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August 2005, Week 3 Marketing Archives

Friday, August 19, 2005

My Wife On Reality Advertising

Shannon Dowdell on Marketing & Advertising to WomenYesterday my wife sent me an IM telling me that she took a stab at writing a piece on marketing and advertising and she was sure it was awful. When I slowed down enough to read it last night I was pleasantly surprised at how wrong she was. Her piece was actually great [although I did give her a hard time about the typos - as she does to me all the time]. I'll snag a few snippets from her post and encourage you to visit her blog and leave a comment... She lives on comments, really, she loves it when she gets comments on her posts. So leave lots of em.

Shannon Dowdell on Reality Advertising About Real Women
I am delving into my Husbands world of advertising and marketing with this post because I am just so impressed with this new trend of using "real women" and "real beauty" in advertising. It peaked in my interest while reading this article in the NY Times.

It is no secret that Dove has started a massive campaign with their "Real Beauty" advertising and it is about time. How long have we been subjected to ads featuring stick thin, beautifully coifed women who have no idea what it is like to scrape dried up poop off a wall or pray that no none sees you with vomit all over your shirt because of course you packed an extra outfit for the baby, but a clean shirt for you...that is a luxury? What surprised me was when i went to the Dove website and found thelink for The Dove Self Esteem Fund. In the US, the DSEF is partnering with the Girl Scouts "to educate and inspire girls on a wider definition of beauty and to make them feel more confident about themselves." How great is that?

One thing I liked about her post was how thorough she was with why she likes where these advertising campaigns are going... I'm usually too busy / lazy to be thorough but she's done well.

Now go read the full story on her blog. Oh yeah, visit her flickr photos as well since she updates her's more often than I update mine.

My Wife On Reality Advertising By Jason Dowdell at 10:38 AM
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Tim O'Reilly & Vagisil - Opposites Attract, I Guess

Tim O'Reilly or Vagisil, you make the call!So Tim O'Reilly decided to use a different theme for the O'Reilly Head First Design Patterns book. Instead of choosing to use the always stylish monochromatic animal as the logo for a book they decided to use an image of a woman. While the image of the woman is more attractive than an animal, it's also the same woman Vagisil uses to market their feminine product to teenagers who itch and smell you know where.
My boys over at have the scoop.
"If there is one thing worse than an itchy crotch, no, a smelly itchy crotch, it is having a product that has nothing to do with crotches associated with smelly itchy crotches. Yeah, that would suck. Time for Tim to go flog an intern, but it could be worse, it could be your picture on that Vagasil page. All images have been cached for posterity. And that is it."

Tim O'Reilly & Vagisil - Opposites Attract, I Guess By Jason Dowdell at 10:18 AM
Comments (0) Taking A Day Off - Thank You!

When your blog is a hobby and not a business it's easy to get jealous about sites like They've got more in-depth posts about online technology and business than any single blog I've ever come across. Often times I'll scan their RSS feed for something that is "over the top" before I read a full entry because there are just so darn many entries every day.

Well today they're giving all of us hobbybloggers a break and taking a day off. Although even this day's vacation is newsworthy because they simply never take days off. They're machines I tell you, machines!
"No newsletter today and no posting unless Google parts with a serious amount of cash ... We'll be back in full force Monday. Have a great weekend, and please, keep things quiet for us. (Extra points for anyone who spots Rafat at the beach in Santa Monica.)"

Wish I was on the beach in Santa Monica or La Jolla or better yet Trestles. Taking A Day Off - Thank You! By Jason Dowdell at 08:59 AM
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mark Fletcher Hates Tags & Invites Dialog

The founder of bloglines, Mark Fletcher, threw up a blurb about how much he hates tags. I couldn't agree more but find them becoming an unnecessary evil because of their mass adoption. Mark wants disccussion, so talk amongst yourselves.
"I was going to blog something about how tags are bad, evil horrible bad, and highlight the failure of existing search technology, but I couldn't muster the energy. High level message: tags suck and are unnecessary except in cases where no other textual data exists (like photos, audio or video). Discuss amongst yourselves."

Mark Fletcher Hates Tags & Invites Dialog By Jason Dowdell at 10:27 AM
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Matthew Hurst On Blog Ranking Algorithms

Matt's got me all excited this morning with his contribution to the blog ranking algorithm discussion going on in a few key places this week. I highly recommend reading his thoughts, thinking about the whole discussion for a week, and providing your own feedback when you think you understand what's going on. Hopefully I'll be able to do the same... I hate lawsuits.

Matthew Hurst On Blog Ranking Algorithms By Jason Dowdell at 10:23 AM
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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ipedo Wins SOA Contest

Under the Radar held a SOA [service oriented architecture] contest last Tuesday between 4 intriguing companies in the SOA space. The companies competing were IPedo [the one that took home the prize for top innovator], Blue Titan, Reactivity, and Appistry. Of these, I'd give the best name prize to Appistry. Their name implies they're integrators of applications and just rolls off the tongue quite nicely. Congrats to their founders on choosing such a smart name.

The VC judges were Venky Ganesan of Globespan Capital Partners, Evangelos Simoudis of Trident Capital, and Bill Burnham of Celsius Capital. Steve Fox, the editor in chief of InfoWorld was the moderator and the consensus was that he was great.

From the under the radar blog...
"Turns out, Tim Matthews of Ipedo took the VC vote for Top Innovator. Make sure you check out Tim's blog, "Integration Insider", too. Blue Titan's Frank Martinez (a very illustrious character), got the audience's vote for Top Innovator. It is very rare that the VC and audience outcome match, which is not all that surprising. Frank managed a few more votes than Reactivity's Glenn Osaka, also very dynamic. Glenn was last to present, and came straight out of the gate with sample use cases of Reactivity's applications that prove its value and cost savings for customers. Kevin Haar of Appistry was also amongst the contenders and pitched their Appistry Enterprise Application Fabric."

I don't currently have the time to break down what each company competing actually does but it appears their main product enables companies to use relational databases such like SQL & Oracle or an XML database seamlessly. I'm guessing they do the integration to and from into a web service and distribute the data for reporting and such via encryped & secure web services but I'm just guessing after glancing at their site briefly.

Ipedo Wins SOA Contest By Jason Dowdell at 10:18 AM
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Monday, August 15, 2005

Voxeo Gives Away A Vespa At SpeechTek

This is the limited edition ET2 in pearl at the Voxeo booth.The first week of August I was in NYC at SpeechTek. SpeechTek [for those that don't know] is the largest tradeshow for the IVR industry. My current employer, Voxeo, is quite possibly the best company in the IVR Platforms & Hosting space. I've had a personal relationship with the CEO and several of the Voxeo employees for quite a few years now. Over that period of time I've come to know the guys at Voxeo pretty well. The more I learned about each of them the more I liked and respected them. So when I became a free agent a few months back and was offered a position to work with some of the smartest guys I've ever known, it was an easy choice. Needless to say, that's why I was at SpeechTek.

Before the conference we were hashing out all sorts of ideas for collateral we could give away that would make us stand out from the rest of the vendors. We had several good ideas and each had been well thought out and fit into our overall tradeshow marketing strategy. But the one that stuck and made the most sense was giving away a Vespa. It fit on so many fronts and was a much bigger success than we had even thought. We chose the Vespa for a few reasons. Here are some of them.

Reasons We Gave Away A Vespa
* Vespa and Voxeo have both stuck to their original business plans over the years and are time tested.
* Vespa and Voxeo are both industry leaders and companies the competition looks at before they make their next move.
* Both are reliable and handle traffic like a champ.
* Our VP, Strategy & Ops drives one and we're all jealous.
* How cool is it to have a Vespa sitting in your trade show booth?
* Because we could.
* Because nobody else would.
* Because the guys I work with set the bar in the industry and if anyone else gives away a Vespa next year we'll know why.

Reasons I Wanted To Give Away A Vespa
* Because I plan on replacing my bimmer with one.
* Because it's sleek, quick, gets attention and hard to follow.
* Because Vespa is into blogging and gets it.
* Because no matter who you are or where you live you've heard the name Vespa and I like good brands.
* Because Vespa sounds good when used in the same sentence as Voxeo which makes it easier to remember when telling friends.
* Because talking to people at trade shows is hard enough and the Vespa was the perfect ice breaker.

Not only did we give away a Vespa but we gave away a limited production ET2 pearl in color with a navy blue leather seat. To top it all off the Vespa was a limited production model that's no longer available. Coordinating the pickup and delivery of a Vespa was done while we were still in Orlando. The Vespa came from Vespa of Soho and they handled bringing it to and from the fhow. We paid extra dinero to have it detailed and the detailing job they did was less than we could accept so we detailed the ET2 at the tradeshow. I felt like I was on a game show and I was getting the grand prize ready for the big finale. Sooo many people walked up and asked about why we had a "scooter" in the booth and if we were really giving it away or if it was just a scam. When I assured them we were indeed giving one away they were shocked. They were even more surprised when I told them that even our competitors were welcome to register to win the Vespa.

One of the coolest things about giving away a Vespa was getting to hear stories from all sorts of people that came to our booth. Older men would recount a tale of youth and freedom, memories they had associated with owning a Vespa when they were just teenagers. Others spoke of what they'd do if they won the Vespa and how it would immediately improve their social life and make commuting to work and running errands exciting. Unlike most trade show booths, ours drew people into it. Once a casual passerby saw the Vespa they would do a double take and then come back and ask about it. It pulled folks into our booth who would probably have not stopped by if we were giving away pens. It opened new doors and was a conversation piece and ice breaker all in one.

All in all, I think it was the best prize I've ever seen a company give away at a technology trade show. Way better than an iPod and not lame like a mobile dvd player or a golf club. If you wonder what it's like working with people that get it and that care more about taking care of customers and being the best in their industry, then this little Vespa post is a great example of one such company. The guys I'm surrounded by are top notch in every aspect and that's a result of the DNA that drives Voxeo.

Voxeo Gives Away A Vespa At SpeechTek By Jason Dowdell at 04:11 PM
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Andrew Shotland On PaidContent & Time Europe

A smart guy from a pretty cool company was quoted on PaidContent and Time Europe about the power of social influence online and where local advertising fits into the mix. The main quote however, was simply Insider Pages' tagline...
...the Yellow Pages written by friends...

I was first introduced to Andrew from another smart dude, Greg Sterling. Congrats to Andrew for getting the Insider Pages company name out there in print and in the blogosphere in all the right places.

Andrew Shotland On PaidContent & Time Europe By Jason Dowdell at 10:03 AM
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Dissecting Technorati Top 100 & Blog Ranking Algorithms

About 9 months ago I started working on a document describing the technical differences in blogs versus a standard website. I began that doc in order to determine how a search engine like Google might apply a different variant of it's PageRank algorithm to blogs than it does for websites. My initial doc isn't worth posting here [unless some of you want it] but there are some others working on similar thoughts and have gone into some great levels of detail to explain their perspectives. One of the best posts I've seen on the blog ranking / popularity debacle we're currently faced with is from Dare Obasanjo's Carnage 4 Life blog. In his post he pulls in thoughts from a few different folks like Mary Hodder, Shelley Powers, and Danah Boyd.

These are three people I'd love to sit down with [virtually or in person] and continue this pagerank alternative discussion. Since I've got a good bit of experience in the real world side of rankings and I'm becoming more and more interested in the PR world, I think all parties would walk away knowing more than we did when the discussion began.

Here are some snippets from Dare's post.
...number of blog postings critical of the Technorai Top 100 List of popular web logs. The criticisms have primarily been of two flavors; some posts have been critical of the idea of blogging as popularity contests which such lists encourage and others have criticized the actual mechanism of calculating popularity used by Technorati. I agree with both criticisms especially the former...

Dare refers to Mary Hodder's recent post.
...Mary Hodder, in her post Link Love Lost or How Social Gestures within Topic Groups are More Interesting Than Link, argues that more metrics besides link count should be used for calculating popularity and influence. Some of the additional metrics she suggests include comment counts and number of subscribers to the site's RSS feed. She also suggests creating topic specific lists instead of one ber list for the entire blogosphere. It seems a primary motivation for encouraging this approach is to increase the pool of bloggers that are targetted by PR agencies and the like...

He refers to Shelley's thoughts.
...arguing against the popularity contests inherent in creating competing A-lists or even just B-lists to complement the A-lists...

Some of his own thoughts include.
...I agree with Shelley that attempts to right the so called "imbalance" created by lists such as the Technorati Top 100 will encourage competition and stratification within certain blogging circles. I also agree that despite whatever algorithms are used, a lot of the same names will still end up on the lists for a variety of reasons. A major one being that a number of the so-called A-list blogs actually work very hard to be "popular" and changing the metrics by which their popularity is judged won't change this fact...

...One random but interesting point is that LiveJournal bloggers are penalized by systems such as the Technorati Top 100. For example, Jamie Zawinski has over 1900 people who link to him from their Friend's page in LiveJournal but he somehow doesn't make the cut for the Technorati Top 100. Maybe the fact that most of his popularity is within the LiveJournal community makes his "authority" less valid than others with less incoming links that are in the Technorati Top 100 list...

Lest I look like a plagiarist I'm leaving out Danah's thoughts from Dare's post so you're all the more encouraged to visit his site and read them for yourself. No doubt I'll have more thoughts on this topic in the near and long term future.

Dissecting Technorati Top 100 & Blog Ranking Algorithms By Jason Dowdell at 09:31 AM
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« August 2005 Week 2 August 2005 Week 4 »

  • Week 1 (9 entries) August 1-6
  • Week 2 (9 entries) August 7-13
  • Week 3 (9 entries) August 14-20
  • Week 4 (12 entries) August 21-27
  • Week 5 (2 entries) August 28-31

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