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August 2006, Week 4 Marketing Archives

Friday, August 25, 2006

Google Wifi Exclusive ScreenShots

Recieved some Google Wifi Screenshots for those that are interested. Also here are some interesting notes regarding Google Wifi.
1) GMail account is not required to create a new account, however, once registered there is a bizarre optional sign up path (Put in your mobile number and they text message you with an invitation code)
2) Splash Page URL:
3) Pretty useless map to find Access Points (It must be old or something)
4) Local content is supplied by AOL
5) Free “secure access” download
6) Links to high power CPE vendors for indoor use
7) The attached photo shows the Tropos Access Point annoyingly placed right over the Microsoft sign to the SVC campus

Couple things I find interesting:
1.) When I was in San Jose a few weeks back at SES the city of San Jose was having a week long festival called 01. It was all about celebrating art and technology in San Jose and they had free wifi during the festival but the free wifi is now a permanent part of San Jose. But, Google had nothing to do with the festival. They didn't sponsor it at all (in any visible way at least).

2.) One of the projects involved blogging pigeons. Pigeons that had transponders and were collecting pollution & temperature data during the festival and sending the data to a live blog. Now since Google owns Blogger and there's a standing joke about Pigeon Rank, why in the heck didn't Google have anything to do with that project? Seems like a no-brainer to me but who knows?!

Google Wifi Exclusive ScreenShots By Jason Dowdell at 10:32 PM
Comments (4)

Fantasy Football For Dummies Part 1

You maybe wondering why I am writing about Fantasy Football on a marketing blog. Some of you may know but for those that don't the fine folks here at Labitat / Mshift have started a Fantasy Football Challenge for the Search Industry. This first annual challenge is for marketers and search engine employees. The prize? Blog bragging rights. Being that this is only the first year we are just hoping to get the ball rolling.

Fantasy football maybe one of the all time best marketing tools, for the NFL. People think it is just a game for wanna-be football owners, coaches and players but the NFL has so perfectly embraced fantasy football that even guys who are not hard core NFL fans are interested. I love football but College Football is where my heat lies, but the NFL knows that to keep guys like myself truly interested every week that they need to embrace fantasy football and they've done that.

I'm going to due my part here to help expand the NFLs already huge fan base by helping teach and debunk fantasy football.

Look for upcoming posts on the following topics:

1.) What is Fantasy Football? (this article)
2.) How do I get started with Fantasy Football?
3.) How do I choose players for my Fantasy Football roster?
4.) The best strategies to win your fantasy league.
5.) How the Waiver-wire can help you win your league?
6.) General fantasy player advice and Various other topics as they come up.

What Is Fantasy Football?

As I stated above Fantasy Football is a highly effective marketing tool for the NFL, but it is also great fun. It helps keep the casual NFL fan like myself, interested every Sunday. If you don't believe me turn on ESPN and look how it has taken over just about everything. ESPN is even doing mock fantasy drafts (although i think they are not good at it), special radio and TV shows for it, and are using it to promote their extreme flop, ESPN Mobile.

Fantasy football is a game where you the user acts as the General Manager of an NFL football team. You choose your team by drafting players who you think will have successful years and you compete against other GMs in your league with a points based scoring system.

Success in the fantasy world is far different then a player may define a successful year for his own stats because fantasy games are calculated using a statistical based points system that varies almost universally across all leagues.

This points based system takes into account a players weekly stats such as; Receiving yard, rushing yards, passing yards, Rec. Touchdowns, Rushing Touchdowns, Passing Touchdowns among other things. Each stat is given a point value. For example most of my leagues, Rushing/Passing/Rec touchdowns are all worth 6 fantasy points each while rushing/passing/receiving yards all have different point values. For example many leagues will award 1 point for every 20 passing yards, 1 point for every 10 rushing yards, and 1 fantasy point for every 15 receiving yards. This is done in hopes to keep everything in balance because obviously its easier for a Quarterback (QB) to pass for 300 yards then it is for a Running Back (RB) to rush for 300 yards.

Every league has a unique point value and this must be taken into consideration before you pick your players.

After you evaluate your league's scoring system, the next step is to draft. Here you have several options. Leagues will either have an 'Auto-Draft' or a 'Live-Draft'. 'Auto-Draft' fantasy leagues are where the system will randomly simulate a draft and automatically pick your players for you. This is quick and easy but sometimes lacks the passion b/c you didn't really pick your own team, the computer did. In my opinion, it lacks the fantasy pride that really helps you talk trash to the suckers in your league. The 'Live-Draft' is a system set up by whichever website you are using for your league that will give you a huge list of players, a chat room, and a draft system to help you determine which players to draft for your team. I believe this Live draft setup is the most fun, but can be intimidating for people who do not completely understand it. Thankfully, almost all systems will have a feature where it will pre-rank players for you so you don't have to always know whose the best. Nowadays most drafts also have a feature for you to set it to auto-draft and watch what it does for you (It will usually just pick the highest ranked player).

I hope this helps take a little of the intimidation away from Fantasy Football and now you can join that office pool and not feel like you are just donating your money (if there happens to be gambling involved.) :). Look for more in depth articles to come soon.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them below and I'll answer what I can.

Fantasy Football For Dummies Part 1 By Matt O'Hern at 05:03 PM
Comments (10)

Geotargeting Missing in Action

Mobile ad solutions are ramping up, and one of the mechanisms that will drive mobile ads is the ability to target the users by geography, especially when GPS phones become widespread.

I agree that this service has legs, but somewhat limited because people will only be able to stomach so much advertising on the tiny screens of their cell phones.

What I don't get is why more hasn't been done with geotargeting online. Yahoo is upgrading the geotargeting capabilities of its Search Marketing product, but what is being done today is a fraction of what is possible.    

Signing into a website usually requires giving your email address and address, and only a minority of sites are using that to target the ads. But with IP tracking, there's no reason why websites can't automatically pass that information on to its ad servers so that only ads relevant to your jurisdiction are shown.

For example, while reading the SFGate website from my house in Portland, wouldn't automatically generating ads with fares between our sites from Southwest be a more relevant ad than a Netflix promotion? This example shows how regional publisher could boost their conversions by sorting the locals from the out of towners. I also hate going to a company's website and having to choose my country and language of choice. So irritating!

Geographically targeting ads (and I would gladly entire my zipcode to be cookied for future reference) is one of the easiest ways to upgrade conversion rates, yet it is done very rarely. That should change soon.

Geotargeting Missing in Action By John Gartner at 02:50 PM
Comments (0)

Advertisers Rushing to Blogs

Work at home and make $5,000 -10,000 per month!

That's been a gimmick for people to become home-based telemarketers, but now it means writing your own blog.

Business 2.0 has a detailed article
I find it hard to believe that Fark makes more than a half-million dollars per month in revenue (that's a tad more than MarketingShift hauls), but the point about the value to advertisers is real. Blogs are better buys than general news sites because they are usually more focused, updated frequently (no waiting for print deadlines), and the audience is wealthier and younger than the general web.

Given that demographic, shouldn't blogs be ripe for testing the latest interactive ads and doing something different than banner ads for branding and AdSense ads that hope to align with the content?

Let blog readers opt into some targeted marketing where they share some of their preferences in return for ads and special promotions that will suit their lifestyles. Or do something unique with RSS ads, or use video ads to brighten up the otherwise static blog pages. While today all that blog traffic means big money, it may not last forever. Dare to be different.

Advertisers Rushing to Blogs By John Gartner at 01:08 PM
Comments (1)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Video Sites On the Brink

The next year will be critical for online video as two riddles will be resolved -- which companies will survive the shakeout, and what will be the business model. While videos will become standard fare on many websites, a bust is also likely.

lists the top 5 most likely video sites to be acquired.

Viacom needs a video search engine more than any of the other publishers mentioned. MTV with its music videos (hello!), youthful audience who love Jackass and Punk'd style of humor, is the perfect demographic, and they should buy one of these guys asap.

YouTube has the biggest audience while Blinkx, with its content deals and advertising in place, is the most likely to turn a profit quickly. While most video searches will be ad-supported, someone will figure out a way to charge a monthly fee for unlimited video searches.

I'm not so sure of the long term prospects of the other video search engines, as eventually people will want to standardize, and the market can't support so many options. Revenue from video search will be substantial, but the publishers on the market had better get themselves bought soon, because while there is money to be made, it's not enough to merit all the hype.

Video Sites On the Brink By John Gartner at 02:43 PM
Comments (3)

Ads Should Apply Swicki Logic

Eurkester is having success in spreading its Swicki community search engine adopted by publishers. Forbes is the latest to integrate Swicki search, which adjusts the web rankings based on the preferences of a particular population.

The days of the generic "search the web" boxes on targeted websites can't come soon enough. The logic behind the Swicki is sound, leveraging the common interests of people within a website, and should also be applied to advertising.

Understanding the meaning of the search by analyzing the top search results will yield much better results. For example, looking at the most relevant search results from a Swicki on a sports site for "cardinals" will yield a very different set than if the same search were made from a site about birds (or religion).

The advertising networks match their results to the context of the top search results, so travel sites will produce ads for island vacations when someone searches on Java, while tech sites will have ads related to programming. Contextual advertising uses the entire document to deduce intent with modest efficiency now, but AdWords et al should apply the same logic.

Ads Should Apply Swicki Logic By John Gartner at 02:07 PM
Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Downfall of Digg is Forthcoming and Here is Why

It's only a matter of time. Another site will rise up from nowhere and Digg will slowly fade into oblivion. It is hard to imagine right now with the size and coverage of but it is coming.

Everyone has heard the stories about Digg being run by a select few users and the corruption that coincides with it. Anti-Digg stories being removed, accounts being deleted and large scale cover-ups all around that would make Whitewater proud.

I'll preface this by saying I like Digg. It is useful and usually full of interesting stories, but what I have experienced is the true reason why someone else will come and take over the Digg empire.

Digg's fundamental principle is social-generated content, the new media where the users are the reporters and that only stories that the users aka "Digg-nation" finds interesting. But this principle is in jeopardy as the blogosphere has buzzed many times about "Digg-Gangs" and how certain users who digg something carry more weight then other digg users which allows stories to get to more prominent positions such as the home page and category home pages.

Now I can understand why this is in place. To help prevent spammers and such from getting their stories in a prominent position but the negative effect of this is you are isolating new users who are submitting quality content.

Let me give you an example. I listen to sports radio about 20hrs a day and have a multitude of RSS feeds that are sports only, so I am pretty on top of the news in the sports world. I highly doubt there are many more people that are on top of sports news more then myself and being that the Digg/sports section is pretty poor, I thought I would help contribute by submitting new and breaking stories in hopes that the sports section of Digg would pick up and it would be a bit more interesting.

2 days ago I submitted a story to Digg regarding the Arizona Cardinals name of their new football stadium, and it ended up with 17 diggs. Well, yesterday while going through my RSS feed, I saw that the same story had made the digg/sports home page. One of them with 11 Diggs which is less then my submission and another with 470 Diggs and counting. Both stories were submitted well after mine, and the one currently on the sports home a whole day after.

After contacting a few of the prominent "Diggers" in the sports section (who asked to remain nameless), I asked them all the same question on how their stories always get "dugg" and I was taken aback by the answers. These "diggers" all have some sort of advanced notification system, from email list servs, message board, and even IM bots to notify their digging network.

This has become a major problem with Digg where a select few groups are controlling the contents of various sections. There is no motivation for the millions of other users who aren't a part of a digg-army and just want to submit good content in order to make a section better but can't make any contributions because people aren't using the digg system like it was designed.

If Digg plans to expand into other areas such as they have sports, entertainment, and others the system needs to be revisited and tweaked or else the other sections will face the same mediocrity that plagues the newer categories.

I'm sure this story will get buried or deleted from Digg like the others, but Digg it here

The Downfall of Digg is Forthcoming and Here is Why By Matt O'Hern at 11:19 AM
Comments (43)

McHummer Illustrates McStupidity

I may have underestimated the magnitude of the McStupidity of the decision by McDonald's and GM"s Hummer to give away tiny versions of the mammoth SUVs in Happy Meals.

The Environment Working Group is taking them to task with, a parody site that lets you create your own McDonald's sign to poke fun at the toy giveaway (the image here is my contribution). Hello viral anti-advertising.

The site has been written up by the New York Times and on Digg, and unless Merck starts marketing Vioxx as a euthanasia drug, this is the hands-down winner of the MarketingShift Marketing Disaster of the Year Award. (Chevy's make your own Tahoe commercial is a distant second).

Hummer hired a faux magician for TV commercials showing how the new H3 is a down-sized (as a opposed to super-sized) version of the vehicle that is easier to park, but the TV advertisement won't offset the damage done by the McDonald's Deal.

With high gas prices, and the success of Super Size Me, the timing couldn't have been worse for these two companies to get together.

McHummer Illustrates McStupidity By John Gartner at 10:36 AM
Comments (3)

Microsoft Gets Ad Playground

Microsoft is much better at following trails then blazing them, so rather than go for broke they signed a deal with Facebook to deliver its ads. For Microsoft, they settle for the less-than-attractive friend instead of scoring the hottie MySpace, which is betrothed to Google.

Microsoft will deliver both graphic and text ads.

Facebook is a place where Microsoft should make its play to differentiate its ad service by stressing interactivity and doing something -- anything -- that would differentiate its ads from Google. Microsoft has built it's success largely by making improvements to existing categories of products, and they need to offer a clear alternative to the ad networks and search engines if they are ever want to be more than a second choice.

Microsoft Gets Ad Playground By John Gartner at 10:32 AM
Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Domain Registry Support Spammers

I've received several pieces of junk snail mail from a company that goes by the name of "Domain Registry Support" their url is and they run a simple spam scam that you should be aware of.

Scam 1
They'll send you a letter in the mail (snailmail) letting you know that you need to register your domain name with them and you must renew it soon or else you are going to lose it and then you'll have to pay a bunch of money to get it back... from them of course.

Scam 2
If you don't ever respond to the first snail mail domain registry spam they send then they'll call all of the numbers associated with the domain name until they reach you. Then the operator will tell you that she has to verify your mailing address in order to make sure you're made aware of some very important changes happening on the internet that will affect your domain name.

Tip: Don't give them anything and don't verify your mailing address. This is just another boiler room spam house preying on the weak.

Domain Registry Support Spammers By Jason Dowdell at 03:11 PM
Comments (4)


It's that time of year, football time. And as every new football season rolls in so does fantasy football and the friendly trash talking that comes with it.

This year we at Labitat had a little idea to challenge the rest of the Search Engine industry in a little friendly Search Engine Fantasy Football Challenge.

That's right, we are calling you out to come get a piece of the action. So if your name happens to be Cutts, Zawodney, Arrington, Battelle, Scoble, Schwartz, French, Sterling, Godin etc etc. You get the point, if you are in the search industry let us know that you want a piece of the action by emailing us at Labitat[at]


It only makes sense that we use web 2.0 site as our platform, which also allows people who are not in the league to watch what is going on in the league (ie the beatings people take)!

We don't want to hear any excuses like your wife won't let you, its too expensive (its FREE), I don't know anything about football or you don't have time (it should only take a few minutes a week) so buck up and take the challenge. If you are scared, get a dog, just don't bring the excuses!

*Update - We have our first Search Engine player, Thomas Shaffer of MSN
**Update - Garrett French of SEL has joined
***Update - Barry Schwartz a.k.a. RustyBrick has joined
****Update - Jason Dowdell has joined

Comments (14)

Marketing Made McStupid

In a match made in -- well, some place other than heaven -- McDonald's has teamed up with Hummer to give away toy versions of the SUVs along with happy meals.

Great idea, the company that contributes so much to the expanding waistline teaches kids that wasting gasoline in a gihugic truck is fun! Now the 300 lbs McAddicts can aspire to spreading their wide load of a behind into the large footprint of a truck.

The demographic is wrong to -- Hummers are not exactly cheap, and the average McCustomer isn't likely to be parking in a C-level spot. (If anyone has a picture of a Hummer in a McParking lot, send it to us!)

Now if McDonald's gave a hoot about cleaning up its Super Sized negative image, they should roll out a national plan to convert the leftover McFry oil into biodiesel that would help to clean the air.

Marketing Made McStupid By John Gartner at 12:54 PM
Comments (3)

Making AdSense Work

Dave Taylor at Blog Business Consulting explains why the bloggers who forego AdSense might only be harming themselves. Of course ad placement is important, and Taylor provides good insight on how longer focused postings will result in more targeted ads and higher CPMs.

He also discusses the emerging trend of blog networks, where media companies publicize your blog , manage the ads and take a sizeable chunk (like 40 percent) of the revenue in return. While that is a big number, pride -- in the form of wanting to take all of the benefits from your words rather than a share of a bigger pie -- can be lethal to a business. Perhaps we'll see that percentage come down as more media companies start realizing the value of blogging and get into the fray.

Blogging is still shaking the bad rap as being not as valued as "real journalism," but from a publisher's standpoint, traffic is traffic, and the writer deserves compensation as such. A blog site that takes 20 hours to maintain should be able to convert just as well as news site if the AdSense implementation is done right. While writing purists may scoff at contouring content to create better ads, it can -- emphasis on can -- even help the editorial process by keeping the writer on topic.

Making AdSense Work By Jason Dowdell at 12:12 PM
Comments (1)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Working Smarter Fuels Small Biz

While we've all heard the axiom about how most small businesses fail within 2 years, that rule need not apply online. Sure, if you want to spend $10 million to compete with Amazon, your prospects aren't great, but mastering the tools of marketing online enables you to be your own master and say "buh-bye" to working for the man.

According to Reuters, eBay and the increase in online commerce are prompting growth in small businesses. That means more competition for your specialty affiliate site, blog or store, and heightens the urgency of understanding how to milk the most of out technologies like contextual advertising, web analytics, SEO, and RSS.

While having a good product is important, natural search, working the blogosphere and maximizing conversions will ultimately spell success or failure. Unlike days gone by when you could win by paying for store shelf space or an ad in the NYTimes, you can't really buy this knowledge. It takes time and effort to optimize your site and track the evolving technologies by reading every day and attending conferences. Calling up one vendor or consultant and saying "give me the best you got" isn't sufficient because of the ever-changing nature of marketing and advertising technologies.

In today's online reality, being smart trumps deeper pockets. If only our political system worked this way.

Working Smarter Fuels Small Biz By Jason Dowdell at 12:28 PM
Comments (1)

Tower Collapse a Warning

Tower Records has been under bankruptcy protection for two years, and the company is now looking for a buyer to prevent liquidation.

That one of the key franchises in retail music went kablooey shows how quickly industries can move online, and is a warning to others who do not keep up with changes in technologies that effect consumer demand.

While music piracy undoubtedly contributed to Tower's demise, the shift to buying tracks or full CDs online was the primary impetus. Perhaps there was no miracle strategy that could have kept Tower strong since they were at the mercy of the record companies in trying to develop an online distribution strategy. Once the delivery infrastructure was in place that enabled people to sample and buy online, it would only be a matter of time before retailers got whacked.

Companies such as Blockbuster have been aggressive in their online strategies, but once IP broadband and video on demand services become commonplace, the DVD rental stores are in for a similar rough ride. As much as old media may want the status quo to continue, new enabling technologies that satisfy consumers can topple the established methods.

The same can be said for advertising agencies who continue to focus solely on print or broadcast or in the "old" CPM models. Personalization and contextual advertising are just the beginning of the road towards 1 to 1 advertising. Those who expect things to stay the same may meet a similar fate to Tower Records.

Tower Collapse a Warning By John Gartner at 12:22 PM
Comments (5)

« August 2006 Week 3 August 2006 Week 5 »

  • Week 1 (10 entries) August 1-5
  • Week 2 (14 entries) August 6-12
  • Week 3 (13 entries) August 13-19
  • Week 4 (15 entries) August 20-26
  • Week 5 (11 entries) August 27-31

The Downfall of Digg is Forthcoming and Here is Why
I recently found this gem of an article. Sadly, d...
by Eliot
Tower Collapse a Warning
tower deserved what it got, allowing the owners in...
by wizard of odds
Fantasy Football For Dummies Part 1
I want to find a ff for women!!! we love football ...
by Bee
The Downfall of Digg is Forthcoming and Here is Why
I have read all throw this topic and I agree with ...
by TheMarketingEffect
The Downfall of Digg is Forthcoming and Here is Why
Many thanks for all your comments. Very valuable....
by Free Full Videos

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