How Apple Mastered the Art of Contextual Ads

Over the last two years, Apple has been trying to figure out the right way for the brand to live in online advertising. They couldn’t seem to get comfortable with the constraints of the online world; where the Internet can be a cluttered place and ads can get lost in the chaos. Most banner ads were small spaces on pages that were easily tuned out and ignored. It made the brand question how Apple could be Apple online?

They had to challenge the conventions of online. To do so they tried an experiment. Apple worked with a few big sites and asked them to allow Apple to try a whole new way of doing ads. Read more

Big Brother is checking your age

After a test in a local supermarket (Super de Boer Roosendaal), the Dutch company HEM is going to roll out it’s age-verification-system nationwide with C1000-supermarkets. The system works like this: two webcams are located at a special kiosk. When a product with an age-limit (like cigarettes) is scanned, one of the cams looks at the client. An operator of HEM will check the client’s face for age characteristics. When the operator is in doubt, the second cam is activated. The client needs to show his/her ID to this cam, so the operator can verify the age of the client.

HEM says that this is a fool-proof system, fair to everyone. No longer can under aged friends of the counter personnel have an advantage. Also, supermarket-owners say that this system – called Plaaaza – will let counter personnel do their actual work. Instead of checking a client’s age, they can scan the shoppings. What do you think? Is this one bridge too far when privacy is concerned?

Good customer experience


In fact it is strange to blog about something that’s supposed to be ‘normal’. But I was aware of a very positive feeling after getting in touch with Autotaalglas. The reason was less pleasant: a stone jumped on my windscreen and created a large crack in it. After a phonecall to the insurer, I found out that I could have it repaired with any associated company. One of them: Autotaalglas. So I checked out their website and learned that they had a form online that could be used to bring in my case. Normally I do not expect much of these forms. But now, within 15 minutes, I was called and a transfer to my local Autotaalglas was made! The appointment is coming Friday 08.00 sharp. This was because the windshield needs to be ordered. When they would have it in stock, I could come along right away…

No more Pitchtalks…

Last Tuesday I did my last gig at Het Gesprek. The new program-director reshuffled the programming and this included the end of my sidekicks in Pitchtalk. Ronnie Overgoor and I had Erik de Zwart as guest in a very entertaining and interesting talk. I think it’s a pity because in my opinion our format was dynamic and variated. Well, so much for my experience with TV. I did learn some important lessons though! I wish Het Gesprek all the best. The initiative deserves more viewers. Please guys: do consider more ‘on demand’ oriented concepts!

Crowdsourcing is not staying forever

It’s the next big thing nowadays: Crowdsourcing. Al lot of specialised agencies pop up to ride this bandwagon (Creative Crowds, The Crowds, Favela Fabric to name a few) or either developing it. And all the media are talking about it. Lately also Dutch radioprogramme Radio Online (TROS) was broadcasting an issue on crowdsourcing. And even presenter Peter de Bie (normally very sceptical) was enthousiastic. Well, the blogs are buzzing, and congress/seminar organizers have a topic again to fill the rooms with. Do I sound negative? That’s not my intention. Because I do believe in the principles behind crowdsourcing. What I do not believe in however – let’s say that I doubt the effect in the long run – is the way many corporations are using crowdsourcing nowadays.

There is simply no true dialogue going on. When a company like KLM is asking clients in their BlueLab-initiative to bring up ideas to better their product, this could be defined as advanced and sensible market research. When KLM implements one of those idease and makes 30 million euro with it, then I start doubting. Because KLM – in this example – is using Open Source techniques to gather ideas, but KLM did not transform it’s business model to Open Source-principles. In the end their performance is measured on the stock exchange: their shareholders are profiting  from the ideas clients generate. Those clients ‘only’ profit because they see their ideas implemented and get the attention and recognition.

Apperantely that’s enough for current customers. More than happy that they are to have at least some way to talk back to companies that rested in ivory towers in relation to their clients. I believe that this way of using crowdsourcing (please do read the disclaimer at Dell’s IdeaStorm-website!) will work. But not for long. When companies one sided exploit ideas from crowds, these crowds someday will aks for their fair share. Or they switch to a competitor that does deliver on the dialogue. Other initiatives – like Sellaband – do share the profits with their crowd. In fact: it’s part of their business model. So: be Open Source when using Open Source principles. Or just pay for ideas that you can’t come up with yourself.