Are you a digital marketer whose boss (or worse- chief bloke of your agency) wonders if you could manage the agency’s servers? Or worse, thinks that his mobile phone display being darker in sunlight has something to do with Symbian?

Well I’ve been there… done that. Actually more than a few times now… *scary feeling*

Unfortunately, like these blokes, most advertising agencies are at a loss figuring out ‘this digital thing’. I remember- about 2 years back, the Head Regional (Asia) Planner of a world renowned agency commented (about this whole ‘online/digital thing’) “It’s all a scam. A big scam!” Bruce Nussbaum, assistant manging editor of businessweek has a similar feeling about the cluelessness of the big agencies.

Of course it is not new- and Bob Garfield- in this video says that unless we agency types reinvent our business model, we’re flockd! (ahem-it’s 6 letters and I’m talking folksonomy here- no bad words)

Turn to today – planners and media guys all sing praises (Hallelujah! and all that) and all client pitches and presentations include this ‘cool marketing thing’ they prefer to call “social marketing” (whew! how is marketing done otherwise? Unsocially? You son of a ‘folkin’ gun..better buy my stuff? Like that eh?)

They probably mean ‘marketing to communities’. Or something like that..nobody knows for sure, but you get the idea. ‘Social marketing’. Sounds cool to them- just like a 70 year old feels wearing a torn low cut jeans..and thinks flashing his crack is sexy. Sure! (Look- I think  she just winked at me!) Maybe that’s where the phrase ‘old fart’ came from.

OK..OK.. I’m ‘almost’ verging on being disgusting (always happens when I think about these guys)- I’ll change the topic and be more somber. (Uncle if you are reading this post- please go and watch some YouTube videos- and while you are watching Ms Paris…leave a comment- she might wink back at you)

That hopefully takes care of the old fart…and since it is just me and you now- read on!

So what ails the big agencies? Though I’m a fan of the concept of Integrated Marketing, first steps first: Getting ‘digital’ to be well integrated in an ‘agency’

Some pointers:

Expectations from the medium: While every agency worth its salt is figuring out this digital thing (and that is very noble- even if it is a decade too late!) it is important to manage expectations. The traditional time tested fundamentals of marketing still apply and it is not something that is going to turn everything around on its head in an instant. Any other line of thought will make you over commit, over dramatize and raise expectations to unrealistic levels. Stay!

Expectations from the people: It is not enough to get people at high salaries from digital specialist agencies- they are good at their line of thought, but they are probably young and have not had ‘full steam’ marketing understanding. Big picture helps always- do not just hire them to train your existing staff (these guys will beome redundant in a few years- we HAVE to make them digital! Hello?? They are not your HD ready TV- these are people- they’ll still remain analogue- can’t “make them digital”).

What is important is- Hire guys from digital background and train THEM. Let them know the bigger picture. (And there IS a bigger picture-aside to my digital media colleagues- Steve Balmer might not like it, but all media on a screen is still a few years from now, if not many years) Marketing and advertising as it exists today has been around for decades- some things have been perfected to a great degree and there are some great processes to arriving at the right “communication plan”. Good for fundamentals.

Another observation is important here (which I shared with a country CEO sometime back, mediating a  digital/non-digital friction) – since this medium ‘arrived’- say almost a decade back, the people in the digital space have been too busy selling and evangelizing. Advertising was bought on a project basis at best, and most of the time,, getting pittance business was a lot of hard work, and executing it flawlessly required huge operational and marketing skillsets. The, since the past 2-3 years, and as if almost suddenly, mainstream agencies bungee jumped- pushed overboard by the brands- and hoped digital media personnel could be the bungee ropes (Now you know I like telling stories to kids!). Expectations from these guys was humongous- and one of the skill sets expected was – “Strategy” Or “communications planning”. Unfortunately these guys were not trained to be that- these guys were ‘hands-on executers’- they did not need to do too much strategy- mostly because they usually did not have the full marketing/brand/market/insights picture. Duane Schultz of Xerox has said -“The Old Model was “Build and measure” and new age marketing is Measure and improve”(Also quoted in a very good book- “Do it wrong Quickly- How the web changes the old Marketing rules”). Mostly the digital guys were stuck in measurement and optimization- and were not expected to deliver a full picture strategy.

But now, in these times of turmoil, they need to know the full picture.

Common P&L: How many times did you hear the story- that there is a online/digital target and an rest of media revenue/billing target? Does NOT work that way! Does it take rocket science to understand this? And Uncle-Do you need to hire NASA scientists to fix a silicon microchip in your head to hypnotically remind you it CANNOT work that way! (I know they are space scientists not brain surgeons- but you get the idea don’t you?) So please let everyone work together and let there be peace.

Silos or Milos? It works differently for different people, but many a times it helps if all the teams drink MILO together rather than sit in silos.  You say you have an ‘integrated’ offering right?

Walk the talk: Do not expect ‘digital training presentations’- do not think this is something that could be explained in a few sessions- it is like saying someone can teach you how to trade in the stock exchange in a few sessions- unless YOU do it yourself, read up and develp your own insights, acumen and discipline, presentations and theory won’t work.

Water flows from top to bottom: Senior management has to get this first and then unleash. Otherwise it bites real hard. (Uncle- quick- hide that crack!)

Of course, integrating in this way is just a single step, and by its own self it won’t matter so much. We need to reinvent our remuneration models and turn things on their heads. There are other things like client readiness and ownership of strategy and co-ordination from clients, but we need to fix our home first- so we are ready for an Enterprise Level Digital Strategy for our clients.

Too many other thoughts, but this is one of my super long posts, and fingers are getting tired (not fingering people but typing).

The long and short: Digital marketing is a mindset- some get it and some don’t. It is like being a rock star- nothing too technical about it, and most of the times, it is the attitude that makes you!

More in Part 2. So what do you think?


Curiosity- it proverbially killed the cat-and yet it is an important attribute for today’s marketer. Reminds me of a senior ‘strategy type’ (read account planner) who mused “things must have changed completely in digital marketing since even about half a decade back…no?” *smirk*

Sure. Things have changed. Or have they? The way online media is planned, operations, analytics and other stuff associated with media?

Actually most media planning in the internet space still is pretty similar to what we did long ago- Complexity increased, scale changed- but pretty much similar nuts and bolts. Ditto within ad ops- ad trafficking, reporting, serving etc have not changed drastically- features and some processes have undergone a makeover, but nothing drastic. Nah!

This probably merits another post- and I’ll not ramble anymore- you get the idea. Basically things haven’t changed so drastically. Hypothetically speaking- if there was a marketer who had been in the digital marketing space 6-10 years ago- and took a sabbatical- if they come back again, they will not find things *that* drastically different. Even in those times – there were ad-products *serious* on behavioral targeting, SEM multichannel marketing, ecom/lead gen and -why even social media optimization, though the term wasn’t around. They even had Mobile marketing coming up. The next big thing. And it continues to be- the next big thing.

Maybe too much happened in too short a time frame. And many things ahead of their times then, seem to have made a comeback. Anyways- half the post is over- and this is NOT what I’m going to talk about.

What I’m going to talk about is- SEO -a topic of great interest to me in the good old days, it somehow got ‘backburnered’ in the last few years. (company of too many advertising agency types)

So with the intention of clearing the web  off (pun *intended*) my old interests, I ventured to social media- and decided to ask the experts a question on SEO- but not in a normal straight jacket form (Do you think SEO has changed in its practice…). I posted a question on Linkedin to SEO experts:

Question:This is a question on how to best utilise multiple domains for better ranking. Say, I have site focused on Organic Farming. Now, I have two domains, one with a company/trademark/brand name domain (say, and another one- that is generic to the service I’m providing (say, or, what is the best way to use both the domains so that my rankings are positively influenced? I want Maati to be my Hero domain- because it is trademarked and a brand name. Both the domains have the same age as well.

Most experts, while elucidating, gave an indication that SEO experts still deploy similar tactics as was done few years back. Many things have changed, rather obviously, while others have assumed greater importance over time (backlinks/anchor text for example). Off page optimisation clearly has assumed more importance- and more on the “upcoming trends in SEO” in another post.

One highlight was that- most misconstrued the question as whether one wanted to trick the search engines by duplicating content on multiple domains.

Even outside of my question, amongst the fraternity, duplicate content is an absolute nah nah for engines and word is that they ‘penalize’ if you indulge in this tactic.

Some (rather dramatic) revelations from the answers supporting the penalization theory:

  • flag immediately – duplicate content – you might get banned…. and OF COURSE YOU SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING YOUR SITE BANNED FROM GOOGLE
  • you can be penalised by search engines such as Google for duplicate content
  • Watering down your efforts over multiple sites/ domains may or may not get you “banned from Google” depending on how you go about it
  • Do not create duplicate content, that is a very big no no, whilst there is some benefit from keywords in your domain name, it is a small factor that will not help your site too much!
  • the search engines will over a period of time will identify it as a duplicate content and have you blacklisted.

Yet there are many who do not think having duplicate content will ‘blacklist’ your site. And I’m not saying I intend to do it. I have a simple policy when it comes to SEO- follow best practices and common sense- don’t be evil (heard this somewhere?), yet be smart and know the walkarounds- legally. It’s a bit like taxes- if you don’t pay your taxes- by cooking up your books or doing something illegal- that’s tax evasion. Crime. Naughty. Can get you in trouble. Compare this to blackhat SEO techniques (KW stuffing/hidden text/multiple doorways/illegal link farms etc etc)

The other method of reducing tax impact is called Tax avoidance. Approved. Tickmarked- by the government and by law. There are official tax planners who advice on tax avoidance. Compare this to search engine optimization.You get the idea.

Actually, duplicate content might not be so much of a bad thing. At least not in the way people make it out to be. As a matter of fact, Google just issued a release in its official webmaster central blog– essentially it says that you *CAN* use similar content across multiple domains- in case you add some unique value to the content every time is replicated.


  1. When we detect duplicate content, such as through variations caused by URL parameters, we group the duplicate URLs into one cluster.
  2. We select what we think is the “best” URL to represent the cluster in search results.
  3. We then consolidate properties of the URLs in the cluster, such as link popularity, to the representative URL.

Verdict? Be like musicians. Get ‘Inspired’ by someone else’s work- add your own nuances- and voila- ready to be passed off as new!

Be good- people. The web is its own criminal, The web is its own police and the web is its own crime reporter. Decide what you want to be.

Posted by: Shalabh | September 3, 2008

The Best Social Network

Been meaning to write this post for about a year now- to dig deeper into the question- “Which is the best social network?” (on Internet Media). Been postponing for a long while now-paucity of time, and (lame excuse) not getting a good photo editor..etc- but you know an amazing observation?- the answer is still as fresh even now!

Maybe this post will not be as powerful as I wanted it to be, but what the heck- Killing by procrastination might be worse. Do bookmark this page- or subscribe to the feed- as I intend to write more on this or update this post by adding screen shots and more figures to substantiate and make pretty. And your comments and emails are as always L-O-V-E-D!

I usually do not write about any media or my thoughts on media brands- because of my being associated with a media agency- but this post merits a discussion. Anyways- a disclaimer in the beginning – *ding* this is not to promote any property or discredit others. I value every property and believe that most properties have their space in the big media jigsaw puzzle *dong*

So here is the question, again: Which is the best social network? Facebook? My space? Bebo? How about Twitter? Or in the Asian context- is it Friendster, orkut, facebook?

An ordinary question you would say, if you are the agency types- “let me dig into the media playbook and take out the registered members and unique user details” Right? Not so fast!

I know ‘Best’ is subjective – but let start by evaluating some parameters that define a social network.  like everything else-the web has definitions galore-

*Personal or professional set of relationships between people…
*A map of relationships between individuals or organisations and others…
Read More…

Posted by: Shalabh | August 31, 2008

Digital trends Asia- top listing on Google

I had this blog of mine for the longest time and recently started to optimize it in a bid to re-initiate and brush up my SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) skills. This was a topic of interest some 6-8 years ago and I wanted to test and see if things have changed drastically since then.

I was pleasantly thrilled to see Google love for my blog- as a matter of fact Google ranked my blog at number 2 position globally for “digital media trends asia” AND 4th position globally as an authority on “digital trends in Asia”. The one above me is a harvard university document. Not bad- eh?

Digital Media Trends Asia

Digital Media Trends Asia

I have two blogs that I author- one on the blogger platform and one on wordpress. I needed to see which one gets more Google Love- slightly difficult and maybe not a ‘control’ assessment- as one is on general interest topics and this one on digital marketing/ integrated marketing communications.

Of course, effort that was put into making this popular, but by and large this cries out loud- about the power of relevancy and recency of content, and the weightage that intelligent search engines attribute to these parameters.

My blog on Digital Media trends in Asia is also ranked in the first page results on Yahoo and number 2 on AOL! That’s pretty awsome considering it is such a widely watched and researched and written about topic. What about MSN? Well, Windows Live Search does not seem to love wordpress it seems- try it if you want- quite strange- it does index the site but does not seem to favour it- as a matter of fact- it seems to give more authority to custom domains or maybe even not favor user generated content sites like wordpress! Remains to be researched properly, but for me, no harm done as rest of the top search engines do give me their love- and I ain’t greedy in love- threesome will do. Thank you.

My main site shalabhpandey is not ranked so high on these keyphrases yet- I think it will always be a challenge- Why? more on that some other time- so many things, so little time- what’s a guy to do! Ahem!!

Posted by: Shalabh | August 30, 2008

Of Androids and iPhones

The iphone has taken Asia by the proverbial storm- in Singapore , in India and is still sustaining the hype in China inspite of unofficial iphones by hundreds  of thousands (along with duplicate “Hi phone” versions ) but something’s in the air that hints- there might soon be audience fatigue around the product.

The iphone 3.5G has launched across many countries by now, but unlike the ipod which almost created a new product line and with its different versions still retains the cool factor, the iphone might become a victim of its own hype. The slashing of prices making it more commonly available for everyone- kind of kills the cool factor. To add, since hype preceded availability, the less obvious shortcomings- camera, message forwarding, software glitches etc are fast eroding the almost mythical sexiness around the product. The differentiation between different models seems to be limited around space, which unlike the mobile mp3 player market, seems a bit shallow.

In some Asian countries where it was launched only recently, I have seen people using these phones prior to their legal availability. Cracked versions galore, those who wanted to be perceived uber cool and be seen with one, had one already- making people who buy legally now, after it has been launched legally look passe! Easy availability, no first mover coolness and some shortcomings that the market has taken for granted- not a potent mix. So much so that some retailers are PAYING actors to stand in a fake queue to generate hype!

So whats next- phone models Omnia, xperia and Diamonds apart- the next real hype is a platform- Google Android. Google’s every move being watched (so what’s new!) and Google seems to be releasing these media tidbids in its true fashion- like it has always done.

A latest report by Cnet shows the announcement of Google Android marketplace (hinted at in May 08 by Google already)   Just like the iphone App Store. A still from Google depicting the kind of apps that might be there- from barcode scanner to ‘text-to-speech’!

Android App sneak peak

Android Apps market sneak peak-, courtesy Google and Cnet

These new platforms will certainly open up a hotbed of new apps- Make the life of marketers a bit more complex and might give birth to a new breed of developers. Watch this space.

Meanwhile a comparision of the latest touchscreens (iphone killers as media dubs them) here and a video (not in english but the sex appeal is the products) – with the comparision:

Posted by: Shalabh | February 11, 2008

The Search Market in Asia Pacific

Comscore says, there are more than 60 billion searches conducted worldwide in any given month. (OK- they said this for Aug 2007, but the numbers can only go up right?)

An interesting and self sufficient study in itself- there are interesting takes on the growing influence of APAC users in search. I did a quick analysis on the various regions:

Region Unique Searchers (% of total) Searches (% of total) Searches
Per Searcher
Asia-Pacific 34% 33% 78.7
Europe 28% 29% 85.1
North America  27% 26% 77.4
Latin America 7% 8% 95.7
Middle East – Africa  4% 3% 69.8
Worldwide  754 million 61 billion 80.9

APAC therefore, accounts for more than 1/3 of both total number of searchers and total searches worldwide! What makes it interesting is that though the overall numbers are high, the number of searches conducted per unique searcher are much higher in Europe- and Latin Americans love to search it seems (around a 100 per month!). The overall numbers are not very surprising I guess. Inspite of the limited online penetration in Asia- the absolute numbers of people online are very high. 

Talking of absolute numbers, here’s the table for the absolute numbers of region wise search consumption:

Region Unique Searchers Searches Searches
Per Searcher
Asia-Pacific 258 million 20.3 billion 78.7
Europe 210 million 17.8 billion 85.1
North America  206 million 16 billion 77.4
Latin America 50 million 4.8 billion 95.7
Middle East – Africa  31 million 2.1 billion 69.8
Worldwide  754 million 61 billion 80.9

Now I thought this could make one do some basic extrapolations on what could be the search market size in Asia- there are various resources available – but mostly to do with US and European markets. It must be something to do with my bad keyword search skills,  but I haven’t really come across some good numbers for the APAC Search market. There is some stuff on the China market- expounding the market size that Baidu corners, or even some India centric numbers (and then some for Australia and usage in Japan and Korea) but consolidated numbers are rare to find. This leaves the smaller markets like South East Asia and parts of North Asia rather in the lurch. Not surprisingly, because online marketing is rather in infancy and the size perhaps too small to even merit an extensive research.

But basis these tables and using other surveys + making some (convenient) assumptions, one should come close to judging the market size.

There are some surprising results though if we combine another research and our own campaign management experience: emarketer claims in the US, search marketing accounted for 8.6 billion USD:


Now, if you do some calculations basis assumptions like 100% of all searches in US run paid sponsored links, the dollar numbers somehow don’t match. If you take an average of say 0.2% CTR on all searches and a CPC of $2, the total market size North + lat Am comes to just about a billion USD ( I know assumptions are not completely right in that all search cannot be monetized etc but again, help in putting a perspective- I have kept differentiated CTRs and CPCs across though). Does that mean emarketer includes contextual and SEO in Search Marketing revenues? AND if so, are contextual ads (ad sense mostly) and SEO worth apprx 7 billion USD?

Here’s the ‘table of assumptions’ and deribation of dollar numbers:

CTR Searches
(in Aug 07) Billion
CPC Per month
($ B)
Per year
($ B)
Asia-Pacific 0.30% 20.3 1.00 0.0609      0.731
Europe 0.20% 17.8 2.00 0.0712      0.854
North America  0.20% 16 2.00 0.0640      0.768
Latin America 0.30% 4.8 2.00 0.0288      0.346
Middle East – Africa  0.30% 2.1 0.30 0.0019      0.023
Worldwide    61 0.09 0 0

Which means keyword-search marketing should be about 12%-13% of overall marcom dollars spent on search. Something wrong here- on the same basis, APAC, with a 0.3% CTR and 1 USD CPC comes to around 700 mill USD. But just Australia should be around 480 mill and China should be around 500 mill USD.

I might have been conservative in some numbers- but even doubling the CPC will not help us match the surveys. Maybe the CPCs for countries like Australia/Japan/Korea are  much higher. Another thing to be noted is that both in Japan and Korea, Google is not number one, (like China)- so can the total search traffic from APAC even higher than touted by Comscore? (Comscore used top 50 search properties worldwide for their survey- not sure if Naver or Yahoo Japan figures in their top 50 list)

Well, let me figure that out and post in my next blog.

Posted by: Shalabh | September 28, 2007

Web more reliable information medium than TV?

There is an almost sudden deluge of news articles about Online media. Forget about articles, there are new magazines launched (my guess is in the last one year or so) specifically for the new media- Internet and Mobile. This is specifically in Singapore and Hong Kong  though I’m sure the trend replicates elsewhere in Asia as well.

Every other day, someone is found propagating the virtues of online media, and with me there have been instances where mainstream advertising people think Online is going to eat up all other media in the days to come. I not only don’t believe that, I have some  super reservations on this. And I have been in this field for almost as long as the medium has been there in this part of the world!

Two years ago (late 2005), I wrote an article about the comeback of the internet in 2005 and  how the medium and online advertising will find a new found respect and growth in the next 2-3 years. I am seeing that happening- with not only a sudden demand for talent but also the increasing insecurity and a feeling of being obsolte in the behaviour of ‘offline’ media professionals.

And all the hardcore ‘offline’ media brands have been in a flurry to come online- in the past few months, I have had pitches made from Top management at Forbes, Economist and BBC! For Asia! 

Of course to counteract the Global nature of online brands (Yahoo/MSN/Google/Facebook etc- as compared to country specific offline media giants like SCMP, Times of India, New York Times etc) BBC has now countered a new word- Internationalized audience

Newspapers are getting more defensive in their approach, perhaps because they are the ones to feel the pinch of shrinking ad budgets as budgets from Print continue to get diverted to Online:

Anyways, Newspapers PR is gaining strength- also to thank are a lot of ancilliary industries that they support mainly- PR is one of them. As traditional PR struggles to redefine itself in the new era, apart from positioning themselves as New Media PR agencies, PR agencies are also holding fort for the print arena.

Here is an excerpt from the Straits times newspaper 28th Sep edition:

 Online Vs other mediums information reputation

 So what it means is that TV as a source of relevant information is declining YoY (TV more an entertainment medium? too many news porogrammes diluting the efficacy of TV What happened to BBC/CNN/CNA/Mediacorp/NDTV news channels? people don;t trust them either? Is it a TV phenomenon or is it a specific news channel phenomenon?)

Newspapers are being viewed as more reliable- somehow- but then that means that repute is not equal to growth in sales numbers which are decreasing YoY!

Anyways, the winner in this chart/study seems to be the online medium- inspite being second in terms of number of responses, it is still the highest growth rate (along with radio) YoY. Again strange- because newspaper online sites are more popular than TV ones (in terms of numbers)..hmmm..

Also acceptability of blogs in general going down (ask Om Malik on YoY growth or see technorati numbers on growth of blogs/citizen media).

Anyways, again, all media is equal (Online is more equal than others :P) and all have the pros and cons- I still love my TV and newspaper as well as a consumer. Online stands vindicated though after so many years of hearing so many things -> and thats a big satisfaction …


Posted by: Shalabh | May 5, 2007

Why Yahoo should’nt sell (to Microsoft)

50 billion dollars- thats what ‘Takeover pundits’ are puntering for Microsoft’s alleged bid for Yahoo.

Is it worth it? Prima Facie For Yahoo yes. Earning a few times of the entire online industry size should be worth it. For Microsoft? Maybe Yes- they haven’t done anything substantial or ground breaking anyways- either in display or search advertising. They just get by (ahem!) because they are Microsoft. They lost Double click, they lost AOL, now might be their chance for consolidation.

But whatever the ‘money sense’ is, the reasons why it should never happen- why Yahoo should not sell to MS (or Google) or vice versa (!!) Some fundamental (and emotional) reasons:

  • The Online advertising web has just three major players- consolidation amongst them is going to make others more powerful-result? Less democratisation of content, communities and structures. Not good.
  • The Net thrives on constant innovation- innovation is spurred by different minds/ideologies and talent pools. Congregation is not good for innovation. Not good for the world wide web. Not good for us surfers.
  • Would you rather everyone in the (real) world wear suits and ties and speak in English -ONLY? It’ll be a dull, monotonous, colorless world. Online world is no different- we want giants who are different. There will always be small talented rebels who stick to their ground (Facebook?) We need color! We need choices.
  • The advertising market will become pretty much a sellers market- never an ideal scenario (specially with MS’s sales approach- let the sales agency do the ‘dirty’  work- we are MS!). Planners have lesser choice, clients have lesser confidence in planning agencies, and offline agencies move their offline buyers/planers to do the ‘simple’ work (its just so easy- Mike from procurement/TV buying can call and buy media from one publisher- no point in going to a specialist!). OK I’m over simplyfying things- its not that 3 or 2 are much different- but thats the way a lot of people think in the industry. It isreally a perception game.
  • The logo “Yahoo!- a Microsoft company” will sound extremely ironic and oxymoron-ish
  • There are a handful of iconic web brands- Yahoo is amongst the first. Reinnovate and hang on. There’s a long way to go
  • Search will just begin to be interesting. Ask Jeeves is trying to come up, Panama is anticipated widely, MS (hopefully) will launch a better search system- and they have the traffic as well. Good competition, everyone on their toes, better technologies.

Don’t sell Yahoo- Hang on. Maybe Panama will solve some issues- stand up Mr Semel (If you still will be on)- resist!

Or shall I say Internet might loose its sheen the way we see it now.

The Net evolves – HTML, Java, DHTML, AJAX, Ruby on Rails- web authoring technologies continue to evolve. And so does the nature of the web- from standard, static web pages of the web 1.0 era to community driven, interactive and self updating Web 2.0. Mobile technologies have not been far behind- and terms like 3G, wifi, Bluetooth connectivity etc form staple primary school lingo today.

Fortunately or otherwise, all these technologies are evolving and new ones emerging because of one basic dictat of business. Money. Profits. Toplines. The raison de’ etre of survival and growth.

Internet as we see now- web pages with content, communication and commerce, which is still adoloscent- will change into content, communication and commerce as a mature, young global adult- mature technologies will evolve and the internet that we see now, might cease to exist in the next 5 years. Yes- the next 5 years! Or maybe even before that.

People have prophesized enuff about what will be the next hot thing online in 2007. Most of the stuff is about Online Video and what not- but in the next 5 years here is an impending truth about a technology that might change a lot of things about Internet, and Online Advertising might loose its unique and most powerful selling proposition. Even before it can bloom to its fullest:

And the reason for my impudent ramblings?

A unique technology called “color coding” that probably 1% of web gurus have conspicuosly failed to notice in their visceral prognostics.

As Mobile to web convergence to become more imperative, here is a nice technology that combines communication, connectivity, convergence and commerce all together. Color coding is being launched commercially to enable shoppers/users to zap “interactive adverts” in newspaper and brochures/FSI etc and get product info about that item.
What next? shoppers can download pictures -maybe even videos of products by just pointing their phones at advertisements. The technology works by linking the ads or the color coding in the box to a remote server using this special ‘color’ barcoding technique.

Instead of the regular bar code, it uses a new age bar coding technique called “Color coding.” You place a color code on a product (or even an ad in a print publication), which is a unique identification. Using that unique identification, your cellphone becomes a bar code reader and the browser gives you info about that product from the manufacturer! How cool is that!!

You don’t need to rely on an incompetent and disinterested salesman when you are doing ur research on a new smart phone- if u see something cool, just zap your phone on the color code of the phone or the showroom poster, and you can see a video review and even review product comparisions!

Most of this might not be happening in an error free commercial environment as we see it now, but imagine the impact it’ll have if done in fullscale :

The reach of print, measurability of internet and the convenience of handphpone!
Connected Communication: Independent of the computer. Users can upload content and dealers can put up their prices and offers-u zap at the product and get all this ingo within seconds- on the move.

Maybe the print guys start selling CPA ads, or have affiliate programmes of their own! maybe the Online Media Planners need to learn Print planning. Maybe be hands-on on Netmetrics as well as TNS. Who knows!

I mean endless possibilities- I am already salivating- as a New Media Marketing professional as well as an obscure entrepreneur. Any one willing to fund this venture :p ?

Shalabh Pandey (

Posted by: Shalabh | December 28, 2006

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