rules. Coding and Composing. How nifty.

UPDATE 25|05°05 – 2:46 PM

This morning just before I left for school, I saw Nathan has posted his ’some sort of baton’ too. :) I thought he’d be rockin’ it old school, and that seems to be sort of confirmed now. What about The Velvet Underground ? I bet you could dig that. I’m going to check the Blue Oyster thing, because I’ve never heard of that band before.

Also, while paying very much attention in class this morning, I’ve seen Frantix getting it on in English too. She writes good poems. Really.
Y’all should learn to read Flemish once. That’d be cool. Wonder when Google is going to release that translator thing, so we could all read things in ‘other’ languages that are available on the www.

That leaves just Tom and Philipp to do their thing, but it could be their blogs don’t really display personal info. No sweat. The baton lives on.


Only For The Best: Das Keyboard

23 May 2005

If you are an elite programmer who can write sophisticated code under tight deadlines, someone who makes impossible projects possible; or a Silver Web Surfer your colleagues turn to when they need IT advice: this keyboard is for you. Because your keyboard reflects your status as one of the elite.

Das Keyboard

All keyboards are not born equal

Das Keyboard is built from premium keyswitch technology that rivals or surpasses the best available keyboard today. The keys are factory tested to withstand over 20 million keystrokes, providing the ultimate in comfort and durability. The keyboard also features three Windows application keys.

Das Keyboard is compatible with all modern operating systems and has a Windows menu key that also works under Linux. Macintosh addicts be will happy to know this keyboard works well for them too.

Type up to 100% faster in a few weeks !

Since there is no key to look at when typing, your brain will quickly adapt and memorize the key positions and you will find yourself typing a lot faster with more accuracy in no time. It is amazing how slow typers almost double their speed and quick typers become blazing fast!

Visit the site : click here.


Ice Ice Polo

22 May 2005

Check out this way too cool campaign for Volkswagen’s Polo. This is very very nifty. As part of a forthcoming advertising campaign Volkswagen contacted The Ice Box and have let them deliver a life-sized ice sculpture of their Polo Twist model.


From the London SE1 Community Site :

“The sculpture was made from 9.5 tonnes of ice imported from Canada, by a company which specialises in ice carving, The Ice Box. The Polo took around 350 hours to create, and was hand-carved by three sculptors in a freezer at -10 degrees. The final carving weighed around 8.5 tonnes, and was transported in 100 individually wrapped sections by ‘freezer freight’. Once installed in Belvedere Road it was gone within 12 hours. Had the sculpture been allowed to melt naturally, it would have taken around 36 to 48 hours to disappear. Ice Box managing director Philip Hughes commented: “We have worked on hundreds of projects for major brands throughout the UK and Europe, mainly for live communications and events. However, the Polo Twist is the largest project for a specific shoot and single piece of advertising.”

The images of the ice car will be used in a four-week national press advertising campaign for the Twist – which comes ‘chilled’ with free air conditioning – starting on Thursday 27 May.

From Square Meal The Magazine:

“We do a lot of promotion work because ice is an engaging material that lends itself well to advertising, explains Phil, who recently played an instrumental role in the launch of the new VW Polo (the ice car was all over the papers and even made a brief appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross).
One of the most exciting things we do is being market makers, says Philip. We always give clients three quotes what they’ve asked for, a souped-up version of what they’ve asked for and a completely over-the-top version of what they’ve asked for and I’d say about 50 per cent of clients go for the latter, mostly because what we’ve suggested to them has never even crossed their minds. With education top of the priority list as Philip takes over as ISES president this summer, we may indeed be entering a new Ice Age.”

Read the article from Square Meal on the Ice Box Team
The London SE1 Community Site


Stealth Marketing : Reverse-Shoplifting

22 May 2005

Starting in 1989 with the Barbie Liberation Organisation, replacing products in warehouses and grocery stores has been in the shadow zone for a very long time. Many of the actions undertaken by guerilla-shoppers have reached the news, and are signs of a subculture that’s worth looking at. A good move from consumers to market other consumers, but bad for an existing brand, for you no longer see the brandname or characteristics consumers tend to look for whilst shopping.

What is reverse-shoplifting?

To covertly place merchandise on display in a store. Primarily used in guerrilla ad campaigns, tactical media projects, and art installations.

Is it legal ? No. You can’t replace a producer’s branded product with a custom made design of your own. Otherwise Pepsi could go ’round and start decorating Coca-Cola cans and vice-versa, in the end resulting in big confusion with the consumer. No need to say a confused shopper is very easily drawn to tempting products, so chances are that by reverse-shoplifting too many products of one brand, this brand will lose some of its precious consumers and consequently will sue the ‘artist’.

Alternative terms : shop-drop, droplift.

From the Shop-Drop Site:

Shopdropping strives to take back a share of the visual space we encounter on a daily basis. Similar to the way street art stakes a claim to public space for self expression, Shopdropping subverts commercial space and activities for artistic purposes.

reverse 2

reverse 1

More about the results of ‘Teen Talk Barbie’ and ‘Talking Duke G.I.Joe’ :

Johnson isn’t alone. The BLO’s hack has evolved, ironically, into what Howard Rheingold has only half-joking called “an underground business opportunity.” A BLO member told NPR’s Scott Simon, “Nobody wants to return [the dolls]…We think that our program of putting them back on the shelves [benefits] everyone: The storekeepers make money twice, we stimulate the economy, the consumer gets a better product and our message gets heard.” (Mark Dery in 1994)

“Calling themselves the Barbie Disinformation Organization, the group strikes not at the dolls themselves, but at the packaging that envelops and contextualizes them. They print up stickers in a style identical to traditional Mattel packaging and slap them on Barbie products on the shelves (front and back), effectively replacing Mattel’s pleas to the daddy’s little girls of the world with their own. And what tow-headed little princess wouldn’t want the “Barbie Lesbian Barber Shop” (formerly “Barbie’s Stylin’ Salon”), complete with instructions on how to give Barbie “Dyke Haircut nos 1 & 2″. And what father wouldn’t want her daughter to beam in psychotic gratitude for “Lipstick Lesbian Betty” (formerly “Barbie’s Best Friend Betty”. There’s something for the young presumably pre-date raping males as well- somehow “Secret Agent #007 — with uppercut punch action!” Becomes “Corporate Drone Dan — with Gropomatic(tm) Fanny-Patting Grip”

To put in in persepective : Imagine an artist redesigning the Google or Yahoo index and ‘hacking’ it. Would Google or Yahoo tolerate this ?
No. Because it would confuse other users. Even if it is a real work of art, there is no way it would be appreciated. Geeks would collect the print-screen and you (the artist) would be traced and prosecuted.

So, there’s your answer from the company-side of this issue.

Article by Brigitte Greenberg (AP)
Hacking Barbie’s Voice Box by Mark Dery.
Shop-Drop Website by Relapsed
Barbie Liberation Organization

[via Larz,D.]


Google Releases CoreDumper Code

22 May 2005

The coredumper library can be compiled into applications to create core dumps of the running program — without terminating. It supports both single- and multi-threaded core dumps, even if the kernel does not natively support multi-threaded core files.

Coredumper is distributed under the terms of the BSD License.

What it is :

“A neat tool for creating GDB-readable coredumps from multithreaded applications — while the program is running.”

Excerpt from the header :

* Returns a file handle that can be read to obtain a snapshot of the
* current state of this process. If a core file could not be
* generated for any reason, -1 is returned and “errno” will be set
* appropriately. **
* This function momentarily suspends all threads, while creating a
* COW (copy-on-write) copy of the process’s address space.
* This function is neither reentrant nor async signal safe. Callers
* should wrap a mutex around the invocation of this function, if
* necessary. **
* The current implementation tries very hard to behave reasonably when * called from a signal handler, but no guarantees are made that this will * always work. Most importantly, it is the caller’s responsibility to
* make sure that there are never more than one instance of
* GetCoreDump() or WriteCoreDump() executing concurrently. **


Click here for the website

Download CoreDumper : get it here

CoreDumper header : click here

Current Google Open Source projects : click here

Product release date : 20|05|°05 – All info from Google’s pages.


Guidelines For Direct Marketing Through RSS

22 May 2005

Based on the ground rules of the netiquette and common sense, I think it’s about time to lay down some guidelines for the use of marketing techniques and advertising through RSS. Here goes.


After being contacted by an agency and agreeing to publish, it must be verified where the ads are leading to, what content the surfer gets served. The advertising companies should notify the publisher when changes will occur, with what interval, so the publisher can stay closely related to the extra content that is being added to his feed.

To prevent extreme situations in which a feed has become a generated catalog, it’s advised to publishers to not allow more than three ads per day, if your daily post count is between 10 and 20. I suggest different terms and conditions for syndicated feeds with higher numbers of posts.
Let’s say a maximum of one ad per 12 posts. That should keep both the readers and the advertizers happy.

As a publisher, you should put out a survey first to see how your audience will react to the appearance of ads in between their usual slices of information. Referring to the easyness by which users can unsubscribe, it would be wise to consider their syndication to your feed with respect and first poll the attitude towards your intended changes. Perhaps you could publish a test page that shows a preview, the way Google did with its sample of the Google Personal Homepage.

Because the readers of a feed feel the publisher alone is entirely responsible fot the content, you might consider negotiating with the ad-company itself about possible previews of the ads-to-appear, to verify their relevance. The publisher should have the right to decline publication of certain ads, if he feels they are violating the rules or values of the content they will relate to. Of course, the ad-provider should make sure the ad itself is relevant, because having to turn down too many ads will damage the relation between publisher and advertiser.


As already mentioned, you must make sure your content is at all times as much relevant as possible. Mistargeting your audience is a crucial error to make.

Feeds are short. So should your ads be. Do not include larger parts of descriptive sweettalks, stay to the core of the message.

Make sure the ad is cleary different from the offered content to make sure you do not mislead the readers, for this will only cause them to feel betrayed and this will result in massive unsibsribtions. You must at no point try to ’stealth’ the reader. Since your ad is to the point already, just come clean, it’ll be very much appreciated.


Take the time to set up an agreement you both feel comfortable with so there needs to be no re-negotiation when it comes to content filling or payments.

Make sure there is a reliable system that can track the Click-Through rate very specifically and base the payments either on the CT-system, or on a commissioned fee per effective order.

Make sure you are clear about ‘when a purchase has been made’ and ‘when the payment will be done’. Sometimes it takes weeks for cheques to arrive, so try to limit the ‘grey areas’ in the agreement.


Advertisement Through RSS

22 May 2005

From the marketer point of view, RSS is a content delivery channel that’s very targeted and can be highly relevant. A great benefit is that we can reach an audience that has voluntarily opted-in to receive a generated feed from a publisher. The message in that feed is of a certain origin to which we can easily adjust a well scaled model of an automated ad delivery. Thus reaching 100 percent of the targeted consumer, because of the 100 percent delivery rate.

With one-click unsubscribe, the consumer has complete control over the delivery of the feed. Great care must be taken in delivering advertisement through RSS feeds, not only to prevent sudden depths in the subrscription rates, but also because content aggregators display the content of your message or ad differently. You really need to understand how everything works to make sure your ad reaches the right target consumer and is displayed correctly, or at least in the right context.

Rok Hrastnik :

“The publishing business is more and more becoming a win-win-win situation for all parties involved. End-users want free content, which can, on the long-term, only be provided if there is some compensation involved for the publisher. RSS advertising makes this possible, helping publishers generate additional revenues and thus also provide better and more high-quality and high-frequency content.”

From Clickz:

‘From a marketing strategy standpoint, RSS’s ascendancy is just another indication the world always seems to find a way to route around advertising whenever it has a chance.

Consumers crave control over their media and are flocking to technologies that provide that control. RSS advertising is probably an excellent idea. But we can’t forget if we abuse the channel into consumers’ browsers, they can do what they’ve always done with TV: switch the channel.

When considering new ways to reach consumers, we can’t ignore the fact that while we weren’t looking, they seized control.”

Rok Hrastnik :

“This consequently presents a new high-relevancy factor in to the world of RSS advertising. Given the quick subscribe/unsubscribe nature of RSS, advertising will need to become more relevant and less obtrusive, or not be seen at all.”

Pamela Parker in a sit-down with FeedBurner CEO Dick Costolo :

“How RSS ads should best be targeted was something else Feedburner considered in its testing. It found readers psychologically associated an ad with the individual post in which it appeared. On a site, the ad is usually considered part of the site as a whole.”

“On RSS, Dick said, “people are paying much closer attention to the relevance of this particular ad to this specific post.” He added Feedburner reached this conclusion by listening to publisher feedback.”

This is a big challenge for many current contextual targeting technologies. Posts are often too short to provide enough information about the proper context. One answer may be to use the overall site content, rather than individual post content, as a basis for targeting.

“In its testing, Feedburner got a hint of the creative difficulties ahead for RSS advertising. Dick notes that when the company began doing trials last October, it tracked over 800 different feed aggregators. That number has grown to 1,800, including mobile aggregators, podcast-specific clients and readers used only in certain parts of the world.”

“In such an environment, how do you move beyond text-only ads and ensure your ad is displayed as you intend? Sure, you can design different creative for different clients, but can you imagine 1,800 different creative executions?”

“If RSS popularity continues to increase, and it becomes less and less a vehicle for driving site traffic but more and more its own content-viewing medium, that presents an interesting situation to publishers.”

Thoughts and examples on Dave Taylor’s blog
Read Sean Carton’s article on Clickz
Read Pamela Parker’s article on Clickz
Read Rok Hrastnik’s post on MarketingStudies
Read the article on Wired
Read the article on LockerGnome

Other sources :

Wikipedia on RSS Protocols