Thursday, August 27, 2009

Incredimail...ISRAEL's incredible story...

Miley Cyrus and her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, photographed in Calabasas, California. Their easy on-screen rapport is a key part of Hannah Montana’s success.
Photograph by Annie Leibovitz; styled by Michael Roberts

'Shalom Sesame' books Gyllenhaal, Stiller
Twelve-part series will shoot in Israel, U.S.
Associated Press
Aug 26, 2009, 12:04 PM ET

Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Stiller and Christina Applegate ( above ) are just a few of the stars slated to appear in a new Sesame Street-style production geared at teaching Jewish-American children about Jewish culture."Shalom Sesame,"

a 12-part series for preschoolers featuring the globe-trotting Muppet Grover ( above ), will explore Jewish identity and traditions and will film on location at several Israeli sites, including the Western Wall.

Big-name guest stars, including actors Debra Messing ( above ) , Greg Kinnear and

Cedric the Entertainer ( above ), will join puppets and children in segments filmed in Israel and the U.S., according to the series' producers.
Anneliese van der Pol ( above ), a Broadway actress and star of Disney Channel's "That's So Raven," had never been to Israel before arriving Wednesday to film her scenes with the Muppets.
"I think it's really important to educate children in a fun way and a not too confusing way," said the 24-year-old musical star, who is Jewish and is named after teenage Holocaust victim
Anne Frank ( below )

"Shalom Sesame" was first produced in 1986, selling more than 1 million copies on video and DVD.
The new incarnation will tackle more issues of diversity for Jewish children and be accompanied by an interactive Web site and other outreach materials.
"For so much of the Jewish community outside Israel, they may never come here, this is a great way to have a virtual experience" of the place, said the project's executive director Danny Labin.
The series is expected to debut around the Hanukkah holiday in December 2010.

***Columbia Records announced the October 13 release of Bob Dylan's brand new album of holiday songs, Christmas In The Heart.

Christmas In The Heart will be the 47th album from Bob Dylan, and follows his worldwide chart-topping Together Through Life, released earlier this year.
Songs performed by Dylan on this new album include, "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Winter Wonderland," "Little Drummer Boy" and "Must Be Santa."
All of Bob Dylan's U.S. royalties from sales of these recordings will be donated to Feeding America, guaranteeing that more than four million meals will be provided to more than 1.4 million people in need in this country during this year's holiday season.
Bob Dylan is also donating all of his future U.S. royalties from this album to Feeding America in perpetuity.

***Hot music artist Irene Nelson ( above ), ( signed with the prominent Hollywood P.R. firm LCO for media representation.
Here music has been released in her native Russia to wide acclaim.
***The average CD can hold 74 minutes' worth of music.
That unusual length was determined by Sony's president, who decided that a single CD should be able to contain the longest recorded version of
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Britain's Ten Alps acquires Uproar Asia
Former BBC producer Macdonald to head Ten Alps Asia
August 26, 2009
By Patrick Frater SEOUL --
British factual TV production group Ten Alps has acquired Singapore's Uproar Asia as a first step to becoming an Asian indie.
It is paying an initial GBP30,000 ($49,100) and could pay out a further $921,000 over the next two years depending on performance.
Uproar will be rebranded as Ten Alps Asia and be headed by former BBC and Channel 4 producer Sarah Macdonald.
Her credits include five years at "Newsnight" and Channel 4's "Dispatches" -- including an investigation into the CIA's extraordinary rendition program -- as well as a "Panorama" investigation "Sex Crimes & The Vatican."

"Singapore is a good place to base ourselves for markets across Asia," said Macdonald.
"We have found positive engagement with the Media Development Authority and Economic Development Board, which we plan to further explore.
"Uproar currently has a slate that currently includes "First Time Filmmakers - Vietnam," a documentary film competition in association with The Ford Foundation and Discovery Networks Asia,
and an environmental series "Nature Versus Nature," which is syndicated worldwide through Content Films

***Residents of the Motion Picture and Television Fund's long-term-care unit and associated hospital were notified yesterday that they need to find new homes by year's end.
Following several tumultuous months, the move is expected to result in a lawsuit by residents and others against both the fund and the Hollywood folk on one or more of its governing boards, The New York Times estimates.

***Dana Delany( above ) has been named co-president of the Creative Coalition, the nonprofit org that advocates for increased support of the arts and other causes.
Delany, one of the stars of ABC sudser "Desperate Housewives," succeeds Tony Goldwyn and will join Tim Daly in the leadership of the org, along with exec director Robin Bronk.
***The post-merger shakeout at WME continued last week with the departure of WMA vet Paul Bricault from the corporate marketing and consulting division.
With Bricault's departure, WME's consulting wing will be headed by Mark Dowley, who had previously headed the Endeavor Marketing unit that operated separately from the tenpercentery.
With the WMA-Endeavor merger, Dowley now serves as the in-house head of the area for WME.

***On Tuesday, YouTube announced it would allow users to monetize their videos via ads that will result in a revenue split between the site and the owner of the clip.
YouTube will work to identify the videos that get the most hits, ask the owner if they're ok with ads being attached and then share the resultant income.
The video-sharing site did not comment on the exact split.
***Jermaine Hall is being named the editor of the revived Vibe magazine
Hall previously served as Vibe's webmaster, among other positions.
The hip-hop title, which shut down in June, will return in November via an investment group led by InterMedia Partners.
***Bowlmor Lanes, the trendy downtown Manhattan spot that made rolling balls a blast for the celebrity cocktail jet set, is applying for a liquor license at 229 West 43rd Street, the former New York Times Building.
Bowlmor's lease for 70,000 feet will be signed in "a matter of days."

***Arianna Huffington, the visionary behind the Huffington Post, is establishing "a Madonna-like celebrity in the online world," muses MarketWatch columnist Jon Friedman.
"She is a maverick. Huffington has made journalism exciting.
It looks she is having a hell of a lot of fun."
***Despite their reputation as early adopters, young people are not flocking to Twitter.
But their parents are.

A New York hotel that crosses over the citys latest attraction the High Line has been drawing attention for the randy displays in its fishbowl rooms.
Now, the New York Post reports that the Standard Hotel encourages the voyeurism in order to entertain the parkgoers outside.
"We don't discourage it.
In actual fact, we encourage it," a bellhop tells the Post.
The bellhop says that, after the hotel opened late last year, staff members were encouraged to pose nude in front of the windows.
"One of the managers even got naked in a room, and filmed itthey were considering a live feed for the Web site," the staffer said.
"She's an exhibitionist, too."
Parkgoers have reported seeing men masturbating, pornographic films being shot, and couples having sex.

***The circulatory system of arteries, veins, and capillaries is about 60,000 miles long.
***Rockstar Ozzy Osborne once saved his wife Sharons Pomeranian from a coyote by tackling and wresting the coyote until it released the dog.
***Brazil has more kinds of primates than any other country, with 16 genera and 77 species.
***A female blue shark's skin is three times thicker than a blue males to survive courtship bites.
***Horses prefer calming or cheerful instrumental music, but are agitated by loud music such as rock.

IncrediMail - Israel's incredible story

By David Shamah
August 25, 2009
Incredimail aims to give users what they want – animations and designs that can be inserted smoothly into emails, and text messages.
Even most Israelis don't know that the hundreds of millions of emoticons, animations, 3D effects and sounds that now jazz up e-mails all over the world, originate in Tel Aviv.

I envy Ofer Adler.
Not only is he the CEO of IncrediMail, one of Israel's top web success stories, but he also gets to make millions of people happy every day, every time they use e-mail.

IncrediMail applications have been downloaded more than 80 million times by people in over 100 countries.
You know the program. It's the one that inserts those cute little animations, emoticons, caricatures, flashing words, hearts, stars, 3D effects, sounds and other cutesy touches in html e-mail messages.

"In any given month, IncrediMail is used to send out about 300 million messages," Adler tells ISRAEL21c.
Not only that; nearly 10 years after it was first introduced, IncrediMail products are downloaded 1.7 million times each month.
How successful is that?

"I think that after Outlook Express - which comes included with Windows - we have the most popular e-mail client application.
We certainly have more users than Thunderbird [the popular tool that helps people to manage e-mail, instant messaging, social networking messages, etc.]," says Adler.

Giving people what they want

So how did IncrediMail get to be one of the most successful applications ever?
"By giving people what they want," Adler replies.

One of the company's prime missions has been to make sure that the animations and designs that are inserted into messages integrate smoothly with e-mail, so that they're easy to use.
"We don't use attachments for our designs, everything is in HTML," ensuring a light footprint that's fun to use, he adds.

The beta version of IncrediMail's second iteration - called IncrediMail 2 - is due out any time now, and it contains many improvements, says Adler.
It's faster, and you can use your own photos for the decorations and animations.

Perhaps surprisingly, the biggest group of IncrediMail users is not kids, but adults who won't deal with an application that causes them unnecessary tech trouble.

"Sixty nine percent of our users are over age 32, with many in their 40s and 50s," Adler says.
That means that the application has to be easy enough to handle for those in that non-techie demographic.
Incidentally, he adds, the folks in that demographic are more likely to click on web ads, which helps IncrediMail to make money.

Hi! Yo! - branching out from e-mail
Nowadays, IncrediMail is for more than just mail.
Because e-mail is already passe among the under-20 crowd - they prefer to text each other using messenger programs - Adler's team developed HiYo , which brings the same HTML tricks to MSN and Yahoo Messenger.
It will soon also be available for AOL Messenger - which is descended from another Israeli web mega-success - ICQ.

Over the past year, says Adler, more than six million users have installed HiYo, without too much advertising by the company.

"It's very viral," he says. "One user sees it in an instant message and immediately clicks to download and install it, and so on.
About 90% of HiYo users come to the program in this manner."
member of the IncrediMail family is PhotoJoy, a desktop program that lets you take your digital photos and turn them into fancy screensavers or desktop 'gadgets', so you can finally do something constructive with the hundreds or thousands of digital photos on your computer, or at photo sites like FlickR and Picasa.

The Tom Cruise IncrediMail legend

According to one version of the "IncrediMail legend," Adler, along with his cousin Yaron Adler (now president of the company), first thought of the idea for IncrediMail after seeing the 1996 Tom Cruise hit movie Mission Impossible.

Ofer, who was working in the Tel Aviv Stock Market at the time, thought that an e-mail Cruise sent in the movie - where a 3D envelope seemed to float away when the star sent a message - was one of the coolest things he had ever seen.

"Partially true," says Adler of the story, which has been repeated in several media outlets.
"We were somewhat inspired by that Tom Cruise e-mail, but we had other inspirations as well."

However, the creative pattern was set early, and the IncrediMail design department follows film, as well as trends in other spheres of popular culture, and relies on user feedback to come up with new cool effects.

Another incredible fact in these times of globalization and outsourcing, almost all of IncrediMail's 110 employees work in Israel, at the corporate headquarters in the Tel Aviv high-tech zone of Ramat Ha'hayal.

Giving it away for free and raking the money in

"We're lucky enough to be able to do everything we need from Israel, since all of our business is on the web," Adler says.
"If we were a business-to-business type of company that had to call on clients all day long, if would be different.
But we deal strictly with consumers over the internet, so being located in Israel is not an issue."

And being an Israeli company has not had any negative impact on business, Adler adds.
"Not that we try to hide the fact, but even most Israelis aren't aware that IncrediMail is an Israeli company, much less people abroad.
When I drive to various places in Israel and people see the IncrediMail bumper sticker on my car, they ask me about it, because they're familiar with the program and enjoy it - and they're shocked to find out we're located in Tel Aviv."

Another interesting piece of information is that even though the company's products are all available free (although there is a premium version of IncrediMail, with more capabilities and no ads),
the company is earning extremely well, thanks to advertising partnering programs and monetized search queries using Google and other web search engines.

Founded in 1999, IncrediMail has been
traded publicly on Nasdaq since 2006,
and is profitable,
with a positive cash flow,
operating at zero debt.
And all that comes from putting smiles on people's faces and adding a bit of fun to their lives.
There's a lesson there somewhere for all us.

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