Domain names in the wild

Domain Names In The Wild
I’m working on a presentation that focuses on branding, nomenclature and domain names. Part of the presentation involves providing real-world examples of domain names being used as brands and/or key components for marketing campaigns. Over the next few weeks/months I’ll share some of the images I have collected of ‘domain names in the wild’.
This one courtesy of Petro Canada…


I swear I’m not making this stuff up. The .CA ‘did’ hit the one million mark (for the first time) around 11:15PM on Sunday, April 13. However, barely one hour later at the stroke of midnight, 600 domains met at rather untimely expiration?



nextMEDIA 2007

845613-media_httpwwwdailypixelcaimagesnextmediabadgejpg_eylcuonEgeyCHIhThe nextMEDIA: Monetizing Digital Media conference has come and gone, and it was a great experience from start to finish. We are really happy to have been a part of this event and are already looking forward to the next iteration currently scheduled for June 2008 in Banff, Alberta. Here is a brief snapshot of some of the ‘greatest hits’ from my perspective:

William Travis from the boutique creative firm ATTIK gave a case study presentation on their noteworthy Toyota Scion branding campaign and the impetus behind the creation of their ‘little deviant‘ marketing concept they crafted around the Scion brand. He really focused on understanding your consumer/audience and the nuts and bolts of putting together an immersive experience for the target demo. This agency really put themselves in the mindset of their target demographic, developed an intimate understanding of what motivates them and created a virtual world where their target consumers could truly ‘live the brand’. William was a passionate communicator and had the conference audience thoroughly engaged from start to finish.

Bryan Segal from Comscore Media Metrix did a fabulous presentation on the depth and breadth of the Canadian online advertising market. He did a great job giving an overview of the market data and current trends and communicated it all in a clear and concise fashion. Bottom line: the Canadian online ad market is growing at a rapid clip as advertisers are shifting their money and attention online as their audience is clearly moving in that direction, in addition to the added benefits of increased accountability and measurements that online advertising campaigns have over traditional forms of media.

David Carson from gave a terrific presentation on the value of branded entertainment as an alternative to the standard ‘ad ghetto’ formats of leaderboard and skyscraper banner advertising. is one of the long-standing pioneers of branded entertainment on the web, and David really put together a well-rounded and enjoyable presentation that highlighted stellar examples of this niche form of advertising put into practice. David also touched on the increasing role that consumers themselves can play in the branded entertainment arena. Perhaps the best example of a user-driven unsolicited ad campaign was the Diet Coke/Mentos viral videos done by the Eepy Bird guys.

Lloyd Alter from the environment-focused gave one of the conferences best presentations. He talked about the origins (btw: founder was born Canadian) of the site and how the company grew their idea from concept to their recent acquisition by the Discovery Channel. Lloyd is one of those special communicators who speaks from a deep reservoir of passion for his subject, and his willingness to discuss not just the things that went right, but also the things that went wrong or were ongoing challenges for TreeHugger was really refreshing. I wanted to give him a hugg after his presentation. Outstanding.

Will Pate from Conceptshare, spoke incredibly well about the do’s and don’ts of online promotion/marketing techniques. Will covered a wide range of tips/warnings on both sides of the ethical fence and I think anyone in the audience (ie, just about everyone in attendance) who wanted to learn more about promoting/marketing themselves, their companies and their content or brands got good value from Will’s presentation. Will has great charisma, and emanates guineness. It’s no wonder he’s a sought-after community ambassador.

Dick Soule, Head of International Sales for YouTube talked about YouTube’s recent move toward internationalization and specifically their move into Canada. Dick’s a great guy and YouTube’s move into Canada is a really big boost and affirmation for the Canadian online video space.

Pierre Karl Peladeau from Quebecor announced the launch of’s foray into the online video space. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this presentation was PKP’s heavy criticism of the subsidies handed out to the Canadian Television Fund and openly questioned the value of this practice going forward by saying programming created via CTF funding produces shows that “in general, nobody watches”. PKP is committed to doubling Canoe’s investment in Canadian content creation by working with independent producers of video content. Pierre clearly has a strong vision for Canoe and it will be interesting to see how they are able to execute. Perhaps Canoe’s biggest challenges are not so much in their ideas or execution, but rest squarely on a major balance sheet issue. Canoe/Quebecor is currently saddled with $2.4 billion of debt and cash-flow is declining not increasing. Canoe/Quebecor is by no means alone in facing this big-media equation, but when you listen to his ambitious plans and his committment to double investment in a given area, one has to wonder where will the money be coming from to fund it all?

Last but most definitely not least was a panel discussion headed by Canada’s best mainstream voice on everything web, Globe and Mail’s Mathew Ingram. Mathew was joined by a fantastic panel that included CEO of – Leonard Brody, VP of NBC Digital – Mark Lukasiewicz, and CBC‘s director of digital programming – Jonathan Dube. This was one of those panels where you just sit back and enjoy listening to a lively and intelligent discussion on topics like citizen journalism and the every-changing role, influence and consumption of news media. Everyone involved in this discussion brought a unique perspective on the topics covered and all had something intriguing to say. This was a great panel to finish off this conference.Like most conferences, there were highlights (networking opps, impromptu hallway debates and friendly chats ie, it was great chatting with Jeremy Wright of B5 Media/the aforementioned Will Pate/David Peralty of Splashpress) and lowlights (ie, spotty internet access throughout and frozen toes as a result of a heating issue on the first day), and several stand-out singular moments where the value of ‘being there’ was worth whatever resources it took to attend.

As a growing Canadian new media network, this conference is a must-do for us and we got tremendous value out of the entire two-day event and a follow-up trip back to Toronto is already in the works as a direct result of the networking connections made at this conference. A special thank you to all of the good folk at Achilles Media and Julie Giles from GreenHAT Digital for putting together an awesome 2-day event. nextMEDIA Banff 2008 can’t come fast enough!!

cross-posted from

Digital is where it’s at

In the tech world we see no shortage of ‘hype’ these days. The internet/digital spaces are sizzling with M&A activity and innovation is at an all-time high. However, lurking on the fringes of all of this hype are people who have lived through the dot-bomb era and are consistently warning everyone that a ‘correction’ or a full blown ‘bubble burst’ may be on the way. I’m a big believer in paying attention to ‘breadcrumbs’. Breadcrumbs are little morsels of information that act as signals or indicators in support of (or not) for a larger trend.

If we are indeed in a ‘bubble’, I have to say that I am not seeing many breadcrumbs to support that notion. In fact, we are consistently seeing signals in the marketplace that support the continued rise, growth and valuation of digital media.

One such breadcrumb that I stumbled across today was news that one of my favourite ‘Canadian-founded’ digital marketing agencies Blast Radius was acquired by a worldwide traditional (direct) marketing company. Blast Radius was founded in Vancouver in 1997 just as I was in the middle of my New Media diploma course at the Vancouver Film School. If memory serves me correctly, a VFS alumni was one of the founders of the agency. The CEO of the acquiring company had some brief but revealing comments regarding the logic behind the acquisition that in my opinion, just continues to support the notion that we are not in a bubble, but simply experiencing the rise of all things digital and web.

I’m surprised at the speed at which clients are moving real communication dollars into the [digital] channel,” said Wunderman Chairman and CEO Daniel Morel, adding he expects the history of advertising will one day be divided into “before search” and “after search.”

ClickZ: Wunderman Acquires Blast Radius

Shopify keeps innovating

I want to give some props to the brilliant folk over at jaded Pixel who continue to do incredible things with their baby, Shopify. Shopify makes selling anything on the web dead simple, and incredibly beautiful. Good design, easy implementation and simplicity are corner stones to building a successful web app, but few teams hit that sweet spot. In the case of jaded Pixel and their Shopify system, they’ve not only hit the mark, they’ve hit it out of the park. Not satisfied with having one of the best ecommerce applications on the web, they have now set their sites on building a large and diverse ecommerce community and marketplace – enter Shopify Marketplace. Now you can search the whole network of Shopify stores through their Marketplace search engine. This adds even more value for their shop-owners and further cements their position as an innovative leader in this space. Way to go Scott, Tobi and the whole JP team. You guys rock.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Shopify co-founder Scott Lake about a year ago.

Russia’s arctic ambitions should serve as a warning to Canada

Stephen Harper deserves some credit for putting Canada’s arctic sovereignty on the policy and federal funding radar screen. However, I still question whether we’re being aggressive enough on this issue, especially in lieu of those land-grabbing Russians.

We’re probably less than 10-15 years away from the Northwest Passage being ice-free for part of the year making it a legit shipping channel and shorter alternative than the route via the Panama Canal. The ramifications both politically and financially of a viable northern passage shouldn’t be underestimated. Not to mention the vast unknown natural resources that will inevitably be discovered once the ice recedes.

I totally respect the Russians for their foresight and ambition, but Canada had better be ready to defend her territory. In disputes like this it often boils down to ‘use it or lose it’, and we have done little to strengthen and legitimize our arctic borders to date.

Canadians are replacing TV, radio with the web

CRTC released a new study, and it shows Canadians are spending less time with traditional media (radio and tv) and are replacing it with the web.

“It’s not as if TV is disappearing, it’s just that the Internet is really consuming it,”
Adam Finkelstein of Montreal’s McGill University

What is particularly interesting is how advertising dollars are still flowing (rising) for TV and radio despite dwindling usage. Having said that, while TV and radio are seeing a slight rise in annual revenues, Canadian online ad dollars hit $1 billion for 2006 which is almost double the $562 million spent on the web in 2005. Considering the online ad market in Canada is growing at approx. 35% per quarter, there can be no denying that the internet is ‘the’ growth medium in the media foodchain right now.  

Canadian New Media Awards Experience

The CNMA Finalist experience thus far has been everything I had hoped it would be, and so much more. We are now 2/3 of the way through the 2-day experience and have had the privilege to meet so many talented Canadians who are all doing amazing things on the web, film, gaming, arts, mobile etc.

Adam Froman founded the CNMA 7 years ago, and his passion for the Canadian interactive industry is truly infectious. Everyone involved with the CNMA has a genuine passion for celebrating Canadian new media talent, and every event is planned with the idea of maximizing the experience for the Finalists.

Our experience started on Sunday night with a BBQ at the Canadian Film Center. It was the perfect ‘casual’ kickoff event that got all of the Finalists warmed up, and introduced to one another. Previously unknown names and faces became friendly peers in just a few hours. Today (Monday) we had our second CNMA event which was at the Royal Bank Plaza on the 40th floor which sported a jaw-dropping view of Toronto and Lake Ontario. It was a bit more of a formal event, but again, the value of networking at this event was tremendous. This luncheon was clearly about bringing together the corporate sponsors of the CNMA with the Finalists.

I was incredibly impressed by the genuine interest at the corporate level for our Canadian new media industry. The companies involved with the CNMA clearly see the vast potential in the Canadian social/new media space and are eager to meet the emerging leaders in our industry, which is just another positive sign that our industry is on the rise and poised for continued growth.Tonight is the ‘big show’.

The Awards Ceremony kicks off with a networking cocktail event at 6pm which runs until 8pm, followed by the announcing of the 2007 CNMA Award winners. This may sound totally cliche, but our dailypixel Network has already won. Being a part of this event has been an incredible experience and it has already brought newfound awareness to our network from public relations, potential partnerships, creative alliances, business services and general interest from current and new users/readers. We are a big winner no matter what transpires this evening, whether our name is formally announced as a winner or not is just a total bonus to an invaluable 2-day experience.

To the Canadian new media community at large, I can highly recommend embracing this event. Get your names, companies and endeavours nominated for future CNMAs, and I promise you, it will be an experience you won’t soon forget. You will meet and share a bond with some of the most amazing Canadians that had it not been for the CNMA, you probably would not get exposed to. The Canadian New Media Awards are a win-win scenario for all who participate, whether you ‘win’ or not.

Needless to say, it has truly been an honour to be part of this year’s event.