Vol 1, #14, June 16, 2009
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June 16, 2009


Manage online commerce using interactive video
PPC ad network provides universal content on SERPs
Protect against web attacks with ZoneAlarm ForceField
Facebook to allow customized web page URLs
Cruise planning made easy on new website
New videophone service comes to Canada
Canada has national advantage in digital economy
CineFocus brings social networking to TV with GreenHeroes.tv
Twist Marketing to rebrand Town of Cochrane
Have your say at CorpFreeSpeech.com
New iPhone app from Creativ 555

Manage online commerce using interactive video

Retailers can now harness professional and user-generated video to increase online sales, thanks to a new offering from interactive media agency Overlay.TV.

According to Rob Lane, CEO of Overlay.TV online video has become a staple of most web users' media diet, yet very few online retailers have been able to harness the opportunity provided by video e-commerce. His company is seeking to change that with the launch of its new e-commerce product, Overlay.TV for Retail.

The enterprise platform allows a seamless integration of interactive video into product pages, brand experience pages, face-to-face video chat and user-generated video ratings and testimonials. This radically simplifies the process of including user-generated content by allowing merchants to pair UGC with professionally created video and moderate it with a built-in dashboard.

"There's no doubt that video can increase sales," says Lane. "Retailers have been slow to capitalize on this trend, largely because of the technical issues that come along with video storing, streaming and integration into existing product catalogs and inventory systems. We've taken away the technical problems, and packaged it in a way that makes the process easy to manage and entirely focused on sales."

Beyond simply offering a platform for product videos, the clickable technology behind Overlay.TV allows merchants to easily repurpose brand-created video content by adding links to product catalogues and inventory databases.

"Our view is that adding video is a half-step in the right direction, but you need to have a plan for how it's going to be built into the sales process," says Lane. "The interactivity that our system builds allows customers to shop within a video regardless of whether it's on the storefront or embedded on a blog."

Video e-commerce also holds strong potential for the companies to build their online community over the long term.

"The business of business today is increasingly about building communities, which can drive sales and improve customer service. User-generated content will become user-generated commerce," said James Governor, industry analyst and co-founder of RedMonk. "Overlay.TV for Retail is designed to help manage online commerce using interactive video."

Lane believes that the possibility for brand experiences combined with the focus on personalized service and recommendations will bring video e-commerce further into the mainstream.

"Once consumers begin to experience the social and personal aspects that interactive video can bring to the shopping experience, they're going to begin to demand it," says Lane. "As consumers, we're quick to adjust to a new baseline, and I think this raises the bar significantly." Top of Page

PPC ad network provides universal content on SERPs

Pay-per-click search engine and advertising network 7Search.com has re-designed the look of its search engine results pages to provide a more engaging experience for users through access to richer, more universal content on its search return listings.

The re-designed search results pages, intended to increase end-user convenience, now include related keyword lists, relevant photos, pertinent news headlines and real-time Twitter results in addition to new areas dedicated to sponsored listings. 7Search will continue to prominently display its advertisers with the highest CPC bids at the top of search return listings but the new universal content additions will be placed in a highly visible right-hand column.

“7Search is excited about being the first pure-play PPC network to offer a deeper, more engaging media experience for our users and the broader web community” said Gemma Piscotti, 7Search.com Director of Marketing and Operations. “We developed more than just a new search result page, but a more robust experience from which surfers can find the information they are looking for.”

Improvements to 7Search results pages include:

  • Related Searches: Additional related keyword and key phrases will be provided based upon the user’s initial query. This related search suggestions provide users with an opportunity to narrow and refine their search.
  • Relevant Images: Multiple images are provided to end-users on the new search result pages; providing an additional layer of content for users to interact with quickly.
  • News Listings: Users will be able to access recent news stories related to their initial search query from the convenience of the search results pages.
  • Twitter Integration: 7Search is the first PPC search engine to integrate real-time tweets into search results pages to provide users with insights into activity on that social network.

Top of Page

Protect against web attacks with ZoneAlarm ForceField

Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. announced that ZoneAlarm® ForceField protects consumers against Gumblar, a web attack that compromises web sites and downloads malware onto unsuspecting computers.

ZoneAlarm ForceField, available separately or integrated within ZoneAlarm Extreme Security, places a two-way “bubble of security” around the browser to automatically catch and neutralize malicious web browser downloads. The safe, virtual ForceField sandbox prevents the unwanted malware from damaging a user's PCs or accessing any information residing on a targeted machine.

Gumblar is named after the Gumblar.cn exploit, which so far targets users of Internet Explorer and Google search, delivering malware through compromised sites to infect a user’s PC and subsequently intercept traffic between the user and the visited sites. Once infected, anything the victim types could be monitored and used to commit identity theft, such as stealing credit card numbers, web passwords or other sensitive data. Visitors encountering the compromised website also risk having their subsequent search results replaced with links that point to other malicious websites. The malware can also steal FTP credentials from the victim’s computer and use them to infect more sites, thus increasing the spread of this threat. So far, more than 3,000 Web sites have been attacked including a popular entertainment site and sports site.

 “We are witnessing a tremendous increase in web browser-based attacks such as Gumblar, which traditional security products are not able to defend against,” said Paul Comessotti, Check Point’s Canadian Country Manager.  “Our unique ZoneAlarm ForceField virtualized browser security solution provides additional layers of protection and helps divert users away from malicious web sites, delivering the highest level of security needed to stop such sophisticated attacks.”

ZoneAlarm ForceField successfully protects computers against Gumblar by placing an impenetrable two-way “bubble of security” around the browser. The ZoneAlarm ForceField sandbox prevents unwanted malware such as Gumblar from damaging users’ PCs or from stealing users’ private information. ForceField also includes additional security layers that augment its virtualization capability, such as heuristic anti-phishing and site ratings, designed to analyze websites and if malicious, warn the user not to download anything from the site or enter personal information. In addition, ZoneAlarm anti-virus solution has been updated to offer automatic protection against Gumblar. Top of Page

Facebook to allow customized web page URLs

Facebook has announced it will allow its 200 million users to customize the address of their profile pages in an effort to make the pages easier for others to find. Users will now be able to choose a user name that will redirect to their Facebook profiles. Currently user profiles appear as "http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=", followed by a string of nine numbers.

The new tool will allow profile pages with an alias in the format "http://www.facebook.com/" followed by whatever name the user chooses. Only one alias will be allowed per profile page.

"Your new Facebook URL is like your personal destination, or home, on the web," wrote Facebook designer Blaise DiPersia in a post on the company blog. "People can enter a Facebook username as a search term on Facebook or a popular search engine like Google, for example, which will make it much easier for people to find friends with common names," he wrote.

This move keeps the popular social networking site in line with other social media tools such as social messaging tool Twitter and competing social network MySpace, which already provide personalized user names. Top of Page

Cruise planning made easy on new website

As part of their commitment to Quebec’s tourism industry, Croisieres AML, Canada’s largest cruise excursion company recently launched its entirely revamped and more dynamic website. The new generation portal now provides a information with enhanced visuals on the many cruises offered, as well as information on activities and attractions in seven Québec tourism regions in collaboration with their Regional Tourism Associations (ATRs).

Promoting all the attractions in these regions on a private company's website brings a breath of fresh air to Québec's tourism industry, according to a statement issued by Croisieres.

The new website was created by HD Marketing and Prospection, which joined forces in designing a unique tool to meet the increasingly complex needs of the tourism industry. The first phase of the site offers a fully transactional platform and detailed content on AML's many cruises. Users can search for information either by the destination of choice or by the kind of cruise.

In the coming months, the company will be introducing more new user-friendly features to help customers choose a cruise and plan. Top of Page

New videophone service comes to Canada

Proxy Vision, a new Canadian telecommunication company specializing in videophony, has launched its service across Canada and the US. Proxy Vision's videophone, a telephone with a built-in camera integrated in its screen, is available thanks to an innovative telecommunication service that uses a high speed internet connection and the Video and Voice over Internet protocol (V-VoIP) to allow audio-video communication between persons.

Benefits of the videophone include:

  • Free and unlimited worldwide audio and video calls between subscribers
  • 12 free call features including video message, voice mail and voice mail received as an e-mail attachment
  • Significant savings versus traditional telephone services, videoconference fees and long-distance
  • Clear and stable sound / image
  • Replaces the traditional telephone
  • Making a video call is as easy as making a traditional call
  • Allows to call any type of phone
  • Easy to carry and connects anywhere to any high speed connection
  • 911 emergency call service
  • No need to use a computer, no headset, no microphone
  • No need to download a program
  • No network fees

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Canada has national advantage in digital economy

The Canada 3.0 forum concluded last week with the declaration that all Canadians should have the opportunity to participate in a fully digital world and reap the economic benefits of commercializing innovation.

"We have the opportunity to lead the world in digital media and create a national advantage by investing in innovation and turning that into commercially viable content and technology," said Tom Jenkins, newly named Chairman of the Canadian Digital Media Network's Advisory Board, and Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text.

To be a leader in digital media all Canadians should be connected to content and able to access that content on an equal level, organizers agreed. Content needs to be respected and copyright and ownership protected, says Ian Wilson, Strategic Advisor for the University of Waterloo Stratford Institute.

"We need to connect Canadians to content on a fair and transparent basis," said Wilson. "And every citizen in Canadian society regardless of geography - whether in an urban area or not - should be able to connect to Canadian content in an increasingly mobile world."

Further, the forum concluded that to be successful in the digital economy, new business models are needed that encourage national collaboration and cooperation. The Canadian Digital Media Network is a first step toward creating a fabric of collaboration across Canada linking research and education facilities, industry, the government and stakeholders.

"Canada 3.0 started the conversation between the creative people who generate content, technologists who develop the means to share that content, the educators who can provide the workforce to support that effort and the government leaders who can create an environment for success," said Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the Canadian Digital Media Network, "That collaborative model needs to be extended on a national level."

Tuer said the conversation will continue with the Canada 3.0 Web site serving as a focal point at www.canada30.com. Top of Page

CineFocus brings social networking to television with GreenHeroes.tv

GreenHeroes.tv™ is a web-based channel that harnesses existing social networks as well as providing on-line video, activities and tools to inspire, motivate and reward users

This project won first prize at the Documentary Organization of Canada's cross-platform pitching competition and was developed in partnership with Banff New Media Institute, TVO and the Bell New Media Fund and was short-listed for the Content 360 competition at MIPTV this year. GreenHeroes™ will launch in April 2010 on TVO.

“A key element of interest in GreenHeroes.tv for TVO is that CineFocus has shown great strength in the knowledge of, and ability to, program interactive content for many platforms, and in such a way that the content goes out to the audience,” said Christine McGlade, TVO’s Manager of Interactive & Digital Media.

CineFocus Canada, is a multi-platform production company based in Toronto and is a notable producer of prime-time award winning biography, arts and social issue programs since 1991. Top of Page

Twist Marketing to rebrand Town of Cochrane

The Town of Cochrane has hired Twist Marketing to develop a community brand and visual identity program for the town located 35 minutes west of Calgary.

“We are delighted to be awarded this community branding and identity assignment from the Town of Cochrane,” says Catherine Proulx, Managing Director and founder of Twist Marketing.

“Cochrane is a vibrant and rapidly growing community that has managed to maintain a small town feel," continues Proulx. "Our challenge is to articulate a brand and create a visual identity that is both strongly tied to the community's strategic aspirations, and is bold enough to get the attention and interest of target audiences. By getting at the heart of what makes Cochrane distinct and memorable, we will weave the Cochrane character into a brand that is truly unique.”

“We selected Twist Marketing for their depth of experience in economic development and community branding,” says Laurie Drukier, Communication Coordinator, Town of Cochrane. “They truly understand what’s required to bring community vision and action together to create a brand for the whole community.

Proulx indicates that development of the community brand and visual identity will take place this summer. Top of Page

Have your say at CorpFreeSpeech.com

A new Canadian social networking site, CorpFreeSpeech.com, offers consumers and investors the truth about public companies. Canadian and American public companies like General Motors are under the 24/7 microscope at CorpFreeSpeech.com.

The site brings customers, shareholders, employees and public companies together in one social network where stakeholders post and get answers about what is really happening with companies. CorpFreeSpeech takes Bay Street to Main Street. General Motors is dominating the chat on CorpFreeSpeech this week as people affected by the GM collapse look for answers.
Anyone with a stake in a company can post a 'FreeSpeech' (a FreeSpeech is like a Tweet in Twitter). Each FreeSpeech begins a thread that can include the inside scoop from employees, shareholders and the corporations themselves.

The timing for this site launch is significant because there are so many public companies in crisis in the financial, automotive, retail and other sectors and consumers and investors need answers more than ever. Top of Page

New iPhone app from Creativ 555

Quebec-based Creativ 555 has launched ChakraMania, an alternative medicine application for iPhones aimed at improving the well-being of iPhone users.

The application uses the touch functionality of the iPhone to quickly activate, clean and sync the Chakras. It can be performed in the morning, before work, or any other time of day that is convenient. With two modes of operations, Chakra points can be set individually or sequentially with a simple touch. The idea is that seven major Chakras are located along the spine and each one of them has a matching colour and a sound associated with it. By stimulating and activating the Chakras you can reduce stress, anxiety, fear, pain and therefore increase vitality, well-being and abundance in our lives. Top of Page