Monday, November 29, 2010
What is advertising and why is it so important in the commercial world?
“Advertising: it’s here, it’s there, it’s everywhere! Everyone is assailed with advertising messages every waking moment. The obvious media- television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards and direct mail- are just the tip of the advertising iceberg. Your cereal boxes, milk cartons, clothing, bedding, fashion accessories and even your automobiles are covered in advertising. Into this cauldron of advertising vehicles has been thrown the Internet, grocery carts, the reverse side of cash register tapes, ATM screens, even displays in some public restrooms...”
(Dahl, 2006, p. 8)
Advertising therefore can be interpreted as a form of communication, intended to persuade an audience be it viewers, readers or listeners- to purchase or take some action upon products, ideals or services. A basic advertisement includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, fundamentally with the hope of persuading a target consumer to purchase or to consume the particular brand in question. These marketing messages or advertisements as they are more commonly known, are usually paid for by the sponsors and viewed by the prospective consumers via various media. Given the competition among global organizations for any particular limited market, those who transfer their message clearly and more effectively becomes more successful in selling the respective product. The simple explanation behind this whole process is that humans prefer to choose what they know rather than what they don’t. This has made advertising a indispensable element in establishing successful businesses transactions.
Born with the Internet-boom in the early 90s, ‘online advertising’ toady outsmarts all the other forms of advertising that exist in the world. Most trade organizations yearn for a strong online presence which is achieved by their websites and by advertising their products and services online. One minor setback with this concept is that the products will only be advertised to customers visiting the relevant website. Therefore a new set of online advertising companies have quickly gaining momentum as they supply ‘ad-publishers’ to advertisers. These ad-publishers will publish advertisements given by third party companies who will be paid based on the advertising traffic they direct to the publisher. The most notable third party ad-publisher is Google with its ‘AdSense’ program which allow thousands of blogs and smaller websites to become publishers thus allowing the advertisers a more cost effective advertising budget.
Most online advertising programs use the concept of ‘keywords’ which means that the third party advertising company will look for key words highlighted by the article writer and based on the key word the relevant advertisement will be displayed. For example: if the article has words like ‘college degrees’ or ‘undergraduate courses’ as its key words the advertising company will display advertisements on universities which provide college degrees or similar institutes that conduct undergraduate courses. One drawback of this scenario is that the given key words may not accurately represent the true content of the article as a whole and finally the displayed article might not have a significant relevance to the displayed advertisement. An excellent example would be an article written on Microsoft Windows operating system that has ‘Windows’ as its key word. Unfortunately the ad broker might display advertisements of companies who sell pure simple windows- not the software, but the kind you find in houses- over the Internet. This problem is caused because content identification algorithms focus primarily on the key words rather than on the actual content of the entire article.
“Better targeting of ads using individual interests and individual behaviors will ensure that we do not bore or annoy as many people with each ad,” says Eric Clemons , Professor of Operations and Information Management at Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He further elaborates that this factor was in fact a major catalyst that contributed to the dramatic decline in 2009 advertising revenues. The simple concept behind the story is that online advertising requires a much more dynamic and scalable model which will support both the content viewers and the advertisers rather than annoying them.
It is in circumstances such as this that Kontera proves it true potential. What is Kontera and what does it have to do with online advertising? By definition Kontera Technologies, Inc. is an advertising network which provides in-text advertising and information services. How does it operate? If you are a frequent visitor at various blogs run by independent Bloggers you will come across words which are underlined twice. The underlining ain’t for emphasis - it illustrates that these underlined words are serving a dual purpose as advertisements.When a certain reader moves his/her cursor over one of the underlined words above, a pop-up advertisement appears, partially obscuring the article. In the ad above the word “AdWords” for instance is an online dictionary from which the user can search the meaning of words.
Figure 1: The use of double underlined words as advertisements
What is the difference between Kontera and other in-text ad brokers? Is Kontera different? How so? The answer lies in the technology Kontera is using. With the introduction of the Synapse engine a few months back the Konetera flagship product ‘Contentlink’ is able analyse the overall content of the article. More importantly it is capable of analysing the subject matter and the content of the article allowing it to deliver the most relevant ads to its readers (Figure 2). Therefore the advertisements which the consumers will be viewing will not just be keyword matching advertisements but those that have a relevance to the content that is being read. This enables a better user experience plus more revenue generation for both the publisher and the advertiser. With the Synapse algorithm analyzing everything in the network in real-time, it will be possible to display even more relevant advertisements over the course of time. Moreover, with the strategy of ‘Topical Targeting’ Kontera is able to identify thousands of concepts and expanded phrases that are relevant to the topics of interest of any advertiser’s target audience. With the advancement of this technology the relevance of advertisements will increase immensely, thus ensuring the trust between the advertiser and the consumer.
Figure 2: The use of Content in advertising.
A simple example could be denoted as follows. Say, you have blogged about a newly released computer game: James Cameron's Avatar, The Game, Ubisoft etc. Regular ad networks that use keyword lists would provide you with a list of ads referring to computer games by Ubisoft in the same genre of the game and the literal meaning of the title. Kontera, on the other hand, with the use of its Synapse algorithm will analyse everything in the network in real-time and will identify that the game is actually based on the James Cameron movie ‘Avatar’, additionally it will display advertisements relating to the movie, where to buy a blue ray version or a DVD etc. Hence it is crystal clear that Kontera contains a higher level of artificial intelligence that is beyond its other static In-Text advertising market competitors.
Furthermore, Kontera’s synapse engine contains the following innovations:
● Dynamic ‘A/B’ optimization – Kontera Synapse tests different topics and monitors how users interact with each page on Kontera’s network in real-time. The In-Text phrases with which end users interact more, represent users’ interests. In this way intent is determined through “the voice of the users.”
● Phrase Discovery and Exploration – Kontera Synapse automatically identifies and tracks the trending of new phrases, as they appear across the network. Those phrases are cross linked to relevant topics and entities (people, places, etc.).
● Comprehensive brand safety controls – Synapse includes a full suite of brand safety capabilities. Advertisers benefit from Kontera’s knowledge of sensitive topics and keywords within each category. In addition, specific ‘avoid’ lists can be defined for an advertiser or specific campaigns. These controls ensure that advertisers are not proximate to content that is harmful to their brand.
One of the most important concepts implemented is the brand safety controls. This allows the more sensitive topics to be very specific, preventing scenarios like that of the advertisement that can be misinterpreted as referring to an ordinary ‘windows sale,’ while the content of article is in fact specifically referring to the Microsoft Windows XP software. This enables a great brand safety in advertising.
If we forget the technical brilliance of Kontera for a moment, there are a few other things which will always lift Kontera to a level beyond your expectations. One of them is the administrator panel offered for the users. In many cases for the publishers. Kontera supports a variety of content management systems, thus publishers can set up Kontera in their websites which are powered by WordPress Blogger Joomla and Drupal with just a few clicks. In addition Kontera automatically generates the code to be fitted into any custom website. Therefore even a publisher with no technical background can integrate Kontera into his/her website. Figure 3 illustrates the Kontera interface for creating a custom code for the above scenario.
Fingure 3 : Kontera Setup Page
After setting up Kontera the most important thing for a publisher is to view how well he/she is doing in Kontera. To support this Kontera has provided an elegant interface from which the user can view not just the earning but also the click ratios and number of visits. The reports could be generated for a time period but the default is set to a week. The users can compare the traffic variations and the earnings on a daily basis. Plus, detailed reports based on larger time frames and keyword reports can also be generated. A URL report can be generated to identify the pages with the highest traffic rate within a week. With the enabled reporting mechanism the publishers can identify the most frequent keywords and trends in the market. More importantly the publisher can use this information to navigate their websites based on the content and context. This proves that Kontera not only gives the publisher an income but also the data from which he/she can derive certain facts. These facts can be used as tools in upgrading as well as in the process of making decisions. Figure 4 provides a screenshot of a reporting page.
Figure 4: The reporting interface.
Finally at the end of the day, all publishers are concerned about their earnings and more importantly how their earnings can be transferred to them. Some advertising companies have a long arduous process in transferring earnings, I have personally experienced this shortcoming with Google’s AdSence. For South Asian countries like ours Google AdSence uses a cheque payment method and usually I spend about three months getting one cheque settled, that’s really a tear-some process. Contrarily, Kontera offers multiple paying methods for you to choose from (Figure 5). A user can use the traditional cheque payment methods, a wired transfer or a Paypal transfer. In fact enabling a Paypal transfer is really cool, as Paypal is supported by almost all the online auction and shopping websites so basically you can use your earnings instantly rather than waiting for a lengthy and timeconsuming process.
Figure 5: A screenshot of the payment method selection.
So why do I prefer Kontera?
I think all the above factors sum up my answer. Yet there are a few additional elements that increase my loyalty towards Kontera. Well for one, for new publishers Kontera allows a great rate. It can be up to 70% Revenue Share, Signing Bonus for qualified sites with over 25k US page-views/month and you get paid starting at $50! That’s basically more than what we ask for. On the other hand Kontera is extremely user-friendly, anything can be done graphically and it has plug-ins that support all the major content management systems.
Kontera has always kept things simple. If you are a Blogger- some extra money, if you are a publisher- an easy way which won’t chase away the viewers and more importantly when you are a viewer you cam view relevant adds, when you want, as you want. Finally, for me, a relatively small Blogger, what I have learnt is that big or small Kontera has something to offer for ALL.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I just had a peep and most of the sites directing to those institutes was not available. But i was able to find websites of two collaborators.
First one was a organization called Home net. Just look at the address of the organization.
The second one was a organization called DevKnow. Just look at the address of the organization.
Its really funny that the both organizations have the same address. And more importantly one organization (Dev know) is having the address of the Java World Congress Secretariat as its address.
Something somewhere is not correct.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
uncontrolled competition between capitalists, something inherent to this system. It is a means of increasing the exploitation of the whole working class both in the West and East with sole ambition of increasing profits for capitalist entrepreneurs!
The two headed beast Outsourcing has caused the destruction of thousands of jobs in the Western countries. In a few decades entire industrial branches have been almost entirely transferred to countries with much lower manpower costs. Corporations view it as an opportunity to lower costs while widening markets.
The effects of outsourcing don’t only hit those who lose their jobs in the western countries. It is the whole of the world waged people which is subjected to the pressure of the insane, competitive race between capitalist nations and to the blackmail of outsourcing, both in the country of departure and in the relocated industry. In reality, this has resulted in exploitation of developing nations and reducing
labor standards on a global scale. What illustrates the reality of outsourcing is the ruthless competition that is forced on different parts of the working class at the international level.
The BPO industry -Shift from blue collar to white collar
It all started few decades ago in labor intensive low tech manufacturing fields like apparel industry. Now outsourcing is spreading to new categories of workers, white collar and skilled labor. Business process outsourcing (BPO) is a form of outsourcing that involves the contracting of the operations and responsibilities of specific business functions (or processes) to a third-party service provider.
BPO is typically categorized into back office outsourcing - which includes internal business functions such IT, finance and accounting, and front office outsourcing - which includes customer-related services such as contact center services
The high-tech BPO industry – the tear drop of Sri Lankan youth
These multinational so called Advanced TechnologyCenters (ATCs) promise a challenging environmentat work due to strict delivery deadlines demanded by US, Europe and Middle-East clients. These companies bill anything above USD 150 per man day for a basic resource for IT services to US Clients, though only 10-15% is passed to the employees. The balance of expenses before earnings per share is incurred on maintaining a state-of-the-art Technology
infrastructure and remunerating higher management at US Standard - Salary, Benefits and Perks. The operational model demands at least 48 working hours (on the paper) per week, where project managers have strict guidelines to ensure employee productivity.
However, in reality most of the young employees (Mostly agebetween 22 to30) are frequently FORCED to work even more than TWENTY FOUR CONTINUOUS HOURS OF WORK without proper break or rest. The attitude towards employees has been disastrous in some cases; where in the past, hundreds of employees have been laid off within few weeks. Directly or indirectly forcing a permanent employee to resign at short notice from work has been a specialty area of these so called prestigious BPO companies for the last 5 years. In most of the cases the employees who attend the work in the morning are given their termination letter and asked to go home saying that the company has not met the expected profit margin for the financial quarter. However it is generally seen that the same company continue to recruit new employees from the very next day! They continue to apply various techniques to hire-at-will, and fire-at-will. Although the recruitment advertisements appearing Newspapers and web sites look very enticing, scant regard has been paid to the statutory requirements of employing persons in Sri Lanka. Some of the violations in these so called ATCs include manager-employee harassment and humiliation at work, getting signatures on official documents under force and duress, promotions and career success based on favoritism and acquaintance, and host of other violation of mandatory local statutory requirements.
Fascinating recruitment drives
The 10000+ IT and engineering related workforce in Sri Lanka of which 80% are below project
manager level, is hired from Universities in Sri Lanka.
These multinational giants conduct well organized recruitment drive and allocate a significant budget for this purpose. Sponsoring at Career Fairs, Career Days etc. are some of the techniques proven to be effective in attracting fresh graduates into the workforce. Most of them join with promises given by the recruitment division which ranges from working abroad, branded career start, corporate image, market leading remuneration etc.
Role stretching – More strain for employee and higher profit for company
Role Stretching is a practice of some of the US basedcompanies where an employee is encouraged to play the role of a senior person. The employee does not get any additional compensation or other benefits for this exercise, but they are expected to work even harder and
billed at a higher rate to the customers. The employee is given the expectation that, after playing the ’stretched’ role, they would be subject to an early promotion. But this is hardly the truth, but only an enticement to work harder. There are several other deceptive and crafty techniques to obtain higher productivity from an employee.
Exploiting the youth
The workforce predominantly consists of workers between ages 22-38 years with an average age of 30. Most of the workforce is from middle class families who have limited influence in society to expose or take legal action against violations committed by the more affluent comprador Management of these blue chip companies. Hence most of them silently suffer until they are tactfully drained out of their soul and spirit. Besides, any legal action against a multinational giant could deprive an employee of a respectable career, subsequently, due to possible retaliation by the Management.
Brain strokes – The silent killer
There have been a number of deaths reported within last few years, though there have been past reports of casualties who have survived strokes also known as ‘brain attacks’. High tech IT work itself involves considerable stress due to immaturity of technologies used and high expectation levels of customers When the management put extra pressure by cutting down the effort estimates and resources, the youth has no option but to work day and night continuously for prolonged periods. Some of unfortunate pay the ultimate price of their lives while most of others loose their social and family lives. Most companies operate like sweatshops. They don’t value people, and yes, they definitely don’t value the sentiments of people. True – This is a cut-throat competition world, but does it require people to behave as if they are the megalomaniac dictators?
Government must take actions
Out sourcing is one of the few aspects that may be befitted to developing countries. Since BPO companies are on the increase in Sri Lanka, it would be prudent for the statutory authorities of Sri Lanka to investigate and monitor the operation of BPO companies particularly the level of compliance to Shops and Offices Act and the Industrial Disputes Act.
It would also be useful for International Human Rights Organizations to monitor the level of treatment meted out to this white collar workers and devise a channel to listen to any stories and experiences that are worthy for investigation.
Enlightening the employees – the way to win over slavery
This article has been written in order to educate the plight of white collar workers in a typical BPO organization, so as to influence maintaining of checks and balances to ensure adherence to stringent statutory and Human Rights principles in treating Sri Lankan intellectual segment when selling knowledge services overseas. It is up to the ‘workers’ (regardless of blue collar or white collar) of the whole world to understand themselves as comrades in struggle and hold out their hands across the limits of sectors and frontiers. They need to make their disparate movements into a single struggle against capitalism and develop the consciousness that this struggle can come to fruition through the destruction of the capitalist system. This means the abolition of wage labor and of labour power as a commodity, which is the root of the proletariat’s slavery.
By the time he understands the reality it is usually too late because good part of their youth is already exploited by private owned or multi national companies.
The capitalist system
The post colonial political leadership has been dominated by compressed families in Colombo. Although Western colonial masters officially left our country, they had established the capitalist system. The capitalist system continues exploiting local labor in various industries ranging from white color IT industry to blue collar Garment industry. The so called open economy paved the way to pump out remaining money by selling excessive western junks ranging from Coca Cola spirit to Lux soap.
The village life
Village is a place where social bonds are tight. People respect deep rooted values conditioned by Sinhala Buddhist culture. They have ample time to care and help each other. Most of the time, the neighborhood in village consist of close relatives. Therefore, they hardly ever feel social insecurity in their life.
The capitalist system demands people for their multi-national companies to operate. Their needs range from physical labor to supervisors and more privileged management posts. They use politico-economic domination to attract people for their system. Colonial educational system provides most of the management workers while the villages are targeted for cheap labor.
On one hand they have created a miserable reflection on the life of the village and on other hand creating a rosy cooperate image on their multi-national companies targeting relatively ignorant youth into their vicious.
The vicious cycle
A youth who comes from traditional village family background expect the same friendly and co-operative culture in the company. Companies usually promise the same and set various targets to keep the person motivated. He has thousands of dreams for the future. Ambitious employee is gold for the company. He will do anything and everything to fulfill his ambitions. Trap in to housing or vehicle loan will further tighten him into the vicious system. Now, he will be willing to give more than hundred percent to the company for his mere survival in his fantasy world! Late hours and long weekends will be taken for granted.
The reality - Company is not a human
The fact is that “Company is not a human”. A limited liability company is formed for the sole purpose of generating profits. There are no owners as such in a listed company. There are only share holders who freely buy and sell their shares eying for better profits for their investment. The same person who invested in your company this year may sell all his shares in your company and invest those in a competing company next year. He may be investing in a completely different area from your field. Though workers are victims of specialization, money is freely movable in market economy!
The investors’ interest on a company is short term and therefore company is always on a survival mode. Savings is not in the vocabulary of capitalist company. If the company has made huge profit last year the bulk is already shared among the share holders and new target is set for the next year. In the same time the same investors who benefited the profit last year may attracted to some other venture this year.
Face the reality
You may have been promised a rosy way up by your top management to keep you motivated. But in reality, every company is in a consistent struggle of surviving in every year by year. The capitalist system is molded in such formula. You are not working for a human but for a mechanism meant for profit making. Therefore, if you blindly love your job you are just another fool.
The capitalist system has different branches name Human Resource Management to keep the spirit up in the company. Every one from top to bottom is asked to fool the next level. However the people in the top management who comes from compressed business families clearly know this reality and they are shameless to participate in this vicious system for their benefit.
But you may be an innocent victim of the vicious system at one level. You may be forced to play the dirty tricks on your sub ordinates at another level . If you are not moral conscious you may survive in the system or else you will be forced to quit soon.
Do you still love your job? The decision and subsequent consequences are with you!!
- Love Your Business More Than Your Family (This is what the west moulded entrepreneurs are taught !)
(refferenced form http://www.lankarising.com)
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Last month, h+ covered the work of Professor Byron Reeves, who champions the adaptation of gaming technologies for the workplace. Around the same time, David Helgason of Unity, a company that produces game development tools for the Web, mobile phones, and the Wii announced “The Year of Gamification” on the Unity blog (See Resources). For Helgason, gamification is the application of game technology and game design outside “gamespace” and the acceptance of games in non-gaming sectors. Usually, Helgason’s customers use his technology to create games like Zombieville for the iPhone. But lately, he’s noted an increase in customers using Unity to create employee training programs, among other things. h+ talked with Helgason to get a sense of the practical consequences of gamification.