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Showing posts from September, 2006

Advertising pet peeves continue

It's not surprising that I have a complaint with the advertising industry. In fact, I have two complaints. Here's number one:

There are several amusing identity theft campaigns running for Citibank to which I'd like to take exception. The most recent, during the Michigan State/Notre Dame game, shows a guy in his garage/gym talking like a Valley Girl who's stolen his identity and uses the credit card to have a makeover and voice lessons.

Funny? Sure. Realistic? Hardly.

Most credit card fraud isn't the work of hillbillies looking to buy dirtbikes or teenage girls looking to pay for the aforementioned American Idolesque necessities. Admission: I've had my credit card number stolen. It happened through Paypal and the perpetrators used it to make a single $100 purchase from a company I'd never heard of (they sold generators and power supplies) and dump it into a hacked bank account and withdraw it. Consequently, several hundred other similar transactions occured a…

Commission Junction hops on the API bandwagon

Look for more phony web sites and spam blogs in the near future - Commission Junction has launched three new functions for affiliates:


Product Catalog Access – This API offers real-time access to the Product Catalog database. Using it, you can find a product or group of products to display on your site since the API enables keyword searches as well as item specific searches by UPC, manufacturer, model number, advertiser, SKU and more.

Link Search Functionality – Publishers can use this API to search for links through a SOAP interface using a set of parameters to return link results that include information like their relationship status and link code that can be used to capture publisher referrals. In addition, you can find the perfect link for display on your site using search options that are very similar to those available via the CJ Account Manager™, including searching by link type and size, advertiser, language and other link attributes.

Advertiser Search Functionality – This API a…

Separation Saturday

I figured this would be a great thread (yes, I know this isn't a message board, but let's hear 'em). Mike, Robert and the rest of the commenters and lurkers -- I'm looking your way ;)

Separation is the key to winning. We saw it today in the Michigan/Notre Dame game - Manningham and the Notre Dame defensive backs, the Michigan O line and the Notre Dame defensive front 7. We see it with Google. My question to you: small business owner, brand manager, agency, you name it... what are you doing to separate yourself from your competitor?

Any other parallels from today's games you can translate to your business model?

How to make the ESPN.com homepage more enjoyable

ESPN.com is the only homepage I visit that almost crashes my browser due to the excessive use of Flash. I finally got tired of waiting for everything to load and turned on the Firefox extension "Flash Blocker". Not only does the home page load 5 billion times faster but you also only get headlines and the main story. Say it with me:

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH......"





ESPN homepage with Flash Blocker running.

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MySpace to offer mp3/music sales for musicians

From Yahoo News, In a move that puts them in direct competition with iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody and Yahoo Music, MySpace will allow musicians to sell their original music through the popular social networking site. This comes as a result of their partnership with Snocap, the company that created the technology.

Huge? I'd say so. Unless you are on a major label, there are barriers to entry to get your band onto iTunes. One roundabout way is to go through an authorized iTunes vendor, such as CD Baby; however these vendors all charge fees to what essentially amounts to ripping your music into mp3 format. This seems a bit repetitive considering most bands are using MySpace or SonicBids or some form of EPK to distribute their press releases and mp3s now anyway.

How does this fare for the recording industry? Not good. Given the technology that is available, bands can manage their brand from start to finish. Recording, mixing, production, booking, merch, touring, fan club.


The bands will be…

Words PR, Advertising, Journalism and everyone else should avoid

I used to have a strong interest in copywriting during college. The power of the pen to create, shape and take readers on a journey can be amazing.

However, when I visit web sites, get an e-mail, watch the news or read the paper I can't help but see certain words and phrases not just over-used, but misused. I don't think one blog post will inspire legions of PR, advertising and journalism professionals to stop this practice, however as a public service to all of the college students and up-and-coming PR/advertising/journalism/marketing folks I'd like to offer this list of Top 3 Words & Phrases to avoid. Feel free to add to this list.

1. "Hot". A product is not hot, unless you're describing its physical state. Here's an example of the proper use of "hot" in a sentence: I have to put a book under my iBook laptop because the battery becomes extremely hot. An event where papparazzi are fighting to take pictures of Paris Hilton is not "hot…

Google "getting" the power of WOM

Google is searching for a Google API Map Evangelist at their Mountain View, CA Googleplex (this sentence now qualified for a Guinness Book of World Records 'Most times the world Google used in a 15 word sentence without using Google as a verb').

I just verified on the WOMMA site and they're not yet a member (although it is interesting to note that Yahoo! recently joined).

What a novel concept! Have someone that loves your product to evangelize about it. Wow, it sounds eerily familiar to what this guy (not me, the recognizable in black on the far right) was made famous for at his former employer and fellow Michigander Betsy does.

I have more thoughts on evangelism and the future of WOM but to be honest I'm saving it for my book. ;)



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MySpace drives more retail traffic? My thoughts

In regard to the Hitwise data showing MySpace drives more retail traffic than MSN:

MySpace has made its way into the mainstream, agreed, however it can not be the banner ads/links that are driving retail traffic -- the ads on the site are rarely for the aforementioned product/retail sites. A more likely conclusion would be that visitors are stopping in to check their MySpace account the way older web users read the news and then venture on to their next site. If Date.com or "Shoot the Duck & Win a Free Ringtone!" sites saw huge increases in traffic we could say it's the banners, but...

Additionally, MySpace prohibits non-paid advertisement links on the site - so profiles aren't necessarily allowed (but are sometimes permitted) to link to other sites from their homepage.

Note: this was cross posted from my comment on their site.

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Hey Dr. Z - The bottom line is the bottom line

In my earlier days as a web coordinator, web designer and project manager I always questioned the content being posted on web sites. In particular, I asked "Who is this serving?". There were several instances where I was asked to post a Board Member's photo, biography, etc to the company site. When the question was asked "Who's going to look at this? (and then of course backing it up with traffic data showing no one visited the "About Us > Board of Directors" page), the response was never justified through reason but through politics. And my politics I mean kissing ass.

I've had a discussion or two with co-workers and friends about the Dr. Z spots - who are these really serving? Is the question on most Americans minds "Who runs DCX?" or are dealership suggestion boxes being bombarded with "I'd buy a Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge if only I knew who the CEO of the company was" notes?

So it comes as no surprise that Chrysler announc…