Our event on Microsoft Silverlight

We are doing a live event with Microsoft’s Michael Scherotter tonight. Check the invite here for more infomration.

During the course of marketing the event, we received several of the “Flash vs. Silverlight” type emails/responses, and so we wanted to mention a couple of things. First of all Viewstream is a long standing Flash Developer — we go back to the Macromedia Director days, the first version of QuickTime, and Flash 1.0.

We make decisions about what development tool to use based on our client’s requirements and our client’s clear-target customer. Beyond that, we are completely neutral.

Our resident .NET guru emailed me with some notes for tonight, and I wanted to share them with everyone:

Silverlight is a contained development environment. It integrates into the Data access layer natively, as it is part of the .NET development. This is a very powerful feature to work with when development web 2.0 or database driven sites.

Because Silverlight is integrated in the .NET environment, there is no extra investment of time or specialized debugging methods when developing a Silverlight app in the case of a development house focused on the .NET framework. It uses Visual Studio professional and express editions. Because the Express editions are free, and provide 75% of the tools used in the Professional editions, this mean that Silverlight development, with a fantastic API can be totally free.

A myth about ASP.net over PHP is that it’s “expensive”. The only expensive portion about it is when a company hosts their own web servers, or when the host their own SQL Server licenses. However, in a shared hosting environment, it’s the exact same cost as a Linux environment, as ASP.net is always a standard feature along side PHP in said shared hosting. What this means is, you can have a “RIA” web application for a fraction of the price. Once again, take a free edition of Visual Studio, with Silverlight tools and then look at the price of shared hosting. Now take the same price of shared hosting, look at the price of either Flash or Flex development tools. Look at the process it would take having two separate development environments interact (such as PHP), and I think it starts making sense.

Anyone who is comfortable in C#, or even Java, can quickly learn to develop highly advanced Silverlight applications quickly.

Webinar on Content Marketing

I will be doing a webinar on Thursday, May 28, 2009, at 10:00AM Pacific, on Content Marketing. The webinar will focus on companies that need a persistent content marketing strategy – and how to create engaging content to bring that strategy to life.

I will present the seven ways to use content marketing in your marketing & sales strategy, including:

Way #1: Make Your Content Informative, Consultative and Engaging

Way #2: Make Your Content Portable with Social Media

Way #3: Leverage Your Content Throughout Your Channel/Partner Ecosystem

Way #4: Create Thought Leadership in Your Industry

Way #5: Develop Tracking/Metrics That Listen

Way #6: Create a Long Term Strategy (not just a campaign)

Way #7: Crowdsource: Using customer content

Please attend – I will present for thirty minutes and have some time for Q/A.

See you online!

Beyond Semantic Web

This month a new software launches that has trillions of data points and millions of lines of algorithms — it is a new search engine and provides specific answers in a way that any search engine hertofore has NOT been able to do. Going beyond tagging and the semantic web, this is an attempt to provide one of the Holy Grail ideas of the 20th Century: Intelligent Computers that can actually answer questions.

These are some big promises, and the nature of the promise makes it worthy of evaluation. Check it out here: http://blog.wolfram.com/2009/03/05/wolframalpha-is-coming/

The engine, which will be free to use, works by drawing on the knowledge on the internet, as well as private databases. The engine, which will be free to use, works by drawing on the knowledge on the internet, as well as private databases.

I like the mixture of the private database combined with the public internet. Similar to the model of ITDatabase.com

Quotes:

“For those of us tired of hundreds of pages of results that do not really have a lot to do with what we are trying to find out, Wolfram Alpha may be what we have been waiting for.”

Michael W Jones, Tech.blorge.com

“If it is not gobbled up by one of the industry superpowers, his company may well grow to become one of them in a small number of years, with most of us setting our default browser to be Wolfram Alpha.”

Doug Lenat, Semanticuniverse.com

“It’s like plugging into an electric brain.”

Matt Marshall, Venturebeat.com

“This is like a Holy Grail… the ability to look inside data sources that can’t easily be crawled and provide answers from them.”

Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of searchengineland.com

“For those of us tired of hundreds of pages of results that do not really have a lot to do with what we are trying to find out, Wolfram Alpha may be what we have been waiting for.”

Michael W Jones, Tech.blorge.com

“If it is not gobbled up by one of the industry superpowers, his company may well grow to become one of them in a small number of years, with most of us setting our default browser to be Wolfram Alpha.”

Doug Lenat, Semanticuniverse.com

“It’s like plugging into an electric brain.”

Matt Marshall, Venturebeat.com

“This is like a Holy Grail… the ability to look inside data sources that can’t easily be crawled and provide answers from them.”

Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of searchengineland.com

Viewstream Launches www.ITDatabase.com

ITDatabase.com, a startup that has developed a better way to do IT research, launched today. Viewstream worked with ITDatabase on the product launch, including branding, website design/development, messaging, landing pages, product demos/videos and SEO/SEM.Congratulations to the whole ITDatabase team, and to CEO & Founder Travis Van. You guys have a great solution and we wish you all the success in the world.I am also very happy for the opportunity to be on ITDatabase’s Board of Advisors.If you are in tech PR and Marketing, I encourage you take a free trial of the product.If you know anybody in tech PR & Marketing, please refer them to ITDatabase for a free trial.

Example of a Great Viral Marketing Campaign

http://www.saveie6.com/index.php Great example of Viral Marketing

  • Focused — only insiders (i.e., the target customer of this company) will get it.
  • Hilarious — anybody in the web dev world will truly appreciate the irony in “saving IE6”.
  • Viral – many ways to spread the word, easy to do so, and clean friendly design.

Good job to the creators of this campaign!

Viewstream and Autodesk-10 Years and Counting!

Autodesk has been a Viewstream client as long has we’ve been in business-that’s nearly 10 years! Beginning with the creation of the first-of-its-kind iDesign Virtual Trade Show back on 2000 to the most recent Navisworks lead generation campaign, we’ve been creating content solutions that help market one of the world’s leading software companies. We’ve been involved in more than one hundred Autodesk projects, including online videos; webcasts; Screencasts; virtual trade shows and new hire orientations; flash animations; landing pages; tracking and metrics; and more.

Hitting the decade landmark is a great excuse for a visit. I went down to Autodesk headquarters at the request of their marketing team. With Viewstream Creative Director Joel Yabrudy in tow, we spent an hour reviewing our long relationship with the company, mapping out Viewstream’s approach and strategy, and sharing some of our best practices. It was great to visit with old friends and make a couple new ones. Thanks to Deb for inviting us!

Take a look at some of our latest Autodesk work:

Screencast: Navisworks
Screencast: Civil 3D/The Road Ahead
Screencast: Revit Architecture
Product Demo: Then/Now
Web Banners: Architecture Suite
Landing Pages: Architecture
Social Media: Revit Architecture on YouTube

Microsoft Virtual Summit a Success

When Microsoft wanted to host a summit for its global enterprise marketing team while keeping costs down, they called us! We created a virtual solution, the Enterprise Marketing Virtual Summit 2009. Over three days, hundreds of Microsoft marketers from around the world attended the event without leaving their desktops!

We build this custom site from the ground up, exclusively using Microsoft technology, including .NET programming, SQL Server and Silverlight (Viewstream is an official Microsoft Silverlight Partner). This virtual summit did away with the cookie-cutter 3-D world of many virtual events to take a content-driven approach. Live webinars and on-demand video integrated into an environment designed for interactivity and conversation. All live sessions were available on-demand shortly after they were held. There was event a Race Game, where users gained points for attending virtual sessions and engaging with other attendees via message boards.

Microsoft’s Enterprise Marketing Virtual Summit 2009 officially wrapped yesterday, but the event lives on through this site. Attendees can still log in and watch session videos on their own time.

We want to thank the Microsoft team for such an exciting project. We had a lot of fun with this one!

Sorry – this is an invite only event – but you can see the home page here.

Adventures with Lynn Allen

If you ever get the chance to have a sit down with Lynn Allen, take it.  Over the last couple of days, I have been working with Lynn on the creation of the AutoCAD 2010 demo.  Aside from the opportunity to be part of the promotion of one of the most revered software products in human history, I got to hang with Lynn.  We built the demo as we went – who needs scripts – right?

Check out what Lynn had to say about our adventure:

www.autodesk.com/lynnallen

Viewstream partners with Microsoft

Viewstream has just become an official Microsoft Silverlight Partner. This relationship gives us direct access to the latest innovations from Microsoft’s cross-platform, cross-browser media delivery and rich interactive application tool. We want to offer our clients the right solution for the job, which means being well-versed in all digital media and interactive technologies. Silverlight has a way to go in terms of adoption, but is a very powerful backbone for database integration and has some incredible features (image zooms, for example).

In a matter only too fitting, our relationship with Silverlight will kick off in one week, with the launch of a Silverlight/.NET-based virtual event for Microsoft. (More on that later.)

Flash isn’t going anywhere, and we will continue to use it for all it’s worth. But by partnering with Microsoft to offer Silverlight and .NET development, we are prepared to take on the increasingly diverse needs of our clients. Check out more information here.

Why Click Through Rates Are Not So Important

Anyone interested in the web advertising industry should check out this ComScore white paper.

The paper argues that the Click Through Rates (CTR) fail to quantify the value of Online Ads. The reason is simple: users will often seek via search or through offline methods the brand and then purchase the product. Clicking right there is only a small part of the value — if you actually go out and measure the impact of a campaign you can get some true value metrics.

Online advertising is starting to look a lot like TV or print advertising —  a way to get your message out to audiences that will respond depending on the quality and quantity of the advertising, not so much the medium.

Hopefully, reports and data like this will help people understand that it is not all about click through rates.

The data say: “The results presented in this paper will show the manner in which online display ads work in affecting consumer behavior, revealing that there are indeed latency effects and branding effects even when click rates are minimal.”