Vol 1, #27, Sept. 15, 2009
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September 15 , 2009


Fox tries 'Tweeting' on Fringe
Yowza!! version 2.0 unleashed
First complete real estate & rental listing platform in Canada
Free online learning tool for Canadian businesses
Urlesque.com offers a day without cats
Entries now open for New Media Awards
Voices.com grows by 534 per cent, named to PROFIT list
Metro goes mobile
Plol launches new iPhone app
Open Text plans next-generation web solutions

Fox tries 'Tweeting' on Fringe

Summer reruns are ho-hum television, but Fox is trying out a possible solution: add Twitter.

On the network’s repeat broadcast of its supernatural drama Fringe on Thursday night, tweets were added on-screen to the show. The tweets ran throughout the show on the bottom third of the screen.

The tweets were from executive producers Jeff Pinkner (whose handle on Twitter is JPFringe) and J.H. Wyman (JWFringe), and cast members Peter Bishop (peterbishop2) and John Noble (labdad1).

Joe Early, Fox’s vice-president of marketing and communications, noted that the Thursday and Friday before Monday’s Labor Day holiday in the U.S. historically have been very low-rated nights of television but said the Twitter feed wasn’t really aimed at boosting ratings.

“What we want to make sure of is that fans get something out of this,” he said.

Depending on how fans respond, the network might add tweets to future repeats. “It would never be done, obviously, on an original episode,” Early said.

The tweets started around eight minutes into the broadcast. To avoid any standards violations, the tweets were filtered by network censors before they reached the air.

At times the actors and producers responded to fan questions–the discussion could also be followed online on Twitter. Sometimes they simply spoke between themselves, once asking each other how the weather was at their location.

Mostly, they attempted to give the kind of behind-the-scenes look typically offered on DVD commentaries: what it was like shooting particular scenes, how the cast members get along, their fondness of certain clues.

At one pointed, Wyman tweeted: “The dead bodies and victims on Fringe are always fun to think of. The creepier the better. Always LOVE to freak people out.”

During another scene in which his character, Dr. Walter Bishop explains the concept of alternate reality, Bishop tweeted: “This is a very important scene!”

The tweets, at least for anyone unfamiliar with Fringe, made it difficult to follow a show already dense with dialogue and paranormal theories. But this experiment was for the dedicated fans of Fringe.

The banter was catching on Twitter, where Fringe was one of the top 10 most popular topics in terms of traffic. Top of Page

Yowza!! version 2.0 unleashed

It’s not been long since the Yowza!! iPhone app hit the Apple App Store and now the version 2.0 of the free mobile couponing application has been introduced. The iPhone app eliminates the need of clipping coupons or printing emails with promo codes and presents deals directly on the handset.

Yowza!! facilitates users to search for the participating retailers by entering the zip code or by using the handset’s GPS. When an offer is selected, a mobile coupon code or scan-able barcode can be redeemed at checkout. The version 2.0 features a new ‘My Stores’ tab that enables users to keep an eye on their favorite stores and the offers available at that particular location.

“We have gotten a great deal of feedback from our consumer users and retail partners – via social media, email and personal conversations, and – we are excited about how the new features will add to the overall mobile couponing experience for all parties. Just in time for National Coupon Month, we are building off of our successful launch to add new features that all of our retailer partners can now take advantage of,” stated Greg Grunberg, co-creator of Yowza!!

The updated version also incorporates push notifications that are sent to the handset each time the user’s favorite store comes up with a new offer, even when the application is closed. The app presents integrated maps, users just have to rotate the phone 90 degrees and a road map featuring all close by retailers will emerge.

Jeff Haddox, Direct Marketing Analyst, Pier 1 Imports, quoted, “The Yowza mobile application has allowed Pier 1 Imports to target potential customers within the vicinity of a particular store location. This enhanced targeting allows us to speak in a more concise and relevant manner regarding the event and pricing of an individual store.”

One more innovative addition is the ‘Share your Savings’ via which users can share the amount of money they have saved by means of the app through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and even by email.

Since its launch in June, retailers who have partnered with Yowza!! include Sports Chalet, Loehmann’s, Madison Square Garden, Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, Cirque du Soleil, Maria’s Italian Kitchen, San Jose Earthquakes, Pat & Oscar’s Restaurants, Pier 1 Imports to name a few.

The app is available for free via the Apple iTunes Store. Top of Page

First complete real estate & rental listing platform in Canada

Streetseed.com launches Canada's first map-based real estate search site offering home and apartment listings from real estate representatives, property managers, and individuals. The real estate market is heating up; renters and homebuyers now have an easy and innovative way to view search results through a traditional list and a dynamic map-based view. Providing a free listing platform for real estate representatives, property managers, and individuals, Streetseed.com is the only site to integrate all three real estate sources in one comprehensive package.

"Current rental classified offerings are outdated and lag behind U.S. rental classified sites," said Streetseed.com Co-founder Trevor Wolfe. "Streetseed.com brings together rental and for-sale properties, searchable by neighbourhood, in one easy-to-use map-based platform, providing renters and homebuyers with the proper tools to search for the perfect home."

Increasingly, real estate representatives are looking for effective ways to cross promote listings to reach a wider audience and demographic. Streetseed.com provides the best additional marketing opportunity, drawing real estate search traffic with a scale-able map, large pictures, and dynamic map-based searches where results can be altered without leaving the search page.

Streetseed.com offers the most comprehensive details page for real estate in Canada. For example, property managers can post all apartment types for a property in one listing, allowing renters to easily locate relevant properties, and check floor plans, building amenities, and contact information, all in one complete view.

Canada's first integrated real estate and rental listing platform, Streetseed.com is the dynamic and comprehensive solution to online real estate search. Top of Page

Free online learning tool for Canadian businesses

Small- and medium-sized businesses will soon have access to a free, online learning tool called TalentNet that will help them keep pace with the changing demographics of Canada's workforce by maximizing the skills and talents of their employees, and better identifying future business leaders.

Dr. Linda Manning, director of the Leveraging Immigrant Talent to Strengthen Canadian Business project, which developed TalentNet, says "an aging workforce and the rising number of retirements in management have increased the demand for highly skilled, experienced employees who are ready to advance into leadership positions."

Research conducted by Dr. Manning's team reveals business leaders need improved talent management practices to better recognize, value and develop the skills and competencies of their employees.

"Current practices in this area are driven by expectations of independent, egalitarian and risk-taking employee behaviours," she says. "These expectations are shaped largely by Canadian culture and a much a broader approach is needed for successful talent management. For instance, the number of highly skilled immigrant employees is increasing but, for various reasons, they often miss out on training, development and promotion."

TalentNet is presented in an interactive social-network-type environment The game is unique because its content and learning objectives are research-driven, the learning is experiential and based on sound pedagogy, learning assessment is based on observable and measurable game actions, and a follow-up survey is conducted three months after its initial implementation to measure changes in workplace practices.

TalentNet will be launched officially at a conference organized by the project on October 1-2, 2009, in Ottawa. Conference participants will have the opportunity to try TalentNet first-hand and the game will be available online after that Top of Page

Urlesque.com offers a day without cats

Urlesque.com, AOL’s site that highlights Internet trends, viral videos, memes and web culture, recently partnered with more than 10 sites including NPR.org, Best Week Ever and PawNation to sanction a day without cats on the Internet.

As comical, or even bizarre as this sounds, cats have engulfed the net, yet no one is really covering this unusual web trend. Just think about how many videos family and friends have sent you with links to a funny cat video. In fact, the most watched funny cat video on YouTube has been streamed more than 25 million times...that’s outpacing even the likes some of Britney Spears’ videos.

With all this kitty overload, Urlesque led the charge in uniting the web in a much deserved one day break from cats. Instead, they asked readers to vote on another well deserving, yet overlooked animal to focus on for one day. Top of Page

Entries now open for Canadian New Media Awards

The CNMA’s are Canada’s only digital media Awards show, and the work that you’ve done over the last year deserves to be rewarded.  This is your chance to submit yourself, your  friends, or your colleagues to be recognized for outstanding achievements in the design, development or implementation of digital media projects.

This year, the Canadian New Media Awards will take place during nextMEDIA, and submissions will be accepted online on the nextMEDIA website www.nextmediaevents.com/toronto until October 2, 2009. Submit now through September 18 and receive $50 off with our Early Bird Rate (Regular rate of $175 + GST for the final deadline of October 2 , 2009).

The CNMA’s are proud to announce new, revitalized award categories, including:


Top of Page

Voices.com grows by 534 per cent, makes PROFIT list

Digital media star Voices.com has been recognized as one of Canada's fastest growing companies by PROFIT Magazine. In the magazine’s "10th Annual PROFIT HOT 50," Voices.com has been recognized as Canada's #20 Emerging Growth Company.

The PROFIT HOT 50 is the definitive list of young Canadian growth companies, ranked by two-year revenue growth.

Voices.com CEO, David Ciccarelli, says, "We are humbled and cheered by this wonderful opportunity. Voices.com's inclusion on the PROFIT HOT 50 is a clear validation of our passionate and disciplined efforts to contribute to the Canadian economy, recognizing our growth not only in the digital media industry, but also as an emerging force and valuable player in Canadian business."

More than just a meeting place to do business and a unique website to hear some of the most amazing voices on earth, Voices.com is poised to scale its business to new heights, offering a robust platform for people all over the world to complete their voice-over projects on time and within budget.

Every HOT 50 company at least doubled its revenue from 2006 through 2008. The companies on the list have an average two-year revenue growth of 1,007%. Fully 70% were already in the black in 2008, and many honorees were comfortably so: 28% boasted net income of more than 10% of revenue.

PROFIT will honour Canada's Emerging Growth Companies in its October issue. Top of Page

Metro goes mobile

Metro Canada has launched a new mobile service, m.metronews.ca, as an extension of its on-the-go brand platform.

Launched Tuesday, m.metronews.ca will offer news updates in real time, as well as movie listings, puzzle answers and horoscopes from Metro’s daily news operations.

Though m.metronews.ca will increase the company’s offering to advertisers, Jodi Brown, marketing and interactive director, said introducing a mobile Metro is mainly a response to consumer demand and a branding effort.

“This is an extension of the position Metro already has,” she said. “Even as a print product we’re very associated with being on-the-go.”

Brown said her company is hoping the mobile platform extends its readership with “young, active metropolitans” who may not read papers, but are constantly surfing the web on smartphones while multi-tasking. “They don’t have a lot of time to consume traditional media in a traditional format,” she said.

A BlackBerry application is already available and an iPhone application will also be available in the iPhone App store. French versions of both applications will be available within the next month. Both applications will be available to download for free.

To address advertisers who are concerned mobile ads are too small to have a high impact, Metro is offering space on loading pages and in articles, wider banners and interstitials.

To advertise the service, Metro had Cossette create a campaign featuring text headlines such as “If you like getting bad news first, we’ve got good news for you.”

Starcom Media Group handled the media buy, which includes radio spots and out-of-home ads.

Cossette has created streetcar wraps, exterior subway door wraps and interior subway dominations advertising the mobile site. Top of Page

Polo launches new iPhone application

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp, the fashion company behind the Polo and Club Monaco brands, said on Thursday its smaller Rugby brand was launching an iPhone application that lets users design their own shirts.

Rugby is a collegiate-inspired brand that targets young adults and has a dozen stores in the United States.

The action comes as brands ranging from computer maker Dell Inc to Starbucks Corp use networking sites to boost sales and communicate directly with the public.

Rugby's application, available this week for Apple Inc iPhone and iPod touch devices, allows consumers to customize 19 products, including sweaters, shirts, and sweatshirts. And they can download photos of themselves in their creations.

David Lauren, senior vice president of advertising, marketing and corporate communications and Ralph Lauren's son, said the action reflects what the company calls "merchantainment", a blend of merchandising and entertainment.

"That has been very compelling for the customer, but really a natural evolution of what we've already done for 40 years," Lauren said.

Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail, said Polo Ralph Lauren's experimentation with technology has helped it evolve and expand its reach.

"I think that's kept that brand, which is still pretty traditional in its design aesthetic, very relevant and kept new people coming in to it," Liebmann said.

Polo, which already launched iPhone applications giving users a taste of its Ralph Lauren Collection runway shows, is not alone.

Designer Norma Kamali is launching an iPhone application to coincide with her Spring 2010 runway show, taking place on September 17 at a Manhattan Apple store. Kamali's application will let users buy clothing via their phones.

Lauren said consumers can get an online peek at its Ralph Lauren Spring 2010 show, after the show which is scheduled for next week. Top of Page

Open Text plans next-generation web solutions

Open Text Corporation announced plans to expand its suite of next-generation Web solutions with products and technologies from recently acquired Vignette playing a central role.

Open Text s plans are an extension of the company s strategy to maintain its leadership in comprehensive ECM solutions. Offered as part of the Open Text ECM Suite, the solutions will help organizations establish deeper connections to customers and use the Web as a channel for new revenues.

"We remain dedicated to all our customers and the Web content management solutions they rely upon. Our plan is not to eliminate products, but to offer solutions that help our customers effectively fulfill their unique, organizational needs from strategic online initiatives to day-to-day site management tasks," said John Shackleton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Open Text.

Quickly evolving social networking, digital media and mobile applications are moving the Web beyond brand promotion to become a core component of business strategy. Bringing these technologies together for a more powerful online experience is critical to engaging customers in new ways, improving the effectiveness of marketing programs and guiding changes in business strategy that can increase revenue and improve operations.

"Chief Marketing Officers, and now Chief Executive Officers, recognize the need for a comprehensive Web business strategy," said Scott Bowen, Senior Vice President at Open Text. "We re seeing this trend from more of our large customers, across more industries, and the demand is for more sophisticated solutions that meet the fast-changing expectations in online experiences. Vignette adds the right technologies to our portfolio at the right time."

As part of this strategy, Open Text will leverage technologies from both Vignette and its existing solutions to deliver new next-generation Web offerings. Vignette Content Management will form the foundation of Open Text s Web business solutions, providing personalized and multi-channel capabilities integrated with the Open Text ECM Suite. Top of Page