On NBC Today Show… this morning. maybe.

Greetings boys, girls and willvideoforfooders!
I‚Äôm your substitute, I mean “GuestOfNalts (.)” today ūüôā

As you know this self proclamied viral video genius, Kevin ‘Nalts’ Nalty, started talking to himself early on, as we see in several of his more delightful films: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, AND here!


Kevin has developed a number of personalities, alter egos and of course clones over the years. This is me here in my pre-natal state along with my other clone brothers and sisters. And here is the first generation of a Nalts’ Clone. As you might have guessed he didn‚Äôt quite make it. Unfortunately, he was unable to grasp the finer points and magic of editing and fell into a very tragic incident involving a can, the local trash collector and the very large trash collector’s truck. Since, much progress has been made and as you can rightly read I am one of the current generation ‘CloneofNatls’. However, we do prefer being called ‘Spawnsof Nalts’. We have advanced far more than the initial copy, even though we still titter on lame.

As a copy and a real live SpawnofNalts it is my position to make sure that anything Nalts does or thinks when indisposed makes its way to the beautiful eyes of his darling readers, fans, lurkers and all the rest of you, ASAP!

Tomorrow (July 9), on NBC’s Today show in a segment called “Frustrated Fliers.” The interview was shot in NYC yesterday and prompted by “USAIR Sucks” and not “Crawling Through Airport.” See if you can spot the original Nalts at the airport. If not, enjoy these little vignettes to make up for the possibility of a brown out we predicted in NYC. If you missed it because you just couldn‚Äôt drag your lazy ass out of bed before 11am, you know who you are, and barring some possible genetic or technical malfunction, me and all the other SpawnsofNalts will try our best to accommodate Today the day after yesterday or sooner right here!

Oh, and bring a clothes pin!

Nalts at the airport Today!

Be glad smell-a-vision never took off!


What Does Google’s Acquisition of DoubleClick Mean to Online Video?

Google closed on the acquisition of DoubleClick today, and issued this statement to address concerns (continued Dart service, as well as privacy provisions).

As a buyer of interactive media (primarily paid search but also targeted display), I like this deal. Google’s muscle, innovation and discipline from the paid search origins means this could enhance the metrics around otherwise cute but unaccountable display ads. I’m tired of the “let’s do another bloated consumer survey to find out what display does to awareness, recall and intent.” There’s got to be a way to get conversion rates tied better to display, and if anyone can now prove the “one-two-punch” theory of paid ‘n display (think chocolate and peanut butter yummy), Google now can. And should.

marketing text booksOh, I almost forgot. Here’s my “Enlightened Stupid Marketers” video I posted this morning to spoof my profession, and it touches on the impact of friggin’ newspaper ads versus paid search.¬† Did you know that stupid marketers have two choices: to remain stupid, or pretend not to be? The core YouTube audience really doesn’t care much for these niche videos, but readers of WVFF might.

Where was I? Oh. Now here’s the challenge. This deal¬†kinda¬†makes some online media buyers a little twitchy,¬†as some get¬†threatened by consolidation downstream. Some of those flickering-bulb types (you know- the pretty ones that talk too much if they talk at all) will feel they’re one step closer to being as obsolete as their moms or older sisters who were, naturally, travel agents.¬†Maybe they should be doing PR afterall?

candy cornIn reality, the online media mix is dynamic and will always require smart, strategic buyers. It’s just that they’re only about 10 of them in the world, and 7 of them lose their¬†charm exactly 6.5 days after they win the new account. Like Candycorn, the first few handfuls are delicious, and then suddenly you feel like you’re eating sweetened candles and can’t stand the site of them. You loved the little puppies in the litter, and now they’re just pissing on the furniture, biting the couch and barking all night.

So get to the damned point, Nalts. What does this acquisition mean to video? Well, probably nothing initially. But long term it’s good news for two reasons:

  1. Text ads are currently more relevant than display ads around videos. Since Revver hasn’t been selling many single-frame display ads these days, we’re seeing the Google-run text ads (Adsense)¬†served “InVid” style. Guess what? They’re actually relevant and capture my attention more than current display ads.¬†I watch a lot of videos, and have developed ad anethesia for the limited number of CPG companies doing “run of site” ads across YouTube. Don’t stop, guys. I owe my YouTube partner income to you.
  2. Since it’s Google buying Doubleclick (and not the other way around), we’ll see display develop some of the maturity of paid search. Harnass the visceral medium of InVid (quarter frame ads) with their sister display ads, then add the relevance of¬†text relevancy. And if the databases can be merged in ways that don’t freak out the privacy people, then ads become even more relevant albiet sometimes creepy.

Now Google has two more challenges to make video advertising really interesting.

  1. The¬†Google account teams have¬†to grow¬†beyond paid search. This is not an easy transition.¬†SEM (search engine marketing) buyers have a very hard time with CPM (cost per million- a term for buying for an ad based on impressions not performance). Meanwhile SEM sellers¬†need to be trained to talk to¬†CPM junkies. It’s kinda like being bilingual. You need a translator around for a period. Currently, it’s a buyer’s market for video advertising. I am convinced that the “marketers are afraid of buying ads around CGM (consumer generated media)” hype is a big, fat, stinkin’ red herring. It’s just that nobody is showing marketers how online video ads and more creative¬†sponsorships can move their business. Google plus YouTube plus DART should be able to pull that off, but it’s going to require behavior and organizational shift.
  2. Now the big challenge. If I get a CPC (cost per click) based on¬†text ads around my videos, then I’ll tag them all with free Viagra, mortgage, loans, lawers and digital camera. ¬†So we need that ever-evasive “text recognition” technology that turns my droaning voice into targetable text. Blinkx was supposed to be doing this years ago. Then, of course, I’ll just start saying all those tag words as part of my scripts. ūüôā

The Advertising Agency’s Five Stages of “Online Video” Grief

grief.jpgRemember how major advertising agencies handled the Internet? Let’s recap their 5 stages of grief:

  1. Denial: The web is not a big deal. It’s a fad. Let the little Internet agencies form. We’re not losing much in fees.
  2. Anger: Who’s coming to our monthly all agency day? The Internet agency? First the Public Relations agency, and now this? Well this much is true: they’re not sitting near the client at lunch.
  3. Bargaining: We have an Internet division too. It’s one guy, but he knows what RSS stands for.
  4. Depression: We need to reinvent ourselves. Fire someone. Anyone.
  5. Acceptance: Let’s buy an Internet agency.

But the Internet agencies did the same thing when it came to paid search. So it’s bad all over.

Now, dear Madison Avenue, I will predict your five stages of dealing with online video. Fortunately, you have some progressive chap that’s smart enough to read WillVideoForFood, so you might have the forethought to skip a stage or two.

  1. Denial: Online video is a fad. Big TV is still the key to awareness.
  2. Anger: What the heck happened to general awareness? Why is some of our work going to small online-video agencies and amateur producers? We must kill them.
  3. Bargaining: We have an online video guy. He has a MySpace and a YouTube account. We don’t let him out much.
  4. Depression: We need to change our model. Fire someone. Anyone.
  5. Acceptance: Let’s buy a small production house or partner with one.

I could see the look of disdain and fear in the eyes of the agency attendees when I spoke at AdTech last week about doing Mentos ads for $2-$5,000. Then I reminded them (partially to avoid getting booed off the stage) of some good news for agencies.

We consumers aren’t consuming less. We’re just breaking into content-consumption niches and online communities that shape our thinking and purchase decisions. That actually creates a need for more content, and that can make an agency fees actually grow.

popular youtubersI also cautioned that the model I used for Mentos isn’t scalable. As an amateur videographer I dealt directly with the product director. That’s not scalable. For a brand to develop creative content for a variety of different online audiences and channels, the product team needs to hire a variety of lower cost creators. Twelve amateurs instead of a giant “one size fits all” television ad with exotic models and expensive shoots in Hawaii? That creates more — not less — of a need for an agency.

So how can your big agency stay ahead of this and avoid the pain you felt when the Internet and paid search became important? It’s as simple as five different kinda steps:

  1. Pay attention to social media, industry changes and viral videos that help market. There’s a lot you can learn from positive and negative example. If you catch your agency staff watching online videos at work, don’t stop them (unless it’s porn). Find out what they’re watching and why.
  2. Hire someone who understands this medium. At first it might not feel like headcount you can justify, and you may want to find a subcontractor or consultant. But as a product director myself (yeah I’ve got a day job) I’m going to look elsewhere if I don’t believe your agency has a clue about the impact of online video. Nothing makes me giggle like an agency that boasts that they are pioneers because they made a brand page on MySpace or Friendster, or had a viral video that got viewed ten thousand times.
  3. Begin to experiment with lower cost and adaptive forms of video content. The next time you do that “big shoot,” get some footage you can use in other forms. It could be as simple as footage from a decent high definition camera, but be sure to arrange the rights with your models and the shoot’s director (who will probably grow quite irate at this prospect).
  4. Pitch your client on doing something experimental online — before they find someone else with a more robust and compelling story. Don’t stop with online-video ads — try creating entertaining content that subtly markets. There is no shortage of inventory for paid promotion, but that’s just one arrow in your online-video quiver.
  5. Partner with amateurs who have existing audiences and online “street cred,” and they’ll keep you from doing anything that will be repulsive to skeptical online viewers who have ADHD and love the power of stopping ads and lambasting blatant promotion. If you’re brave, approach some online-video “weblebrities,” (like top YouTubers or amateurs that have had success on other sites). This is a lot of work, so if you want a more turnkey approach hire a specialist to manage it (xlntads, for example, is brokering relationships between big brands and promising amateurs).

We’re approaching the tipping point for a fantastic time in the evolution of media consumption!

computer toiletConsumers are in control, but advertising is the currency because we consumers are too cheap to pay. Reality television and online video is exploding because we’re tired of perfection: scripted shows, polished ads, good looking models. We want to see people like us, and content that speaks to us individually. Advertisers can help pave the road, or wait until it’s built and buy billboards along the highway. What’s your agency going to do?

Submit Your Video to Many Video Sites at Once

laptops.jpgI’ve been long begging for a technology that allows amatuer videographers to populate multiple video sites with ease. You may like the popularity of YouTube and the money from Revver, blip.tv and Metacafe. But you can’t afford to miss sites like AOL Uncut, Yahoo or Google Video since they do deliver volume. I think I speak for most video makers that my LEAST favorite part of video is manually submitting it on sites. And I invariably forget one or two.

A number have people have confided in me certain new businesses that address that unmet need — I will not reveal specifics of these in respect to their need for secrecy. As you can guess, some go after subscriptions, others charge a flat fee, and others are targeting high-end publishers to charge a premium.

Marquisdejolie recently shared that Veoh¬†uploaders can automatically populate their YouTube, MySpace and Google accounts with their videos. That’s brilliant. Something I’ve urged Revver to do for months.

This is how I see this market playing out:

  • The progressive, smaller sites will use this as a value-add to attract content. The larger sites (with maybe the exception of YouTube/Google Video) have no incentive to facilitate this.
  • Some software players will try to make a business model on¬†this separately. You’ll register at a site, and they’ll take care of all the form requirements¬†of the most common video sites. While I’d probably pay a modest monthly fee to avoid an hour of work each day, most will resist that.
  • Someone will build a free shareware application to do this. However the video sites might change their specifications or make this obsolete.
  • Ultimately there will be a hybrid free/paid tool. For free you’ll get, say, 20 uploads a month to various sites. For a minor ($10-$20) fee you can have unlimited uploads to a broader base of sites.
  • To avoid commoditization these tools will offer additional value-add functionalities. For example, they’ll get your video search-engine optimized, Digged, etc. And maybe they’ll discover additional value-add services that provide video junkies more time to focus on creating instead of posting and publicizing.

Why Google and YouTube is Moronic

google-youtube-video.jpgI resisted the temptation to read everything and organize my thoughts. Just woke up, poured coffee, scribled some notes, turned on the camera and ranted. Here’s the resulting “video rant” about yesterday’s news that Google is buying YouTube for $1.65 billion dollars.¬†Here’s the same video posted on YouTube.

Top 10 reasons this Google acquisition of YouTube is just plain moronic.

As I waited to compress and upload this, I see people are falling into three groups:

  1. Excited for the kids at YouTube. It’s everyone’s dream, and some get jealous and others live vicariously. I hate the latter, which tells you where I sit.
  2. Afraid their community will die. Get over it guys. Your landlord needs you more than ever. Expect him to start paying your rent, though.
  3. The media evangalists that say this is “promising.” You can get an MBA through the McDonalds drive-through to know this is overvalued and ridiculous. Good for Chad and¬† Steve (the self-proclaimed kings of new media), but bad for everyone else.

Web 2.0 isn’t supposed to be about drunk driving like we’re in the first bubble. Some people see this as validation of online video, but I fear it is the ultimate over hype of the medium that we’ll pay for eventually.

Uploading Video is First Step, Not Last

social.jpgMany people believe that uploading video is the last step to getting seen. I’ve discovered the hard way that it’s up to the creator to market their work.¬†And WillVideoforFood has provided a number of techniques to do so. But none of my posts have been as comprehensive as this post by PragD (via Revver’s blog). The author outlines techniques for promoting your video via:

  1. Social Bookmark Services (del.icio.us, Stumbleupon, Furl, Blinklist, Ma.gnolia, Shadow and Blogmarks.net)
  2. General Aggregate Sites (Digg, Reddit, Netscape)
  3. Vertical Aggregate Sites (Flixya, Videobomb, Videosift, Kunfugrip)
  4. Message Boards (many sites have chat rooms attached to them)
  5. Social Networks (PragD believes in forwarding to friends, but I tend to avoid this one unless the person is in the video).

Elisabeth Hasselbeck on “The View” Discussing Morning After Pill

No comments about the pro-life/pro-choice debate please (there are many blogs for that). But what’s intriguing about this clip from “The View” is that it’s all the buzz in the media. And even in the TiVo world, few of us would have access to this clip but for YouTube. Even if ABC posted it, you’d never find it.
So I may not be a fan of copyrighted stuff being tossed on YouTube, but it certainly plays an important role in water-cooler conversations. Instead of hearing about Elizabeth Hasselback “losing her mind” (as this video is titled) you can actually watch the clip and come to your own conclusions.

This is a new way of consuming media, isn’t it? I hear about something, I search it on YouTube and I see it. That simply wasn’t possible for most of us 9 months ago.

Who Will Help Me Find Good Videos?

Since most online video sites are now swelling beyond their capacity, I’d say there’s an interim (and maybe permanent) market for editors that are willing to sift the good from the garbage. It’s not easy, but it adds value. And anyone can do it. Even a 15-year-old kid from New Jersey.

binocular.jpgAs the big video sites are battling for content, eyeballs and advertisers, it will be interesting to watch people that find a niche and identify good content regardless of what site features it. Let’s call it “video host agnostic.” Bloggers like to create new terms and hope something sticks.

Eventually the sites will do a better job of helping ensure the good content rises to the top, but it remains an imperfect science. Take YouTube- the most popular video site. Are YouTube’s “most viewed” videos a representation of what our culture values? I’d like to think not. It goes like this… a small group help fling a video into slight popularity, and then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The more that watch, the more that want to watch. In theory bad stuff will drop out of this upward spiral but that’s not always the case. And “bad stuff” to me might be an “LOL” to you.

The way to master the art of video organization (by interest area or category) is via social networking. People vote for videos, and as my vote matches the taste of others it becomes more powerful. Some day, for example, I’ll find a few other nuts with¬† similar sense of humor to me and we’ll all help each other find the best videos. Sounds futuristic, doesn’t it? But I met with Adriana Lukas yesterday. She makes me think this weird stuff is possible.

Google Blinks, and Blinkx Tops Video Content

blin.jpgVideo Search engine blinkx.tv has surpassed Yahoo and Google, reaching 4,000,000 hours of searchable video content to become the web's largest video search engine. Spidering free content from the web, blinkx partners with content publishers in order to access repositories and archives that cover the broadest spectrum of interest. blinkx's over 80 content partners include YouTube, Revver, MTV Networks and the New York Times.

The cool thing about blinkx.tv is that it uses speech recognition to turn audio into searchable text. It gets 3.5 million video search queries a day. blinkx is a privately-held company based in San Francisco and London.