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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora