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September 2005 Marketing Archives

Friday, September 09, 2005

Apostle Is My Clothing Sponsor

Apostle Clothing is my official clothing sponsor.One of my good friends, Jimmy Buchanan, is a partner in Apostle Clothing. Jimmy and his partners have recently refined their clothing line and put together some stuff I really dig. Since Apostle's still pretty much an underground label I was thinking of what I could do to help them out in a way that was mutually beneficial. About 3 weeks after talking to Jimmy about my interest in lending a hand I had a moment of clarity. The skies parted and angels were singing in the background...
"Become a team rider for Apostle"

So that was the thought, but then I remembered I've broken both arms 3 times, mostly due to skateboarding accidents and I need my hands for typing so I couldn't risk another broken arm. But the sponsorship idea still rang in my head and I thought, "shoot, I'll be their sponsored blogger".
Just like a team rider except I'm the team writer.

So last night we sealed the deal and I'm now officially on the Apostle team. I can't believe word of this has already gotten into the blogosphere since the deal was only closed at 1:00 am last night.

Breakdown of My Clothing Sponsorship
* I'll be wearing Apostle clothing at all conferences I attend, yes, even if I'm speaking I'll be wearing their clothes.

* I won't wear the Apostle clothes I'm not keen on, like the crazy Alvin shirt. There's a good reason it's on closeout right now ;)

* I will soon slap a couple Apostle stickers on my blog. Since I don't ride a skateboard for them I have to put the stickers somewhere. I'll also slap a sticker on my surfboard since I have yet to break an arm surfing.

* My luggage will be tagged with Apostle's logo in some fashion.

* Other than this post, I will only talk about Apostle on my blog when they have a new line I'm hip to and think my friends would dig as well.

* I am receiving no cash but I will receive lots of killer clothes.

Why Would A Skateboard Clothing Company Sponsor A Marketing Blog
We geeks love us some skater / urban clothing. It's comfortable, it looks good and it makes us think we can still skate and do all the stuff the great extreme sports atheletes do without actually having to exercise.

Additionally, in order to make the lines between church and state a bit broader, it allows a company to sponsor a blogger in an industry that's not their direct target audience.

Last but not least, I really love their clothes and isn't a sponsorship about getting stuff for free you're willing to pay for anyway? I mean, pro surfers, skateboarders, freestyle motocross riders, all of them get stuff for free they've been paying money for their entire lives so it makes it that much sweeter.

Well that's it for now, can you digg it?

Apostle Is My Clothing Sponsor By Jason Dowdell at 12:15 PM
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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Google Hires Father Time aka Vint Cerf

In a move I understand and don't understand at the same time, Google hired Vint Cerf to be their Internet Evangelist. Most evangelists in high tech companies [not sure there are any other kind of evangelists other than televangelists], especially one in the Valley, are in the 25 - 40 age range. Vint Cerf is undoubtedly a genius but not in the typical Evangelist date range.

I understand they want to begin moving in a broader direction than just search, a simple look at their business model expansion gives us that. I also understand they want to show they're maturing as a company. They just had their 7th birthday, they're now a publicly traded company and they're expanding their reach so having a face of wisdom other than Eric Schmidt is a wise move.

But, now I shift into mshift sarcastic mode, come on. Vint Cerf is obviously a genius, hard worker, has a great reputation, but he's really old and in my opinion, too old. Can he pull the 80 - 90 hour work weeks? Can he handle the rigorous traveling schedule? I understand he is a founding father of the internet and he co-designed TCP/IP and all that's great but can he hang with the kids? Sure he's not suppose to hang with them, he's suppose to lead them, but Google culture is Google culture. I know I know, innovation is innovation and it knows no discrimination but will he fit in, does he need to fit in? I think he needs to and I'm not sure he will. He looks more like father time than an internet evangelist.

Google wooed him away from MCI [I bet that was a real tough negotiation] [sorry I'm still in sarcastic mode] where he had a pretty good gig. He got to wear his thinking cap all the time and talk about the internet and publish a few writings but I doubt the pace at MCI was anything like what it is at Google.
erf joins Google from MCI, where he led technology advancements since 1982, with a break to return to research at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives from 1986 to 1994. On his return to MCI in 1994, he helped to put MCI on the Internet map. With Robert Kahn, he recently received the ACM's A.M. Turing Award, considered "the Nobel Prize for computing," for his achievements in computer networking. Cerf is also working on the Interplanetary Network, a project of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, which aims to extend the Internet into outer space for planet-to-planet communications. He will also continue in his role as the Chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Man I gotta lay off the cruelty, anyone have suggestions on how I might be able to do that? Or would you rather me not and continue with my sarcastic tone 1 - 3 times a week?

Google Hires Father Time aka Vint Cerf By Jason Dowdell at 12:27 PM
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Skype Partners With Voxeo Amidst eBay Acquisition Rumors

I'm proud of myself for keeping this secret for so long but I can finally talk about it. My employer, Voxeo, officially announced our partnership with Skype. Skype only chose 3 platform & hosting providers. Voxeo & TellMe, the two best providers in the U.S. and Map Telecom, a large European provider (in affiliation with VoxPilot). Basically, IVR developers can build ivr applications [marketers - think viral now] on Voxeo's free evolution developer network and then get them approved by Skype. Once approved the app moves into production and a stay-at-home developer will have his app listed in the Skype directory and exposed to their 52 million users. The app doesn't have to generate money but it most certainly can, that's up to the developer to decide. They could build a voice auctioning eBay app, build the next great viral marketing voice app, all sorts of stuff and Skype handles all the billing details. The developer gets a hefty percentage [varies by platform provider but I'm partial to Voxeo since they're my homies] and the developer doesn't even have to get a merchant account.

Pause for a minute, and think about what this means for small - agile businesses and for Skype. Skype is partnering with one of the best IVR platform providers to extend their brand, is increasing it's revenue by making it easy for developers to market their apps, and pumping up it's value while the rest of the world talks about how eBay is going to buy Skype for 2 - 3 billion dollars.

From the developer's perspective you should be thinking about industries in which it's hard to get a merchant account due to high chargebacks that involves the voice industry. There are several of them but follow that line of thought and you'll see what I'm hinting at.

Skype Partners With Voxeo Amidst eBay Acquisition Rumors By Jason Dowdell at 11:23 AM
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Much Props For My Boy Andy Beal

Andy Beal Halloween Costume
Andy Beal is blogging again. I didn't think he could come up with a goofier name than Search Engine Lowdown but I never should've doubted his persistence. Now you can find Andy's views on the Search Engine Industry's current events and hot topics each day at Marketing Pilgrim... Yeah that's right, In all seriousness, no matter what url Andy chose to hang is hat on, it's guaranteed to be updated several times daily with a somewhat whitty perspective on the search marketing industry. Help me wish Andy good luck on his latest blog and on his next career step... announcement on that coming soon ;)

Much Props For My Boy Andy Beal By Jason Dowdell at 10:21 PM
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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

TransCosmos Gives AudioBlog The Overseas Keys

Last night my buddy Eric Rice IM'ed me to see whether or not I'd seen AudioBlog's latest announcement. I had not. just secured VC funding from a very familiar VC firm, TransCosmos. I thought Eric's announcement would've been something more along the lines of... "Audioblog has just been acquired by so and so..." but that wasn't the case at all. Instead, they've received funding from a VC firm that has invested in the businesses of 3 of my friends companies.

I met Shin from TransCosmos at the Become prelaunch and commented on his eye glasses, quite a unique pair, and he and I kind of hit it off. Well, later on I heard that Shin and TransCosmos had invested in Become's second round of funding, then a few months later I saw TransCosmos had invested in Pheedo. My friend Bill Flitter is over there and that was quite interesting. Then last night Eric tells me TransCosmos has invested in and they're going to help Eric's company expand into Japan, Korea and China. An interesting aspect to the announcement is they're not only hitting your computer browsers but they're going after parts of the mobile market as well. Since our Eastern friends are typically one step ahead of us on the mobile front that will be something to keep an eye on for sure.

So Eric... Here's one for me and one for my homies.
"Well I'm peepin, and I'm creepin, and I'm creep-in
But I da-- near got caught, cause my beeper kept beepin
Now it's time for me to make my impression felt
So sit back, relax, and strap on your seatbelt
You never been on a ride like this befo'
with a producer who can rap and control the maestro
At the same time with the dope rhyme that I kick
You know, and I know, I flow some ol funky sh--
to add to my collection, the selection
symbolizes dope, take a toke, but don't choke
If you do, you'll have no clue
on what me and my homey AudioBlog came to do"

TransCosmos Gives AudioBlog The Overseas Keys By Jason Dowdell at 09:48 AM
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Friday, September 02, 2005

Interview With Piers Fawkes of PSFK

PSFK is a pretty schweet publication [blog] and I've often wanted to point everybody to them from time to time on some interesting stories they've put together... But one thing led to another [lawsuits, discovery, depositions, interrogatories, yada, yada, yada...] and alas I had no time to give them props. But now I have a bit more time and wanted to share a little Q & A I had with Piers Fawkes, co-conspirator of Simon King, regarding their very interesting blog and what makes them tick. Enjoy!

Questions and Answer with Piers Fawkes

Q: When did psfk get started? We already know it was created by you [Piers Fawkes] and your buddy Simon King but how long ago did you guys decide you needed to create a web site to store all of the interesting pieces of information you were sending back and forth?

A: PSFK actually got started a couple of years ago. In it's first iteration, Simon and I created PSFK as a consultancy for luxury brands - but Simon's jeans brand took off and I moved from London to New York so we put it to sleep. Then, about a year later (2004) when we were setting up the blog we realised we could launch the blog under the PSFK banner. And Simon loved the color purple anyway. We just set it up for the love of it. And we still run PSFK for the same reason.

After a year, we realised that some of the content we were writing about wasn't actually about 'trends' - more about advertising and marketing (reflecting my personal interests/job). Simon and I hesitated about putting this content on a new blog because of the time and effort - then we realised if we charge folk a small subscription fee for this content then we'd have a reason to dedicate time to IF. It's working well - and our subscriber base is growing!

Q: The Insight Services and Trend Reports you offer appears to be a paid service that gives your customers insight into their markets & trends they should know about. Where are you pulling your data from and are there markets you specialize this service in or do you provide this service for every known market?

A: We have had a couple of major brand clients that ask for one off trend reports, we also produce a bi-monthly analysis of the young adult market in the UK available as a subscription model(we plan a US version soon). Because we scan hundreds of feeds each morning as we write the blog,we have become hyper-aware (we hope) of the news and events taking place in many markets - writing the blog over time also allows us to stand back and look at the macro trends going on too. We support this with getting off our backsides and actually checking things out and talking to young people. We then support all this by talking to key influencers (magazine editors, fashion designers, club DJs). It comes over with our subjective PSFK point of view but our clients seem to like it.

Q: PSFK provides some interesting content via interviews with folks who are online celebrities like B.L. Ochman and others who are more in-tuned with the offline world like Rasheed Young. Getting interviews like these usually implies a relationship with the interviewee of some sort. Do you have any advice for people running lesser known blogs that would like to start interviewing people they're interested in but just don't know how to get started?

A: The interviews normally fall in two camps - folk I think are doing interesting stuff on the web (the online celebrities as you call them) and companies that are doing interesting stuff on and offline. Some folk I have got to know, others I have been referred to and others I just approached. If you are a new blogger, there's no harm in asking but you have to give a good reason why they should spend time on the interview. I'd like to think I have created a good reputation both through the quality and quantity of content on PSFK and through interacting with other bloggers through email, phone, comments. This helps immensely.

Q: I subscribe to your IF newsletter and have found it to be chocked full of under the radar trend goodness but only recently did I subscribe to your RSS feed. Which do you prefer, email or RSS and why?

A: You gotta give the people the information in any way they want. We have to remember that a tiny percent of the universe actually gets what RSS is and then a tiny percent of that universe monitors their RSS frequently. I recommend email newsletters to any blogger in order to maintain and eventually grow their traffic. Remember, the format is different to: RSS is a headline, a newsletter is a summary of the past week or month. People digest info in different ways. I'm sure there are more ways I could communicate to the audience. To be honest, I'm envious of the reader events that Peter Rojas and the Engadget guys run. I'd love to hold an IF Marketing Ideas event in major citiesone day.

Q: When did you begin serving ads on PSFK? Has serving ads on your blog been met with any resistance from your loyal following?

A: Advertising has been one big experiment on PSFK and IF. On PSFK I pulled Google and Burst eventually because the pennies from the deals was too low versus what I could do with the real estate to relay more/better PSFK info. What I also wanted was the right advertiser for the PSFK audience - we get lots of ad agency folk, so why not get a a freelance design duo to advertise on our site? That said, my policy on advertising is always evolving. My advice to any new blogger is to avoid ruining your real estate for the chance to earn google pennies. Find a sponsor directly who understands your audience and will pay a proper price for the space.

On IF, we have three paid sponsors that support the site - each for a different section. It works better becuase the content is about marketing ideas and the sponsors are folk that make marketing ideas happen.

Interview With Piers Fawkes of PSFK By Jason Dowdell at 09:32 AM
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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Should Google Offer Free Urchin Web Site Stats?

A couple days ago I was thinking about the data you can gather from web site stats programs. One thought led to another and before I knew it I was thinking about Google and Urchin web stats. Urchin is a site stats software vendor that was acquired about a year or so ago by Google. When the acquisition was made it surprised a few industry analysts but I'm happy to say I wasn't one of them, toot toot [that was the sound of my own horn you just heard]. The move seemed logical to me, Urchin has a good reputation in the website statistics software industry and wasn't too large or too small, the size was just right. So Google didn't have to cough up a ton of cash to get them and integrating Urchin into Google appeared to be a fairly painfree process.

The reason I wasn't surprised by Google's acquisition was because there is so much data a site analytics company gathers beyond just what keywords people are finding a site for in the search engines. There's clicksream analysis, session analysis, data from other search engine spiders, and the list goes on... but the common thread in that list is data... data data data. Google loves data and that's how they plan to dominate, with data!

But what of this, I mean who cares, what does this mean to me? So what if Google acquired a stats company and they have a ton of data now, I don't care! Well, I'm thinking that at some point in the near future Google may offer a free version of Urchin.

What Makes You Say That?
Google already has enough web stats data to give WebTrends a run for their money and then some but there's a lot they don't have. The addition of blogger to their lineup a couple years back has been a key move for them and Google has access to all the site stats for every site hosted on but not for blogger sites people host themselves, like marketing shift. If Google were to offer a light version of Urchin that simply required a piece of javascript to be placed on a page in the header or footer they'd get more than enough data to pay for the hosting space required to offer such a service. Urchin's current service offerings start at $199 per month but a light version should be free, kind of like Google did for pretty much every other company they've acquired during the past 5 years.

What do you guys think? Do you think Google will offer a free version of Urchin, do you think AdSense eliminates the need for them to do that since they can double dip with AdSense? Do you think Barry's post about Urchin dominating every AdWords competitor for web stats? I'd love to get your feedback on this one.

Should Google Offer Free Urchin Web Site Stats? By Jason Dowdell at 10:31 AM
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September 2005 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (7 entries) September 1-10
  • Week 2 (7 entries) September 11-17
  • Week 3 (3 entries) September 18-24
  • Week 4 (1 entries) September 25-30

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