Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

ChurpChurp: Nuffnang’s new Twitter offering

I’ve written about Nuffnang in the past, but today, I will focus on their new service ChurpChurp. This is Nuffnang’s latest foray into the advertising space – they’re into Twitter advertising. All Singapore and Malaysian Twitter users, this is something you should read about and understand.

This isn’t new

Twitter advertising has been around for about a year, with the first service that launched, being Magpie. This is similar to what ChurpChurp is – it identifies campaigns, matches them, and will then automatically tweet them for you (visually, how it works).

Magpie allows you to pre-approve all magpie-tweets before it goes out there an automatically posts them. Its not clear if this is just an option or something that happens all the time – auto-posting at random seems more interesting eh?

Magpie has a tweet average – once every ten tweets – by default. You can change the ratio (to once every 200 tweets too, it seems). Magpie supports disclosure, via a customised disclaimer, so you can have a hashtag to say it is sponsored. You can read this and more in their FAQ.

Disclosure is encouraged even via IZEA (the people that mass marketed sponsored conversations). They also have Sponsored Tweets, a yet to be launched service.

And in quick Googling, I also found RevTwt.


Register Twitter « ChurpChurp A quick view of ChurpChurp, without signing up (the last thing I want is my followers to be spammed). The registration page is most interesting, considering they use your age, race and religion potentially, for targeting purposes. They quite blatantly state: “Although optional, depending on the country you are in, we may use race and/or religion to target sponsored posts.”.

Register Twitter « ChurpChurp But Nuffnang has always shone because they err on the side of fun – they associate themselves with alcohol and possibly tobacco (I can’t remember a recent tobacco related campaign) related companies, and its no different on ChurpChurp. Imagine following funny-man Kenny Sia, and he tweets something like:

Just had a smoke. The menthol feels so good, you should definitely give it a try #churp2

But that’s a matter for another day. Alcohol related advertisements are rife in the Malaysian blogosphere, and I can almost guarantee that all readers aren’t of the legal drinking age.

How does ChurpChurp work? Two ways: automated insertions, or via customised insertions with just the appropriate keyword and link. The automated insertions might be easy to figure out, but the customised insertions with just a keyword, and potentially a different shortened URL (for tracking purposes, quite naturally)? Without disclosure, this could potentially be great for advertisers, and in fact, unsuspecting Twitter users will fall prey to ads too. I should make mention that ChurpChurp does support disclosure.

ChurpChurp has an FAQ for Twitterer’s as well as one for advertisers. There’s an interesting list of items that ChurpChurp will not advertise for.

ChurpChurp has defaults – up to 10 ads per week – but this can be customised. You can cash out after earning RM100/SGD100, and I wonder if the rates for the “chosen ones” go up higher enabling them to cash out faster? Or are “chosen ones” really chosen based on Twitter follower count? Remember, if chosen ones are based on follower count, it changes quite rapidly, as and when Twitter decides to clean out spam accounts.

Does this work?

Magpie has been around for a while and seems to not be going anywhere. In fact, I even follow one Magpie advertiser, @WoNoJo. He tells me that he’s just experimenting with Magpie, and I find his other tweets have more value, so I still listen to what he has to say.

That may seem like a blatant “OK” to this ChurpChurp idea, but it isn’t. Remember, you are enabling Churpers, and you can stop by just unfollowing them.

Duncan Riley over at The Inquisitr, has published a telling piece on how he used Magpie and what he thinks about it in: In-Stream Twitter Advertising: Does It Work?. All potential ChurpChurp advertisers should be reading this.

I’m following someone who’s Churp-polluting my stream. What can I do?

If you value his/her tweets, tell them via an @reply that you do not like it. Direct message them if they follow you.

Alternatively, you can always unfollow them.

However, if you feel strongly about this, feel free to drop a direct message to the @spam account on Twitter. Gareth tells me in a comment that its best to direct message the @spam account on Twitter, so as not to mistake your account as a spam account too.

I’m thinking of joining ChurpChurp, should I?

Well, quite simply, you should not. But the promise of earning money is there, right? Just ask yourself: do you want to alienate your followers?

Also, please look at Twitter’s terms of service – #8 states You must not create or submit unwanted email to any Twitter members (“Spam”)..

Anything else?

I invite you to share your comments about ChurpChurp in the comments section. On Twitter, it seemed like most people weren’t too thrilled with Nuffnang polluting the Twitterverse, but it was only a matter of time after they had polluted the blogosphere.

Update: Thanks to Gareth for telling me in comment #1 that its best to direct message and not @reply the spam account on Twitter.

How I now drive a Hyundai Accent, thanks to a Google ad

About a month ago, I was surfing the Net, reading my mail on GMail, and I spotted a smart ad by Kah Bintang telling me in a short span of words (in the top — sponsored links in GMail – or it might have been a sidebar link) that the new Hyundai Accent 2008 model was a 1.6L car, with a very reasonable price tag.

Normally, I am blind to ads, but the message itself was very captivating, so I bit, and clicked the link. I arrived at the 2008 Accent Home, quickly jumped to its specifications, was impressed by its price tag (compared to the Toyota Vios S that I was driving, this car beats it in many ways), and brought it up in conversation.

Conversation, you ask? Yes, conversation with my parents. I was telling them it might be a nice car to have, it comes with leather seats, etc. Within a month, I hadn’t realised they had ordered it, and the car arrived early last week, and they handed the keys over to me – an early birthday present. Nifty. Thanks!

But that’s not the point. I would have never even heard of this car, had it not been for the Google ad. Someone at Kah Bintang, that’s in charge of marketing/gathering sales/et al, know that your Google ad, definitely works. In fact, I think the ROI is greater – imagine paying a blogger to write a review, versus actually running Google ads?

If you know the person from Kah Bintang responsible for this, don’t hesitate to have them call me, I’d love to interview them about their forward thinking nature. And I wish I took a screenshot of the ad itself — I can’t seem to replicate it now!

The Proton Exora

MIX fm :: lots of proton ads eh?

In other news, today I was listening to I heard them present some fun fact, and then, they tied it in with an advert for the Proton Exora. Smart, I’ve seen them do this with Harvey Norman ads before, but that’s just usually with discounts — the fact that with the Exora, they made some effort to expand my knowledge, then lead me back in, it did seem interesting.

Of course, going to’s website, I seem to be a tad disappointed. There has got to be a better way to display ads, no?

Behind the scenes: Advertising and PR, Bloggers and Integrity: Making Money, While Being Honest

Today at BarCamp KL, I presented a brand new talk: Advertising and PR, Bloggers and Integrity: Making Money, While Being Honest.

The back story

On April Fool’s Day, I sent out a feeler to see if anyone was interested in a talk titled “Advertising & PR, Bloggers & Integrity: making money, thru honesty”. It seems like the response was positive, and it was to be scheduled on Saturday for BarCampKL. Wow, a few days to come up with a brand new talk… naturally, I asked people for feedback, and received them (right up till 7 or so hours before the talk was scheduled to be given).

Preparing for the talk

On Friday, I posted a bunch of notes that I had taken down in OmniOutliner. I gathered some feedback, and then implemented the whole thing into Keynote (this is incidentally also my first presentation in where I am not using Impress, a software package I had helped contribute to for a significant portion of my life). To boot, I also purchased the Keynote Remote application for the iPhone/iPod Touch, for USD$0.99. This moves me away from using the usual Logitech Presentation Remote. So let’s just say all this marked new ground for me, as I got to learn new software in an evening, including using the presenter notes, and so on.

Giving the talk

Considering I had never given the talk before, and was winging it based on notes I had created a day before, let’s just say it was a little rough on the edges, lacking statistics that I would have liked, and lacking graphics that I should have included. I’m sure there will be a 2.0 version of the talk, if I’m to give it elsewhere.

I was pleased that the talk had a standing room audience. During the talk there was active discussion. That’s what made it fun. Lots of participants shared their experiences, and it was people representing media buyers, PR firms, as well as the bloggers themselves.

Generally speaking, most people believed that disclosure should be the way to go. There is nothing wrong with making money from your blog, but telling your audience that you are doing so, is a duty to your readers. Its the right thing to do!

Conversation about the talk went on even during lunch, and I seemed to hear lots of positive feedback about it. Its a pity I didn’t get the whole talk recorded!

In closing

Expect a series of blog posts, that are more well thought out, and are logically separated on this topic in the near future. And to think, all this talk started with what I told David Lian, a few weeks ago, at the KLTweetup, about how I believe Nuffnang will be irrelevant in 2 years if they don’t change their business model. Not existing is hard (both founders have got deep family pockets), but becoming less relevant, I guarantee it (or I’ll eat a shoe — one made of cake, nonetheless ;-))

Digital Media Consumers

An online survey (500 Malaysians, all online already, and in total, it was 26,000 amongst the countries surveyed) by The Nielsen Company, showed that Malaysians ranked fifth amongst 52 countries for being digital media consumers. The stats (with more from the NST):

  • Malaysians ranked third globally for those that spent more than 20 hours a week watching streamed or downloaded content from the Internet – translation, Malaysians bittorrent a lot, or are in love with YouTube. Video in Malaysia is big, clearly.
  • 53%/41% played(streamed, even)/downloaded video/movie/audio/game content online in December 2008. Translation? The ones with 1mbps broadband lines are streaming YouTube content… How about a local video sharing site, or a local site with content?
  • 85% got on their computers, while only 77% turned on their TV sets – translation, if you’re not advertising online or your media buyers don’t know how to deal with it, its time to find new ones
  • 4% download movies/movie clips more than 30 times in a month – that means about 7.5 TV series that they’re following, or less, but with movies thrown in – eep, no advertising seen
  • 8% download music or other audio files more than 30 times – since there’s no iTunes music store in Malaysia, its probably entirely illegal content

So its skewed. With a broadband penetration rate of about 18% only, they asked the choir, and the results aren’t too surprising. I predict we’ll see more people online in the results of the June/July survey, as we face this economic slowdown, and more people buckle up, stay at home, and still live their lives.

MNP here; mobile content thoughts

This is a busy week for the MCMC. They’ve just announced that Mobile Number Portability (MNP), will now be a reality (a rather delayed reality. There is a FAQ available. Key things to note:

  • Don’t terminate your mobile number before porting – only active numbers can be ported
  • If you’re contractually bound (12 months, etc – such offers apparently can exist, with incentives to consumers) porting will be denied (unless you break your contract, I guess)
  • Prepaid users beware – all existing credit doesn’t transfer over – so use it all up!
  • A request to port, therefore, is notice to your current provider to terminate subscription
  • Porting can take between 5-10 business days (utter bollocks, this kind of thing should take hours)
  • You may get suspended international roaming during porting, so beware

Its about time. It will only cost a minuscule RM25 to change the provider. Customer service will clearly have to improve (this would be the sole reason I move off a network, IMHO)

A long time ago, Adam (017 – now owned by Maxis) used to offer “free calls” to 017 numbers, for users on a postpaid plan; plus they had the cheapest prepaid options. I was a heavy phone user in those days – it was a long time ago, during the Nokia 5110 days (so late 90s?).

Wonder how many new service offerings like this will crop up? Optus has free 20 minute calls to Optus customers (Yes Time, from 8pm-midnight), 3 has free 3-to-3 calls for 10 minutes anytime of the day, and so on. But knowing what service provider people are on, is key. This is the main reason I carried 2 SIM cards (and phones) in Melbourne.

Well, here’s to saying goodbye to 012/017 being Maxis, 013/019 being Celcom, and 016 being DiGi.

I’m sitting here at a talk about the mobile industry now, and its all mostly focused on an overview of the mobile platform(s). Its basic (for me, but from the wide range of attendees, I think they got a lot out of it)… Location based services, APIs, Java, XHTML, all the joyous buzzwords. There’s plenty to do in the mobile industry, in terms of content creation in Malaysia (and Australia, fwiw). Lots of sites don’t have mobile specific sites, and scrolling, etc. is a pain.

Wild idea being thrown around in my head… Content creation isn’t complicated. At the last government event I attended, apparently, MOSTI has got lots of money to throw around. Some of the amusing things people got 5-figure funding for, included a guide to Malaysian beaches (not mobile related) available. Smells to me like a weekend hack for easy money.

Bandwidth is a problem… Metered bandwidth per kilobyte/megabyte isn’t something many in Malaysia think about (anyone in Australia knows the pain of this – but limitations make us present content better, IMHO). Its expensive. But I think this is a problem that will fix itself, as mobile data becomes more ubiquitous.

Then comes how to monetise this whole shindig. An interstitial does not work – they are annoying, they are a waste of bandwidth, and Mowser tried them and I believe removed them because they were largely a failure.

Mobile AdWords? Google doesn’t believe there is a market for this in Malaysia (or maybe anywhere else outside of the US). Its chicken-and-egg – till a market is built, Google won’t enter it, I’d guess.

Banners? The Star has it on their mobile site. They don’t have any public information as to how successful they’ve been. But this seems like the strongest option, currently – use an ad system powered by Slash, go out to advertisers and create unique tiny banners for them. However, this goes beyond the weekend hack idea… and that just becomes too much work.

Location based services tied into a mobile website. This could work… My social life is largely unplanned (professional life on the other hand is driven by calendars, that SMS me of appointments, even). Say I’m around the MidValley Shopping Mall, its 12:10am, and I decide I have time to kill. Access the site, it figures that there’s activity at MidValley at that time: bowling, The Dark Knight in Gold Class starting in 10 minutes, etc. Book a ticket through the site, get a commission? Banner ad for bowling, so its a “promoted” link/sponsored link, over the regular stuff (again, breaks the weekend hack rule).

If data is always on, coupled with your location, if you’re near a Burger King, it might blast you with ads saying “bring this coupon in, buy a meal, get a free ice cream”. Bluetooth based advertisers, beware – always on data+location will kick you in the nads.

OK, talk’s over, time to be social! Looks like we won’t have the Google talk after all… Thanks again to Daniel for organising this…

Notes from the Open Mobile Exchange

I was at part of the Open Mobile Exchange at OSCON today, so here are a few scraps of notes that I found interesting (from various speakers).

While we do live in the shadow of the iPhone now, this is going to change.

Every person in the modern world uses Linux multiple times EVERY DAY (even if you don’t know it). Linux is everywhere.

The AppStore is something that’s making the iPhone rock. The reason Windows is so popular, is because there are so many applications. This is changing in the open mobile world: think Android, for example.

There are 3.3 billion mobile phones (more than PCs, cars, telephones, credit cards, and TV even).

When Apple sends a million phones in the weekend, its a drop in the ocean when Nokia sells a million phones a day! The iPhone is about usage (German iPhone users use 30 times more data; Google notices 50 times the number of searches from iPhone usage)

  • User Interface – Vimeo has a video, “OpenMoko train wreck” which compares to why its a FAIL versus the iPhone
  • Access to Device Characteristics (camera, location, accelerometer, network, security, privacy) – today you really don’t get access to this, this needs to happen, really!
  • Standards
  • Performance – Firefox 3 for example, is very performance oriented. Remember, we’ve become bandwidth gluttons (webpage size has tripled since 2003… 22 times since 1995!). We’ve all been spoiled by having high broadband connection… look at Yahoo!’s 14 Performance Rules (34 today).

There are numerous mobile web browsers, and so little documentation about them today.

Leveraging Mobile Open Source for New Wireless Apps and Services
Stefano Maffulli, Funambol Community Manager
(instead of Hal Steger)

  • Push email, PIM synchronisation
  • Younger generations are using more than just voice, in mobile – its SMS, data, chat
  • Nokia Ovi ( – Nokia is using this to monetise user generated content

Average American gets 3,000 visual stimulus messages per day. That’s a lot of advertising!