Dunlop Volley Warehouse hilarious ads

dunlop volley shoesIt seems like some brands will do pretty much anything in order to attract the attention of the consumer and create some buzz around their product or service. The other day, I came across the brand Dunlop which decided to advertise their shoes in a very funky out-of-the-box strategy. It actually took me some time to understand they were selling shoes! Some people might not understand, others might not like it, but some like me on the other hand love this kind of advertising (Yes I am a victim of the buzz by sharing it!).

The videos below are quite funny and are placed as advertisements on websites in order to attract traffic to their own Dunlop Warehouse site. They even have a blog designed to interact with online visitors, who can submit their own WTF inventions. I won't describe you these videos so go ahead and have a look (and a laugh!).

Dish Jockey

The Gig Viewer

Close Call

All in one
Read the full post

ICANN's decision to Internationalize Domain Names

internet translationThe ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is currently meeting in Seoul, Korea in order to decide on whether or not the domain names should be opened to other alphabets. So far, websites could be in any language but their domain name (URL) would remain latin alphabet based. The only "internationalization" of the domain names remained in the extension (.cn for China or .jp for Japan for example) which is quite limited.

As more and more developping countries gain access to the Internet and because the majority of the 1.6 billion web users worldwide speak a native language that uses a different alphabet, it became urgent to take a decision and open a new era of the Internet. This decision is set to be made this Friday (30/10/2009) and will allow domain names in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Greek, Hindi, Hebrew and Cyrillic (Russian). This is a significant and crucial step forward as the World Wide Web will now be the WORLD Wide Web!

I couldn't agree more with the fact that there is no reason why one alphabet should remain the only one used in domain names. However, I am quite concerned about the consequences this could have for the following reasons:
  • Adding new languages to the domain names might divide the Internet. For example, if someone does not speak Hindi, it is very likely they won't visit a website whose domain is in Hindi (in fact, they won't even be able to do a task as easy as typing the URL of the website!). Therefore, the Internet might be divided into different subcategories of Internet where people speaking one language might not interact as much as they used to with people speaking another language. This thought may seem a bit extreme but who knows how it will evolve.

  • Most hacker attacks in the early 21st century are perpetrated from China and Russia, both at amateur and government levels. These two countries have been known to infiltrate other countries' military networks, governmental and embassy networks (Australia, Germany, India, UK, France, the list goes on...), national energy power systems, etc. With new domain names, it will become even more difficult to trace back to the origin of the attacks. I am certain thousands of new proxies sites will be created in the very first days. It is already a difficult task to trace them so imagine if the cyberpolice need to speak 7 new languages!

  • Online scams will become even more popular than they already are. Internet has a lot to offer but it also hosts many ways to get ripped-off. If you are surfing the web, then you are at risk, as simple as that. For example, most international brands will open a new domain name in the language they are targeting locally. But what happens if someone with bad intentions buys a domain name which is the exact translation in Chinese of a world famous bank, builds an exact replica of the official site and attracts thousands of visitors onto a page that could be requesting customer information or logins? There again, confusion, mess.

Of course, these are just some very early thoughts on the topic and I may have dramatized it a bit too much! I am certain the ICANN has already thought about all this and if the decision to open the domain world is taken, that probably means they have also weighted the pros and the cons and came to the conclusion that it was still a good idea to proceed with this historic change.

I unfortunately speak only Latin based languages (I wasn't too successful with my Mandarin classes!) and therefore won't be able to take advantage of that very last point:

New domain names = Gold rush!

Many people, I am sure, will each buy dozens, if not hundreds of new domain names of popular brands in other languages in the hope of reselling them to the official brands at a higher price. Generic keywords with high search volumes will also be a goldmine, either to be placed as parked domains for advertising revenue, either to sell them in the same case as the brands.

One thing is for sure, no one really knows at this stage how this will go. Let's just hope it will all roll out smoothly.

[30/10/2009 UPDATE: The decision has been taken, ICANN Allows Non-Latin Domain Names set to be opened for sale on November 16th. On top of other alphabets being used in domain names, the ICANN is going one step further by authorizing new generic top level domains (gTLDs)... This means that anyone can create their own extension and not remain blocked to a .com .net .org etc or any other classic extension.

I wasn't too enthusiastic about the previous decision but this one is even worst. Imagine, soon I'll be able to buy domains such as www.구글.com or! I hope the ICANN has reviewed this closely and will submit some sort of guideline because this could be an infinite source of confusion.

What do you think of this?]

Read the full post

The Google Story video

google story videoSoon after its 11th anniversary, the Google UK youtube channel has released this animation video retracing the story of Google from the time it was created. It lists mosts of its main innovations, achievements or purchases in a nice artistic way.

Not just a simple company presentation video, this clearly wants to show the importance of Google, the wide variety of its services and products, and its impact on our daily live. I'm not quite sure what the exact purpose of it is but I found it interesting to watch (although I had to pause the video a few times in order to read everything!).

I am usually in favor of competition because it is the only way to give the consumers a great range of options to choose from. Competition brings diversity and innovation, at cheaper prices. Although Google is now having a monopoly in many fields, the great majority of their products remain free and of very good quality. Therefore, I am finding it hard to complain about this company. What are your thoughts about their evolution and the giant they have become?

Read the full post

Vodafone recreates a Tchaikovsky symphony using 1000 mobile ringtones!

Vodafone New Zealand has been very impressive with the following ad. They have recreated the 1812 Overture from Tchaikovsky using nothing but mobile phones and their ringtones. A lot of patience was needed to assemble the 1,000 mobile devices onto vertical panels in a precise order.

Triggered by an automated SMS-sending system, each and every mobile phone saw its screen switch on along with the ringtone, transforming what looked like an underground black market store into a light & sound masterpiece. Enjoy the advertisement below, as well as the making-of in two parts down under.

Read the full post

Alan Sailer, High Speed Photographer

Most of you have probably seen this famous picture of an apple being shot and photographed with a high speed camera. I am not quite sure who is the actual author of that picture but there is someone else whose work is well worth looking at. Alan Sailer is an American photographer who made these type of shots his specialty. Shooting various objects with an air rifle, he has set up a system that lets him take a photograph at the exact moment the bullet pierces the object.

Knowing that the pellets shot by these rifles can reach speeds of up to 200 meters per second, an elaborate triggering system was needed. When the pellet is shot, it goes through a laser beam which itself triggers a 17,000 volts flash and the photography is taken during a microsecond (or 1 millionth of a second!).

Enjoy the shots below and do not hesitate to visit his flickr gallery gathering pictures of his work and details about his photography technique.

Alan Sailer bacon shot

Alan Sailer eye ball shot

Alan Sailer eye ball shot

Alan Sailer ice cream shot

Alan Sailer play dough shot

Alan Sailer red rose shot

Alan Sailer smiley shot

Read the full post

Youtube reaches 1 Billion views per Day!

youtube 1 billion viewsThe video sharing website Youtube has just announced reaching the symbolic and impressive threshold of 1 billion video views per day! The Youtube co-founder and CEO Chad Hurley has announced the (good?) news in a post on the website's blog entitled "Y,000,000,000uTube"! I am more than amazed by this massive number, even more when I know that back in January 2009 (so only 9 months ago), the website recorded six billion videos viewed during the whole month!

Macdonalds over 99 billion servedThis clearly reminds me of the now famous "Over xx billion served" catch phrase presented on most McDonalds restaurants!

Another funny thing, the new logo image file is named "logo_holy_crap_1bn_a_day-vfl124472.png"!
Congrats to the Youtube and Google teams, I'm going to watch some videos now!
Read the full post

Facebook introduces the "Gross National Happiness Index"

facebook gnhThis week, Facebook introduced the "Gross National Happiness Index" or GNH. This index is meant to track the overall feelings and moods of the Facebook users.

Facebook has, obviously, access to all the status updates of its users. With over 300 million users worldwide, these private or public testimonials can be considered as a pretty accurate index of what people feel, as a whole.

You are probably wandering how this tool works? Facebook probably set up a list of positive and negative keywords. Positive keywords can be expressions such as happy, nice, great, sweet and so on while negative keywords could be sad, annoyed, disappointed or angry. Every day, this tool counts the number of status updates containing positive keywords, as well as the number of updates with negative keywords. The GNH index is the difference between the happy and "unhappy" counts.

Facebook Gross National Happiness Index GNH

This is represented in a timeline graph with a daily update of the index. Little labels can also show national holidays or other events that might explain why there is a positive or negative peak on a particular day. Unlike the Google Insights for Search tool, the Facebook GNH graph does not show news headlines that might affect people's news. For example, I remember when Michael Jackson's death was announced, a massive number of people posted sad comments on their Facebook status. But when I look at the graph on that particular day, I cannot observe any negative peak. I can only ask myself if this tool is very accurate.

However, the purpose and utility of this index can be quite interesting for sociodemographic studies. It is only limited to the United States at the moment but will hopefully be expanded to other regions in the future.
Perhaps in the future we will be able to play around with filters to see how that index evolves depending on the geographic region, the age, nationality, language, gender, etc of the users.

In conclusion, I would say that it was natural for Facebook to start publishing tools such as this one. With the amount of data collected by the company, there are so many things they can share with the world. Although this new tool is interesting, it is not a new concept. I strongly suggest that you have a look at the two videos from Jonathan Harris that I have embedded in this previous post. The first one dates back from 2007 but is exactly the same concept and shown in a MUCH better way and design!
Read the full post