opportunities, monday september 10th, 2001

Good Afternoon Execs,

Sorry so late. Lots of goodies online today.

1. IMARKETING: AOL, experience, branding.
2. E-ADS: AOL, their adsales is good for you.
3. ECOMMERCE: the future of ecommerce .
4. HUMOR: research on internet spending.
5. MEDIA: AOL, (again) HBO, spending vs ROI.
6. TECHNOLOGY: new [insidious] online ads
7. SPORTS: if you publish content, read this!
8. PRIVACY: monster.com f#@ked up.

Read on.

********* al berrios iMarketing *********

IMARKETING: every so often
there's a glaring example
of why the experiences that
are delivered by brands to
their users are very important.
Take AOL for example: one week,
they are voted least trusted
company, the next, they are
sued for not monitoring user
experiences in their chat
rooms. Turns out, there
are chat rooms that actually
allow hate speech against
diff cultures. Now, one in
particular, against muslims,
is the reason why they are
getting sued. 2 yrs ago, one
chatter was continuously
harrassed throughout a 2
year period, and he is
holding AOL responsible
for not cleaning up that
chat room.

bottom line: when i said
that the experience a user
has w/your brand is imp,
i really meant every ex-
perience, including chat
rooms, message boards,
search engines, EVERYTHING.
most marketers think that
by simply doing a promo
or commercial on TV, they
are branding. Branding
isn't what you say to a
consumer of your brand,
it's what they experience
w/your brand. if that con-
sumer doesn't like it,
they will not use it.
Brands cannot force them-
selves on us, like believed
by the activist Naomi
Klein in her book,
"No Logo: Taking Aim at
the Brand Bullies". "Brands
are storehouses of trust".
And when consumers trust
your brand, "they manifest
their loyalty in cash".
Your brand is a promise that
delivers a consistent quality
that consumers are willing
to pay a premium for.
This quality is interpreted
from experience. ok, nuff
said. i bet you would
have right glazed over this
article w/o appreciating
its significance.

read more:

********* al berrios e-ads *********

E-ADS: guess what? AOL is
also responsible for over
45% of all crap that passes
for online advertising
during any given week,
reaching a good 41% of
the ENTIRE Internet pop.
NetRatings measured AOL
as being the largest online
advertiser, which basically
means that "a large part
of the total online ad
industry is both bought
& sold by AOLTW companies".
When i read this, i thought
great, if AOL is having
problems selling inventory
w/their massive adsales
group, then what about
us little guys? AOL only
negotiates cross-platforms
and only w/big advertisers.
They can never be as flex-
ible as smaller media companies.
"about 80% of all online ads
served over AOL Internet pro-
perties were bought or placed
by AOL Time Warner or one of
its subsidiaries. That means
that third-party advertisers
bought only 20% of these ads".

bottom line: there's always
room for more media, better
deals, and innovative oppor-
tunities to give consumers
a better experience. never
forget, AOL clients are not
the only clients.

read more:

********* al berrios ecommerce *********

ECOMMERCE: this is great.
someone bought a jet
over ebay for $5mill. this
implies that my assessment
on the future of ecommerce
is correct after all (op-
portunities, monday, july
30th, IDEA
), that consumers,
not companies, decide what
goods are worth to them, &
THAT's how all ecommerce
initiatives should be ap-

bottom line: you don't need
me telling you this. bargain
hunting is in our nature as
consumers. although we pay
for customer service, con-
venience, exclusivity, & of
course, our fave brands, we
consider value a top priority.
since when did companies stop
realizing this? and when this
need to bargain hunt for what
we want in exchange for some-
thing we don't want, meets
with another person who has
what we want and wants what
we don't, you have ebay.

read more:

********* al berrios humor *********

HUMOR: in a recent report
by the Yankee Group, (they re-
search stuff), corp mgrs "see
less promise in the Internet
than they did a year ago".

bottom line: whenever you see
a report by the Yankee Group,
remember they're idiots & don't
know what they're researching
or the right people to survey.
if you know any exec that publicly
says this, they either have a
gun to their head by some stupid
wall street analyst, or they're
the janitor pretending to be
an exec. that's all if have to
say about that.

read more:

********* al berrios media *********

MEDIA: I consider HBO to be
on the forefront of cableTV.
These guys are always the first
taking big risks, forcing all
others to copy. i'm talking
about the $125 million (that's
$12 million per) Band of Brothers
10-part mini series based on
WWII & directed by Tom Hanks
and Spielberg. wow. HBO mgmnt
realized going in that there
would be no precise way to
measure ROI off this, let
alone the millions they're
spending on hyping this up
(including the new ad format
debuting exclusively on
AOL-owned weather.com all
last week). can you believe
that, a company as successful
as HBO not knowing if they'll
get more subscribers off an
investment this big?

bottom line: is there anything
AOL (owner of HBO) does that
doesn't influence the world.
why do you suppose that is?
let's take this Band of Brothers
thing: it's not that AOL likes
throwing money around for the
hell of it. HBO is one of their
subscriber revenue drivers,
and they more than anybody
understand that it's the
experience w/their broadcasting
service that folks enjoy.
first it was about showing
theatrical releases faster
than network TV, uncut &
commercial free. but when cable
services realized that it
was cheaper & more profitable
to produce their own content,
they said, f*&k paying holly-
wood. Sex in the City, Sopra-
nos, & now Band of Brothers.
all huge, but not b/c HBO
spent money mktg, but rather,
they gave their subscribers
something they couldn't get on
regular network tv, a good
viewing experience. that's
why HBO is not just tv, and
AOL will continue to rule
the world.

********* al berrios technology *********

TECHNOLOGY: first pop-unders
& now this. tech firms are
trying damn hard to come
up w/ways for advertisers
to advertise. MSFT was blasted
for trying to put "'Smart Tags'
that turned words on web pages
into hyperlinks that it or
others could control." this
sucked b/c if i go to pepsi.com
anywhere the world cola appears,
would be linked to cocacola.com
b/c Coke paid MSFT for that.
not only that, it alters the
publishers original content,
and that's never good. well,
MSFT may have been stopped,
but there are still companies
like Gator.com (currently
counter suing the Interactive
Advertising Bureau) and
eZula, makers of TopText.
(fyi - before this there was
QuickClick, Third Voice &
Amazon's zBubbles, all of
which allowed third parties
to add their info to other's
ppl's web pages.) before
continuing, i should mention
that i am a believer in
allowing the user control
a great deal of their ex-
perience on the internet.
afterall, it's all about inter-
activity. however, that's not
what MSFT & eZula have in mind.
they control the experience
for a fee. and we just get
crap we didn't want anyway.
TopText, unlike all the others
mentioned, seems to be more
successful than any previous
attempt since hooking up w/KaZaA,
the new alternative to napster,
achieving a huge distribution
platform none of the others

bottom line: two things:
i'm glad marketers are
finally realizing the
power text advertisements.
al berrios has been doing
it since '98; Google is
doing even doint it. it's
good to see marketers in-
novating. however, every-
one is still missing the
point. users don't just
want to be force fed any
ad or experience a marketer
has for them. they want to
interact. my assessment of
these technologies is that
they won't last b/c they
don't take into account what
the users want. i downloaded
kazaa & w/o knowing it,
picked up TopText. it in-
sidiously installed itself
on my computer w/o my know-
ledge & proceeded to alter
all the ads i saw & delivered
ads i couldn't ignore. it
sucked. lucky for me, i
realized what was going on,
uninstalled toptext and kazaa,
b/c my experience w/both were
highly disagreeable. bastards.

read more:

********* al berrios sports *********

SPORTS: the superbowl is
watched by over 100mill
homes. the olympics, by
over 3 billion ppl! w/so
many people that eagerly
crave sports content, why
do sports content sites
need the help of larger
portals? oddly enough,
last week saw the first
beginnings of this trend.
although not widely re-
ported, it has significant
implications on how
content providers can
ultimately reach profit-
ability. sports websites
are looking for better
operating models, beginning
w/sportsline buying fantasy
sports provider sandbox &
hooking w/AOL; ESPN.com
has become the official
sports content provider
of the entire MSN network
of web properties. wow.
both deals are huge,
claiming that it's the
only way to gain more users
(read: revenue) above the
estimated 24mill regular
visitors currently measured.

bottom line: it's all about
distribution. the greater
the reach, the more your
inventory, content, research
& other services are worth.
however, this is not a call
to arms to go find a buyer/
partner to merge with.
further, this doesn't mean
that just any content pub
can cut these sort of deals.
let's not forget that this
is ESPN & Sportsline over
here, no small potatoes.
AOL & MSN realized that
they had established brands
with content & services
millions of users log on for.
content publishers cannot
just publish content forever.
think about this, if you're
a small publisher of swine-
related content out in wyoming,
and you know just about
everything there is to know
about pigs, why aren't you
selling this knowledge to
farmers, science labs, food
companies, wall street &
governments? put out that
newsletter. hold small events
& conferences. repackage your
audience into an advertisers
dream demo, and sell ads.
don't put out a offline mag
of your content just yet.
inside.com tried it & failed.
industry standard failed.
oprah pulled it off after
how many years on TV first.
but whatever it takes to
make your content top of
mind whenever ppl think of
pigs, do it. well, you get
the idea. it's not thinking
big, it's thinking survival.

read more:
Advertising Age, Sept 3rd edition

********* al berrios privacy *********

PRIVACY: last week, it was
reported that if the CEO isn't
directly responsible for
the privacy of its customers,
then he had a high ranking
exec reporting directly to
him that was responsible.
every month, more and more
companies are acknowledging
that consumer privacy is
deadly serious in their
efforts to build their brands.
so then, why the hell is
monster.com selling my info
to advertisers?! "In a 24-page
report, The Privacy Foundation,
[a watchdog group], on Wednesday
accused Monster of discussing
the sale of users' private
data to marketers, failing
to completely remove resumes
after job-seekers deleted them,
and sending user information
to America Online to satisfy the
terms of a business agreement."
of course they denied it,
what company would say, "yeah,
we did it, so friggin' what?"
to something like this. and
the worse part, they now own
hotjobs.com. by the time you
read this, i will be deleting
my info from both, again,
another brand experience
that has led to the loss
of another customer.

bottom line: obviously there's
little that can be done about
a company that does something
like this even though they say
they don't. if your business
collects information from users,
make sure you protect it.

read more:

********* al berrios iMarketing *********

Disclaimer: The recommendations, commentary and opinions published herein are based on public information sometimes referenced via hyperlinks. Any similarities or likeness to any ideas or commentary from any other sources not referenced is purely coincidental. al berrios & co. cannot control any results occurring from advice obtained from this publication nor any opinion(s) conveyed by any reader of this publication.

(c) 2001-2005. All Rights Reserved. al berrios & company, inc. Published by al berrios & co. This Report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any form without written permission from al berrios & co., subject to penalty.


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