New Link List update 3.23.07

1. The powers that be anticipate that Google will buy spot runner. I think this makes sense.

2. New site offers your desktop from anywhere. Cool.

3. You know a jerk at work. Send them an arsemail.

4. Remember the ancient times, search old newspapers from turn of the century, yes the other turn of the century (1900).

5. Huge news this week, pay per action ads from google go into beta.

6. Swami searches everything. We’re not kidding.

7.  Make TJ Drink a fun viral site from Sonic.

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Software Developers are Gods

Not!

Ok, that was childish. Very childish infact, but I’m really getting annoyed by the amount of software developers that think they are gods and think they are going to start the next microsoft, google or youtube. It’s true there have been a number of innovative sites in the past 10 years that have changed the way that people go about their lives, but not every developer is going to become a billionaire and the arrogance about them is really innapropriate. What is scary is that they get this idea from other people’s examples and this is widley accepted to be the only growing and evolving industry where people can make a good living and possibly a fortune anymore. Our economy has changed and these developers have the knowledge of code and databases and p2p networks that make the economy grow. As a result the few old men with more money than they will ever be able to spend are buying companies like this, that they don’t really understand, in an attempt to keep making more money that they will never spend. Many of these developers live to manufacture a company just so it can be bought by a VC and they can “sell out” for a huge payout. It seems fake, contrived and disingenuos all at the same time. And both you and I know that no life-changing, paradigm-shifting, or popular site was ever started that way.

2 things come to mind when I encounter this arrogance.

1. These guys are going to be sorely dissapointed someday. These are 30 yr old geeks, with honda civics and they talk business strategy like they are Donald Trump. Not only are they not equipped with all the information to make good business decisions, they sure aren’t qualified to brag about it. They all look for the holy grail of VC and dream of all the gadgets they will buy with their first million while consuming feeds on Digg, Reddit and Ycombinator while getting a buzz. Its as aggrivating as it is pathetic. What happened to moderate levels of success in America? What’s wrong with a good salary and a good job that lasts over a good career? Why does everyone think they have to make $1 million by age 30 and be into $10 million by 40?  Just to show off? That’s a huge pipe dream. Even in Silicon Valley.

2. I can’t help forsee change on the horizon. If you grew up in the 1950’s you became an engineer because machines are what made, moved and produced everything. Hmmm. We don’t manufactre widgets anymore in this country do we? What happens when we don’t produce software or web aps here anymore either? What happens when the VC money goes to other countries? I can’t help but think that at some point just like gear and lever powered machines aren’t the backbone of our economy anymore, that software won’t be at some point either. I think these people should be open to learning about a lot more than just software businesses. There are impactful innovations that can be huge outside the web world. Things that can impact daily life for millions of people. Why aren’t the smart people interested in working on those?

AT&T, Cingular and the Cell Phone Wars

The marketing world scratches its head every once in a while when they see a blatant waste of money in advertising. No agency is going to turn down money to do what a company wants, even if its a complete waste, but you know they are going to laugh behind your back. This is what happened when last fall AT&T Wireless was bought by Cingular and they spent hundreds of millions on the “raising the bar” campaign where they re-branded ATT wireless to Cingular. Hey, I even made $100 bucks off that ad buy. Then this January they announce that after wiping the name ATT off the phones, sites and people’s minds, they were being bought by AT&T and they would change the name BACK again with their largest campaign EVER. Which was because they are beginning to confuse the fuck out of their customers. We don’t know how much these campaigns spent, but we do know that in 2005 Cingular spent 1.3 Billion and ATT spent 1.6 Billion on advertising. So combine those, add in a little more and Voila! 3 Billion to advertise in 2007.

I think all this renaming stuff is bullshit most of the time, and companies do get suckered into buying a lot of untrackable media under the guise of getting more “brand awareness” but after you’ve done the direct response, pr and local relevance type marketshare aquiring, there’s nothing left but branding to do to go national, global, and rule the world. And that takes a lot of clams. So this name change snafu was a huge waste of money they could have used to pad their executive’s pockets, or possibly return to customers by lowering their rates for a few months. What a crazy marketing plan that might be?

On a personal note, I got my first cell phone in 1999 and it was a Nokia like this one on the left and it was from AT&T Wireless. They had fantastic customer service then, and I bought different faceplate covers for my phone. We thought we were so cool. Next, I bought the smallest phone ever Nokia model in 2002. It was only about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide and you didn’t know if it picked up your voice from your ear and people would put it by their mouth to talk if they were new to using it. Then I traded up in 2004 to this style Nokia which had a flip lid with a 2 thumb texting querty keyboard and my first cameraphone. Very swish, and it impressed people for 2 years. Then in 2006 I chose a Treo 650 (from a gagle of smart cingular phones) for the email and web access and the querty keyboard again. All in all I’ve never switched providers even though they’ve switched on me. I know that’s rare, but I haven’t had serious issues yet, just minor annoyances. But I really would like them to keep a name (any name) for a while.

Update: Apparently AT&T’s yearly media spend is 3.4 BILLION

 Bonus! If you want to know why ATT is evil and sucks ass see my latest post.

Important news in Search Marketing

I saw this bulletin from the center for media research, and initially thought, ok thats logical. Search is a pretty common strategy for finding more or new information about something. And I didn’t think more of it. Then I read some of the buzzy posts floating out in the media-blogosphere and realized that we just verified a hunch that many of us have about search engine marketing. Which is that to find your information from an offline ad, people don’t type in your site address, or even the URL listed in the ad. They search.

This affects any and all media strategies in the way that you’ve got a huuuge break in the chin of events that someone goes through to get to your product/company if you don’t have SEO and SEM practices in place. Unless you expect people to go directly to your store, people will most likley use their computer/internet to evaluate and make decisions about your products and getting them there is the first challenge. Having good organic SEO rank (top 3) for brand, product name and generic product names is good for catching customers in this web/net. But what if you released a new product and your site isn’t optimized for those keywords yet? What if you’re a small site without enough rank to come up on top? Then your best bet is Keyword buying (SEM) on those brand, product names and product category (and location if that is another factor) keywords.  People really do use these links, because its above the clutter and they may match what the user wants more than the orgainic listings.

So if you’re planning a marketing push, an advertising campaign, or just about anything…keeping your company/product above the fray on search is essential to getting people to your site and achieving your goals. We’ve suspected that people search after seeing newspaper ads, tv ads and magazine ads, but this proves it for real. Make sure your campaign includes this essential element.

Top Gear Marathon

I would like to interupt the usually scheduled marketing posts for a minute to thank the powers that be, for TopGear. I just had a topgear watching marathon weekend and it was fantastic! I had a friend of a friend that had the shows, and was kind enough to let me borrow them. Its just such a good show. And I am not even the most technical with cars. I just likle the humor, the great camera photography and the excitement of all that driving. And they give such good detail about the cars and why they are good or bad for very solid reasons. They really do their research. And I look forward to a few more weekends of fun watching it.

Thanks for the show; Ze Frank

I watched the last show in Ze Frank’s “The Show” video podcast project this weekend and like thousands (~150,000) other people I am sad to see it go. I genuinely hope that Ze can find a project that keeps his lighthearted approach to political analysis and daily random humor on-line. 

A few things you may not know about Ze’s show. According to an independent 3rd party data company, it gets more women visitors than men. You’d never know that from who submits the videos and participates. Also, the largest percentage of people are in the 45-55 age group. I don’t think this is completely accurate. Its partially from the web 2.0 techie groupies that watch him daily, and partially also from the younger viewers that view from mom & dad’s computer, which registers the parent’s demographic information for tracking.

I sincerely hope that Ze gets hired for another video-casting gig. I think his style is better suited for the web than TV, and with the amount of time people are spending entertaining themselves on-line these days, there’s no point in going to TV or Movies anytime soon. There’s plenty of entertainment on the web, and that’s only going to grow in 2007.

But thanks again to Ze for his year long experiment (which I think was profitable as well as fun) and all the great fun it has been to watch and be enthralled with this year. I’ve pretty much told everyone I know about this show, and we’re all still watching.

Which one of the sports racers will pick up the baton and run with it next?

Diet Coke

I’ve noticed a new campaign floating around on Outdoor ad space for Diet Coke and the Coke Zero this week. I specifically like the 3 outdoor ads I saw on bush shelters this week.

One shows a diet coke can with a starbucks style cardboard ring around it, titled “good morning”. This is great because it expands the use of the product beyond the lunch-dinner times. I’ve drunk diet coke in the morning when coffee isn’t available before, so this isn’t that much of a stretch, and its a lot cheaper than a $5 coffee.

The second has a diet coke can upside down and says “yoga class”. To me this is kitchy trend humor. I don’t think diet coke has anything to do with yoga, or is relevant to it at all. But the yoga demographic might be close to the diet coke demographic.

The third has 3 diet coke cans and says “3 hr meeting”. This is also very true. If you’re locked in a conference room for 3 hours with your coworkers on a meeting all afternoon, you’ll need 3 diet cokes to get through it. So true indeed. Or you could have a mt dew or redbull. Those work faster and stronger. So diet coke has more to worry about than just coffee.

I think these are nice branding/awareness/product expansion ads. I hope they help meet the sales goals that Coke has for them.