Hey CNBC, What's a Widget?

Online Video Watch has a clip of some CNBC presenters trying to figure out what a widget is. I'd make fun of them, except... have you ever tried to define 'widget'? It's not that easy a concept to summarize. (But it's definitely not, as one of the hosts suggests, a virus.)

Anyway, even if the hosts can't figure out what a widget is, their tech guys made a cracking one. If you care about the US stock market -- or about good widgets -- head over to Online Video Watch and have a look.

Missing Link for Music Marketing?

Intriguing disconnect from my panel at Digital Music Forum East this morning. Amidst the usual -- is it, what, 10 years now? -- running whine-fest about the major labels vs. the start-ups, I asked some of the New New Thing social media start-ups what they could offer to a label or music management company or artist who had $40K to spend on marketing.

Their answer: nothing.

Fellas, the definition of a media business is somebody who matches up content, audience, and marketer. This is a (dying?) industry that desperately needs to cut costs in A&R and marketing to survive. And the online is the most promising music marketing medium ever.

You might want to invest in creating services and tools that marketers could make use of. Let me assure you MySpace, Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL are doing so, even if their music coolth is warming. Not so sure Facebook is. Yet. And, for the moment, Apple appears to be blowing this opportunity. So hop to it.

RIP Bill Buckley

As rat-faced, conservative, WASP Yalies go (is that a redundancy?) he was a very funny and thoughtful one. I'll miss him.

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Panel-Moderating at Digital Music Forum

I'm at Digital Music Forum East tomorrow. I know I'll see you there; all the hipster digi-music types will be in town.

How much messaging can a Pres. Candidate do in an SMS?

My inbox is full of messages from Barack and Hillary. Barack sends 3-4 times as many as Hillary. I'd like to say it's too many, but the combination of things he's doing seems to be working. They typically both send text messages before events like the debate in Cleveland, OH this evening. I think I received the messages late morning for the debate this evening ... a little late for programming my Tivo since it's not connected to the Internet.

Here's what they each sent today. I think it's interesting that you can get a flavor of their strategy even in a very short message.

Hillary's:

"Cheer on Hillary in the debate tonight at 9PM EST. Watch on MSNBC or stream live from msnbc.com - Thanks!"

Barack's (which arrived just seconds before Hillary's did)

"Watch Barack debate tonight at 9pm EST on MSNBC or streamed at Cleveland.com. Remember to tell friends in OH, RI, TX & VT to vote Obama on March 4th. Please fwd."

Hillary wants moral support. Barack wants to get the word out. Barack wants viral.

Interesting.

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Short Codes, Peanuts and Bar Napkins

I was traveled on US Airways last week from San Francisco to Charlotte, NC. When they set my "Coke Light" (do they sell this in the US?) on my tray table, they also handed me a snack pack and a napkin.

They were offering to let passengers text in their name, email and zip code, and in exchange they would send back their Dividend Miles number. It's not clear if the miles would be automatically registered or if the passenger should present the number to an agent. What I also couldn't figure out was ... was I supposed to save the napkin rather than use it? Was I supposed to turn on my phone, but in "airplane mode"? The code was "TextUs" or "839887" - not so easy to associate with US Airways.

What I did like about the napkin, was that they had a figure illustrating a person creating a text message. Could have used the information on my ticket stub - something easy to save and a piece of paper I wasn't tempted to use to wipe off salt off my hands.

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Search Clicks Worth Twice as Much as Contextual Clicks

Efficient Frontier is reporting its clients' average cost per click on paid search and contextual advertising across a range of categories. The category splits are interesting (note that EF's auto clients pay more for contextual clicks than for search clicks), but more interesting to me is the fact there's still a huge difference between search and contextual prices. So while we've heard reports that contextual ads are performing better now than they have in the past, keep in mind that search clicks -- to Efficient Frontier's clients, at least -- are on average still worth twice as much as clicks from contextual ads.

Jupiter Clients React to Potential Microsoft-Yahoo Merger

Microsoft's passing around a memo from platforms & services chief Kevin Johnson to its employees about its proposed merger with Yahoo. In it, it reiterates what it perceives as the benefits of the merger, with a particular focus on the goodness for the industry:

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Interactive Marketing Maturity Research

Upcoming events for interactive marketers

[Posted by Peter Kim]

Just a short note to let you know about some of the "open enrollment" events I'll be participating in over the next quarter or so:

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