Running JSLint In Eclipse On Windows

Eclipse is such a wonderful and extensible development environment that all of us here at Linkstorm do our development work with it.  Whether we are working on front-end or back-end code, the various plugins available to assist us are vast.

Much of our JavaScript development is done within Eclipse using the JSEclipse plugin (which is now only available as part of the Adobe Flex Builder installation).  If you’ve worked extensively with JavaScript you’re familiar with the repetitive nature of testing and debugging the code using the various verifiers and debuggers out there.

One particular JavaScript verifier that I constantly find myself running code through is Douglas Crockford’s JSLint.  For those that aren’t aware of what JSLint is, it is simply itself a JavaScript program that looks for issues and problems in other JavaScript programs and checks the syntax. Read More »

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For the last few months, all industry forecasts for the Online Ad space indicated rapid growth despite the worldwide economic downturn and the corresponding downturn or flatness in the ad industry as a whole (weighed down by traditional media).  But now some estimates like JP Morgan’s and the others collected on Silicon Alley Insider’s post today indicate that even within Online, Display Ads may be suffering in favor of more performance-based forms of advertising (e.g. Search).

Call me an optimist, but I love the idea of tough times driving this “flight to quality.”  Display Advertising is the largest spending category after Search, yet it’s the category where performance-based accountability is the most lacking.

Granted, my optimism is self-serving because Linkstorm brings this accountability to Display Ads, and so I hope this flight to quality will drive more advertisers right into our arms.  Even Search is only “performance-based” in the sense of driving clicks (as opposed to actual conversions), and in Display we routinely drive CTR increases of 2x-5x.  (In fact we entered the market guaranteeing at least a 50% increase in CTR or you didn’t have to pay us!)

But all self-interest aside, I actually welcome these pessimistic industry outlooks, because Display Advertising needs better ROI accountability in general.  Whether this is addressed by us or any other performance-oriented vendors, the industry as a whole will benefit - and will keep seeing its revenues increase regardless of the global economic outlook - if it improves on what is so far only the PROMISE of greater ROI and accountability in Display Advertising as opposed to traditional media.


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Ads are not tips…

An open e-mail to Seth Godin — I’m a big fan of his!


I’m a big fan of your blog, following it for quite some time. And normally, you nail your topics, dead on accurate. Unfortunately not today (re: your post titled “Ads are the new online tip jar“). You’re not totally wrong (I say with great hubris)… just mostly.

There are basically two types of publishers in the ad universe: big guys and small guys. For the small guys, you are correct. Clicking their ads will tick up the numbers in their adsense statistics and the single blogger will feel good going to bed that night. And small guys are pretty important, particularly to long-tail focused players like Google (pre-DoubleClick). But the likelihood of a vast majority of the small guys receiving enough “tip clicks” to make an impact is low – no? Maybe… I’m not sure.

But, the big guys – well that’s a different story. The inflated clicks (from “tips”) will hurt their CTR and conversion numbers. And while in the end savvy advertisers mostly care about ROI, the truth is most big buyers spend their attention looking at CTR lift for brand campaigns and conversion lift for direct response. So random clicks, are not really a good thing.

I say all of this because at Linkstorm we focus on increasing clicks, lift, conversion, etc. – all of it. And that’s pretty hard. But we hear from our customers what’s important and focus on it.

Hope this helps…


- Lon

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String Casing in Ant

One of the various build tools we use is trusty, reliable Apache Ant. In order to take some of the regex load off our Apache web server, we decided to deploy versions of our javascript files in various cases (uppercase, lowercase, etc.) in addition to our standard mixed case. Normally this type of thing isn’t a problem, since our JS is only called from within our code, but somehow, browsers are messing with String case. Annoying.

Unfortunately, amongst the numerous tasks provided within Ant and contrib functions, there isn’t one for String manipulation. After a bit of Googling, the best I found was in a blog post by Peter Thomas which suggested writing a small Java class, that was compiled during the Ant build, and then used to read in a value and write the output to a temp file, which could then be set into a property. It inspired me, but I wanted to avoid the temp file. The main thinking I liked was trying to avoid manipulating the Ant install environment for simple string manipulation.

Before starting down this path, I considered alternate approaches, that were mostly RegEx based, but I couldn’t find a way to move forward without adding in contrib tasks. Read More »

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There’s a hot new medium called the Internet

I just came across a thorough presentation compiled by Greg Stuart, former CEO and President of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). It is called an “In-Depth Introduction to Internet Advertising” and is a whopping 82 slides. However, it contains many great sound-bites as well as stats that any interactive marketer should have in their arsenal.

Here are a few stats that I’ll share next time I talk to a ‘traditional media’ marketer:

64% of US households answered “Computer with Internet Access” to the question “If you had to live on a deserted island and could only take one thing with you.” 18% said books, 6% said TV, 6% said radio, 4% said cell phone and 1% said newspaper subscription.

General Motors, the 3rd largest US advertiser, is ready to shift half of its 3 billion budget into digital and one-to-one marketing within the next 3 years.

In a multi-advertiser cross media optimization study (measuring on-line and off-line effects) sales increased by 11% on average from customers who had been exposed to online advertising, compared to those who hadn’t.

It cost about 4 times as much to increase purchase intention via magazine advertising and 11 times as much via TV - compared to online advertising.

There’s a lot more to read, especially on ad formats, measurements, online challenges (oh yeah, it’s not all honky-dory). You can find the full presentation here.

- vidar

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Widgets are the new ads – but they aren’t ads

I see too many brands that are approaching social media marketing and widgets, in particular, with the same kind of paranoia that prompted many companies to put up websites at the dawn of the web: everybody else is doing it – therefore so must we.

With 40,000 widgets developed for Facebook alone over the last year, it’s already too late to stand out by merely having a widget.

Yet brands are creating their own ‘me too’ widgets. They’re afraid to be left out as they’ve been told that widgets are the new ads. That’s correct – they are the new ads – but why think of them as such? Ads are shallow and by design, one-way and ephemeral.

If you ask me, creating widgets with the goal of engaging the user once or twice and spam their friends, is about as forward-looking as putting radio on TV. But hey, Howard Stern & Imus found that to be worthwhile too.

So, I’m not going to say that it’s a waste of money – it’s just a waste of the medium, channel and audience attention. Read More »

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There is no best, one-size-fits-all online ad format

It’s hard to be a marketer today with so many new, exciting technologies to pick from, each one casting itself as the holy grail of campaign performance. Video, widgets, search advertising, social apps, in-game ads, virtual worlds, expanding banners, behavioral targeting, location based mobile ads, digital out of home advertising, even radio via Google!

I can’t tell if it’s a media planner’s dream or nightmare, but a fair share of us probably feel more confused than enlightened.

What I am pretty sure about, however, is that they all have some merit, but none of them is a one-size-fits all solution. What’s good for branding might not be a recipe for lead generation success. Choice of format, targeting, message and measurement all need to align with campaign goals.

In a recent report from Forrester research called “Getting more out of online ads” advertisers are encouraged to take a more holistic approach to planning and executing online advertising programs. Read More »

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Designing is knowing when to stop…designing

If only the baby had a third eye in the back of the head—that would really be something!

In the hyperventilating world of widgets and their producer companies’ celestial valuations, it’s easy to fall into the “if only…” trap by feeling compelled to incorporate the latest technology rather than focusing design on a clearly defined user desire. I’m reminded of EchoStar Founder and CEO, Charlie Ergen, ten years ago, saying the main reason people want DVRs is so they can pause the game or movie and go to the bathroom without missing anything. So make it as simple as possible for them to do that. Charlie got to be worth about $10 billion by keeping his company’s products and services focused on the basic needs of his customers not on cool technology.

This was our intent when Linkstorm and Coca-Cola launched CokeTag, a personal, customizable widget that lets people promote and share content with their friends and fans . Give people the ability to make a personal advertisement, then listen and learn. Coke wanted to make this kind of marketing tool, which it uses for its own advertising, available to anyone. OK, they also want you to drink more of their products. Read More »

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Social Advertising

These are exciting times for marketers wanting to get involved with social media. Virtually all the major social networks are opening up their platform with their own APIs or adopting open ‘standards’ like OpenSocial. This means more opportunities for marketers to develop meaningful, interactive, social applications to bring their brands to life.

It’s also exciting to see that when it comes to serving advertising to social network users, advertisers are starting to get that they can’t just re-purpose their old banner ads – but need to engage their audience in meaningful ways.

While building custom social applications from scratch is a bold move that may pay off for many brands, the cost and time to market for applications is far greater than traditional ads.

It’s fantastic to see the variety of hybrid ad-widget formats that are becoming available to advertisers, including Linkstorm’s PUP, Google GagdetAds, Gigya, Clearspring and Kickapps widgets.

However, it is still incumbent on the advertisers to take advantage of the interactive possibilities these formats present and not forget that they also need to find ways for users to personalize and make these widgets “their own”.

The last thing we need is another distribution network of ads where the brand remains front and center.

- vidar

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Coca-Cola launches CokeTags on Facebook using Linkstorm’s PUP technology

We’re happy to announce that CokeTags, using Linkstorm’s PUP (Personal Universal Profile) technology, has gone live on Facebook today.

CokeTag is a Coca-Cola sponsored, customizable widget for individuals, bands, bloggers, artists, activists, and others to showcase themselves and drive traffic to content they select. From a professional marketing point of view, it carries brand messaging into the Social Media space. While it launches on Facebook, we plan to expand the app into other social networks soon.

You can make a CokeTag for yourself today—it’s free, fast and easy.

A micro-site, has been set up to support the marketing and PR around the launch, and Coke’s social media press release can be found here:

I look forward to any reactions or questions.

Best wishes,


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