Posts Tagged ‘product feature’

Best Practices: How Sky Sports Bet on the World Cup

July 18th, 2010 by Nikos

The World Cup is behind us. Spain sits at the top of the FIFA World Rankings and will hold on to the cup until the summer of 2014, when it will all start over again in Brazil.

The 2010 World Cup was the first one ever to be held in an African country and the first time Spain rose to the very top. The final was seen by over a billion people and was the most Twitted event in the history of Twitter. Interestingly enough, the history of Twitter does not extend back to the previous World Cup - the company was launched shortly thereafter, in the late summer of 2006.

For our publishers, the World Cup was a great opportunity to attract (and monetize) a record number of eyeballs. Among these publishers, however, Sky Sports stands out for incorporating a new money making opportunity into their content: Sports Betting. We had been testing contextual sports betting with Sky Sports since the beginning of this year, but it was not until the World Cup, an attractive event for the casual betting reader, that we saw the full potential of contextual impulse betting.

Contextual sports betting allows readers to place a bet that is related to the content they are consuming. For example, if they read about a particular injury that may keep a player out of the next couple of games, they may choose to bet against that team. Of course, readers can bet on a wide range of events, from who will score the first goal to who will be the first player to be carded in a game, such as this example from the game between Uruguay vs. Germany:

Contextual betting added a new dimension to watching the World Cup games and yet another conversation point for all the fans who spend hours after a game discussing it. The betting on Sky Sports is handled by Sky Bet. Don’t try to access the service from the United States, however. As with other betting and gambling services, contextual sports betting remains a privilege of those outside the US borders.

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The Bee Connects Sacramento

April 10th, 2010 by Nikos

After several months of preparation, The Sacramento Bee launched the Sacramento Connect network on Monday March 29th. The network and its associated services take a fresh new approach to content aggregation and interlinking and use several web technologies and tools to bring together the best content from around Sacramento.

Linking to outside blogs and publications was unheard of for a newspaper like The Bee, just a couple of years ago. In fact, the idea for Sacramento Connect was met with some “initial resistance,” according to Sean McMahon, The Bee’s digital product development manager. But the timing was right. “We have a trusted position in the area,” said McMahon, “and we thought it was time to embrace all these independent voices and bring them in and try to promote them.”

In the short time since its launch, Sacramento Connect has attracted much attention from both publications flocking to join the network as well as readers interested in exploring local Sacramento news. One of the reason for this early success might be the focus of the network on being about content first and foremost, unlike other publisher networks whose main driver is aggregation of ad space inventory.  This focus is evident through Sacramento Connect’s four main user-facing services:

The Sacramento Connect Toolbar
The most noticeable element of the Sacramento Connect network is the toolbar at the bottom of the browser, which shows up when you first visit a Sacramento Connect page and follows you on all sites that are part of the network:

The toolbar includes several useful features and allows quick access to a number of Sacramento Connect network services. For example, a visitor can easily find related stories from across the network, search for any topic, or visit a topic page that is related to the current article that is being read.

Sacramento Connect Home Page
The control panel of the Sacramento Connect network is the Sacramento Connect home page.  This is the first stop for readers who are interested in customizing their experience by selecting the sources of network articles (SacBee, netowrk partners, featured or all) and the category of articles (Business, Entertainment, Politics, etc.) which should be used to filter the desired content. The network home page also serves as a starting point for readers to discover articles that are being written on the network about the subjects that they are most interested in.

Sacramento Connect Related Articles Widget
With the launch of the network, The Bee has also included a widget on each of its article pages, showing related content from across Sacramento Connect. This article, for example, shows the Sacramento Connect widget on the rightmost column of the page. This is yet another way for The Bee to provide their readers with access to interesting, relevant articles from across the network.

Sacramento Connect on Lingospot Topic Portals
Content from the Sacramento Connect network can also be found on The Bee’s topic portals, such as the one on Medical Marijuana. Readers who visit such a topic-specific page will now have the opportunity to not only read The Bee’s coverage of the topic, but also to see coverage from other sources in the network. In the above example, a reader would be able to get the viewpoint of YubaNet, North Sac Beat, Jeff Peline’s Sierra Foothills Report and other local publishers.

The above four services create the main framework of content aggregation and interlinking within Sacramento Connect and have already been embraced by readers as a convenient access to the best content from Sacramento.

We are proud to have been a part of the launch of Sacramento Connect and wish our friends at The Bee best of luck in growing and strengthening the network.

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Topic Quotes Launched

June 12th, 2009 by Nikos

We recently launched a new module on our Topic Portals called Topic Quotes.

Here’s how it works: We use our natural language processing to scan through your article pages and look for quotes. When we find a quote, we determine the topics that the quote refers to, as well as who is being quoted. We add all this information in our Topic Quotes index for the specific publisher’s site. When we display a topic page, we search for the specific topic mentioned in the quote. If the topic happens to be a person, we will look for quotes by this person, as well as quotes about this person. For example, if the topic page is about Barack Obama, we will search for quotes both by Obama as well as quotes mentioning Obama. Here is an example from the on Barack Obama:

Clicking on a quote takes the reader to the article where the quote was found.

Topic Quotes has been made available as a standard module of our Topic Portals service, allowing any publisher subscribing to the service to enhance their topic pages with quotes.