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December 2004 Marketing Archives

Friday, December 03, 2004

MetaFilter Makes Almost $10k In November

Since Matt opened up registration again on MetaFilter he decided to charge a nominal $5 fee. In November, MeFi added a total of 1,973 new users, yes I was one of them. You don't have to be Google Engineer to do the math. That equates to $9,865 in revenues. That should pay the hosting bill for a while.

MetaFilter Makes Almost $10k In November By Jason Dowdell at 02:02 AM
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Thursday, December 02, 2004

Google's Secret Branding Power: Inspiration

Battelle talks about Google's UK engineer recruiting tour and the Easter Eggs being laid down by Urs Hölzle of Google (currently taking a leave of absence from UCSB) . I posted the following comments on his blog about one reason Google's branding is so incredibly strong.

Most developers understand the overwhelming joy of their first application that actually does something useful. Likewise, developers that have had large success (measured by the number of happy users on of their application) understand the incredible joy & responsibility of having to build a cluster of machines to support the application's user base.

However, when you look at a rack of servers sitting in a cold hosting facility in the middle of a huge datacenter, there is no joy. Unless that data center is Google. Google inspires the techie within all of us with it's awesome power. I think that's the power of the brand Sergey and Larry have built. I feel as though I have a personal relationship with Google... not the company but with Google, the entity. I so respect the way they've applied their knowledge for good and they way they've been able to keep the company as personal as a mid-size company with a multi-billion dollar market cap can be.

When I think about Microsoft search, I don't have that same connection or feeling of intimacy. After all, Windows was snagged out from under Apple and there's no joy in that. Not that the employees of Microsoft today had anything to do with that but it's a fact that will forever remain.

I for one am thankful for the power of Google and their ability to pump out incredibly powerful apps as if they were a 3 man development team. That kind of branding is going to be around for a long time.

As an interesting side note, Findory is taking the same approach as Google. Who cares if more than half of Google's tools are in beta right now. I mean they're putting some freaking incredible stuff out there that's making our lives better. I'm glad to see companies like Findory doing the same thing. As usual, less is more in the world of internet technologies (less fluff more stuff).

Google's Secret Branding Power: Inspiration By Jason Dowdell at 05:34 PM
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Punctuation Substitution for Passive Aggressive Bloggers

Are you having a bad day? I highly recommend watching the following flash video - you'll like it, I promise ) Especially if you're a passive aggressive blogger who needs to vent a little frustration in a constructive manner.

Passive aggressive punctuation substitution movie for bloggers and techies alike.

Punctuation Substitution for Passive Aggressive Bloggers By Jason Dowdell at 04:46 PM
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Spyware Removal Software Sales Exploding

I thought this post from eMarketer was quite timely since I spent a good portion of time last night removing spyware from my brother-in-law's pc. After 10 minutes of AdAware running it had found over 900 different pieces of adware and spyware... Man I hate that crap!

anti-spyware software revenues in the United States years 2003 & 2008 (in millions)
Here are some more stats from the spyware post
"A recent study by Webroot Software, a provider of corporate anti-spyware solutions, surveyed 275 IT managers and executives regarding their company's response to spyware. Although over 70% of companies have become more concerned about spyware in the past six months, 96% feel their current anti-virus and firewall software offer enough protection, and only 10% have implemented commercially available anti-spyware software. Demonstrating the ineffectiveness of this approach, about 82% of respondents' desktops have been infected with spyware."

Which Anti-Spyware Tools Do I Use?
Personally I've gotten the best results from using two pieces of spyware detection and removal software. The first is AdAware Pro. There is a free version available here but the pro version does the trick for me. The other piece of software I highly recommend is Spybot which is also free and available for download here.

Thoughts On Researching Rogue Processes
Whenever I'm not sure about a process that's running on my machine the first thing I do is Google it. As an example. While trying to figure out how bad my brother-in-law's problem was I searched Google for Wsup.exe. Then I scanned the results for a site that has the most comprehensive and concise information about spyware and adware I've ever seen. The site is liutilities. So I scanned Google's results looking for LiUtilities and found them at position 4. I clicked on their result and had the answer to my question immediately.

Here's their description of the Wsup.exe Process
wsup - wsup.exe - Process Information
Process File:
wsup or wsup.exe
Process Name: Ibis Toolbar
Description:wsup.exe is a hijacker which means it will intermittently change your Internet Explorer settings / Desktop to the link of it’s author’s sponsors. This program is usually installed through consent, however is sometimes packaged as another product. It is a registered security risk and should be removed immediately.

Author: Ibis
Part Of: Ibis Toolbar
System Process: No
Background Process: Yes
Uses Network: Yes
Hardware Related: No
Common Errors: N/A
Security Risk (0-5): 2

All of that is followed up by a pitch to purchase their spyware/adware removal program. Honestly I don't mind that at all since they've provided me with reliable information on at least 100 processes in the past 6 months. I've also got to hand it to them for creating a great value-add service to cheapskates like myself who don't want to purchase any software and at the same time they own the search engine rankings for process specific searches in Google. I wonder what their conversion ratios are :0)

Spyware Removal Software Sales Exploding By Jason Dowdell at 11:07 AM
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Blogger Adds Froogle Wishlist to Blogger Profile Page

Shellen posted the details about this new blogger feature as well and provides a link to his own wishlist as an example. He's also got a little secret but now the cat's out of the bag. I strongly encourage you to request an explanation about why he needs a Manual hardtop hoist for an '04 Porsche 911 Carrera 4. Sorry bro, I just couldn't resist that one. I've added a wishlist to my profile to check it out... maybe I'll drop my amazon wishlist in favor of Froogle's new wishlist.

Blogger Adds Froogle Wishlist to Blogger Profile Page By Jason Dowdell at 12:51 AM
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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Monetizing Blogs

There's lots of talk these days about making money with blogs. Some of its solid information with factual research to back it up but some of it's just pure rubbish. One thing that's unclear though is how advertisers can unobtrusively and effectively get their product placed on a blog their target audience reads.

This opens up a real can of worms for ad agencies and bloggers alike. Bloggers don't want to shove ads in the face of their users because this tends to depersonalize the blog. On the other hand, most bloggers are interested in earning pennies (or even dollars) for their thoughts. So, if a product matches a blog's core audience and the blogger can personally endorse it, then it's just a matter of where to put the ad.

However, one key component of getting an ad placed on a blog is getting the attention of the blogger that runs the blog in a way that gets their attention. Many folks go about this the wrong way and Battelle is quick to point out the 'secrete blog press release submission recipe' that works on his blog. However I can't find the link to his entry (someone please email that to me if you find it).

When Submitting Stories to Bloggers, Don't Do The Following
  • Don't just blatantly send a blogger a press release. I got one of those this week and it was immediately deleted.
  • Don't tell them you're looking for a fastest way to make a ton of cash and ask the blogger to help you do that by mentioning your web site in their blog. I got one of those this week also.
  • Don't presume anything, be up front with your request and make sure the blogger has enough information to make an informed decision about your request without having to email you back to get more info.
  • Don't be unprepared. You should know all there is to know about the blogger and their blog before you contact them out of the blue.
  • Don't tell the blogger they're an idiot and their writing style sucks. I got one of those a few weeks ago too. That request went straight to the 'to do" basket ;)
  • Don't waste the blogger's time. Chances are their blog is something they do on the side and if they make any money on it it's not much at all. Wasting their time with silly requests will get you blacklisted faster than you can say "please link to my site".

The ad agencies that are able to mingle with the A-List bloggers in a specific vertical will have advertisers banging their doors down. Why? Because well respected bloggers can build trust in a single post. Trust is what gets you to purchase or keep looking when it comes to products. It's like when I read Wired magazine. I love going to the gadgets section and seeing what the staff has tried out the previous month. Why? Because I know they'll write an honest opinion of the products they're reviewing. That makes me much more likely to purchase the product they're showing than if I just saw it on ThinkGeek.

This also creates an interesting situation for ad agencies. They'll have to be much more selective with which clients they offer blog placement services to. I mean it has to be a perfect fit for the advertiser and their network of blogs and if its not then the ad agency runs the risk of losing all credibility with their A-List bloggers. Of course, paying the bloggers an exorbitant amount of money could remedy that but then the readers of the blog in question will be put off and not respect the blogger as much. Ah, the old catch 22.

But if any of you remember when Eric Ward started URLWire, that's exactly how his business began. He had contacts in the media that were in charge of web sites and knew Eric wouldn't give them any crappy press releases. Voila, a business model is born. It's just that now its happening with blogs and back when Eric started there was no such thing as a blog.

I predict...
  • Ad agencies will seek out A-List bloggers who have strong relationships with other A-List bloggers to head up their blog placement departments.
  • Someone will step up and create a blog taxonomy that shows the key players in specific blog verticals. This will identify the "people to know" if you want to succeed with your blog pr campaign.
  • Large PR Firms and Ad Agencies will spin off subsidiaries dedicated to blogs to increase their relationship with bloggers and appear to be experts in blog product placement and blog pr.
  • Blogs will continue to increase their focus on specific areas whether these are niche verticals or niche subject areas.

I recently had an interesting conversation with Tig over at MarketingVox and he made a statement that I can't seem to stop thinking about. He said that the ads on MarketingVox are bringing in some incredibly high conversion rates for his advertisers. More importantly, the ads on his site are reaching the point where they are becoming content.

Blog Ads Becoming Content
Now that's not something you hear every day so at first it might not make sense. What he meant was that because of the strong reputation MarketingVox has with ad agencies and media buyers: the ads placed on their are looked at by his audience as content. In other words, the ads are perceived almost as "this is a product you might not have known about but it's something you should know about if you're really in theknow". When any publisher can get their audience to perceive their ads as content then they've done something special.

Some of Wired magazine's ads do this for me in the tech industry and MIT's technology Review magazine does it for me in the research sector. It's no different than little surfer groms getting their parents to buy an Channel Islands Al Merrick board and Quicksilver board shorts because Kelly Slater is sponsored by them. It's just that we're starting to see this same effect in the blogosphere and that's incredibly enlightening for me. I mean, what some organic dairy farmer in Vermont says about organic milk can impact the dairy industry's sales... man that's cool!

Monetizing Blogs By Jason Dowdell at 02:16 PM
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December 2004 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (6 entries) December 1-4
  • Week 2 (2 entries) December 5-11
  • Week 3 (1 entries) December 12-18
  • Week 4 (6 entries) December 19-25
  • Week 5 (6 entries) December 26-31

Monetizing Blogs
Acomplia (rimonabant) is an anti-obesity drug. It ...
by Acomplia
Spyware Removal Software Sales Exploding
They USED to have informative information at liuti...
by JD
Spyware Removal Software Sales Exploding
Hi - Thanks for the review of ...
by Uniblue
Monetizing Blogs
I write a blog on and I rea...
by Will Yafi
Monetizing Blogs
"Bloggers don't want to shove ads in...
by Jim Kukral

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