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July 2006, Week 3 Marketing Archives

Friday, July 21, 2006

Advertisers Answer TiVo Effect

Instead of whining about how DVR users skip past lame advertisements (which is like 98 percent of them), advertisers are developing spots that are clever or include hidden messages that can only be seen through slow playback.

KFC gave away coupons to DVR users who could spot the special promotion, and TiVo is promoting interactive ads for BMW. Meanwhile the CW (which takes the best of WB and UPN) TV network is introducing serial ads that span an entire program.

Rather than crying wolf like ABC about technology, advertisers are taking advantage of the interactivity and using creativity. TV advertisers have been spoiled by a captive audience that was forced to watch whatever was put in front of them for too long, and they are now in a battle for survival with online advertising, which has many advantages (instant measuring, target marketing, interactivity).

So TV can either resist change and go the way of the blacksmith, or leverage its millions of eyeballs while they are still there.

Advertisers Answer TiVo Effect By Admin at 03:28 PM
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Web Video Success Challenges Buyers

Cable and print advertising is receding as quickly as the polar ice caps and will be replaced largely by online video nets, or so say the industry experts at the recent Supernova conference.

For the most part I agree with the major takeaways from the Wharton recap -- that nearly all media companies will offer video on their websites, that cable TV will suffer, and that marketers will take advantage of user-generated videos.

But this fracturing of markets into hundreds of interest specific niches will challenge ad buyers who will have to learn the demographics (and appropriate CPMs) of hundreds instead of a handful of "channels." What should I pay to advertise in front of a skateboarding or movie parody channel? Media buyers and market research firms who understand and can quantify the audiences will be in high demand.

We can expect many companies to use user-created remixes and original ads as viral marketing manna. As long as the submissions are filtered, tapping into individuals' creativity is cheap and effective.

The leading Web video site, YouTube, had an up and down week. NBC has revived a dead TV show because it was so popular there, while the company's new "we own you" policy for submitted videos has met with strong negative reaction. YouTube has to come up with an ad model that fairly compensates contributors, or they can expect the gravy train of submission to dry up quickly.

Web Video Success Challenges Buyers By Admin at 03:17 PM
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Congrats: Jason Fried & Jeff Bezos On 37Signals Funding

Hats off to Jason Fried for finding the right investor in Jeff Bezos, for all the right reasons. A few weeks ago when I spoke with Jason regarding all things 37 Signals and learned first hand what made him tick, I was surprised at how laid back he was and non-salesish during our conversation. Fried is extremely set in his ways and for good reason. He's built a highly successful, yet nimble development shop out of a remote workforce and has consistently hit the ball out of the park when with every product he and his team have launched.

On a related note, kudos for Rob Hof at BusinessWeek on actually linking to the 37Signals product lineup (external sites) and not just Business Week stories in the post - Fried would be proud of you as well ;). I'm not sure how many of the major media / news outlets are doing that right now but that's a huge step for a major publication and that deserves a pat on the back. Good job!

Congrats: Jason Fried & Jeff Bezos On 37Signals Funding By Jason Dowdell at 07:28 AM
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Florida & National Do Not Call List Scams

This is a personal annoyance Shannon and I have experienced more and more of lately. About a year ago we put our home phone number on the Florida Do Not Call Program list. This is a list of telephone numbers that telemarketers are not allowed to call. If a telemarketer calls a number on the do not call list then there are penalties. Now there are a few other things you should know about this list, it's not free (I paid $10 to have my home phone added to the list) and it's a program run by the Florida Division of Consumer Services (meaning each state has it's own stance on the program and this isn't a national program). On to the annoying behavior. Now I know we all have to make a buck and there are those less fortunate than myself that have to sit in a call center making hundreds of calls a day. That's definitely not something I'd ever want to do and I can't imagine any of the people doing that ever aspired to be an outbound cold-caller. On the other hand, the companies operating these call centers are often times, scum of the earth. Yes, they are scum and are highly evolved scum at that. I say they're highly evolved (companies, not the individual operators) because they look for loopholes in laws like the do not call list I'm on. And wouldn't you know it, they've found a way to push their scam to the next level. Instead of saying they're calling from XYZ Company, asking if I want to refinance my house, they now say they're conducting a survey and would like to speak with Mr. Dow Well (they never pronounce my last name correctly). On Wednesday night and Thursday night of this week, Shannon and I were greeted with calls from a "Private Caller" and each time they asked for me and said they had a survey they were conducting and needed my input on. Each time I told the woman (same woman both times - strange - NOT!) that I was on the do not call list and to please take my phone number off of her list. Each time she agreed and said she was sorry for calling and would take my number off immediately... of course that's not going to happen. So here are the loopholes that allow telemarketing scams like this to go on here in the state of Florida. Note that the only reason I'm putting these up here is to educate people in Florida, not to educate the phreakers cause they already know the loopholes. Think of it as seo for telemarketers. Loopholes To Florida Do Not Call List Law Solicitors (aka slimeballs, may make calls, when:
  • A prior or existing business relationship exists.
  • In response to an express request of the person called.
  • From a newspaper publisher.
  • In connection with an existing debt or contract.
  • A real estate agent responds to a yard sign or other advertisement.
Furthermore, some solicitations calls are not "telephonic sales calls" as defined in the statute because they typically are not selling a product or service. Generally, calls from:
  • Charitable organizations seeking donations (Florida State Troopers Ring a Bell?).
  • Political candidates and political parties seeking donation.
  • Research or survey companies seeking an opinion (scam outlined above).
  • Collection agencies trying to locate a debtor or collect on a debt.

Florida & National Do Not Call List Scams By Admin at 06:32 AM
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Yahoo Killed Old Media

The Times (and the Journal, and the Inquirer) they are a changin' and it is all Yahoo and Google's fault.

A survey of newspaper and magazine publishers reveals that they have slowly come to terms with the Internet reality of what a news website should be, and are implementing changes. The survey by Northwestern University (and funded by The NewsMarket) found that portals were the biggest perceived threats, and that publishers are ditching trying to get more subscriptions in favor of using multimedia to grow online ad revenue.

Most of the publishers said they were already offering videos and podcasts on their websites as a remedy for the advertising revenue that has been lost to other online properties.

The days of getting news from one newspaper, TV channel and radio station each are clearly over, and Yahoo and Google's news aggregation service as well as bloggers have taken much of the attention away from the newspapers and magazines. Publishers must incorporate video (with ads) and other feeds into their websites, or further lose out to aggregation websites or software.

Readers want multimedia news from a variety of sources, so using RSS and video ads to increase traffic and revenue and compete with the portals is the only option for publishers.

Yahoo Killed Old Media By Admin at 04:20 PM
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Search Wants to Be the Answer

Microsoft has added package tracking as an "instant answer" feature. You can type in a FedEx, DHL, UPS or Postal Service tracking number, and automatically receive the status of your package. This is a handy time saver for people who receive many boxes, and it is encouraging that the search engines are delivering answers instead of results pages for common questions such as the weather, sports scores, or populations of countries. There's still lots of work to be done in this area, however. MSN won't be the default search engine on all Vista PCs as Microsoft agreed to give computer makers the freedom to use any search engine. This is a big win for Google et al, who can now bid for placement on new computers and will promote competition.

Search Wants to Be the Answer By Admin at 11:28 AM
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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Search Engine Focuses Shopping

Product search engine introduced a new feature that breaks down the information used during the buying process into helpful categories. Become's buying guides, product reviews, discussion forums and product details narrow the search results to provide users who are at different stages of the buying process with the answers that are the most relevant at the time. After users have done their research, shoppers can make purchases through a separate grouping of "shop" results.

Providing categorized search results from across the Web will draw more traffic (and hopefully for Become ad revenue) than offering a "walled" buyer's guide. Based on a handful of product searches, Become has done a fair job of correctly categorize the search results. It is a much more complete experience than Froogle or

While for most people typing in a product name or category into Google or Yahoo is still the first line of attack, the efficiency of vertical search engines should convince more users to change their search habits.

Search Engine Focuses Shopping By John Gartner at 11:46 AM
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RSS Changing Ad Opportunities

While RSS feeds today may be limited to the web's more knowledgeable citizens, that's quickly changing and will soon impact on advertising strategies.

The integration of RSS reading into Microsoft's Vista, Outlook and IE 7 as well as Mozilla's Firefox will make the technology as popular as using bookmarks very quickly. As people begin to replace browsing the Web with perusing RSS feeds, they will spend much less time on the home pages of popular sites and instead jump right to their subscribed content. So advertising on the front of CNNMoney will become less attractive while advertising in its Technology RSS feed becomes an obvious choice for money management firms.

However, RSS makes it easy to track dozens of sites at a time for particular interests, which can in turn become overwhelming and require filtering to find the content within feeds that matches your interest.

Enter RSS enterprise tools such as Attensa's new Outlook utility that automatically ranks incoming RSS content based on what individuals read previously. Other services such as PubSub, NewsGator Enterprise Server and KnowNow similarly sift through collections of RSS feeds to find the most interesting content.

These services will concentrate eyeballs away from the general to the specific and greatly increase the opportunity to find targeted audiences by advertising within feeds. They also make it easier for marketers to track what news organizations and bloggers are saying about their products or follow what's happening with competitors.

RSS Changing Ad Opportunities By John Gartner at 10:45 AM
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Press Release Marketing - One Size Will Never Fit All

I tell you what, I am so sick of the old press release model where you blast a press release out to a bazillion quasi-journalists and trade rags in the hopes that someone is going to pick up on it... that model is broken. Just look at all the "high quality" sites that picked up on our latest press release.


So why did I use PRWeb to submit the first Labitat press release? Cause I knew the model was jacked up but I wanted to use it as an example of what's wrong with the old model. Now don't think that I hate PR Web, cause I don't, they have a great support team and answered all of my questions in short order. But much like my neighborhood home owner association, very little good can come of not allowing me to pick the landscaping company I want to mow my yard.

Okay, I know that may have been a terrible analogy, stick with me, I'm just getting back into blogging mode so it's going to take some time for me to get my flow back.

Most press release services (all of them as far as I know) don't actually notify specific groups of people about your press release that are genuinely interested in your company's news. Sure, you say, of course they don't - there are too many people out there for them to facilitate a direct relationship with every one in their distribution network... I'm sorry but that's just not true.

The old press release business model suffers from a lack of "fitness for an intended use". Meaning, PR Web, BusinessWire, PRNewsWire, etc... are in this to make money for themselves (nothing wrong with that) and to keep their "distribution network" a secret for the most part. They don't want you to know every person that's going to read and talk about your press release because they just don't know which ones will actually talk about it. I'm sorry but that's wiggidy wiggidy wacked.

I propose a direct relationship between the company that has the news and the person that's going to talk about the news. We need an intermediary that doesn't care about hiding the distribution network (think bloggers) and is willing to open up the whole process so every piece is under the control of the company with the news and their own personal distribution network.

More on this later... my girls are not interested in this and need a bath. I'm not finished talking about this issue though.

Press Release Marketing - One Size Will Never Fit All By Jason Dowdell at 07:29 PM
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DoubleClick Slices SEO

DoubleClick has made it easier for search marketers to track the performance of campaigns by analyzing the performance from individual categories or products.

The Spotlight Tag Bidding option of DoubleClick's DART enables marketers who pitch multiple services from a single keyword buy to see which aspects are performing and which are not. For example, marketing books, videos and music with the keyword Madonna would currently not break out the performance of each category, but this is possible with the new option.

The science and art of SEO and tagging campaigns continues to get more competitive, requiring more understanding of how niches within keyword buys can have differentiated results. Structuring the keyword campaigns correctly to exclude undesirable associations (like people looking for statues of The Madonna) is equally important.

Found via Adotas.

DoubleClick Slices SEO By John Gartner at 06:57 PM
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Handle Blogs With Care

Along with viral ads, a corporate blog can be an innovative, informal and informative way to learn from and share with your current and potential customers.

At Mediapost, David Berkowitz details how Dell has learned about corporate communications from its blog. He's on target when he talks about the need for allowing come criticism as the price you pay for critical feedback. If you want to just hear good things about your products, call your PR Firm.

Another important point Berkowitz mentions in passing is the importance of bloggers to companies. Just as a mention in a major newspaper can help or hinder a company's messaging, so can the rants of esteemed bloggers influence potential customers, and companies are noticing. Instead of the clipping services that used to collect printed copies of company mentions, today's dynamic web requires continually monitoring news aggregators, RSS feeds, and blog search engines to see just who is talking about you.

I've been contacted many times by companies mentioned on this and other blogs, and on several occasions the companies have responded to comments on the site to clarify or refute claims made in posts. Blogs are becoming even more important the PR wire services in reaching the intended audience, so invest in your resources appropriately.

Handle Blogs With Care By John Gartner at 05:06 PM
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Monday, July 17, 2006

ShoutOut Shift - For My Homies

Today was a really big day for me personally as well as for Labitat. Labitat is the first company I have ever founded and committed to running full time (I don't have a full time job outside of this one). A lot of great people have sacrificed their own personal well-being in order for me to pursue my dream. This is a list of just some of the people that have sacrificed time, happiness, money, sleep, and who knows what else, just so Labitat could exist.

My Family - Shannon, Piper and Finley. Shannon is my soul mate and my muse, one could never have a better lover or friend. My daughters, Piper and Finley. I can't tell you how many times I've not tucked my girls in or missed breakfast or been able to play with them because I'm out of town, working late or going into the office early. The two of you are the smartest, cutest and kindest children (most days) a dad could ever have and I love you with all my heart. My parents have been incredibly supportive during the past year and a half as well. Especially when I doubted everything I felt so confidently about previously... and to top it off, I have a newfound appreciation for Lynyrd Skynyrd, something I never thought possible, made possible by my dad. Noah, Adam, Jonah, Rebekah, Hannah, Sarah, Susannah, Mary, Timbo & Abbie.

Voxeons - Starting at the top with Jonathan Taylor, Clegg Ivey and Mr. Neish. When I thought my entrepreneurial career was going to be over before it ever really began, these guys took care of me. And in doing so, gave me the nickname "Wolverine". Where else could a dude with really nasty looking lambchops and hair that looks like Dilbert's boss, find shelter and support in his darkest hour... Voxeo, that's where. And of course, it's not just the folks that work from the Pottery Barn Living Room that make Voxeo special, literally everybody else there holds a special place in my heart, yes, even you Matt. I'm living proof that not all Voxeons are employed at Voxeo.

MetaMend - Zwicky and crew for providing interesting dialogue, sage advice and an interesting project to distract my focus from the not-so-fun events of the day.

Here is just a small list of others that made yesterday possible and who have had a great impact on me in one way or another.

Jason Shellen - Cause corpses don't belong in homes.
Glenn Duquette - Faithful friend & patient one at that.
Garrett French - A fount of creative inspiration & friend.
Barry Schwartz - Model of level-headedness and consistency.
Ari Jacobi - Go get em dude.
Moshe' Yudkowsky - Newfound mentor in Chicago.

The Search Engine Guide Crew, ThreadWatch and so many other folks. I'll probably be adding to this post for a while but just so you know, all of you are appreciated. Thank you.

ShoutOut Shift - For My Homies By Jason Dowdell at 05:29 PM
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Yahoo Tests Viral Ads

Following in the footsteps of Chevy and others, Yahoo is asking customers to create ads touting the company. But Yahoo isn't offering any prizes for the ads, which will be shown on its video search site.

Chevy's attempt at sanctioning viral videos blew up in its face as the website dedicated to SUVs was overrun with anti-SUV ads.

While clever viral ads might get substantial play on YouTube and elsewhere, marketers had better be sure that customers and the public like their product before opening the doors.

If Apple did a campaign and gave a meeting with Steve Jobs as the prize, they'd have thousands of excellent submissions, and could generate millions of page views.

Found via USA Today.

Yahoo Tests Viral Ads By Jason Dowdell at 04:04 PM
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Click Fraud Up Slightly

The level of click fraud grew slightly from 13.7 to 14.1 percent of clicks during the last quarter, according to Click Forensics. The consulting firm surveyed 1,300 online marketers and found that 12.8 percent of clicks on Google's network were fraudulent, while Yahoo had 12.1 percent of bogus clicks, according to the Associated Press.

Click Forensics has 1,300 customers and signed up with MIT to further study the problem.

While Google and Yahoo may be doing a better than average job of addressing the problem, advertisers are tiring of giving away 10-15 percent of their ad dollars. Paying per click probably will fade away within five years unless a near-perfect fraud prevention technology arises. CPA alternatives will become mainstream, and even Google sees that writing on the wall.

Click Fraud Up Slightly By Jason Dowdell at 02:21 PM
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Labitat is Live And Launches PPC Audit

Teaser: Jason Dowdell is back at it and has rounded up some top talent including a ppc expert and a writer in his new venture, Labitat Inc.So it's been a long time coming but today we finally launched Labitat. It's the company I've been quasi-secretly working on for the past 9 months and today we are finally public. There's nothing earth-shattering about Labitat. Basically it's my idea of an online marketing / technology habitat where we do consulting for a handful of clients and the rest of the time is spent working on internal projects that may or may not see the light of day. As luck would have it, we did actually launch a couple of other sites today in conjunction with the launch.The first site is also our first crack at the ppc audit arena. Basically, the normal pay per click contract means you have to pay a lot of money over a long period of time to an agency in order for them to manage your ppc spend. The problem is that means you have to work even harder just to break even with your ppc advertising which can crush a lot of small to medium sized businesses. So I, Jason have broken down the ppc process into critical pieces and provide a service charging a one-time fee to have an expert audit all of your search engine marketing efforts and give you a blueprint of how to correct and implement things the right way.Following closely on the heels of ppc audit is our new ppc blog, PPC Lab. The goal of ppc lab is to provide a daily destination for people looking to get the inside scoop on pay per click advertising and to dish out the secrets the big agencies don't want you to know about. If you look closely you'll also notice that we're not using blogger for PPC Lab, hmm, I wonder what platform we are using to publish the site - interesting speculation.Now just to note, we have launched 3 sites in one day and there are a lot of little bugs and kinks to work out. I'll be spending the majority of the day getting those issues taken care of and penning a thank you note to all the people that have made today possible.

Labitat is Live And Launches PPC Audit By Jason Dowdell at 11:22 AM
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« July 2006 Week 2 July 2006 Week 4 »

  • Week 1 (8 entries) July 1-8
  • Week 2 (9 entries) July 9-15
  • Week 3 (15 entries) July 16-22
  • Week 4 (9 entries) July 23-29
  • Week 5 (0 entries) July 30-31

Florida & National Do Not Call List Scams
WOW! It's ok to come to your home jus...
by Hotrod
Florida & National Do Not Call List Scams
I would really like to ad that most call centers e...
by steve pantazes
Florida & National Do Not Call List Scams
Don't own a real phone, simple solution. Just...
by James
Florida & National Do Not Call List Scams
Florida & National Do Not Call List Scams

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