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June 2005 Marketing Archives

Friday, June 03, 2005

Exploding Porta Potty Law Suit

Some some lamo is suing a contractor cause he lit his cigarette up while using a porta potty and the porta potty exploded. Dude, wake up, everyone knows that cigarettes kill. Drop the lawsuit and thank your lucky stars you're still alive and have a second chance at life.

More Exploding Porta Potty Story
A Pennsylvania man injured when a portable toilet exploded is suing a general contractor and a coal company for negligence.

John Jenkins, 53, and his wife, Ramona Jenkins, of Brave, Pa., filed the lawsuit in Monongalia County Circuit Court in Morgantown on Tuesday. They are suing Chisler Inc., a general contractor from Fairview, and Eastern Associated Coal for $10 million.

The explosion occurred July 13, 2004, at Parrish Shaft in Blacksville. Jenkins is a North West Fuels Development methane power plant operator. He entered a portable toilet, sat down and tried to light a cigarette. When he struck the lighter, the toilet exploded.

The lawsuit says the cigarette ignited methane gas leaking from a pipe underneath the unit.

Eastern Associated Coal owns the property where the explosion occurred. Jenkins alleges Chisler ran over the pipelines with heavy equipment before the incident, causing the methane gas leak.

Jenkins had severe burns on his face, neck, arms, torso and legs. The lawsuit says he is permanently disfigured.

from Matt via wboy.com

Exploding Porta Potty Law Suit By Jason Dowdell at 12:25 AM
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Sites You Didn't Even Know Existed

I'm in Birmingham Alabama this week. My family and I have invaded my brother-in-law's house. Before you even think it, yes, they have the world wide web here in Alabama. I know, I know, it's hard to believe but it's true. Actually, Sean [bro in law] is in the technology field and works at a large, corporate, greedy, evil institution and instead of rocking on with his geek roots and programming in java, he spends his days working on piece of crap powerpoint presentations and word docs. How boring is that. To top it all off, his lame boss always asks him if he likes his car and it's a piece of crap American car. Sean was actually one of my inspirations in the technology field. You see, he's the big brother I never had. Before I even graduated from college Sean was developing web applications at a major company and I was green with envy. That was all the motivation I needed to transition from college to financial apps to web apps... yes, I do things slowly at times but I always get them done.

Anyway, Sean and I are just cracking up reading different sites and stuff and there's so much out there I've either forgotten about or didn't know existed. Thanks to Sean, I'm back on my horse gallavanting around the web and I wanted to share a few of the more interesting sites we're perusing.

Engrish
url: http://www.engrish.com
Sean says the site is about how poorly Japanese use the English language in marketing stuff. There is a toilet paper named "Shi Ting" and all sorts of t-shirts that make absolutely no sense.

River House Mini
url: http://www.riverhousemini.com
If you need a mini, particularly the old style before BMW bought them out, then this is the place for you. They've got more eBay listings than anyone and the cars freakin rock. I don't really get their whole business model but from what I can tell, they're selling new or barely used minis at pretty unbelievable prices. Some of the minis look like their race cars while others look like something off of Fantasy Island. Anyway, go get your mini groove on there.

Drive Australia
url: http://www.drive.com.au
This is the cushman van, actually it's a real Suzuki van that seats 6 people quasi-comfortably, that we drove while we were in Curacao on vacation a month ago. I had to show Sean this van cause it's just so tiny. Seriously, if you've ever seen one of those Cushman carts at a golf course then you've seen this van. Think of that cart and then slap 6 seats in it and some sheet metal around the bed and you've got the van that carried me, Shannon, our two girls and Shannon's parents all around an island in the Caribbean for a week... ah, what a great vehicle.

Boddington's Draft Beer In A Can
This is the beer Sean turned me onto tonight. It's got a little CO2 ball in it that releases when you crack the can open so you actually have draft beer in a can, seriously. The stuff is pretty good too. It's a darker beer without the bite you'd find in a Sam Adams or Guiness. Goes down smooth and tastes great in a frosted mug, I strongly encourage any beer drinker that likes the taste of a dark beer without the bite that normally accompanies it. Boddington's is for you. Plus, let's be honest, it's also provided a bit of liquid courage that has taken off a bit of my inhibitions in posting random stuff that I find more enjoyable than technology at times. Especially with the stuff my family has been through as of late, something to take the edge off is always appreciated.

Facts About Shaq
My youngest bro-in-law, Matt, says his dad told him that Shaq is a part-time cop for the Miami Dade police and that he's the guy they call in to meet online sex offenders. Supposedly dad read this in the USA Today but I'd like a lil confirmation on this incredibly unbelievable rumor. We often times laugh at some of the things dad [Rick] says cause you just never know where he got it or if he just dreamed it up, no offense dad, you know we love you just the same. Imagination is the most important part of childhood and we're glad you haven't lost your's.

Here's some superficial evidence on Shaq's crime force duties...
MIAMI, FL (AHN) - Shaquille O'Neal has joined a Department of Justice task force that tracks down sexual predators who target children on the Internet.

Shaq was recently sworn in as a U.S. deputy marshal and, on the Saturday afternoon before the Miami-Washington playoff series, O'Neal spent six hours with Miami Beach police investigators helping with cases.

Miami Beach Police Chief Don De Lucca says O'Neal is becoming familiar with the techniques and software the officers use to track down the predators. O'Neal spends countless hours on his home computer, logging into the police network and learning the ropes.


Well, that's about it for dis evening. I'll catch ya'll on the flipside unless I get a wild hair and post again later tonight, we'll see.

Sites You Didn't Even Know Existed By Jason Dowdell at 12:17 AM
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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Yahoo! Mindset Review Continued

The other day I started looking into the Yahoo! Mindset search feature and gave a brief intro into what it's all about. Now, after using it for a couple days I've got more data on how it works and what you can do with the technology behind it, like search tweaks and such.

Initial Yahoo Mindset Thoughts
Being able to control whether I'm seeing commercial or non-commercial results is a decent feature but the more you use it the more subjective you realize it all really is. I mean, apple.com comes up when I search for ipod and tweak it towards the research side. You can try any number of searches and see the same type results.

I think I'd rather have the ability to drill down into different categories of content rather than categorizing content into research vs commerical. Say you search for ipod and you want to drill down into pages that have accessories on them, and don't care about them being commercial or not. This would allow Yahoo to enter the niche vertical market while using the same database they currently have, not bad huh?

Using Yahoo Mindset To Your Advantage
One interesting feature of Yahoo! Mindset is that every time you conduct a search or move the slider it indexes every page in your result set. So if you have a site that hasn't been spidered by Yahoo in some time and you want to get your site spidered then you can simply enter the search site:www.marketingshift.com and it will index all the results on the page you're currently viewing. Then, there is a link at the top of the page that tells you to click here to reload the results. Now when the results are shown, any site that had a gray bar next to it will now have a bar with orange on either side of it indicating whether it's research related or commercial. Scanning through each of the pages of results will ensure that at least Yahoo's Mindset app will know about the pages they need to visit on your site.

Now I'm not sure whether or not it means Yahoo's normal spider will index your site or not and I haven't done any tracking to check into that but that's easily done with any decent stats package. If you need help in getting the code done yourself then just ping me and I'll put up a post showing how to accomplish it.

More to come later.

Yahoo! Mindset Review Continued By Jason Dowdell at 05:17 PM
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Conan O'Brien & His New Do

Conan O'Brien goes bald, like me & Steve Rubel My youngest brother-in-law is an avid Conan O'Brien fan and sent me this image a couple months ago. He said...

I found this picture of conan on his site that's been altered a bit and I
thought it looked a lot like you.


As long as I have family members that think I look like this then Steve Rubel doesn't have to worry about being the worst looking bald blogger. Seriously though, it's pretty sad that I agreed with my brother-in-law. My hair is leaving my scalp faster than Technorati will index this post... Well wait, that's not very fast, how about faster than Google will index this post... Yeah, that's more like it. Haha, just kidding Dave, I know you're working on the performance issues :)

Btw, David & Steve, since I gave you a hard time I didn't put the nofollow attribute on your links so I'm throwing some Google juice your way. True True.

Conan O'Brien & His New Do By Jason Dowdell at 04:44 PM
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Price Alerts Don't Promote Shopping Or Browsing

I had a talk with my brother-in-law [who lives in Birmingham, Alabama] after he read my post on Oodle yesterday. He said that he thought Oodle was a good service but that it's a service geared towards men or anyone who knows exactly what they're looking for. But it's not a good tool for most shoppers. I was like, huh?!

He said that alerts are fantastic when you know exactly what you're looking for but Oodle doesn't allow you to browse and peruse general subjects and get emotionally involved in the online shopping experience. In general, people like to browse through a store and love stumbling on something they just can't live without. Especially when they had no idea what they were looking for but that they had a store in mind they wanted to visit. The online shopping experience is the same, you need to be able to browse the general areas of interest and then drill down into the specific items of interest but sometimes you may not know a specific item interests you [or even exists] if you hadn't done the browsing first. He then gave me an example:

He was on eBay looking for a bicycle frame because he wants to build a new mountain bike. He didn't want to look at any brands because he was more interested in seeing what was out there and didn't want to exclude some manufacturer or one-off frame he'd never heard of if it was the one he fell in love with. After 20 minutes or so he found a frame he couldn't live without, and get this. It was from a manufacturer he had never heard of and never would've even known to search for if he hadn't gone through the process of browsing.

My Thoughts On Browsing & Shopping
Browsing is a critical piece of the shopping experience and every shopping related application and site needs to keep that in mind. If you think about the bigger picture here you'll soon realize that browsing is usually enabled through categorization of products or services. This can be accomplished through a directory structure like dmoz or any large shopping web site where you can browse items in different categories or within blogs it's done with categories or tags. Now I'm not a huge fan of tags because they're a poor man's hierarchical categorization structure and promote spam but I'm willing to look beyond that for a minute. Search is an important piece of web technology but categorization of related items and services is more important to the browsing / shopping experience.

So all of you who think search is the end all be all for every vertical market need to think again. Search has it's place and there are many ways search hasn't even been implemented yet that will make a place for it in our lives. But, shopping and ecommerce are more than just search and we shouldn't forget what shopping is all about, having fun, finding great things, discovery, learning, and spending money. If we break it down into cold hard facts then we take out the emotion. I think alerts are great but my brother-in-law has a good point, shopping also needs to be emotional cause that's what makes it fun.

My Personal Emotional Purchases
If I had been in my normal frame of mind on the days I bought my wife her first Kate Spade purse or her first Louis Vuitton purse, I never would've bought them cause it was way too much money to spend on a purse. But because I was emotionally enthralled by how happy these purchases would make my wife and how I knew she wanted them so badly I went ahead and bought them. If I had been receiving alerts on the prices of Louis Vuitton bags from eBay I would've never bought her either of those purses because my business acumen would've stepped in and emotion would have had no part in the purchases.

To this day I don't regret spending the money on those two purses. Even though I know I paid a ridiculous amount of money on them. Why? Because it felt so good buying something for Shannon that I knew she'd never buy for herself because she knows I'd throw a hissy fit about the value of a dollar. Would you want to deny your significant other a moment of joy because you allowed logic and reason to dictate every purchase you ever made? I didn't think so, me either.

Price Alerts Don't Promote Shopping Or Browsing By Jason Dowdell at 12:41 PM
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Pheedo Gets VC Funding

For those too busy to read the entire post on Become below or who read it too fast to realize all the implications, I'll make one of them simple for you by breaking it out. Pheedo has received a round of VC funding from the well known TransCosmos group. Not only did they receive funding but they're also expanding into Japan with the assistance of TransCosmos.

I learned of that last week but hesitated to bring it to light. When I asked Pheedo's Chief Marketing Officer [Bill Flitter] to confirm the rumor he did. I told him I thought it would make a great blog post on the Pheedo corporate blog and he said I was right but right now they need to focus more on their service than the blog.

Yes, Bill threw me some bait and I bit, I'm not stupid. But, I was glad to hear about the funding through a 3rd party rather than from Bill and I was glad to hear Bill had no intentions of posting about it. That's a good sign. When a company is focused more on the product than the hype you know they're headed in the right direction. So we'll see what happens from here but I'm sure things will just get better for the Pheedo gang.

BTW, if you're a follower of the search industry but don't know anything about the Japanese or Chinese search market, you'd better start learning quick. Those markets are growing fast and while they may be trailing the U.S. in the blog market, they're not far behind. Look for more expansion in the Japanese markets and more investments from VC firms like TransCosmos in that market as well.

Hmmm, wonder if I should touch base with Shin and do a little Q & A action, I think so.

Pheedo Gets VC Funding By Jason Dowdell at 12:08 PM
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Behind Become.com's Second Round Of Funding

I'm sure most of you have heard Become has secured their second round of VC funding worth $7.2 million. But I'm also sure you don't know where a lot of the money came from or what's going on at Become [other than what you read in the press releases]. Yesterday I chatted with Michael Yang to get an update on what's happening over there and to find out how his presentation went yesterday at the Under The Radar conference.

Become's Series B Round of Funding
So you've read everywhere they got a lot more money yesterday. But here's what you didn't read... One of the investors in this round is Keith Schorsch, a former VP from Amazon. Several of Michael's family and friends as well as Yeogirls' family and friends are also investors. Michael himself put some money in this round and as everyone knows, TransCosmos is also a major investor in this round.

Transcosmos is one of the most interesting investors in this round, not only because they participated in the first round as well but also because they recently invested in Pheedo, an RSS advertising company that's beginning to go global. TransCosmos has an eye for spotting talent and the fact that they're putting more money up is a good sign.

Additionally, Become is hiring big time. They have 7 - 8 positions up on their corporate site right now and just hired another researcher, a recent Stanford grad :). One of the more interesting positions they're looking to fill is a "Senior Manager Online Traffic Acquisition". If you can't read between the lines then I'll spell it out for you, someone that can drive lots of traffic at low cost, one of those methods is organic search engine optimization. So if you're an seo and you think you've got what it takes then go ahead and apply.

Michael Presented At Under The Rader
When I spoke with Michael he was at the Under The Radar Conference and had already given his presentation. Under The Radar is...
Under the Radar... is a kind of 'American Idol' for startups. Nervous founders get to make a brief pitch in front of an audience of VCs, hoping for cash and access to the vast network of contacts that VCs can provide...
-Mike Langberg
San Jose Mercury News


The truth of the matter is that founders get 5 minutes to present their business plan, product or service and implementation plan and only 3 slides to do it in. Then they have a 5 minute round of rapid fire questions and answers. They're judged by a VC panel that's not only experienced but also shrewd. At the end of the day the panel of VC's announces the winner and yesterday's winner was not Become. It was a company called FatLens that helps you find tickets for a particular event by allowing you to describe the event. Honestly, I don't see what makes FatLens all that unique from a technology standpoint but I'll dig more into that later.

Michael said his presentation went well and he wasn't hit with any surprise questions he wasn't prepared for. When he said that I immediately felt tired for him. I've seen him give his presentation a few times and I can't imagine having to give the same presentation, or even a variance of the presentation, over and over again. But that's where the patience and persistence of a seasoned entrepreneur helps out. You know you'll have to pitch and pitch and pitch because that's just part of the game and Michael does a pretty good job at it.

So there you have it, a little behind the scenes action on become's latest round of funding and what some of it means. Of course there's more to it than even what I've divulged but you'll have to stay tuned to get more info on that.

Behind Become.com's Second Round Of Funding By Jason Dowdell at 11:57 AM
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June 2005 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (7 entries) June 1-4
  • Week 2 (2 entries) June 5-11
  • Week 3 (2 entries) June 12-18
  • Week 4 (5 entries) June 19-25
  • Week 5 (4 entries) June 26-30

Exploding Porta Potty Law Suit
I agree. A bit much for, don'tcha think?...
by e cigarettes
Price Alerts Don't Promote Shopping Or Browsing
Last comment got a little messed up. Here it is a...
by pheadbaq
Price Alerts Don't Promote Shopping Or Browsing
<a href="http://amazon.pheedbaq.co...
by pheadbaq
Exploding Porta Potty Law Suit
$10 million... that is frivalous, I'm all for...
by Porta Potty

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