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Jul 19th 2013

Feeding the Curiosity Monster

One of AOL's core values is embracing change and we're encouraged to have "a DNA of curiosity," to think big and take chances. It's a great topic of conversation, and as one of AOL's cultural ambassadors I love learning how others keep their curiosity monster well-fed. Last week I attended AOL Advertising's new speaker series, Masters of Advertising, where David Shing, a thought leader and member of senior management presented his telescopic view of creativity and how brands can differentiate themselves in the bustling digital marketplace. Here are a few things I learned:

  • Attention is the new currency. David mentioned that most users download over 40 apps to their smartphone or tablet and actively use a core set of about five. It is a brand marketer's challenge to retool how they approach securing that mindshare in order to successfully gain market share.
  • Exercise your right brain every day. The daily grind of the work week is inherently tethered to our left brain guru. I don't know about you, but I find myself keeping more tabs on my to do lists and project plans than stretching my right brain beyond its comfort zone. David encouraged the audience to start channeling their individual creativity by stepping away from the spreadsheets and exercising the other parts of the brain.
  • Ideas are everywhere. There is a wealth of content available not only for consumption, but also for inspiration. "Contagious videos" are a growing portion of that content, they tell the brand story from a human experience. David shared the following thought-provoking examples during his presentation: Driving Dogs, Metro Train PSA, Fallen Angels (UK).

For more on David Shing's take on creativity in the digital space, click here.

Learn more about AOL and how you can embrace your DNA of curiosity by visiting the AOL Careers site for a list of exciting opportunities. Also keep up-to-date on all things AOL Advertising by following them on Twitter.

Jul 15th 2013

Ad Networks Best Practices

Today, the White House announced the Best Practices Guidelines for Ad Networks to Address Piracy and Counterfeiting (2013IPPractices.com). In an effort to address content owner concerns about ad networks providing revenue streams to websites engaged in piracy and counterfeiting, the guidelines will help ad networks establish a set of self-regulating best practices to address known infringing sites in their respective ad networks.

Some highlights from the guidelines:

  • Ad Networks are committed to maintaining high quality standards for advertisers and publishers and at the same time respecting intellectual property rights to maintain a healthy Internet and promote innovation.
  • The best practices include (among other things):
    • Maintaining and posting policies intended to discourage or prevent, to the extent possible, websites that are principally dedicated to selling counterfeit goods, engaging in copyright piracy or otherwise violating laws from participating in the ad network;
    • Accepting and processing proper notices from rights holders regarding websites participating in the Ad Network alleged to be principally dedicated to selling counterfeit goods or engaging in copyright piracy and to have no substantial non-infringing uses; and
    • Providing guidance for the content of a proper notice and identifying the designated agent to receive such notice.
  • The best practices are intended to encourage and supplement, not replace, responsible and direct independent actions taken by intellectual property owners to enforce their intellectual property rights and are not intended to impose a duty on any Ad Network to monitor its network to identify offending websites.

As part of this initiative, AOL, along with Yahoo, Microsoft and Google, established this set of self-regulating best practices to address known infringing sites in their respective ad networks.

AOL has been building trust with our users for more than 28 years. And we have been equally committed to maintaining high quality standards for advertisers and publishers – taking piracy and counterfeiting seriously. Many of the best practices guidelines very much mirror what we have been doing all along at AOL and, consequently, we quickly supplemented our current practice and are now in compliance with the best practices. Advertising.com boasts one of the best networks in terms of quality, which is part of our success story, and this initiative will reinforce that. I commend the collaborative efforts of the participating Ad Networks and the industry to help combat online piracy.

May 9th 2013

AOL To Be The First Digital Media Company To Certify Its Sales Team Through The IAB

Earlier this year, AOL was named one of only two companies who received the IAB Award for Overall Sales Excellence recognizing our commitment to provide clients with the best customer service, knowledge and innovation. To raise the bar in the industry, AOL is set to become the first large-scale digital media company to certify its sales team in partnership with the IAB. Joining their Digital Media Sales Certification program will allow AOL sellers to excel as industry leaders.

IAB's Digital Media Sales Certification program, established in 2012, is the first-ever educational standard for digital media sales teams, creating a professional benchmark for the digital advertising field. The program is created by and for industry experts and AOL will benefit by ensuring they have the most knowledgeable sales teams possible.

The certification knowledge areas include:
  • Comprehending the Digital Advertising Ecosystem
  • Selling Digital Media
  • Managing Digital Advertising Campaigns
  • Analyzing Campaign Performance

This certification is the highest industry credential for digital media sales professionals and it's a badge AOL's sales teams will wear proudly.

Click here to learn more about AOL Advertising.

Mar 4th 2013

What to Watch For at SXSW Interactive 2013

For me, this year seems to be a transitional year for SXSW® Interactive Festival. Last year, I visited and saw that SXSW 2012 had reached a sort of stasis (the four days of rain really didn't help). Still, through the noise, there were a couple of really good SXSW brand activations that turned out to be enhancive to the overall experience.

Rising costs in conference-related expenses, travel, availability of accommodations (I had to book my downtown hotel last October) and its tendency to overwhelm, have caused a lot of people to skip this year in favor of SXSW's new V2V conference, which makes its debut later this year.

But much like every conference, the value of benefit in SXSW is what you make of it and I look at this year as an opportunity for new folks to make an impact – both on stage and off. (First timers – check out a great guide here.)

I'll be heading to the festival for the third time this year, and I'm looking forward to seeing what stands out, both in terms of key speakers and products, but also in brand activations. I will be livetweeting panels from my personal Twitter account and also @aoladvertising for up-to-the-minute highlights, so stay tuned for the latest starting Friday morning. AOL and our brands will also be offering up some great events and speakers to make your SXSW experience that much more fulfilling, and I've included those here as well.

Here's a look at what I recommend (interactive badge required unless otherwise noted.)


Pick a date: March 8th | March 9th | March 10th | March 11th

Friday, March 8th


Saturday, March 9th


Sunday, March 10th

  • 10:00am at Icenhauer's (83 Rainey Street, map) ALTO Brunch - Start your day off right with a stop at our Bloody Mary bar where you can checkout AOL's latest email product, Alto. (No badge required; RSVP here)
  • 11:00am at Cheers Shot Bar (416 East 6th Street, map) – Visit the Starterhouse Hosted by Mapquest - Stop by for product demos, live music, networking and good grub and more, open until 7pm. (No badge required; RSVP here)
  • 11:00am at the Hilton Austin - Airbnb's Brian Chesky Talks with Fortune - Airbnb's CEO Brian Chesky talks with Fortune Magazine Jessi Hempel about the past, present and future of his brand
  • 11:00am at Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin – TechCrunch's John Biggs joins folks from Givit, WeVideo and Magisto, as they talk about The Social Video Race
  • 11:00am at the Hyatt Regency Austin- Is Women's Media Too Girly? Jezebel's founder Anna Holmes, Deborah Schoeneman, Margaret Johnson and Rebecca Fernandez talk how media (websites, TV, books) created by women is often accused of being too girly
  • 11:00am at Courtyard by Marriott – HuffPost's Lisa Belkin and PBS's Sara DeWitt discuss How to Keep Working Parents In & Innovating
  • 3:30pm at the Hyatt Regency Austin - Toddlers & Technology - Huffington Post Executive Lifestyle Editor Lori Leibovich anchors a panel discussing the link between today's toddlers and the technology they have access to
  • 3:30pm at the AT&T Conference Center - The Community Manager: Enter the C-Suite - HuffPost Live Community Manager Tim McDonald joins other leading community managers in this workshop designed to help you learn about Community Management today)
  • 5:00pm at the Omni Downtown – NASA UX designers share what UX design in space is like with @NASA: The User Experience of a Space Station
  • 5:00pm at Long Center - Style Goes Viral: The Future of Fashion explores the future of fashion and social media and features Anne Fulenwider, Editor in Chief of Marie Claire, Nina Garcia, Creative Director at Marie Claire and Randi Zuckerberg
  • 5:00PM at the Sheraton Austin – Join leaders from Simply Measured and Klout as they discuss Social Media Was Fun. Has Measurement Killed It?

Monday, March 11th


I'm excited to help bring SXSW to you – so stay tuned! And if you're heading down and would like to meet up, just send me a tweet at @matthewknell.

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