Wednesday, August 27, 2008

AdAge: Which Candidate is Best for Marketing Industry, McCain or Obama?

Advertising Age is currently running a poll, asking "Which presidential candidate is better for the marketing industry?" The piece is accompanied by background pieces on each presidential candidate's stance within key marketing issues, such as net neutrality, media ownership and decency legislation.

While they disagree on most things (I guess that's their job as presidential candidates) and agree on some (yes, really, like net neutrality), it seems those voting within the ad/marketing industry on favor Obama as president by a handsome margin. So between speeches tonight, head on over to and vote!

Obama marketing profile

McCain marketing profile

Photo from NBC13 B

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Power of Social Media for Non-Profits

Beth Kanter, author of the appropriately-named "Beth's Blog," presented today at Gnomedex. She spoke about how non-profits can use social media such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the like to raise funds and spread the word.

One particular aspect of her talk was about a commitment she and her family (her husband and two adopted children) made two years ago to sponsor Leng Sopharath (picture), a young woman from Cambodia, for her college education through the Sharing Foundation's education program. Leng is an orphan who grew up in the same orphanage as Beth's daughter. Without the Sharing Foundation's college education program, she would not be able to make a better life for herself.

So at today's Gnomedex, she challenged the 250 attendees to donate $10 to help with Leng's college tuition. Using PayPal through Twitter and the good ole hat passing at the conference, Beth raised $3700!

This is a great example of the power of social media and networking. Congrats, Beth and Leng!

- Dean

Generation Y: Technology on Our Terms

Mark Bao was on a quasi-panel discussion today at Gnomedex. You may not know Mark so here's a bit more:

Mark is CEO of Avecora, he's already sold 3 Facebook applications, he runs several startups, and he got an absentee note from his mom to miss school today. See, Mark is 16 years old and a sophomore in high school. He's kind of the technological Michael Phelps of Generation Y, who is completely immersed in today's technology and consumer gadgets that enable communication and connection.

At the conference, which has a medium age of maybe 35 -- technologists, media, bloggers, etc. -- these folks had a chance to pose questions to Mark. It was quite funny, actually, in my opinion. It was as if a spaceship landed outside the conference, Mark popped out, and the conference goers had a chance to ask about an alien life form -- Generation Y.

This is more about the audience's reaction to being able to task questions of Mark, not of Mark himself. He's incredibly polished for his age and will undoubtedly do great things in his life, and probably make a lot of money.

Ultimately, it seems older generations have a deep desire to know about GenY and what makes it tick, how they view today's technology, and where they see it going. While Mark, as an individual, shouldn't have to represent an entire generation, he sure has a finger on the pulse more than a lot of kids his age, and as such, he offered up his take on why Gen Y differs, and fundamentally how technology plays a role in that:

  • more exposed to new technology and see the benefit of being more connected -- and are comfortable with it (through mobile, text msging, video chat)
  • creating tech innovators and entrepreneurs
  • changing careers paths and jobs and influence
  • more social aspects being built into products, staying less at one job
  • used to age of data -- you can get whatever you need quickly, and short attention span means if you can't find it now, you move on, and more social connected and social through facebook, Bebo, AIM, MySpace
Nice job, Mark. Keep up the good work. Here's Mark's web site and his blog.

- Dean

Gnomedex: Ben Huh, icanhascheezburger

One great presentation today at Gnomedex 2.8 came from Ben Huh of, featuring lolcats. Like WidgetBucks, icanhascheezburger is a Seattle company. If you haven't visited the site, it's fantasticly fun and addicting. He went through the "eras" of icanhascheezeburger, including crashing their $6.99/month Web hosting service in 2007, moving to WordPress later that year after outgrowing their self-hosting. He discussed the progression of the company, which was really fascinating. Check it out here and see a picture of Ben here (from Duncan Riley of Inquisitr)

They've now grown into a total of seven blogs (listed below), will hit 100 million page views a month next month and at peak times are getting 80 page views a second. By the way, there are 42 million cats in the U.S. and their data of lolcats is about 800,000 at this point - so get out there and start making your cats say funny stuff.

According to Ben, 90% of revenue comes from advertising, 10% from merchandise and Oct. 7 the icanhascheezburger book comes out, which will be another source of revenue.

more animals

Engrish Funny
I Has a Hot Dog
Fail Blog
Pundit Kitchen
Totally Looks Like

Live from Seattle, It's Gnomedex!!

Gnomedex 2.8 has kicked off in the Pacific Northwest and WidgetBucks is here among hundreds of leading bloggers, podcasters, and tech-savvy enthusiasts. This is the eighth program put on by Chris Pirillo, tech enthusiast, Web 2.0 evangelist and perhaps one of the most energetic guys you'll meet. Check out a live stream of the show at and the live chat room, as well as Chris' YouTube Channel (40k subscribers).

A variety of blog posts coming shortly.....stay tuned.

- Dean

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

WidgetBucks Welcomes Winfield as CRO

Hi everyone! Matt Hulett, CEO of WidgetBucks, here to share some fun news. Today WidgetBucks is happy to welcome Kirby Winfield as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). In his new role, he’s responsible for the company’s advertising sales and distribution strategy.

WidgetBucks’ rocket ship growth has continued and Kirby comes in at just the right time as we expand our product verticals and advertiser relationships to earn higher revenues for our publishers. So what better title than Chief Revenue Officer, right?

Kirby is an Internet media veteran who brings great background to WidgetBucks. Back in 1996, when people started monetizing the Web, Kirby (pictured) was there and has been working in online media, sales and advertising ever since, including Marchex and Go2Net (acquired by InfoSpace).

He’s got a proven track record of understanding how to scale businesses quickly and also knows a lot about different types of ad models, including those brand-focused and performance-based.

From time to time, Kirby will be posting on this blog across various topics, including new trends in online ads, industry perspective and what he’s seeing in the ad sales world.

Kirby, welcome aboard!

- Matt

Friday, August 15, 2008

WidgetBucks June Payments Processed Today

PayPalWidgetBucks payments for June are being sent via PayPal later today. Checks are being processed and sent this afternoon as well. As always, we encourage you, if at all possible, to switch to PayPal. It's faster than mail, more secure and there's no fee when receiving the money.

- Dean

IAB: Ad Network Use Surges -- Where Do We Go From Here?

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), along Bain & Company yesterday released some interesting study results about the use of ad networks. In summary, their joint research found that the use of ad networks has increased from 5% of total ad impressions sold in 2006 to 30% in 2007. The study suggests that media companies are turning to sales intermediaries (i.e. ad networks) to sell off excess inventory.

The report claims that one of the reasons behind the rapid growth is that large marketers continue to shift significant portions of their advertising budgets online and view ad networks as an effective way to achieve greater buying scale and drive down CPMs.

Since launching WidgetBucks last October, we have continued to see trends that closely match the IAB study findings, largely with our CPM display ad relationships. While the advertiser/ad network relationship has always been an interesting one, we at WidgetBucks feel a key to growing these relationships in the future will require work on both sides.

Specifically, it is incumbent upon ad networks to provide as much transparency to advertisers as possible, while advertisers need to get increasingly comfortable with brand distribution across the Internet. For marketers, brand is their currency, so naturally they are adverse to placing that brand into places unknown, but as technology advances to more precisely target these ads, it's time to let go, even if just a bit.

See the full IAB/Bain press release.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Halo, Water and Stainless Steel Skins Popular Among WidgetBucks Publishers

Since rolling out the WidgetBucks skin gallery in late July, we've started to see some leading designs bubble up to the top. In taking a quick "skinventory," the widget skins that are getting the most play are:

  1. Original Flavor/Classic
  2. Slick
  3. *Halo - Crimson
  4. Cell Phone
  5. *Plain White Ts
  6. *Blue Water
  7. *Stainless Steel
  8. *Simply Elegant
  9. *Back in Black
  10. *Basketball
* new skin

What's clear from the list above is that the original two designs offered by WidgetBucks -- called Original/classic and Slick within the gallery -- still have the highest adoption among publishers over the last two weeks.

We figure there could be one of two reasons for this: first, publishers really like them, or two, they aren't clicking through to the gallery beyond the default design when editing or creating new widgets.

The screen shot shows where one accesses the skin-rich gallery within the edit/new widget page.

We'd love to hear from you: What are your favorite WidgetBucks skins?

- Dean