Playoff deadline has local teams scrambling to qualify

first_imgCHRIS KELLY Shealyn Taggert, 13, of the Middletown Youth Athletic Association, tries to shoot past a Howell defender during the Mid Monmouth Basketball League’s finals at Brookdale on Sunday. With the Feb. 8 deadline for qualifying for the state tournament rapidly approaching, local high school basketball teams are scrambling to assure themselves of a .500 record at the cutoff. On the boys’ side, there are only three local teams that have assured themselves of postseason berths — second-ranked Raritan, third-ranked CBA and Mater Dei. The Rockets are 10-3 and are the surprise of the Shore Conference this season. Raritan is getting solid play from everyone in its rotation, and is poised to make a run at both a Shore Conference Tournament and state sectional title. Mater Dei was 11-2 heading into Monday’s game against Henry Hudson, and has played well all year. CBA is picking up steam, as was evident during an impressive win over Freehold Township last week. The Colts are beginning to round into postseason form, and will be a tough out come playoff time. The Colts hosted a Middletown North team on Monday that has a playoff berth within its grasps, and needed to win just two of its next five games to lock up a postseason spot. The Lions face a good Manalapan team tomorrow, and will host Red Bank Regional on Saturday. Next week, they travel to Howell and Ocean. The Holmdel Hornets are another team that has the playoffs in sight, entering the week at 7-6. They faced St. John Vianney on Monday and will take on Red Bank Regional tomorrow. From there, they have only Raritan (Monday) left before the cutoff, meaning they had to win just one of their next three entering this week’s action. Holmdel is better than its record indicates, and has played well in the Shore’s toughest division, Class B North, which features four of the Shore’s top 10 teams. Middletown South entered this week’s play needing to win its next five games to earn a spot. The Eagles faced Raritan on Monday, and have games with No. 4 Monmouth, Howell, RBR and Ocean before the deadline. Matawan (4-8 following Saturday’s win over SJV), Keyport (3-9) and Vianney appear to be out of the playoff picture, though the Lancers could sneak in with an unlikely series of wins over Holmdel, Raritan (tomorrow), Colts Neck (Saturday), Monmouth (Monday) and Cathedral Prep (Feb. 8). On the girls’ side, St. John Vianney (9-1), Middletown North (9-4) and Holmdel (9-4) appear to be locks, while four local teams are still fighting for berths. Raritan was thought to be one of the Shore’s top teams heading into the season, but has struggled mightily to a 7-6 mark heading into the week. However, the Rockets are still capable of making some noise before the season comes to a close. On Monday, Raritan faced a Middletown South girls’ team that entered the game at 5-6 and was in need of four wins in its next six games to get to .500 at the cutoff. The Eagles have games with Monmouth (tomorrow), Howell (Saturday), Manalapan (Monday), Red Bank Regional (next Thursday) and Ocean (Feb. 8). The Keyport Red Raiders are also on the bubble at 6-7, as are the Mater Dei Seraphs at 5-7. Both teams need at least three wins over the next five games to qualify for the state tournament. — Doug McKenzielast_img read more

Spurs, Alli deny Chelsea record win

first_img“We were competitive against a team in very good form, one of the best in Europe, and we feel very proud and pleased because the performance was very solid,” said Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.Antonio Conte’s Chelsea must content themselves with having equalled Arsenal’s season record of 13 wins in a row from 2001-02 and they remain five points clear of second-place Liverpool.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad AliSPORTSWe are youngBut the end of their winning streak will give hope to their pursuers, not least Tottenham, who rose above Manchester City and Arsenal to third place in the table, seven points below the leaders.“It is a pity to stop this run, but Tottenham is a good team, a really strong team and I think is for sure one of the teams that can fight for the title until the end,” Conte told Sky Sports. Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine Ginebra teammates show love for Slaughter EDITORS’ PICK Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Sweet! Indian bakers make world’s ‘longest’ cake PLAY LIST 00:49Sweet! Indian bakers make world’s ‘longest’ cake00:50Trending Articles01:38GCTA mess: BuCor given til March to review records of PDL returnees01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Carbon copyWhereas Spurs had gone with four at the back in November’s 2-1 loss at the Bridge, here they effectively matched Chelsea’s 3-4-3 shape, which made for an attritional first half at White Hart Lane.Spurs saw most of the ball, their wing-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose carrying the fight, but they struggled to pick holes in Chelsea’s rearguard and the visitors posed a threat on the break.In the fifth minute, Nemanja Matic’s lofted pass over Spurs’ right-sided centre-back Eric Dier found Eden Hazard in ample space, only for the Belgian to shoot narrowly wide with his left foot.Victor Wanyama and Eriksen sent low efforts wide from range for Spurs and when the hosts finally got in behind, Dier ghosting in to meet Rose’s deep free-kick, Thibaut Courtois was on hand to save.But in first-half injury time, Spurs struck, Eriksen shaping a cross into the box from the right and Alli, hitherto close to anonymous, leaping to plant a glorious header in the top-right corner.It was the England midfielder’s sixth goal in four games and within nine minutes of kick-off in the second half, he would have a seventh.Urged on by a typically animated Conte, Chelsea flew out of the traps, Diego Costa testing Hugo Lloris with a skidding strike and Hazard nodding Marcos Alonso’s header wide from point-blank range.The celebrations, though, were Tottenham’s thanks to a near carbon copy of their first goal, Eriksen swinging a cross to the back post and Alli outleaping Victor Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta to head home.Conte made three bold changes, sending on Willian, Cesc Fabregas and Michy Batshuayi for Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kante and Moses, with Pedro Rodriguez moving to a left wing-back role.But his players, finally, appeared spent and Eriksen came close to adding a third with a dipping free-kick that narrowly eluded the left-hand upright. Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town “My team are top of the table because we are working a lot. This league is very tough and it is important to continue to work.”Alli, 20, has now scored braces in three successive games and his latest double allowed Pochettino’s men to register a fifth win in a row — their best such run in nearly a year.It also enabled Spurs to claim a measure of revenge, both for their 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in November and the fiery 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last May that ended their title challenge.Pochettino, meanwhile, could celebrate his 150th Premier League game as a manager with a deeply satisfying victory.“We are in a good position, third in the table,” he said. “But it is a long way to finish the season.”ADVERTISEMENT We are young PH among economies most vulnerable to virus MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Senators to proceed with review of VFA 105-year-old Frenchman sets cycling record Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes Tottenham’s Dele Alli, second right, scores a goal past Chelsea’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)In-form midfielder Dele Alli scored two near-identical headers as Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea 2-0 on Wednesday to torpedo the Premier League leaders’ hopes of a record 14th consecutive victory.Chelsea were bidding to become the first team to win 14 successive games within the same English top-flight season, but Alli’s goals, both set up by Christian Eriksen, brought them down to earth.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

UC Irvine dubs assistant as its own ‘Sister Jean’ in NCAA

first_imgCarpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Read Next With no elderly nun with an engaging personality hanging around at a public school like UC Irvine, Turner got creative.“They had a secret weapon that everyone remembers in Sister Jean and that we also have a secret weapon that no one knows about, and it’s Uncle Blaine,” Turner said. “It was a play on words, you know, as a way to entertain the crowd, but Blaine is special for our team and our staff.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubs“Uncle Blaine” is UC Irvine assistant coach Blaine Taylor, who won 380 games and made six tournament trips as head coach at Montana and Old Dominion and four more as an assistant at Stanford before joining the Anteaters in 2016.After getting the nickname on Sunday, Taylor has heard from many old friends, amused that the 61-year-old basketball lifer is being compared to a 98-year-old nun. He was sent a picture of him and Sister Jean that he proudly showed off in the locker room on Saturday as the 13th-seeded Anteaters (31-5) prepared for their second-round game in the South Region against No. 12 seed Oregon (24-12). Sarah Geronimo’s ‘Tala’ enters Billboard’s world digital song sales chart Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history The Anteaters have a long way to matching the run Loyola made last year. They got off to a good start with the 70-64 upset of fourth-seeded Kansas State on Friday and are the lowest remaining seed in the tournament.They are underdogs again in the second round against Pac-12 tournament champion Oregon but bristle at the Cinderella label.“We don’t see ourselves that way,” guard Robert Cartwright said. “But we understand that might come with our seeding. But we look at ourselves as a high-level team that can compete with pretty much anybody, and that’s what we’re going to continue to show hopefully throughout the rest of the season.” Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying LATEST STORIES UC Irvine players and coaches celebrate during the second half of a first round men’s college basketball game against Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 22, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)SAN JOSE, Calif. — When UC Irvine made the NCAA Tournament, coach Russell Turner believed his team had many of the same ingredients that fueled Loyola of Chicago’s surprising run to the Final Four last year.The Anteaters had an experienced team with a gaudy record but was missing only one ingredient: the good luck charm that provided inspiration for the Ramblers.ADVERTISEMENT “Maybe I’m a little bit of a good luck charm. I’ve been to lots of these tournaments,” Taylor said. “If someone feels a little luckier or someone can show them what’s around the corner down the trail, that’s kind of a compliment. It’s been kind of a fun thing for us to joke around about.”Sister Jean Delores Schmidt became a national sensation last March as she watched from a wheelchair as the Ramblers ran through the tournament as a No. 11 seed and went all the way to the national semifinals before losing to Michigan.The team’s chaplain, unofficial scout and eternal optimist was a natural on TV. She joked that she gave up losing for Lent, had a bobblehead made of her and even got to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Cubs game.That’s a high bar for Turner to meet but one his players believe he can achieve.“I would agree with it,” guard Evan Leonard said of the comparison. “I’m not sure if he would. He has a great personality. The lady last year also had a great personality as well. It’s a great nickname for him.”ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? MOST READ Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Charlie Edwards keeps WBC flyweight belt with unanimous win Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparc View commentslast_img read more

Rice mill worker narrowly escapes death

first_img– after ton sack laden with paddy fell on himA man, said to be in his forties, narrowly escaped death on Thursday afternoon after a ton sack laden with paddy came crashing down onto him. The incident occurred around 13:30h at the Golden Fleece Rice Investment owned by Nazeemul Hakh at Golden Fleece, Essequibo Coast in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).According to information reaching Guyana Times, the man known as “Cheezie” was in the bond when a ton sack of paddy dropped on top of him. Other employees who were in the bond at the time immediately went to his rescue and removed the paddy sack. He was then taken by his daughter to the hospital where he remains a patient due to injuries he received.It is unsure how the incident may have happened but the Region Two Labour Department is said to have launched an investigation.last_img read more

Arsenal and Man City to move for €40m man known as ‘the new Lionel Messi’?

first_img1 Paulo Dybala in action for Palermo Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini has hailed Arsenal and Manchester City target Paulo Dybala as the new Lionel Messi.The striker has been in sparkling form in Serie A this season, scoring 12 goals in 25 appearances.All of Europe’s elite clubs have been scouting the 21-year-old, while Arsenal and Manchester City have been linked with big money moves this summer.And now Palermo’s president has admitted a sale is possible – but it will take a serious bid to secure a player he believes is the new Messi.“We’re close to being mathematically safe, then we’ll see where we can go,” Zamparini told Radio Anch’io Sport.“Dybala was spoiled by some messages, but an agent does their job, and I have a good relationship with him.“For me, Dybala is the Messi of the future, his valuation is worth at least €40m, but let’s see what happens.”last_img read more

Off and Running

first_imgWhile Gross’ players are somewhat lacking in fundamentals, they are still quick and tall. Several players are 6 feet 2 inches or taller, which will help with rebounds. A few of the team’s strongest players are Scott Coker, Richard Megrete and Devon Smith. “He’s got our best shot and he can jump,” Gross said of Coker, a senior point guard. Megrete and Smith are also strong shooters, he said. In addition to rival St. Anthony, Gross is looking forward to playing in three pre-season tournaments. This past week they played at Valley Christian, which consistently has a strong team. The Cantwell Cardinal Classic starts Monday, and after Christmas they will play at Whittier Christian. Gross said the Stars are matched well with other teams in the Camino Real League, many of which lost their strongest senior players. He hopes to make it to the playoffs this year. “That’s why we’re playing some of these tougher teams in pre-season: to get ready for the league,” he said. The Stars are excited to play in their new campus’s large gym, but even that has been a little challenging so far. “It’s a much nicer facility to play in,” Gross said. “The lighting’s way better; there’s a lot of room in there. They just have to get used to playing on that floor.” He said the regulation-sized floor is 10 feet longer than their old one, and the team got even more winded during its first practice on it. Rolling Hills Prep only has a boys basketball team this season, coached by Mark Fancher. The coach said they’re looking to get back into the playoffs, as they were the last two years. “We want to finish second in the Harbor League,” he said. The team was 4-2 as of Wednesday, with three of those wins coming from a strong appearance in the St. Anthony’s Tournament last week. This week the Huskies beat Summit View West 65-28 on Tuesday, and were scheduled to play Vistamar on Friday. Fancher, in his second year as head coach, said the team is physically strong this season. “We’ve got a lot of big, strong, competitive kids,” he said. But they still have to work on shooting the ball from the outside. In practice, the team has been perfecting pressure defense and getting the ball into the post. Players that have stood out to Fancher so far are seniors Kanoa Defries and Bobby Phillips, both three-year starters. Phillips won first team All-Harbor last year. In addition, Fancher said freshman Kenny Greene “will be a major contributor,” and was already the second leading scorer in the team’s first game. Last year, Fancher lost both Defries and Phillips to ankle injuries. “Then Kanoa came back one or two games and broke his hand,” he recalled, noting that the injuries hurt the team because they were the only players with varsity experience. But because of their absence, other players gained experience. “The majority of our team was freshmen and sophomores last year, so just the physical growth and maturity alone has already been noticeable,” Fancher said. “Being younger players, they saw a lot, and this year they have a better grasp of the system. … That’s going to be huge.” Fancher is looking forward to games against local rivals, such as Chadwick, who they beat 58-50 on Dec. 4 and will face again Jan. 8. They will also face a challenge from league rivals, such as Animo and New Roads. “The majority of our league games are going to be critical this year,” the coach said. “The middle pack of the Harbor League is very, very competitive. … We’re going to have to bring in our game.” The team plays home games at the Oak Street Gym in Torrance, which means not as many students are in the stands. But Fancher said they still receive plenty of parent support. rachel.jones@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champGross has seven returning starters this season, but he said trying to change habits, particularly with older players, is challenging. Gross said that in their second game of the season, against St. Anthony on Nov. 30, they had an astounding 52 turnovers. The Stars were down by 17 points with five minutes to go, and Gross put in his substitutes. “It was the subs that actually made a run at them,” Gross said. They ended up losing by only four points, so Gross thinks that working on passing in practice will help them eliminate such mistakes and help them win. “We don’t pass the ball very well,” he said. “We dribble too much, and we don’t look down the floor.” Basketball season is in full swing, and boys teams from San Pedro’s two private schools are working on perfecting their game. Mary Star of the Sea High School has had a rough start with an inexperienced team, and Rolling Hills Prep is hoping it can remain injury-free to get to the playoffs. Mary Star coach Richard Gross said his team is still fairly young and must work on developing some of its basic skills. “We’re young; we make a lot of mistakes,” Gross said. “That’s our biggest problem. What I’m trying to do right now is to play more fundamentally.” last_img read more

Arsenal keeping tabs on Malaga midfielder to replace injured Santi Cazorla

first_imgArsenal are tracking Malaga midfielder Pablo Fornals ahead of the summer transfer window.The 21-year-old has been a bright spark for the Spanish club this season – despite them sitting in 13th place in the La Liga table.Fornals has chipped in with four goals from midfield and now, according to Marca, he is on Arsenal’s radar.The Gunners are expected to be in the market for midfielders this summer as doubts remain over the future of Jack Wilshere, who is on loan at Bournemouth.At 32, Arsenal are also looking for a long-term replacement for Santi Cazorla and Fornals is said to be of particular interest.The Spain international is contracted at Malaga until the summer of 2019, with a buy-out clause of around £10m. 1 The 21-year-old has been a bright spark for the Spanish club this season last_img read more

‘The South Africa 2010 dream is alive’

first_img3 March 2010When Nelson Mandela stood in Zurich on 15 May 2004, the day it was announced that South Africa would host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, “a dream came true,” Fifa president Sepp Blatter said during South Africa’s 100 day countdown celebrations. “Today, the dream is alive.”Blatter heaped praise on South Africa’s preparations as the World Cup hosts celebrated 100 days before the 11 June kick-off of the first football World Cup on African soil on at a special event in Durban on Tuesday.Speaking at the newly built Moses Mabhida Stadium, Blatter said that Mandela was the man “who has always believed that this country will organise and host a successful World Cup. This has been his dream.”Blatter, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke, CAF President Issa Hayatou, Local Organising Committee chairman Irvin Khoza, and 2010 OC CEO Danny Jordaan were among the dignitaries who attended Tuesday’s event.Addressing the media at a press conference at the stadium, Blatter touched on a number of issues and reiterated his support for South Africa as it enters the home stretch in its preparations to host world football’s greatest showpiece.‘It’s a love story’“The Fifa World Cup in Africa is a love story – a love story between the African continent and myself which began when I was the technical director of Fifa,” Blatter said. “It has come a long way in a long time. It has been a road travelled with trust, confidence but with patience as well.“When this country was awarded the World Cup, there was a lot of work to do. We had to convince people that one day we would give back something to Africa. Africa has given so much to the world and to the world of football.“I’m very proud and very happy that this love story is coming to the ‘wedding celebration’,” Blatter said. “We are speaking about 100 days to go, but this all goes back to 17 May 1998, when I was campaigning for the Fifa presidency for the first time and I said that, ‘We have to bring the World Cup to Africa.’“This is what I mean by having patience, as South Africa did not win the first time in 2000, when it lost by one vote to Germany, but with patience and perseverance you managed to win the right to host the World Cup in 2004.”On doubts and scepticism“Why is it that some people in this community do not believe in this dream? Let’s go and have this World Cup and we will discuss it at the end of July,” Blatter said.“Doubts have been raised by some people. But there were never any doubts during or before the duration of this project. We never had any second thoughts, we never questioned our decision.”On the legacy for Africa“We have always said that this World Cup should and would leave a legacy for the African continent,” Blatter said.“One of the projects that champions this cause is the ‘Win in Africa with Africa’ programme, in which Fifa has set aside a budget of US$70-million for several projects, including laying football turf all over the African continent.“We also have the Football for Hope Centres which will operate in many African countries. It started here in South Africa with a beautiful Football for Hope Centre in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.”‘Still a lot of work to be done’Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe reiterated South Africa’s commitment to delivering on the promises it made to Fifa“There is still a lot of work to do to before 11 June,” Motlanthe said. “We have completed the stadiums, we now have to concentrate on some aspects like the movement of people during the tournament, as well as welcoming our visitors.“We have to make sure that we show our visitors the spirit of ubuntu and make them feel at home.”Source: Fifa.comlast_img read more

Tips For Logging Your Own Statistics

first_imgGoogle Analytics (GA) is a decent service for tracking activity on your site, however, there are times when it may be necessary to log some statistics yourself.By its nature, GA does not include any information that would allow you to identify who visited a page or clicked a link. Also, GA does not give immediate updates – you have to wait up to 24 hours to see the current day’s stats.A site that provides recommendations to registered users may wish to log some of their own statistics (Amazon, for instance). An ad network may want to log impressions and clicks on their widget. What do you need to be aware of when logging your own stats?Writing to Text FilesIf you’re going to run a widget on any site with high traffic, you may run into problems if you try to write to your database directly from the script that runs the widget.A safer though not particularly elegant solution is to write to text files instead. Each file should allow you to easily recognise what it’s for, e.g. the filename “Advert1000” could be used to log stats for advert ID 1000. Or, you could store all advert stats in a folder called advert-stats and just put the ID in the filename.Beware of Write ClashesIf you’re using text files, it may be safest to log a random number as part of the filename in case a large number of visitors clock up stats at the same time. e.g. “Advert1000_12345678”. The ID is still in the filename, and the random number appears at the end of the filename, with an underscore as a delimeter.Of course, don’t just hard-code the same random number for each file or it’s not going to work.Gather the Stats RegularlyYou’ll need to set up a cron job to regularly parse and then delete your stats files. If you’re using a random number in the filename, it’s much less likely that you’ll lose some stats by reading a file, writing to your database and deleting the file afterwards – on a busy site, you may find that some views have been logged in the file since you started reading it.Look At Alternative Database OptionsLogging a lot of statistics for a lot of sites is going to result in you having to store a lot of data. Typically, this type of data only needs to be stored and retrieved – once you’ve collected all of your stat files for a given day, you won’t be going back and updating those values.As a result, it’s worthwhile looking at other databases for storing your stats. Infobright is one option you could look at. It allows you to store very large amounts of data and run queries against it in a fraction of the time that it would take, say, MySQL.You don’t have to change your entire application to use a different database engine – in fact it’s probably best that you don’t. Just the statistics will do.Start Small, Work UpOnce you start logging your first statistics, you may start thinking of many other stats that you could log. It’s really important to get it right with your first attempt before adding more statistics to your site. Starting with something such as total pageviews is best. You can then look at unique views, clicks and so on once your stats have started to build up.Watch out for today’s Hack of the Day, where I’ll be showing you a tool that can be used to display your stats in a graph.Photo by kevindooley Why You Love Online Quizzes Tags:#hack#tips Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac…center_img How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? ben barden Related Posts last_img read more

AI marketing and the journey through the uncanny valley

first_img Posted on 18th December 2017Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share HomeDigital MarketingAI marketing and the journey through the uncanny valley AI marketing and the journey through the uncanny valleyYou are here: “Things usually get worse before they get better.”“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”Whether it’s the valley of the shadow of death in the 23rd Psalm or the Dangerous Trench on the way to Shell City in the Sponge Bob movie, we’re used to the concept of feeling that things are getting worse, even though we know we’re headed in the right direction.This experience can be represented by a U-shaped curve, literally forming the shape of a valley between two peaks. In technical terms, the curve represents a nonlinear relationship between two variables. A specific example is the uncanny valley — the hypothesis of the unease, frustration, or even revulsion we feel as something approaches the behavior and appearance of a human without getting all the way there. In this case, the two variables are the humanlike nature of the object and the emotional response to it. This can be experienced with robots and AI assistants, and with 3D animation. Perhaps you know someone who gets illogically angry when Siri or Alexa fails to understand their commands, or maybe you get uncomfortable watching humanoid robots or CGI-animated humans in TV and movies.Although 78 percent of marketers are adopting or expanding artificial intelligence marketing in 2018, marketers are also uneasy about the uncanny valley. They are concerned that by implementing AI marketing, they will lose control of the customer experience, possibly bewildering or even revolting their customers. While this is a reasonable concern, it could prove to be an unfounded and risky position — because marketers have already forced their customers into the uncanny valley through the use of marketing automation and aggressive personalization. And to quote another truism, when you’re going through hell, keep going. Because you don’t want to stay there.Your customers are already in the uncanny valleyCould it be true that we’re already subjecting our customers to experiences that create bewilderment and revulsion? You don’t have to have 3D avatars or robots in your customer experience to create these eerie, negative feelings in your customers. The uncanny valley is represented by a sudden decrease in empathy when a human-like being ceases in some way to be human. Here are some specific examples to indicate that your customers may already be in the uncanny valley:Broken contextExample: An AI assistant or chatbot initially passes for human but fails to understand the context of a question that would be simple for a human to understand, revealing that it is not human. Here is just one of many anecdotes from Reddit:In just seconds, this user went from loving their Echo to figuratively (literally?) flipping the table in frustration.Not quite lookalikesExample: A cursory read of our example user’s Facebook history could tell you that he is a foodie, a vegetarian and a fan of subscription boxes. Recently, this user got targeted by a new artisanal food subscription service that was relevant in many respects, except for the fact that they exclusively offer cured meats. It’s reasonable in some respects that an artisanal cured meat subscription service would target him. Except that as a vegetarian, this user found their ad bewildering and invasive, causing him to lose interest and scroll quickly past. In his scrolling fervor, he accidentally registered a click on the ad, leading to weeks of cured meats in his feed.Bad timingAnother example from that same user: Currently, his bank is aggressively targeting him with a competitive mortgage offer. Three weeks ago, there were credit, fund consolidation and other signals that he was preparing for a home purchase. At that point, it was stone cold silence from the bank. But now that he has signed a mortgage with another bank and closed escrow, he is getting targeted after the fact with an offer that he would have considered three weeks ago. Now, it’s just aggravating.Three ways to ascend from the uncanny valleyAscending from the uncanny valley is possible, but it takes buy-in from executives and a concerted effort by the entire marketing organization. Fortunately, Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM) provides a new approach for interacting with customers, allowing for consistent relevant experiences across all channels and continuous optimization at scale. Marketers shouldn’t fear the uncanny valley. They should focus on crossing through to the other side. Here’s how:1. Keep context: Match your level of sophistication across channelsIdeally, your website, app and chatbot work together to provide integrated, personalized service. Your customers should be able to access the same contextual features whether in the mobile app, at the brick-and-mortar store or when chatting with Alexa. If a user clicks through to your site from a specific offer email, that offer should automatically persist on the website. While your customers often encounter the same creative elements across your app, social, display, email and website, they’re disappointed when experiences are disjointed and out-of-context.Unfortunately, many brand experiences can only be delivered to users in a single channel due to the inherent limitations of current marketing clouds, making a promise of sophisticated interaction that can’t be delivered in other channels.2. Reduce uncertainty: Use visual cues to signal behavior and abilityIf you do have varying levels of sophistication for some of your communication channels, you can give your customer cues to set appropriate expectations. If you have created a bot or an app with sophisticated abilities, imbue it with human personality. In contrast, a limited chatbot doesn’t need a name, a highly humanized voice or an avatar. And if your mobile app focuses on a subset of features, be clear about what they are in the app name and description.3. Responsiveness: Reduce the lag between insight and actionIf you gain insight about an individual customer, how quickly can you adjust your interactions to be responsively relevant? A human conversation involves both parties responding in real time to conscious and subconscious cues. If your campaigns and audience segments are static, or if your channels are siloed, it can take too long to move at the speed of the customer. However, with AI marketing that has dynamic decisioning at its core, new data and behavioral signals can immediately be acted upon without human intervention. The result is a more responsive customer interaction that adapts as your customer evolves.To get to the other sideHelping your customers ascend out of the uncanny valley can seem like a monumental task, but with AI marketing, it is now feasible. Consumer brands that make the leap and move away from the rules will be the first to reap the benefits of consistent, cross-channel interactions that are optimized at scale by AI.From our sponsors: AI marketing and the journey through the uncanny valley Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019last_img read more