Archive for social media

ThingLink Appoints Tech PR Veteran Neil Vineberg as CMO

San Francisco, CA (August 01, 2011) — ThingLink, the provider of in-image interaction tools, today announced that Neil Vineberg, a former executive at leading communications firms Middleberg Euro and Golin/Harris, has been appointed as the company’s chief marketing officer.

Vineberg, whose 20+ year career includes pioneering strategic work for clients across digital music, social media, online communities and technology, will oversee ThingLink’s marketing and PR functions, drive U.S. business development for the Helsinki-based company, and manage soon-to-be opened offices in New York and San Francisco.

“Neil’s vast experience in and out of the tech sphere makes him the ideal person to introduce ThingLink to a wide range of prospective partners and brands across the U.S.,” commented Ulla Engeström, founder and CEO of ThingLink. “He has been associated with some of the most creative work in the business and boasts a strategic track record that speaks for itself.”

Vineberg’s varied consultancy career has seen him take up advisory roles with UNICEF, Procter & Gamble, United Airlines, IBM, Sony, Sprint, MP3.com, and eMusic, while also cultivating a successful career as a renowned contemporary acoustic guitarist and composer. Performing under the name ‘Shambhu’, his debut album ‘Sacred Love’ peaked at #1 on the World Music charts and was named “One of the Best of the Year” by Common Ground magazine.

“By turning images into a platform for rich media, ThingLink is innovating a new paradigm in consumer engagement,” added Vineberg. “I look forward to working with our team and growing community of partners in the U.S. and around the world to drive the growth of this exciting multi-media platform.”

Launched in 2010, ThingLink transforms images into a navigational surface for rich, relevant content that enhances a viewer’s knowledge and experience. The free-to-use application installs seamlessly onto blogs, websites or community pages allowing publishers to maximise the usability of images for story telling, advertising, promotion, sales and retention.

For more information, visit ThingLink.com.

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FTC Guidelines on Endorsements and Testimonials

If you’re a blogger getting paid to post, you’re now going to have to disclose it. The social Web is under Federal Trade Commission (FTC) scrutiny. I have worked with several mommy bloggers with very high integrity. A few, however, were running pay for post operations — printing product reviews in exchange for cash — without revealing payments. That is influence gone awry. Now the FTC has put bloggers on notice with a requirement to disclose payments or promotional consideration related to such reviews.

The Federal Trade Commission recently approved final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act.

The notice incorporates several changes to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers. The Guides were last updated in 1980.

Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.

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New PR Hires Must Know Social Media

dv631010Public relations professionals are taking the lead in managing the organization’s use of social media communications channels, and social media skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills when searching for and hiring public relations professionals, according to a new study, The 2009 Digital Readiness Report .

Among the key insights from the study are:

  • When searching for prospective new hires, social media communications skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills.
  • Public relations leads marketing in the management and oversight of all social media communications channels within organizations.
  • When searching for prospective new hires, social media communications skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills.
  • Public relations leads marketing in the management and oversight of all social media communications channels within organizations.
  • Marketing leads public relations in the management and oversight of bulk email communications and search engine optimization.
  • Social networking, blogging and micro-blogging skills are the three most important social media communications skills for job candidates to have, according to public relations and marketing hiring decision makers.
  • Most organizations are considering hiring social media specialists.

The 2009 Digital Readiness Report  “Essential Online Public Relations and Marketing Skills” is available for download free at http://www.ipressroom.com/readiness (registration is required).

Social Media Skills Influence Hiring Decisions

Survey data also suggest that public relations and marketing professionals without new media and social media communications skills cannot, and will not, satisfy the requirements of today’s hiring decision makers.

The research also suggest a potential gap in online communications strategy  at most organizations, since the channels with the greatest reach and adoption levels — email and search engine optimization — do not appear to be the most important channels in practice.

In addition, organizations do not appear to be as intent on leveraging the trust advantage of their own websites over social networking services to promote their company line. Instead, organizations say they’re more focused on getting the word out than on using new media and social media channels to attract visitors to their own destination websites.

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How Advertising is Being Impacted by Internet, Social Networks, Online Viewing

6a00d8341c50bf53ef011570fa51b7970c-800wiFrom Josh Bernoff at Groundswell:

More changes are coming to the advertising marketplace due to the impact of the Internet, social networks and online viewing.

A recent survey by Forrester speaks to new data from marketers on their expected ad buys with respect to direct mail, television, magazines, outdoor, newspapers, and radio ad buying.

“70% expected the effectiveness of channels like created social media, online video, and mobile marketing to increase. The result is that digital, which will be about 12% of overall advertising spend in 2009, is likely to grow to about 21% in five years. Along the way overall advertising budgets will decline. This is huge.

It means we are all digital marketers now, since digital is at the center of many campaigns anyway. It means media is in trouble, or at least in the middle of a transformation. For example, online video ads, which will be about $870 million this year, will grow to over $3 billion in 2014. What will this do to networks plans to put more of their shows online in places like Hulu. How will it accelerate some newspapers plans to become more and more centered around online?

And it means that social “media”, which will account for $716 million this year between social network campaigns and agency fees, will generate $3 billion in five years. And this doesn’t even count displays ads on social networks (which are in the display ads category.) Of all the parts of digital marketing, social network marketing one is poised for the most explosive growth. Pundits have been declaring the end of mass media and advertising for years now. From my 14 years of experience analyzing this stuff, I’ve learned that things die very slowly, but there are real trends you can see. If you’re in advertising, you’d better learn to speak digital, because that’s the way the world is going.”

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SF MusicTech Summit Hits The Spot

IMG_0097Fourth time’s a charm? Maybe. The 2009 SF MusicTech Summit really hit the spot this year. Organizers Brian and Shoshana Zisk brought together a who’s who of music industry executives, managers, musicians, promoters and lawyers, to discuss the current state of the industry and how it should move forward. Topics covered included technology – tools artists and labels can use for marketing, promotion and measurement, and monetization – new models and legal issues related to how music will be delivered and paid for in the future.

There has never been more opportunity for musicians to take control of their careers. Recording and career promoting technologies are now in the hands of the artist rather than the record label. At the same time, there is lots of competition out there among artists. Someone in the band also needs to wear the hat of a ‘creative director’ for it’s often superlative creative marketing across new platforms (i.e. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that helps gain attention for an artist and his/her music and can make the difference and help elevate music among its intended audiences.

There was a terrific mid-day performance by songwriter/singer Matt Morris, whose new album is produced by Justin Timberlake. My friend and triple-Grammy winning record producer / hit-maker Narada Michael Walden showed up at the post-conference reception to promote Let The Sunshine In, a benefit concert taking place on May 25th in San Francisco, featuring Sting, Earl Klugh, Bob Weir, Dave Grisman, and many others.

This year’s’ event was standing room only…and I suggested to Brian that it might be time for a larger venue. One more thing…there was nobody on the floor I met who was bummed out about the economy. People were excited and optimistic.

(PIC: S. Neil Vineberg, Narada Michael Walden, Brian Zisk, )

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TV in Transition: Dorm Life and 3D

dorm_life_poster_300dpiTelevision has changed. When I was growing up, the family watched TV together in the evening because there was often one TV in the home. Then cable emerged and everyone had a TV in their room. Now kids growing up don’t need a TV box to watch; they can access everything they want on their computer screen, and the source is often user gererated content on YouTube or broadcast content on Hulu.

The past several weeks I’ve been working with Attention Span Media, a social media production studio whose credits include the mega online hit TV series, Dorm Life.
Dorm Life hilariously chronicles the experiences of ten college students residing on “5 South,” a dorm floor on a fictional campus. It’s the most popular web TV series on Hulu with 6+ million views and often called…NBC’s “The Office” goes to college.

Attention Span Media is one example of a small, indy studio producing content that rivals the big ones and reaches mass audiences via a savvy social networking model. In a recent California Chronicle article that my firm placed, Dorm Life was called “a taste of whats to come.” I agree.

Dorm Life is a great Long Tail example of a niche audience (college and high school students) growing so large that the show could easily migrate its audience to another platform; Dorm Life could find a home on traditional broadcast or cable TV and also monetize itself through sales and branded merchandise (shirts) and DVDs.

On the other side of the spectrum — the big box TV — AMG TV has just announced the first 3-D network, and their plans to deliver 3-D content to some 200 terrestrial station affiliates. That makes sense. I’m thinking the big box HD TV in the living room will never go away. The big screen at home will be used for big events like sports and 3D while the rest of us will continue to view our niche content on hand-held devices and computers. And don’t be surprised when your local TV stations go out of business or consolidate as a result … because viewership is shifting online. And advertisers will go where the audiences are.

Witness the recent demise of several of the most successful print newspapers in the world. I wrote about the publishing industry in transition last year. TV is also in a major transition. Watch for exciting new shows from Attention Span Media. And stay tuned!

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Publishing Industry in Transition

4415_269_250_crop_56435There’s this great word – disintermediation – that you should get to know. Wikipedia says, “In economics disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: cutting out the middleman.”

In publishing, the traditional printed newspaper delivered to your door is being disintermediated by online sources that deliver better information online faster – almost immediately, in fact. Over the next decade you will see an increasing number of bankruptcies among print media outlets, and the continued rise of online media and blogs. The Tribune Company / Los Angeles Times bankruptcy is just the most recent example.

And you’ll see citizen funded reporting grow. I’m an advisor to Spot.Us, a community where people choose and fund stories they want written. Then those stories are made available so anyone can publish them.

Apple’s iTunes service has became the largest online seller of music disintermediating retail music mega stores like Tower Records, Sam Goody’s and others. If we can buy music online, delivered digitally for less money, do we need the brick and mortar retail outlets and all the related waste products (plastic, plastic and more plastic) that is wrapped around physical CDs?

The Post Office and shippers are being increasingly disintermediated by email and electronic communications. DHL is halting express deliveries in the US. They lost about $10 billion in the US trying to challenge Federal Express and UPS. So they’re packing it in.

Mobile DJ’s can spin popular party music from an iPod less expensively than hiring physical performing musicians, disintermediating opportunities for musicians who make a living playing music live.

And the Amazon Kindle, a wireless reading device that lets me download and read books and similar devices that will follow, will (over time) disintermediate the brick and mortar book store business. If we can download content faster and less expensively than buying a physical books, the bottom will fall out of the traditional publishing business, impacting store owners, shippers, and building owners who rent space for stores.

What other areas are being disintermediated by technology?

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