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Showing posts from August, 2007

Ebay encouraging Sellers to scam retail stores

An email/newsletter went out recently to Ebay Power Sellers, encouraging them to stock up on holiday items for their Ebay Stores by purchasing brand new items from brick and mortar stores. The article, entitled "Sourcing for Profitability", had a tip called "Returns means low risk". Yep, you read it right - Ebay is telling its Sellers to buy from offline stores, and if they can't sell it on Ebay to use the return policy and take it back.

Their words, as re-posted on their forums:

"Returns mean low risk --- When sourcing at retail check the return policy ..... You can always return the inventory if you find it does not sell ....."

As noted on the Ebay forums, what's to stop people from pulling the same stunt on Ebay sellers?

Advertising is not word of mouth marketing

I'm going to bite and actually blog about this because I want to shed some light on how bloggers are screwing themselves for a few dollars as well as debunk a claim on WOM by advertisers.

An article in the WSJ has me laughing this morning. It's about search company Apogee, who's using Pay Per Post to pay bloggers to write about their site.

"How much?", you might ask. Yeah, when I read this I LOL'ed too:

n January, it agreed to pay 20 bloggers a month around $10 each -- plus a fee to PayPerPost of around $2.50 per blogger -- to write a review about Apogee's blog, which the company uses to drive business to its services.

$12.50? Are you kidding me? You spent years crafting posts, building a loyal reader base and are willing to take $12.50 a month to kill your credibility? It gets better:

Paying for reviews is like word-of-mouth marketing, says Mr. Leake. "I'm inviting people to a discussion."

No, Mr. Leake, it's not "like" word of m…

Own a piece of history - the world's second unlocked iPhone

George Hotz is running an Ebay auction for the world's second unlocked iPhone. His blog details the ten steps it took to do it. This second (his person phone is the first) phone can be yours (currently) for a mere $2,175. Better yet, you could just follow the steps on his blog, unlock it yourself and only pay cost at the Apple Store.

Congrats, George!

image by George Hotz

8/25 update: George has pulled the listing because he felt too many bids were fraudulent.

Yeah, we can create buzz!

Oh, you meant real buzz? Well, we can definitely create fake accounts and try!
Comsumerist brings us a classic case of an agency (Martin Waymire Advocacy Communications) lying to its client about creating that coveted "pre-launch buzz". Or in this case, shill until ye can't shill no more! It's too easy to blame the brands, here, folks. Brand managers, VPs and the like are taking companies for their word when they say they can accomplish a goal. It's call trust in your agency; except in this case you're screwing your client.

See, If the goal is unrealistic it's the agency's job to not drop down to their knees but instead push back on the client. Are there people that care about the Big Ten channel? Absolutely. I used to live in the midwest, remember. The sad thing is that there's really no need to resort to shilling.

I place all of the blame squarely on the agency - they are the ones bullshitting their clients with capabilities they don't have. Th…

Advertisers to Firefox users: Take your money elsewhere

I nearly crapped myself when I saw this story on Techdirt (via Slashdot). There's a new campaign to block Firefox users from certain web sites because they're avoiding viewing ads by using the Adblock extension. The discussion on Slashdot's entry clearly shows readers are puzzled, and in some cases pissed. Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

This presents a huge opportunity to boycott those blocking Firefox and for companies to market to those of us who do use it. A "buy blue" for those who know how to install alternative browsers, if you will. I'll gladly take my disposable income to those companies that aren't part of this campaign. What's next? Lawsuits from networks because I walked away from the TV or changed the channel?

This is the real capper from their site:

While blanket ad blocking in general is still theft, the real problem is Ad Block Plus's unwillingness to allow individual site owners the freedom to block people using their plug-in.

So here's my…

Anti-fat blogging is back

Earlier this year I tried to gain weight as part of my "Anti-Fat Blogging" kick, which was in a direct response to the silly "fat blogging" craze. And I'm glad Jason and Co. have lost weight, good for them. However, my plan backfired when I started exercising regularly and found it impossible to put on a pound. I'm 6'6" and weigh a slim 215 lbs, which puts me at an average weight and BMI for my height.

I've been playing basketball a lot the past few weeks and noticed that I'm getting bounced around by the bigger fellas, so as of today the anti-fat blogging campaign is back on. I had a huge omelette and potatoes at a client meeting this morning, a protein bar at noon and, fearing that wouldn't hold me over , grabbed a chicken salad. A rumor was spreading around the office about a lunch spread from a meeting that was adjourning at 2 PM, but I couldn't wait.

Well, as luck would have it, the tray of sandwiches passed by my office around…

Links for August 12, 2007

I've spent this weekend, among other things, scaling back on my RSS subscriptions and enjoying the lovely weather. That being said, here are some great posts that have popped up over the past few days:

Mike's Points: Dehumanizing our work
One of Mr. Driehorst's takeaways from BlogHer -- at the end of the day we're all real people. Side note: Not mentioned in Mike's post but notably counterintuitive, a PR firm was walking around BlogHer trying to recruit Moms for future campaigns. I can only think that some people just don't get it.

Brains On Fire: Stop being boring
Spike speaks frankly about applicants resumes that have rolled in.

Church of the Customer: The Customer Review Effect
OK, so the numbers and study came from eMarketer but who better than Ben to talk about it?

Techdirt: J&J sues Red Cross over use of logo
Mike correctly points out that J&J is in the right here, even if it is a bad PR move.

The blogging of politics

No, I'm not referring to the YouTube/CNN debate or the politics of blogging, also known as the complimentary ass kissing that goes on between bloggers on the A-list. I'm talking about political figures on a non-national level, aka those without a press secretary or PR manager, and how they are learning to listen to, appreciate and engage in blogs. This is getting local, y'all.

As I've mentioned before, I grew up in Warren, Michigan - a town famous for housing the GM Technical center, Big Boy restaurants and yes, Eminem went high school here too.

Warren is also known for having extremely dirty politics. As the son of a former Warren politician, I remember growing up being told that Warren politics made Chicago's politics look clean by comparison. Case in point, fresh on the doorstep of my parents house are two pieces of "literature" from fake "citizens groups", both anonymously slamming candidates for mayor, treasurer, clerk and city council.


So how do you like it?

That's the most common question I've been asked since getting an iPhone last month. Sure, it's a nifty conversation piece and overall I'm pleased with it -- especially since it replaces my (go ahead and laugh) 2nd gen iPod and Razr. There are a lot of features I love, like the Maps driving feature to calculate distance and time based on real time traffic conditions (red = heavy congestion, yellow = moderate, green = clear), Mail, photos, and of course the iPod, but I have my own list of improvements for the rumored Fall firmware update.

1. iPod: The album cover art is frustrating at times. I have tracks from the same album whose art isn't recognized because a letter may not have been capitalized when typed in manually. That's weak, especially seeing tons of default "missing" album artwork or duplicates. You'd think with CDDB access that it would reconcile duplicates and correct minor errors.

2. Multitasking: If the device can't handle playing mu…