Bob Loblaw's Law Blog
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Dec
10

An ICM 501 whitepaper by Nick Caruso, Sasha Wright, and Umut Gozen

Nov
29

I’ll be the first to admit that I am 100% addicted and obsessed with my Mac, cell phone, i-Pod, brand new plasma TV (that I’m still geeking out over), and the new DVR that DirectTV just so kindly installed after making us wait for almost 3 months. When studying abroad in Florence, Italy in the Spring of 2005, I lived a life that totally stripped me from my comfort zone and took away every piece of technology except a cell phone that looked like one I had 4 years prior. Living in Italy really made me realize that 90% of everything Americans have and take advantage of is excessive and really not as important as I had once thought.

Until I moved back. And how quickly we forget the lessons learned…

I realized I could live without many things, but after returning stateside, I began to ask myself, “But why live without them when I don’t have to?” I quickly began building my gadget collection post-Italy with many of the items listed above. As mentioned, our new TV and DVR has been the most recent addition. The more gadget-y I become, the less patience I have for my technology when it doesn’t work.

I didn’t have to DVR Heroes on Monday, but since my brother was watching a DVD, and I wanted to watch it in HD, I decided against taking the long, excruciating trip downstairs to the basement to view it on our old-school, straight-out-of-1985 TV. Later that night as I was watching, the recording skipped from 33 minutes in all the way up to 52 minutes. Instead of chopping off the end, it simply didn’t record the middle.

Many curses and swears followed as I devastatingly admitted defeat. Yes, I could watch it on nbc.com tomorrow, but it’s not the same. As I thought of the huge suck-factor of not being able to see the segments I missed, I thought about Florence and how my life was without any TV, i-Pods, computers, and every small life-facilitating device I own now. And though I lived a much more stress-free life living in Florence, and respected everything I had learned there…I was still pissed about missing part of my favorite comic book TV show about flying superheroes.

Nov
13

Why are you saying I posted my last post on Tuesday, Nov. 13th, when clearly tonight is still Nov. the 12th?  What gives?

Signed,

Nick

(Anyone know why it’s doing this?)

Nov
13

CNN announced today that they will be entering the virtual world of Second Life in an attempt to figure out “what constitutes news ‘in-world’”.

:::blank stare:::

Really? Is this seriously what CNN thinks is worthy of their time and attention?  Who cares what is newsworthy in Second Life? It’s simply just one portion of the world’s population. And what guarantees that the people of Second Life even remotely give a damn that A) CNN is there, B) CNN cares about them, and C) CNN is going to report in-world news there.  It seems like a stretch.  A very unnecessary, and possibly probably unwanted stretch.

To add, “the network is encouraging residents of Second Life to share their own “SL I-Reports” about events occurring within the virtual world.” Granted, CNN accepts user-generated content normally, but this time around, users of Second Life will help CNN figure out what news is important to Second Life residents.

I hadn’t even heard of Second Life before the world of ICM 501 introduced me to it. Now, it seems I can’t avoid reading about it everywhere I look.  As someone who is against the Virtual World deal, I don’t understand why CNN cares and why now? Second Life is a few years old now, and it seems companies are just starting to wake up to the fact that they should be getting involved.  Kudos for ideas and wantings of progression, but honestly: How far is too far?   And even more important: Why am I still blogging about Second Life?  Arg.

Nov
09

I. Introduction to the industry from the CD onward

The high cost in the peak of compact discs

1. Before the rise of napster, the average price of CD’s was 15-20 dollars.

2. Pre-online music downloading, consumers had no other option but to pay steep prices set by the record labels.

3. After years of high prices, a music service called Napster came to be, shaking the industry and totally changing the industry, as we knew it.

The rise of Napster: The right place at the right time

1. Shawn Fanning creates Napater in 1999, paving the way for the P2P movement and scaring industry heads.

2. Users find an easier way to get the music that labels were overcharging for: free online downloading.

3. Napster paves the way for other P2P services like Kazaa, Limewire, BearShare, and more.

4. Record sales begin to drop due to the rise of usage of P2P systems.

What is next? Napster goes down

1. With the help of Metallica, Dr. Dre, and a ton of laywers, the RIAA shuts down Napster, while some of the smaller P2P services remain active.

2. Legal battles ensue, and users flee to the lesser known P2P services.

3. The i-Tunes Music Store is created in 2003, allowing legal purchasing of music from all the big labels.

4. Through i-Tunes, Apple sells over 3 billion songs as of July 2007.

5. Though i-Tunes proved to be a solid choice for music consumptions, problems still exists with the industry’s “legal” downloading through services such as i-Tunes.

II. Current Issues with i-Tunes and online music downloading

New programs have grown tremendously popular due to the rise in mobile technology.

1. Programs such as iTunes, Zune and other peer to peer programs are making it
easy to download and transfer music onto mobile devices.

2. Because it is cheap and easy, iTunes has become a phenomenon and made digital media more accessible.

Issues with iTunes

1. Many users have had problems with the restrictions of iTunes.

2. You are only able to burn a certain number of iTunes before it locks.

3. You cannot put music from an MP3 player into iTunes.

4. The default settings decrease the quality of the songs.

5. The program itself takes up a lot of memory and can slow the computer.

6. Because of the security settings you cannot share or use songs the way you would want to.

7. There is a five computer limit so you can only download the song five times. This becomes a problem because if your computer has to be reimaged more than once you will have to buy the song again.


Free vs. Cheap

1. It is important to examine the effects that illegal file sharing has on iTunes.

2. Many people prefer these illegal options because they are free and just as accessible.

We project that these issues will eventually lead to a decline in service for iTunes.

1. It is extremely important that iTunes solve these usability issues so that it stays at the top of the industry.

2. It will also be beneficial to somehow coordinate with cell phones to increase services.

3. A solution has to be met where the consumers and the music industry are both satisfied.
III. FUTURE

More Digitalization of Music

1. Digital technology certainly change the way of perception, consequently our consumption behaviors are following our perception.

2. Privatization trend in the economy of great scale is making non-stopping boom affect to the music sharing industry.

3. Music downloaders are not always making rational choices and the image of iTunes, as a brand, has an affect on this.

4. The bigger demand not only forces the decrease of prices but also force to increase in the quality.

Personal Culture Tool

1. The mobile technology is the key tool of the “Global World” that we are trying to describe for last 20 years.

2. Cell phones became the most personalized products of our daily lives.

3. In the world of Cultural imperialism, we all try to impose what we consume.

4. File sharing will became “instant sharing” as a result of development in the mobile technology.

5. The “Big Five” in the music industry will follow the demand of users and welcome the mobile technology in everyway.

6. Increasing numbers of Japan Mobile music market is a foresight of the global market.

iTunes in the Equilibrium

1. Instead of music videos and full track downloading, the subscription services will have the biggest share in the market.

2. Apple’s iTunes music store sells about 75 percent of all legally downloaded songs worldwide.

3. The law side of the music sharing market will be resulted in favor of users.

4. iTunes still seems the number one candidate to be the monopoly of the market if you check its strategy in integration with cell phones.

5. iTunes will show the improvement not only in the quality of services but also in the quality of digitalization.

Nov
06

You’ve got competition!

Last Friday, CNN reported a story about GodTube, a Christian version of YouTube that would serve as a site to share videos of Christian content. At a glance, it seems laughable; however, during the month of October, GodTube had reported over 4,000,000 unique visitors and 150,000 registered users with active profiles. Not bad!

Well, until it went back to being laughable again.

The Associated Press writes: “GodTube videos includes music, comedy and heated theological debates. Two of the most viewed include a corny rap remix called “Baby Got Book” and a 4-year-old girl reciting Psalm 23 from memory.”

I had to check out GodTube and see what it was all about. Upon entering the site, I saw their slogan: “Broadcast Him”. I rolled my eyes and moved onward to this “music” they talked about. To be honest, I didn’t get very far. Once I saw a video for “Lifehouse”, a lame Christian wuss-rock type of band, I thereby ended my search for music on GodTube.

I did watch 4-year-old reciting Psalm 23 from memory. Cute. But, whatever. Am I dying to send this to everyone I know? Absolutely not.

I’m not that religious, nor is this the appropriate platform to spew any opinions or beliefs upon, but GodTube just seems a little weak to me. I suggest you check it out yourself though, and if there are any religious folk in the bunch, I’d love to hear your take on it.

Here is the 4-year-old getting her Psalm on, since its an .swf file and won’t embed for some reason…

Nov
06

In 2002, I was a clueless high school senior: Fairfield U-bound, bright-eyed and eager…but yet again, clueless. I got my first cell phone when I was 16 because my mom didn’t want me driving around without one for safety reasons. Though my cell phone turned out to help me more socially than on the side of the road, I still didn’t even have an idea as to what text messaging was or how to do it.

Ok, so maybe I can’t totally blame my young, naive self. I’ll just blame America for its knack of always being about 5-8 years behind Japan and Europe in the world of technology. Yeah…let’s do that…

One of this week’s readings was the first chapter from H. Rheingold’s book “Street Mobs”. The chapter entitled “Shibuya Epiphany” exemplified the sheer coolness factor of underground Japanese technology and culture with regards to teenagers’ use of “keitai”, or in English, mobile telephones. As always, the year of publication is important, as “Street Mobs” was published in 2002. In 2002, teenagers in Japan were using mobile phones to create a whole online SMS community, utilizing their mobile phones primarily for texting purposes, yet not limiting themselves to other online functions as well.

Granted, Rheingold does provide much proof as to why this sort of virtual socialization occurred in Japan at the time. Japanese teens don’t have large, private bedrooms, nor do they own their own cars. They don’t usually socialize in public much, and land-line phone use, at the time, was more expensive than keitai. Parents and school are also much more strict on teen individuals in Japan. This lack of Americanized freedom left a social void to fill and keitai usage was the perfect answer. Teens could text their friends all day, every day and keep in touch while they were on the go, especially in large cities. As quoted in Rheingold’s chapter, Pasi Maenpaa and Timo Kopomaa wrote in their own findings that: “The mobile phone creates its own user-culture, which in turn produces new urban culture and new ways of life.” By 2001, about 90% of Japanese teens had mobile phones, which grew steadily and more rapidly than even the PC in Japan. A fact I found astounding was that even though the teens were logged onto NTT/DoCoMo’s i-mode system and sending messages to friends, most of them hardly even thought of what they were doing as “using the internet”. This fact shows how submersed they were in the singular culture of keitai as “cell phones” and only cell phones.

As I think back to 2001, I don’t think even 25% of teens in my high school had a cell phone. Big difference.

Texting became a large part of my life about halfway through my college career…2004. Even then, texting was far from being my primary form of socialization. Americans were always lucky to be able to have many different options in anything and everything we do. PCs dominated our society starting in the 90s, and with AOL’s creation of the Instant Message, we were very quick to pick up online communication. ICQ and MSN were hot on their tracks for battle of the IM world, only further aiding Americans in our digital communication. We had cell phones, and also landlines which weren’t as expensive as they were overseas. Culturally speaking, we weren’t as dependent on only 1 form of communication as Japanese teens were with the usage of SMS and the social freedoms it allotted.

If my generation was polled today, I’m sure texting usage would seem to have skyrocketed compared to our usage from 2001-02. As previously discussed in class and in blog comments, our class alone has shown extreme usage of texting as communication. I’ve provided the example of hating to talk on the phone during the day to anyone and everyone (there are some people I will avoid phone calls from, only to text them later to see what they wanted because honestly, they talk too much).

Maybe the fun Vapors’ lyric that stands as the title of this blog is a little tongue-in-cheek, but regardless, it is extremely interesting how ahead of the curve Japan was for this technology and how the culture of its teens facilitated the growth and emergence of keitai, i-mode, and wi-fi mobile phone connections. With the emergence of technology like the iPhone, it’s inevitable that in a few years, we’ll all be solely reliable on our mobile phones.  And we’ll all be “turning Japanese”…at least a little bit.

Nov
01

 *Our nice and neat formatting was completely massacred by WordPress while trying to copy/paste to my blog…anyone know of anything I could do to copy/paste from Word and keep it as is? Please let me know!

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Blanchette, K., (April 2004). Effects of MP3 Technology on the Music Industry: An

Examination of Market Structure and Apple iTunes. Retrieved on October 17, 2007

http://www.holycross.edu/departments/economics/website/honors/blanchette_thesis.pdf.

This article definitely gives the information about the path that we have taken to come today. It is really hard to find an article that combines the copyright side and the structure side of the “music downloading” case. There is a brief history in the beginning that makes easy to see where we have come from to this point. In the article most of the data cover the years 1999 to 2003 but the information it includes, makes the current situation easy to understand and also helps to make predictions about the future of the music market. And in the last part of the article there are numeric data that is used to describe the “pricing” side of the case. Absolutely the “pricing” factor still being and will be the dominant factor for the future of the market.

Burrows P., (2005). Is This Digital Music’s Future. From Business Week Online. Retrieved

on October 17, 2007

http://msl1.mit.edu/furdlog/docs/2005-06-02_busweek_music_giant.pdf

This article, by Business Week online, examines another question is going to become an important issue for an increasing percentage of consumers: Namely, what will the sound quality of this music be? It is obvious that that fast technology will increase the quality of formats but do the consumers will care about this? Definitely answer will be effective in describing the future. Like many other issues these questions also needed to be answered in the future part of our study.

Crampton, T., (2006). iTunes legal attacks spread from France. Finance, p.17.

This article talks about the legal issues faced by iTunes in the past. Although this focuses on several European countries, it shows that people have issues with iTunes. For example, iTunes does not allow users to play songs on devices made by Apple’s rivals. This prevents users from transferring their music to devices of their choice. Users are unhappy because they are prevented from doing what they want with a service they are paying for. This will be used to show that people are not entirely happy with the iTunes program. It will help set the stage for the issues that should be overcome.

Fisher, W., (2000). Digital Music: Problems and Possibilities. Retrieved on 10/28/07 from

http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/tfisher/Music.html.

This article examines the problems and possible benefits of digital downloading. This article will serve as evidence for the rise and popularity of music downloading. Although online music downloading is extremely popular, it is important to consider the negative aspects of this phenomenon as well as the positive aspects. Along with discussing the various possibilities that can arise from this popular practice, this article also examines the problems that may arise. It is important to consider this in order to see the big picture. With this article, I hope to paint a more accurate picture of the topic of music downloading.

Gasser, U., Palfrey, J., Slater, D., Bambauer, D., Bragin, A., Harlow, J., Hoffmann, C.,

Hwang, R., Jackson, J., Krog, G., Locke, E., Mohr, S., Reidel, I., & Wilson, C. L.,(2004).

iTunes; How Copyright, Contract, and Technology Shape the Business of Digital

Media, A Case Study. Digital Rights Management.

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/media/uploads/81/iTunesWhitePaper0604.pdf

In this article, there is a huge perspective has been drawn about the legal and business side of our case. Absolutely when the market is this big, there would be many issues about the law side of the case. In first part of the study there is important information that is presented chronological order. And the researchers did not limit themselves with United States; there are detailed information about the copyright law from Japan, China and more. Starting from law side of the case the study finishes with the consumer side and also from basic explanation to complicated matters this study covers everything. Everything is what you need when you will try to do some predictions for the future of the market. This article will be helpful in our last part; “the future of cell phones in downloading music”.

Gibbs, C., (2007). Mobile music fails to find its rhythm. Retrieved October 17, 2007, from

http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/lnacademic/search/homesubmitForm.do

This article, which focuses on mobile music and its struggle to compete with iTunes, will be used to illustrate the success and popularity of iTunes. Because iTunes is easier and cheaper to use, it is creating an enormous competition with the mobile music industry. People are now turning to iTunes to transfer music onto their mobile phones, as opposed to going directly to the mobile music source. Although the mobile platform is appealing to record industries, they have some hurdles to overcome like being expensive, complicated and slow. This article will also be used to show some of the problems that iTunes is creating.

Grassi, L., (August 2007). The Music Market in the Age of Download. Retrieved on October

17, 2007 from

http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/123456789/28563/1/wp070080.pdf

Although this article mostly covers the music market of Italy, it includes a theoretical model, which investigates the consequences of the appearance of a pirate low quality good (typically an mp3) in the music market. Different than other articles, this one focused on the worries about the future of the market. I believe the pirate act is affecting the market and it has to be considered for the future of the market. With its numeric equations this article also gives me an idea to approach the problems of the market and the tables in the last part give information about the US market.

Jones, K.C. (2007). CD Purchase Gap Not Filled By Music Downloads.

TechWeb/Information Week. Retrieved October 25, 2007, from Lexus Nexus

Database.

This article by K.C. Jones states that the lack of CD purchases is not totally filled by music downloads. Impulse buying and also the simple habit of purchasing physical product are down and fell 15% compared to 2002. This piece has lots of good numbers regarding actual CD sales (or lack thereof) and will mainly be used to express the fact that sales are down. Interestingly enough, it also states that downloading is not filling that gap, which raises some interesting questions we will face and tackle. Other source will be needed to fill in the afterthoughts of this piece; however, Jones’s work will definitely be one of the solid jump-starts for our whitepaper.

Jones, K.C. (2007). RIAA Sends Message But Won’t Stop File-Sharing.

TechWeb/Information Week. Retrieved October 25, 2007, from Lexus Nexus

Database.

This article is more news related, and will also only be used for facts. Another piece by Jones, this article discusses the lawsuit the RIAA filed against a Minnesota woman, Jammie Thomas, regarding the downloading of 24 copyrighted songs. The RIAA won the case, marking the first successful win the RIAA has seen since beginning its fight against illegal downloading. Being so relevant and recent to our topic of discussion, Thomas vs. the RIAA must be included somehow. This case won’t hold too much significance to our final endgame, though, must be discussed briefly to show the side of the Industry biting back against illegal downloaders.

Ketterl, M., Mertens, R., Morisse, K., (2006). Alternative content distribution channels for

mobile device.

http://www2.informatik.uni-osnabrueck.de/papers_pdf/2006_02.pdf

Mobile devices are seemed to be continued their popularity for the future. In this instant-consumer’s world, they can be called the survivors. So in order to find out how these survivor open its resources to music, I found this article exciting. This paper explores how pod casts can be used to enhance “classic” e-learning technology as well as how content can be produced, distributed and edited in a collaborative fashion. Mostly about pod casts, this article tries to summarize the technology of our case. Technology tries to make the things easier for the consumers. I will try to take these instructions further by thinking about future of mobile devices.

Klaassen, A., (2007). Rights Protection may restrict digital music, but don’t blame Apple.

Advertising Age Vol. 78 Issue 7.

This article examines Digital Rights Management (DRM) and the recent issues that Apple has had with it. Digital Rights Management is a term that is used to describe the access control technologies that publishers and other copyright holders use to limit the handling of digital media or devices. This source will be used to illustrate digital rights management. There has always been an on-going debate on digital rights management and whether music should or should not be sold DRM-free. Digital rights management is an important aspect of online music and this article is another example of that.

Kusek, D., & Leonhard, G. (2005). The Future Of Music. New York: Berklee Press.

Retrieved October 19, 2007 from: www.futureofmusicbook.com.

In Kusek and Leonhard’s book, the authors provide their take on the future of the industry, including an in-depth analysis of the impact of the “digital revolution” on the business, and prospects for a future where music will be “ubiquitous and free-flowing”. They make other predictions, some obvious and some inevitable, including the disappearance of CDs and record retailers, consumer access to a vast array of product online, and the emergence of more subscription based services and multi-access deals. The book is a solid source of information with focus on an industry overview, both current and past, conjoined with perspectives of the future. Their work provides sufficient background information and will more likely be used at the beginning of our whitepaper, as we will be generating our own questions and solutions for the future of music. The authors also have an online blog in conjunction with this book, and the present researchers will also be reviewing that work as well.

Leeds, J. (2007, May 28). Plunge in CD Sales Shakes Up Big Labels. The New York

Times. Retrieved October 19, 2007 from:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/28/arts/music/28musi.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin.

This story covered by Jeff Leeds will serve a similar purpose to K.C. Jones’s source on the CD purchase gap. Leeds writes about CD sales and how they are “shaking up” the big labels. He briefly mentions the Beatles, and Paul McCartney’s signing to Starbucks’ new label as an example of industry change. With a new paradigm setting into place, even major acts are changing their strategies and partnerships in order to survive industry shifts. Leeds also quotes that sales have plunged an additional 20% and mentioned that the question now is “how to weather the worsening storm”.

Media Week. (2005). Review 2005: Downloads begin to come of age as media jump

on board. Retrieved October 25, 2007, from Lexus Nexus Database.

This source was not the best we’ve found. Although coming from Media Week, we couldn’t even find the author’s name. That said, the article did seem useful because it notes the occurrence in 2005 where for the first time, downloaded singles had outsold that of physical CDs. It discusses iTunes and the success of Napster, both relevant to our topic, though fails to really bring in a solid piece of new information other than a few good facts. This source will be used sparingly, if at all, on the final draft of the whitepaper. Another source might eventually replace it, but as of now, the numbers from early 2005 where downloaded singles soared remain of interest to the researchers.

New Musical Express, (2007). Illegal downloading on the rise. Retrieved on October 17,

2007.

This article, by New Musical Express, examines a study done by the Entertainment Media Research. The study found that there has been an increase in both legal and illegal downloading. The study found that there has been a seven percent increase in illegal downloading and a two percent increase in legal downloading since 2006. This article will be used to help demonstrate the rising trends in online music downloading and the shift from traditional CDs to digital downloading. The article helps show what will continue to be popular and in demand.

Sandulli, F. D., & Martin-Barbero, S. (2007). 68 Cents per Song: a Socio-Economic

Survey on the Internet. Convergence: The International Journal of Research

into New Media Technologies. Retrieved October 20, 2007, from Communication

Studies database.

This article was found to be extremely interesting. The authors examined users of P2P networks to discover how much, if any, “users would be willing to pay for a digital song at an online music store when they can download songs for free via these networks”. Their findings showed that if music had a higher perceived value and if there was more intense prosecution on copyright violations, willingness to legally download would skyrocket and the users would pay for online music and eliminate the use of P2P. Though extremely useful to the present researchers, we will be looking into more works similar to this from other authors to see if multiple and similar findings exist. Asking the question “How much are users willing to pay?” really turns the table away from illegal downloading and takes the topic to even more interesting places: e-Commerce and the future of the Industry. This source will definitely help us bridge the gap from the present to the future.

Taylor, C., (2006). Tapping into digital download data. Retrieved October 19, 2007 from

http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/lnacademic/results/docview/docview.do?risb=21_T234

7371921&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29

_T2347371924&cisb=22_T2347371923&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=270617&docNo=3.

Programs such as iTunes serve as a measuring tool for record industries to read on popular artists and artists not yet been released by their record labels. BigChampagne (which charts the popularity of downloads on unauthorized downloads) found that James Blunt’s first single was downloaded 1 million times before he was signed by a U.S. label. Because of programs like iTunes, James Blunt found an audience and his album reached gold, a rarity for most pop ballads. I will be using this to show the significance of programs like iTunes, and the ways the music industry is also benefiting from it.

Oct
30

I’m not going to lie. I might not be the best one to critically judge the candidates on their use of viral media. Videos are used all the time by candidates for the presidency, however, I’m not exactly sure how “effective” they are. I do know that if I polled my peers, or any random sample of those between the ages of 18-24, they’d probably all know what “The Landlord” is, but not this awesome Sopranos parody that Hillary Clinton did!

If my answer to the question “How well are the presidential campaigns doing with viral video” is “I don’t know”, then I’ll walk out on a limb and say they could be doing a much better job. I’m on the internet 50+ hours a week and usually read the news and information from various sources. Videos may be out there, but I’m just not sure how much “viral” appeal these candidates’ videos actually have.

Oct
28

After the completion of Scoble and Israel’s first four chapters of their book “Naked Conversations”, I think one thing is certain: blogging wins. The writing and tone of the book was straight on. Allowing the storytellers to do much of the storytelling helped me to easily understand their experiences and motives when it came to starting blogs for their companies.  In most cases, blogging was shown to have a positive effect on consumer attitudes, regardless of whether the blogs were initially deemed wanted or unwanted by their employers.

Think of it. As consumers, don’t we love feeling like we “know” the people behind a company, including the executives and other high-end positions?  It’s great to “know” who the masterminds are that are responsible for the marketing that is shoved in our faces daily via our TVs, computer screens, radios and any/all other electronic media. Scoble and Israel discuss how most consumers have grown distrustful of companies, avoid their marketing tactics however possible. Sounds about right. The response to these consumer feelings? Blogs.

It sounds implausible at first, but Scoble and Israel provide a multitude of examples to explain the benefits and qualities inherent in blogs that companies can utilize to bring consumers back into their realm of marketing; the Microsoft example, being one. Joshua Allen’s statement “I wanted to say that I am a Microsoft person and you can talk with me,” says it all. Blogs are available for users to read 24/7, contain easy contact information for the writer, and can answer many company-related questions for “those in doubt”. Allen and most of the other bloggers mentioned in these chapters personally respond to comments and remarks in an open discussion. A comforting, friendly, alluring open discussion. Needless to say blogs are like “word of mouth on steroids” as the authors describe.

Personally, I’m totally on-board of the blogging bandwagon. This piece simply strengthened my initial feelings regarding the power of blogging and viral media. However, blogging buzz can sometimes translate into over-hyping a product. Case in point: Snakes on a Plane.

Understandably, movie marketing is different from how a technology company such as Google or Microsoft would market themselves, but I couldn’t help but think of my favorite little cult movie of recent and how hype (read: blogging) helped the movie be an utter box office failure. Due to heightened buzz surrounding the film, SnakesonaBlog was created to promote the movie, entice fan interaction, and even served as a portal for producers to ask fans questions regarding the script, tone, and plot elements of the movie as it was being made! That is what the Internet is all about! United interactivity between producer and consumer! Prod-users! Power of the masses! What should’ve banked a ton of box office cash, actually only grossed approximately $34 million domestically, just barely creeping over its budget. Entertainment Weekly and many other esteemed Pop Culture press tried to figure out what went wrong, and all came up with nothing. The hype apparently muddled the heads of the intended audience. The blog ultimately failed to spread the word outside of the movie’s small “in-production” niche and didn’t create enough synergy to put enough people in theater seats.

Again, this is only 1 example of blog under-performance and it is a movie, which is a totally different ballgame. However, I couldn’t help but keep Snakes on a Plane in the back of my mind throughout my readings. As Matheson had applied blogs to the journalistic world, maybe he did have a point: blogs are a tricky type of media that we may not know everything about yet and that may end up being quite unpredictable in terms of marketing, usefulness, and general usability.

Needless to say, despite the bit of rain I showered on the blog-parade, there is definitely much worth (and money, too, as seen in Thompson’s “Blogs to Riches” article!) held in the blogosphere for major companies and individuals who simply have an opinion to share. Though blogging couldn’t save a cult-y little movie with a killer one-liner (the setup is there, but I’ll resist), blogging is and will continue to change our interactive world as we know it.

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