Saturday, 6 June 2009

Why is Bing Called Bing?

Bing is a strange word.

When he was a boy, my father in law's favourite soft drink was called "Bing". It was made by the Silver Spring Company in Folkestone. You can still buy it today in Kent; it's a dark orange colour and tastes like cherryade.

And then of course there's the legendary Bing Crosby. As a fan of vintage popular music, I've always been a big fan. I especially love his late twenties and early thirties stuff. Also his forties period with Bob Hope.

This week Microsoft launched it's long awaited internet serach engine. It's been code-named Kumo, but when it went live it was under the name "Bing".

Bing, according to Microsoft is, "A new Decision Engine and consumer brand, providing customers with a first step in moving beyond search to help make faster, more informed decisions".

The web has been alive with threads and posts discussing whether Bing will be the next Google, will Bing replace Google etc etc. But it's harder to find out why Microsoft chose the name Bing.

So, time to put Bing to the test I thought! I asked it "Why is the Bing search engine called Bing?" And lo; up comes John Battelle's search engine blog.

In it he quote's Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer. "It's short, it works globally, we could get the URLs and it makes for a good brand".

That's it then. Sadly nothing to do with fizzy drinks or crooners.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

The Man who travelled 5,000 miles to buy an MOT failure - The Power of Video Marketing on Ebay

“Will you please get rid of that car”! my friend’s wife begged him. “It’s been sitting on the drive for a year now, you’re never going to get round to fixing it up”.
It was all true. The tatty Citroen 2CV had been rusting away for 12 months outside his house near Maidstone in Kent [UK]. It had been bought as a project car and hadn’t had an MOT for 3 years.
The engine still started easily and it drove OK, but it was very tatty with lots of rusty patches and the chassis looked ominously corroded.
So how to shift it? An advert in the local paper seemed like a good idea, but how much interest could you expect for such an old banger? To be honest, not a lot. Perhaps he’d have to pay someone to tow it to the breaker’s yard.
Then he had another idea; he put it on Ebay and to demonstrate that the car did still have a good heart, he filmed it motoring up and down his drive and posted the video on YouTube.
The result was spectacular. Within 3 days there were 72 people “watching” the car and interest was coming in from around the World.
What was causing such interest? My friend concluded it was the video. The fact that people could actually see the car driving along somehow made it seem more real, more desirable.
The winning bid came from a loveable aging hippy from the state of Washington in the USA. He emailed excitedly that no 2CV had ever been registered in Washington and that he and his family were flying over straight away to collect it.
It all sounded so crazy I grabbed my home movie camera and was on hand to film the family when they arrived. They brought US registration plates with them and there was a slightly bizarre United States citizenship ceremony for “Dilly” the 2CV. You can see it all for yourself on our YouTube site;

(or search for Kersh Media on YouTube).
As for Dilly, she’s starting an epic journey across the Atlantic, past Mexico, through the Panama Canal, up the coast of California and along Colorado River. When she arrives in Washington she’ll be restored and will have pride of place in the college parking lot where her new owners work.
And, with more Americans turning their backs on traditional gas guzzlers, the 2CVs impressive fuel economy (in excess of 50 mpg) will also be welcome. In fact the state of Washington has recently started offering tax incentives for owners of fuel efficient vehicles.
For me it’s an extraordinary example of people’s passion for cars. And of course the power of digital video and the internet.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Press Gazette - Where Has It Gone?

Er, what's happened to the Press Gazette website? Has it been re-launched? It's certainly a radical new look. For the last few hours it's been looking like this:

The text says, "the domain name has been registered on behalf of a client of ours".
Is this a temporary outage, or something else?
I'm aware the Wilmington Group announced last month that the May 2009 issue would be the last, but I wasn't aware the website was disappearing too.
I'm very fond of the Press Gazette, formerly the UK Press Gazette (UKPG), which was a regular read when I worked at IRN and LBC in Gough Square (many years ago)!
It dates back to 1965 and provides insight and gossip about British newspapers.
I hope it's coming back soon.

Monday, 1 June 2009

My Quest to Buy a Kent On Sunday Continues

Undeterred by yesterday's events (see blog below) and determined to buy an elusive Kent On Sunday (even at the new 90p price), I stopped at three newsagents on my journey to work on the outskirts of Maidstone this morning.
The first was a Londis mini-mart. "They only sent us 4 copies" the woman told me, "And we sent them all back. They were charging 90p each for them! People are used to picking them up and putting them in their bags. How are we supposed to stop that".
The plot thickened at the news agent down the road. "The wholesaler didn't have any" he said, "I think they've stopped printing them".
Thrid stop a post office and news agent. "They've started charging 90p for them" the man explained, "We're not stocking them unless someone wants to order one".

Graham Majin is a former BBC News Producer. He's currently Head of Video Production and Video Marketing at Kent Video Production Company Kersh Media and KWIKVID.