Monday, November 30, 2009

Europe Approves New Cookie Law

(Posted by Sheila Seles)

I saw this and thought of last week's presentation on online advertising. The EU recently passed a bill that will require all Internet users to opt-in to cookies. Here's a brief summary of the law from the WSJ.

This is an editorial about the law that's linked to from the WSJ article:

The author of this editorial points to a lot of valid criticisms of the law including skepticism about how the law could be effectively implemented across the EU's 27-member states. This argument is at the heart of his criticism: "behavioural advertising could be managed without wielding a sledgehammer that cracks almost all cookies. Lawmakers should identify any harms they see in today’s practices and legislate against the harms. To legislate against the technology is unnecessary, short-sighted and destined to fail." While I agree that legislating against technology is short-sighted, I wonder how can lawmakers "legislate against the harms" of behavioral advertising. Does behavioral advertising necessarily have to be harmful? People like Gary Loveman would argue that behavioral advertising can provide huge benefits to customers if done properly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages

(Posted by Mona Masghati)

Top Story of WSJ on 11/23/2009:
" is the fifth-most-popular Web site in the world, with roughly 325 million monthly visitors. But unprecedented numbers of the millions of online volunteers who write, edit and police it are quitting."

Monday, November 23, 2009

The move to evidence-based decision-making in business

I finally started using twitter and found that people are tweeting about me behind my back!

One was sending around a quotation of me discussing how "business can move toward evidence-based decision-making" from this NY Times article. I hadn't seen that yet.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How Popularity Affects Popularity in Music

(Posted by Andrew Merkin)
The article below tested a couple of factors in the creation of "hit" songs in the music industry. It goes along with the power law discussion from Thursday's class.

The authors create an artificial ‘‘music market’’ in which 14,341 participants downloaded previously unknown songs either with or without knowledge of previous participants’ choices. Increasing the strength of social influence increased both inequality and unpredictability of success. Success was also only partly determined by quality: The best songs rarely did poorly, and the worst rarely did well, but any other result was possible.

The article is available through the Dewey library site.

Experimental Study of Inequality and Unpredictability in an Artificial Cultural Market

Salganik et al. Science 10 February 2006: 854-856 DOI: 10.1126/science.1121066

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What if we only interacted with people like ourselves?

(Posted by Jessica Russell)

The Economist ran an article last year looking at the way people were picking neighborhoods that were a "better match" for their personalities. It discusses wider implications of these changes, particularly as it relates to politics. I thought it fit in well with the final slide of today's lecture.

How Zappos Grew So Big So Fast

(Posted by Jennifer Fremont-Smith)

This article relates to our discussion of Amazon in class. The marketingsherpa site where I found the article also is an interesting example of some of the bundling ideas we discussed earlier -- it's a new pricing system that they recently adopted.

How to Define 'Hits' and 'Niches'

Sheila Seles sent me the following link, which describes a new working paper by a Wharton professor and grad student.

They modify the methodology that we discussed in class today by having the set of "hit" and "niche" products change as the number of SKUs increases. Specifically, they define "niche" in percentage terms (e.g. the bottom x% of all SKUs) and find that when Netflix added a lot SKUs, the share of sales for "niche" products decreased.

The authors argue that this contradicts the "Long Tail" story. Chris Anderson says that it doesn't make sense to define "niche" in percentage terms and that the paper is flawed.

What do you think?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Study: File sharers spend more money on music

(Posted by Yael Caspi-Schwartzberg)

I think this article presents a very interesting - maybe even surprising - finding, and can be a great link between a few different past class discussions - the music industry, digital rights and even the last class about online pricing

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can "Freemium" Work? Babbel and WSJ Say No

(Posted by Mikhail Turilin)

Chris Dannen says:
Babbel and The Wall Street Journal both turned away from the Freemium model this week. The outcome will be drastically different for each.

"Can 'Freemium' Work? Babbel and WSJ Say No and One
of Them Is Wrong

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Amazon's new 3D store

(Posted by Dhirendra Sharma)

Here's a development relevant to our class on Tuesday.

Amazon is pioneering 3D online store.

WindowShop is a new content-viewing layer for If you've ever used Cooliris' PicLens before, you'll feel right at home, as WindowShop turns Amazon's selection of online goods into a giant wall, which you can scroll back and forth across, and zoom in and out of to find things to buy.

Cnet has more details

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Saying No To Big Software

(Via Ike Nassi)

From the Forbes article mentioned in class today:

Up until he considered open source, Save Mart's IT systems serving 250 stores, three warehouses, 20,000 employees and a trucking fleet was locked into Big Software licenses..

Sims replaced proprietary software with open-source technologies across the company's IT infrastructure with the deployments of the SuSe Linux operating system, the Ingres open-source database, and the Hobbit open-source monitoring tool to monitor the health of Save Mart's servers, applications and networks.