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Showing posts from July, 2007

When you can't beat 'em - pay 'em

I've been holding onto this post for a week trying to decide how this can be explained or justified, but I just can't do it. Undoubtedly you've heard the old adage "When you can't beat 'em, join 'em". Well, for those without any savvy but deep pockets, it's adapted to the title of this post. Or, as the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DeBiase (pictured right, with Zeus) would say, "Everyone's got a price - for the 'Million Dollar Man'!".

Apparently the same holds true when it comes to journalism. In the 5th annual survey of its kind, PR Week and my employer, MS&L, says that 17% of marketers agreed to pay for ads in exchange for a "news" story. And some have used gifts in exchange for favorable coverage. Sickening. Stepping back from the blogosphere and my web background, this is truly something that is downright awful. This clearly defies the PRSA ethics standards and only decreases [further] decreses the publ…

Friends aren't Followers

I honestly can't believe I'm blogging this, but Twitter sent me an announcement that people are confused between "Friends" and "Followers". Maybe we should rename them "Friends" and "Stalkers"? Would that help?

From Twitter:

Friends, Followers and Notifications

Folks have noted that there's too much overlap and confusion
between "friend" and "follow." As Twitter has evolved, these two
concepts have emerged in parallel and clouded things up. So, in
the spirit of simplification, we are no longer going to define
people as your "friends." The functionality of adding people
remains, but the interaction is focused on the term "follow"
instead. We've also added a "notifications" toggle which allows
you to turn on updates via SMS or IM on a person-by-person basis.

More about this change:

I think this is one of the signs of the apocalypse - I just blogged about Twitter.


Strike two for Debbie Weil?

I'm not going to make a big deal out of this because, in all fairness, it may have been out of necessity. And while I grew up in metro Detroit with access to CBC, I don't know the inner workings of the Canadian media -- so it's possible that they have different rules for disclosure or don't care, but should Debbie have disclosed to the media and her readers that there might be a conflict of interest in suggesting Richard Edelman as someone to speak to BNN considering they paid for her to go to China?

Again, it might not be a huge issue, but I would think that if BNN wanted to talk to a CEO who's blogging they might be able to find a CEO who's not too busy to comment and not an SVP from a PR firm.

And contrary to hisopinion given in this clip, Steve Jobs should be blogging. Steve Jobs is a fucking rock star. People pay top dollar to have dinner with the guy and would give their first born to talk to him. Hell, why do you think the Fake Steve Jobs blog does so we…

Sony Electronics enters the blogosphere

From Josh Bernoff at Forrester, Sony has made it's third second foray into the blogosphere with the "Sony Electronics Blog", located at the dreadfully hard to remember URL of In my mind this blog is much needed and will hopefully address the customer service and qualityproblemsthathaveplaguedthebrandinrecentyears.

I've had my own bad experiences as well and, when considering brands for a recent purchase, eliminated them from the mix due to the aforementioned service issue. Buh-bye, Dave's disposable income.

That being said, the blog does have the potential of taking these problems head on. The brand is still strong among consumers, ranked #2 behind Coca-Cola according to a recent Harris Interactive poll, and our own PRWeek/MS&L poll shows they're ranked #2 on the list of companies marketers want to work for. I remember reading a story about the coporate culture at Sony and how a certain maverick was able to break through…

Edelman's Social Media Top 30 = F*ck the Long Tail

The social media explosion, especially to those of us who belong to communities and participate, has shown that people with credibility and a channel have just as much power as those with multi-million dollar ad campaigns. Which is why the recent Edelman Top 30 Social Media Index needs some serious rethinking.

If you count the blatant pissing on the Long Tail, my second issue with it is that it doesn't include several popular sites or communities, like, oh, MySpace?!?!?! You might want to add that one in there for starters. What it really sounds like is that we're discounting what communities think and saying that there are only 30 people who are influential. And if that's the case then you're saying that the internet and communities aren't what matter, so why bother creating or working with them.

Furthermore, the public decides which of the tools listed (MySpace, Blogging, Flickr, etc) is useful based on joining, using it and telling a friend. The fact that Steve…

When perception is everything (or, when the numbers lie)

A poll on ESPN's homepage is asking voters to choose, city by city, which sports team matters the most in that town. Today's poll features my hometown of (metro) Detroit. Why I put metro in parenthesis is another debate (3.5 million people live outside of the City itself, yet rather than say "Warren", "Canton" or "Taylor" people just say "Detroit". Odd.)

The current results, voted on by fans nationwide, shows that the Red Wings are what team is perceived to be the most important to the city. And while the Wings have had a lot of success since the mid-to-late 1990s, the numbers involved in this polling are nearly the opposite of what teams matter most to Detroiters.

Have a look at the current results:

The Pistons are perceived as being #2, Tigers #3 and Lions last. If you're looking at the latest records for the teams you'd guess the same thing.

But look at the poll results as broken down by state:

Apparently there are a lot of Mic…

Five reasons why Pownce > Twitter

After initially dissing it, I'm drinking the Pownce Kool-Aid. Is it the end-all, be-all? No, and it has a long way to go. But it's actually come in very useful. Here are 5 reasons why it kicks Twitter's ass:

1. Files. A co-worker asked me to review two web sites in development and post the results for the rest of the work crew to see. I clicked both links via IM, did screen shots and posted them for the rest of the group to view. Done and done.

2. It's not about profiles, bands whoring themselves, pictures or number of friends. 'Nuff said.

3. Matt Mayers says it's better. Matt's a young techie/programmer/anime guy in our office. He doesn't cheerlead Web 2.0 stuff unless it works and is cool. And anyone knows after watching failed programming languages that it's the techs are the ones that have to embrace them. It's not the only key to success but availability of code and community developing in that code typically is your first step to success.


MySpace copies Facebook; I say to CMOs:" "Don't be 'that guy'"

Trying to reverse the trend in membership, MySpace has added a new box to display members' "status" and "mood". Um, like, when did the 100MM social networking site become the "me too" of social networking sites? Oh, that's right -- when News Corp bought it.

It's so bad that people that've left MySpace for Facebook are now complaining about the bombardment of companies trying to infiltrate their world there. If you're a marketer looking to do something with Facebook, my advice is tread lightly or come strong with good ideas. Don't have a weak version of your site or app on Facebook that reproduces your app. It's pointless. Offer me something I can't get on your site.

Twitter has an app that shows what I just posted on their site, which is quite possibly the second most useless thing I've seen in the past 30 days. The first, of course, being Twitter. If I wanted to tell you what I'm doing then you'd either a) be her…

Dear Marketers: You're not smarter than the consumer

File this under: Transparency, Schmansparency. I just gave a Word of Mouth 101 presentation at work today and of course talked about ethics. How timely that I was able to point to this as an example:

The journal has a report on Whole Foods CEO John Mackey posting on message boards promoting his company while simultaneously pissing on Wild Oats - anonymously, under a fake name. Wow. My first question is, that as the CEO, how are you spending your days? I understand that there are things that "keep you up at night". But with all that cheddar, this is how you're spending your free time? I'm dumbfounded by this report, to be honest. The second is, did you think you wouldn't get caught?

I would really appreciate a comment from the folks at Whole Foods on this one to explain it.

I told the crowd at work today, just as I've told every audience I've spoken to over the years -- it never pays off to not be transparent. I've rarely seen instances where people …

LMAO @ Jakob Nielsen

I'm going to make this short and sweet just to prove a point: Jakob Nielsen has lost it. You can stop reading now since you're stupid and aren't considering buying anything based on reading a blog.

That's basically the point of Jakob's article - blogging isn't worth a company's time. I need to preface this before I begin, because...

I completely respect his work and opinions; as a former designer I actually have lobbied against graphics and have followed his advice in favor of making sites more usable and informative. Furthermore, I have attended Edward Tufte's talk on information architecture and admire his work as well.

That being said, think there's a balance between Twitter, and creating a 10 page diatribe and creating 100% Flash-based web sites. You have to know your audience, and there is no cookie cutter piece of advice ANYONE can give about blogging, because every situation, company and objective is different.

Mr. Neilsen recently told a "…

Random news: Taco Bell and your fake, err, face, I want some trash bags, and 777

Based on today's news I think some people are going crazy from the heat:

Taco Bell and DraftFCB looking for the best non-human to put in its ads - Spike pointed out that advertising is reaching its own tipping point of using fake testimonials in ads, so why not switch to include fake people? Ok, so they're real, but as a marketer I'm skeptical (shocker!) that this is a good idea. The community section of the site only has a few hundred posts. Plus I'm pretty sure we've seen this before (Coke's recent GTA-like ad, Max Headroom in the 80's, etc).

I want trash bags! - That's right, a guy in Oregon has prevailed at re-creating the H.M. (that's "Howlin' Mad" to you, pal) Murdock scene from the A-Team of flying away in a folding chair with balloons tied to it. Could have been great product placement if a Hefty or Glad sponsored it.

Speaking of heat, it was a bit too hot for me so I passed on the day time version of the YouTube 777 meet up this …

Ebay opens up Kijiji to compete with Craigslist

Move over free sex classified sites, Ebay's coming to your suaree and bringing the punch. They've opened up a site called Kijiji to the U.S. to compete with Craigslist, the other big free classifieds site and property which Ebay holds a 25% stake in.

As the NY Times notes, Kijiji is the #1 classifieds site in Canada, Germany, Italy and Taiwan. Also of note is that there aren't any plans to integrate the listings into Ebay and that the site is free.

I don't see how they're going to continue with a free site, unless they swallow their pride and start serving up Google ads. Oh, how sweet would that be?

There is room for another service, however, because of the faults of Craigslist. Namely, I have visitors coming to my blog because of a post I did about searching all of Craigslist and how those who'd create the search were served with cease and desist notices from Craigslist. If there's anything that open source and the phenomenon with giving up control (especia…

Word of mouth and the internet go together like peas and carrots

Anyone who's anyone in this industry knows the power of the internet and word of mouth. This is more than just a YouTube video being passed around, however clearly the dollars, attention, campaigns, user, jeez - it looks like this whole internet thing is popular and measurable.

Via BazaarVoice, eMarketer published a report yesterday saying that more and more consumers are turning to the internet for advice on products and services. I've been saying this for years, but after looking at communities that were built back in the 90's during AOL's boom, human behavior, and how online friendships have evolved, to today's influence of site like Digg - people turn to people they trust for advice - both offline and online.

I'll take this a step further and interpret -- Even past those you know on a first name basis, those who are perceived as credible can be seen as influencers online. This also explains why the Pay Per Post model really throws a monkey wrench into the e…

Can you leverage this list of buzzwords?

CareerBuilder has a list of words, that in all honesty, wouldn't hurt my feeling if I didn't hear them for quite a while. Unfortunately a lot of them have made their way into my vernacular, however if I'm careful I can avoid saying them outside of work. Very reminiscent of the at-work, on-call favorite, Bullshit Bingo.

My "Top 5" abused buzzword list is:

At the end of the day - Can also use "bottom line" here, a trite way of wrapping up your thoughts. More common in writing are "In conclusion", "Finally" and, in plain spoken English, "What I'm saying is".
Win-win - Political way of saying "I'll make you look good if it'll come out of your budget."
Get on the same page - Nice way of saying "You aren't agreeing with me."
Synergy - Similar to #3, "Creating synergies" means using someone else's budget or aligning goals.
Low hanging fruit - Quite simply, it means not having to do a lo…

Web 2.0 stupidity uncov(ered)

Via Frank Shaw, which came via Dave Winer, this Uncov post is a must-read for any anyone who wants to get why the Web 2.0 hype machine sucks. This particular post is about Pownce, the latest "invite-only" tool going through the blogging circle jerk. The post contains harsh language, some coding lingo and the brutal truth - most Web 2.0 sites aren't very well thought out, and aside from VC funding this is the poor man's version of the bubble all over again.