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Blog

Interview: Timo Soininen, CEO of Sulake

Timo Soininen is the CEO of Sulake Corporation , the Finnish digital media group that owns virtual world Habbo Hotel, as well as other online games and social networks.

We asked him about the risks and rewards for brands targeting online communities, as well as the company’s plans for the future.

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Online ad spending up 40%, overtakes direct mail

The IAB’s online ad spending figures for the first half of the year are out, and show a gain of 41.3% to a half-year record of £1.33bn.

Online now accounts for just under 15% of the total ad market in the UK and could reach £2.75bn this year, according to the group.

It passed £2bn for the first time last year.

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Brands under user review spotlight, says study

A new survey from Deloitte & Touche has provided more evidence of the influence of user-generated reviews on consumers, as well as their growing significance for brands and etailers.

The study focused on US shoppers, and found that of the 62% of respondents that read user reviews, more than 80% had been ‘directly influenced’ by them – i.e. the reviews had either confirmed their initial choice or changed their mind.

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Joost opens to the public

P2P streaming TV site Joost is now available to the general public, though still in beta, as the company says it still has one or two technical problems to iron out.

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FT.com changes its subscription model

FT.com is moving away from a subscription only model in favour of a new, hybrid structure that allows people 30 views per month before its fees kick in.

More newspapers have accepted the need to abandon subscriptions and increase their web traffic, while hopefully making enough from increased ad revenue to cover the lost income from subscribers. 

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Will it Blend? viral videos boost sales

By blending iPhones, golf balls and more, US firm Blendtec has managed to increase sales of its kitchen blenders for a fraction of the costs of traditional marketing methods.

The Will it blend? videos are hosted by Blendtec CEO Tom Dickson. Tom, who can now consider himself a bona fide viral marketing rockstar, proves the bone-crushing power of the blenders by mashing up items of every description, including the world's hardest man, Chuck Norris (ok, it was a Chuck Norris action figure, but still...).

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Web firms dominate Tech Track 100

It’s great to see web start-ups and online ad companies appearing so prominently in this year's Sunday Times Tech Track 100, published by the paper yesterday.

Doncaster-based online travel agency Holiday Rooms Direct tops the league table after increasing its sales from £184,000 to just under £7m in two years, while the top ten also includes DVD rental company Lovefilm and local search firm The Best Of.

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Tesco's online empire expands with clothing move

Yesterday’s papers were full of talk about plans by Tesco to grow its online empire and cause even larger headaches for online retailers in the UK.

Both the Observer and Mail on Sunday report that the supermarket giant is set to announce its long-anticipated move into the online clothing sector – one it has been planning since last year.

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Wake up call for media buyers as El Pais sues Nielsen

Spanish newspaper El Pais is suing Nielsen for an ‘unjustifiable’ downgrade in the number of unique users it attracts to its website. Ouch.

El Pais, owned by Prisa, is annoyed at the downgrade because media buyers rely on panel data provided by firms like Nielsen and comScore to determine where to place ad campaigns. The BBC has the lowdown here.

It seems to me that this reflects a bigger issue relating to the blind faith in panel data among advertisers.

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Consumers keen to avoid online ads - study

A new media consumption survey from Deloitte has found significant demand for user generated content across all ages of US consumers, as well as revealing low opinions of online advertising among some web users.

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Banks adopt content targeting in push for growth

Acquisition-minded high street banks are embracing content targeting, to personalise the experience of visitors and boost conversion rates.

HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Barclays and Halifax are using technology provided by TouchClarity, which serves content and product recommendations that are relevant to each visitor based on a range of factors.

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Xing and LinkedIn update member profiles

Users of LinkedIn can now add photos to their profile pages, while users of German business network Xing will be able to add more personal and professional information to their profiles.

LinkedIn has resisted this move for some time as the lack of photos has set the site apart from other social networks, but has decided to give in to user requests.

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