News / Science & Technology

Internet Fair Showcases Innovation, Diversity

Hotmail's Galileo Vieira hopes to convince tech-savvy skeptics that the free Microsoft email service has improved.Hotmail's Galileo Vieira hopes to convince tech-savvy skeptics that the free Microsoft email service has improved.
x
Hotmail's Galileo Vieira hopes to convince tech-savvy skeptics that the free Microsoft email service has improved.
Hotmail's Galileo Vieira hopes to convince tech-savvy skeptics that the free Microsoft email service has improved.
Adam Phillips
The atmosphere is electric at Internet Week New York’s headquarters in the city's trendy Soho neighborhood, as computer programmers, artists, entrepreneurs, investors and journalists browse and compare notes on the latest trends in the Internet industry.

“I think that people who work in this industry are really, really vocal advocates for what they do," says Greg James of the global advertising agency, Cake. "There is a real passion about it. So you come to an event like this and you just feel in the room everyone wanting to talk to everyone else - people wanting to connect and learn more and really get onto the latest thing. So there is a sort of social one-upsmanship as well about this, which is great. You get that kind of competition and camaraderie.”

With so many different types of devices connecting to the Internet and with online content proliferating, advertisers have to be more creative than ever in competing for consumer attention, according to James.

“They have to almost turn their marketing into value and extensions of products and services a lot of the time," he says. "Because people don’t necessarily want you hitting them over the head, telling them, ‘Buy more of this, buy more of that.’ They want to say, ‘Why should I buy more of it? Why should I buy more of it from you in particular? What is your point of view in the world and how are you going to deliver it for me?’ So actually, the worlds of advertising and technology are very closely aligned now.”
Leyla Farah of Demand Media cooks up interest in her company's specialised websites at Internet Week New York.Leyla Farah of Demand Media cooks up interest in her company's specialised websites at Internet Week New York.
x
Leyla Farah of Demand Media cooks up interest in her company's specialised websites at Internet Week New York.
Leyla Farah of Demand Media cooks up interest in her company's specialised websites at Internet Week New York.

Demand Media is a company that seems to embody that trend. It creates online articles, videos, slide shows and other online content for special interest websites and mobile phone users, and sells targeted advertising to companies that want to reach those niche consumers.

“We provide content that is health and fitness related as well as mobile applications to help you quit smoking, to track your daily intake of calories if you are looking to lose weight or eat more healthily," says Leyla Farah of Demand Media’s display. "And we provide a community around that as well. So if you need help or you need encouragement, you can get all that in one place.”

Farah’s company also publishes a popular instructional site Internet site called e-How that helps people with their home repair and other household projects as well as eHowMom, which caters to mothers.   

According to Farah, their Cracked.com site - part magazine, part social medium, and part advertising revenue generator - is one of the most popular humor sites on the Web.

“The interesting thing about Cracked.com is the way the content gets produced," she says. "We actually have something we call a 'writers' room,' which has thousands of people pitching ideas into it and voting ideas up or down, so that we know that the ideas we’re going to write about already have gone through a process to vet them. Our audience has told us that before we even create the content.”

Some old fashioned trade show gimmicks can be found among Internet Week's high-tech displays. At the Vitamin T booth, there is colorful green candy, a photo booth and souvenirs.

“It draws people in to the booth. We are trying to get people to talk to us,” says Sharon Strauss says Vitamin T, a one-stop agency for “digital creatives” - the people who have flocked to Internet Week New York. 
Sharon Strauss is at Internet Week to spread the word about Vitamin T, a company which connects people with ad agencies, Web development experts and design help.Sharon Strauss is at Internet Week to spread the word about Vitamin T, a company which connects people with ad agencies, Web development experts and design help.
x
Sharon Strauss is at Internet Week to spread the word about Vitamin T, a company which connects people with ad agencies, Web development experts and design help.
Sharon Strauss is at Internet Week to spread the word about Vitamin T, a company which connects people with ad agencies, Web development experts and design help.

She explains how the year-old company does business.   

"So an ad agency wins a brand new account and they are very excited to get this account, but they don’t have enough staff to handle that.  So they come to us and they hire Web designers and copywriters and production designers and Web developers, and we place them to handle that project. It’s fun.”

In addition to the many small companies like Vitamin T, there are some industry giants here at Internet Week New York. Galileo Vieira is here to promote Hotmail. The pioneering free email service, founded in 1996 and acquired soon after by Microsoft, leads the industry with its 364 million registered users. But in recent years, critics have panned the service for its poor performance. Vieira wants to reintroduce Hotmail to this crowd.  

“Many years ago, the product wasn’t up to what people expected," Vieira says. "We had a lot of issues. So concerns around spam, concerns around storage size of the in-box, performance overall. So over the last year and half, two years, we fixed most of those problems, and we are really good at the fundamentals today. In addition, we’re tackling new problems.”

For example, Hotmail engineers have developed a way to screen so-called “graymail" - bulk email that has been solicited, such as newsletters, discount offers and news alerts, but which can choke a user's in-box.

“So we are really out there to show off these features," Vieira says, "to tell folks, ‘We know what we did the past. We know why you folks aren’t using us, but give us a shot.”

The approximately 500 companies and 40,000 attendees in attendance make Internet Week New York one of the biggest fairs of its kind.  The week's other offerings include mini-courses, the Webby Awards, art installations, lots of parties and seemingly endless networking -- online and face to face.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs