Archive for September, 2010

“Reality TV” Is Now In Yellow Pages Billboard – Live

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

This is so inverted or reflexive or something that it’s making my mind implode when trying to describe it! The people from “Reality TV” shows (which everyone knows isn’t real at all) Big Brother and Survivor have been placed inside a giant Yellow Pages billboard (which thus is now not really a billboard anymore) and are being pitted against one another. They’ll apparently be assigned tasks to complete via Yellow Pages interfaces on smartphones, YP websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, etc. (Reported on The Ads of the World)

Yellow Pages Reality TV Billboard in Israel

Yellow Pages Reality TV Billboard in Israel

So, let me try to boil this down to the basic concept if I can: this Yellow Pages company — you know, one of those companies working hard to prove they are still relevant in the modern world — therefore, a company trying to survive – is trying to do so by taking “reality” TV stars from shows which involve survival competition games – and having them play their survival-style games inside a billboard — games which apparently will involve challenging them to try to figure out how to use the Yellow Pages products to complete their tasks — all this to prove to real people in the really-real world that YP/IYP products are not only cool, but still useful to use and worthwhile to advertise in. Whew!

This smacks somehow of irony, although I can’t parse if that’s the technically correct term to use in this case. (more…)

Google’s Happy Birthday Logo

Monday, September 27th, 2010

One of Wayne Thiebaud’s paintings inspired Google’s 12th birthday logo – a birthday cake with one candle taking the place of their logo.

Google's 12th Birthday Logo by Wayne Thiebaud

I like the painting – it’s an example of a great colorist’s artwork. Thiebaud is known for paintings of cakes, and is considered a Pop Artist due to his subject matter. However, the heavy pigment intensity in his work shows a dedication to colorism — intensification of hues to provide a richly experiential moment in the viewing.

It’s a less whimsical logo treatment than we’ve often seen in the past, though Google is experimenting on multiple different styles for commemorative logos.

Artist Friend Margaret Withers’ New Blog

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

My good friend, Margaret Withers, has just launched her blog: Compound Artist Margaret Withers.

bacterial monster figure :: by Margaret Withers, 2010

bacterial monster figure :: © by Margaret Withers

I’m really quite proud of her — she is a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to marketing, and she’s got a fantastic instinct for it. Blogs are a great way to promote and represent one’s self, and a great way to create a dialogue with the online community.

I’ve often found that visual artists frequently avoid writing much, which is a loss to the community as a whole since it results in a sort of “silence” around their work as well as reduces the overall promotion benefit they might otherwise gain. It’s not surprising, really — most independent artists already have so many claims on their time, what with creating their art, schmoozing with gallery owners, operating small business paperwork, planning showings, preparing for showings, and more. Anything which reduces the time they can spend on creating art is often resented, and for many of them, writing falls into that category.

However, Margaret has always been effective at treating writing as yet another medium for art, and her infrequent writings involving art criticism (more…)

Bedbug Registry – A Directory Of Places Not To Stay

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Bed bug, Cimex lectulariusI first started hearing about bedbugs a couple of years ago when some friends of mine in Brooklyn, New York were telling me how bedbugs were becoming a serious problem in New York City apartments. Fast forward to 2010, and it seems that bedbugs have become a rampant problem in NYC as well as a growing problem throughout the country. A short while ago Abercrombie & Fitch in Manhattan became embarrassed with bedbug reports and was forced to close for fumigation along with Niketown, and a few weeks later the AMC Empire 25 Theater in Manhattan had to shut down briefly for bedbug fumigation after reports of people getting bitten during movies.

In fact, despite fairly good quality assurance checking, even Google has bugs in their Manhattan offices!

I mentioned to my New Yorker friends that I was again coming to New York for the upcoming SMX East conference, and they immediately sent me a link to the Bedbug Registry, and urged me to check out if there were any reports on the hotel I was selecting before I came. (Unfortunately, the conference hotel had some reports, although I won’t be staying there.)

Bedbug Registry

BedbugRegistry.com

I was amused to see that interest has spiked to the point where people are now interested in reading and filing reports on bedbug bites at hotels throughout the country. (more…)

Corn Maze Memorializes Deadliest Catch Captain Harris

Monday, September 20th, 2010
Captain Phil Harris - Rutledge Corn Maze

Captain Phil Harris in the Rutledge Corn Maze

The cool “mapvertising” concept of a corn maze is now being applied to memorializing the Deadliest Catch Captain Phil Harris, who died earlier this year. The Rutledge Corn Maze in Tumwater, Washington, has declared that their theme this year will Captain Harris, and the aerial photos show that the maze has been shaped as a sort of portrait of him, and includes the name of his crab boat, the “Cornelia Marie”.

I’ve written previously about cornfield mazes and how some companies are using them for advertising. While it’s not unusual for companies to also memorialize people, I think this is probably the first time a corn field maze has simultaneously been a memorial remembrance. (more…)

Idearc (Superpages) Trustee Files Lawsuit Against Verizon Over Bankruptcy

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Wow! U.S. Bank is suing Verizon for spinning-off their yellow pages unit, called “Idearc Media” after the spinoff, with too high a debt load. Idearc Media was the operator of Superpages.com, a major internet yellow pages site. U.S. Bank is the trustee for Idearc.

Verizon & Involvement in Fairpoint Communications & Idearc Bankruptcy Filings idearc media logo

For anyone who hasn’t followed the string of companies involved, here’s the super-brief overview: (more…)

Pavement Patty Speed Control

Friday, September 17th, 2010

I saw this on MSNBC last week, and I thought it was clever. “Pavement Patty” is an anamorph image painted onto the street. As you drive up to it, the image of the child and the ball are designed in a perspective distortion that causes it to pop out, making it seem as though a child chasing a ball has just dashed out into the street in front of you:

Pavement Patty

Anamorphs or anamorphic projections are optical illusions that have been around since the Renaissance.

Using an anamorph in this way is innovative, although I’m not entirely convinced that painting optical illusions out in the street is a good idea. If a driver glances at the street before them, glances away, and then looks up and sees a child abruptly in front of them, they’re more likely to swerve, causing a real accident in an effort to avoid a false one.

To really see the effect, watch the video.

Attending & Reporting On BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’10 Conference

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

DMS '10 Yellow Pages and BeyondThe Directional Media Strategies 2010 conference is happening this week in Dallas, and I’ll be attending and reporting on it. DMS is the central conference of the Yellow Pages industry, and is attended by many directories, directory service providers, and other local tech companies.

The conference is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 12:30 pm CST, and I’m planning to live blog some of the sessions over at Search Engine Land.

I’ll try to Tweet the URL and update it here when I start, so check back.

Speaking at MIMA Summit 2010

Monday, September 13th, 2010

MIMA SummitI’m looking forward to speaking at the MIMA Summit later this month.

I’ll be speaking on Local & Blended Search Optimization.

“Blended Search” describes how search engines have evolved search results pages to include content from other “vertical search” results such as including images from image search, videos from video search, and news from news search.

Blended Search results can include images, video, news, blog links, maps and map content, shopping products and more.

Google’s product name for Blended Search is “Universal Search”.

Of particular interest to locally-based businesses and companies with brick-and-mortar locations are the subjects of Local Search, including info on how to rank well for searches in Google Maps and Bing Maps.

I’ll be covering key ranking criteria and ranking factors for achieving rankings for your content under Blended/Universal Search, as well as in Local Search.

While achieving rankings for content in Blended Search may sound somewhat esoteric or specialized, contemporary SEO typically requires increased attention to ranking within the various search verticals in order to augment the more pedestrian keyword search results.

SuperMedia & Dex One To Cross-Pollinate: Precursor To A Merger?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This morning, Greg Sterling reports that SuperMedia and Dex One have entered into a distribution agreement, allowing listings and business content from Superpages to be displayed on DexKnows and vice-versa.

The first thought I had upon reading this was that it’s likely a precursor to a possible merger between the two companies, a little further on down the road.

SuperMedia, Yellow Pages publisher of Superpages.com       Dex One, Yellow Pages publisher of DexKnows and Business.com

I’ve been predicting some collapse amongst the players in the yellow pages industry for quite a few years now, and I’ve even stongly suggested (see: What Could Save The Yellow Pages? 10 Ideas) that some of the large YP directory companies might want to merge in order to reduce costs and improve their competitive strength.

There’s also been talk among financial analysts about how the hedge fund, (more…)