Is this the Most Insensitive Banner Ad Targeting?

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and those affected in the KC Chiefs community.

Generally, at VIRURL we like to poke fun at banner ads and how ineffective they are. Today, while reading The Guardian I noticed the most insensitive banner ad targeting I had ever seen. I had to do a double take.

insensitive

Do you think this was a bad coincidence? Or is Fab targeting based on keywords such as fatal, etc? That would be really dark. Comment below.

From an idea to being featured on Cult of Mac.

It is a toss up in the technology startup world between what is the most popular phrase. The prize either goes to:

“what is your mobile strategy?”

or

“We are (insert industry name here) meets Airbnb”

Mobile is big, duh.

I’m preaching to the choir. We are only where we are because our ancestors moved from place to place. Humans are nomadic. People are mobile, people want to use devices while they are mobile, mobile is big and has room for growth. Don’t believe me? Believe Mary Meeker:

There is a plenty of room for growth.

For the blind, the graph demonstrates the room for growth of the smartphone industry. I am not sure what percentage of this is in developing nations but I am sure much of the room for growth is stemming from that region.

Before you balk at the length of this post. I will give you a summary of what it covers to make sure I don’t waste your time. If I at any point I am wasting your time just click here. 

  1. Why we are a different ad company
  2. Why we had to build a photo/video app to support our ad company
  3. How the world being flat helped us
  4. Discussing the Sponsored Pageflip™
  5. More details if you want to get involved somehow with this revolution

If building a startup … mobile must be, if not a focus, a consideration.

Our company VIRURL does not sleep at night, we promote sponsored content all day and all night long. Our philosophy is very simple – Traditional Banner Ads suck. We hate them with a passion. We protest them. We throw darts at them. During our hiring process we do eyecam tests – if you look at the banners more than 5% of the time – you are not getting the job because you do not hate banners enough.

Our mission is replace these obtrusive traditional banners with a content experience. Firstly, we believe that we can swap traditional banner ads with content ad units that make you smart, make you cry, make you think. Secondly, we believe that ad units should be unobtrusive. They should not suddenly take over your page or auto-play. In our books, these obtrusive ads cannibalize users’ time – the complete opposite of what the internet was created for.

We bought the domain VIRURL in early 2009 (because VIRAL.com was sold out) to begin this mission. Soft launched VIRURL in October of 2010 and today we have over 115,000 influencers and publishers distributing great sponsored content. Today we work with a range of content creators seeking to increase the size of their audience – the small mommy bloggers to the leading content creators (ex. VICE, Funny or Die, Sports Illustrated, etc.).

VIRURL connects advertisers, influencers and publishers to distribute sponsored content more efficiently.

Initially VIRURL launched with a web-enabled version of the platform. As we’ve grown in the last couple months, our advertisers have asked about mobile. We were hit with the repeating question “How does VIRURL work on mobile apps?”. In January, our response was “we’re thinking about it”. Fast forward to today and we finally have one small baby step in the right direction with VIRURL’s Sponsored Pageflip™ SDK.

Given that our mobile ad unit is non-traditional, we need lots of data in order to refine the experience and in turn the SDK. Creating a crappy mobile app to display our mobile ad unit was not an option. If we were going to build an ad unit in mobile, it had to be elegant, native and most importantly, be held within a great app.

We built a ridiculous app to seriously learn about mobile.

Artsy Head featured on Cult of Mac

Many would called me insane for assigning resources to build a mobile app that was seemingly irrelevant to our core business. After all, Artsy Head is a photo/video app. Cult of Mac describes it as:

“With Artsy Head, you take a photo or video, add sound over the top, and then choose a soundtrack. You can also add one of several styles of mustache right on top of the video as well. Once you take this masterpiece of video and sound, you can share it with your social networks, like Facebook or Twitter, or with the Artsy Head community.”

The excuse for building out Artsy Head was that it is a fresh way to create something different. We all have picture apps, video apps, sound apps but nothing seemed like a good option when wanting to mish mash the three together. I call it an excuse because in the end we probably could have found a developer with a soon to be released app for cheaper and faster. As we know this does not always mean better.

Pain can be good, sometimes.

I had never been heavily involved in designing and developing a mobile app. I did not know the pain points of time, effort, Apple approvals, Apple tracking, contracts, etc. etc. I knew the process because I had read about it but had not experienced it. Big difference.

I’m not claiming to be an expert but now when I speak to mobile developers, I know what it is like. I can somewhat relate. That is a huge part of being able to effectively do business. I have always thought that doing good business is hard for egomaniacs because they cannot seem to relate. Understanding the nuances of the ecosystem, the tools available is critical when entering a market.

Although it may have cost more to develop Artsy Head in-house – it was a road that had a destiny we could control (better). I knew that at some point an app would be on the Apple store market with VIRURL’s Sponsored Pageflip™ SDK. If I would have knocked on developers doors, I probably could have secured a few launch partners. The key is the world -probably. And I wouldn’t bet my startup on it.

By being maniacal and creating our own in-house iOS app not only was I able to nearly guarantee that an app would have VIRURL ad technology but I could also gain valuable lessons and pain points about an industry I knew very little about.

The world is flat and really connected.

Going into the whole thing. I knew my budget was razor tight and I had to execute near flawlessly. This project could not detract us from our bread, our live platform with live customers. It had to be a tiger project – one that would operate in a near vacuum from the core VIRURL engineering and management team.

Like most of you, I am a big proponent of social proof. In July 2012, I saw a positive recommendation from one of my LinkedIn contacts to a designer, Boban Pajić. If it were not the inefficiency of PayPal in Serbia we would have been up in minutes. I engaged Boban with an NDA, opened a Moneybookers and began working with Boban within a few hours.

I’m giving an unsolicited review for Boban’s skills. He is a sharp designer, can take words and turn them to art. Efficient, doesn’t disappear and always willing to redesign without complaining.

Even though, I am not a designer, I like to hash out prototypes quickly and have a better artist help me polish the look. Within a few hours, I had mocked up some horrendous designs and Boban clearly improved on them:

Boban is a designer, I am not.

It was not until we had all the designs that VIRURL began developing the designs into a native iOS app. Our iOS mobile engineer, plugs in from none other than beautiful Isreal, world-renowned for many things but amongst others – talented engineers. Now our team was truly operating on a global basis:

Santa Monica, Serbia, Isreal

Obvious to some but not all, the portion of the project that took the longest was optimizing and refining the app. Apparently building an app that lets you take a picture, then erase part of it, then film behind it, then select a song and stitch it together to a community that can support a million people is challenging. It surely is and we invested hundreds of hours refining this and crushing bugs. This apps mission is not done – I’m the first to admit – the app still sometimes crashes and everyone that uses it has a clever feature we should probably support. If you’re alright with that and the fact that it is currently free – you can download it here. Hate mail welcome to support@virurl.com

I hope Artsy Head brings thousands (maybe millions) of people entertainment with a new format. After over six months of design, development and testing Artsy Head was accepted into the app market. But more importantly than the fun app, something special for us was packaged inside  – VIRURL’s Sponsored Pageflip™ technology.

The Sponsored Pageflip is our trojan horse. 

If you’re still following me, I congratulate you – I could have never made it this far. Anyway, now it makes sense to backtrack into why we touched mobile in the first place. We don’t like the way most of mobile advertising works. In general, it is a very jarring experience. Picture this – you are sitting down on a Sunday afternoon reading your favorite app, suddenly you see a mobile banner, you click on that, it takes you out of the app, now you’re downloading a new app and by the time the download is done – you’ve forgotten where you were in the first place. The experience is broken.

Artsy Head was released to showcase VIRURL’s Sponsored Pageflip™. We believe the Sponsored Pageflip™ is an elegant way of displaying recommended content and also an unobtrusive way to advertise if executed correctly. The vision is that – every time a page is flipped the user is happy that they just learnt or felt something, the mobile app developer is happy because they just got paid and the advertiser is happy because they just engaged the right audience in the right way.

Introducing VIRURL’s Sponsored Pageflip

By allowing users to stay in-app viewing recommended content via the Sponsored Pageflip™ we defeat two birds with one stone – we could eliminate the jarring experience of leaving the app and save more real estate on such a small screen.

We’re just getting started.

We will continue building our network of mobile developers and add more great content partners. I know that we didn’t invent the pageflip, I know we didn’t invent the idea of the content network. What keeps me up at night is not knowing that we did or did not invent these things. What keeps me up at night is knowing that our problem of recommending the right content to the right user is infinitely complex and will never completely be solved. Not by us and not by anyone. Therefore, to make the world a better place we must keep improving the way content is recommended – one story, one user, and now, one device at a time.

Sincerely,
Francisco Diaz-Mitoma
Virurl Inc., Co-founder and CEO
diaz@virurl.com

If there are any developers out there who want to try it out. PM me

www.linkedin.com/in/franciscodiazm

How a protest increased our sales by 500%

Are you attending a conference and don’t want to be lost in the crowd? Do you want to be recognized as a rebel with a cause in your industry? Are you trying to balloon your business? Then organizing a peaceful crowd might be in your cards.

guerilla marketing

VIRURL hired 100 actors as banner ad protesters

As a fellow Canadian the last thing I want to do is start a protest in the United States. After all, I have nothing to complain about living in such a great, startup-friendly country. That is what I thought until last week when the marketing geniuses at our startup VIRURL decided that a protest was the best way to get attention at ad:tech, the world’s largest advertising technology conference.

It feels good to say that effective guerilla marketing is not dead – in the last week Forbes, Adotas and Businessweek have featured us. We spent just under $2,000 to pull off the stunt and increased our sales by 500% compared to the previous week (mostly due) to the press we got.

Here is how we pulled it off:

Brainstorming 

The first step of the entire operation was to figure out how we could cleverly re-associate the protest back to our company. Obviously we had to be careful. We wanted it to be a theme that was relevant but not blatant enough to the point where it could instantly be identified as a company’s PR stunt.

First we thought about dressing everyone up as banner ads. Nope – too expensive. Then we thought about having the protesters storm Javit’s center during Mark Cuban’s keynote. Nope –too risky. We finally agreed that having 100 protesters meet outside the Javit’s center and walk down protesting as the keynotes occurred would be the most impactful.

Legal Mumbo Jumbo

We decided to hire 100 actors and actresses to meet outside of Javit’s center where the conference was occurring. All the actors were contractors and had signed releases so we could use their likeness in photos and videos.

Preparations

We asked all the protesters to wear green. That didn’t really happen (and we were expecting that). Since the protesters were not going to be doing a flash mob dance we decided to build them banners. We took a $60 shopping spree at Staples the night before and bought:

  • 30 plain white cardboards ($40)
  • 12 permanent wide tip markers ($20)

We then bought a bottle of Macallan Aged 12 years single malt. That was an ‘nice to have during the protest preparations but certainly not a necessity (if you’re over the legal drinking age limit. I definitely recommend it).

We began writing and sketching a bunch of crazy signs. Here is what we came up with:

Finally, we had ordered a battery-powered bullhorn from Amazon. It was powerful enough for a coast guard but a few minutes before the banner protest occurred an officer informed us that battery powered bullhorn use in New York City requires a permit, otherwise you get a fine. Noted and bullhorn discarded.

Time to Protest!

We scheduled the hundred or so actors to meet us at the corner of the convention center. As the actors began congregating on the corner of the street so did the intense gaze from the conference’s security guards. In hindsight, we should have informed the security that VIRURL was A) an exhibitor at ad:tech B) going to be doing a light-hearted stunt peacefully. The looks of the security guards and the ad:tech employees was priceless. There was a general sense of confusion as to why 100 people would be protesting banner ads. It was such a ridiculous and inconceivable theme for protesters to actually get out of bed to complain about.

100 actors met at 8:30 am on Nov. 7th and walked over to the main entrance of the Javits center

Dozens of people fist in the air were calling “death to the banner ad!” and cars were slowing down and honking as we filled the air with protest. Things were beginning to escalate – even though they were trained actors you could feel the energy multiply. It was a first hand experience on how the mob mentality can really get out of control. Keep in mind, these were all trained actors and had the explicit instructions to stay peaceful and obey all laws. I would not recommend launching this kind of stunt with untrained random people. Security was beginning to become aggravated and mentioned that they would be calling the police. During the protest, the security guards at Javit’s center removed my co-founder’s exhibitor pass. At this point we swiftly approached them and said “guys, work at startup and are ad:tech exhibitors, no one is going to get hurt and we will be out of here in 10 minutes.” At this point, the tone completely changed. The ad:tech employee started smiling and overall welcoming of the attention grabbing stunt.

Actors dressed as banner ad protesters marched outside of ad:tech

The Press Aftermath

The press aftermath is the most valuable part of the entire stunt and the main reason for using such a great guerilla-marketing tactic. Prior to the event we messaged dozens of news outlets and reporters not knowing which one would care. Immediately following the protest, a Forbes writer tweeted out an image which was then retweeted by the official ad:tech conference twitter account – giving us exposure we would have never received otherwise.

Our tiny booth in the startup alley at ad:tech that week was flooded with both press and people asking us why we decided to do the protest. The clear answer was “because VIRURL wants to replace spammy banner ads and we thought a protest was the best way to garner attention”.

Here are some additional links covering the protest:

http://www.adotas.com/2012/11/adtech-new-york-2012-angry-protesters-the-rise-of-mobile-death-to-banners/

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13363867-eyecatchers-companies-that-grabbed-our-attention-at-adtech-new-york

Here is another great shot of the protesters outside of ad:tech (jk)

Advice for those considering crowd marketing:

  1. Make sure you are not breaking any federal, local laws
  2. Get a lawyer to review all the releases and paperwork
  3. Make sure all your actors are aware that it is to remain peaceful
  4. Have an internal security guard that knows exactly what is going down
  5. Have a great photographer on hand to capture the protest
  6. Don’t forget to send the news to the press

Above all stay peaceful, sincerely,
Francisco

About Francisco Diaz-Mitoma

Francisco Diaz-Mitoma is the CEO and Co-Founder of VIRURL. VIRURL is a content-only ad network that provides distribution for some of the top brands and bloggers on the internet, including Sports Illustrated, VICE and Funny or Die.

Don’t Make a Commercial; Make an Experience

There have been a slew of great video game commercials lately playing on the experiential quality of their product. The following is a list of our top 3 favorites:

The second of two, this video puts the viewer inside the game and highlights its interactive quality.

This trailer is EPIC. Forget the game, after watching this trailer, I’m ready to shell out $15 to see the full-length feature film!

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Whatever my reservations about this video, the extent to which it ‘sucks you in’ is undeniable. It may be a little more disturbing than the average video game commercial, but the campaign was highly successful. So successful that many were disappointed in the actual game after the incredible realism of this trailer.

 

Are these commercials playing to the strengths of their product or do they go too far? What are your thoughts? Hit us up!

International Catastrophe = Opportunity to Boost Sales? ….. No. Not So Much.

Los Angeles based clothing company American Apparel has received some serious heat over the last few days after blasting shoppers in the Northeast with this email: 

That’s right  American Apparel, scientists predict the biggest storm in 400 years to hit the coast and the first thing you should do is make sure your sales don’t take a hit. Yes, it is true that many tweeted about the boredom of being stuck inside for the storm, but have enough sense to know that many people will suffer damage or loss to their homes and belongings.  Twitter gave a resounding response:

American Apparel CEO didn’t seem to think his marketing team had done anything wrong. A representative of the company  responded to the backlash with this:

“Of course we’d never mean to offend anyone and when we put the email out yesterday it came from a good place…”

If only he’d had enough sense to stop there. Alas, he did not. He went on to defend the sale, saying:

 … Retail stores are the lifeline of a brand like ours, so when they are closed, we need to come up with ways to make up for that lost revenue. People forget how expensive it is to run a Made in USA brand like American Apparel, and if we made a mistake here, it came from the good place of trying to keep the machine going—for the sake of our employees and stakeholders.”

Yes, you poor multi-million dollar company. Our hearts go out to you in this terrible time of hardship…..(Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.) While we appreciate American Apparel’s commitment to keeping its employees at work and the company operating, this sentiment is not one the public wants to hear as they and their loved ones are in danger.

Unfortunately, several other companies including The Gap and Urban Outfitters jumped on the Sandy Sale bandwagon. It did not go over well.

So, while we hoped this wouldn’t need to be said, it ever-so-apparently does:

Using a natural disaster to promote sales is definitely on the ‘NOT OK’ list. 

Supplying people in need with batteries and mobile device charging stations like Duracell? This is ok! Waving late payment fees for customers in the Northeast like JPMorgan Chase & Co? This is ok! Offering 30 free days of storage for evacuees trying to save their belongings like U-Haul? Definitely OK!!!

What these companies understand is this: Marketing is not about making a sale; it’s about creating trust and loyalty in life-long customers. They understand that though they may see a dip in revenue in the short-term, the return gained from this kind of do-gooder activity is immeasurable in the long-term.  Whether these companies are motivated by sheer kindness or are keen to these long-term payoffs, we’re not sure. But frankly, we don’t care either.

The “Sh*t Storm”: Taking Advantage of a Viral Trend

There are some viral videos that just inspire. They scream at the YouTubers of the world to: go forth and recreate! The success of “Call Me Maybe” and “Gangnam Style” can attest to that.  One of our favorites is the “Sh*t Girls Say” videos that inspired dozens of spin-offs. It all started with this video:

It was followed by “Sh*t Asian Dads Say“, “Sh*t Black Girls Say“, inevitably “Sh*t White Girls Say ….to Black Girls“, and the list goes on. A few months after the ‘Sh*t Storm’ (pardon the pun) had died down, this next video hit YouTube and went viral in days.

‘But…but…People weren’t sick of this “Sh*t People Say” trend yet?’, you may ask.”Nope. So, so far from it….”, says I. Take a look:

Three days ago an Australian company latched on to the success of the “Sh*t Apply Fanatics Say” video–along with all the childish, yet compelling competitive energy that comes with the Android vs Apple feud.

Mobile Phone Finder is a company that helps you select the best phone for you. What better platform for them to show you how much you need them! If you’re not an Apple or an Android user, trying to figure out which  phone would be best for your is incredibly confusing. Each side is so unnecessarily passionate about making sure everyone knows their phone is the best, it makes it hard to choose between the two extremes. Oh, Mobile Phone Finder, you are clever. They found a way to highlight the need for their service in an already loved, watched, and successful format and then gently suggested their services at the end. Nicely done.

Lessons From a Feminine Product Company On How To Use Facebook. Take Note.

It’s unfortunate how many companies never realize the marketing potential in facebook. The site has a billion users (literally a BILLION!), half of whom log in every single day. It is available in 70 languages and in almost every country around the world. Whatever your target market is–it’s most definitely on facebook (Looking up pictures of its ex).

There are a few companies however, that have tapped in to the powers of ‘the book’. (Grey Poupon and the Society of Good Taste is a particular favorite.) Most recently though, a UK feminine products company called Bodyform, with a history of terrible ad campaigns jumped on board. (Hurray!)
On October 8th, Richard Neill posted a mildly clever, but mostly just snarky comment on Bodyform’s facebook page. The comment went viral and reached over 84,000 likes. Meanwhile, Bodyform itself has just over 4,000. This is what Richard wrote:

With this story spreading virally over the web, Bodyform had to do something. Considering its marketing team’s track record consists of  heinous ads like the one below, we weren’t expecting much.

Luckily someone at Bodyform saw this facebook comment as the opportunity that it was and responded with this stroke of genius:


Instead of being the secondary character in a typical viral story, Bodyform took the reins. By choosing not to merely react, but to respond and go on the offensive instead; this feminine product company from the UK gained themselves international exposure and almost 2 million views on YouTube.

Big Bird’s Big Viral Adventure

Not since Tickle Me Elmo has Sesame Street experienced such attention in the media…

Why a Presidential Nominee would choose the first presidential debate to put one of the most beloved children’s characters on the chopping block is a mystery to us, but against all reason, he did.

And boy are we glad!

After Mitt made the comment:

“I’m sorry Jim,” to moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS News Hour. “I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it,”

Twitter exploded in defense of our big, yellow friend. Users were tweeting the words “Big Bird” at a whopping rate of 17,000 times per minute. Accounts like @SadBigBird, @BigBirdRomney, and @FiredBigBird (which had more than 16,000 followers by the end of the debate) started popping up!  PBS had enough good sense to see an opportunity and made an ad buy on the phrase “Big Bird” on Twitter. Any time this phrase was searched on Twitter, the first thing people saw was this:

 And not long after, the meme-machine started working its magic:

Three days later….

And finally, the Obama campaign jumped on the band wagon with this ad:

To its credit, PBS was not about to let itself or its characters be made a political football and had this to say:

“We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation,” said PBS in a statement on its website. “For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.”

What do you think? Are Big Bird and PBS worth the .0012% of our Federal Budget every year? Does the cost outweigh the benefit? Or was this just a cheap shot?

When Politicians Go Viral

Can a candidate’s YouTube presence make a difference? Are there Undecideds out there that might happen across “Mitt Romney with a Little Face” while perusing YouTube at 2am on a weeknight and think to themselves “Yes! Decision made!” Doubtful, but sadly possible.

Of course, there are plenty of legitimate and valuable videos of speeches, debates, and interviews; but unless that video is Michelle Obama’s DNC speech, it is unlikely it will even come close to reaching an audience of almost 29 million. (The amount of views for “Obama Sings: Call Me Maybe”)

Now, the majority of voters are certainly not looking to YouTube to inform their decision, but does that make this platform just a place for silly political parodies and satire? The 47% video from Mother Jones with over 3 million views begs to differ. Politicians should be looking at this debacle and Romney’s subsequent dive in the polls as the unfortunately inelegant canary in the coal mine that it is. The internet and platforms like YouTube have had an immense effect on the democratization of information, and if our darling Duchess Kate Middleton isn’t safe from it then no one is.

So far however, this canary is still just a canary. Whether politicians will have to become more transparent and consistent remains to be seen. (It’s doubtful at best) In the meantime, do viral videos of Obama singing and Romney dancing Gangnam Style have any real bearing on this presidential race?

In our most humble opinion, after hours of tedious and dedicated YouTubeing we’ve concluded that according to YouTube, in simplest terms—Obama is cool and Romney is funny.

Observe

Cool 

Funny

Do these kinds of videos actually matter in an election? Are they merely entertainment for the masses or do they reflect actual attitudes? What, if any, impact can YouTube and viral videos have on politics? Hit us up–Tell us what you think!

Our Top 5 Blogs!

ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS

“It’s just what it sounds like.”

WHAT IS THIS? LOOK AT THIS. HAVE I MAGICALLY BEEN TRANSPORTED TO THE HEART OF THE SAHARA? AM I ON THE BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS?
YOU NEED MOISTURIZER, NICK. DESPERATELY.

Animals. Let’s face it: We like them more when they act like us. When they have crippling hangovers, share our mildly unhealthy obsession with Game of Thrones, forget to floss, make unfortunate choices regarding fashion, and have an irrational fear of spiders. Anthropomorphism isn’t a new phenomenon when it comes to blogging. (‘Fuck Yeah, Interspecies Friendships’, ‘Animals Being Dicks’, and ‘Text From Dog’ can attest to that) But ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS’ running commentary on pop culture, politics, relationships, and life in general just takes the cake for us.

Each post is like one of those little bit-sized candies you just can’t stop eating. They’re so small and delicious! It’s totally fine if I just eat another seventeen! And then, before you know it; it’s been 3pm on a Thursday and you’re still in your pajamas. This is the power of ATIAC.

On top of doling out these little observational gems of hilarity, Justin Valmassoi; who writes the blog, is the kind of guy you just like. He showers his followers with gratitude and periodically posts updates, candidly detailing the happenings of his personal life. We’re not sure how Mr. Valmassoi so expertly balances hilariously honest observations, witty social commentary, and all those pictures of adorable animals, but he does. And he’s mighty good at it too.

Literally Unbelievable

“Stories from The Onion as told by Facebook”

It’s like a car crash: you just can’t look away.

Blogger Hudson Hongo collects facebook threads expressing honest outrage at fake news. Literally Unbelievable achieves an exquisite combination of  amusement, disappointment, fascination, hilarity, and dread. The impassioned outcries of ignorant indignation create a truly fascinating drama. Thank you Mr. Hongo for bringing it all  together for our viewing pleasure.

Watching someone embarrass themselves with such a sense of righteous conviction, for all its amusement, can be a bit painful at times. But Literally Unbelievable is worth any squirmy feelings of ‘sympathy-embarrassment’ you might experience. After reading a United States Congressman’s disgust at the Onion article “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex”, I assure you any internal conflict you may have had about enjoying a laugh at another’s expense, is immediately resolved.

I Love Charts

Charts, charts, and more charts

A picture is worth a thousand words–With six categories of charts, two talented curators, and an extensive archive; I Love Charts is worth about a bajillion words.

We love the equal-opportunity approach to charts that this blog takes. With subject-matter ranging from how to moonwalk to a comparative analysis of words used in the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, there’s a little something for everyone.  If you’re into data and information being expressed in a logical and visual way, then you’ll be into this blog. Trust us. We’re nerds.

Brooklyn Mutt

News, politics, media & pop culture

I am speechless. Speechless! I have no speech.

The blog for people who like to be up to date on the important things, but also appreciate a good meme now and again.

As a TIME Magazine Must-See Tumblr Blog, one of BuzzFeed’s Best Tumblrs of 2011, and one of HuffPo’s 33 Tumblrs you NEED to follow, the Brooklyn Mutt is not lacking in accolades. And rightly so. The blog boasts 35,000 followers and has a strong track record of relevant and interesting posts. We love this blog for it’s ability to stay on top of current events with insightful, at time poignant quotes, tweets, articles and images. Blogger Peter Wade not only manages Brooklyn Mutt, but also writes for The Daily and blogs for SportsNet NY.

Laughing Squid

Art, Culture, and Technology

RGB Colorspace Atlas: A Cubed Book Depicting Every Color Imaginable

Laughing Squid, founded by Scott Beale in 1995, is an independent web hosting company with two delightful blogs. This, their tumblr, is an addictive assemblage of posts from their other blog and anything else interesting on the internet. With a mission to bridge the gap between the art and technology communities, there’s always a fascinating collection of posts and articles that appeals to the creative as well as the technical.  It’s a real challenge to follow this blog and not exclaim, “Coooooool!!!” at every post!

Scott Beale serves as Editor in Chief with support form a small team of editors and writers as well as a long list of guest bloggers.