Sorry, We Are Not In Right Now


Thanks for checking out our blog, we really appreciate it.

However, our blog has moved to

Sorry that you have to visit another site to find us, but it is worth it...we have all of our 'classic' posts and comments on the new blog, plus a ton of new thoughts and ideas.

Why are we moving? Basically, Blogger failed us and never responded to our emails and requests. A clear example of poor customer service...too bad, we liked Blogger.

Come over and see us on the new blog.

Troy and Mo

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You Never Would Have Seen This Without The Internet

I try not to clutter up the Interactive Trend Report with too many of those 'amazing' videos floating around the internet (the kind you get from your Uncle or roommate), but every once and while a video will catch my eye.

From our friends at Upgrade: Travel Better, check out this amazing video (see above or follow this link if you are reading this post via email) of a passenger train in Bangkok street market. Not only is the video amazing (be sure to watch the whole clip), but it also serves as another example of how our world is becoming smaller due to technology.

Prior to YouTube and other video sharing sites, most of us would probably never have seen, heard or read the countless videos, pictures and stories now available online...unless we were to travel there ourselves.

23 Actionable Lessons from Eye-Tracking Studies

Eye-tracking studies are hot in the web design world, but it can be hard to figure out how to translate the results of these studies into real design implementations. These are a few tips from eye-tracking studies that you can use to improve the design of your webpage. >>Full Story

Thoughts// A great post from the blog containing several tips and observations from a variety of eye-tracking studies. Of course, every site is unique, so make sure to conduct your own website research rather than relying exclusively on others. But, it never hurts to read about what others have found out...

Some of my favorite tips (click 'Full Story' to read them all):

1. Text attracts attention before graphics.

4. Readers ignore banners.

7. Type size influences viewing behavior.

10. Shorter paragraphs perform better than long ones.

15. Bigger images get more attention.

16. Clean, clear faces in images attract more eye fixation.

18. Users spend a lot of time looking at buttons and menus.

19. Lists hold reader attention longer (like this one, see it works!).

20. Large blocks of text are avoided.

22. White space is good.

User Reaction To The New Mexico Ad Campaign

Ah, the benefits of connectivity, anyone can say (almost) anything they like instantly. The current story about the New Mexico ad campaign provides an interesting real-time look into consumer reaction and the internet. Here are just a few of the responses from a variety of websites covering the New Mexico ad campaign story:


Who says boomers would not like aliens? I'm a boomer's mom, and I LIKE ALIENS!


A few aliens on the train will not keep me from enjoying the ride on the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad. That is truely beautiful country!


The complaining tourism officials are full of themselves, taking themselves far too seriously. It is I, a baby boomer, that understand what this campaign is all about. I would guess the younger, hipper crowd might never have heard of Roswell and the UFOs.

What do you think happened to some Volkswagen executives when the "Think small" campaign began? "We do not want to point out we are small," they probably said. They too would have been full of themselves.


Personally, I had plans to go to Roswell do the space aliens thing, head over to the Trinity site and see some other "out of this world" stuff in NM. Damn those marketing gurus...they may have ruined my plans to see these sites without the crowds.

For those who feel offended, grow thicker skin there are better things to get offended over. Now on the other hand...if you are a space alien and plan to visit NM or already live there, please try and coordinate with my trip the and please, I beg of you, shed your human form or some how make your presence known. I would appreciate it.


They (NM) are getting more bang for their buck with this campaign....simply because of this controversy. The whole idea behind advertising is gaining attention and exposure from your audience. I would say that this campaign has succeeded at reaching that objective.

Besides, we already know about "picturesque desert landscapes, art galleries or centuries-old culture"...tell us something we don't already know that isn't boring. Dare to be Bold!


it's sad when you can't laugh at yourself. the ads are great. if i avoid NM it will be becuase of people like Ken Mompellier.


If I didnt know New Mexico so well, I sure wouldnt visit it now. They have monsters, but the Gila ones, not outer space junk


I saw the ads on youtube and frankly speaking; they are quite clever and conveys a sense of humor. Come on folks, lighten up!!!!


Okay, are we trying to bring tourists to the state of New Mexico or to the city of Roswell? We really should be promoting the positive things about the state. Pueblos, Beautiful mountains, glorious sunrises and sunsets. Aliens??? Get real, what an embarassment.


This whole nonsense of aliens is stupid! New Mexico has so much more going for it than little green men. You are making our state a laughing stock!


Highlights of some of the comments generated by the recent AP story on New Mexico's ad campaign. Comments are from the USA Today, (New Mexico) and the Albuquerque Tribune.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Poll: New Mexico's Out of this World Ad Campaign

What do you think about New Mexico's 'the best place in the Universe' ad campaign? Great, terrible, genius? Since everyone seems to be talking about it, a quick, informal poll seemed in order:

Vote in the New Mexico Ad Campaign Poll
(Currently on the blog? Vote on the homepage. Votes are anonymous.)

Thoughts// In case you missed the story, New Mexico has launched a new ad campaign featuring aliens discussing a vacation to the state. However, according to an article released by the AP, some constituents in the land of enchantment are not so enchanted by the campaign, although it has won awards and praise from the advertising community.

While your opinion may differ on the execution of the creative, the PR value that the story has generated online cannot be overlooked.

Currently, Google News cities 119 websites, newspapers and TV stations covering the story online. It was posted as one of the top 6 stories on the Yahoo! homepage yesterday afternoon, had 93 people recommend the story, 206 people email the story (the photo of the print ad alone has been emailed 149 times on of 10:00am) and is the most popular story in the Yahoo! News Travel section. Several blogs have posted the story and I am sure (if you are like me) someone emailed you the article yesterday. In my case, 7 times.

While most of this PR does (unfortunately) have a negative tone, it begs the question, is any PR good PR? When was the last time we saw a story about a state tourism campaign generate this much news?

And just as a side note, this from a USA Today reader on the campaign:

Would you rather have Arnold and Maria walking the beach telling you to come to "Cal-E-fornia?"

Good point.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mac vs. PC Goes Online

Since most of us are still recovering from leftovers, a short, fun ad example seemed in order today. (click the 'play' button above to view the ad)

Thoughts// Our friends over at TechCrunch posted this Apple ad a few days ago that continues the extremely popular Mac vs. PC campaign online. What really stands out here is the execution. While this is not travel-related ad, everyone can benefit from this near perfect use of website layout and design. A little extra planning goes a long way.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Travel Trends - Eygpt, Google Gas, Eye-Fi, Thanksgiving Blogging

Eygpt and Google Earth - The Egyptian Tourism office teamed up with Google Earth to provide a new layer on the popular 3D mapping program that allows visitors to view the countries famous landmarks from above. In this case the Egyptian Tourism office went on step beyond simply adding a point on the map by creating 3D models of famous landmarks such as the Giza plateau and the Temple of Ramses II.

Eye-Fi - The new eye-fi memory card puts consumers one step closer to truly instant photos. The new memory card, which contains a (very) small wireless chip, allows users to take photos with a digital camera and select the folder or website they would to download to. Then, when the camera comes in range of the user's home network, the memory card automatically downloads the photos. No cables, no clicking. We are not too far away from a completely wireless world where your photos, regardless of your location, will be transmitted instantly to a computer or website for your entire family to see...and you don't even have to visit them.

Google Gas Pumps
- Men are no longer lost. (Yes, an old joke, but hey, it works) Google announced earlier this month that it is partnering with pump manufacturer Gilbarco Veeder-Root to develop a gas pump complete with internet connection and access to Google's Maps offering (see photo above). To quote the article, 'Motorists will be able to scroll through several categories to find local landmarks, hotels, restaurants and hospitals selected by the gas station's owner.' Finally, no more asking for directions.

Thanksgiving Day Blogging - Nope, not at the mall or your local Best Buy, but at the airport. Travelocity's blog, the Window Seat, sent 10 bloggers to airports around the nation on Tuesday and Wednesday to monitor and report on the holiday traffic. The bloggers were stationed at several famously busy airports like LAX, Denver and Chicago. A good and helpful idea, but why pay your team to do the work when you can get Joe Traveler to do it for you? The Traveler Update section from Orbitz was busy over the Thanksgiving holiday as well, with more than 100 tips posted for Chicago O'Hare International Airport alone last Wednesday.

You've Got Mail 2.0

Ignore Orkut, OpenSocial, Yahoo Mash and Yahoo 360. Google and Yahoo have come up with new and very similar plans to respond to the challenge from MySpace and Facebook: They hope to turn their e-mail systems and personalized home page services (iGoogle and MyYahoo) into social networks.

Web-based e-mail systems already contain much of what Facebook calls the social graph — the connections between people. That’s why the social networks offer to import the e-mail address books of new users to jump-start their list of friends. Yahoo and Google realize that they have this information and can use it to build their own services that connect people to their contacts. >>Full Story

Thoughts// Saul Hansell at the New York Times gave readers a glimpse into some potentially big plans for internet giants Yahoo! and Google via the Bits blog. While the story is quite in-depth and a good summary of what these two companies might be planning, the subtle hint for any email marketer comes in this line from Yahoo!'s Brad Garlinghouse:

First, the e-mail service is made more personal because it displays messages more prominently from people who are more important to you. Yahoo is testing a method that can automatically determine the strength of your relationship to someone by how often you exchange e-mail and instant messages with him or her.

Makes sense, I would rather see the emails from my family and friends before emails from HP or AT&T. And there is the problem for marketers...displays messages more prominently from people who are more important to, your email about a fare sale on airline X is going to be visually less important than an email from Aunt Ruth.

Granted, this type of program is not going to happen need to start canceling your email campaigns...but as a good marketer it is something you should be thinking of. And more importantly, start thinking about how you are communicating with your email database currently. Is your database a loyal collection of consumers who want and enjoy your emails or is it a huge list of names that you blast correspondence to every once and a while?

Engage your email database and create a relationship with them. So that your email is not discarded to the bottom of the pile.

Is Social Media Killing the Campaign Microsite?

Digital advocates often proclaim the imminent death of the 30-second spot, but the interactive industry might now be witnessing the demise of its own version of the commercial: the campaign microsite.

The growth of social media is causing marketers to realize they cannot expect consumers to always seek them out. Web widgets and video-sharing tools make it easy for any user to take content that formerly might have lived only on a brand site with them wherever they go. And social media sites help them share that content with friends. >>Full Story

Thoughts// A pretty good and comprehensive article from AdWeek discussing some recent examples of social media in ad campaigns. While the article talks about how the 'microsite' may be on the way out, the more important lesson from this discussion is the distribution of content beyond a traditional, branded website (Haven't Mo and I been saying that for a while?).

Two great lines from the article:

"We really believe in fishing where the fish are," said Carol Kruse, vp of global interactive marketing at Coca-Cola.

The idea is to spread content far and wide to find audiences wherever they are.

Sounds easy. However, in visiting the aforementioned 'Sprite Sips' page on Facebook (pictured above) you will see that Mr. Sips only has 176 fans (as of 11/18) and many of the message board posts (or 'wall' for you Facebook fans) are not exactly positive...such as 'this sucks' and 'yeah, this sucks.'

The great marketing opportunities of social networking also bring great challenges as well.

Regardless of the vehicle...microsite or social networking site...marketers still have to give the audience something of value in return for there attention. Otherwise that boring content on your site simply becomes boring content on another site.

Travel Trends - Dirty Glasses, Newspapers, AT&T, VibeAgent, PhoCusWright

Have you heard about the dirty glasses? - Behold the speed of the internet when bad or in this case, disgusting, news is broken. MyFoxAtlanta, the local Atlanta FOX network, broke a story on 11/6 about those drinking glasses in hotel rooms and how infrequently they are cleaned. The story quickly spread to sites such as the Consumerist and others. Plus, (as of 11/18) perform a Google search for 'dirty glasses' and take a look at all of the posts related to this story. News travels faster on the internet.

Newspaper Readership Dropping, Internet Consumers Rising
- Some interesting stats on newspaper vs. internet readership. (Thanks Beth) The stories came from the New York Times and Reuters. Some of the highlights:

  • According to the survey of 2,062 adults, 79 percent, or about 178 million, spend "an average 11 hours a week on the Internet.”
  • In 2000, 57% of adults said they were online. By 2006, the total was 77 percent.
  • Newspaper Web sites are drawing more young adults than traditional newspapers.
  • Advertisers do not consider an online reader as valuable as a print reader.
  • More adults are spending more time online with 72% saying they spend more time online at home, and 37% saying they spend more time online at work.
  • Nine percent of those that use the Internet are now 65 years of age or older.

AT&T Follow-up: A follow-up story from AdWeek also discusses the recent AT&T 'Where do you live' campaign and it's interactive components. If you recall, we talked about this campaign last week in a post titled 'I Work In Phodalona.' While the article hints (for some unknown reason) that the campaign's purpose is to sell t-shirts, rather than build loyal AT&T customers, it is still a good read and follow-up to our post.

VibeAgent Launches - Apparently the biggest news from the The PhoCusWright Conference was that TripAdvisor competitor (or at least that is who pundits are comparing against) VibeAgent has come out of private beta and is now available for regular consumers. As a refresher, VibeAgent is a hotel search / booking engine site where members can receive recommendations from friends. See our previous post on VibeAgent for more info.

Highlights From PhoCusWright - The team at Travolution has posted several entries about the recent PhoCusWright Conference in Orlando. Here are some highlights and interesting facts:

  • "Travel experiences" are infinite but "travel destinations" are finite.
  • TripAdvisor is slowly shifting its model from that of a mass review website to one which incorporates social networking.
  • 80% of all hotels listed on TripAdvisor are viewed every single day.
  • Johnson & Johnson's corporate travel budget totals $915 million a year - but only $272 million is spent on flights and hotels. The rest is on "Long Tail" products such as car hire, ancillaries, taxis.
  • 64% of online business travelers bought an event ticket during their trip.
  • "Social networks give everybody a shot a celebrity..." - Jeffery Boyd of Priceline

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Case Study: How The Georgia Aquarium Leveraged Flickr

John Hallet from Hyku (we saw him speak at ESTO) recently wrote an interesting case study blog about how a destination can harness the power of existing social networks. In an effort to showcase the stories and photos of its visitors, the The Georgia Aquarium recently e-mailed select Flickr users (those with awesome photos already on Flickr) and invited them to join the aquarium's Flickr group. These "evangelists" were then asked to submit their favorite photos for inclusion in an interactive map that showcases visitor photos along with stories. >>Full Story

Thoughts// I love this story because of the sheer brilliance of the idea and the simplicity of its execution. Amateur photographers and everyday photo lovers are already congregating and "showing off" their photos on Flickr; so why create an elaborate closed system only available to the small percentage of folks who visit your website versus tapping into the amorphous social media landscape? The aquarium cleverly decided to tap into existing resources on Flickr and leverage both the content and Flickr's public API to create a very compelling piece of content that will no doubt boost their brand cache for months, maybe years to come.

Whether it's photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube or personalities on Facebook, consumers are already hanging out in social networks and talking to one another. A brand that is willing to "let go" and jump into the right conversation, at the right time, and for the right reason, will no doubt earn the most trust in the eyes of the consumer.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tracking Your Social Media & Blogosphere Presence - Part 2

This is Part 2 of a two part response to a question posed by folks from the Wyoming Tourism Office on how to analyze a destination's social media presence. To read Part 1, click here

Our philosophy at Travel Oregon is similar to that of AOT. We strongly believe that social media provides a level of authenticity and allows us as the "brand owners" to build a deeper relationship with consumers. And so with this in mind, whether soliciting user-generated content for our website, soliciting feedback on a blog posting, or asking our audience to upload and vote on their favorite Oregon vacation videos or just joining in on the conversations taking place on TripAdvisor and the blogs, “engagement” has increasingly become the cornerstone of our online strategy.

Thoughts// Some of the things we've done over the past 12 months or so includes starting an Oregon vacation blog that bring consumers authentic vacation stories from Oregon; starting our own social network that allows Oregon "fans" to talk to each other and make recommendations about where to go and what to do; we've also engaged via existing social networks/CGM sites such as YouTube, Flickr, TripAdvisor and Frommer's.

What we've learned at Travel Oregon
To echo AOT again, this level of engagement is a long term process and your objectives and measurement tactics will evolve over time. While there are plenty of tools (see Troy's post) out there that measure what the blogosphere and other UGC sites are saying, from a destination perspective, the sheer volume of content can be overwhelming.

Online reputation management and tracking conversations from our point of view is a multi-disciplinary PR-Interactive effort that's managemed by both myself and my counterpart Media Relations manager. It's a task that involves meticulous management of keywords to track your destination (incidently, these keywords are pretty much the same ones you use to track your "old world" PR), authentic responses and most importantly transparency about who you are and what you do. Some other "do's and don't" from our experience in the social space includes:

Keep it real: As marketers and communicators, our first inclination is to “control the message” --- with social media, consumers expect “authenticity”…we need to resist the temptation to “edit” consumer comments (barring inappropriate, racist content) or “polishing” content so that it is on par with your flagship site.

Honest: Don’t delete negative reviews! Never, never, never delete them….our philosophy is that every negative review/experience is an opportunity to ENGAGE with a consumers and gleam new perspectives for ourselves and partners.

Fresh Perspective: Use your blog to publish a wide breadth and depth of stories…use a variety of people to do it…such as professionals (staff), partners (CVB members), fans (hard core consumers who love Oregon), opinion leaders (experts such as ski instructors or workers in the industry) and other locals.

ROI? Some Results from Oregon (snap shot only)

Of course every Marketing Director wants ROI! So just for curiosity sake, after about 6 months of "joining in on the conversation" (6 month blogging and 3 months of GoSeeOregon), we used a local e-marketing agency to measure ourselves against a few other states (California, Florida, Pennsylvania) who we thought had sophisticated social media initiatives (sorry Troy, no AZ on this because I think this was done in the pre-Troy period).

We examined both blog aggregators (Technorati, IceRocket, Sphere etc.) and social media sharing sites such as and YahooMyWeb to examine how our content was getting used and how bloggers were linking to our site/content. Here are the results...please contact me personally if you want more detail on this analysis.

The results of this analysis are charted above (I apologize in advance for the resolution). Keep in mind that this is just a snapshot in time for the duration of a few weeks and these data points have no way of implying long term success/failure. Our learnings were:
  • Travel Oregon is doing very well in the Blogosphere, with a much higher average of inbound links from blogs than the other states selected for the analysis. Part of our success is the fact that we have a blog to promote in the blog arena and we've slowly assembled a core group of fans consuming our feeds
  • While there is a decent amount of promotion in the social space for Travel Oregon, we've yet to tap the full potential here; we're addressing this by increasing the number of sharing tools available on our site and also increasing our levels of engagement on other social sites
Finally, consider this "I heart Zippoesque" Oregon story; this one however is not so positive! From Search Engine Guide:

A member of the Bend Moms Club brought her newborn to Balthazar´s, a local Mexican restaurant. Balthazar´s does not keep highchairs on the premises, ostensibly to discourage parents from bringing children. For many reasons, the woman felt mistreated during her dining experience and wrote a complaint to the owner. The owner called the woman and the conversation ended with the owner yelling obscenities at her over the phone. The woman emailed her experiences to all the members of the Bend Moms Club…one of whom included the email with commentary on her Moms Club Blog. Needless to say, this story was picked up by the blogosphere and then eventually picked up by the Bend Bulletin and the Oregonian ! //Read the full story

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tracking Your Social Media & Blogosphere Presence - Part 1

Recently, Alan Dubberley from the Wyoming Travel & Tourism office contacted the NCSTD Marketing/Advertising list with a question all of us in the travel marketing realm are grappling with. "How do you manage your "social media reputation?"

When reputable people speak up, it should count for more than when a stranger does, correct? That's the way it works in the real world. But how does it work online and how do you as a destination marketer "get in" on the conversation.

This post is a two part response. Our first part consists of a direct response to Alan (and the entire NCSTD) from Troy. Part 2 (tomorrow) will present a real world case study as performed by Travel Oregon and our thoughts on the subject.

Thoughts// (from Troy) A social media strategy really starts with determining an organizations perspective on the medium. Is it participatory or isolated? By participatory, do you (not just Alan, but anyone) believe that your content, regardless of where it is viewed, is still valuable to the consumer and in turn, the consumer will view you as the creator of the content? Or do you feel that your content should only be viewed on your specific site? Do you have an open outlook or a closed one?

For example, would you view providing content about your state to a site such as TripAdvisor as a benefit?

At AOT we have taken the proactive, participatory approach to social media / networking and are reaching out to several social networking sites to portray ourselves as a reliable, expert contributor. I would be happy to discuss this in more detail, if anyone is interested.

As far as managing your social media reputation, luckily, I have not run into too many high-profile, Arizona-related cases involving social media where it was necessary to become involved. There are poor reviews of properties or a bad vacation story here or there, but nothing to the magnitude of a front page story.

What resources have you dedicated to this effort?
At this point, really just time. I try to carve out a few hours a week to either research or contribute to social networking sites.

Are you staffing this effort internally or using a vendor?
Internally, but again, it is really a contribution model right now, rather than a blog/social media monitoring service. Since the majority of the content we are contributing is in the same tone and style as the rest of our advertising, it would be difficult to depend upon an outside organization to represent us to the public. Additionally, in the social media world it is much more beneficial and wise to be as authentic as possible...rather than say you are one company, when have really just been hired by that company.

What specific sources (i.e. websites, blog sites) are you monitoring to manage your social media reputation?
Google Alerts, Google Blog Search, Yahoo!, Technorati, Digg,, sphere and Blogdigger.

What have you learned from this effort so far? Tips?

Unfortunately, like a lot of interactive marketing, social media strategy takes time. However, there are a lot of free tools available that will give you a good snapshot of what is being said online about your brand or, in this case, your destination.

Take Google Alerts for example. A very simple, and again free service, that allows you to subscribe via RSS or email to the latest news and blog posts containing certain keywords. So, you could create a Google Alert for the words 'arizona', 'tucson' and 'phoenix' and receive a pretty good look at what is being written about each subject. Of course, those are pretty broad topics, so you will receive a lot of unrelated information.

Also think about the positive effects of a blog search. Rather than using these tools to just find any and all negative press written about your destination, take a moment to find those people who are writing positive reviews or entire blogs about how wonderful your state is. Then, contact them, thank them, send them free souvenirs, ask them to write more. Starting a long-term relationship with a strong, vocal and positive consumer could multiply the positive press that they are already giving you…not to mention begin to offset any small amount of negative comments. Take the ‘I Heart Zappos’ case as an example.

Additionally, begin to explore the sites where your customers are discussing your destination. TripAdvisor alone has thousands of users and most of them are asking simple questions that you could answer right now. On top of that, a lot of them are discussing your destination...what they want, when they are going, why they are going and what they like...all you have to do is listen to them. Free market research! Of course, starting to respond to hundreds of people on a message board or blog can become very time-consuming, not to mention tricky, but the benefits could greatly outweigh the risks.

Finally, I would assume that for most of us, any negative press is directed at a specific attraction or lodging establishment, rather than an entire state or city. However, if you are concerned about negative press or discussions about your destination, I would recommend looking into a service such as Umbria.

Google Unleashes "Andriod"

Hoping to spur the growth of the mobile industry as it did the Internet, Google on Monday announced the launch of a new mobile software platform aimed at opening up and simplifying the creation of applications and services for the cell phone. >>Full Story

Thoughts// I really love Google. For those of you who share my view, this is another indication that the company that used to be search engine is totally going to change the media and marketing landscape one more time. "Android" will be an open platform available on devices from more than 30 mobile operators and handset manufacturers including Sprint, T-Mobile and Motorola. The platform will include a browser that delivers an "PC like" experience with capabalities for online audio and video, gaming and social networking; most importantly however, the platform will be open to third-party developers to build applications. So there are three things to consider as you build a long term digital "Google" strategy:

  1. Google's announcement of OpenSocial last week that allows for portable applications across social networks.
  2. Android allows the development of common mobile apps across networks
  3. Google search data + behavioral targeting via OpenSocial + Android aps = Ultimate, integrated, targeted campaign across platforms!'ll love Google too!

Monday, November 5, 2007

So Many Ads, So Few Clicks

Can more targeted pitches on Facebook and other sites reverse the shrinking response to online ads? The truth about online ads is that precious few people actually click on them. And the percentage of people who respond to common "banner ads," the ubiquitous interactive posters that run in fixed places on sites, is shrinking steadily. The so-called click-through rate for those ads on major Web destinations such as Yahoo! (YHOO ), Microsoft (MSFT ), and AOL (TWX ) declined from 0.75% to 0.27% during 2006, according to Eyeblaster, a New York-based online ad serving and monitoring firm.

Thoughts// A compelling but not so surprising article from Business Week about the realities of online advertising, and frankly any mass advertising program. The article chronicles the decline of click through rates of general "mass" banners ads through the story of an online parcel delivery service and their efforts to reach out to the "me 2.0" generation of Facebook users which received a woeful 0.04% click through rate.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Word of the Week - Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a form of website navigation that displays information to the user as to the depth that they have navigated to within a website, or section of a website.

For example, a common breadcrumb could look like:

Home > News > Local > Phoenix

Which would show the user that they have navigated through the News and Local sections to get to the Phoenix news section as well as provide an easy way to return to those other sections.

Escape Old London's Most Feared Prison — Guided by GPS

Through a thick drizzle I gaze at the ominous gray stone buildings of the Tower of London, England's most notorious prison. I wander from one to the next, trying to imagine what it was like to be held captive here hundreds of years ago. That's when I hear a ghost. "Psst, you there... I'm sentenced to die tomorrow morning. Please, I beg you, can you help me escape?" >>Full Story

Thoughts// A fascinating story from Wired touting the latest tour at the tourist-filled Tower of London. As the article discusses, the Tower of London with assistance from HP, launched an (truly) interactive tour based upon some of the more famous prisoners and their escapes from the Tower.

As part of the tour, visitors receive a PDA, a GPS unit, and a radio transmitter. Then, as tourists walk through the historic grounds they are prompted to join in the virtual adventure when they enter certain rooms or locations. Once the game has started, players must visit certain locations within the Tower to help their prisoner escape (Ranulf Flambard, Bishop of Durhma, pictured). As the article says, the idea of the program is to surround the visitor with an experience, rather than just reading various plaques and signs.

Not only is this a great program for the Tower of London, but it begins to make you think about what other well-known (and possibly, I have seen it before) attractions could benefit from such an interactive experience.