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January 9, 2009

Trendwatching's 2009 Trend Report


I throughly enjoyed Trendwatching's 2008 report and their 2009 report is here. I haven't had time to read mine but that's what weekends are for.

Not only that but throughout the year they continued to update the report with new sections and new videos. It's a pretty slick operation. The report is made to make it easy to slip their findings into your own presentations. There is the usual vox pop videos with consumers too. These I always find interesting.

If you only buy one trend report this year make it this one :) Considering the minimal cost it's worth more than attending a local conference for one day. Minus the free lunch.

January 8, 2009

Microsoft Tag : Move over QR codes..


Microsoft has introduced a mobile tagging system based on new HCCB technology called Microsoft Tag at CES 2008. Microsoft Tag allows consumers to instantly connect to information, be it URLs, phone numbers or short messages by simply snapping the tag with your mobile's camera & the Microsoft Tag reader software. To those familiar with QR Codes, this is nothing new. The key advantage of Microsoft Tag over QRCodes is they have a smaller footprint while storing more information due to the use of colour.

Microsoft has launched the Tag reader application with broad handset / OS support - including the iPhone. You can download the reader application directly to your phone from the mobi site or the App Store if you've got an iPhone.


A Microsoft Tag seen through the lense of the iPhone.
The poor framing and light conditions were no trouble for the reader application

With the launch of Tag, Microsoft is clearly looking to take mobile tagging mainstream where QR Codes have failed to achieve mass acceptance - with the exception of Japan.

In Australia, Telstra launched QRCodes as 'Telstra Codes' with much fanfare during the Beijing Olympics. The 'R U QRious' campaign could be considered a commercial flop as the advertising was Telstra customer centric and excluded those on carriers Optus, Vodafone & Three. This is despite the fact a Telstra Code was a standard QR Code.

A solution tied to one carrier lacks the mass reach critical for it's adoption. Telstra claimed that 500,000 customers had one of the seven compatible handsets required to use QRCode's at launch. A meagre number when you consider Australia has 21.2 million mobile subscribers.

With the advent of Microsoft Tag, it will be interesting to see whether Telstra continues to adopt QR Codes or abandons it in support of Microsoft Tag. As mentioned earlier, QRCodes have limited popularity outside of Japan where they are a regular fixture on billboards, magazines and products. Telstra's last adoption of a Japanese technology was DoCoMo's i-mode service which it canned in July 2007 after three years of poor subscriber numbers.

If carriers Optus/Vodafone/Three were to jointly promote Microsoft Tag as a standard offering, Telstra Code could be quickly buried in favor of a common cross-carrier platform.


Screenshot of the Microsoft Tag control panel

Microsoft Tag also has a few unique features over QRCodes. Microsoft Tags can be set to expire, which is valuable to marketers wanting to use them in a promotional campaign. The reader application also appears to be location aware / GPS enabled. This would be particularly beneficial if you were looking for the nearest retailer having just snapped a Tag on an ad. But most promising is the presence of an analytic engine that captures actions associated with your tags for reporting purposes.

For more information on Microsoft Tag, visit the website

Australia Day 2009 : Sam Kekovich

Sam is back with a ripper address to the nation for Australia Day 2009. As expected, the finance industry cops it.

Behind a firewall / can't see the YouTube video below? Download the Hi-Res MPEG (5.4meg) here

January 7, 2009

Highscores in Life

Iain Tait - High Scores Talk at Playful London 31.10.08 from Iain Tait on Vimeo.

Iain's talk speaks to the gamer, the nerd and the stat lover in me. I wish I could attend a Playful festival. What a great idea.

It reminded me about this fantastic presentation on Reputation systems by a Yahoo! developer

I have implemented learnings from this into two projects launching next month for video game clients.

Billionaire Suicides Contexual Ads


Have a look at the the contextual ads on the homepage and the actual article page for the Suiciding Billionaires. Oh dear.

It's worse for the actual article page. The orange banner started with "What would you do if you had more time"



Note for all brands. I don't want my banner shown on anything related to death. ie suicide, dogs killing kids, war etc etc. It's just too much of a minefield.

I guess publishers will lose ad revenue and have to settle for a "happy news site"

On a side note: Also why can I only comment on certain news articles on

Howard calling shotgun to Obama's place = OK,
Babysitters Dog kills little girl = OK,
Guy with pants down on ski lift (very front page worthy) = OK
but suiciding billionaires = NO and
a driver arrested speeding and wanking (again front page worthy) = NO

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