Archive for the 'Social Media Marketing' Category

Jul 28 2014

The New Kingmakers — book review

Steven O'Grady is the co-founder of Redmonk, a developer-focused tech analyst firm, and a very smart analyst at that. I first got to know him in 2006 via my old boss at Lenovo, the  CMO Deepak Advani who had a deep interest in Open Source and developer relations from his days at IBM. O'Grady and his co-founding partner James Governor gave us invaluable insights into the Open Source market, something that was unexpectedly crucial to Lenovo's digital marketing focus as unbeknownst to us, one of the iconic Thinkpad laptops had been embraced as a reference platform to simplify hardware driver development for new distros.

Steven is also a great fan of all things Red Sox (his blog "Wicked Clevah" is one of the few I read) and is a striper fisherman up on the coast of Maine where he works and lives. So our orbits have overlapped on a few vectors.

This past spring he published with O'Reilly Media a very compelling argument that developers are the "new kingmakers" in contemporary IT and corporate digital strategy because of their crucial role in building value, defending against disruption, and making the technology decisions formerly reserved for procurement teams and the CIO. The result is a complete over-turning of the way organizations select and deploy technology, putting the developers in charge of the tools and standards that govern IT-enabled innovation and operations. We intuitively figured that out at Lenovo under the premise that when anyone makes a technology decision -- "what phone should I buy? what laptop? what software?" -- they turn to the most technical and expert person in their network. For those of us trying to build an influencer model online to sell computers, that audience was comprised of developers. Make them happy, give them what they need in terms of information and content, and they in turn will be the ones who declare if your technology is crap or not.

O'Grady nails the impact that the developer community is having on tech -- from standards to commercial software to the way companies hire and retain the best coding talent they can find. His point is going to be very bleak new to the marketing teams at B2B tech companies. All those white papers and conferences and drive to get to the CEO and the COO and the CMO and the CIO ..... guess what? Developers could care less and they are the ones who matter.

"In the latter half of the 20th century, developers were effectively beholden to their employers. The tools they needed to be productive -- hardware and software -- just were not affordable on an individual basis. Developers wishing to build even something as trivial as a website were confronted by an unfortunate reality: most of the necessary building blocks were available only under commercial licenses. Operating systems, databases, web and application servers, and development tools all required money. To get anything done, developers needed someone to write checks for the tools they needed. That meant either raising the capital to buy the necessary pieces, or -- more often -- requesting that an employer or other third party purchase them on the developer’s behalf.

"The new century, however, has ushered in profound and permanent shifts in the relationship between developer and employer. No longer is the former at the mercy of the latter’s budget. With the cost of development down by an order of magnitude or mode, the throttle on developer creativity has been removed, setting the stage for a Cambrian explosion of projects.

"Four major disruptions drove this shift: open source, the cloud, the Internet, and seed-stage financing."

Basically, the point is that the company may buy one set of technology but developers will be developers and build stuff with the tools they want to use, not the tools the CIO negotiated a good price for out on the golf course.  Rather than put up with "official" technology, developers just get stuff done with the right tools -- generally free tools -- that get the job done.

"....the balance of power began to tilt in favor of developers. Developers, not their bosses, became the kingmakers. Technology selection increasingly wasn’t determined by committee or bake offs or who played golf with the CIO, but by what developers decided, on their own, to use.

"MySQL salespeople used to walk into businesses, for example, only to be told that they were wasting their time because the business wasn’t using any MySQL. At which point the MySQL salesperson would reply, “That’s interesting, because your organization has downloaded the package 5,000 times in the last two years.” This was and is the new balance of power. Not for every technology sector, of course, but for more every year."

This is a very concise and accessible book -- aimed at the marketers and executive management of companies who rely on developers to build their success.  In my bookshelf of tech books that matter, this one will have a long shelf life. If you're managing digital strategy,  evaluating tech vendors, or trying to market hardware and software, this book can be digested in less than two hours and will, trust me, have an impact on how you see the new world.

No responses yet

Aug 18 2013

Blaming the blockers: What’s the future of online advertising? — Tech News and Analysis

GigaOm has published an opinion piece I wrote at the suggestion of Om Malik about the poor prospects for the present digital advertising model. I went off on a screed in my first draft against the protests of the Internet Advertising Bureau who have been attacking people like me who turn on ad-blocking software and turn off third-party tracking cookies.

http://gigaom.com/2013/08/18/blaming-the-blockers-whats-the-future-of-online-advertising/

I'll let the column speak for itself.

No responses yet

Jul 10 2013

Millennial/Net-Gen Focus Group of Two

Sitting on the deck the other evening with my 24 year-old daughter and her boyfriend, a San Francisco entrepreneur working on a real estate/apartment finder app --  while I grilled dinner I also grilled them on social media trends within their social and professional circles. Both are digitally driven individuals who have known a world that always had an Internet. He's on a divided platform of MacAir and Android phone, she's a follower of the Apple Holy Trinity of MacAir, iPhone5 and iPad2.

  1. Both are Gmail users. She left Yahoo. And despite the Apple hardware, does not use Apple cloud services or email.
  2. Both use Snapchat
  3. Dropbox
  4. Are not fans of iTunes
  5. Both dispute the popular myth of twenty-somethings fleeing Facebook as it gets infested by their parents. "Can't survive without it, though everyone disses it and says they are going to cancel their accounts," said he.
  6. Twitter is not a big thing for them personally, but he's respectful of its marketing power
  7. He is a content marketing practitioner and showed me an infographic developed with his PR firm to support his app launch
  8. Both admit to being overwhelmed by the proliferation of social apps, networks, etc.
  9. I didn't ask about Google + usage.
  10. Laptop and tablet use was pretty low during their ten day vacation. Phones were consulted constantly with few phone calls observed.

Interesting points I took away from this survey sample of two are:

  • Both are very concerned about personal information security, hence the quick adoption of Snapchat which makes an image expire and notifies the sender if a recipient takes a screen shot.
  • Facebook is tired, but central to their sharing and personal network maintenance. I  thought they would long gone from there.
  • Both said they are tired of keeping up with all the options and new technology available to them

3 responses so far

Apr 24 2013

3 Ways to Write an Annoying “ListLine”™

The recently departed Al Neuharth -- the man who gave the world McJournalism when he created USA Today in 1982 -- was famous in my mind for two things (no, make that three, because this is a post in part about the magic powers of "three"):

  1. Always publish the tits above the fold
  2. Bulleted lists are better than paragraphs
  3. Infographics that twist statistics and invoke the Royal We into cartoons are engaging

People love lists. Decades ago there was a bestseller entitled "The Book of Lists," a classic toilet-side tome in many a household. There are  management books about the power of to-do lists.  I must have at least three or four list apps on my phones and tablets and PC. Most horrible is the tendency of the lower life forms in online journalism and especially digital marketing/SEO/Content marketing bloggers to use lists as linkbait. There are so many headlines about "Three Ways to Increase ROI" and "Four Ways Content Marketing Can Engage and Delight Your Customers" that I have to wonder what's driving this obsession with numerical sequence.  I know that if I click through to actually read the stuff I'm going to read some airhead social media/digital marketing "guru's" rehashed airheaded jargon twisted bloviations.

Working off off my feeds this morning  I found this actual set of ... oh hell, let's just call them "ListLines™", e.g. headlines promoting lists:

  • 13 Smart Podcasts That Will Feed Your Hunger for Knowledge and Ideas
  • The 45 Best Restaurants in America (BusinessInsider is a huge fan of  ListLines™, generally cutting up the content into slideshows to pump up the pageviews). They have a daily list which is semi-useful called .....
  • Ten Things You Need To Know
  • 10 Habits of Remarkably Charismatic People
  • We Try 4 New Electric Hot Water Kettles for Coffee and Tea

The king of the numbered ListLine has to be the Content Marketing Institute, which on its home page has the following headlines, and all save one has a numeral in it:

  • 4 Truths About Content Marketing Clients
  • 6 Tips to Start Creating Content on Tumblr
  • 3 Tips for More Effective Content Marketing Visuals
  • 9 Questions to Help You Prioritize Content Creation
  • 12 Roles Essential to the Future of Content Marketing
  • Thought Leadership Strategy: 3 Ways to Leverage Live Event Content
  • 3 Tips for Keeping Your Buyer Personas Fresh and Alive
  • How Enterprises Handle B2B Content: 6 Key Insights From Our Research

McKinsey, the organization that lives on PowerPoint, had an unofficial Rule of Threes during my short stint-- as in no slide should have more than three bullet points on it because that was all the typical audience member could hold in their head during the time it took the expensive consultant to present the slide. McKinsey was into numerology in general and the place should have had the Pareto Principle inscribed over the door as its motto (the "80/20" rule). I admit I stick to the Rule of Threes to this day.

My theory about the abuse of the numbered list in online headlines is the corruption of editorial good sense by the scuzzy underworld of Search Engine Optimization and the Tyranny of Metrics. Let's turn to the experts at the Content Marketing Institute, enter in the search term "lists" and what do you know? In a post entitled "Content Strategy: 9 Secrets for Awesome Blog Post Titles", Tracy Gold writes in item number 5:

"We all groan about numbered lists in blog posts. But the truth is, they work. In our research, titles that began with a number performed 45 percent better than the average.

"Another approach is to start with a keyword and include a number later in the title. Take “Content Marketing Checklist: 22 To-dos for SlideShare Success,” for example. We tested both title types, and when the headline started with a keyword, it actually performed slightly better.

"While one approach to this method is to work more numbered lists into your blog content strategy up front, you can also use a numbered list in a post after it’s written. Is the post split up into sections? Can those sections be numbered? Boom. But again, don’t mislead your readers — make sure a numbered list format actually fits the content of your post."

Now we know the secrets of the masters. My theory is by announcing ahead of time how many pieces of b.s. the reader will have to digest, they figure they aren't in for a reading of Procopius History of the Early Church and can snack on the info before their Adderall buzzing brain clicks them away.

Before closing, let me digress back to USA Today and my indoctrination into the art of the list.

I worked at a newspaper -- The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune -- that rented its color presses to print the New England edition USA Today at night, receiving the pages via satellite and then churning out the colorful McPaper so familiar to residents of the Marriott Courtyard Suites. This close relationship unfortunately colored the judgment of Eagle-Tribune editor-in-chief Dan Warner, who decided that Al Neuharth was a visionary genius and that the Tribune's staff  would learn to write lists instead of stories and develop "infographics" about Why We Love Ice Cream," complete with a cartoon of a melting ice cream cone, a gushing thermometer and some made up statistic about what flavors "We" preferred.

This was strictly enforced to the point that every story opened with a classic lead (my favorite lead of all time, courtesy of Edna Buchanan, the legendary police reporter of the Miami Herald is cited below*), a standard second paragraph, and then an inevitable list of bulleted items before the jump to an inside page.  I would pile into the newsroom after a scintillating evening covering the Salem, New Hampshire board of selectmen and pound out some lifeless copy ("This ain't a short story about your dead grandma bub, so get over it" my editor, Al White, told me after taking a machete to my first story about a sewer bond hearing) that always had a bullet list up high where Dan Warner would be sure to see it. Hence:

"In other actions, the board voted to:

  • Ban pit bulls from playgrounds
  • Postpone a hearing on bingo licenses
  • Authorize door-to-door cigarette sales by Brownie Troop 5
  • Commend Police Chief Nickerson for Sunday's arrest of undercover Massachusetts State Policemen harassing Bay State liquor and fireworks customers

At first the mandate to use bullet lists offended my delicate Strunk & White sensibilities about prose composition.  One of the joys of great writing is a well-written list, contained in a single flowing sentence, ordered just so to delight the ear and paint a picture in the mind's eye, but alas the world has become addicted to the staccato stack of one-liners preceded by the bold typographical dot and so I have given up all hope of resistance.

But I know in my heart of hearts that William Faulkner never wrote a bullet list in his life or worried about SEO.

 

*: Calvin Trillin, profiling Buchanan in the New Yorker: "In the newsroom of the Miami Herald, there is some disagreement about which of Edna Buchanan’s first paragraphs stands as the classic Edna lead. I line up with the fried-chicken faction. The fried-chicken story was about a rowdy ex-con named Gary Robinson, who late one Sunday night lurched drunkenly into a Church’s outlet, shoved his way to the front of the line, and ordered a three-piece box of fried chicken. Persuaded to wait his turn, he reached the counter again five or ten minutes later, only to be told that Church’s had run out of fried chicken. The young woman at the counter suggested that he might like chicken nuggets instead. Robinson responded to the suggestion by slugging her in the head. That set off a chain of events that ended with Robinson’s being shot dead by a security guard. Edna Buchanan covered the murder for the Herald—there are policemen in Miami who say that it wouldn’t be a murder without her—and her story began with what the fried-chicken faction still regards as the classic Edna lead: “Gary Robinson died hungry."

 

3 responses so far

Apr 08 2013

Not your father’s advertorial

Every trend, fad and meme has its day and "branded content" is having its moment now that the New York Time's Monday business section has discovered the phenomenon of publishers further blurring the lines between journalism and marketing in its piece on 4.8.13 by Tanzina Vega: "Sponsors Now Pay for Online Articles, Not Just Ads." The usual publications are cited: Forbes.com and it's "BrandVoice" ("Connecting marketers to the Forbes audience"), the Atlantic Monthly, Business Insider, Mashable just to name a few. I think a bigger trend is being ignored:  and that's marketers going direct to readers and building their own audiences, cutting publishers out entirely except to rent their traffic and push clicks to their own media.
Forbes has taken its share of criticism for being one of the first old-school publishers to open up its digital pages to advertorial, but Chief Product Office Lewis D'Vorkin isn't apologetic. His e-book on the Forbes.com editorial/advertising model is a convincing argument against the old church/state Chinese wall model of advertising-supported but segregated-independent-objctive journalism. In his treatise, D'Vorkin goes right after the old-school editorial purists and essentially wishes them good luck as they slowly starve to death while the old interruption model of advertising further withers under the impact of AdBlocker and Tivo-ad skipper technologies.

The Times article cites one dissenter, Andrew Sullivan, the former editor of the New Republic: "I am aghast at this…Your average reader isn't interested in that. They don't realize they are being fed corporate propaganda."
Average reader? At least they're reading and not rotting their brains with a diet of Bravo staged-reality shows about Real Wives and Hoarders. Getting into the sanctimonious mosh pit of editorial objectivity and journalism ethics is to enter into a surreal religious war on a pointless par with the dyophysite controversies of the fifth century: no one cared except the patriarchs and metropolitans but nevertheless wars were waged and people died.
The Internet Advertising Bureau and the Magazine Publishers Association have long been setting down the rules for making it clear to readers what is pure and impure. Putting tinted boxes around marketing content, sticking the word "Advertisement" atop the headline …. I ran into this issue as early as 1996 when Forbes.com sold daily content sponsorships and gave the advertisers a tall vertical unit we invented called the "Skyscraper." The smarter sponsors used the space to run a story as opposed to an animated Punch-The-Monkey ad, and before long we had to revise our terms and conditions to ghettoize the more egregious offenders with the scarlet letter of "Advertising."  Digital advertising models have long looked for the online equivalent of the little word "Advertorial" that magazines used to segregate special sections bought by the Economic Development Commission of Mississippi ("A State To Grow In!") away from the serious, independent stuff. Now even Google News is trying to keep the sponsored stuff out of its pages.
I think the Times missed the bigger trend: marketers going direct to their prospective buyers by becoming their own publishers, producing their own media and using professional editorial placements only to rent names, just as marketers have been renting circulation lists for decades to drive their direct mail campaigns. Here's some early manifestations and enablers of the Marketer-As-Publisher trend:
Corporate-in-house produced newsrooms: Ever since corporate websites became de rigeur in the 90s, corporate communications has always carved out a loney section of the brand's main website to post press releases, executive bios, and the usual investor relations information. Now some are going right into the business of publishing stories – not the usual releases for the press, but content for the customers – under the rubric of corporate newsrooms. Best example I can think of is what Intel has been doing for years with its newsroom at newsroom.intel.com. Cisco also has a newsroom. These are being used as white paper libraries, curated collections of relevant industry news links, and original daily news and commentary, all backed up by some form of community/social participation function.
Branded partner produced content: these are sites produced in partnership with a media company. Intel is in a partnership with Vice.com called The Creators Project. Red Bull is also into it this sort of advertainment.
Online "magazines": these are the digital evolution of the type of print product that companies such as IBM or the Four Seasons Hotel chain would hire Forbes Custom Publishing to produce and distribute to their customers. Now the digital version  of "vanity" magazines live under their own domain identity (vs. being an extension of the core brand's domain like the Intel newsroom) Now they produce them with their own editorial staff. A great example is Adobe/Omniture's CMO.com:
Enablers
Talent: A lot of inexpensive and talented business and B2B editorial talent displaced by the digital disruption in the their former newsrooms is available with some prominent tech talent crossing over to corporate gigs – and not in the usual PR/flak capacity but as corporate staff writers and editors. From the highest end of the mastheads with people like Fortune's Rik Kirkland going to McKinsey a few years ago to edit the McKinsey Quarterly and oversee the firm's editorial strategy to Steve Hamm, formerly of Businessweek, going to IBM to become a communications strategist, or Dan Lyons leaving Read, Write Web, Forbes, and the Daily Beast to join Cambridge digital marketing startup HubSpot.... the talent is out there looking for some relief from the churn and chaos of the traditional press and the sweatshop conditions of the blog networks.
Cheap tools: web development used to involve a lot of enterprise software licenses for content management, analytics, etc. Say goodbye to Vignette and Interwoven and hello to WordPress and Drupal. If the tools are good enough for AllThingsD and The Economist, then they are good enough to a corporate content marketing site. And they have the added appeal of being cloud/SAAS based so the more daring marketers can side-step the corporate web mafia and the CIO's office with their brown-suited procurement standards and office of project management  and start publishing immediately.
Drivers: in closing, what's driving chief marketing officers, heads of corporate communications, and digital marketers to launch their own editorial efforts?

First – developing an audience of loyal readers is no different that developing and attracting the attention of prospective customers and building loyalty among existing ones. Corporate content is about going direct to the right audience and cutting out the editorial middle-man.

Second – digital marketing is all about the content that a marketer pushes through the distribution channels available. YouTube for corporate video. Tweets, Facebook pages … this stuff demands a steady supply of fresh content and getting that content from an agency or third-party is like trying to perform surgery in a haz mat suit with robotic arms. Why depend on a third party when you can own the capability internally.

Third – agility. Corporate publishing is about reacting, not just to opportunities like tweeting about random blackouts during the Superbowl, but to crisis communications when every second counts. When your offshore oil platform catches on fire, the world isn't going to the New York Times for your mea culpa and updates, it's hammering on BP.com. (I'll get into "dark site" production in a future post.)

So what? I think the immediate impact of corporate content isn't journalistic ethics but the challenge it places on the professional service firms that  feed clients with editorial services. Namely the PR firms writing releases, CEO speeches, white papers, etc. and the digital agencies that build custom microsites and other digital initiatives for marketers unstaffed to handle the challenge of staying technically adept. And finally– the traditional and not-so-traditional "objective" press. They will either produce the content as a service to the corporate advertiser or see their former editors and reporters get hired away to do it under the more stable umbrella of a big organization with deep pockets. That the press is now selling the opportunity to publish corporate content next to their own reporting is a foregone conclusion. Hand wringing and saying one is ethically "aghast" is the personification of the cliché, "pride goeth before the fall."

2 responses so far

May 18 2012

Suckers are born every decade but I’m out of here

I wanted to keep this to myself --if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all -- but here is my contribution to the pile of B.S. spreading today on the occasion of Facebook going public.

Facebook is over, about to topple over under the weight of a spectacular overvaluation, mass indifference to financial fundamentals, and most importantly my sense of the growing indifference of the generation it was supposed to serve -- college students.  Facebook was famously founded as a digital replacement to the printed freshman directories of the Ivy League but has become obese with the inane status updates and vacation bragging of those same students' parents. My generation. The one's who pored over the original class directories in the 1970s and "posted updates" on whiteboards glued to our dorm room doors.

Wall Street is selling scale today when the trigger is pulled on Facebook at 11 AM EST -- that's dot.com hyperbole for "lots of traffic" -- and while your local investment club may be all atwitter with the prospect of buying some shares, and it's fun to count the herd of new Facebook gazillionaires now shopping for new Colnagos and bespoke skinny jeans -- the smart money has been cashing out for a long time in the private market and will continue cashing out quickly at the top.  This is not Microsoft in 1984 nor Amazon in 1996. This is not a long term bet on a significant new way of doing business or even communicating. This is an investment in the 2012 edition of CompuServe and MySpace: yet another walled garden ripe to get creatively destroyed by the next big technical thing lurking over that hill known as the future.

Future performance of Facebook's stock depends on the company delivering profitable revenue and like Google, Facebook gets all of its money from advertising. Google builds semi-useful stuff and search is everything. Facebook advertising does not work. I managed Facebook campaigns for a Fortune Global 100 company and have first hand experience that ... Facebook .... Advertising .... Does..... Not ..... Work.

General Motors figured this out, and picking the week of the IPO to announce Facebook ads aren't working was simply perfect. Of course the counter argument from the social media douche bags is that "Facebook is all about authentic relationships and transparent conversations between brands and customers." Consider the source, given that the SMDB's make their bones selling their Facebook Unique Customer Karma and Emerging Digital services (you can figure out the forced acronym) to breathless CMOs who want audience, damn it, and the bigger the better.  And consider that the public relations/digital agency world is always first on any shiny object bandwagon (can you say SecondLife) and their current solemn obsession is reporting "Social ROI" as the rest of the faddish get obsessed with big data and analytics. (If you want to watch some fun navel gazing, play pissed-off CEO and ask a Digital PR person "How much is a Facebook Fan worth?")

Companies, aka "brands," obsess and fret about how many fans and likes they have; spend money on third-party tools like BuddyMedia to manage their presence, and set aside a slice of their digital advertising budget to buy good old display ads to run alongside the torrent of notifications and shared links that make up Facebook's river of content. As I read elsewhere this morning, quoting Seth Godin (whom I never quote), "The Internet wasn't invented for advertisers."

Neither was Facebook.

Yet, in lieu of subscriptions or some twist on Warren Buffett's theory of a toll booth on the only bridge over the river, where is Facebook's money going to come from to sustain a valuation in the thin, thin air of $100+ billion ? If you know, then buy some stock. Me, I'm deactivating my Facebook account in honor of the TimeWarner-AOL/Prodigy/CompuServe/Groupon/Pets.com/WebVan of 2012.

Two weeks ago I began dinging every over-sharer on my timeline or wall or whatever the Zuckerborg called it this month. Goodbye pictures of glasses of beer, notifications that Ed was at LAX, weird R-rated bikini videos from people in Turkey and India I have never met and will never meet. Goodbye SocialCam. Goodbye Tweets. Goodbye to All That. Now .....

Goodbye Facebook and hello to less noise in my life.

 

14 responses so far

Dec 01 2011

Pimping one’s friends for a chance at the Golden Ticket

Why do efforts by brands to get me to "like" them on Facebook strike me as hopelessly shallow and stupid? There's this totemic fetishism among marketers to show off their likeable prowess by tallying followers and fans like so many ears on a necklace around their necks.  And I guarantee you, there are more than a million social media marketing consultants and digital PR drones willing to sit on a conference panel or fire up a SEO optimized blog post and debate the "true value of a Facebook Fan."

Acquisition strategies that involve baiting a trap with a sweepstakes or other freebie and then requiring the sucker to enlist others in their quest are as old as the hills and a throwback to tried and true email marketing tactics to build direct response database. "Refer a friend" is one step removed from the pyramid schemes that occasionally sweep through forgetful societies who are more than eager to enlist friends and family in their quest for riches. These Tupperware parties seem to be the heart and soul of Facebook marketing tactics.

And who cares if a "fan" gives a damn, the more the merrier.

So assume Amazon succeeds in driving me to the more-and-more loathed Facebook and induces me to "invite" three friends to also pile onto the "win a Kindle for yourself and three friend" come-on. What do they do with the names?  This reeks of some shallow brainstorm by a digital marketing agency who is going to declare a specious ROI victory when Amazon's Facebook fans swells from A to B over the next few weeks. Then what? My "news wall" or "timeline" or whatever the Zuckerborg calls is begins to be ever after polluted with authentically cheesy brand tweets from some junior marketing drone? The fact the Endive Society of America shows up in my Facebook stream  every so often makes me wonder if the world has devolved to the point where it's just more and more noise signifying nothing.

I know I'm overly cranky, and I know Facebook is the biggest walled garden of the moment, a pool of the world's names so tempting to try to sell to, but as that pool gets shallower and shallower, and more polluted by corporate messages shuffled like so many jokers in a deck of family photos,  shared links to headlines, invitations to the latest Zynga MafiaFarm, I just want to stick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes, and rock back and forth to shut it all out.

I'm not a fan of anything I've ever purchased. I hate my refrigerator. My car only wants my money.  My endives wilt and my laptop likes to crash.

 

4 responses so far

Nov 28 2010

The Underbelly

The New York Times has an excellent expose in its Sunday business section about a Russian-emigre scamster who has turned Google's algorithms to his benefit as he rips off customers with counterfeit designer eyeglass frames; proving in essence that bad publicity is better than no publicity at all, the scheme uses well intentioned customer advocacy sites like GetSatisfaction and RipoffReport to build Google juice through mentions and backlinks -- things Google likes in its opaque rankings.

After years of flogging the theme that Google defines brand more than anything, and pushing a "customer is always right" posture on customer service relations as the best way to influence a brand online, I found the Times piece frighteningly propheti about how the underbelly of the Internet, primarily the dim world of domain squatters, virus writers, search engine optimization consultants, affiliate marketing weasels and pay-per-post bloggers, has come to insidiously eat away at good intentioned promises of sentiment and influence to make negative commentary a good thing thanks to robotic search results.

Staggering but true and hence I won't fall into the scamster's trap of goading outraged handwringers like myself to mention his site or name.

2 responses so far

Jun 03 2010

Leroy Stick – the man behind @BPGlobalPR

Leroy Stick – the man behind @BPGlobalPR.

I love this line, an indictment of PR consultants and social media gurus who "know" how to handle the mob.

"I’ve read a bunch of articles and blogs about this whole situation by publicists and marketing folk wondering what BP should do to save their brand from @BPGlobalPR.  First of all, who cares?  Second of all, what kind of business are you in?  I’m trashing a company that is literally trashing the ocean, and these idiots are trying to figure out how to protect that company?  One pickledick actually suggested that BP approach me and try to incorporate me into their actual PR outreach.  That has got to be the dumbest, most head-up-the-ass solution anyone could possibly offer"

One response so far

Mar 20 2010

When PR Meets the Mob

And now for today's Cluetrain moment:

Who owns the social media mission in your company? The public relations team most likely. Sorry, make that the press relations team -- as the modern PR professional doesn't talk to the public directly, but to them through the press. Handling the unwashed masses and mobs with their pitchforks and torches was usually the lot in life of the 1-800 telecenter drones and the hapless ticket agents in the terminal. Social changed all that. Now that neat blog you built to talk about your chili contest and good works with the local Walk For Hunger, the one the PR team uses to ghost expressions of empathy and good cheer from the CEO?; well now the comments are stuffed with a lot of people with dirty faces and tattered hems calling bullshit and pointing out your lack of clothes and complicity in the death of the orangutans and polar bears.

You can't measure ROI from your Facebook pony when its stable is full of poop. Consider Nestle and be warned. When flaks and spinmeisters meet the mob, the result is predictable. There Will Be Blood. From Slate:

"Enter Facebook. Nestle has a Facebook page, and until this week it was a quiet backwater. But on Wednesday, defenders of the rainforest and its orangutans began to visit, illustrating their profile pictures with various clever permutations of the Nestle logo -- "Nestle Killer" -- and making a series of mean comments about the company. The powers that be weren't pleased. At 11:26 p.m. Thursday night, the moderator of the page posted on the Nestle Wall:

To repeat: we welcome your comments, but please don't post using an altered version of any of our logos as your profile pic -- they will be deleted."

(and a disclaimer, my PR colleagues get this stuff, and we don't hang them out to dry in our various outposts, they get support from people who know the Golden Rule)

via Nestle's brave Facebook flop - How the World Works - Salon.com.

3 responses so far

Aug 28 2009

More marketers use social networking to reach customers – USATODAY.com

"Lenovo has seen a 20% reduction in call-center activity in the U.S. over six months because nearly 50,000 customers go to its community website for information about laptops."

Congratulations to Mark Hopkins, the moderators of forums.lenovo.com, and Lithium for a great success story. One of the best payoff stories for social media and community marketing.

via More marketers use social networking to reach customers - USATODAY.com.

5 responses so far

May 21 2009

Beware the Social Media Charlatans – Business Center – PC World

via Beware the Social Media Charlatans - Business Center - PC World.

Someone had to say it:

"Lately it seems I can't go anywhere without running into a gaggle of social media consultants bloviating about the wonders of social network marketing. Sure, you've seen 'em, too. Slick shake-and-bake "experts" promising to help you leverage the power of Twitter and Facebook to raise your profile and, inexplicably, boost your profits. But scratch the surface on most of these claims and they instantly crumble. Meanwhile, it seems the only people making any money in social media are the consultants themselves."

2 responses so far

Aug 23 2008

Nike denies web rumours it forced Liu to abandon race

A big rule in community relations -- don't ask the Chinese government to go fish for the identity of someone posting bullshit about your brand.

"NIKE on Tuesday issued a strong denial of Internet rumours that it forced Chinese athletics hero Liu Xiang to pull out of the Olympics, adding it had asked authorities to investigate the posting.

'The posting is a malicious rumour, and has not only misled netizens, but also seriously damages the company's reputation,' Nike, one of Liu's major sponsors, said in a statement emailed to AFP.

'We have immediately asked relevant government departments to investigate those that started the rumour.'[emp. mine]

Nike denies web rumours it forced Liu to abandon race.

CC BBaunauch

No responses yet

Aug 08 2008

SitePoint Blogs » 15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging

Some shameless horn honking. Sitepoint named Lenovo to its list of companies that get the whole blogging thing.

"Below is a list of 15 companies that really get corporate blogging and produce blogs that are informative, fascinating, and a joy to read even for people who aren’t die-hard fans of the company. ..

...Lenovo - The great collection of blogs from computer maker Lenovo demonstrate that the company really understands blogging. Lenovo intersperses posts about its product line with musings about business, design, life, and technology. Definitely don’t miss the Design Matters blog, which should be a must-read for any designer."

We're in great company -- Dell, Sun, Adobe, 37Signals.....

SitePoint Blogs » 15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging.

One response so far

Aug 07 2008

Malware Attack on Facebook – CSO Online – Security and Risk

Somehow this news from CSO Online that Facebook is a possible malware venue doesn't surprise me. The number one annoyance in my experience is the incessant app downloads that ask a user to spam their friends to enable it for themselves. The app Lenovo is using during the Olympics from Citizen Sports is not malware, but, any perceptions by users that applications are risky is going to quickly injure confidence in the Facevok platform. IMHO.

"August 07, 2008 — CSO — The popular networking site Facebook is the target of a new attack that is spreading messages with malicious links.

Boston-based IT security and control firm Sophos is warning users about the problem. Sophos said Facebook user's computer can be infected after they view a video that is infected with the bad code.

According to Sophos, messages left on Facebook users' walls are urging members to view a video, which appears to be hosted on a Google website. But users who click on the link are taken to a site which urges them to download an executable file to watch the movie, according said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. The file downloads malicious code and displays an image of a court jester sticking his tongue out."

Sophos: Facebook Malware Attack Puts Work Computers at Risk - CSO Online - Security and Risk.

No responses yet

Jul 23 2008

Why Most Online Communities Fail and Typos Kill Stories

Ben Worthen at the WSJ blogs on a Deloitte study about how businesses overinvest in tech when building communities.

1. Going out with the claim that 60% of businesses invest over $1 million in online communities thanks to a Deloitte typo that should have stated 6% is not a great way to get off on the right credibility foot. Worthen does the correction, but ...

2. The comments on the post are cluttered with community vendors, imagine that.

3. "Community" as a term, is tired and over-fraught with implications of good will, social good, and cooperation among customers and companies.

4. This is bad research on a tired topic.

"One of the hot investments for businesses these days is online communities that help customers feel connected to a brand. But most of these efforts produce fancy Web sites that few people ever visit. The problem: Businesses are focusing on the value an online community can provide to themselves, not the community."

Business Technology : Why Most Online Communities Fail.

3 responses so far

Jun 27 2008

All Things Cahill The Shine is off Social Networking

All Things Cahill » Blog Archive » The Shine is off Social Networking
Very smart post by Mark Cahill that echoes my current irritation as the hype pendulum swings waay too far toward hyperbole over social media. Very much worth the read.

"Say it ain’t so, Joe! Over the past few weeks, it’s begun to look like Social Networking, the current darling of the conference and consultant set, might have jumped the shark. I personally would peg the exact point where it went careening off track as the day that Waste Management (the guys that probably run your local honey truck) opened their own social networking site."

One response so far

Jun 02 2008

Word of the Day: Ouroborosphere

Twitter - John Battelle's Searchblog

"I am very, very tired of the ouroborosphere's take on Twitter. It's time for the service to either fish or get off the pot, so to speak. And with $15mm in the door, it's obvious which way it has to go."

Echo chamber, reflecting pool -- whatever you want to call the closed-terrarium of social media pundits that tweet and post and opine all day long about tweeting, posting, and opining -- Battelle nails it best with "Ouroborosphere."

And trolling for Yanks tickets on Twitter? That's like looking for supermodels at a sardine cannery.

3 responses so far

May 14 2008

Facebook as a quick and dirty corporate collaboration tool. It Depends.

On the face of it, Facebook groups would seem like one of those cheap, quick, and effective ways to build quick cross-enterprise communities. Set up a group, invite attendees, guide the non-users in how to establish an account, and then control membership.

The alternatives would be a paid account like 37Signal's most excellent Basecamp, but that is less quick and less dirty than a Facebook group, which to my eyes has a lot in common with the Web 1.0 world of Yahoo Groups. One could also think about any number of wiki solutions, but let's say the requirements come down to an virtual team room for a collection of four to 400, heck 4,000 users all united in some cause that requires a fast, familiar, and cheap platform.

Facebook would meet that bill except for one vital detail: not everybody can use it.

It's blocked, along with some other social networks, by many corporate network admins. Right there game over. I was pretty surprised to be in a meeting today, to hear Facebook proposed, and then watch it get shot down in less than one minute as first one, then two, then three seriously senior IT people said their organization's blocked Facebook. I would argue that no big deal, the platform was, after all, designed for college kids to check each other before attempting a hookup. Having old farts and suits invade it as an enterprise collaboration system was not its intention.

So, the old issue of cross-organizational collaboration is still with us. How would you solve it? Rules are: open platform, open APIs, no fee, no onerous set-up. Needs a file sharing/library including rich media hosting. Must be secure.

 

5 responses so far

May 14 2008

All Things Cahill – Shark Jumping?

All Things Cahill » Blog Archive » Social Media - Shark Jumping?

Jeremiah's Tweet that Avenue A has trademarked "social influence marketing" prompted me to ask rhetorically if the shark had been jumped. My good buddy Mark Cahill posted:

"What I am finding is that most of the people I am finding in my general circle on Twitter are social media types. That’s to say, folks that attend a lot of conferences, and have generally drank fully of the social media Kool-Aid. The thing that calls it all into question for me is the number of people who are generally ex-online marketing folks now using strange titles like “Social Media User Guru” or something equally ludicrous. It reminds me of a networking group I once attended that turned out to be a room full of sales people, each hoping to sell something, and none realizing there weren’t any real customers there."

Amen Mark. Lots of sharks chasing very few fish I think.

One response so far

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