Friday, August 17, 2007
Alltel Creates "Man Caves" Website
Metrosexuals, move over. The Macho Man is back in town. After being displaced for a time by images of the more genteel, style-conscious metrosexual, more "manly" men seem to be regaining a place in the world of marketing and media.
Alltel, the No. 5 wireless carrier, has created www.officialmancave.com, an interactive animated site. The site builds on Alltel's TV ads that portray its four biggest rivals as dorky "sales guys."
The T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T characters were introduced in cable ads last year. They were used to launch Alltel's "My Circle" plan, which lets customers call 10 selected friends on any network or land line for free. The characters moved online this month and continue the quest to figure out the appeal of Alltel service and express their venom for its handsome blond spokesman, "Chad." The site -- including a man lounge and manbrary -- has layers of links and images, include 50 videos and 50 hidden hot spots that lead to another level.
Read the whole story:
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:38 AM
PeopleJam To Offer Social Network For Life's Challenges
by Gavin O'Malley
Two digital media vets have received backing from heavyweights Robert Pittman and Tom Rogers for their upcoming launch--a self-help networking site featuring hundreds of "life coaches" in areas of health and fitness, relationship, finance, career and spirituality.
Read the whole story
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:30 AM
OPA: Internet shifting from communication to content medium
Content has trumped communication when it comes to how people spend time online, according to a four-year study by the Online Publishers Association (OPA). In 2007, consumers spent 47% of their time online with content on sites designed mainly to provide information, news, or entertainment. Consumers spent only 33% of their time with communications applications, such as Yahoo! Mail or AOL Instant Messenger. That's a dramatic shift from 2003, says OPA, when the ratio was nearly reversed: 34% of time was spent with content and 46% with communications. The rise of online video and search tools that make content easy to find are some of the drivers in the changing role of the Internet from a communications tool to a content tool. Search continues to occupy very little of consumers' time online: 5% in 2007, compared to 3% in 2003.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:23 AM
Yahoo Surpasses Google In Customer Satisfaction Survey
By Thomas Claburn
15 August 2007 04:41PM
Having recently seen several unimpressive quarters, the departure of CEO Terry Semel, and Google's lengthening lead in the search, Yahoo has reason to smile: the company took the top spot in the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report on e-business Web sites.Yahoo gained four points to reach 79 on the ACSI's 100 point scale. Google lost four points, dropping to 78 in the company's second consecutive year of decline.In written analysis of the study, Larry Freed, President and CEO of online satisfaction management company ForeSee Results, observed that the report's results bode well for Yahoo's bid to improve its profitability. "Yahoo is emerging as the leading portal, fighting Google [and losing] for the search business, and Google is clearly the leader in search, fighting Yahoo [and losing] for dominance as a portal," he said."
Yahoo is pleased with the results of this year's ACSI study, which reflect our continued efforts to enhance the consumer experience for our more than 500 million users of Yahoo-branded properties around the world," said a Yahoo spokesperson via e-mail. "We believe that this trend will continue as we further leverage our user insights, continue to open up the Yahoo network, and solidify our position as the partner of choice for advertisers, publishers and developers.
"Google's response was more muted: "We are continually working to provide the best online experience for our users and welcome strong competition that helps drive market innovation," said a Google spokesperson via e-mail.
Freed speculates that diminishing satisfaction with Google may be the result of Google's failure to communicate effectively about changes to its services. "Google built its core search business with customer satisfaction and word of mouth alone, without using any advertising or marketing," he said.
"Google's home page is clean and non-cluttered: a quality that has long been considered an advantage. But, Google's home page design may also be its downfall. People may not be taking advantage of Google's additional capabilities because they are hidden on the home page (unlike Ask.com, which makes its additional functionality more apparent)."
Google's decline coincides with a broader trend toward dissatisfaction. Overall consumer satisfaction in the e-business sector fell 1.7 points in 2007, to a score of 75.2. The decline is the first recorded since the e-business sector was added to the ACSI in 2000.
"This could be in part because recent innovations have been of interest and use to the most tech-savvy users (maps, social networking sites, etc.), but not necessarily to the population at large," Freed said.
Ask.com showed the largest gain in the survey. It increased its customer satisfaction score 6 points to 75. That ties MSN.com, following MSN's one point gain this year.
"Ask has had the biggest increase over time of any e-business company measured by the ACSI, up a total of 21% since it was first measured as AskJeeves.com in 2002, which should scare Google even though the gap between the two companies is still large," said Freed.
"The latest ACSI scores show that the search category is still evolving, and innovation still really matters," said Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask.com, in a statement. "Given Ask.com grew our user satisfaction scores more than any other search engine this year -- despite the fact that the study was conducted before the release of Ask3D -- we're looking forward to even better results in 2008."
AOL.com showed the largest decline, dropping 9 points to 67. Freed attributes this to the company's failure to differentiate itself from Google, MSN, and Yahoo, and to the difficult transition from a pay service to a free service.Freed points out that the ACSI "is a proven predictor of financial performance" and that "a stock fund comprised of high-scoring ACSI companies has consistently outperformed the S&P 500." As a result, he predicts that Google's declining ACSI score may be reflected in future stock movements and that Yahoo "is well-poised to have a strong financial performance this year, no matter what the naysayers think."
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:22 AM
Gaming Surpasses Video, Social Nets In Online Popularity: Study
by Tameka Kee
Over a third of U.S. adult Internet users play online games weekly, according to Parks Associates--with games trumping social networking and online video as the most popular Web-based entertainment activity.
Read the whole story
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:11 AM
Genzyme using social media to spread good PR
Genzyme is leveraging social media to communicate its corporate responsibility. The company is working with social media marketing firm Digital Influence Group to get the word out about its efforts in providing medical products to developing countries, environmentalism, and fostering a positive and productive corporate work culture. For example, Digital Influence Group is spearheading communication about Genzyme's earth-friendly business practices to influential blogs such as Treehugger, Inhabitat, and Green Wombat. Genzyme's Gaucher Initiative, which helps patients with Gaucher Disease in developing countries, also now has an online journal, in which a Genzyme vice president will document her experiences distributing drugs free of charge. Digital Influence Group is also communicating with employment blogs to spread the word about Genzyme's award-winning work environment.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:09 AM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
New report IDs hot topics, unmet needs in women's health
Hot flashes, female sexual dysfunction, and breast care are among the hot topics in pharma women's health research, according to a new report, which also analyzes unmet needs in the market. The report, from pharma market research firm MedPredict Market Research, shows emerging trends in the market for women's health therapies, the company says. For example, vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flush, hot flash, and night sweats, are prevalent in perimenopausal and menopausal women, with rates of reporting near 90%. MedPredict says its report explores the standards of care for treating these symptoms, including both hormonal and nonhormonal pharmacotherapies.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 4:27 PM
New AOL Body health site features pharma marketing opps
AOL has launched the health site AOL Body, which has multiple sales opportunities for pharma marketers. AOL Body, which launched in beta in May, reaches nearly 6 million unique visitors monthly and features articles, tools, resources, videos, and search capabilities, as well as blogs, community message boards and discussion areas. "AOL Body is actively working with health-interested marketers to reach consumers interested in a health site that provide relevant, easy-to-use, and easy-to-find health information," Cate Carley, pharma sales director for AOL Media Networks, tells ePharm5. "We have multiple sales opportunities for pharma companies, including our Drug Interaction Checker area, Rx area, and Diet and Fitness areas." According to the company, AOL Body will not only feature medical information but aims to be a destination for everything involved with staying healthy, including diet, fitness, and wellness, and its demographic is 55% female versus 45% male.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 4:26 PM
Verispan Joins with Marketing Technology Solutions to Offer Innovative Market Research Integrating Primary Consumer Research with Secondary Longitudinal Data
Verispan Joins with Marketing Technology Solutions to Offer Innovative Market Research Integrating Primary Consumer Research with Secondary Longitudinal Data
Wednesday August 15, 10:13 am ET
Provides Insight into What Causes Patients to Fill, or Not Fill, Prescriptions
YARDLEY, Pa. & JERSEY CITY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Verispan, the leading provider of de-identified patient data, and Marketing Technology Solutions (MTS), a performance-based, interactive marketing solutions company, today announced an agreement to jointly offer Brand Sig Powered by HealthTrak(SM), a unique tool that integrates patient perceptions with prescription information to provide insight into what causes patients to fill, or not fill, prescriptions.
Patient interactions with their prescriber are captured through MTS' HealthTrak consumer surveys, offered through an interactive Web site, QualityHealth.com. QualityHealth.com is visited by over 4 million patients monthly. Using strict filtering and eligibility, HealthTrak captures and collects over 1,200 patient surveys per market per month about the Medical Moment of Truth (MMoT)(TM). The MMoT is the first visit when a patient receives a specific drug and represents the best opportunity for the prescriber to influence the patient's commitment to treatment.
Through HIPAA-compliant processes, HealthTrak collects and summarizes patient demographic and perceptual elements pertaining to their initial office visit as well as for various brands in the market. Key areas investigated include education about their condition and the product prescribed, directions for treatment and dosing, the physician dynamics, and sampling.
The survey information is integrated with Verispan's longitudinal prescription data, which gives a clear picture of prescription-filling patterns. Verispan has the industry's richest patient-level data and uses a patented de-identification process to accurately track patients anonymously across pharmacies, payers and prescribers. By integrating the longitudinal data with patient perceptions, Brand Sig provides unique insights about the many messages patients receive from their prescribers and the effect that they have on actual patient behavior.
Brand Sig offers insights into such questions as:
- What was and was not discussed during the doctor's appointment? What did patients learn about a brand?
- What are patient attitudes toward different brands?
- What prescriber messages increase initial fill rates and persistency?
- Did patients fill or not fill their prescriptions? Why?
- What is the impact of sampling on prescription fill rates?
- What is the impact of direct-to-consumer advertising campaigns on prescription filling and requests for specific products?
"It's no surprise that disease education leads to greater brand utilization," says Steve Davis, Vice President of Product Management at MTS. "The question is, what specifically do patients want to understand? Brand Sig identifies the key messages at the brand level that patients need to hear and provides an assessment of the impact of specific messages by patient segment."
"We're very excited to be joining with MTS to offer Brand Sig," says Wayne Yetter, Verispan CEO. "The integration of our patient longitudinal data with MTS' consumer data provides a truly unique and innovative product that neither company alone could offer."
For more information on Brand Sig, please contact Mike Passanante at (267) 685-4518 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Verispan, a healthcare informatics joint venture of Quintiles Transnational Corp. and McKesson Corp., provides a broad array of information products and services to the healthcare industry, including sales targeting and compensation products; market research audits; healthcare profiles; comprehensive managed care offerings; data integration, warehousing and mining; data analysis and consulting; direct mail; list services; disease management studies; clinical trial investigator targeting and protocol recruitment evaluation; healthcare outcomes; and cost/benefit analyses, among many others. Verispan is also the nation's leading provider of patient-centric longitudinal data, with dozens of products used by clients spanning the industry.
Headquartered in Yardley, Pa., Verispan employs over 500 dedicated healthcare information professionals. The company's Web site is www.verispan.com.
About Marketing Technology Solutions
MTS is a performance-based, interactive marketing solutions company that specializes in connecting clients' brands with health-conscious consumers.
MTS connects clients to the largest audience of profiled, qualified, health-conscious consumers. Its community of health-conscious consumers has over 9 million members who interact with its sites for health and wellness information, nutrition tips and product offers for its clients' brands.
- QualityHealth.com, a leading consumer health portal that enables marketers in the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer packaged goods industries to acquire insight about consumers who interact with the site in exchange for coupons, free trials and other valuable offers.
- Nubella.com provides an engaging and contextually relevant environment for brand messages that target consumers looking for healthy lifestyle and nutrition information.
- Healthpages.com is a unique online directory service that provides users with localized information specific to their
individual health needs.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 4:25 PM
TACODA Adds More Than 10 Million Monthly Unique Visitors to Its Audience Networks(TM)
New Partners Include: A&E Network Sites, Lexico Publishing, Healthline Networks, and Philly.com
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - August 14, 2007) - TACODA®, the world's largest behaviorally targeted online advertising network, today announced that scores of sites from such major media companies as A&E, Lexico Publishing and Philly.com have joined TACODA Audience Networks. Also joining is Healthline, the leading provider of intelligent health information services. Among the individual destinations represented are A&E's www.AETV.com, www.HistoryChannel.com and www.Biography.com as well as www.Dictionary.com; www.philly.com; and www.healthline.com. These additional sites provide more than 10 million unique visitors to TACODA Audience Networks™.
"Effective behavioral targeting is all about scale and seeing user behaviors repeatedly in order to assure advertisers are getting who they are paying for. We are very pleased to have this wealth of new sites in our network. The quality and variety of their content means lots of unduplicated reach," says Larry Allen, TACODA's Senior Vice President of Business Development. "Unlike search-based BT, we are able to see behaviors over a period of time to assure that once assigned to an advertiser-driven audience segment our users are the most qualified and produce the best results for clients."
A&E Television Networks (AETN) (http://www.aetv.com), a joint venture of The Hearst Corporation, ABC, Inc. and NBC Universal, is an award-winning, international media company offering consumers a diverse communications environment ranging from television programming, to home videos/DVDs and music CDs, to Web sites, as well as supporting nationwide educational initiatives. AETN is comprised of A&E Network®, The History Channel®, History International™, The Biography Channel®, The History Channel en español™, Military History Channel™, Crime & Investigation Network™, A&E HD™, AETN International, and AETN Consumer Products.
Philly.com (http://www.philly.com) is the online home of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and is Philadelphia's #1 local media website.
Dictionary.com (http://www.dictionary.com) Dictionary.com is a multi-source dictionary search service produced by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC, a leading provider of language reference products and services on the Internet.
Healthline Networks (http://www.healthline.com) offers an innovative approach to meeting the needs of today's health information seeker. The company's unique consumer healthcare taxonomy, the largest of its kind, powers a suite of intelligent health search, navigation and content services. Combining advanced search technology with deep medical expertise, Healthline and its business partners -- a network of trusted destination sites that include publishers, portals, search engines, employers and health plans -- help consumers navigate the complex world of healthcare information, empowering them to make more confident, informed decisions.
TACODA®, Inc. (www.tacoda.com) is the world's largest and most advanced behavioral targeting advertising network. Since 2001, TACODA has provided a comprehensive range of behavioral targeting solutions to thousands of Web publishers and brand marketers. Its patent pending technologies power TACODA Audience Networks™ which enable brand advertisers to target relevant messages to specific audience segments. TACODA Audience Networks™ has more than 4,000 affiliated sites reaching over 120 million monthly unique users. Major US media partners include Dow Jones, The New York Times Company, NBC Universal, Hoovers, HGTV.com, FoodNetwork.com, Cars.com and USAToday.com. TACODA has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by AOL and, after the close, will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 4:25 PM
Five pharma brands among TiVo's least fast-forwarded campaigns
Ads for several pharma brands, including the Partnership for Prescription Assistance and Lunesta, were among the least fast-forwarded brand campaigns during June, according to TiVo's Stop//Watch commercial rankings. For all measured networks, including both daytime and primetime, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance came in ninth among the ten least fast-forwarded campaigns. During primetime, Lunesta came in fifth and Plavix came in sixth. Zantac came in ninth among the top ten during primetime. TiVo's new service debuted last month, with May's commercial rankings. According to those results, Claritin-D allergy medicine's brand campaign was among the three least fast-forwarded commercials on primetime TV in May (ePharm5, 7/23/07).
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 4:24 PM
Virtual Sex Machine Inspires Real-Life Lawsuit
Well this ought to do a lot to encourage corporate types to enter into Second Life marketing campaigns! Lawyers, the scourge of first life, have reared their ugly heads in the metaverse.
The 3D virtual world now has its first real life copyright lawsuit. Kevin Alderman, whose avatar is named Stroker Serpentine, and who is owner of SexGen, is suing the avatar (virtual game character) Volkov Catteneo. He says Catteneo broke his code and sold his intellectual property illegally.
Alderman realized that people who had avatars on the popular site wanted their characters to not only have realistic genitalia, but also to be able to have sex. So he created code that provides avatars with 3D genitalia and allows them to engage in sex.
SexGen Platinum, which he sells for $45 through his company, Eros LLC, is placed in various objects, such as a bed, and when the user clicks on a menu his or her avatar can take part in a choice of sex acts.
Virtual beds with sex animations are a staple of the Second Life economy, and are available with a range of features, reports Second Life Herald.
When confronted, Volkov taunted Alderman saying, "What are you going to do? Sue me?" So Alderman sued him. The case is rooted in basic copyright infringement law, and is drawing attention more because of the sexual nature of the content and the fact the lawsuit started in a virtual world.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 9:35 AM
SpineUniverse LLC Unveils a New Site to Reach Back Pain Sufferers & Spine Professionals
Launch of enhanced site featuring expanded options for consumers & healthcare
professionals, marks SpineUniverse’s latest phase of growth & rebranding
MONTCLAIR, NEW JERSEY, August 16, 2007 – SpineUniverse LLC, the leading spine-related medical education company in the U.S., announces the launch of the new www.spineuniverse.com. The site improves usability for both patients and physicians while offering enhanced services for advertisers.
The site averages 600,000 monthly visitors and has an opt-in relationship with 56,000 registered patients and more than 11,000 spine professionals, including 60% of U.S. spine surgeons.
For advertisers & educational partners, the new site offers a range of DTC and DTP services:
· Geo-targeted & content-targeted advertising on SpineUniverse.com
· Online and offline CME programs, including surgical training
· Clinical trial promotion
· Physician recruitment
· eNewsletter sponsorship
· Customized direct marketing campaigns
· Client-branded, customized resource centers
You are invited to visit the new site today at www.spineuniverse.com. For additional information including site demographics and traffic, send an email to email@example.com or call 973-783-0660.
About SpineUniverse LLC
SpineUniverse LLC is the leading spine-related medical education company providing online and offline resources to professionals, consumers and payors. Comprised of spineuniverse.com, the most visited spine-related website in the United States and Broadwater, a medical meetings company, SpineUniverse is uniquely positioned to provide innovative educational solutions to consumers, physician and industry. Please visit www.spineuniverse.com or www.broad-water.com for more information.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 9:32 AM
Spring launches Sprintcuts, tips that can save you precious time… In this funny video campaign, you not only learn unique tricks that do things faster – but you also can submit your own clip. How does this all relate to SPRINT? It’s all about time, right? So if you can start making your free calls at 7PM, then you gain back 4 years of your life. Who cares whether this is true or not, the point is that the tips are helpful, and the concept hits home a very simple point about sprint’s value. In addition, you can have the clips sent directly to your cell phone. Nice. So what’s missing? Well, for one you can’t grab these clips and easily post on your own blog or website. Second, where are the user-generated clips that people can supposedly submit? Will this be phase 2 of their campaign? Either way, I give the effort 3 ½ out of 4 stars. God job Sprint!
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 9:18 AM
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Pfizer unveils new consumer Web site
source: Medical Marketing & Media
Pfizer has launched a refreshed consumer Web site at www.pfizer.com featuring a cleaner design and
“I think the site is warmer and more emotional in tone than the previous one, and it's reflective of what we've heard from our survey (of users),” Pfizer spokesman Andy McCormack told MM&M.
For Pfizer.com's first Web site makeover in nearly three years, the company worked with Grey unit G2 Direct and Digital to incorporate a product search on every single page.
“We've made it easier for our users to access our updated product information,” Pfizer spokeswoman Kate Bird added. “We've also incorporated a technology called
Other new Pfizer.com features include automated Securities and Exchange Commission filings and a more robust investor dashboard for Pfizer's investor population.
Also, a new R&D section features information of Pfizer's product pipeline as well as post-marketing commitments that are updated on a weekly basis.
Pfizer.com averages about 4 million visitors per year. That audience is comprised of both consumers and health care professionals, according to Bird.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 2:14 PM
JupiterResearch: Google tops Yahoo!, MySpace as favorite Web brand
A JupiterResearch poll showed that Google is consumers' favorite online brand, but preferences varied slightly when age and gender were taken into consideration. Overall, 36% of people polled called Google their favorite online brand, and 32% chose Yahoo!, reports PCMag.com. Men preferred Google, and women tended to prefer Yahoo!. Although MySpace ranked fifth overall, it tied with Yahoo! for second place among people aged 18-24, with both sites grabbing 32% of the vote in that group. However, among users aged 55 or older, only 1% preferred MySpace. Although 39% of this age group preferred Google and 30% preferred Yahoo!, 21% said they don't have a favorite online brand. Amazon.com and eBay were also among the top five favorite brands overall.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 5:25 AM
Bipolar Web site offers spartan content, long registration
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical have launched bipolaroptions.com, an unbranded Web site with an accompanying TV commercial for their bipolar disorder drug Abilify. However, before users can view any of the site's content, they must complete an eight-step registration process that not only asks about their history with the disease, but also requires personal information such as name, address, and email. Once the registration is complete, the site's content seems to consist of only four PDF downloads. The TV commercial, which is available on the site's home page after an intro, directs users to the site or to a call center for more information if their current treatments aren't what they "expected" them to be.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 5:24 AM
Dr. Google and Dr. Microsoft
By STEVE LOHR
New York Times
In politics, every serious candidate for the White House has a health care plan. So too in business, where the two leading candidates for Web supremacy, Google and Microsoft, are working up their plans to improve the nation's health care.
By combining better Internet search tools, the vast resources of the Web and online personal health records, both companies are betting they can enable people to make smarter choices about their health habits and medical care.
"What's behind this is the mass consumerization of health information," said Dr. David J. Brailer, the former health information technology coordinator in the Bush administration, who now heads a firm that invests in health ventures.
It is too soon to know whether either Google or Microsoft will make real headway. Health care, experts note, is a field where policy, regulation and entrenched interests tend to slow the pace of change, and technology companies have a history of losing patience.
And for most people, typing an ailment into a Web search engine is very different from entrusting a corporate titan with personal information about their health.
Google and Microsoft recognize the obstacles, and they concede that changing health care will take time. But the companies see the potential in attracting a large audience for health-related advertising and services. And both companies bring formidable advantages to the consumer market for such technology.
Microsoft's software animates more than 90 percent of all personal computers, while Google is the default starting point for most health searches. And people are increasingly turning to their computers and the Web for health information and advice. A Harris poll, published last month, found that 52 percent of adults sometimes or frequently go to the Web for health information, up from 29 percent in 2001.
If the efforts of the two big companies gain momentum over time, that promises to accelerate a shift in power to consumers in health care, just as Internet technology has done in other industries.
Today, about 20 percent of the nation's patient population have computerized records — rather than paper ones — and the Bush administration has pushed the health care industry to speed up the switch to electronic formats. But these records still tend to be controlled by doctors, hospitals or insurers. A patient moves to another state, for example, but the record usually stays.
The Google and Microsoft initiatives would give much more control to individuals, a trend many health experts see as inevitable. "Patients will ultimately be the stewards of their own information," said John D. Halamka, a doctor and the chief information officer of the Harvard Medical School.
Already the Web is allowing people to take a more activist approach to health. According to the Harris survey, 58 percent of people who look online for health information discussed what they found with their doctors in the last year.
It is common these days, Dr. Halamka said, for a patient to come in carrying a pile of Web page printouts. "The doctor is becoming a knowledge navigator," he said. "In the future, health care will be a much more collaborative process between patients and doctors."
Microsoft and Google are hoping this will lead people to seek more control over their own health records, using tools the companies will provide. Neither company will discuss their plans in detail. But Microsoft's consumer-oriented effort is scheduled to be announced this fall, while Google's has been delayed and will probably not be introduced until next year, according to people who have been briefed on the companies' plans.
A prototype of Google Health, which the company has shown to health professionals and advisers, makes the consumer focus clear. The welcome page reads, "At Google, we feel patients should be in charge of their health information, and they should be able to grant their health care providers, family members, or whomever they choose, access to this information. Google Health was developed to meet this need."
A presentation of screen images from the prototype — which two people who received it showed to a reporter — then has 17 other Web pages including a "health profile" for medications, conditions and allergies; a personalized "health guide" for suggested treatments, drug interactions and diet and exercise regimens; pages for receiving reminder messages to get prescription refills or visit a doctor; and directories of nearby doctors.
Google executives would not comment on the prototype, other than to say the company plans to experiment and see what people want. "We'll make mistakes and it will be a long-range march," said Adam Bosworth, a vice president of engineering and leader of the health team. "But it's also true that some of what we're doing is expensive, and for Google it's not."
At Microsoft, the long-term goal is similarly ambitious. "It will take grand scale to solve these problems like the data storage, software and networking needed to handle vast amounts of personal health and medical information," said Steve Shihadeh, general manager of Microsoft's health solutions group. "So there are not many companies that can do this."
This year, Microsoft bought a start-up, Medstory, whose search software is tailored for health information, and last year bought a company that makes software for retrieving and displaying patient information in hospitals. Microsoft software is already used in hospitals, clinical laboratories and doctors' offices, and, Mr. Shihadeh noted, the three most popular health record systems in doctors' offices are built with Microsoft software and programming tools.
Microsoft will not disclose its product plans, but according to people working with the company the consumer effort will include online offerings as well as software to find, retrieve and store personal health information on personal computers, cellphones and other kinds of digital devices — perhaps even a wristwatch with wireless Internet links some day.
Mr. Shihadeh declined to discuss specifics, but said, "We're building a broad consumer health platform, and we view this challenge as far bigger than a personal health record, which is just scratching the surface."
Yet personal health records promise to be a thorny challenge for practical and privacy reasons. To be most useful, a consumer-controlled record would include medical and treatment records from doctors, hospitals, insurers and laboratories. Under federal law, people can request and receive their personal health data within 90 days. But the process is complicated, and the replies typically come on paper, as photocopies or faxes.
The efficient way would be for that data to be sent over the Internet into a person's digital health record. But that would require partnerships and trust between health care providers and insurers and the digital record-keepers.
Privacy concerns are another big obstacle, as both companies acknowledge. Most likely, they say, trust will build slowly, and the online records will include as much or as little personal information as users are comfortable divulging.
A person might start, for example, by typing in age, gender and a condition, like diabetes, as a way to find more personalized health information. If a person creates a personal health record and later has second thoughts, a simple mouse click should erase it. The promise, the companies say, will be complete consumer control.
There are plenty of competitors these days in online health records and information from start-ups like Revolution Health, headed by AOL's founder, Stephen M. Case, and thriving profit-makers led by WebMD.
Potential rivals are not underestimating the two technology giants. But the smaller companies have the advantage of being focused entirely on health, and some have been around for years. WebMD, for example, traces its lineage to Healtheon, a fallen star of the dot-com era, founded by the Netscape billionaire Jim Clark.
Google and Microsoft are great companies, said Wayne T. Gattinella, WebMD's chief executive, but "that doesn't mean they will be expert in a specific area like health."
Specialized health search engines — notably Healthline — are gaining ground and adding partners. AOL recently began using Healthline for searches on its health pages, even though Google is a close partner.
Still, 58 percent of people seeking health information online begin with a general search engine, according to a recent Jupiter Research report, and Google dominates the field. "Google is the entry point for most health search, and that is a huge advantage," said Monique Levy, a Jupiter analyst.
Indeed, it is the market reach and deep pockets that Google and Microsoft can bring to consumer health information that intrigues medical experts, and has lured recruits. Dr. Roni Zeiger, a graduate of Stanford's School of Medicine, a medical informatics researcher and a former primary care doctor, joined Google last year. The 36-year-old, who still sees patients some evenings and weekends at a nearby clinic, said, "At Google, I can use my expertise and knowledge to potentially help millions of people each day."
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 4:47 AM
Monday, August 13, 2007
The prize for this is a trip to New York and a professional photo-shoot for you and your hair to appear in one of the future ads. To win, you load up a photo, add the copy, answer a few questions and away you go. Unlike Smarties, the creative element is relatively fixed, there are few areas to play. Most of the competition is based on how you compose your answers to the questions with the marks being given for: “1) Quality of story (on how your hair expresses your unique beauty (50%); 2) Representation of Dove® brand philosophy (25%); and 3) Quality of photo (25%).
I’m not sure this has the same kind of excitement as some of the others, it feels a little quiet in it’s approach. There’s nothing new in it, but it does give a llot of people the chance to express how they feel about their hair.
Go to http://www.behindthebuzz.com/328/ to comment on Rachhe's blog.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:28 AM
AQuantive Builds Self-Service Sales Platform for Publishers
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:08 AM
Are Skins, Bugs or Tickers
The Holy Grail of Web Advertising?
By KEVIN J. DELANEY and EMILY STEEL
August 13, 2007
Video Web sites have spent the past year searching for the Holy Grail of online advertising: ads that don't annoy consumers and still fetch high prices from advertisers. Now some believe they're beginning to figure out what works and are starting to cash in.
Sites ranging from Google Inc. to Break.com1 have been experimenting intensively with replacements for the preroll, the video ads that users are forced to watch before viewing a clip. Advertisers liked prerolls because they could use commercials already produced for TV in the spots, and Web publishers loved the high prices they commanded. But users grew annoyed by the intrusion, and Google's YouTube and other video-sharing newcomers rose to popularity partly by ditching the format.
That left a big question mark hanging over the online-video industry, which saw huge growth in consumer usage but couldn't point with certainty to ad formats that would pump up long-term revenue. Now, with early results from their experiments with other formats, some video sites say they're more confident they have an answer, and some advertisers say they're seeing good results.
The sites and advertisers are now citing success with such things as graphics that slide over the bottom of the video-viewing screen that allow them to market to users without interrupting the clip. A user can usually click on the graphic -- sometimes known as overlays, bugs or tickers -- to pause the video and see more information from the advertiser. Other marketers are seeing results with ad graphics that surround the video player screen, often known as player skins, especially when used in concert with video ads dropped into clips like TV commercials. And the preroll itself has been reinvented, now limited to as little as five seconds and sometimes including timers that count down the length of the commercial in order to grab consumers' attention without turning them off.
"Two-thousand-eight is going to be the year when we'll see video advertising grow because a lot of the experimentation will have happened this year," says Gokul Rajaram, a Google director of product management. "People are going to start acting on the data." Research firm eMarketer Inc. projects that U.S. spending on Internet video advertising will rise to $4.3 billion in 2011 from $410 million last year. And Google Video announced Friday that it would stop charging fees for any of its videos, planning to rely solely on ad revenue.
No one claims to have totally cracked the video-advertising code, and many sites and advertisers remain in the throes of experimentation, with mixed or disappointing results to date. Some say the industry hasn't yet figured out how to make video ads as interactive and effective as they can be. Most big advertisers are still uncomfortable having their ads appear alongside the unfiltered videos created by amateurs on user-generated sites like YouTube. And there's a consensus that video sites need to reach common standards for formats and how to measure ads' effectiveness before marketers can adopt them without the endless hassles of customization.
Still, the early results are encouraging. Ogilvy Interactive, the digital arm of WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, has found that ads connected with online videos perform about three times as well as online sponsorship ads and banner ads when it comes to a consumer's brand recall. The branded skins on video players are one format that has worked well for Ogilvy clients including Foster's Lager and International Business Machines Corp.
"It's not intrusive, and it allows you to sponsor and create an association with good content," says Maria Mandel, executive director of digital innovations at Ogilvy Interactive.
The best results have come when the agency has used skins in combination with placing 30-second spots within the clips. Ogilvy is readying an ad effort for IBM that includes a specially designed video player that has IBM skins and plays technology or business content along with IBM ads. The agency is working on placing the player on magazine and newspaper publishing sites. Brand recall and consumers' intention to buy a product, another key measurement, are high with such ads, says Ms. Mandel. For those reasons, Ms. Mandel says many of her clients are shifting money out of traditional media into online-video ads.
Video site Heavy.com4 says skins are the ad format consumers have most consistently responded to, clicking on them for more information between 1% and 2% of the time they're displayed. (Industry-wide, the rate is generally just a fraction of a percent with many other kinds of ads.) Heavy's video site, which NetRatings Inc. says had 720,000 users in June, this month is starting an online-video ad network called Husky where it will sell ad skins to appear alongside videos on other publishers' sites, such as Newgrounds.com5, which offers content such as games and cartoons.
"We have a very good format," says Simon Assaad, Heavy Inc.'s co-chief executive. He says a single skin usually generates less ad revenue per viewer than a preroll ad, but a site can show multiple skins during each video of several minutes. As a result, the total ad revenue per video clip -- in the rough range of $30 per 1,000 times it's viewed -- can be equivalent.
Meanwhile, Break.com has offered TV-commercial-like ads within videos, but another format it introduced a few months ago, which it calls a "bug," has been generating more excitement among advertisers. Break.com had 3.8 million U.S. visitors in June, according to NetRatings.
Time Warner Inc.'s New Line Home Entertainment used bugs last month to promote the DVD release of "The Number 23" on Break.com. Using the ad format, a graphic on the film slid onto the bottom of a video as it played; the graphic offered viewers who clicked on it more information. About 2.5% of everyone who saw the ad clicked through to learn more about the DVD release. "That's certainly much higher than standard advertising click-through rates on the Web," says Ian Schafer, chief executive of interactive ad agency Deep Focus Inc., which worked on the campaign for New Line.
Deep Focus is working with other clients and Web sites on similar ads, and Break.com says it's close to selling out its bug inventory. "This has been the most effective ad unit attracting advertisers and users," says Keith Richman, the CEO of NextPoint Inc., the parent of Break Media. "Users who frequently complain when they don't like things haven't complained at all."
VideoEgg Inc., a San Francisco-based company that runs an online-video network and develops interactive-video ad technology, started experimenting with ads that went beyond the preroll format last fall. These include video spots that roll at the end of clips, tickers that resemble the headlines that stream underneath TV news programs, picture-in-picture ads and animated bugs. Right now, the picture-in-picture ads are performing the best, with click-through rates averaging 4% to 5%, says Troy Young, VideoEgg chief marketing officer.
Discovery Communications, which advertises with VideoEgg, says its online-video advertising results exceeded the company's expectations compared with other forms of online ad placements. Discovery recently ran a campaign with VideoEgg for its TLC network's "LA Ink" show, including ticker and video-in-video ads. A spokeswoman said the ads "performed incredibly well, garnering a click-through rate four times higher than the standard."
Internet heavyweight Google has been experimenting with various video-ad formats on YouTube and partner sites for months, including overlays and TV-commercial-like ads of different lengths and placement. Mr. Rajaram says the best format will vary by site and content. But he says the overlay ads, which insert text or graphics like a ticker tape at the bottom of the video, are one format that is a candidate for the industry to create standards around.
Mr. Rajaram says Google is experimenting with using contextual-targeting -- making the subject of the ad match the content it appears alongside -- for video-related ads, though he declined to specify how that worked at Google. But some start-ups have developed technology that analyzes the audio track of clips for key words that help select ads that might be more relevant to the user, such as by showing a car ad when someone in the clip is speaking the name of a specific auto maker.
Allstate is one of the advertisers who tested different ad formats and placement on the Google Video site over the past year. One test involved running 15-second commercials in the middle of music videos, but no users clicked on the ads or dialed the 1-800 telephone number they listed. The insurance giant says music videos weren't the right place for such ad content and vows to keep experimenting.
"We didn't see overwhelming success," says Lisa Cochrane, Allstate's vice president of integrated marketing, who says the company is looking to test shorter length ads of seven or eight seconds.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 7:17 AM
Pharma company starts MySpace page to promote disease awareness
A pharmaceutical company is partnering with MySpace in an effort to educate the MySpace generation about addiction to opiates, including prescription painkillers. The site, Addiction411, is the first MySpace disease information Web site about this topic, according to Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, which launched the site. The site is accessible at myspace.com/addiction411 and offers information about the dangers of misusing opioids, identifying addiction, how recreational drug use can lead to addiction, and opioid addiction treatment options. The site also includes an interactive online addiction-identifier questionnaire and a physician locator to help people seeking office-based treatment for opioid dependence. As of this writing, Addiction411 already has 47 friends. Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals makes Suboxone Treatment for opioid dependence
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 7:08 AM