Paying For Tweets?

ReadWriteWeb {link no longer active} reports:

What are you doing? No what are you doing Apple, Skype, Flip, StubHub and These popular companies just couldn’t resist paying off Twitter users to put advertisements into their Twitter streams using the new pay-per-tweet service Magpie.

Each of these companies have more than one campaign running and these are all just from the last six hours! Magpie is spewing Tweets through peoples’ accounts all day long. All of the links are obscured by URL shortening service (hope they are getting a cut!) and the clicker ends up on the advertiser site. Clearly disclosure isn’t mandatory; but even if it was this is just creepy, is it not?

Author Marshall Kirkpatrick takes a deeper look at these tweets and shows how silly they look when dozens of Twitter accounts say the same exact thing every six hours or so.

There s bound to be some creative monetization of Twitter feeds, and Magpie is certainly within their rights to do so, but we can t help but wonder how slippery is this slope for consumers before they just turn it off.

If you re going to use Twitter to connect with your audience, do it with the spirit of fostering communication and discussion, not as an opportunity to serve text ads to them.  It’s not worth it.

What The F Is Social Media?

Social media is like teen sex.  Everyone wants to do it.  Nobody knows how.  What’s it’s finally done there s surprise it’s not better.

That stellar quote is attributed to Googler Avinash Kaushik, and introduces the must-read powerpoint deck What The F**k Is Social Media

If you want a refresher course or know someone who needs one on why we should care about social media, we’ve embedded the presentation below.

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The Depression Comes To Xbox 360

If you’re still in the camp that believes virtual goods microtransactions aren’t an effective way to market, Kotaku recently interviewed a designer behind some of the new digital threads available for Xbox 360.

It’s self-expression that Connell hopes his work can further enable for Xbox gamers. “Once you see enough avatars, they kind of start to feel the same,” he said, recalling the initial wave of Xbox Avatar fashion that has been available for the past nine months, while he’s been designing the new lines. “The generic collection that we have out there currently doesn’t really offer any individuality. Certainly it’s a basics collection. but it’s generic in the worst sense.”

Today launches Connell’s wearable antidote. In the new Avatar store on online-connected 360s, buried behind banners advertising BioShock and Halo fashions for Avatars and tucked behind new pages that sell Adidas and Quiksilver Avatar clothes, are the first of Connell’s brand-free lines: Steampunk and the Depression-inspired Recessionista.

Quick movers can take advantage of the new ability to market wares and clothes to Xbox Live members, and if you re not doing it because you don t think there s a reason, Connell brings up a pretty good point.

We just think, if there’s a market for your games, there s a market for some $1 hats or free shirts with your game’s logo emblazoned on them.

Game-Branded Peripherals FTW

Unlike Rock Band or Guitar Hero, these peripherals aren t required to play the game, but MadCatz today announced it would be releasing Modern Warfare 2-branded accessories and peripherals later this year to coincide with the big release.

From Mad Catz press release: {link no longer active}

We are excited to partner with Activision and Infinity Ward to create branded controllers and accessories based on what is one of the videogame industry s preeminent franchises, said Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz.

Mad Catz’s innovation and fresh approach from Day 1 has been great, said Vince Zampella, CEO of Infinity Ward. Their team has really poured their hearts into the new line of accessories for Modern Warfare 2 and we can t wait for our fans to have a chance to play for themselves this November.

Just another way to better market your blockbuster game, or to monetize the throngs of gamers waiting for the game s release this November.  Wait for the virtual goods to come out closer to the end of the year and we’ll see one of the first ever video game marketing trifectas as retail game is coupled with real world and virtual goods in time for a game’s launch date.

Where Are The Gamers?

Nielsen recently conducted a survey taking a look at this and last generation console hardware, and it has some interesting news for how popular these systems are once they get into people’s homes.

IndustryGamers reports: {link no longer active}

June data indicated that Xbox 360 is the most active console, with a 6-month trend showing Xbox 360 with the highest active users. Trailing the pack by a good margin in terms of active users is Nintendo’s Wii, which is even trailing its predecessor, the GameCube.

For a company that was on the brink of death just a couple of years ago, it s been a remarkable turnaround.  However, this Nielsen data may be proof positive that Nintendo’s machine is indeed a fad, and may not have the staying power needed to stay on top.

Nintendo has been absolutely genius in the way it markets its games, from general audience games like Wii Sports Resort to games for women and non-traditional audiences like Wii Fit.  Marketing the Wii as an anyone can play system has been instrumental to its success, but now the challenge will be to have an answer to an increasing number of consumers asking, what now

GI Joe Gets Multimedia International Push

GI Joe is a blockbuster hit thanks in no small part to the fact young males love explosions.  The international market has also been surprisingly receptive to the American-focused hero, but Paramont Pictures International is rolling out a multimedia campaign to continue the push.

From The Hollywood Reporter: {link no longer active}

The military marketing campaign will include media, social, viral and mobile Web during the international rollout of the action picture in August.

The digital campaign includes viral videos, extended clips, online games, Facebook applications, mobile sites and applications, as well as initiatives in Sony’s online community PlayStation Home, PPI said.

PlayStation Home has spaces promoting upcoming and existing games, but this will be the first time a non-Sony Pictures movie gets significant promotion on the PlayStation 3 social experiment.  We’ll hop onto Home later this week to see what s doing.

Nike Brings Out The 90s Hip-Hop

From AdFreak:

Back in the ’90s, it seemed like pro athletes were lining up for the chance to put out terrible rap albums. Now, Nike and Wieden + Kennedy revisit those days with four NBA stars who are just as bad on the mike but at least seem to realize it.

This Nike spot is a lot of fun, especially if you get some of the not-so-subtle nods to 90s hip-hop.  The young male demo can be reached through nostaligia — it just has to be pretty recent history, and it helps if it has a good beat.  Bad lyrics and rhymes.  But a good beat nonetheless.

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Ender’s Game Author’s Video Games

From Variety: {link no longer active}

He s not only an award winning author and the writer of Ender’s Game, he s also a hardcore and old school gamer. So old school, in fact, that he regularly challenges his wife to competitions on the Millipede arcade game in his house.

I’m a game lover, he says. I’m a game addict. I progress from game to game to game like the progression of opium to heroin to morphine. When I am not playing Civilization, I have this nagging feeling that there are cities waiting for me — which is pathological, I realize.

As a child he was a regular fixture at his local 7-11, found in front of the Super Breakout machine. So it’s really not all that surprising that as an adult, he has worked regularly in the video game industry.

These days, he s collaborating with Chair Entertainment on Shadow Complex, a platform shooter that will be available exclusively on Xbox Live starting Aug. 19.

The rest of the interview with Orson Scott Card is interesting, and it shows how a downloadable game from a little known developer can start to call to even the hardest of geeks through a few key ways.

Among the great moves by the company:

–    Engaged with author Orson Scott Card for the game’s story
–    Collaborated with hot developer Epic Games (Gears of War 2)
–    Stuck to an old school mainstay, the 2D shooter

Now, Chair Entertainment has the usually-grousing geek crowd salivating to play a game with a fever pitch that wasn’t at all seen with its previous XBLA effort, Undertow.  What a difference a geek makes.

AFK: Pac-Man Land

Today s AFK moment comes to us from technabob, who seems to be fighting a case of Pac-Man fever.

Six Flags Over Texas had a portion of its park devoted to the power pellet-eating hero. By the looks of things, we have no idea why this attraction never lasted.

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GI Joe Tops Box Office

GI Joe topped the box office this weekend with over $100 million coming in, domestically and internationally.  The movie, based on the popular action figures, had a heavy-action, light-story theme that targeted young males in a big way, and to a big payoff.

This marks Paramount’s third blockbuster hit of the year, with GI Joe joining Star Trek and the Transformers sequel as huge summer hits.  What else did they have in common   Oh, right, young males as their key audience.

One thing that did worry Paramount was the international perception of GI Joe, the classically American hero, and whether or not that would stop moviegoers from watching.  It did not.

From Variety:

“G.I. Joe” was far from being a guaranteed success, given the property’s U.S. military theme, which could particularly be a issue for overseas auds.

Par addressed the issue by sticking closer to the comicbook series, which expanded the original team of U.S. military operatives to include operatives from other countries. Studio further stressed this point by adding “Rise of the Cobra” to the movie s title.

“We wanted audiences to know this was more than just a story about G.I. Joe, ” said Paramount prexy of international distribution Andrew Cripps.

Film was set in a number of foreign locales, and featured an international cast including Korean thesp Byung-hun Lee, Brit Sienna Miller, French-Moroccan Said Taghmaoui and South African Arnold Vosloo.