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Showing posts from January, 2007

Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do!

From the almighty Church, Joe Pilotta from Big Research released data last week that made me crylaugh concerned. It says that the percent of media spending by the auto industry breaks down like this: TV (47%), newspaper (30%) and magazine (11.3%).

The crazy part to this is that 30.4% of the 15,000 respondents said word of mouth was #1 on their list as to why they made their purchase, beating out TV broadcast (24.1%) by nearly 6%. It's even higher for electronics purchases, scoring word of mouth number one at 42.6%. See it for yourself this link. Thanks to Ben for the great looking chart.

I mentioned at my last WOMMA panel that it's going to take time and education to get everyone on board, from the CMO down to the entry level hire. For the sake of wasting budget, let's hope it's sooner rather than later.

Communities should not play PR

I completely and whole-heartedly disagree with Steve's take that people should be allowed to delete their comments in communities. There's this thing we all do called "making a mistake". And there those of us who are adult enough admit it, learn from it and move on. The goal is to not repeat it.

Then there are those who play the PR card by ignoring it, discrediting the other party or try to remove it. W-T-F, indeed.

There's also this thing that we call thinking before we speak. Could some of the things I've posted on my blog come back to bite me in the ass? Sure. Are they controversial? To some, yes. Am I blogging because I'm giving my opinions? You figure that one out for yourself. But that's how you build trust in your readership - by being genuine, not having a strategy on how to influence people.

And if someone asks me about something that I posted in the past I'd not only own up to but explain my position and engage in that conversation. That…

Forbes released Web celeb Top 25, "regular" people say "Who?"

I've spent the past week in New York and would be remiss if I didn't talk about the noise in the city. I'm not talking about the cars (although the liberal use of the car horn is a bit much), I'm talking about the ads. Specifically the Times Square and Midtown area. The subway cars, buildings, you name it - have ads on them. How many do I remember?

I can't help but notice Diddy's 200 foot ad, mostly because it's usually facing me from my hotel window. Other than that it's just a bunch of noise. Are they moving the needle? Well, the ads change and products come and go - so I'm guessing that the majority of them do not.

Forbes put out their Top 25 web celebs on Tuesday with Jessica Lee Rose, aka LonelyGirl15, topping the list. I'd like everyone to keep in mind that success is relative, my web friends. I took a quick survey of a sampling of my "network" - Mom & Dad, cousins, friends, etc. - and aside from Matt Drudge, none of their to…

Word of mouth drives Scoble to Saturn

Robert admitted on his blog that it was word of mouth that drove him to purchase a new Saturn Aura. In fact, he was actually invited to the local Saturn dealership after someone at the dealership read his blog. And Saturn was a sponsor at BlogHer last year (see pics of my Blogworks cohort Lish in the schnazzy Saturn Sky), so we wanted to support a company that supports bloggers. (GM is our client)

The other deciding factor? His son loves the rear-seat headphone jacks. Kids.

ESPN opens NBA power rankings up for comments

ESPN released their NBA power rankings today with the 30-8 Phoenix Suns topping the list, with Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks right behind in second place. Personally I'd reverse the two, Phoenix has yet to prove that all offense and no defense wins anything more than regular season titles, but this is only a weekly ranking system. But I digress...

They've opened the rankings for comments, blog style - Name, email address, the team you'd like to comment on and your comments. I'd comment on how they're reviewed or published but I just received a "null" statement on the confirmation page. Ouch.

Don't blame the parents, it's all about MySpace

Ripped from today's headlines, four families are suing MySpace because the site didn't implement safety tools in time to keep their children from being sexually assaulted.

“In our view, MySpace waited entirely too long to attempt to institute meaningful security measures that effectively increase the safety of their underage users,” said Jason A. Itkin, an Arnold & Itkin lawyer.

I certainly hope that if this case goes to trial that the attorney generals in the parents' respective states go after them as well for neglect. That being said, watch for the demographic buying Helio to take a nosedive among parents buying for their kids but increase among perverts looking to meet kids.

Tagging "ethics" and the effect of Google labels

Steve is making a call to bloggers to provide disclosure when they're getting paid to speak on behalf of a company. A commenter is questioning the motive of the post, which is coming on the heels of the Vistadebacle disclosure debate.

But what is this, really? I'm going to call it for what it is - a hybrid SEO/PR campaign to try and own keywords like "Ethics" to cover up the mess. A top ranked blog + tagging specific keywords = "Let's leverage our current assets to hide any errors".

I've been discussing with a co-worker about the effect of Google's labeling function and how my search engine traffic has increased more than the 40% noted yesterday by John Battelle thanks to the separate label pages created by Blogger. Has the algorithm changed to help weight Blogger pages over other sites? I'd argue that yes, it did.

For example - based on my Sitemeter stats, the terms "true ads", " sucks" and "BCS and Oklaho…

Ebay, meet AJAX. AJAX, meet Ebay.

Today the format for listing items on Ebay has changed; rather than having multiple screens for the process, by using AJAX they've simplified the process by allowing you to search for the category rather than scroll through several, and once selected putting the usual 5 step process into one dynamic screen. Helpful? You bet. I was able to list a Polo sweater in a minute. Try selling some crapstuff you'll never, never wear again stuff today and see for yourself.

The iPhone debate continues; Apple's already won

I was mildly surprised to see Robert blasting the new iPhone, essentially comparing it side by side to other products on the marketing before declaring that it "sucks".

Conversely, Andrew Lark says he's on board and agrees with me that it's a game-changer.

The debate over whether you love it or hate it illustrates one of Guy Kawaski's 10 rules of revolutionaries: Polarize people, which is exactly what Apple has done. In fact, it's no surprise that the iPhone is pretty textbook from Guy's list.

Apple has "charged up the base", if you will, with this product. That's what great companies do. There will always be pro-Microsoft and pro-Apple people, but the smart move isn't, as Seth points out, to market to all of them - it's to grab the attention (and dollars) of those who love you. Apple will get their 1MM subscribers, meet their goal, and get a ton of positive coverage out of it. Apple wins.

This just in: Word of mouth influences people

A study from tells those of us who engage in word of mouth already know - it changes minds and influences decision making in the purchasing process:

To isolate the effect of CGM, Compete surveyed automotive and travel buyers who had made a purchase within the past six months and who had visited a blog, review site, message board or online community during the past 60 days. According to the study, 51% of auto and travel buyers turn to consumer generated media to narrow their purchasing decision, nearly one quarter say that consumer review sites influence their purchase decision; and 24% change their mind about the type of vehicle/travel reservation they end up purchasing as a result of CGM influence. Additionally, consumers influenced by CGM have a major viral effect on other buyers, with 68% influencing friends and family post-purchase and magnifying the overall impact.

Other key findings from the study include:

* 71% of auto and travel buyers influenced by CGM say tha…

Yeah I'd like a Subservient Chicken, a Shave Everywhere and a Monk-E-Mail to go

Ad Age has a great article and what should be a quick primer for a lot of brands that want to "do viral".

Mike talks about the number of brands at last month's WOMMA summit wanting to get "viral", but I want to clarify something:

Viral marketing is not word of mouth marketing.


- Posting a lousy, overproduced video on YouTube isn't word of mouth marketing.
- Posting "stealth" photos doesn't constitute word of mouth marketing.
- Paying people to post on their blog is not word of mouth marketing.
- Paying people to talk to people offline about your brand is not word of mouth marketing.

There are more examples but I'll stop there. The aforementioned points are NOT true word of mouth marketing, and the companies that execute those campaigns are a) fly by nights with no long term viability and/or b) looking to make their P&Ls that month.

To borrow from former Pistons/Knicks/Sixers coach Larry Brown, a company doing it "the right w…

iPhone: The cell phone killer

MacWorld is going on in San Francisco today (on Mac Rumors for those not in the Bay), with most investors wondering how Apple is going to recapture the growth that the iPod had. Sure, sales are steady, but it's all about growth on the Street.

Enter the iPhone. This, to me, is the "cell phone" killer. Know how everyone refers to mp3 players as iPods? iPhone will be next.

So how can something like this happen?

For starters, most cell phone companies treat the industry like it's 1999: provide lame, branded content, partner with a company here or there to feed it in, call it good. Maybe incorporate an mp3 playing capability or the ability to browse the internet. Whoopie. No offense, but behind the scenes with Shaq isn't really how I want to spend my minutes.

Then there's the concept of taking a function and slapping it onto your existing phone, whereas Apple had the luxury of building from the ground up using a solid platform - OS X. Specifically:

The iPhon…

Free411 = Proof People Will Accept Ads As Long As It's Free

From Clickz (which, by the way, I call 'Clicksz', not Click-Zee - see: 1980's BBS lingo) -- People are willing to listen to a few ads before getting 411 info as long as the service is free. This goes against the current model LAN line and cellphone companies are using, so the question becomes how long before AT&T, T-Mobile et al switch to ads instead of a fee?

Jingle Networks provides the free 411 info if you'll listen to 2 ads. A few companies have jumped on board with the service, look for more to jump on. It will be interesting to see at what point users determine the ads are too much and bail out of using the service.

Also of interest -- the entire service has been popularized by word of mouth, with 600,000 users per day, according to Lyn Chitow Oakes from Jingle Networks, the company providing the free 411.

Sears invades Second Life - Will my clothes washer break there too?

3pointD is reporting from CES that Sears will be joining the ranks of companies with too much advertising budget to justify any ROI setting up shop on in Second Life, courtesy of IBM. The concept is actually pretty cool, which is a virtual kitchen makeover using your a model of your kitchen. Well, not really a model of your kitchen unless your name is Max Headroom, but you get the point.

Seriously, though, who really thinks this is going to help sell more appliances? Check the reviews on Epinions and the like. Read someblogs. People aren't happy with the quality of the appliances and service from Sears. Want to correct that? Take the Second Life ad budget and put it toward non-plastic parts that hold up longer than six months. (Personal rant: How about resolving problems on the first call instead of the tenth by passing me back and forth between a district manager, store manager and corporate? I finally called their PR department and got my issue resolved.)

Back to the story: I agr…

Technorati and Google Blog Search update

If you recall, an article published by Hitwise (and later commented on here) said that Google's blog search had overtaken Technorati as the #1 blog search engine.

"Not so fast, my friend!", as Lee Corso of ESPN's College GameDay would say, according to this study from

Some facts are true, according to their results, such as:

* Google Blog Search’s recent traffic increase was closely associated with a prominent link to Google Blog Search which was added to the Google News Homepage in October.

* Google appears to have superior search technology (surprise surprise).

However according to their charts Technorati still leads in number of unique visitors and weekly page views.

E-miles offering (almost) nothing for something

I got an email today from Northwest Airlines, with an offer to join their "e-miles" club:

As a Northwest Airlines WorldPerks member, you are invited to earn thousands of miles in just minutes a day. It's free. It's easy.

All you have to do is read and react to messages that are relevant to you.

Plus, earn up to 250 miles today, just for enrolling!

To respond to this invitation, and learn more about the new e-Miles®
program, please click here.

Directly from their "How it works" section:

1. Enroll as an e-Miles Member. You may accept an e-Miles enrollment invitation or respond through an e-Miles Member referral or visit the website.

2. Complete enrollment Profile information. Your Profile will include information about your preferences, interests and important life events, as well as categories of marketing messages that interest you and how often you wish to receive them. The more information you choose to share in your Profile, the more relevant and …

Ebay does what it does best - raises fees

Pulling yet another nipple twister on their sellers, Ebay announced today that it was time to raise fees. Again. This was great news to the street, sending Ebay's stock price up $1.42 on the day. However -- and I've blogged about this before -- can the continual screw job on their sellers help their long term viability?

There are severalconversations on the Ebay message boards about their search function being inoperative for periods of time; meanwhile Ebay Store owners are being charged for products that aren't turning up consistently in the search results.

Let's see -- bad search, high fees... sounds like there's room for a major player to shake things up if they decide to get into the auction game.

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What percent of blog and website visitors are agencies?

When I worked in corporate, and it's no surprise to anyone in a corporate environment, that the number 1 search and visited pages on most sites are the Jobs pages. So I'm just curious here, but I'd love for all of the blog monitoring people to actually leave a comment on the posts you're checking out. Seriously, just say "Hi" - I don't bite.

Here are two of the past three visits to my blog, directly from the sitemeter logs:

1. True ads


2. Philly swirls

Hi, agencies. Nice to meet you. Here are two more results to track. I'm Dave, let's talk.

MySpace pwns social networking

That's the attitude that Joe over on Techdirtis taking on Toyota's attempt to connect hybrid owners to one another through a Toyota-owned social networking site. He's equating it to the failed Wal-Mart social networking experiment. I completely disagree. It's apples to oranges in my book. I mean, what teenager wants to admit to wearing low end clothes? A hybrid vehicle, on the other hand carries a completely different status symbol.

Look, there are a lot of sites out there for social networking. My friends at Phonezoo are doing it through ringtones. Flickr does it through photos. Just because MySpace is the big player in this market doesn't mean brands can't throw their hat in the ring.

In fact, I'd argue that brands have a right to this sort of property. Remember the Saturn customer appreciation picnics in Spring Hill, Tennessee? They were genius. Why not do something similar online? Who else can bring you inside information than the brand itself?

Anyone …

The Internet is inherently anti-corporate

I disagree with B.L.'s take on Chris's take that the internet is anti-corporate.

Paltry click-through rates, pop up and ad blockers, snarky comments and "no marketers/PR folks allowed" Second Life islands tell me otherwise.

Before I go on, I want to qualify what Chris was inferring -- most people don't want companies intruding in their personal space online, which is not the same as "not at all", and certainly differs when it's "done right".

Now -- do I think brands deserve representation online? Absolutely. If my clients are being misrepresented or their consumers want to engage then they should absolutely have that discussion.

However, it is important to remember why people are going online. Looking back, the internet wasn't created for marketers - it was created to share information. BBSing in the 80's and rudimentary 90's web sites weren't about being marketed to - they were about sharing information. Have web companies be…

Blog ethics aren't a one way street

I've been reading the recent uproar re: the recent Microsoft Vista blogger outreach campaign and wanted to ask a simple question - why aren't bloggers being outed for their participation or lack of disclosure, and why is it that those who are coming clean are being given a free pass?

I can (and do) tell a client "If a blogger lies or fails to disclose they will lose readers", but is the reality that people are still going to read these blogs? Are they "ruined"? I've yet to see that happen. So where's the accountability on their end? Should they fold up shop and quit blogging, as Strumpette et al have demanded of Steve?

Chris Abraham goes on to rip WOMMA, of which I am not only a member (but also a client?) but also helped co-create the 10 Simple Rules for ethical blogger relations. So obviously I have a real problem that only one side is being singled out here.

Never taking a knee

By now you've probably heard or seen highlights of last night's incredible Boise State/Oklahoma BCS game in which Boise State, a non-BCS conference school, handed perennial national power Oklahoma its third loss of the season in overtime in dramatic fashion.

I mentioned in my "5 things" post that sports are a lot like business, and nothing illustrates the point better than former BSU coach Dan Hawkins's response when asked about his philosophy (and BSU offensive coordinator turned head coach Chris Petersen) going full-throttle for the entire game:

"Gandhi didn't take a knee, Martin Luther King didn't take a knee, Thomas Edison didn't take a knee, and I sure as hell am not going to take a knee."

-- Dan Hawkins, 2003