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March 2006, Week 5 Marketing Archives

Thursday, March 30, 2006

All Eyes on Google Saturday

Apri1 1 could be another coming out day for a new Google service, according to ZDNet's Google blog. The articles suggests a finalized Gmail, calendar application or free online storage.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was something no one had talked about before. Google has had a great ability to keep its development work under wraps, so a "Say what?" launch might just be in order.

How about the long rumored/dreaded commercialized Google Base for classifieds? An events listings search engine (concerts, etc). A Priceline competitor? A redesigned news search incorporating blogs?

This could make waking up early on Saturday to log on worthwhile.

All Eyes on Google Saturday By John Gartner at 02:02 PM
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Hot Preview! Windows Live Local Street Level Maps

This maybe the coolest thing Microsoft has put out in a while. It is hot off the press so make your on conclusions. Its Local Maps at Street level and you can drive through town (click and drag). Although it only works in Seattle and San Francisco currently, it is wicked awesome.
Street Level Maps
Street Maps view 2
You can drive through town (Or Walk)
You can change your car view
You can go the wrong way on a one way street.
You can't run into buildings :) or other cars
You can park on top of the Space Needle
You can zoom in and out with a scroll wheel

Here is an address in Seattle for you to do more testing with
Space Needle
203 6th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Let us know what you else you find possible.

Hot Preview! Windows Live Local Street Level Maps By Admin at 01:41 PM
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Find.com Enters Search Fray

New player Find.com's spin on search adds category links as a secondary set of search results. Theoretically this would provide a set of sub- and related genres.

But even for a beta, the suggested links are curious indeed. For example, searching on "auto news," generated a link to the Golden State Warriors basketball team, while "classical music" prompted "outdoor living."

What would be useful would be a combined search and browse mashup that includes keyword searching, blog searches, digg user ratings and the dmoz.org directory.

If I want to find out about the latest immigration controversy, I'd like to see the highest rated stories on the subject at the moment, the best websites that cover the subject, as well as resources that discuss the subject in length. A Firefox plug-in to toggle between all the views would be in a word, delicious.

Find.com Enters Search Fray By John Gartner at 01:36 PM
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Google Lining Up to Buy TheFaceBook

It's not just the Sun and the Moon that are lining up today. Everything seems to be falling into place for a Google acquisition of TheFaceBook and here is why.

Just the other day TheFaceBook got blogosphere's attention by pulling a Google like move and turned down an offer of $750 million and said they were holding out for $2 billion. It wasn't too long ago that Sergey and Larry turned down an offer from Lycos to buy the upstarting Google, that seemed to turn out ok for them.

Now there are reports that Google is selling off some 5.3 million shares. If you do the math, Google's stock price is around $395 per share x 5.3m, that equals roughly $2.1 billion. Just enough for the Google boys to buy TheFaceBook at their asking price and still have some left over for a pizza party. Or even a muisc party.

In my opinion, this would be an odd move for Google, who already owns and operates Orkut, not only do they already seem to have a pretty good foot into the college market with its Gmail, Blogger, and their association with FireFox, but as John recently pointed out the college student demographic is highly overvalued.

Not only does this demographic have very little disposable income but TheFaceBook's audience turns over every 4 years and probably moves onto MySpace where there is no restriction to '.edu' only email addresses.

Of course this is all speculation, but when it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...It's TheGoogleBook

Google Lining Up to Buy TheFaceBook By Jason Dowdell at 09:45 AM
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Boogie Time at Google

So will Sergey and Larry launch a music store, or do they just want Mariah Carey's phone number?

According to CNET, the titans of the music industry are gathering at the Googleplex on Thursday for a big mind-meld.

Well, it makes sense that the company that wants to make everything searchable would want to have access to the world's music archives.

What we need more than another online music store is a free and legal lyrics server. That fit's Google's mission even more closely too, and they could make a buck in advertising and lyrics sales.

Boogie Time at Google By John Gartner at 03:11 PM
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The End of Local News

Thanks to the RSS feeds, Podcasts, and news aggregators, local news will soon no longer exist.

It's not because the Boston Herald or WWOR are going out of business; they are just reinventing themselves as national (and international) news entities.

Today the BBC announced that it will launch a global website that will be ad-supported. This is good news for advertisers as there will be lots of impressions available on a trusted brand.

Newspapers and broadcasters are to a certain extent unshackling themselves from being local entities as they reach broader audiences, and they should team with interactive agencies and media experts in re-branding themselves to the national audience.

Since I live in a town with a pedestrian newspaper (The Oregonian), I get most of my news from websites ostensibly serving audiences in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and London. Sure, I don't care about who became county water commissioner in Suffolk, but many folks will read the best investigative journalism from wherever.

In a few years the best papers should be getting more revenue from online readers outside their jurisdiction than from the papers that land in front yards.

The End of Local News By John Gartner at 02:36 PM
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Face It: The Kids Are in Charge

Slowly, but insidiously during the past two generations, adult America has lost control. Marketing is no longer meant for wizened gray hairs with IRAs and nest eggs; every pitch, ploy and gimmick that comes out of Madison Avenue or LA is aimed at kids too young to know what responsible spending is.

The ridiculous sums of money that MySpace already received and Facebook supposedly will get show just how far off the appraised value of the young audience is.

Yes, teens and college students buy lots of music, clothes and video games, but is this really THE most desirable demographic for many advertisers? Why oh why?

Can you imagine walking into a VC and saying, "I have an audience that is largely unemployed or making minimum wage, switches loyalties from month to month, can't legally drink, and will leave us in five years or less. Can I have $50 million?"

Somewhere between Kent State, MTV, and Xbox, parents became unable to say no to their kids, so now the best way into the pocketbooks and wallets of middle-aged America is by selling to their compulsively-consuming children. Call me a curmudgeon, but a market correction is in order.

Face It: The Kids Are in Charge By Jason Dowdell at 12:46 PM
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The Web 2.0 Awards

Hollywood and the internet came together recently to honor the recipiants of SEOmoz.org's first Web 2.0 awards. OK, maybe there wern't any actual celebrities. Either way, March Madness rolls on as there are some big upsets from sites you've never heard of (nor have I)... Here are the notable winners from some of the 38 categories:

Business, Money, and eCommerce
LinkedIn
Basecamp
Side Job Track

No surprises here, I am just wondering when the novelty of LinkedIn will where off. It was a good idea for networking but has turned into nothing more then a MySpace pissing contest as to who can get the most contacts. I've basically stopped accepting any LinkedIn invitations because I only get them from people looking for handouts in time of need. No Thanks.

Classifieds & Business Directories
craigslist
Judy's Book
PageBites

Craigslist continues to dominate the classified ad market and unless someone can master the art of growing underground and virally it will be a hard beast to unseat.

Music
Last.fm
MusicStrands
Upto11
When I first found Pandora.com (honorable mention) I was blown away. I think it is an excellent idea. I enjoy it more then last.fm so I felt the need to make sure it was mentioned.

Peer Production News
Newsvine
Digg
gabbr.com
Newsvine is excellent, Digg is overrated (more on that later), and I just recently found Gabbr, which seems useful enough for me to have added to my RSS agg.

Personal Organization
HipCal
Planzo
voo2do
These sites are the ones that really befuddle me. The last thing unorganized people need is another website to remember. Nothing beats the old pad and pen.

Photos & Digital Images
Flickr
Slide
Zoto
Flickr, the king of online photos holds strong. Lots of up and comers and if Flickr doesn't improve itself, a new player will quickly take over.

Real Estate
Propsmart
Zillow
Trulia

Retail
Etsy
threadless
Wists

Social Networking
Facebook
Consumating
MySpace
I know MySpace is popular but could it be any more disfunctional? It goes against everything web 2.0; Outdated layout, unreliable code, full of ads, but yet it remains one of the most popular sites on the web. Wow.

Social Tagging
StumbleUpon
Blinklist
Del.icio.us
StumbleUpon is more unique then anything on this list. Their growth is largely due to the StumbleUpon FireFox extension, and idea I expect other sites to soon follow through with as well..

Start Pages
Pageflakes
Google Start
Live.com
Live.com is highly underrated in almost every aspect. It's maps are especially awesome too.

Trusted Search
Rollyo
swicki
Truveo
Trusted Search? Are you implying Google is untrustworthy? :)

Video
Dailymotion
YouTube
MetaCafe
YouTube is the ultimate time waster. You can watch any kind of video and I've found 90% of them to be unfunny and worthless, yet I continue to go back.

You can check out the rest of the winners here, and also check out the 'What is Web 2.0?' breakdown.

The Web 2.0 Awards By Jason Dowdell at 11:51 AM
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Box Blocks Spam

A new hardware device for blocking spam gets the thumbs up from PC World.

While $150 may seem like a hefty investment, it probably makes sense if like me you get spammed hundreds of times per day and would like to regain some productivity. A better bet though is probably a combined spam filter and firewall that takes care of all of the unwanted intrusions.

I'm thinking about changing my primary email address just because of the honeymoon period of the first few months when the inbox is spam free. Yes, that's a weasel way out instead of setting up spam software, but who has time for that when you've got so many emails to delete?

Box Blocks Spam By John Gartner at 03:09 PM
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Google and Verizon Loco for Local Ads

Verizon's SuperPages is now pitching Google's AdWords to its millions of local print advertisers, which will create substantial revenue for both companies.

Today the overwhelming majority of small businesses don't advertise online or even have a web presence, but Verizon's field reps knocking on their doors shilling Google will likely reverse that pretty quickly. With pay-per-call advertising, mom and pop shop's can play with SuperPages, Google, AOL, etc. without even setting up a website.

Most of the time when I want to buy something locally, my first instinct is to use local search based on my zip code, and if I can't find anything there, I try the yellow pages. Local search is far from comprehensive, and the yellow pages has no depth about the products and services offered.

The combined marketing power of Google and SuperPages could eradicate those deficiencies if enough small biz owners are convinced that millions of people like me only go to the yellow pages as a last resort.

Google and Verizon Loco for Local Ads By Jason Dowdell at 02:34 PM
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Corporate Blogging, Robert Scoble and Microsoft Delays

We at Marketing Shift usually don't acknowledge this kind of blogosphere drama basically because it is a waste of time, but I can not ignore the childishness I am seeing by bloggers. For those of you who don't know, Microsoft Geek Blogger Robert Scoble, recently wrote a post criticizing non-reputable journalists and bloggers mainly focused around the misreporting that 60% of Windows Vista (the next windows) is having to be re-written. Anyone with a lick of common sense should have seen this report as false. There is no possible way that would (or could) happen. Some people apparently believed it and attacked Scoble after his understandably frustrated response. At first it was childish personal comments towards him, then it was statements saying he is the reason companies should not have corporate blogs. And now, people are saying Scoble should be fired.

Ludicrous!

First off, those who sent personal attacks to Scoble aren't even worth mentioning. I graduated from high school a long time ago and left all that childishness there. I wish everyone else would too.

Secondly, I think Scoble is the perfect reason FOR having a corporate blog. Sure he may have called unethical bloggers jerks but I don't think that reflects on Microsoft at all. Do you think Google and Apple (among others) like the misreporting and rumors that people make up (mostly linksterbaiters)? I doubt it. I'm sure they are thinking exactly what Scoble said.

Big Whoop.

I think it is important for a company with the size of Microsoft to have a corporate personality and blog. It makes them seem more real. People already have their premeditated and unfounded hate for Microsoft. No matter what Scoble says, their will be critics flaming with their anti-Microsoft propaganda. Mostly its uniformed propaganda formed by personal opinions of why they think Microsoft is Evil. Nobody is perfect, and no company is perfect. For bloggers and non-bloggers to expect perfection is insanity. Companies are run by people, people make mistakes and I think covering them up to portray a perfect corporate image is a waste of time, the truth will surface.

In todays technology world, you need to have that personality that bloggers and people can relate to. You don't see much blogosphere talk about IBM do you? Maybe they should have a corporate blog.

And the whole firing of Scoble issue, is nonsense. He is not the one behind the Vista delays (try pointing the finger at someone else), he does a great job of killing the ridiculous rumors that always seem to surface, and does not sugarcoat things to the extent so many people would suggest.

People need to layoff attacking Microsoft employees (ie Scoble) and maybe look towards the Microsoft leadership to find the problem with the company. But that would require people to take off their Google-colored glasses and realize Microsoft is not the evil company on the block anymore, which may never happen.

Corporate Blogging, Robert Scoble and Microsoft Delays By Evan Roberts at 10:40 AM
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Monday, March 27, 2006

Mobile Advertising Not Going Anywhere

The folks at ad buyer Magna Global say that the postage-stamp sized mobile phone screens will be the gateway to countless millions in advertising, but they are drinking their own Kool-Aid.

The company is bullish that mobile video will be supported by advertising, but this doesn't get around the issue of having to pay for connection time. I doubt that advertisers will be willing to foot the bill for the network time for a few seconds of face time.

MediaPost quotes the company as rightly pointing out that major challenges include a lack of network standards, interactive buying model, infrastructure that has to be built-up, and measurement standards. Together these are nearly insurmountable considering that mobile video itself is just a spec on the revenue chart.

I'm a luddite when it comes to mobile phones. I've only had one for 5 years, and have never text messaged or done anything else besides use it to talk on the phone. It's a tool to use in emergencies or to kill time when I'm in transit, and the last thing I want to do is watch an ad on a tiny screen.

The real killer app will be local-based services (hello Google!) that uses the network to offer up shopping and entertainment based on where you are at that moment.

Mobile Advertising Not Going Anywhere By John Gartner at 06:34 PM
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Microsoft Is It's Own Worst Enemy

The NY Times ran a story today detailing the woes of Microsoft nearly 8 years after the landmark anti-trust case against them. The theory that the hugely-popular Windows operating system would stifle innovation turned out to be dead-on. The problem is; it turns out that the innovation being stifled is within the corridors of Microsoft.

Questions abound about the repeatedly-delayed Windows Vista (now set for a January 2007 rollout). Last week, in the latest setback, Microsoft conceded that Vista would not be ready for consumers until January, missing the holiday sales season, to the dissappointment of personal computer makers, electronics retailers, nerds and those computer users eager to move up from a five-year old product(Windows XP).

Having lost the flexibility and manuverability of a small company long ago, Microsoft has stood in the shadows gawking as Apple unveiled four new versions of its Macintosh operating system, beating Microsoft to market with features that will be in Vista, like desktop search and advanced 3-D graphics.

Why is Microsoft so slow? Harvard Business professor David B. Yoffie thinks, "Windows is now so big and onerous because of the size of its code base, the size of its ecosystem and its insistence on compatibility with the legacy hardware and software, that it just slows everything down. That's why a company like Apple has such an easier time of innovation."

Is Microsoft going to wither and fade in the next two months? I would say that it's not very probable. However, if the industry leader continues to watch other pass them by they cannot sustain their popularity among consumers.

Microsoft Is It's Own Worst Enemy By Jason Dowdell at 04:39 PM
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Free VOIP Battles IPods

Free phone services are now competing with electronics giveaways to acquire online leads. Lycos has launched a Skype competitor that gives users a dedicated number and free phone calls to phones from within the U.S. if they sign up for partner offers.

The Lycos service also includes free call forwarding, electronic fax, and an entertainment channel. Telephony is becoming like broadcast TV and radio as a free ad-supported basic service.

Similarly, last week Yahoo updated its Messenger with low-cost VOIP services. With all of these free or nearly free phone services, it's going to be almost impossible for telecommunications companies to make any money from consumer services. Their pot of gold will come from video streaming and IPTV as the line between communications services completely dissolve. Voice is being priced like any other kind of data, and that's not good news for the telecoms.

Free VOIP Battles IPods By John Gartner at 01:38 PM
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Local Search Industry Gets a Boost from Insider Pages

Score one for the local search industry. Local search engine, Insider Pages .com was the recepitant of $8.5 million in funding led by investment capital giants Sequoia Capital and Softbank Capital.

Insider Pages is a local search engine/online yellow pages, which boasts over 500,000 customer reviews, built around the concept that the best way to find a local business is through a personal recommendation. Users of the site have created reviews of local businesses in categories ranging from dentists, doctors and hairstylists to plumbers, realtors and restaurants. The company has been a pioneer of the pay per phone call advertising model for thousands of small businesses from hairstylists to mortgage brokers.

This is a big boost to the local search sector and to InsiderPages.com. Sequoia is a known for investments in high profile companies such as Google, Cisco, Apple, Oracle, and Yahoo!

Local Search Industry Gets a Boost from Insider Pages By Jason Dowdell at 12:44 PM
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A Softer Side to CyberSquatters

Since our Wired.com fanboy is out on maternity leave, I'll do the daily Wired.com article pimpin'. Wired.com had an interesting article about the new breed of everyone's favorite con-men, the CyberSquatter. Everyone who registers domain names has at least once forgotten to renew a domain name and had one of these snakes take their domain from them, throw Adsense ads up, and put it for sale for $1000. It makes my blood boil.

Well, there is a new breed of CyberSquatters and to me they are just as bad as the originals. These people are registering domain names of up and coming amateur athletes with hopes that one of them will make it big. Since the courts will now usually side with the celebrity and force the name to be turned over these new squatters have decided to become businessmen. Instead of holding these .com names for a high ransom these people will now offer complete web services. Web site hosting, web site design and other services are just some of the features the new squatters are offering.

It's still a scam to me. Holding an $8 domain name, which they shouldn't have anyway, for thousands of dollars of services in most cases. I wish I knew someone with an obscenely large number of premium domain names :)

A Softer Side to CyberSquatters By Jason Dowdell at 11:35 AM
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What does Google Map Ads mean for Pay Per Click

Google amazes me once again. They create the ever so popular Google Maps. They release an API for Google Maps which encourages thousands of developers to create "Mash-Ups" using Google Maps. These Mash-Ups are all over the web from blogs to their own independent web sites. And just last week, SEW reported there were paid ads on Google Maps.

I can hear the Guiness guys right now, 'Brilliant!'

These paid ads on the maps, rumored to be called GeoAds, are just another place where Google can sneak another hand into your wallet and take a few more nickels for their piggy bank.

There isn't any information out there as to how to get your ad showing on the GeoAds but I suspect it will be integrated into Adwords in some fashion, sort of like what Google has done with Adsense and the content network.

The more I think about GeoAds as I write this, the more questions I come up with:
If you are already listed in Google Local (where Google Maps gets its' info), why would you pay to have another symbol included? The only logical reason could be so you can place a little bit of ad text next to your link, a link which is already included in the organic listing on Google Maps.

What metric will decide a successful GeoAds campaign? Usually, if someone is using Google Local / Google Maps then they are looking for a brick and mortar store to visit, if they click on your GeoAd and decide to come to your store, how will a conversion be measured? You can't measure the success or failure of a campaign w/o having some data to back it up.

Will Google start charging for inclusion in Google Local? Highly un-likely but I was trying to think why these ads have developed , other then to steal a few nickels from highly irrelevant clicks.

My main concern is the relevancy of the clicks. A user using Google Maps or Google Local is obviously looking for a retail shop of some kind and I can not imagine many scenarios where those people, even if they happen to click on the ad, will convert into an online measurable sale.

Overall, I first thought this was an ingenious idea. Have the users create all sorts of outlets for your GeoAds via Google Maps API, and I still think that is a great idea, but the actual success of GeoAds has to answer some questions first. Starting with mine.

What does Google Map Ads mean for Pay Per Click By Evan Roberts at 10:44 AM
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« March 2006 Week 4

  • Week 1 (12 entries) March 1-4
  • Week 2 (18 entries) March 5-11
  • Week 3 (21 entries) March 12-18
  • Week 4 (23 entries) March 19-25
  • Week 5 (17 entries) March 26-31

Google Lining Up to Buy TheFaceBook
FB's audience doesn't turn over every 4 ...
by Val

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