This was a comment to an article at AdJab, but you should also read this article:
I don’t think, the current discussion is about Google vs Microsoft competing on the same platform (software). I also agree, that Google doesn’t have a platform (yet).
I think this is about influence. And power. Microsoft was and is gaining influence on software. Products that let you manage/store information. They built a platform, which has reached every desktop PC near you.
Google is gaining influence on leveraging that information. Building a yet to be defined platform. And yes, they finance their endeavours by advertising. But ultimately, it’s about information, their mission statement says that. And, from leveraging information via control to power it’s a short distance. Once they have achieved that, they have a “platform”. It’s disconnected from software, hardware or anything else we define as a platform these days.
It’s about information and control. And it will make all other platforms obsolete, because access to and leveraging of, information is not defined by operating systems like Windows any longer, but by, well, whatever Google will call it…
Here is an interesting story about the current Flickr and Yahoo! situation:Flick Off!. Basic outline: Yahoo! bought Flickr in March this year and now announced, that all Flickr users will have to register with Yahoo! starting 2006, even if they had been with Flickr for a while.
A heated discussion of as many as 910 of the 1.3million flickr users has started. About Yahoo! integrating their bought services (not allowed!) while Google also does this (err, not so bad…).
Really, if you read the official flickr blog, nothing much seems to change. You need to sign up with Yahoo! and you need that login in future for flickr. But you’re screen name doesn’t change, the copyright of your photos still belong to you (unlike when Yahoo! bought geocities and all of a sudden claimed copyright for all the geocities content), and you also keep your flickr URL.
So why do people bother so much? Why does run across the blogosphere?
I guess it’s because people are so involved. It’s not just a brand or service they buy and use. It’s their creation. So far, they could influence flickr by adding photos, posting ideas for new features, shape the whole community. That way, flickr seems to be everybody’s creation, every body is participating in shaping flickr. So it does indeed become really personal:
Millions of people now interact with one another via computers on networks, where they have the opportunity to talk, to exchange ideas and feelings, and to assume personae of their own creation.
(A quote from here )
Fact is, the way Yahoo! starts to behave now is much like it would be in a badly communicated corporate takeover (which it wasn’t), when the employees start wondering what will happen to the future of their company (I have experienced that feeling myself!).
The way the users have helped shaping the community, it is “their” company. And now they wonder, what Yahoo! is doing, what else they might have planned. The feeling of a loss of control over their own creation and hence “personae”, even if this community is just a little part of their digital identity.
So in effect I think it is much more of the great “what else is coming?”-scare, rather than the fact that people need new login IDs.
[added, a few minutes later:]
Imagine this situation in the non-communicative offline world of brands. One softdrink brand buys another. They change the logo, the distribution channels, whatever. The target audience (at least those that feel strongly connected to the brand) can only express their disgust over the merger by writing to the company, tell their friends (on the phone or at a social event) or tell market researchers (if their lucky enough to be picked for interviews). So, how many mergers have happened in the past, that have not had that much controversial discussion?
It’s the other phenomenon of digital culture: companies, that have their product within this space need to be much more diligent in terms of PR and comunication. Because thousands of negative opinions are just one click away…
Nike has a new campaign in France with a microsite on which you can watch 4 small video clips. Even though the films are nicely done, I got bored after the first two, because essentially, their all too similar. And for the “game”: I don’t understand it, but then again, my french isn’t too good. Do I really only have to fill in my details and those of 10 friends? Or is there something more thrilling to this game?
Anyway. It’s a very simple mechanism to let this go viral and capture addresses. Wonder if it works…
The Secret New York is a great idea of interactive sightseeing. There are several yellow arrows placed in NY with a phone number and a code. When you see one, you can call the number and type in the code. Then you hear a voice recording telling you all about this place and why it was worth for the yellow arrow.
The best thing about it: anyone can suggest arrow placements, for all sorts of reasons. On the website you can see the arrow placements and also the description. Sometimes, it’s even a short film clip about the place (I wonder, though, how you would use that feature on your mobile phone).
This in itself is a nice combo of web, mobile and real life. However, I think it won’t be long until this might be exploited by advertising or marketing:
1) Stick an arrow (whatever colour) to your shop door.
2) Users can then call up a number and listen to what other people said about your shop.
A community of shop (and/or product) reviewers like at shopping.com or others, only with shops in real life instead of online shops.
There is a several things online for the new movie cry_wolf. What I just tried is the online game that is a AIM messenger based cluedo type of game:
Cry Wolfï¿½ the Game pits two groups of unequally informed players against one another in a discussion-centered contest of survival. Within the multi-round game, the well-meaning majority (aka “Sheep”) attempt to discern and eliminate destructive covert elements within the group (aka “Wolves”).
It seems to be fairly addictive, some of the players have played it 20+ times.
What’s most amazing is the type of product placement that is happening here and also, I guess, within the movie.
AIM is very prominently placed here. And you also need to have an AIM screen name to play this game. Even though the whole game is happening in a flash interface and not within the messenger. But AIM has provided the backend technology for this, I guess. This way, AIM should get lots of new registered users and once these users have an AIM account they might also use it for other chats. Nice idea. I haven’t seen a software product placement of this scale yet!
This is also available for mobile AIM to play on your phone. But I haven’t tried that yet, because I don’t have that on my phone, I don’t want that on my phone and it probably only works in the US anyway…