Archive for June, 2006


An Issue of Credibility: OpinMind vs PayPerPost

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Ok, it seems like I’ve really opened a blogstorm around the whole topic of paying per post. I was the one that broke the news about PayPerPost and reported it to Techcrunch. There are several people that violently disagree with this like business week, and Aneil.

No, I do not work for PayPerPost or OpinMind –I have a day job and they have nothing to do with the web. (wow is this what it’s going to come to?) There’s a comparison of OpinMind and PayPerPost eBquity –since I know both CEOs, I think I’ll expand on the issue just a bit more and provide some recommendations.
Recently, I had lunch with James Kim, the CEO of OpinMind. This is a website that aggregates opinion of users, and maps them out on two columns. I’ve even done some analysis on a few of the social sites using OpinMind.

PayPerPost on the other hand, destroys the purity of what OpinMind is trying to harvest –by having paid advertorials it’s difficult to tell what is a true opinion and what is paid for.

Recommendations for PayPerPost

  • I recommend that PayPerPost have an indexing system that lists all the people that are creating reviews, and it lists each of the reviews (Which is no different than a review site)
  • I also recommend that all reviews be forced to disclose they are being paid for it, and perhaps they can have some type of widget that is embedded in the post that links back to the aforementioned index page of paid writers
  • Lastly, I hope everyone is not too surprised at this happening, it was just a matter of time. Marc Cantor’s Microformats would eventually be commercialized and capitalized –people, this is what us Humans do –it’s been happening since the beginning of time and it will never end.

Recommendationsfor OpinMind

  • Figure out how to disclose or at least isolate the paid reviews created by PayPerPost, this could damage the credibility of your systems and it’s findings.

Lastly, I must disclose again: I’m not paid for ANY of my blog posts.

A Wave of Corporate Bloggers

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Toby, the Marketing Diva, reports that Jupiter Media Research shows that Corporate and Business Communications will more active in the blogosphere dialogue. She quotes that

“… 35 percent of large companies plan to institute corporate Weblogs this year. Combined with the existing deployed base of 34 percent, nearly 70 percent of all site operators will have implemented corporate blogs by the end of 2006.”

The Tide is Rising –more Companies adopt Blogging Programs
That’s a lot more companies that plan to get involved in the conversations with their market. She asks Jupiter to backup their claims and their numbers –read her post to get more of the details. One must be pretty careful before posting absolute numbers, as I started to glue some numbers together based upon Hugh McCloud’s ideas on the future of blogging…
I was flamed pretty bad for suggesting that one third of the planet will be blogging by 2007.

Strategy and Plan needed
My wife and I were guests at Shel Israel’s house in the Bay Area for a wonderful dinner in his amazing backyard. Shel is one of the co-authors of the book Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers. Before a company embarks in the blogosphere, I recommend getting a strategy together, you don’t want to be caught with your pants down and the whole world laughing.

Contact me if you need some recommendations.

Web Strategy: “Viral Chicklets” applied to MySpace

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Viral Chicklets –Flash, WOM, Syndicated, Bloggy, Clever.
My new friend Rick D. is one clever guy. He’s part web developer, part marketing, and 100% adaptable. He runs a ‘Skating Lifetyle’ website called Roller Warehouse -and has figured out how to delight his customers.

Rick writes to me:

“ I have been reading your Web Strategy site. Especially the articles about marketing and MySpace and your take on some of the challenges that business blogs face. I have come up with a pretty cool marketing strategy and I’d love to hear what you think…”

Thanks for the mail Rick (and everyone else that’s been sending me email) He’s given me permission to publish his story –and it’s a good one. Yeah, I’ve been talking about MySpace as users are organizing, and will soon enter the workforce. He’s figured out a way to deploy his good news about his content to the MySpace community, here’s what he did in two languages:

  • * Traditional Marketing Language: “The Senior Web Marketing Strategist has implemented a cost-effective, word-of-mouth dynamic syndicated content campaign utilizing deployment tactics for primary adoption of discount incentives aimed at the core audience within a lifestyle based social networking site.”
  • * Web Geek Speak”Rick made a Viral Chicklet, Word.”

Relevant Content is Effective
I learned at The Conference on Marketing that the MySpace crowd values those who deliver fresh information first –they are the most popular. He figured out how to deploy a widget that allows MySpace users to display relevent content to a specific audience.

Rick initially had some limitations as MySpace restricts the implementing of javascript or even iFrames in MySpace. Rick figured out how to create a flash application that could be embedded on MySpace homepages. It contains a mixture of product news and lifestyle information relevant to his target audience –skaters. The links go to blog posts that all link back to the main store. (Rick, consider adding more lifestyle information in addition to product advertisements: such as skate events, skate news, links to videos etc. Be the ‘first stop’ for skate lifestyle news.)

Incentive based program
By offering a 5% discount to anyone who displayed the chicklet, MySpace users were also drawn to the discount lead –of course this will also tie advocates to purchasing products from Roller Warehouse, wouldn’t you want to buy from a retailer you promote?

Web Tactics and Strategies
Rick’s deployed a few web tactics that make this work. First of all, he’s recognized that the future of the web is that content becomes what I say is ‘Amorphous’ and ‘Ubiquitous’. He’s also figured out how to tap into his market to promote his own content in a word of mouth method –users post his chicklet up for a discount. This in turn spreads his message within a self selecting market –and has the potential to yield amazing results.

Rick writes to me:

“I estimate about 300-400 kids have it placed now and I think it’s growing by 30-40 a day. It’s been running for about 9 days now.” (since April 4th)

That’s good news Rick! If you want to contact Rick, send me an email, and I’ll connect you with him. I half kidding told him to start a software company, and then to hire me to do Marketing and PR part time –wow that would be fun. Rick, check back with us in a few weeks, I want to know the real results of the test –did you get an increase in sales? If so, how much? Below is the “Viral Chicklet”, it was an easy copy/paste –best of all, I get 5% off my next pair of skates!

Note: This post was originally written on April 7th 2006 –I’m copying certain posts (that offer interesting or unique Web Strategies) from my previous blog to this new one.

Web Strategy: Fast Website Development for the Emerging Business

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Request for Web Development: for Home Business
Tony, an old colleague contacted me yesterday to ask if I could recommend any web designers or developers for an up and coming small business of hand crafted accessories for infants. He’s seeking to get a website up to market, showcase products, and provide an active shopping cart to sell the product.

Harness existing social network tools
I recommended that he consider using a blog (blogger is an easy and free to tool to use, wordpress a bit more features) to write about the painstaking care that goes into each one of the products he’s crafted. I know that this style of passion marketing has worked well for the English Cut (A high end tailor in London) as well as Stormhoek wines that only uses blogs to market their products.

With more and more consumers being online and using the web to make purchase decisions this could be the right medium and tool. Perhaps rather than creating a typical static website, create a two way dialogue with frequently updated content using a blog. Discuss the plans, process, materials, and care that goes into making each product –show how it can be used, take digital pictures and label.

Harness existing marketplaces: Ebay, Forums, Craigslist
As for the shopping cart engine –tie it into ebay, there’s an existing network of buyers –a trusted buying system (paypal) and free search engine marketing with credible buyers. In fact, ebay has recently announced it will start to incorporate blogs and wikis into it’s user-to-user marketing arsenal –this is part of the future of online marketing. Consider tapping into craigslists and other forums and communities that the product may make a good fit in.

As the business grows, the shop owner can expand to a more sophisticated website that could have additional features about the store, it’s creators. Just my recommendation for a quick fast start for nearly no money. Here’s some additional blog resources I’ve gathered.

Exodus Alumni Party –Palo Alto, June, 2006

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A dinner at Hukilau was held for the Exodus Communications Alumni. I’m sorta hesitant to write about Exodus, the last time I wrote about it “I Remember Exodus“, I got hate mail from bitter ex-employees, and angry former investors that lost their shirts. (Among positive comments as well) Listen, I didn’t do this alone, so don’t fully blame me –go leave your comments on Wikipedia’s entry on Exodus.

Thanks to:
The party was sponsored by Tim Reynders, Gil Gallardo, and Vlad Milutin –the Evite reads:

“Vlad had even recruited a staff of helpers when Gil Gallardo and Tim Reynders volunteered to sponsor the event through their real estate group, Protelo Group Realty. And since they happened to also have a restaurant we could use, they volunteered that too!”

I think most will recognize and thanks Dave Asprey, noted community leader, and Yahoo Groups moderator who organized the event.

The majority of the attendees were folks from sales –I’d say about 70%. Where were all the IT, Engineering Folks, (meh, too anti-social I guess) I left around 8:30pm, being a newlywed of 9 mos means you don’t stay out too late –I don’t want to run the risk of banishment to the couch.

Run down of what happened:
A lot of great people showed up: 11/15 of our CEOs showed up, Alex wins the prize for best dressed male model, Christine and Susan talk about old times, Deepak wins the prize for flying in the farthest from New Jersey for the party (he also was singing show tunes for this table), Duncan gives a big smile, Juan quit Exodus to join the NSA, Dave Asprey grew a beard while on “Survivor”, Yaneth and Friend still look fit, after grabbing food, Brian has been there for six years too long, folks headed out to the patio to smoke a bong eat some food,

Jose stands next to Patrick (who creeps in the shadows), Roni gives a pleasant smile from the mosh pit, drinks were flowing at the bar, Tony has been working out (while I gained weight), Craig got a tan, A deal is struck in the corner, Chuck sported an Exodus Survivor shirt, and waved around a pirate flag, and there was plent of food and drink demonstrates Frieda.

View All Pics
You can check out my photos on flickr (you can leave comments) or see all public photos tagged “ExodusAlumni” on Flickr. (Use that tag if you’re uploading photos). In any case –had a great time, thanks for the organizers and good to see old friends.

Welcome to my new blog by the way –today’s the public premiere. Ill be building out other web sections to help you and other readers develop web strategies for their company –continue to come back while I make this transition. You can visit my last blog (which is rated in the 7k range out of a few million blogs is here)

Your Feedback Requested on This Beta Blog

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Welcome to the Private Beta!
This means you’re someone I trust and you’ve an opinion I respect and listen to!

I’ve decided to get some serious tools for my blogging passion –and I’ll be building out some other features on other webpages (wiki, multimedia, and other subsites), as well as obtaining a domain name that’s easy to swallow.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this new blog and template –How do you like it?

1. Look and Feel
2. User Interface
3. features
4. Information organization
5. Any other feedback.

Leave a comment below with your honest feedback! This post will self-destruct after formal launch. (Actually, this post may stay live –it’s an interesting demonstration of audience feedback.)

I’m keeping track of the changes I’m making based upon user feedback
I won’t do all the changes, but will do best to include where makes sense

To Do List:

1. Added Profile, Contact, and Feed up top (done)
2. Moved Categories to bottom (done)
3. To do: Add picture (done)
4. Add Recent Posts (may not be a template option)
5. To do: add Feed Icon (done)
6. To do: remove ‘meta’ category’ (done)
7. To do: check out display issues in comments (done)
8. To do: Update banner (done)
9. To do: Move banner to server (done)
10. To do: redirect index page (done)
11. To do: Migrate some content from other blog (TBD) (done)
12. To do: Evaluate changing tag line to “dazzle nizzle“. (done)
13. Pre Launch: QA (done)
14. Pre Launch: Cut over Analytics (Andy has profile)
15. Pre Launch: Cut over Feedburner (done)
16. Pre Launch: Inform other site readers of cutover (done)
17. Register Technorati (done)
18. Upldate profile photo (done)
19. Metatags for SEO
20. Submit to Blog Indexes and Search Indexes, (done) Delicious.