A highly publicized contest to come up with a better program than Cinematch, the Netflix service that picks out new movies you\'ll like, has finally paid off for one group of entrants. BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos, an international team, won $1 million for their new program, which proved itself to be at least ten percent better than Cinematch at predicting customer preferences.
The New York Times describes the scene at Monday night\'s auction of architectural elements from the mansion that formerly belonged to Penthouse magazine mogul Bob Guccione. Alongside the marble toilets and neo-Classical angel was the face of Mr. Guccione himself, carved into a 12 foot-tall marble column. According to the Times, "Penthouse magazine competed against Hugh Hefner’s Playboy in the days before the Internet made centerfolds so 20th century." When the symbiosis between nudie magazine publishing and advertising became impossible to sustain, General Media folded and Guccione resigned, leaving behind these ridiculous artifacts of paper publishing\'s heyday.
On Sunday night\'s season premiere of AMC\'s Mad Men, an obscene product placement for Stolichnaya vodka freaked out many a viewer. But Stoli swears they didn\'t pay for the name check.
AMC president Charlie Collier tells Brandweek that the show might be triggering false alarms on purpose, so that even product placement-savvy Mad Men fans can\'t tell the difference between a brand that\'s been planted and one that\'s organic to the storyline. "We absolutely have product integration on the show, but you shouldn\'t know which ones are paid and which ones aren\'t."
Erik Hersman on crowdsourcing the revolution: "We\'re realizing that this is true: if it works in Africa, then it will work anywhere."
Using digital phones and a "rudimentary" mapping program, Hersman finds that he can gather reports on events in the world\'s least digitalized locales. Better yet, he concludes, the crowd can filter its own noise by self-selecting the most pertinent reports.