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Showing posts from December, 2006

I'm it? I mean, "I'm it!"

I was just about to hit the bottlewatch "Fairly Oddparents" put a wrap on my blog for '06 until I discovered that I was tagged by Jeff Burkett at Media Landscaping. You asked for it, Jeff... Here are five things about me you don't know:

I was the Spelling Bee Champion for my school in 5th grade and purposely misspelled "burglar" in the District Finals because I didn't want the attention, even after having my brother help quiz me on the entire dictionary in preparation for the Bee. I finished in second place in 6th grade for the same reason. My how things change.
I'm the son of a well-known attorney and former politician in my hometown of Warren, Michigan, which means I grew up with perks other kids would die for. Remember when laser tag first came out? My brother and I went to the pre-grand opening party and played for free until the party ended. Pac Man for the Atari 2600? I had it before Sears was selling it. Also, as a kid I met several still-pro…

Viral done right - especially when I look like Matt Damon

You may have heard about, a genealogy site in beta that allows you to set up family web pages, create a family tree and of course see which celebrities you look like. Talk about fun and viral. I guess it helps when your top 3 look-a-likes are Matt Damon, Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran and River Phoenix. See for yourself!

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Ethics debate will never die, just multiply (colors)

Forgive me for the lame Ice-T reference, but much like Ice-T's acting career when that song came out, the topic of ethics and the web are in its infancy -- so don't expect it to go away any time soon.

A few weeks ago I presented the 10 Simple Rules for conducting ethical blogger relations campaigns and someone asked "Why not impose an ethics code for the bloggers?". My response was that it didn't make sense for an association for brands and agencies to write it. Here's another example of how it doesn't make sense:

A recent Microsoft Vista campaign, in which certain bloggers were given $2,000 laptops loaded with Vista, has bloggers once again talking about ethics and disclosure. The debate continues...

Separately, the World Organization of Webmasters (or "WOW") is taking the ethics issue on in 2007 as well. Based on their blog, it appears they're referring to accuracy when it comes to billing, knowledge, skill sets, etc. Certifications have tri…

Who's house? Google's house!

Technorati should've taken a cue from the Under Armor ads ("We Must Protect This House!), because according to the stunning Hitwise Research Director LeeAnn PrescottGoogle's blogsearch has overtaken Technorati. It's no surprise that most comments I've read focus on the downtime of the 'Rati and the direct efforts Google has placed on cleaning up splogs from their search results.

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When diversity is a bad thing

No, I'm not agreeing with Prop 2 that passed in Michigan this past election, I'm talking about businesses that try to be everything to everyone. Specifically, I'm talking about Toys "R" Us. I had to go there because they were the exclusive supplier of the Thomas the Tank Engine Aqua Doodle, and that's what my niece wanted for Christmas. (note to self: next year go back to ordering everything online a month in advance)

Remember back in the day? Everyone wanted to be a Toys "R" Us Kid. Hell, you know the jingle -- "From bikes to trains to video games, it's the biggest toy store there is".

And it was true. But that was then, and this is now. The store is a shell of what it used to be. The entrance houses clearance items (please explain that to me), and heading counter clockwise around the perimeter of the store it's clothes at 3 o'clock, large items like strollers at noon. The aforementioned good eat up about a third of the store. W…

Once again Web activity drives print media

By now everyone has seen the SNL sketch with Justin Timberlake called "Dick in a Box". It was sent to me by 5 different people last Monday, so it's no shock that my local rag is finally doing a report about it 5 days later.

It's been said a million times, but for those who don't believe it -- this is more evidence that the internet and social media are transforming how news is covered and what's deemed to be newsworthy.

Separately, it appears that NBC's digital strategy is to allow certain content to be distributed while owning "exclusive" content on the peacock's main site. The logic is that people will view the edited, authorized content elsewhere and the "full versions" on the parent site. Case in point: There was a brief debate around the office last Monday as to whether or not they were saying "dick" or "cock", so we went to the NBC site to verify.

Here is the edited clip from YouTube:

Note that this is…

How to Not Run A E-Commerce Site


Word of Mouth, Direct Mail and Discounts

A former co-worker and I were discussing advertising over dinner recently. I was telling her about the folks in Second Life who set up an island where marketers aren't allowed, and she said:

"People don't want advertising. The only time it's effective is when it advertises price."

I concur, and so does the research from Joe Pilotta of BIG Research. Today he released the findings of a December study revealing which media most influences shopping. No surprise to see word of mouth ranking #3 at 29% behind coupons (38.7%) and newspaper inserts (34.9%). Even more not-so-surprising is that word of mouth is even more powerful when coupled with newspaper inserts and coupons.

Note: Apparently this new template, much like most coders who use standards, HATES tables. Scroll down, I'm hoping to have the bug fixed shortly.

People influenced by:Also influenced by NewspaperAlso influenced by CouponsAlso influenced by Word of Mouth


Newspaper Inserts-63.3%42.6%


Will "Hosted Conversations" be anything more than selective shilling?

I've emailed Steve and Clickz author Kate Kaye about the new offering from Edelman and Newsgator called Hosted Conversations and am concerned about what I've heard (or in this case yet to hear).

The concept is simple - show blog posts about advertisers products and services when users hover over a paid advertisement. I get it, however I've yet to get a solid response as to which blog posts will be displayed.

Kate said she was told the conversations will be evaluated based on "advertiser criteria". I've yet to receive a response from Steve.

I'd like this to be a discussion, as other bloggerswould as well, about the product itself and the standards that are in place for determining what conversations are shown and which aren't.

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Yahoo cuts off message board trolls today

First online chat rooms, now this:

Yahoo! News is working on new ways for readers to comment on the news and participate in a discussion around it. While we work on our new community features, the message boards that have been linked from individual news articles will be taken offline Dec. 19.

As currently set up, the Yahoo! News message boards allow a small number of vocal users to dominate the discussion. In addition, related discussions from similar news articles are not easily linked. Over the next few months, we plan to offer new discussion forums based on topics in the news and incorporating the latest features to foster a better discussion for all of our readers.

Someone's posted this as a question on Yahoo Answers, to which Yahoo has yet to respond.

But don't worry about the trolls, they'll still find ways to ruin wedding websites and the like.

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Pimping the Band

I have a lot of friends who are musicians and want to know the best way to get their music heard online. The obvious answer is to set up a MySpace profile and add tracks for people to download and put on their page. But it takes a lot more than just adding "friends" and spamming them when you have an upcoming show. So what are other ways bands can get their stuff noticed online?

There are a ton of online radio stations, podcasts, even vidcasts where you can submit your music for consideration. Granted, most have small audiences but there are niche shows on various sites that will accommodate. So what else is out there? is a social networking site for music. Say your band sounds like, oh I don't know, Smashing Pumpkins. People can search for bands that sound like SP and find your stuff if you sound like them. Pretty helpful way to get your stuff out, especially for those of us who are musically stuck in the 90's. ;)

Phonezoo is a social networking site based o…

How to Not Get Called An Asshat, the FTC and Andy - Oh my!

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting the agency perspective on blogger relations with Mike Masnick from Techdirt. Mike prefaced his portion of the presentation by saying he may be controversial with his points, but there wasn't any arguing coming from me - he's completely right. PR people need to respect the rules of the venue and engage in blog conversations if they want to be heard. And for any PR folks who are reading this, please don't pitch Mike.

There's a brief recap of what we talked about over on the WOMMA Summit blog (yes, I used the word "Asshat" in my presentation). E-mail me if you want a full copy of my presentation. There are also pictures from the conference over on Flickr (not mine though).

I've also joined in on Mike's discussion about the FTC ruling about word of mouth marketing. There are valid points being made, join me if you wish. Basically the FTC said you must disclose if you're getting compensation for products.


How You Know It's Time to Fire Your AdWords Buyer

Since my buddy Clay and I were discussing word of mouth and SEO yesterday I thought I'd post this for a laugh. A search to check my fantasy leagues turned up this bizarre result on Google:

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Back from vacation, look what's on my doorstep!

Technically I'm off tomorrow too but I was informed that we won an inaugural WOMMIE Award from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association for my team's work on creating buzz around Canary Project, a photo exhibit of landscapes around the world exhibiting dramatic transformation due to global warming. Guess I'll be packing my tuxedo as well. ;)

I will be in Washington, D.C. next week for the WOMMA Summit on a panel with Mike Masnick, President & CEO of Techdirt to discuss blogger relations ethics (and apparently accepting an award). I'll also post photos from the conference.

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