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August 2005, Week 2 Marketing Archives

Friday, August 12, 2005

Idaho Loves Them Some Napoleon Dynamite

And Greg Storey now loves Idaho. Greg posted on Airbag about how the House of Representatives of Idaho passed a Resolution that uses phrases from Napoleon Dynamite. This is honestly the funniest piece of government work I've ever seen. Greg does a much better job of telling breaking down the Napoleon / Idaho connection so here are a few excerpts from his piece.
I've always liked Idaho and now I like it even more. The 58th Idaho Legislature House of Representatives and the Senate recently passed House Concurrent Resolution 29 that includes clauses such as the following:

"WHEREAS, any members of the House of Representatives or the Senate of the Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote "Nay" on this concurrent resolution are "FREAKIN' IDIOTS!" and run the risk of having the "Worst Day of Their Lives!"

The suits in Boise — for you American school children that's state capital of Idaho — took the time to commend Jared and Jerusha Hess and the city of Preston for their movie Napoleon Dynamite. I dare say you will have a hard time finding another resolution anywhere that includes words like "chickens with talons", "Tina the Llama", and "Kip's relationship with LaFawnduh."


For more fun, check out the comments airbag's readers have left, it's a hoot.

Idaho Loves Them Some Napoleon Dynamite By Jason Dowdell at 08:55 AM
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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Google Geeks Beat Microsoft - Poetic Justice?

This is pretty funny. Out at LinuxWorld the Google Geeks went up against the Microsoft Voles in a battle of geek wits. Google ended up winning the competition because the Microsoft brainiacs were unable to recall the year Windows version 1 was released. Call it poetic justice or just ironic but that's hilarious. The boys over the pond at TheInquirer have a great writeup of the geek technofest competition and provide more details. Definitely worth a read. Here are a couple snippets from their post.
"SPINSTERS at Microsoft were practically slashing their wrists yesterday when the company’s team was defeated in a geekish general knowledge competition by search rivals Google...

But, horrors of horrors, the Volish geeks,led by Analyst Relations Specialist Rob Curran, wearing a full Darth Vader suit, cocked up on a question that was related to their own corporate history..."

Google Geeks Beat Microsoft - Poetic Justice? By Jason Dowdell at 09:06 AM
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Google Speech Recognition Future

The recent lawsuit between Microsoft and Google over Google's hiring of Kai-Fu Lee away from MSFT has new clues but personally I think everyone is missing the big picture of the clues and are distracted by the immediate lawsuit. The lawsuit is nothing, it will be settled and life will go on, there's something much bigger brewing. Last week I posted about Google and it's quest to hire the best and brightest in the Speech Recognition field and what they might be up to. Well it just so happens that Kai-Fu Lee is a Speech Recognition expert. Google's up to something that combines search and speech and I have a few ideas of what that might be but read this quote from the News.com story.
"Lee is known as a pioneer in speech-recognition technology, and he headed up the Natural Interactive Services Division at Microsoft. He also set up a Microsoft research center in China."

So combine the fact that China is the hottest country from the mergers and acquisitions sector of the internet and Google's got something up their sleeve in the speech recognition category and you've got some really good stuff to look forward to. Just remember to not let the trees block your view of the forest. I'm pretty bad at that from time to time as well.

Google Speech Recognition Future By Jason Dowdell at 08:49 AM
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Odeo Rollin With VC Funding

Yesterday Odeo announced they received their first round of VC funding. This is a big boost of confidence in the whole podcasting landscape. Before I give a couple of my thoughts on it here's a blurb from PaidContent on Odeo's first round of funding.
"Odeo, the much-hyped podcasting distribution and tool firm started by former Blogger founder Ev Williams, has received first round of funding. The round was led by Charles River Ventures, along with Amicus Ventures, and a substantial group of individuals in the funding round: Mitch Kapor, Joe Kraus, Tim O'Reilly, Ron Conway, Josh Kopelman, Don Hutchinson, Dave Pell, Mike Maples, Francesco Caio, Barbara Poggiali, Emanuele Angelidis, James Hong, and Ed Zschau."

First it's cool to see Tim O'Reilly in the group of individual investors since Ev worked for him in the pre Pyra days. Secondly, it's cool to see Ev learning from his experience with growing Pyra and Blogger. From my earlier conversations with Shellen on the subject of Blogger before Blogger was cool, everything was pretty much bootstrapped. Funds were low, business plans were scarce, and there seemed to be a general lack of direction before a few key events happened that got Blogger and Pyra Labs on the map. Now, Ev's more focused, obviously has a sharp business plan in hand [this has Shellen all over it ;)] and has a group of investors / advisors guiding him on his second major venture.

Hmmm, wonder if someone should start a new blog called VentureShift and talk about the migration from bootstrap mode to VC mode and all of the hiccups and changes in between. I'm not registering the domain so consider this my gift to you.

Ev writes about getting the funding and a bit about having to give some serious thought as to what they wanted to accomplish with Odeo.
...We also did a lot of deep thinking and soul searching about what we were really trying to do with Odeo, which is a crucial part of the company-building / money-raising process. And we ended up doing a deal we're really happy about.

My last 2 cents and then I'm out.
Most people want to know how much money a startup gets during each round of funding but I'm glad those details were left out. It goes to the whole "less is more" approach of building a business. The numbers truly only matter to the company receiving the funding. Because they can plan features and growth based on what they have and know with certainty how long they can expect to be in business before they're forced to show a return on investment. It's about an accounting term called "going concern". Every company in the United States [and most of the world for that matter] is based on the going concern principle. It means they plan on being in business and being able to pay back debt, provide paychecks, sell product, etc... because if there was no expectation for companies to stay in business then there would be no need for them to create financial statements and file tax returns. Anyway, I'm glad Ev's keeping that info on the downlow.

Odeo Rollin With VC Funding By Jason Dowdell at 08:15 AM
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Media Buyer Position In NYC

Last week Greg Yardley pointed me to a site the startup he's working at created for a job position they're looking to fill. Before I give you the job description, I'll give you a bit of bg on the company and who you'd be working with. First off you'd obviously be working with Greg Yardley, a well connected guy in the area of shopping search. Secondly you'll be working with Seth Goldstein, a well respected entrepreneur in his own right with a track record of success. Seth's created a startup in NYC and already assembled a highly talented team of professionals with the goal of builing a highly profitable online business using lots of Web 2.0 technology. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the business model will help pretty much every person that uses the internet.

Greg wanted me to also point out that the position will likely include salary plus bonuses based on actual performance. Basically, if you're a geek, love marketing and know you know your stuff and wish you were getting paid based on how much money you save customers and make your current employers, then this is the job for you.

Here's a snippet of the job description, enjoy...
We are looking for:

* Ability to turn lots of data into a few great ideas
* Lots of experience purchasing keywords and banners
* Deep respect for organic listings
* Strong relationships with publishers (and an interest in leveraging their APIs)
* Active subscriber to RSS feeds (and/or publisher of them)
* Willingness to try anything in order to improve conversion (yes, anything!)
...

* Are you bored buying keywords for others?
* Are you a hedge fund trader trapped in the body of a media buyer?
* Is your Fantasy Baseball team more challenging than your day job?


In Greg's own words...
"This job gives the individual media buyer a great deal of autonomy, and will compensate the media buyer based on their effectiveness. It's for people confident they know how to generate a high ROI."

Media Buyer Position In NYC By Jason Dowdell at 09:02 AM
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TV Ad Stats - 51% Include URLs

Media Buyer Planner [a nice resource for those in the space] has a good piece on how urls are more popular than 1-800 numbers in television ads.
The use of URLs as a direct response method in TV commercials has overtaken the use of toll-free phone numbers, according to a report commissioned by 800response, a provider of 800 numbers. Including a URL in TV commercials has jumped from just 19 percent in 1998 to 51 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, the use of toll-free telephone numbers has risen to 28 percent, up from 25 percent in 1998.


This is quite interesting. I remember watching those late night infomercials when I was in college where Don Lapre was selling his "Making Money Kit" and talking about the golden land of classified ads and 800 numbers. Ah those were the days. Were being the operative phrase here. Now urls have taken over and the game is continuing to evolve.

Analog To Digital Ad Campaign Hybrids
Using urls in tv ads and even in print ads aren't a new thing at all. Pick up an old copy of any Wired magazine and look for the IBM [now Lenovo] Thinkpad ads. They always create a unique url for their print ads so they can measure campaign effectiveness. In fact, it goes much deeper than that. Those urls IBM provides are only available if you directly type it into your browser and the links can't be found anywhere on their site. This is one of the reasons Marketing Shift is a passion of mine. Showing folks where the analog and digital ad worlds overlap each other just rocks! There are also some search engine optimization elements IBM has overlooked in their implementation of this type of analog to digital ad campaign but I'll forego those for now unless there is a lot of interest in that topic.

Oh yes, hat tip to Paul Allen and his internet entrepreneur blog for the original quote and hat tip to Paul's reader for tipping him off on the piece.

TV Ad Stats - 51% Include URLs By Jason Dowdell at 08:35 AM
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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Back To School Ad Spend and Become.com

My boys over at Become.com are offering a deal where advertisers get half of their ad spend [cpc] back for the month of august. It's already August 9th so if you're interested you better get on board now.

MarketingVox has a bit more as do a few other places.
"Credit can be taken in cash or used for future campaigns. Cost-per-click rates for the site range from $.10 to $.40, depending on the category. Ad units are made up of individual product listings based on a data feed provided by each merchant, with paid product listings on the right-hand side of the page in each search. The 50-percent-off promotion seeks to introduce advertisers to the site while it's still in beta."


Sounds like a pretty good back to school ad campaign if you ask me. With most of the nation's kids going back to school this week and next week you better get your spend on.

In the ClickZ story, Greg Haslam is quoted quite often. For those of you who don't know Greg, he was formerly with NexTag and is now doing bizdev stuff at Become. In recent months NexTag has been hemoraging some pretty sharp folks. I know of 3 off the top of my head and there are several others. I guess that's what happens when you get big though, can't keep everybody happy all the time.

Back To School Ad Spend and Become.com By Jason Dowdell at 03:44 PM
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BrightCove Is Hiring

Interested in working at a company working on some wicked sweet technology run by wicked smart folks with a history of building companies from scratch that make a lot of money? Then maybe the new BrightCove job listing is for you. Jeremy Allaire and the BrightCove team are looking to hire some other wicked smart folks!
Brightcove continues to grow, and we are now hiring in a wide-range of roles, including:

* Product Management
* Online Marketing
* Advertising Sales and Operations
* Sales and Business Development
* Production and Editorial
* Customer Service
* Accounting
* Visual and interactive design
* QA and Engineering

As we prepare to launch, the energy here is tremendous, and you will find an exceptionally bright, motiviated and passionate group working to transform media and television. Most of these roles are in Cambridge/Boston, MA, with some also in New York and Los Angeles.


I asked Jeremy if he's given more info regarding what BrightCove is up to and he said I should listen to some of the interviews he's given recently and has linked to from their blog.

BrightCove Is Hiring By Jason Dowdell at 03:42 PM
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Monday, August 08, 2005

Matthew Hurst On Tags

Last Friday Matthew Hurst [CoCreator of BlogPulse] gave a good technical description of why folksonomy tags aren't all that. I just started reading his blog a few weeks ago but it's chocked with technical genius and commentary, especially in the world of blog search. Since blog search is going to play a much larger role in the world of search [as we know it] in the coming months and years, I suggest you subscribe to Matt's rss feed. Need to know about data mining, content aggregation, pattern recognition, nuances of blog searching? Then get on it, he's posting daily and right now bloglines only has 10 subscribers to his feed [what a travesty]!

Here are a couple of quotes from Matt's post on the Trouble with Tags.
"First of all, tags on text are not metadeta. You can not legislate metadata by a syntactic construct. In other words, tags are just words. It is only when tags become references to a new system of symbols with a clear relationship to object data that they can be called metadata."

He goes on to say...
"When I look at my referrer log, I can see which tags bring more traffic. With a simple utilitarian model of a blog author, how do you think I would react to that knowledge?"

Can you say spam? That was one of the first problems I had with tags from day 1. They're so easily manipulated and don't provide the type of value everyone wants us to think they do. Sure, combine them with social networking and you get some level of filtering but my friends working on radio towers could tag a post with the term scale [climbing up a building] while my friends at Google could tag a post with scale and they're referring to the ability of a web site or application to handle lots of requests.

Keep and eye on Matt's blog, he's smart and gives great insight on stuff that matters in the world of data analysis.

Matthew Hurst On Tags By Jason Dowdell at 09:29 AM
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