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Sunday, February 25, 2007

A word about Paul Dacre

Daily Mail editor and general nasty character Paul Dacre made a big speech this week having a go at the majority of the UK's media - including the Guardian, Indie, Times, Sun and BBC.

Part of his ranting argued that if the BBC didn't become more right wing, viewers would simply turn to more extremist media like Fox News. (Pot, kettle, black, Dacre?). One of my favourite blogs made the excellent point that it would be stupid for the BBC to become Fox News, just to stop viewers watching Fox News. Just like if the government became as right wing as the BNP to stop people voting for the BNP instead. It's all just in a name.

In this article from the Independent the editors of most of the other papers respond articulately to his criticisms.

From the Times; "Paul Dacre doesn't seem to understand the workings of the free market."

From the Guardian; "I am driven to a worrying conclusion that the editor of the Mail may be misrepresenting the facts to suit his prejudices."

And The Sun can't even be bothered; "Mr Dacre's opinions are not of sufficient consequence to warrant a response from us."

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Evolution of search

Interesting article about the evolution of search so far, and where it might go.

It gets very science-fictiony by level 4, suggesting Google might start personifying itself as an omnipresent, self-sufficient entity.

Personally I find the conjecture pretty unbelievable (for how many years have people been talking about AI robots), and more to the point, the result not that useful.

Pipe Dreams

That was a fun game.

On an unrelated note, Yahoo has launched Yahoo Pipes - a pretty innovative idea that lets you create a new RSS feed by using the output of one feed as the input of the next feed (with mixed success).

For example, this feed takes the output of the New York Times headlines and puts it through Flickr to give the news in pictures.

Here's another one that searches for MP3s.

I can't decide if the whole thing is really clever or really stupid.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

False dichotomies and spurious logic

Our industry is full of these.

When we were at university we had to make a hypothesis, test it, and if it was 'true', test for statistical signifance. Now we make up something that would be nice (however implausible), reject any stats that don't back it up for one that does - and if it's not signifcant, well, we quote it as a percentage instead.

I think some media owner arguments are even more spurious. How can every site have the most uniques/largest reach/biggest active audience? And if perchance the media owner doesn't say say this, then I get to hear why the longtail is the future again.

One media owner tried to get me to pay more for targetting which can probably be done at the click of a button. When I commented that the big portals don't do this, "well they don't realise the potential of this infant industry". Yeah, that answered my question, and no, you can't have my money.

Another common argument: this is a really good deal because it's cheaper than what we've done for you before/what we'd normally do, never mind how much more expensive and generally rubbish it is compared to the rest of the market.

And don't get me started on some qualitative research. That's like saying "I must be cool because my mum said so".

In these sorts of cases I like to refer to Simpsons Mafia boss Fat Tony's justification-of-anything argument:

1. Is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?
2. Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?
3. And, what if your family don't like bread? What if they like cigarettes?
4. Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away?

Armando Iannucci muses on 'keeping it real'

Obesity. People worry about it, but I say it's a good thing. Each obese person takes up more space in the real world, so obesity is nature's way of resupplying the planet with reality. I don't see how my argument could possibly have any holes in it.

Nb. This article relates to our perfect pitch client and discusses Second Life (if 'an avatar in Second Life sits down to watch The Matrix, does it disappear up its own bottom?'), so I think I can justify posting this here.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Media Agencies Shall Inherit the Earth

Nice little post from an account planner about his fears that media agencies will take over the 'primary client relationship.'

To a large extent, this has already happened on some of the digital accounts. Once results and sales are the most important metric for the advertising, the people who have the ability to measure these results and sales (and predict these results and sales) have control of the account.

Branding campaigns are different, but as we evolve ways to measure this more effectively, media agencies will have the chance to take control.

If a fight starts, it'll be interesting to see who wins.

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