Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, marketing, online advertising, online community, television, trends, tween, virtual worlds, web business, Webkinz

My talk at Pratt

Hi All,

I was asked to do a short talk at Pratt Institute, so I decided to share my slides.  Basically I wanted to have a short visual aid to a myriad of mainstream, large and successful properties and brands that did/do well interacting and connecting with their audience through online community and fan engagement .

Let me know if you would like more info or examples or if you have any questions.

Advertisement
Posted in gaming, kids, marketing, online community, Safety/Privacy, tween, virtual worlds

National Geographic Animal Jam – Open Beta!

Hey everyone!

The reason I haven’t posted in forever is because I am hard at work on our newly launched project (albeit in open beta) National Geographic Animal Jam!

The day is finally here to live wild with National Geographic Animal Jam™. Now you and your kids can be among the first to monkey around in this virtual world of discovery and fun. Combining the chance for kids to be the animal of their choice with access to National Geographic’s limitless libraries, National Geographic Animal Jam will open your child’s eyes to a world of adventure and exploration like no other virtual world out there. Your kids will soon realize that they’re having tons of fun in the coolest jungle around!

Two years in the making, National Geographic Animal Jam represents an ongoing creative collaboration between the great minds at National Geographic and the gaming gurus at Smart Bomb Interactive. The goal of this virtual world is to provide a fun, exciting, and safe environment for kids to play online, as well as inspire them to explore and protect the natural world outside their doors.

So come prowl around inside National Geographic Animal Jam. With lush tropical kingdoms, amazing adventures, and fascinating facts in store—plus the chance to live it up as your favorite animal—mommy and daddy bears (and their cubs alike) will find a wild world worth discovering!

National Geographic Animal Jam – Jump into the Jungle Today!

We are tweaking and polishing through the summer, and as such, it is completely free to play through the open beta! When we have our Grand Opening this fall, we will offer premium subscription content, but the game will always have free to play features.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Posted in gaming, kids, tween

HOW TO KEEP AN ONLINE WORLD UP AND RUNNING AFTER LAUNCH

SPEAKER/S: Laralyn McWilliams (Sony Online Entertainment Free Realms)

live by your data
camera snoop
all data in same database to get corelative data
start logging when client build
slice in time dashboard of logins, logouts, server counts

planning

servers – main, dev, qa, livetest, stage, live

have one positive in every update and build PR around it
have data to support decision
be open about strategy
think of grandfathering

used omniture and proprietary
they update every 2 weeks – that’s hard, goal is one month
– microtransactions require more frequency
– she recommends every 2 weeks
– hot fixes are ongoing

Posted in kids, online community, tween

Northandclark interview

My friend Casey Brazael has cool blog, called North and Clark, where he finds interesting people and does short interviews them.  I am honored to be one of those interviewees.

Thought I would share the link:

http://northandclark.blogspot.com/2009/06/wednesday-podcast-joi-podgorny.html

Thanks, Casey!

Posted in gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, online community, Safety/Privacy, television, tween, virtual worlds

Kids Online unconference – May 31

Hi all –

First of many plugs about the Kids Online Unconference that is happening the day before the Ypulse Youth Mashup. The whole thing is 5/31/09-6/2/09, but come to what you can.

We need to start getting a headcount, so if you could let myself or any of the other coordinators know if you are planning on attending, that would be great!

To sign up for the listserv we have set up, go to this link http://lists.idcommons.net/lists/info/kidsonline and click the “Subscribe” link.

Thanks!

Posted in kids, marketing, online community, tween, virtual worlds, web business

New (un)conference – Kids Online: Balancing Safety and Fun

Spread the word! Really affordable conference for practical info and discourse on kids online. If you have never been to an un-conference, you really are missing out. Everyone participates – SO community-focused! Hope to see everyone! – Joi

——–

About Kids Online

Our goal is to leave the day with greater clarity around some core best practices and have next steps as an industry to help kids being safer online.

Objective and Process
This is a day to dive in and work collaboratively on these kinds issues around kids online:

  • Who and what are we trying to protect digital kids from?
  • Are there standards and norms in practice that we can leverage to formalize best practices for industry?
  • Kids fake their ages to gain access to online content, do we as an industry care? If so, then…?
  • How do we create best practices that are flexible based on age range, content and willingness for parental involvement by industry or the child?
  • How can we create cyber-spaces that balance interesting and fun with safety?
  • What is the role of government in either defining or supporting best practices?
  • Any other ideas, issues, concepts that you think are important in this area.

We will take notes throughout the day from all sessions. This book of proceedings will be with all attendees talking about what we learned, synthesizing and next actions.

About the Unconference Format

The format we use means the agenda is created the day it happens. It is about getting things done and figuring out the tough problems. There is no committee deciding who does or does not get to ‘present’. Instead, Open Space is about breaking up into groups, working through issues, figuring out best practices and building consensus.

Attendees

  • The community we hope to gather includes:
  • Online Community/Virtual World Managers
  • Policy officers and Security Officers at large companies
  • Consultants in the kids online space
  • Identity technologists
  • State Attorney Generals
  • Legislative Staffers
  • Parents and Kids
  • Academics in the field
  • Bloggers

Speaking Opportunities

Anyone is welcome to create a session on a topic they find relevant to data sharing. The agenda for these sessions will be created on the first day of each event.

About the Event Organizers

Denise Tayloe and Joi Podgornyare the experts in Kids Online calling this event and Kaliya Hamlin an expert in digital identity and unconference facilitator have partnered to put this event together.

Kaliya Hamlin is an experienced unconference facilitator and organizer who has facilitated numerous unconferences, including the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) and She’s Geeky . Since 2005, the (un)conference format has been used at the Internet Identity Workshop, a bi-annual event focusing on emerging open standards in user-centric identity. Since then, Kaliya Hamlin has received con-siderable praise for helping IIW achieve real results.

Denise Tayloe co–founded Privo to help helps consumers manage their digital identities and to create a software solution that would help companies effectively interact with children while in compliance with the federal law. Denise has be-come a recognized leader and authority in permission and identity management, has been an invited speaker on the subject at conferences related to marketing as well as at Trans Atlantic dialogues regarding children’s privacy issues across the globe and has been published in the official newsletter of the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Ms. Tayloe has also conducted private workshops to help companies understand the intricacies of COPPA and how to maintain customer relationships within legal boundaries. Ms. Tayloe has more than 14 years experience in business development, sales, finance and the development of companies innovating and providing business and technology related services.

Joi Podgorny leads the integration of interactive/online strategies into Ludorum‘s television, publishing and toy properties. Before Ludorum, she has spent the past decade helping build, manage, and scale online communities for kids while developing and implementing the systems and infrastructure needed to make these communities viable. Joi has worked as a consultant championing and implementing COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) compliance and monitored networks, as well as developing and implementing strategies in the realms of digital production, integrated marketing, and youth interactive research.

When:

Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 08:30 AM – 5 PM (PST)

(Hopefully have some dinner groups afterwards to continue the conversations, as well.)

Where:

Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, CA 94043

Registrationhttp://kidsonline.eventbrite.com/

Early Bird by Sep 30, 2008 $95.00
Regular by Oct 31, 2008 $125.00
Kids (10-25) by Nov 12, 2008 $50.00

Sponsorships are available. Please contact any of the event coordinators if you are interested.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, online community, tween, virtual worlds

GREAT video on the value of kids virtual worlds

Go now and watch the Fast Company video from these posts. No, I’ll wait. The whole thing too, it’s all good.

http://www.virtualworldsnews.com/2008/04/video-disney-on.html
OR here
http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2008/04/ive-said-it-bef.html

Well done Disney. Slow hard clap. I virtually shake your hand.

There are some days when I am so proud of what I do. These sorts of videos are the ones I have to watch when I am not having one of those days. 😉 I just wish I saw it when it was originally posted…

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , , , , ,

Posted in gaming, kids, marketing, online advertising, trends, tween, virtual worlds, web business, Webkinz

Thinking Outside Virtual Worlds

The big category is Webkinz. The company is already launching different models, but it’s also selling figurines, lip gloss, and more to monetize the interest in the brand. Lots of companies are following suit. [ed: it seems like a new one at least every week]

Barbie Girls and Be-Bratz target an older market. Barbie Girls, though, offers some free content and as taken an early lead in users Collectible cards, like Bella Sara, Chaotic, Maple Story, World of Warcraft, have also spread across the environment. In the other direction, companies like Moo.com (with Habbo), Stardoll, Zazzle, and FigurePrints.com allow users to take elements from the virtual world to the real. Sometimes that’s as simple as printing your avatar on a tshirt, sometimes it’s designing clothes for your avatar that can then be fabricated for you, and sometimes it’s the creation of your avatar itself.

TestTubeAliens.com is an alien in a tube of water, when held up to the screen, it detects screen patterns and changes the mood of the physical alien. UbFunKeys comes from Mattel and operates in the similar fashion as Webkinz, but with plastic instead of plush. Tamagotchi recently updated its online world. Me2 from IrwinToy.com is a motion sensor that records your physical activity and then points to your virtual character at home, potentially promoting activity away from the sedentary lifestyle.

Other products like iBuddy or Ambient Devices’ gadgets interface with your computer or environment to provide you more information, creating more of an augmented reality than a straight up virtual world, but creating possibilities, said Smith, for giving feedback to users away from their avatars.

Other items, like Tshirts from Thinkgeek, Firebox, eLaundry.com, and Tqualizer imprint electronics that are tied to other tshirts or products, giving feedback through interwoven screens.

Virtual Worlds News: Liveblogging Worlds in Motion: MindCandy’s Michael Acton Smith on “Thinking Outside Virtual Worlds”

Interesting post on how to extend the virtual world brand to products.

Blogged with Flock

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, MySpace, television, tween, web business

Researching digital distribution this week

Thinking about digital distribution this and wanted to brain dump and hopefully get feedback from you all.  I am trying to compartmentalize digital distribution so that I can explain my understanding of it to others in an easy way.  Any help would be appreciated.

I see the strategy being simultaneously very different and very similar for independents and corporate company endeavors online.

INDEPENDENTS:

If you are an independent person, with something to say you have a variety of options available to you.  Focusing online, you can post your thoughts on someone else’s site or blog, join a forum or community and voice your opinion or many other outlets for you express yourself.

If you want a bit more involvement, you can decide to manage it yourself in a variety of ways and formats.  You can start a blog and rant in written form, you can start a podcast and rant in verbal form or you can start a video cast and rant in physical form.

If you decide to go this route, you may want to increase your audience, so you can add your content to aggregators and feed lists so that more people can search for and find your content.  You can add tags to entries that are cross referenced on other sites.  You can offer other ways for your users to find your content, like feeds or social bookmark tools.  You can also syndicate your content and put it on multiple platforms and other sites, depending on the format. 

CORPORATE:

What if you are a producer of someone else’s content, like your company, and you find yourself in the similar situation above.  As an independent, it’s easier to determine how big and wide-spread you want your content to be, it’s your choice, that’s all you are thinking about. 

But with a company, you have tons of other issues to think about:

  • Which pieces of content are you going to offer to the world?
  • Do you have rights to put this content online?
  • Where are the borders of those rights? Formats? Clip length? Countries?
  • Should you offer downloads or streaming? DRM or not?
  • Are there overlaps with different channels? Mobile? Web? VOD?
  • Will you have a Handheld Gaming Device strategy?  Does it work on wifi and non-wifi enabled devices?

I have been watching these issues for years now.  The market is moving so fast in every way, that I never really get a chance to focus on these channels.  So I am reaching out.  Correct me if I am wrong in classifications or defintions and add if you can where I don’t have enough info.

Licensed video distribution channels:
– These are companies that you either pay to be on or they pay you, but there is a formal contract/deal/aggreement drawn between the producer of the content and the distribution site/channel. 
– They stream most of their content and normally do not allow for cross pollination of the content on their site. 
– Because of their association with the networks, these are also sometimes referred to as IPTV or Internet  protocol television.

Examples include
Joost
Hulu

Independent video distribution sites
– These are sites that allow anyone to post their own content after agreeing to a simple “click here” sort of terms of use. 
– They stream their content, but encourage cross pollination of the content on other sites by use of an embed code. 
– These are also sometimes referred to as IPTV or Internet  protocol television, although not as much as the examples above as television implies networks and programming.
– Some of these sites are using “Channels” to group similar content in an effort to help consumers used to the more congruent programming on television.

Examples include:
Youtube
CurrentTV
Myspace TV
Revver
Vimeo
Crackle
Vuze

Video on Demand (VOD)
– These are distribution methods that are usually tied to network content, where the network will offer selected programming in a cache that the consumer can watch at their convenience.
– This is a highly demographic driven distribution channel.  Preschoolers and older adults tend to use this at higher rates.  Tech thought leaders use DVR devices in lieu of VOD.

Examples include:
Comcast offer an area on their set top box where individual networks can offer VOD selections. 

Mobile Distribution
– This is where I need an infusion of who are the leaders now.  I studied the market in early 2006, but with how quickly things are happening, who knows who is the leader now (actually, one of you knows)
– I DO know, that format-wise, mobile content, at least non-interactive content like videos, needs to be within the under 3 minute mark.
– This will change as soon as the new high-tech phones (iPhone, Nokia N95, etc) start becoming more of a mass market reality, but the marketplace is by in large still flip phone based.  I do see more and more people getting the qwerty keyboard phones (ala Sidekick, helio, etc) for ease of texting.
– What is very big still is ringtones and all derivatives of ringtones.  Ringbacks are even spreading in popularity.
– Games seem to be holding steady as well.  I personally do not know anyone who games often on their cell, but I see them often enough where I am able to accept the statistics that talk about mobile gaming on the rise.
– But who are the leaders?  Are the mobile networks still paying for content or are the producers paying to be on the network?  Not sure where this stands currently.

Examples include:
– Help me, who is big now?  MobiTV? VCast?

Handheld Gaming/Internet Devices
– This is a relatively new area to look at for digital distribution (unless you are a game developer 🙂 ).  But more and more handheld devices have wifi enabled.
– Is anyone taking advantage of this medium besides the hardware/software companies that ?  Are there any independent distributors utilizing this medium?  I know the PSP plays mini disc movies – is there downloadable content as well?
– How is optimization for Internet handheld going?  Is the market big enough to justify the resource time from your staff?

Internet Capable Gaming Consoles
– Same sort of questions as above, is anyone taking advantage of this outlet, or is it locked down by the indiviudal game companies?

Correct me if and where I am wrong and add where it is needed.  Thanks!

Blogged with Flock

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,