July 31, 2002

Three C's of Interactive Marketing
Communication, Collaboration, and Context. This is a terrific article by Robert Manning an account director at Agency.com. Found it as I was looking around Digitrends.com, a site I haven't been to in a while.

The end game of interactive marketing should be fostering greater communication and collaboration; its real value has never been as a transactive medium. But to achieve status as a great communicator, you first have to develop listening skills.

Robert argues that P2P marketing will be the only truley effective means of marketing on the Web. "Collaberative P2P Space" will allow a company to "facilitate a forum of creative statement; establish a brand new collaborative space where the company sponsors creative statement" for members restricted by previous communications media. This reminds me a whole lot of Chris Locke's Gonzo Marketing. And I really do believe, in conjunction with weblogs, this is the futre of marketing.
Kodak's Sharper Focus
Being that I used to live in Rochester, Kodak has always had a place in my heart. You see, Kodak is Rochester. At least it's economy anyway. When we were going through the last recession (early 90's), Kodak was especially slammed, and never really recovered. Their main problem, from what I understand, is in the post their revenue came mostly from film sales. Then 2 things happened: film became a commodity because the competition matched Kodak's quality; Digital happened.

Kodak has never really grasped the potential of the Internet and the synergies with digital photos. Marketing strategy after marketing strategy, Kodak has failed. Kodak is starting yet another marketing initiative, "Project Next." But this one might work. Project Next will entail, "revamp[ing] its website to improve customer satisfaction and usability, more tightly integrate the company's many online businesses, and ultimately cut costs and put it in a better position to compete as photography moves from film to digital"

While that's a little vague and abstract, what I did like was the next sentence: "Kodak .... will launch a new, XML-based website in the first quarter of 2003." While XML alone doesn't say all that much, it really makes me think. For the non-techies out there (like me) blogging is based on XML coding. I'm taking this to mean, Kodak is giving web-voice ownership to its customers.

The possibilities are far-reaching. If I were running the Kodak marketing department, here's what I'd do. Allow customers to create Photo Blogs (or Photo Journals, not to scare the blogger-phobs away). Date-stamped, customers could keep photo blogs online, link to friends who have similar interests ... even create photo blogs around hobbies ... for example, a family who's kid swims competitively could post pictures (embarrassing as it may be to the poor kid) or their son's or daughter's achievements and link to other swimmers who have started similar blogs. .... thinking out loud now, but this is how Kodak could rebuild it's brand and start those high profit-margins again.

July 29, 2002

Even William Safire is writing about "blogs." (via Saltire).
''Will the blogs kill old media?'' asked Newsweek, an old-media publication, perhaps a little worried about this disintermediation leading to an invasion of alien ad-snatchers. My answer is no; gossips like an old-fashioned party line, but most information seekers and opinion junkies will go for reliable old media in zingy new digital clothes. Be that as it may (a phrase to avoid the voguism that said), the noun blog is a useful addition to the lexicon.

July 22, 2002

The Microcontent News Blogging Software Roundup
John Hiler has finished his beast of an article outlining all the blogware that's fit to print. Save your appetite, this is a 7 course meal --- but I can't wait to dig in!
Amazon Web Services in Use: Amazon Light
This is the first example of work using Amazon's new Web Services program which allows anyone to create their own Amazon store front and get commissions on sales. This design by Kokogiak is terrific. Originally modeled after Google's simplicity (the lawyers put that to a stop), the site is to the point and delivers what you want. I really think the opportunities are endless here. Anyone in ecommerse should roll something like this out. Combine it with blogging and imagine what you get.

July 16, 2002

Tom Hespos - Content Revoluion is Just Beginning
Tom is one of my favorite writers covering online advertising -- the guy just makes sense. I started reading him on ClickZ and iMarketing news years ago.

Tom is a regular columnist for Media Post -- a newsletter and website dedicated to online advertising media. Tom, like me, always saw the Internet as a revolution in the Marketplace of Ideas. The problem, Tom points out, is it was very difficult to be a publisher without having a skill set in online publishing. Tom is psyched (me too). Because of tools like Blogger this new Marketplace of Ideas is becoming closer to reality.

Easy-to-use content management systems are a great first step toward truly leveling the playing field. But we still need further innovation in this area. It would be nice to see a company come along and make animation and graphics as simple as Blogger and LiveJournal have made content management. ....How long will it be before we see something that makes manipulating graphics and images so simple and intuitive that even the "technology-impaired" can easily construct photo essays and online newspaper-type layouts?

I'm betting that a lot of this technology is not very far off. And once it makes a splash, we could be looking at an explosion of new content sites. What could this do to online media planning five or ten years down the road? It might be wise to think about what the marketplace might look like if a wave of independent publishers suddenly started entering the game en masse.

Tom just started blogging over on his new company's (UnderscoreMarketing) website. Look for more to come -- Tom has a keen sense in how advertising will be reshaped on the Web.
Rick Bruner: Pop-Unders: Cockroaches
That's one way of putting it. I think the pop-under is the equivalent of a street peddler. They have no concern as to what you are in the middle of. They usually peddle some gimmicky product that has no legitimate value. They're persistent little buggers, who can't take a hint.

The web is my place -- "our" place. The argument that we'll "get used to" this scum of advertising is ridiculous -- and this is how most marketers legitimize this trade. We succumbed to TV advertising, 468X60's, Radio Spots, Billboards -- we'll succumb to pop-unders. This couldn't be further from the truth. Customers "own" a portion of the web. Pop-unders trespass on our property. There is absolutely no value to customers -- and businesses -- for that matter in pop-unders. Someone had the idea of posting a pop-unders not served here on sites that don't use them. I think that's a terrific idea. The pop-under is destroying online advertising's credibility and is minimizing it's potential to something simplistic and hated.

Kudos to Organic for refusing to buy them for their clients. Nice work.

July 12, 2002

Subscribe Now!
Alrighty - get WebSense delivered to your inbox, so you don't have to remember to come back! Put your email address in the box to the left, and everytime I post something new, you'll get it via email. This is from Bloglet, which I got from POELog.
Why Most Internet Advertising Fails - The Meaning of a Link
In Small Pieces Loosely Joined, David Weinberger discusses how linking is a way of showing visitors what a site creator's passions are. For example, I really enjoyed most of David's book, so I linked to it. I enjoy reading those blogs over there on the left, so I link to them. There is an underlying understanding between site visitor and site creator that the links on a page show the site creator's passions (if not passions at least links to sites their visitors will find useful). And if the site visitor likes what the site creator has to say, he/she will probably like what the site creator links to.

Theoretically, this makes online media placements (e.g. paid-for links) the equivalent of a bribe in the eyes of the site visitor. "I'll give ya a hundred bucks for puttin my link on your page." What does that say about the integrity of the link to the site visitor? The only relationship between the site creator and the advertiser is a financial one. And that's what drives the decision to place an ad. And because this is apparent to the site visitor, the ad holds no true value in their eyes, unless if their one of the .03% lucky ones who actually see an ad that's is relevant to their needs.

One place this theory doesn't hold true is on search engines -- which may explain why keyword buys get a good response -- and really any kind of data driven site (i.e. Internet Yellow Pages). Here there is an understanding between site visitor and site creator that the site is going to provide reliable data, whether it be businesses in my area selling air conditioning repair service, or sites created by people who love to knit (trust me there's a bunch).

Where does this leave Internet advertising and marketing?

July 09, 2002

AKMA Reviews Futrelle
AKMA has some more intelligent and "constructive" things to say about the Post review of SPLJ than my little rant below.

July 08, 2002

Essential New Media Books
Saltire lists New Media books must haves. I haven't read one of them! D'oh! BTW, here's my "Advertising Brew" Amazon list on listmania.

July 07, 2002

??? David Futrelle (Washington Post) Review: Small Pieces Loosely Joined
Cool! A review of David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined!

And then the disappointment sets in .... some bitter (he admits this himself) has-been who told too many people to buy too many tech stocks and then got a taste of his own feet decides he needs to bait David Weinberger ....Did this guy even read the book??? And why is he reviewing it? I think he skimmed a couple chapters online, said, this shit is over my head, and slammed the book. Futrelle hated the book before he even pretended to read it. He starts bashing Cluetrain (is this a Cluetrain review or SPLJ review?) and then can't stay away from this obsession of David's (W.) use of the word "we." I guess Futrelle's lack of understanding of where this book is going reduces Futrelle's review to David's (W.) use of the first-person singular and the first-person plural. All Futrelle can say about the strengths of the web is that we're "simply sitting on our posteriors staring dully at a computer screen." (Note Futrelle's use fo the first-person plural).

This review was trite and awful. On to our regularly scheduled programming.

July 03, 2002

Meet Up
Stumbled accross this cool tool on Doc's blog. If anyone in the DC area wants to meet up (or if you want to meet other bloggers in your area) click below. I'm recommending Flannagans.

Digital Identity --> The Big I -- Eric Norlin TDCRC
Eric Norlin gives an incredible dissertation on Digital Identity, something, Eric, is sure will be the next business phenomenon online. This is something I should be more familiar with, but am not.

It is precisely at this intersection of the real and virtual worlds
that digital identity sits. Digital Identity is not simply an online
phenomenon. Rather, it is a third state, a bridge that lies between
the real world and the world of ones and zeros. The liminal quality of
digital identity is precisely what makes it so significant.

If digital identity were nothing more than the ability to shop easily
online -- to auto-fill out the forms for ordering a book on Amazon --
then, quite frankly, digital identity would be very boring. It most
certainly wouldn't be some business altering force. But digital
identity is not simply contained to the online world; it straddles (or
is moving toward straddling) the two worlds of the real and digital.
As cell phone makers move towards location-based identity, as General
Motors deploys OnStar systems, as Fortune 500 companies use identity
management software to manage employee processes -- in these and many
more instances, digital identity is the bridge that ties the
electronic world to the physical world.

This makes me think of another "Big I," Digital Integrity.

July 02, 2002

Fee or Free: It's Economics!
Vin Crosbie gives a common sense reason to why content on the Internet is free in his latest ClickZ column. Vin plays down those who say we need to "educate" people to pay for content. There's an information surplus. Companies can't charge for content when it's so abundant. Now, if you have content that is on-of-a-kind, you'll be able to charge for content, and you should.

The Internet eased consumer access to information and astronomically increased choice of information sources. Most information is no longer scarce. It's becoming surplus. Publishers who distribute information are economically compelled to charge increasingly less.

Those of you who didn't nod off in economics class may remember how supply and demand works: You can charge much for something scarce or otherwise hard to obtain, but you must charge less if that something is surplus or otherwise easy to obtain.

Technological progress continually makes products more surplus and easier to obtain, even information. Result: Prices for information make ineluctable progress toward zero. Or, as Brand's observation is partly remembered, "Information wants to be free."

This makes me think about the homogenous nature of media in general. Few providers provide all of the content. It's become the same and it's everywhere you look. Mainstream media has become dull, and this is why I think Saltire is right when he says, it's all coming crashing down. There's no diversity in media today. And the media giants have shot themselves in the foot because they all thought their little formulas were going to deliver a constant flow of billions of cash-o-la. Someone forgot about the Golden Goose.

This is one of the reasons why the Web is so revolutionary. While there is an abundance of similar information, there is also an abundance of truly unique commentary. Conversations. Real talk.

But as I think out loud, and I'm thinking about David Weinberger's new book, Small Pieces Loosely Joined, which I just started reading, and he's talking the web as a space, not a medium. We go to places on the web, they aren't delivered to us -- as in the traditional sense of media. Because it's a place where conversations occur, not just the pushing of content, I wonder how we'll ever charge for content on the web. Would you pay a quarter every time you talked to your neighbor?

I say yes and no. I would pay to read some blogs, because they are so valuable. Others I wouldn't. I'd pay for the Wall Street Journal (I don't because my girlfriend does). But that's less conversation, more content...... anyways, enough meandering... back to work.

July 01, 2002

Micromarkets & Blogs: Chris Locke on NPR
Here is a transcription to Chris Locke's piece on NPR Marketplace talking about the blog phenomenon.

Garbage to one person is of high value to another, and the way the Internet works is that people group together around things that interest them. So the audience isn’t the mass audience, it’s little tiny micro audiences that aggregate around things people are saying that resonate with their own concerns. There has been an enormous amount of stuff written and said about the phenomenon of weblogging, which two years ago didn’t exist, and today there are something on the order of two million of these things in existence. It’s been a hockey stick spike.
Kartoo.com Mapping Search Engine
Rick Bruner points us to Kartoo.com which gives search results visually. I like the use of Flash on this site. Looks like some kind of Meta-Search Engine. Looks pretty neat, but I'm not too sure of the usefulness of it. I'll have to try it a couple more times.