Archive for June, 2005

Toolbar Needed To Run FlashPlayer

28 Jun 2005

I was surfing the web and stranded on a site that refused to open. It said my FlashPlayer was outdated and that I needed the new version of Macromedia’s tool in order to be able to experience the site. There was a button that took me straight to the download section of the official dotcom, and indeed, no flash animation was playing. The auto-install took over, and that’s where things went wrong.

I have a stand-alone player that’s especially for ‘other’ browsers than IE, and when I double-click it, I get to select and pick options along the install-procedure. It goes like that with all software I know. Well, seems to me the time of custom installs has gone to a better place, because what I’ve just experienced really goes beyond my comprehensive thoughts.

Part of the freedom I have as an end-user is the fact I can or will not allow certain things to be installed. This ‘custom’ install is very well known to all people who have some sort of knowledge about pc’s and how to work with them. The entire ‘meaning’ of a personal computer is that you can personalize it.

I have a thing against toolbars. In fact, I hate toolbars. They just fill the screen and I don’t use them anyway. That’s my good right. That is my choice.

However, I no longer have a choice. Seems Macromedia forces every user that needs the new flashplayer to accept a frigging toolbar as well. In this case, the Yahoo toolbar.

Don’t get me wrong, I was aware of the fact they were offering the possibility to install the toolbar, during a custom install. Of course I never installed it, because I had the opportunity to say ‘no, thank you’ and to not check the tickerbox. I understand the fact Macromedia likes Yahoo. There is no law against this, but does that mean I too have to like Yahoo’s products? I think not.

I have nothing against their (Yahoo) services, but I’ll go there when I need them. I’ll download it if I feel like it, and I’ll use it how and where I please. At this time, I’m pretty confused about Macromedia’s possible motivation to jam this piece of malware down my cable and even more, to install it on my pc without even bothering to alert me that in order to get the flashplayer, I will be needing the Yahoo toolbar.

I think Macromedia abuses its position as a dominant player on the market to push products that aren’t even related to the service people are trying to gain access to. What does this stupid toolbar has to do with graphical support?

I never said I wanted the toolbar, I just needed the flashplayer. What gives Macromedia the right to decide for me that I might be needing a toolbar? Who gave them the right to install this toolbar without even warning or informing clients? I feel betrayed, dirty and used.

Significant fact : Macromedia has decided I might like the french toolbar instead of the regular english one. Not that it matters, but hey : I live in Belgium. People are supposed to speak Flemish here. So, if you were trying to serve me better, you haven’t. I hate this geolocation stuff.
Why can’t they let me pick the things I like, in the way I like ‘em best?

Click to enlarge misery : 


I don’t have Yahoo mail. I don’t have Yahoo Messenger.
And if I wanted to ‘ouvrir session’ I’d have surfed to your website.
I don’t have a ‘Mon Yahoo’ and after this I’ll be damned if I ever have one. With your filth. Rencontres? I think not. Big bummer.

What I really dislike here is the fact that everybody needs Macromedia’s TrashPlayer. The program has become so common, almost no dedicated surfer can do without. Everyone who has a downstream that goes over 65kb/s has visited a site with Flash elements in it. Imagine all these people being forced to use the toolbar.

Not so long ago, Levi’s had mistakenly redirected all users in Belgium to the French version of the corporate site. I can tell you that every Flemish customer who knew was totally outraged. People blogged about it, it got to the website of a Flemish paper and became a real issue.

Levi’s has sent out a press statement through the comments section of the news site, a scoop by the way, only hours after the incident got wired. They had to. No Flemish citizen in Great Flanders wants to be addressed in French, except when he’s on his vacation in France, where he will then speak the native tongue, adapting himself to the local culture. This adaptation only makes sense when it’s mutual. That means that if you want to sell anything or advertise here, you’ll have to do it in Flemish. It’s a must. We accept English as well. ;)

Not only do I have to bother removing this toolbar, I have lost my faith in the products Macromedia offers. Who knows maybe when I update Photoshop or Illustrator all of the sudden some adware or malware is installed ‘for greater good’, in another language than my own.

And ow yeah, I think I’ll stick to KBSearch, Findory and Google for my searches, as I always have. Now to find myself an alternative for this TrashPlayer, so I can kick out this lowlife-toolbar-installing app.


Fined For Breaking The Broadcasting Law

27 Jun 2005

The Flemish Media Commission is the institute that verifies whether or not the Flemish broadcasters obey the media rules for this part of the country. Apparently the Commission has been very active lately, because three Flemish TV stations have been fined between 5000 and 10.000 euros for not respecting the Commission’s general guidelines. The violation has been investigated on the 2nd of February this year, between 7.30 pm and 10.30 pm.

The 3 stations are : CANVAS (sub from VRT) – VTMVT4

The violations are :

CANVAS was offering 2 DVD’s, one of the Norah Jones concert and one of Jamie Cullum’s. The public broadcaster said the DVD’s were derived merchandising products from the ‘Music on Sunday’ show, that had featured excerpts of these concerts. CANVAS also said the DVD’s were co-produced with a record company and so it has the right to claim a certain percentage of the sales numbers.

The FMC countered these statements, pointing out both the DVD’s were products intented for international markets and that those DVD’s were in fact already for sale before CANVAS had broadcasted the concerts. The added sticker ‘As seen on CANVAS’ does not suffice to make a product inherent to one’s merchandise.

Moreover, the promotional clips for the DVD’s were shown after the CANVAS broadcast of the concert, and that makes it advertisement, which is prohibited on the national broadcast. Fined € 10.000 (euros).

The commercial competitors of CANVAS were no angels themselves at this point. VTM had broken the 10-second parameter for sponsoring before or after a show. After the soap/sitcom ‘Family’, the station even allowed a 33 second clip for promotional broadcast. ( e.g. before or after the ads-sequence). Fined € 5000 (euros).

VT4, another commercial station, has been caught for exceeding the limits of advertisement-time. The maximum level set for ad-blocks is 12 minutes per hour. VT4 broadcasted 12.5 minutes, and was fined a cool
€ 10.000 (euros), though it had hoped to be forgiven for this mistake.

It’s the first time the FMC has made such an investigation but it has announced to keep checking all of the stations on a regular basis.
It’s a good thing for the Flemish consumer he’s being protected from an ad-overdose, whereas our American fellow-consumers are being left in the cold and are being subjugated by commercials.

What a lovely day it is. :)

Sources : [Klara Radio] in the 10 am news and [DeStandaard] for more details.

Background check :

Regulations about the quantity of advertising of the Directive Television without Frontiers and others. [here] -

[Media Regelgeving in Vlaanderen] (Flemish)

No Comments

Posted in Ethics, Legal


LG Motion-Sensing 3D Game Phone

27 Jun 2005

The Korea Times has a full report on LG’s newest wonder : the Cyon SV360 model, a cutting-edge 1-million-polygon 3D game phone with new motion-sensing feature. The motion control sensor embedded in the handset translates movements of the phone through the air into actions and prompts a response on the screen.

“The phone boasts more vivid graphics compared to existing 200,000-polygon gaming phones. The polygon is the basic unit of the 3D images on gaming mobile phones.

SV360 is supported by a 3D graphic acceleration chip and features a 1.3 million-pixel digital camera, external memory card slot for extra memory and MP3 player and electronic dictionary functions.

Through TV-out cable, users can enjoy games and video-on-demand files downloaded via wireless Internet as well as view photos taken with the handset through giant TV screens as well, LG Electronics said.”


Read the full article : Motion-Sensing Phone to Hit Market on the Korea Times by Kim Sung-jin

via []


Reasons For Corporate Blogging

27 Jun 2005

CorporateBlogging has a free pdf paper on the what, where and how of … corporate blogging. Be sure to check out the 14 steps to a good business blog, it contains a lot of relevant information. I’ve selected some important paragraphs to catch the essence, but you should read the entire primer to be completely up to date.

“From a business perspective there are several potential reasons to blog. But, as always, it depends on what you want.”

Blogs are no different from channels like video, print, audio, presentations and so on. They all deliver results – but of varying kind. The kind you can expect from blogs is mainly about
stronger relations with important target groups.

Become the Expert

Position yourself and your company as the thought leader of
your business.

Customer Relationships

In a forum where your main objective is not to sell, you’ll have a more personal relationship between you and your customers. Blogs are a fast way to join the customers’ discussions, provide tips and insights or receive feedback.

Media Relations

It’s every PR consultant’s dream to create a channel where media regularly check what you have to say, instead of media just being passive – sometimes indifferent – recipients of press

Internal Collaboration

Use blogs as a workspace where project members keep each other updated without wasting time writing reports or searching the Outlook inbox.

Knowledge Management

Blogs works in two ways. First of all, they’re an easy way for the readers to find information and resources they want or need. That’s obvious and could be used internally in many
organizations. Second, blogs are a kind of “university light” for the blogger. Blogging is on-the-job learning.


If you establish your company as a thought leader, people in your business will pay attention. They’ll read and discuss what you have to say. Chances are good they will see you as an
attractive employer.

Test ideas or products

A blog is informal. It’s part of a conversation where people (often) can comment, and the blog can provide you with a measure of value. Publish an idea and see if it generates interest. Does anyone link to you? What do they say?

Rank high in search engines

Well, this has nothing to do with relations. But Google and other search engines reward sites that are updated often, that link to other sites and most importantly, that have many inbound
links. Start a blog at your regular site and your ranking will boost.”

Further in this pdf, Fredrik Wacka also determines six types of blogs.


Every type is explained by describing the purpose of the blog, the target group and the blogger (person or organization).

Download the free corporate primer [here] (414kb)
Online : [14 steps to your business blog]
Related : StartUpJournal’s article Three Myths on Boosting Search Engine Rankings from Sarah E. Needleman


Corporate Blogging Policies

27 Jun 2005

Blogging has become a hot issue. Many companies have published guidelines for their employees or have set up internal rules about publishing information related to the companies activities or products.
About time someone compared the policies already made up so that companies could have an overview of what is important and maybe see some sort of pattern.

Fredrik Wacka has compared and categorized the corporate blogging policies and guidelines of IBM, Yahoo! (pdf), Hill & Knowlton, Plaxo, Thomas Nelson, Feedster, Groove and Sun.

[...]“it’s interesting to find what all of them consider important — and perhaps even more interesting are some of the more unusual pieces of advice/rules.”

  • The Core; all companies- You’re personally responsible
    - Abide by existing rules
    - Keep secrets
    - Be nice
  • The Common; approximately half of them- Add value
    - Respect copyright
    - Follow the law
    - Cite and link
    - Discuss with your manager
  • The Unusual; limited in number- You can write on company time
    - Our goal
    - You may disagree with the boss
    - Stop blogging if we say so
    - Contact PR

Interesting remark : Only Yahoo! states something that should be in every guideline to blogging : what if an employee’s blog suddenly draws the media’s attention?

“Example, Yahoo! (pdf) : If a member of the media contacts you about a Yahoo!-related blog posting or requests Yahoo! information of any kind, contact PR.”

Good stuff :

“Example, Feedster : …please be aware that the company may request that you temporarily confine your website or weblog commentary to topics unrelated to the company (or, in rare cases, that you temporarily suspend your website or weblog activity altogether) if it believes this is necessary or advisable to ensure compliance with securities regulations or other laws.”

“Example, Plaxo: You may not attack personally fellow employees, authors, customers, vendors, or shareholders. You may respectfully disagree with company actions, policies, or management.”

Read the entire post on [CorporateBlogging]


How Blogs Help Marketeers Gather Insights

27 Jun 2005

William L. Bulkeley writes in the Wall Street Journal that marketers are using a new technology to analyze blogs and other ‘consumer-generated media’ – a category that includes chat groups, message boards and electronic forums – to hear what is being said online about new products, old ad campaigns and aging brands. Purveyors of the new methodology and their clients say blog-watching can be cheaper, faster and less biased than such staples of consumer research as focus groups and surveys.

Other interesting slices from the article :

“Marketers say bloggers’ unsolicited opinions and offhand comments are a source of invaluable insights that are hard to get elsewhere. “We look at the blogosphere as a focus group with 15 million people going on 24/7 that you can tap into without going behind a one-way mirror,” says Rick Murray, executive vice president of Edelman, a Chicago public-relations firm.” [...]

“Intelliseek and most other blog-watching services combine technology with some human analysis. They say their full services provide more insight than a simple keyword count. Some companies have developed text-analysis techniques as the result of funding or contracts from the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence services that monitor newspapers and other media. The technologies make use of software technologies known as “natural-language processing” and “unstructured-data mining” to understand even ungrammatical writing.”

[...]“Mr. Blackshaw says companies used to dismiss vocal complaints from one or two consumers as an aberration. But now, they have to pay attention because now those complainers may have blogs. “Those folks have influence with others via the Internet,” he says. PR firms are hiring Intelliseek to monitor their clients, he adds, because once-obscure consumer issues are surfacing at awkward moments, such as CEO interviews with ‘reporters who go to Google and type in a brand and [then] ask tough questions’.”

Read the entire article Marketers Scan Blogs For Brand Insights By WILLIAM M. BULKELEY, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal.


Yahoo’s Behavioral AdSense

24 Jun 2005

Brian Morrissey reports on AdWeek that the Y!-crew has begun testing a program to show text listings on Web pages based on user behavior.
In a pilot program with Revenue Science, a Bellevue, Wash., behavioral-targeting company, Yahoo’s cost-per-click text ads are shown on Web pages using data collected by Revenue Science.

Slices of the article :

“Omar Tawakol, Revenue Science’s svp of marketing, said prior site behavior often yields better results than page content. “There’s a big portion of the Web that’s a contextual desert,” he said. “There’s a ton of sites on the Web like entertainment, blogging and social networking sites, all those sites are better served by focusing on the user, not what’s on the page.”

“A Yahoo representative confirmed the test but declined further comment.”

“Several Web publishers, including and, use Revenue Science’s software to display ads based on a visitor’s prior site behavior. In April, the company launched a network that would allow advertisers to run behavioral-targeted brand advertising campaigns across several sites. It did not reveal which sites are participating in the network.”

Omar Tawakol has it right. You can learn a lot more from your consumers by analysing their behavior while they surf. I remember Google tapping from this source a while ago, with their Accelerator. Yahoo! needs to be very careful how to handle this AdSense Project, for it is very clear they have access to a lot of consumer information, as Google had/has.

If Yahoo! bundles the data gathered by Revenue Science with the data generated from surfers accessing the portal, a dangerous amount of consumer data comes in hand of a select group of people. And that is never a good situation for the consumer.

Must follow up !

Read it on [AdWeek]

Read [How Google Turned To Behavioral Marketing]

via [threadwatch]


Corporate Blogs, Personal Communication & Trust

23 Jun 2005

Over the last few months, it became clear to the companies that people were getting into blogging more frequently. Some people even blogged straight from the workspace, others blogged at home and many bloggers started to vent their feelings and thoughts about their employer. Many marketeers jumped on this train, starting to preach the netiquette and so called ground rules for corporate blogging.

One of my first posts on this blog dealt with this topic, so I’m just going to refer to that one if you need more info about ‘the rules’.

The reason I’m dealing with this matter again, is because of an interesting and relevant thought Nev0n has quoted on his blog.
I’ll get to the quote he posted after a short introduction. Then I’ll add his personal opinion about this thought.

It’s concerning the article in last week’s PR Week on policies and guidelines for employee blogging. Here are some short excerpts :

“We see blogging as a great opportunity for direct and deep two-way conversations with developers and customers,” says a Microsoft spokeswoman who asked not to be identified. “We get important, real-time feedback on our products, and customers get greater insight into what’s going on with key technologies inside the company.”

“While some companies might be concerned about what employees will say about them in the blogosphere, Blackshaw says parameters of restrictions should be considered carefully.”

“Companies may want to think twice before saying that employees can’t give any details about their job experience,” he says. In fact, research by Intelliseek shows that the overwhelming majority of bloggers’ postings about their employers were of the “I love my job” variety.”

The keynote Nev0n points out is the following :

“Still, Hannegan notes that employees are less likely to blog about frustrations with the company if there is another outlet for their frustrations. So facilitating greater employee-manager communication might help alleviate a staff member’s need to vent on the web.”

Nev0n adds the following thoughts to this quote :

“This is a an excellent point to think about when considering all the elements about enabling employees to blog. It highlights a fact about organizations and relationships in the workplace – if you provide people with an outlet to express themselves in an environment where such outlets don’t exist already or are not trusted, the new outlet you provide (in this case, blogs) will likely be used in unexpected ways that don’t bode well for their nurturing and development, nor for good employer-employee relationships.

And remember one crucial thing. Like any other communication tool used by employees, a blog is no substitute or surrogate for the personal communication and trust that must be built and maintained between employees and their direct managers. It’s a relationship that takes some work and requires the willing and active participation of all parties.”

Read more at [Nev0n's blog]
Read the article on [PR Week]