Saturday, August 18, 2007

Web 2.0 Myth Busting, Part 2

Jose Castillo's article "Giant Web 2.0 Lies" appears in the June/July edition of Streaming Media magazine. In it, he debunks seven "myths" surrounding web 2.0 and rich media.

Myth #3 I can't find relevant videos online.

Countering this myth, Castillo cites software from Podzinger that actually searches audio files and translates the data into searchable text.

This technology has extraordinary implications. One of webcasting's benefits is its ability to increase "circulation:" to bring a new audience to the publisher and/or the sponsors on the strength of the content. Search engines that are not limited to certain keywords, but can actually evaluate every word spoken during a webcast will bring the right people to your content, if your content has any merit.

Myth #4 99% of online videos are some kid swinging a lightsaber for five minutes!

There is a seemingly boundless supply of content, and the egalitarian nature of much of this content means most of it is worthless to a given viewer. But who cares? As long as the 1% that is relevant is enough to meet the viewers needs, who cares about the quality of the other 99%.

The internet is not like television, where one is trying to craft content that will appeal to millions of viewers. The internet and webcasting is about creating content that will appeal to thousands of the right viewers. See the example below - a success story that sounds perilously close to lightsabers. But this is not a national retailer; it is a small startup that knows its niche and how to market to it.

Myth #5 We should pay our ad agency a lot of money to do some viral videos!

Castillo offers the following priceless construct regarding the attempt to fake your own viral content: Spam + Viral + a rapidly spiraling descent with ugly consequences = Spiral Video.

Castillo says: "Spiral videos are an unfortunate and all-too-common appearance in the everyday landscape of online video. Greedy corporations view viral videos as another way for them to advertise their products, but in this new Web 2.0 era, any attempt to lie to consumers can have disastrous effects."

The lesson should be: you don't need an ad agency. You need to tell your story honestly and work hard to get qualified buyers to view your message.

Take the example of Attus Apparel, a clothing startup. They wanted to tap into the "distressed clothing" market - and create some publicity for themselves - so they gathered a group of friends and had them shoot up a bunch of polo shirts displayed on manequins. Pictures of the shirts being blasted with shotguns and magnum handguns appeared on the website and 40 minutes of film were edited down to a one minute video that appeared on You Tube.

Admittedly, this approach is not entirely dignified. But the strategy fits the company's culture and product lines. One of the attractions of their polo shirts is that they have replaced the iconic logo of the polo playing man with embroidered icons such as bottles of malt liquor ("The 40"), a toilet ("The Hangover"), etc.

These guys obviously have a strong point of view that they bring to their company and a clear understanding of exactly who comprises their target market. Why would they need an ad agency to gin up some fake viral video when they can come up with "Shot Up Shirts" on their own?

I will comment on myths 6 and 7 in my next post - part 3 of Myth Busting.

1 comment:

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