Monday, July 31, 2006

YouTube Bests the BBC, MySpace

For the month of May, YouTube's reach outgrew that of the BBC's Web properties writes Mark Sweney of MediaGuardian.

"Its success," he says, "has been such that a price tag of as much as $1 billion (£536 billion) has been put on the company and rumours are circulating of a possible initial public offering."

Among the potential suitors eyeing the video-sharing phenom? Yahoo!, NewsCorp., Google, Sony, Time Warner, Adobe Systems, Viacom, Microsoft and Apple, according to ZDNet's Russell Shaw.

With any luck, one of them will have figured out a way to translate a 3.9% daily share of all global Internet traffic into dollars and cents... if that's even what it's all about.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

CEO Blogging Not an Extreme Sport

Despite encouraging employees to blog, many of the CEOs behind our biggest companies have chosen not to, leaving what Randall Stross at The New York Times, describes as "an embarrassing silence at the top that the combined clacking of those underlings cannot fill."

Whether we focus on those who get it versus those who don't, there's no denying that CEO blogging is a popular topic these days. "For the chief executive sincerely interested in increasing information flow to the fullest range of stakeholders," writes Stross, "a blog is a hydraulic wonder."

So where is everybody?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Has Unilever Discovered the Key to Successful MySpace Marketing?

Unilever has aligned itself with Christine Dolce, a California cosmetician with over 900,000 MySpace friends, in a campaign designed build some buzz for their Axe brand of deodorant.

"To draw in the 18- to 24-year-old lustful lads to whom Axe is shamelessly marketed," says The Economist, "Dolce hosted an interactive game, called "Gamekillers," based around dating tips and designed subtly to promote Axe."

The key to the program, according to Unilever's Kevin George, is subtlety. "When you deliver content they want to engage with, they don't mind if it comes from a brand."

To date, more than 75,000 MySpacers have signed up for the game.

Hat-tip: Ross Fadner, Online Media Daily.

Disclosure: Unilever is a Weber Shandwick client.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

One-time Wonkette Named Time.com Editor

Craving the "comparatively literary world of newsmagazines," blogger/author Ana Marie Cox has accepted the position of new Washington editor for Time.com.

Cox joined Time in March as a contributing writer.

She's expected to assume her new role on July 31.

Hat-tip: Reuters.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

J&J Seeks Mommy Bloggers for New Directory

This Fall, Johnson's Baby, a division of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies will launch their Mom Blogger Project.

Described as a "powerful blog publicity engine," the initiative is designed to draw newbies to the blogosphere and help those already active to attract more readers.

J&J Seeks Mommy Bloggers for New Directory

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Blog?

CEOs at some of our largest companies, that's who, according to Debbie Weil.


Followed are five of her tips for blogophobes along with commentary from yours truly:

  1. Think about blogging strategically.
    Don't lose sight of the tactical stuff: why do you want to blog? Does blogging fit into your overall marcomm strategy? What do you want to say? More importantly, what do your customers want/need to hear?

  2. Consider starting an event-specific blog.
    There are two schools of thought here: one that sees value in blogs designed to "live" for a limited period of time and another that believes that unless you're in it for the long haul, there really isn't any point. Which side of the fence are you on?

  3. Get familiar with the convention of blogging.
    More importantly, get familiar with the language of blogging. Test your mettle behind your firewall and practice, practice, practice. Passion has a way of shining through - with any luck, you'll know if and when to make your views public.

  4. Don't worry about running out of things to say.
    Occassional posts about your company, products or services are okay, so long as you don't overdo it. Go deep and blog about your industry instead.

  5. Just do it.
    But only if it makes sense - 'nuff said.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Technorati Unveils New Look

Easier and more intuitive to search, simpler and brighter design, redesigned search results pages and better sorting options... what do you think?

Technorati Unveils New Look

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Social Computing for Dummies

Today's quote - courtesy of The Register's David Tebbutt by way of Neville Hobson - is actually a couple of days old:

"Think of social computing as a platform upon which people can collaborate in ad hoc groups, where they can share their expertise with others, possibly strangers, and where the by-products of their activities automatically add to the wealth of retained corporate knowledge."

While Tebbutt names wikis, blogs, RSS and tags as the "main software elements," he goes on to suggest that "more traditional elements like forums, directories and discussion boards," should also be thought of as "part of the mix."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

YouTube Buzz Helps Resurrect Shelved Sitcom

One month after showing up on YouTube, Nobody's Watching - a comedy pilot developed for the WB by Bill Lawrence (Scrubs and Spin City) and writing partners Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman (Family Guy) - has caught the attention of NBC.

According to Variety, the network has ordered six additional scripts and plans to promote the show through a series of viral clips hosted by the popular video-sharing site. The first batch is expected to debut this Fall.

Commenting on the renewed interest in his project, creator Lawrence stated that "if network TV doesn't embrace the Internet as both a place to launch and test shows but also as a place where shows can live, they're going to fall further and further behind."

To date, program snippets one, two and three have racked up over 750,000 views.

Friday, July 21, 2006

CIA Contractor Fired Over Controversial Blog Post

When Christine Axsmith - a CIA software contractor/blogger employed by BAE Systems - posted her views on the Geneva Conventions and torture to Intelink, the intelligence community's highly-classified Intranet, she wasn't expecting to lose her job.

But that's exacly what happened, writes Dana Priest of The Washington Post.

Despite an immediate apology, Axsmith, a self-proclaimed "loudmouth with a knack for writing a catchy headline," reportedly had her security clearance before being subjected to a rather harsh inquiry and allegedly threatened with criminal prosecution for "unauthorized use of a government computer system."

Quoted in the article, Axsmith says she stands by her decision to voice her opinion. "I know I hit the radar and it was amplified," she admits. "I think I've had an impact."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

New Features Being Tested at AOL CityGuide

Dynamic lists of events and venues (ranked in popularity by users), improved locators and expanded photo galleries are among the new features being tested behind the beta walls at AOL's CityGuide.

Twenty-five cities are part of the test - here's a look at new and improved hub for New York:

New Features Being Tested at AOL CityGuide

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wal-Mart's New "Social Network" Too Uncool for School

Wal-Mart and Sony have teamed up to create The HUB, "a quasi-social-networking site for teens designed to allow them to express their individuality," writes AdAge's Maya Frazier.

HUB-monitors will narc out "hubsters" who wish to participate/contribute content by ratting them out to their parents, screening/scrubbing all submissions and preventing them from directly interacting with one another.

Wal-Mart's New 'Social Network' Too Uncool for School

Sounds like a hit to me.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Beyond Blogger: India Blog Ban, Part Two

India's Blogspot ban is "picking up momentum in India and the entire Indian blogosphere is speaking in one voice against the ban," writes Digital Inspiration's Amit Agarwal.

Since Saturday, the story has garnered a fair amount of international coverage, landing on the likes of Michelle Malkin, Boing Boing, and The Mercury News' Silicon Beat.

Geocities sites and blogs hosted by TypePad are also being blocked, writes Amit, while "blogs hosted on WordPress, LiveJournal, MSN Spaces, Rediff.com, IndiaTimes and Yahoo! 360°," have seemingly been spared.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Social Networks Going to the Dogs (and Cats)

"As human social-networking sites like Friendster.com and MySpace.com have become increasingly popular," writes Newsweek's Malak Hamwi, "similar sites have popped up for pets."

Dogster.com, Catster.com, Hamsterster.com and Petster.com are among the growing communities helping pet lovers connect to one another.

Oh, and they're fair ground for marketers, too.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Blogger Blogs Blocked by Indian Government

Following what amounts to cries of censorship among bloggers in her part of the world, Mridula of Travel Tales from India is wondering if the recent blockage of Blogger blogs is in fact the work of her country's Ministry of Communication.

After days of speculation, her ISP confirmed it.

UPDATE: Apparently, this all happened today, and according to Mridula, it's her company's ISP - Spectranet - that's enforcing the blockade. After another go-around with a customer service rep, government orders could neither be confirmed nor denied. "Things are not so simple," she writes. "It is utter confusion."

Friday, July 14, 2006

New Search Engine ExactSeek Launches Beta

Jayde Online's new search engine/directory - ExactSeek - has gone beta, promising to "provide searchers with a quality database of around 100 million Web sites."

Specialized databases and niche search engines are among the resources tapped by their algorithm for image, blog and article results.

New Search Engine Exactseek Launches Beta

Hat-tip: iMedia Connection.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Moving Beyond the "Blogging-as-Sales-Tool" Mindset

eMarketer says it's time for businesses to reconsider blogging.

"A generation for whom sharing information via social networks and personal blogs is second nature will demand being addressed as human beings without the filters applied by traditional corporate communications," says senior analyst James Belcher, and "marketers and PR professionals who want to remain relevant in this environment will add blogging and blogosphere literacy to their skill sets, or risk falling behind their customers."

Good advice.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Avoiding the Pitfalls Associated with User-Generated Content

"Whether it's an ad created by a customer and posted on YouTube, lavish praise (or a blistering review) on a blog, comments posted to a consumer portal or something else," states Robert Moskowitz, "user-generated media is on the rise as a key force in marketing."

In case you missed it, he's written a great piece on consumer-generated content - it's a keeper and definitely worth sharing.

Quoted in the article, Max Kalehoff of Nielsen BuzzMetrics advises curious marketers to "practice common sense ethics," when engaging in UGM campaigns. "Be a champion of the consumer," he says, and always lead with a product that doesn't "suck."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Kicking Engagement Up a Notch

If you agree with Riverside Marketing Strategies' Heidi Cohen, you get that "doing social marketing right takes time, thought, caring and an ability to listen and respond with empathy."

"It's about having a public dialogue in which consumers and marketers alike participate and respond," she writes. "Marketing is no longer just about broadcasting a message to a mass audience to drive sales and buzz."

Here are five of Heidi's tips for adding social marketing to your mix:
  1. Create message boards, forums and wikis to reach out to customers.
  2. Develop a corporate blog and post on relevant third-party blogs.
  3. Solicit consumer input on your site to track and engage in a one-on-one conversation.
  4. Engage in public forums relevant to your brand.
  5. Advertise on relevant forums to get users to engage with you.

Got more?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Why Blogging Everyday Doesn't Matter

A few days back, Eric Kintz posted an interesting bit on Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog on Why Blog Post Frequency Does Not Matter Anymore. While I can't say that I completely agree with Eric's POV, his ten points did make me feel less guilty about my occassional bouts with blogger's block and the demands of new business.

How many of these do you agree with?:
  1. Traffic is generated by participation, not posts.
  2. The number of visits is irrelevant to a blog's success.
  3. Loyal readers coming back daily to check your posts is so Web 1.0.
  4. Frequency may have a negative impact on loyalty.
  5. The pressure of posting daily is too much for some senior execs and thought leaders to handle.
  6. Frequent posting may affect content quality.
  7. Too much of a good thing may threaten the credibility of the blogosphere.
  8. Frequency will push corporate bloggers into the hands of PR agencies.
  9. Too many posts = blogging landfill.
  10. I love my family too much.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

B'way Producers Using New WOM Tactics to Sell Tix

The New York theater circuit has always relied on word of mouth to make or break a show.

In the online world, new tools are reshaping the way producers are reaching audiences, writes Jesse Green of The New York Times.

And if you think it's all "e-mail blasts, Web sites, banner ads, search-engine pop-ups and blog coverage," think again.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

DC to Host Launch Party for New Book on Corporate Blogging

If you happen to be in the DC area on Tuesday, July 25th, head on over to the 4th Estate Grille for a sneak preview of The Corporate Blogging Book by Debbie Weil.

In preparation for the book's official August 3rd steetdate, Debbie has made a free chapter available for download on her site.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Quote of the Day

With news of Amanda Congdon's departure from Rocketboom just hitting the mainstream, Stacy over at TeevBlogger serves up the following words of wisdom to those seeking attention:

"The advice I’d give to all the future reporters, directors or actors out there is to buy a camera and start a video-blog because that seems to be the new way of getting yourself noticed."

Yeah, that's all it takes.

Meanwhile, Congdon's former partner-in-crime - Andrew Baron - has allegedly done what many said couldn't be done: found himself a replacement in time for Monday's broadcast.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Got Game?

If so, the folks at GameTap want you!

They're looking for a few good beta testers to beat on their latest rev.

Get a load of their library and sign up here.

See ya ringside!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

There Are a Dozen Reasons Why Businesses in the UK Aren't Blogging

Understanding that blogs aren't for everyone, businesses across the pond remain cautious when dipping their toes into the blogosphere, says E-consultancy's Chris Lake. Most CEOs in the UK, he says, tend to favor one or more of the following excuses:

  1. They don’t understand why they’d want - or need - a corporate blog.
  2. They're not comfortable with allowing employees to blog.
  3. It's too risky.
  4. Their PR agency has recommended against it.
  5. It's in their development schedule.
  6. They haven’t identified a contributor or agreed on a topic.
  7. Blogs are a waste of time.
  8. They can’t see any ROI.
  9. They don't how to set one up.
  10. Blogs are all hype, a passing fad or for the kids.
  11. Sure, they have taken off in the US - but this is the UK.
  12. They don't think blogging is right for their business.

Hat-tip: E-consultancy.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,