Rhapsody's Trio of Announcements

Rhapsody's offering DRM-free MP3s in its store, launching Rhapsody for Verizon, and trying to re-ignite a syndication strategy that has fizzled so far. I wish Rhapsody would be more aggressive with ad-supported initiatives, but "the economics are challenging," according to Rhapsody execs.

DRM-free paid music downloads are inevitable, and just under a quarter of adults Jupiter surveyed (Figure 6) said they'd buy more digital music without DRM. That figure breaks 40% for more serious fans and spenders. With MP3s, non-Apple stores can sell songs that actually play on iPods without a hassle. Finally, we'll see competition on things like merchandising, deals, exclusives, etc. instead of random technology choices. But the competitors will have to work, and somebody's going to have to spend some serious advertising $$. Rhapsody claims we'll see the fruits of its MTV and Yahoo partnerships, for the store and the Rhapsody subscription service.

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Enough about you — let's talk about me

[Posted by Steven Noble]

What a ride! Since joining Forrester's interactive marketing team about six weeks ago, I've been trained, tested, supported and toasted.

And I feel like this amazing introduction has worked. I now feel ready to produce challenging, accurate, insightful research that helps interactive marketers to be successful... and that's probably the last I'll say about it on this blog.

For me, this blog will be the place where I kick around ideas in formation — as opposed to our research, where we present analysis that has been tested to within an inch of its life. This is where I will talk about absolutely anything of interest to the interactive marketing community — as opposed to our research, which we focus on business outcomes. And, this is where I will let you see a little about the person behind the product, perhaps forming a relationship with me if that is of interest. I'll probably mention the research, but on this blog I will create something different.

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Who'll Measure the Measurers?

What's wrong with this picture? The largest seller of online advertising apparently wants to be the go-to source for measurement data whose primary purpose is to sell advertising. Great job if you can get it.

Phony iPhones

Just as I finished my blog post about alternatives to the Apple iPhone, somone pointed out this review to me:

iPhone Clone Battlemodo: Which One Is the iPhoniest?

Unfortunately, the reviewers didn't look at the LG Prada phone and Sharp SH906 that are on offer in Japan.

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Investors ask docomo: "Why no iPhone?"

Here's a follow-up to my blog post of a couple of weeks back about Softbank + iPhone.

At NTT docomo's AGM yesterday (June 20), shareholders asked why NTT docomo hadn't struck a deal with Apple to offer the iPhone on docomo's network...

My source is the following article from IT Media - http://plusd.itmedia.co.jp/mobile/articles/0806/20/news143.html

I won't translate the entire article - just two snippets:

docomo "is considering" an iPhone launch and sales of Blackberry to individuals

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Don't believe the hype (it's a sequel)

[Posted by Peter Kim]

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Benchmark Your Email Organization

Want to see how your company's email structure stacks up against your peers? We're conducting a survey of email marketers based on Forrester's Email Marketing Review. And we need your help! Click on the link below to take the survey:

Take the survey

Still need more convincing? The survey is short -- it takes only 10-15 minutes to complete. We only report results in aggregate. And, for your participation, we'll send you:

  • A spreadsheet with the aggregate results, and
  • A copy of the research based on the data we collect.

So what are you waiting for? Take the survey.

The survey will be open through mid-July, but don't delay, take it today or spread the word to your email colleagues.

Thank you,

Julie Katz

P.S. If you still have questions, contact Tom Cummings (tcummings@forrester.com) -- he's the researcher managing the survey process.

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Oprah's Not the Only Hit-Maker in Books

Apparently, Amazon rocks, too.

    First-time fiction authors are lucky if their publisher orders an initial print run of 15,000 copies. But in a sign of Amazon.com Inc.'s growing clout with readers, a debut novel championed by the e-commerce site has gone into its seventh printing -- a total of 90,000 copies -- a week after its publication...
    Driving that unexpectedly heavy demand has been strong reviews and promotional support from Amazon.com. The Web retailer chose the book as one of the best books of June and aggressively hyped it, including by posting a long and enthusiastic blurb from best-selling author Stephen King. The same blurb was printed inside "early reader" copies sent to reviewers, bloggers and booksellers.

Oh, here's the book. (I should link you to the Kindle version, but I know most of you aren't there yet. More on my Kindle love later.)

The ticket to Pia's survival = a more usable Web site?

One of Japan's leading ticket vendors - "Ticket Pia" - appears to have hit some financial problems. The company recently announced that it will receive an injection of two billion yen (roughly $18.7 Million) from Toppan Printing to pay for restructuring costs and system costs. Pia says that it's planning to partner with Toppan for some new initiatives:

The editors at the "Web Dice" online magazine point out that Pia will use 1.2 Billion yen to pay for layoffs and the remaining 0.8 billion yen will go towards renovating their ticket system. This leaves no money for collaborative initiatives between Toppan and Pia. I wonder how Toppan's share holders view this.

The Web Dice editors point out that most Japanese people over the age of 30 will feel some emotional attachment to Pia. After all, Pia is the company that sold them the concert tickets for their first dates... Actually that's my experience, but I'm sure it applies to my Japanese friends too.

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MySpace's Flashier Front Page

MySpace debuted it's new front page design this week (among other user oriented tweaks.) Today, however, was the premier front page advertising takeover. It features a skin and a video box for the new Batman movie. The player worked very well, and I am happy to see that they used a wide screen player instead of a square box. The skin works pretty well, especially because Batman is a cool brand. Although the design does happen to clash a little bit with the "MySpace blue" of the navigation. I am skeptical that Crest toothpaste would be received as well by users of the site. Like any site that matures into a revered brand, MySpace will have to be careful choosing which advertisers to feature in order to manage the spot's value.