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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs