In a move that only benefits advertisers Youtube have launched in Australian version. And to mark thsi special occasion they produced this video with almost every stereotype known. Sadly no "shrimp on the barbie" and "crikeys" to be found.
What this means for Australian advertiers is access to the featured video and the ability to do competitions, or as Youtube calls them "Community" channels, which was previously USA only.
Supervirals.com (terrible name made worse by the logo) is a new venture that allows brands to brief out "viral video" in exchange for prizes. They've signed up mambo, Krispy Kreme and Nudie juice so far.
They describe themselves better than I can so this is form their FAQ section
"SuperVirals is a new creative platform where you can win big prizes by creating and uploading original ideas for sponsor brands. Which means it's also the place to see the best new viral content on the web!"
The briefs are open enough to allow creative freedom but my cynical view on the world won't be banking on this taking off. It just feels too labored?. But I've been wrong many times before. I think 1% (read here) sums it up well.
I haven't hear much from Telstra's WotNext site but it still seems to be going so that's one thing. They also have Project Joystick which is asking for game ideas.
All comps require the user to sign over all IP with their winning entry. I guess this matter little to the general public but matters a lot to people who actually have talent.
So we're a bit late on posting the news about Microsoft buying aQuantive(Avenue A/Razorfish, Atlas amongst others) however this deal has got me thinking about another side of the story I have yet to see covered by the mainstream press.
Microsoft, is at it's heart a technology company and it thrives on ensuring its technology remains dominant. The technology in this case is Silverlight - Microsoft's answer to Flash, and what some commentators have described as a 'Flash Killer'. My opinion is that any many ways, the purchase of a digital marketing agency like aQuantive is more driven by Microsoft's motivation to cement it's own technology as standard than to directly take on advertising and media agencies.
Microsoft now owns a significant number of pieces for it to play in the online space. It has it's network of content properties (MSN, Hotmail, Messenger etc), media platforms (Xbox, Media Centre, Zune etc) and now a digital marketing company to make it a very dominant force.
When you own that much of the landscape, you can certainly influence the technology standard for the industry. Why wouldn't Microsoft look at this as an opportunity to push it's preferred technology - Sliverlight across the industry? It has the desktop prescence to meet Flash's penetration effectively overnight - just roll out a service pack (either for Windows or IE). With the purchase of aQuantive, MS will also control an an ad-serving company, Atlas, which gives its the necessary system in which to deploy Silverlight as an online advertising format (MS has already started showcasing Silverlight as a technology for online advertising(which to date has been done with Eyeblaster). Put this together with Microsoft's network of content properties such a MSN, Hotmail, Spaces and media platforms such as Xbox, Zune, Media Centre, and you can see just how easily Silverlight could become a dominant format. (not to mention pricing it in such a way that is preferrential towards the use of the Silverlight format).
The only thing that might slow down the uptake of Silverlight, is the lack of agencies and staff trained to use it, nor are we an industry with abundent labor. But then, Microsoft now owns Avenue A/Razorfish "the largest interactive agency in the US" thanks to the aQuantive purchase and additionally the fact that in some markets MSN maintains inhouse production capabilities, such as it's ninepixels unit in Australia where ninemsn is partnership with media company PBL
It's also widely acknowledged that MS has somewhat missed the boat on digital media. It's struggled to get acceptance of its digital music format and Windows Media Player has been pushed aside in favour of Flash Video when it comes to video streaming on the web. So therefore it should come as no suprise then that Silverlight will feature HD quality video format. This time however, Microsoft appear to have learnt the benefits of cross platform
When you put all this together, it certainly makes for a very plausible outcome. Some of you may decry this as a conspiracy theory, I can see it as a definite case of reality in the not to distant future.
Google has bought Feedburner. The RSS feed tracking site that tracks over 70,000 blogs. The price is reported to be around $100 million, which is chump change in the recent spate of acquisitions. Seems everyone is cashing in.