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Media contacts May 22, 2006

Posted by lsalama06 in Dissertation.
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I started to correspond with some consultants to just get a quick glimpse and have a better picture of the issue of personalization. Last week I sent out Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express. I only received an email from the Daily Telegraph asking me to contact the PR office because Mr. Newland left the newspaper…so am back to square one.

This doesn’t sound good so I sent off an email to Karen Collier today to ask her if she has an updated list of media contacts email…I hope I get a response from her ASAP.


Statement about personalisation May 14, 2006

Posted by lsalama06 in Dissertation, Hot issues.
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“Personalisation will become increasingly important as use grows of the Net on mobile phones, where information must be more carefully filtered due to limited screen space.”

source: http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,39731,00.html

Bloggers arrested in Egypt May 13, 2006

Posted by lsalama06 in Hot issues.
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Just received an email from a friend of mine who is an avid blogger…actually the email is a petition asking everyone to call for the release of 6 bloggers who were detained by police (just because they are blogging)….. this coincides with my conclusion in my Media Theory essay saying that the internet alone cannot bring about democracy and enhance political participation….and also any benefits that internet brings to democratization or effective political participation in Egypt will be of a long term nature, mainly because both political reform and the IT field are still considered in their infancy stage.

>From: Amr Gharbeia
>To: Undisclosed.Recipients: ;
>Subject: Peaceful Protestors in Prison while Mubarak visits Gemrany
>Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 01:44:45 +0300
On the day of Mubarak’s arrival in Germany, peaceful protesters are
being imprisoned for supporting independent judiciary. Of the 48 detained so
far, 6 are bloggers. One of those, Alaa Abdel Fatah, is a very good friend of

We have worked together to build the Egyptian blogsphere, and last
year, he won the DW Best of the Blogs special award for freedom of speech, while
I won the Best Political Blog in Arabic.

We managed to launch a world-wide campaign to free Alaa and the other

Please help us by spreading the message to German-speakers. This is an
interview I did to DW today:

You can stay updated with the whole campaign through the Free Alaa

Amr Gharbeia

May 13, 2006

Posted by lsalama06 in Dissertation.
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Survey on American broadband internet users: Personalisation issues May 13, 2006

Posted by lsalama06 in Dissertation.
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I just read a study conducted by PEW INTERNET & AMERICAN LIFE PROJECT which was released on 22 March 2006. This study was mainly based Americans’ use of the Internet with a focus on behaviors of broadband users. Nevertheless, it’s a good lead for my research. Here is a brief of the findings that I found related to my dissertation topic:

-Broadband internet users’ main news source are online news websites.

-Traditional media organizations dominate online news sources.
-46% of all internet users go online for national TV news
organization such as CNN or MSNBC; 52% for broadband users.
-39% go to portal sites such as Yahoo or Google;44% for broadband users.
-32% go to websites of a local daily paper; 36% for broadband users.
-31% go online to view a local TV news station; 33% for broadband users.
-20% go online to view national daily newspapers;24% for broadband users.

-Online news consumers are willing to register for news, but are not willing to pay.
Now my question is why is that, is it because information online should be accessible to all, right?! …mmmm?

-53% of those who say they have ever gone online for news, say they have registered at a website in order to get news and information. This number rises to 54% for all broadband users and 59% for broadband users who have gotten news online.

-Not many internet users pay for online content; only 6% say they do. Home broadband users are more apt to do this than dial-up users. High-powered broadband users are most likely to do pay for news content.

As to setting up personal preferences for news alerts, 19% of all internet users have done this, or about 23% of online users have visited a news site online. Fully 61% of those who have done this are broadband users.

Source: http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_News.and.Broadband.pdf

Toshiba new laptop May 12, 2006

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Mobility Age is here…check this out…we wont need notebooks anymore to write comments or assignments….all we need is just a laptop.


Contemplating on my disseration question May 12, 2006

Posted by lsalama06 in Dissertation.
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My Dissertation topic is about Personalisation of news media websites.

Now originally I wanted to write something about how media is affected by the new technology. Ofcourse this was too vague of a topic. So I had to narrow it down.

Through some readings and attending a couple of lectures at Bournemouth University a couple of weeks ago, listening to the guest speakers helped in molding and narrowing my topic. The guest speakers were Nik Gowing BBC’s main presenter on the news programs re-launched in April 2000 and a regular presenter for the BBC’s Dateline London and Helen Boaden, BBC’s director of news. They both talked about how journalism is changing and how journalistic skills is changing and accommodating to new global trend such as community journalism – also known as civic journalism or public journalism. July 7th bombings is a real live proof of such changes. According to Boaden, after few hours of the explosions, the BBC had alot of images sent from the public.

Now what was interesting for me was how the BBC filtered through such images and made sure that these images were for real?

And what also intrigued me was the abundance of information. Nowadays media outlets not only have information from their journalists but also from citizens, and all such information is filtered (for credibility) and fed into the website. Thus, the web has become a news jungle that requires some kind of moderation.

Now the challenge here is for new-stream media to maintain managing attention of their users and help users filtering through the information that is significant to them. According to Nielsen (2000) users want quicker access to information.

Traditional information-processing agencies, from newspapers to television networks such as the CNN, the Guardian and BBC, have implemented various methods to manage attention and present information to their users (i.e.: using headlines, interactivity, feedback).

Nowadays a buzz word in the media and marketing field is PERSONALIZATION. (actually personalization is one of the main characteristics of the Web 2.0, the other characteristic is interactivity).

Personalization of news and information services have been around since early 1990s when PointCast offered to send out customised news to individuals. In the beginning of 1996, web portals followed the lead by launching personalised services such as My Yahoo, My Excite. Personalisation has also been implemented in commercial websites such as Amazon.com. Also some social websites offered personalisation features, an good example is MySpace, which was recently bought (at a cost of $580 million) by Rupert Murdoch.

A few media websites have followed the lead such as the Washington Post, the Guardian, and CNN. Another example is BBC’s recent revamping process of its website to include “more personalisation, richer audio-visual and user generated content”.

My original proposal question which I submitted to Joe yesterday was: Have media news models fulfilled personalization’s ultimate goal, which is to deliver news that is valuable and meaningful to the individuals? if not why not? what are the challenges.
I feel this is too vague.

So I am narrowing my question down to:
Will personalisation work for mainstream news website to manage attention of the users?

Further questions I would like to investigate in my MA dissertation.:
And are people welcoming technologies like this, which aim to filter the world on their behalf?
If a media uses its knowledge of users behavior to feed back more of what it knows users already like, then where is the element of surprise?
Are people willing to give up their information for this service?
If people only read news they select, wouldn’t this create a risk of social fragmentation?
Will Personalisation actually work for media outlets, is it profitable? how advertisers react to this? (mmmmm maybe this would be another dissertation topic)

Research Methodology:
To complete this project, I will not only depend on secondary resources but I will conduct interviews with media organizations such as the BBC, Guardian. Also I will interview journalists and web consultants.

I would really appreciate your comments.

Time Out May 4, 2006

Posted by lsalama06 in Personal Diary.
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Today’s weather is amazing…..it kind of reminds me of the weather in El Gouna which is a resort in Egypt on the Red Sea (as shown in the pic below).

El Gouna 01.jpg
Photo by Volker Scherl.

Internet Marketing Tools May 1, 2006

Posted by lsalama06 in Hot issues.
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At the Internet Marketing Conference in Stockholm this year which will be held from the 19-21 of September 2006, will be mainly discussing main internet marketing tools commonly used nowadays (source: http://www.internetmarketingconference.com/topics.html):

Search Engines: More than 70% of – Search Engines are the most popular tool for finding new content on the web. Over 70% of web sessions begin at a search engine. This means that understanding how Search Engines work (especially with regard to your search rank which is the position of your website on a search engine) is crucial in brining new customers to your company Online. The most well known search engine is Google.

Directories – the first type of Search Engine was a Directory. Directories categorize listings into areas by topic and region. Also, most directories employ people (called ‘editors’) to actually look at each website to categorize and rate it. This cost-intensive practice is why most directories charge for inclusion. Examples of Directories include Yahoo * & Open Directory.

Crawlers – Crawlers are software programs that ‘crawl’ the web and index websites based on a mathematical algorithm. Engineers design complex algorithms to define which web pages are most relevant for a search term and to prevent abuse by people who use keyword loading (packing a website with irrelevant keywords) to achieve a top ranking. Most search engines use crawlers. Examples of crawlers (search engines that use crawlers) are Google * & Altavista *.

Pay-Per-Click – There are Directories (like Yahoo), search engines (like Google) and then there are “Pay-per-click” search engines. Pay-per-click engines auction their top search rankings, allowing companies to pay to be seen first on the search result page. Like many directories, people – not software programs – are used to check to see that websites match the terms they are listed for to ensure relevance. Examples of Pay-per-click Search Engines are Overture* & Findwhat*.

Search Engine Optimization – Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the art of preparing a site to achieve a high search rank. Search Engine Optimization includes modifying website titles, text, keywords, alt tags, meta-tags, links, programming structure, content arrangement, etc. etc.

Home pages – The content of a Home Page is often aimed at orienting the viewer to the website and its contents, introducing the company or service, etc. Like other web pages, the Home Page consists mainly of text & pictures but also technically more advanced components like javascript & flash is also very commonly used today, as a compliment to a static page, or to create an entire site. The setting up of a Home Page can be a one minute job or a six months project depending on the complexity of the Home Page.

Web design – Web Designers are graphic designers that are knowledgeable of and experienced in designing for the World Wide Web. Web design does not just require solid design skills, but also special talents at organizing information, selecting and compressing graphics so that they download quickly, and many other specialized skills.

Usability – Usability refers to the degree to which a website is easily navigated, content is easily found, information is useful and clear – or in a word – usable. Usability experts spend hundreds of hours observing real people on web sites, examining which paths they choose, what frustrates them, or what the best sites do to attract users to key content.

Content Management – Large corporate websites or Online portals may consist of hundreds – even thousands – of pages full of information. Content Management, refers to methods and tools used to manage, create, or update this content.

Links – Links ‘are’ the web. The big innovation that makes the World Wide Web what it is, was the Hyper Text Link which simply refers to the ‘clickable’ elements on a page that lead to another page.

Banners – Banners are horizontal advertisements commonly found on many commercial websites. Banners were the first commercial form and Online advertising and were created by the staff of the important magazine ‘Wired’. Banners quickly became adopted as an advertising standard generating revenues for publishing and content sites.

Rich Media – Advanced banners incorporating multimedia elements (animation, sound, forms, etc.) are often referred to as Rich Media ads. With the widespread adoption of Broad Band (high speed Internet) Rich Media is becoming more & more popular to use because of the many possibilities in creating messages.

Affiliate Program – With the ease of creating links, commercial enterprises on the Internet quickly realized that it was worth paying high traffic sites to send buyers to their (virtual) doors. Amazon is widely credited for pioneering this innovation, and Amazon’s affilate program is one of the most visible on the web. Affiliates typically receive either a percentage of a sale or a flat fee for each purchase or each visitor clicking through a link.

Browsers – Browsers are the common tool used to access the web. Netscape and Internet Explorer are the most commonly used browsers. Few people think about the fact that the browser basically decides which page you go to through. If you forget to put in the full address to a site – the Browser directs you to a Search Engine of their choice. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape & Opera are examples of browsers.

Email – Email is the ‘killer app’ of the Internet – the most widely used tool of all, even moreso then the web. For most people, each time they log onto the Internet they check their email. Though abused by spammers and over-used even by many legitimate marketers, with no stamps or printing to pay for, email marketing is a powerful tool that can bring real profits to those that know how to do it right.

Opt-in Email – To “Opt-in” for an email means that you offer to receive information by email from a company or marketer. As the flood of unwanted email grows, Opt-in is widely regarded as the most professional way to develop e-mail lists. In contrast, “spam” is mail that is sent to anyone, whether they request it or not; and “Opt-out” is the practice of forcing someone to do something in order to ‘not’ receive e-mail.

Autoresponder – An autoresponder is a method of sending automatic replies to someone who fills out a form or sends you an e-mail. Autoresponders can be assuring, informative, or both (“This e-mail is to let you know that you have successfully subscribed to our e-mail newsletter. Thank you.”). Autoresponder’s can also be used to send out repeat messages, in order for example to remind people of an appointment or a sale.

Spam – Spam is “Internet junk mail”; e-mail that is sent ‘blindly’ to thousands or tens of thousands of e-mail addresses usually in the hope of bringing in customers. For legitimate businesses, sending spam can hurt the company’s reputation and also create security risks and other retaliations. In some cases there can be a fine line between sending out Spam and sending out legitimate commercial messages.

Newsletters – Sending out regular news by email is very popular. The term ‘Newsletter’ simply refers to this practice. This is a very cost effective way of communicating to your visitors/customers and may be relatively brief and simple, or long and complex. Text-only newsletters are newsletters written in plain text only. HTML newsletters are more complex with graphic components, links, etc.

Copywriting – Copywriting skill is crucial to e-mail marketing and web marketing. To write for the web is a special skill which like any other skill demands both theoretical understanding of how people use and read websites and e-mail (for example, most content is skimmed not ‘read’) as well as practical experience to know how certain terms are used, how to be concise, develop relationships, etc.

Domain Names – The Domain Name System is the system of web addresses used to locate certian pages on the World Wide Web. For example: internetmarketingconference.com is the domain name of this website. Initially numbers were used to identify resources and pages on the Internet and Web but with the invention of the Domain Name System it became possible to translate numbers into words for more meaningful – and memorable addresses.

Branding – Like branding in the offline world, Online branding may involve all aspects of a company’s or services Online presence. This includes such key elements as logo usage and placement as well as domain name selection, communication style, Online resources, international appeal, etc.

Trademark – Before the Internet’s incredible growth, trademark owners were not prepared for the sudden explosion of interest in Domain Names. This meant that many Trademark owners didn’t register their trademarks before they were taken. This has resulted in expensive legal disputes, and new international laws governing domain names.

Traffic Analysis – While much emphasis is placed on the number of ‘eyeballs’ that a website receives, the quality of visitors is equally – or more important – then the absolute number. Traffic analysis can be based on on-site surveys or on the study of log files (information recorded by most servers). Logo files collect information such as who the visitors are (in the form of their Internet Protocol address which can tell you their country of origin), which pages are viewed most and least, the origin of traffic (whether from a Search Engine, other website, etc.), which operating system and browser your visitors computers have, how long visitors spend on the site, which search strings they used to look for the website, and many other facts.

Security – While most websites are unlikely to have a security breach, all computers should have security measures and the level of security should match the sensitivy of the information stored on the computers. Computers that store financial, membership, medical, or other sensitive information, including credit card numbers taken in by all ecommerce sites. A “firewall” is the name for a security barrier that prevents outsiders (hackers) from breaking into a computers. Many large companies have high security with their incoming-and outgoing mail and web browsing, which can prohibit the acceptance or viewing of certain common file types.

Forum – In the offline world, a forum is one of the oldest means in the world to gathering people to share opinions. On the Internet, forums take the form of e-mail groups or newsgroups (where a collection of people all receive the same centrally distributed e-mails on a topic or in a ‘discussion’), bulletin boards (where information on a topic is posted in ‘threads’ consisting of questions and answers), and other similar tools that gather and distribute information to an interest group.

Livechat – on websites you sometimes have the opportuniy of chatting directly with the websiteowner. This is often called a livechat. The technique is useful in areas such as support when a client needs a fast interactive session with a vendor.

Blog – a blog is a personal forum. It gives individuals the chance of easily updating content on the web. To “blog” is to create individual text content on the world wide web.

SMS – Short Message Service – is used to both market websites as well as for micro-payments on the web. SMS is a very important method to make money for Advertising Companies. Creatives way of combining SMS and the Web generates a lot of attention and Internet traffic.