Tendo Dev Blog

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The age of Internet video is finally upon us

News flash, right? Water is wet, too.

What tipped me off, you ask? Was it the fact that Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube last year? The fact that YouTube now owns the #3 spot in Alexa’s traffic rankings? The fact that I’ve already received seven viral video emails today, and it’s just now 10 AM?

Actually, it was none of those things. It’s the fact that an English major and admitted technophobe can edit, produce, and post videos in an embedded player almost entirely on his own!

The link above points to a page we helped our client, Bishop Ranch, build to host videos from a recent forum they held. We brought a single DV camera, taped the proceedings, and output the tape to DVD with the eventual goal of posting clips of the forum on the Bishop Ranch website. Unfortunately for us, we were between interactive producers, and our new producer wasn’t due to come on board for another week or so. Which means that we had to find an in-house solution, which essentially meant “give it to the guy who edits his wife’s trapeze videos and posts them on YouTube.” Continue reading


November 21, 2007 Posted by | Ian Miller, Multimedia, Web Content | Leave a comment

Thinking about using Flash in your email newsletters?

Well, don’t.

The good folks at campaignmonitor.com have done extensive testing on how Flash renders in all the major email clients. The results were not pretty. —Ian Miller, managing editor

September 19, 2007 Posted by | Email Marketing, Ian Miller | Leave a comment

Adblock: blessing, curse, or both?

Adblock Plus is a Firefox add-on that blocks the vast majority of online advertisements. For Firefox users (including this reporter), Adblock is a tremendous boon. By simply installing the add-on and subscribing to an ad-tracking service, Adblock will spare you from more than 95 percent of all online ads — including Google text ads. (Noam Cohen of the New York Times wrote yesterday about the implications of Adblock for Google, as well as Google’s unwillingness to comment on ad-blocking technology.)

As Cohen points out, Adblock’s penetration is very low — its creator estimates there are 2.5 million users around the world — but it has all the makings of a killer app. It’s free, easy to install and use, and puts the user back in control. It’s too early to start calling Adblock the online TiVo, but it’s certainly conceivable that Adblock and its descendants could rewrite the rules of online advertising.

Some advertisers are up in arms, of course, going so far as to block Firefox users from their site, claiming that using Adblock amounts to theft. (Their argument, while preposterous-sounding, may have legal basis.) Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face! Because a small percentage of Firefox users may be running Adblock, they’re cutting themselves off from 34.5 percent of the Internet!

And apart from being bad at math, these same advertisers are bad at the Internet. Google has shown us time and again that you succeed by giving the users what they want: unobtrusive, contextual ads; fancy maps we can mash up and improve upon; threaded, searchable email; and any of the dozens of other innovations Google has come up with.

Following Google’s lead is never a bad idea. So spend some time on your site today, and make sure you’re giving your users what they want. —Ian Miller, managing editor

September 4, 2007 Posted by | Ian Miller, Web Content | 2 Comments

You’re doing it wrong

Team Tendo recently had a lunchtime conversation in which we recounted our biggest email and IM blunders. Some were personal, some were business-related, but none of them was as catastrophic as Spirit Airlines’ CEO Ben Baldanza’s recent email SNAFU.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere — something about how not to conduct business in the age of the Internet. Would this have happened 20 years ago? Not a chance. First of all, there was no email. Secondly, there were no bloggers to circulate this story. And thirdly there was no Web 2.0 (this numbering scheme has become problematic, but stay with me) to alert people like me (I found this story via reddit). In fact, the only parallel I can think of is the Legend of the Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe — and that’s an urban legend.

So, to quote Thumper’s mother, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. And if you absolutely have to be a jerk like Ben Baldanza, check the To line before you hit Send. —Ian Miller, managing editor

August 24, 2007 Posted by | Email Marketing, Ian Miller | 1 Comment

What does critical mass look like?

The cornerstone of Web 2.0 is community: collaboration among users. And in order to have a community, you need users. Lots and lots and lots of users.

And when you get enough users, you achieve critical mass: “a size, number, or amount large enough to produce a particular result,” according to m-w.com. For the purposes of this conversation, that “particular result” is market domination.

Luckily, alexa.com can give us a great idea of what critical mass looks like in terms of number of users. I plugged in the URLs for two human-compiled reference sites: About.com and Wikipedia. Here’s what the “reach” graph, which measures number of users, looks like.

About.com was happily chugging along reaching something on the order of 1 percent of all Web users, and essentially still is (although it appears to be in a downward trend). The bump in traffic in 2005-06 can probably be attributed to its sale to the New York Times, which substantially increased About’s profile, as well as its marketing budget. But along comes Wikipedia in late 2002 and surges past About by mid-2005. Is Wikipedia directly responsible for About’s decline? We can’t say for sure. But let’s take a look at some other cases of more direct competition: Friendster vs. MySpace, and Flickr vs. Everyone Else.

If you were under 25 in 2004, you had to have a Friendster page or your social life was over. It was the first social-networking site that really cracked the code in a space where so many other companies had failed. But in early ’05, MySpace — a carbon copy of Friendster — simply trounced it. Much smarter people have weighed in on all this, but the bottom line is that MySpace rules and Friendster, well, drools.

Photo hosting was a hotly contested space: Ofoto/KodakGallery had decent traffic, as did Snapfish. But Flickr came along and routed the competition by applying Web 2.0 principles — tagging, sharing, rating, and more — to online images. Whereas the Web 1.0 sites encouraged you to lock others out of your personal photo albums, Flickr embraced openness, and crushed the competition in the process. Here’s the graph for proof. KodakGallery and Snapfish are both DOA, and Flickr, while in a downward trend, still boasts 10 times more traffic than the other two.

So that’s what critical mass looks like. If you can achieve it, the success of your community-based website is assured. Now if I could only figure out how to make it happen, I could quit my day job and pursue my dream of doing nothing all day long. ―Ian Miller, managing editor

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Ian Miller, Multimedia, Web Content | 1 Comment