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April Fool’s Day From Your Favorite Internet Businesses

This year saw some interesting April Fool’s pranks pulled by major businesses. With the hype about fake news buzzing around the biggest prank day of the year, many businesses went the very-obviously-a-prank route to avoid confusion. Here are some of the highlights:

Netflix Live

Appearing on the home page a few hours before April 1 started, Netflix Live featured Will Arnett commentating for 48 minutes about normal items like a toaster, pencil sharpener, and an office copier. Some people (like myself) were initially excited – is Netflix finally jumping on the bandwagon of streaming live TV? Further investigation proved no, just a silly prank, resulting in a quality 48 minutes of wasted time.

Netflix Live

 

Amazon’s Petlexa

An Amazon Alexa update that allows your beloved pets to interact with your Alexa home device just like you – but watch out, your cat can now order sushi all on its own.

 

Google Gnome

A spoof on Google Home, this friendly outdoor Smart Gnome promises to help you with your gardening, tell you the weather, turn on outdoor tools, but don’t you dare ask it to complete an “indoor request.”

Zappos Unstealable Boxes

Zappos takes it’s customer service to the next level by announcing their new invisible, unstealable boxes to combat parcel theft. “With one touch of a button, your delivery goes from timely to transparent.”

 

This is a fun way to generate buzz around your business, but it can very easily go wrong, so if you decide to pull an April Fool’s prank on your customers next year, proceed with caution!

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Rooster Teeth – A T-Shirt Company in Disguise

When Rooster Teeth was founded in 2003 it was little more than a few friends making a non-sense video series called Red vs Blue, spun out of the Halo video game saga. RvB, as it was soon known, then became the house hold staple to many teenage and college aged young men. Over the next decade this small comedy study grew and began producing content such as Achievement Hunter (a video series of their friends playing games, think Twitch.tv), The Know (an internet news source for all things gaming related), my personal favorite RWBY (a very well done cartoon series), and much more.

Now located is Austin, Texas this company has expanded it’s content offering and company size too. With the 2014 acquisition by Fullscreen Media they received the monetary backing to continue to grow their venture as a subsidiary. New animation engines and additional staffing were added to improve the already impressive body of content.

All of these entertainment accolades aside, one must wonder how the company makes money to exist. The answer is remarkably simple, through their loyal fans. Some subscribe to a membership model giving early, and sometimes exclusive, access to content. Most buy paraphernalia such as posters, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. The CCO (Chief Creative Office) laughably joked that they weren’t a content company at all, they were just a really well disguised t-shirt company.

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EllenTube

 

Well, this post was supposed to be written hours ago, but I got distracted by watching videos from the Ellen Show on EllenTube. With competitors like the online video-sharing king, Youtube, only Ellen Degeneres could have her own video website and somehow keep it afloat.

The website is a hub for all of the addicting clips from the Ellen show. Although EllenTube is a very similar concept as YouTube, it has set itself apart by the website layout, and video categories. The homepage layout consists of image sliders, featured videos, trending hashtags, most recent videos, best user uploads, etc. The color scheme is very colorful and bright, as is the logo, a tv with feet and a color striped screen. The video categories consist of: Kids, Scares, Dance, Cats, LOL, Studios, Celebrity Interviews, Oops, Talented Kids, Ellen’s Favorites and many more. Within each category, the video corresponds with a segment from the show. This makes the video search process for a user much easier because each category is distinct to the Ellen Show. When choosing a video, the website also pushes for the user to share the video on Facebook and Twitter, by placing two large share buttons below the video. By encouraging video sharing, EllenTube is spreading the Ellen Show brand internet-wide.

It is interesting to think about the reason behind this project. Why does Ellen need her own video sharing website? Is there a major difference between EllenTube and YouTube? At first, I was slightly turned off by the project. It seemed a little unnecessary to create an entire website for a television show’s video clips. As I started researching the website and trying it out for myself, I became much more open to the idea. The Ellen Show is known for its laughable segments, charming host, and generosity. EllenTube enhances the Ellen Show’s brand by portraying itself as fun-loving, entertaining and plugged in. And it is easier to get lost in a video binge when the they are all located in one place.

I think EllenTube has done an effective job of promoting the Ellen Show and it’s brand, along with encouraging it’s viewers to say, “just one more video…”

Now back to EllenTube!

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Settlers of Catan: Getting Creative with Long Distance Relationships

Towards the end of her junior year of college, my sister met her future husband. He was graduating, and had already made plans to go to Israel to get a masters for the next two years. Joanna and Mordecai kept in touch over skype for those two years, and were creative with how they spend time together. Sometimes they would cook dinner “together” or listen to podcasts and do work; other times they would invite my brother and me to play cards with them. We placed Mordecai cards on a stand, and he told us “second from the left” to select which card to play.

2012 083 A few of my siblings and I also played cards like this my freshman year of college while they were home for a break and I was still at school. (See image on left.)

Now my brother (a 2nd Lieutenant in the army) is dating a girl currently stationed in Germany. Instead of the usual cards over skype, we tried a new game: Settlers of Catan – the app! – while also using google hangouts to talk.

We had played Settlers before, but never online, so it took a while for everyone to get set up, purchase the app for $4.99 and then get to playing. All in all I thought it was a fun way to spend time together, and we will certainly be playing again (not to mention to get our $4.99 ‘s worth). If you’ve run out of fun things to do with your long-distance family or significant other, I’d recommend giving it a try.

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The True Internet April Fool(s)

Happy Belated April Fools! (I hope no one was too distraught over the spike in laundry prices.)

The maximization of the internet as an every-day commodity has caused major sites to wrack their brains to maximize their ability to attract audiences. April Fools is a prime time to do this.

Typically for the historic holiday, sites will try to do something funny or quirky that (hopefully) audiences can enjoy with a chuckle. 2013 was dominated in the geek-dom by Netflix’s announcement of Firefly season 2 (some are still bitter) and Google’s fantastic 2014 Pokemon hunt on Google Maps. Notable pranks of 2016 include…

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Pinterest: An Alternative Marketing Approach

Pinterest: An Alternative Marketing Approach

With an $11 billion valuation and 100 million monthly active users in 2015, Pinterest is a one stop shop for creative inspiration, recipes, travel tips, advertisements/marketing, household tips and so much more.

Originating in 2010 as a social media network of “visual bookmarking” (similar to Tumblr), the internet sensation has grown to be the second largest social media network, following Facebook. Pretty impressive, right? So what does this website offer that people can’t get enough of?

Not only is the website and mobile app user intuitive, it also supplies new content after the page is refreshed. Because the user activity is so consistent, the website it always adding new content to your feed. This feature is quite similar to other social media networks in how the networks can become addicting. When there is always new content to see, users have the urge to continue browsing the app until there is no more to read.

But there is so much more that adds to Pinterest’s greatness.

Beginning as a platform to save “visuals,” Pinterest still holds the concept of sharing ideas. Within the past few years, this concept has developed into a goldmine for advertisements, marketing and e-commerce. Companies now use Pinterest as a tool to reach their target audience in a different approach. Instead of a flashing advertisement, companies mold their marketing strategies to the Pinterest style.
For example, Wix–a website development platform.

wix

This is a pin that was on my personal Pinterest feed. Notice the design and wording of the advertisement –the trendy floral design, bold typography, the creative buzzwords such as “design” and “stunning”. These characteristics would stand out to a Pinterest user because it appeals to the general Pinterest aesthetic. In addition, notice how the pin attributes Wix.com–“Promoted by Wix.com.” Using a softer and positive word like “promoted” is more approachable for the target user instead of harsher words. Although this is a Wix advertisement, it masks itself to be more interesting and welcoming.

Another alternative marketing feature is the Pin it button extension. A user can download the Pinterest button on Google Chrome and pin photos from any website. This creates extremely high traffic for both the pinned website and Pinterest.
For example: Free People–a woman’s clothing retailer

After downloading the extension, the Pin It button will appear on your browser’s right side bar.

pin button

Simply click it when you would like to pin a photo from a website. Here, I clicked the button while browsing Free People’s new arrivals page.

Pinterest FP

Once choosing a photo to pin, click the red “pin it” button, choose a board and viola, it is saved to your Pinterest board!

pinterest

Using this feature not only added content to Pinterest’s platform, but it also pulled content from Free People’s website that may have never appeared on Pinterest without the pinning button feature.

Pinterest’s consumer influence is undeniable and its internet presence is unavoidable, who knows what will be next for it!

 

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