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January 2009 Marketing Archives

Friday, January 09, 2009

Delta Needs a Lesson on Online Reputation Management

You won't love the way they fly.

That's the point of an angry customer's rant about Delta.

A video by Phil Defranco, AKA, sxephil and phillyd, was one of the most popular on Youtube this week.  Defranco is a blogger and self-proclaimed former fan of Delta. He shared his nightmare story about the airline,and 313,000 people have viewed the video since Monday.

delta mottoAmong Phil's top complaints::

  1. The flight was delayed four hours, because they had the WRONG plane, with too much fuel.
  2. Delta ran out of food after they served just 10 people.
  3. When his luggage arrived at baggage claim it was soaked, and the water ruined his MacBook.
  4. Customer service's reply to his luggage complaint was: "Well sir, how do we know you didn't have a water bottle in your suitcase?"

My favorite quote::

 

I apparently paid them a $15 fee  to destroy my luggage.

 

Phil ends his rant by asking viewers to share their worst airplane story.

 If you search" Delta on Youtube, you'll find sxephil's video is in the top ten, followed by a video titled: Delta Flight 6499, SEVEN HOURS on the tarmac.After 313,000 people watch bad press about your company in a matter of days, you have a lot of PR work ahead.

British Airways' took a PR hit when a few disgrunitled employees vented their frustrations on Facebook.  Delta has learned the hard way that web-savvy customers have the power to become a corporations worst nightmare.

Delta Needs a Lesson on Online Reputation Management By Matt O'Hern at 02:05 PM
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No UF vs. Utah or USC Because the NCAA Loves Controversy

usc vs. uf

Within an hour of ESPN's release of the final AP top 25 poll, 2,000 fans had already commented on the story.utah football fans

 Debate and controversy sparks widespread interest.That's why the NCAA will never ditch the BCS and implement a playoff system. It's the one attribute NCAA Division 1-A football can boast.(Apparently, Utah fans don't give any credit to either the BCS or AP, just go to utefans.net.)

Here's the discussion's you'll hear at work and on sports radio today:

1. Wow- those Gators looked great in the second half, do you think Tim Tebow will stay?

2. Utah went 13-0 and defeated the SEC's co-champion, why don't they get any love from the voters?

3. USC destroyed Penn State in the Rose Bowl and they only had one loss all year, they should get a shot at Florida.

4. Texas scored 45 when they beat Oklahoma, and they won the Fiesta Bowl, they deserve a shot at the Gators.

5. This whole BCS system sucks! When is college football going to start a playoff?

When the Super Bowl ends, there's the NFL draft, and that's it. The same is true after the NBA finals end. In Major League Baseball, fans are glued to the world series, then hibernate till Spring Training. In college basketball, fans go nuts over the opening round and final four of the national tournament, but once the championship game is over, there's really nothing left to discuss.

As long as corporate sponsers are pumping money into the bowl games and fans are debating hypothetical matchups for days,weeks,months and sometimes even YEARS after a championship game, the NCAA football is winning.

No UF vs. Utah or USC Because the NCAA Loves Controversy By Matt O'Hern at 11:31 AM
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Smaller Markets on OMVC Mobile DTV Launch Station List

mobile dtv

Millions of Americans won't have access to the mobile digital TV simulcast, at least, not in the first rollout by the Open Mobile Video Coalition, but a few small markets, such as Mobile,AL, are among the first cities to receive Portable Digital Broadcasts.

Consider it digital TV to-go. People in the participating markets will be able to watch digital simulcasts from major networks on their mobile phones and TVs in their cars.

Each market and their respective affiliates were unveiled today by OMVC, a group of broadcasters that includes 63 stations spread throughout 22 markets. NBC leads the pack with 14 participating affiliates. ABC, CBS, Ion and PBS will each use nine affiliates and Fox will use five.

Half of the cities included are no surprise, because they're among the top 10 in the U.S, however there were comparatively-small markets that will be included in the first rollout of Mobilel DTV Broadcasting.

Middle-sized metros with participating stations include:

  • Orlando- ABC, NBC
  • Tampa- Ion,NBC, PBS
  • Charlotte- ABC,CBS,NBC
  • Columbus- ABC,CBS, CW,FOX,NBC
  • Milwaukee- CW, MyNet
  • Greenville- ABC, CBS, MyNet
  • Norfolk- NBC, MyNet, PBS
  • Providence- CBS, NBC
  • Mobile- ABC,CW, MyNet
  • Roanoke- CBS,NBC, PBS
  • Toledo- CBS,FOX

The usual suspects include:

  • Atlanta- ABC, CBS, Ion, PBS
  • Baltimore- ABC, FOX, CW
  • Boston- Ion, NBC, PBS
  • Chicago- Fox, Ion, PBS
  • Denver- Ion, PBS
  • Detroit- ABC,NBC, PBS
  • New York- Ion, NBC, PBS
  • Philadelphia-Ion, NBC, PBS
  • San Francisco- Fox, Ion
  • Seattle-ABC, CBS, NBC
  • Washington D.C-.Ion, NBC, PBS

Of all the markets, Columbus, home of Ohio State University, has the most affliates participating. By comparison, New York, the largest city in the U.S., has three. Considering the population desparity between the two cities, OMVC must be pinning its hopes on the college-age demographic.

The closest comparison to this is probably  the Sprint / NFL phonecast, which offered simulcast of eight  Thursday night football games on compatible phones.

Smaller Markets on OMVC Mobile DTV Launch Station List By Matt O'Hern at 04:42 PM
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Taco Bell & Popeyes Want Your Pocket Change

double-beef-burrito

"Got any spare change?"

Fast Food companies know you're desperate to save every dollar in this tough economy. That's why they're counting on your loose change- literally and figuratively.

McDonalds dollar-menu success must have inspired its competitors to follow suit. Last night, I was watching the Duke vs. Davidson game on ESPN, when I saw the new cheesy double beef burrito commercial from Taco Bell. In the ad, a nerdy-looking customer retracts his change from theStarbucks tip jar to spend it on Taco Bell's 89-cent burrito instead.

I also watch a Popeyes ad with another humorous portrayal of our dire straits. The scene shows a man digging around for quarters in a washing machine at the laundromat. He emerges with gloating smile and handful of six quarters- just enough to buy the new Bayou Buffalo Chicken Wrap. On Popeye's website, the Wrap is the featured item, and here's an excerpt from the description:

Check the change machines at your local car wash, laundry mat, dirty clothes hamper, wherever. Because starting today, six quarters is all you need for zesty Louisiana flavor at Popeyes.
 

While the major chains are crafting new themes for their campaigns, locally-owned restaurants are struggling just to survive. Eating at home opposed to dining out helps our personal checking account, but it's killing the restaurants on your town'sl main street.

According to the NFIB, restaurants and retailers account for 30% of American small business, and the NFIB's most recent survey showed small businesses suffered the worst sales declines in the 35-year history of the survey.

Restaurants have always been a risky business venture, and the fore-mentioned reports make me wonder if investors will shift their focus to establishments that specialize in snacks and desserts

Personally, I've been preparing more meals at home. The way I look at it, I would rather spend just a few bucks on dessert, rather than a full-course meal for $20. Many of my friends have also cut-back on dining out. I wonder how many of you have made similar adjustments to your budget?

Taco Bell & Popeyes Want Your Pocket Change By Matt O'Hern at 01:03 PM
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45% of Small Businesses Expect Obama to Improve Economy

Not that we needed more bad news about the economy, but more than half of Americans are doubting if President-Elect Barack Obama can make a positive impact on the economy.
 
The results are from a survey  conducted by Vertical Response, which hosts online surveys and provides email campaigns with tracking and analytics.

(Special Thanks to Dana M. Ticker of Atomic PR for providing the data)

The survey was conducted from Dec.3-15 and polled 302 random business clients.Democrats represented the majority of respondents, (53%), followed by Republicans (32%), Independents (4.3%) and Green Party (1.7%). 8.2% were listed as "Other".

Despite the Democrat majority in the survey, only 45.1% of its respondents believe Obama's administration will have a positive impact on small business.
Other interesting stats derived from the survey include:

  • 83% of the respondents surveyed make less than $250,000.
  • 80% of respondents see economy as primary concern.
  • 72.5% have not had to lay off workers.
  • 66% have already felt the negative impact of recession.
  • 55.3% are sole proprietorship LLCs.
  • 31.6% are corporations.
  • 14.4% are still hiring.
  • 6% are non-profits.
  • Remainder are described as"other."
  • 42.7% lived in urban  areas.
  • 41.3% lived in suburban areas.
  • 15.9% were located in rural America.
  • Respondants were split nearly evenly throughout the regions of the country.

Judging from the results, I think it's safe to say that average Americans view this recession as a crisis that's too large for any single man or administration to handle, because it has spread to every segment of society.

William Dunkelberg, the chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), told Reuters:

Everybody is trying to hang on now.More and more of these firms are in survival mode. They kept thinking consumers will make it, but then December rolls around and sales are still not going anywhere -- in fact they're going down -- and finally (small businesses) run out of money.

 

45% of Small Businesses Expect Obama to Improve Economy By Matt O'Hern at 08:46 AM
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What Do Google and Corn Syrup Have in Common?

google founders

You may think I've lost my marbles, but I found a few similarities between pricing corn and ranking websites.

I reached this conclusion after I watched King Corn on Netflix. The 90-minute documentary follows two best friends, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, who move to Iowa, grow their own crop of corn and follow its path into the food system.

With an acre's worth of fertilized field, Cheney and Ellis learn the tips and tricks from friendly locals, watch the crop grow, and lose about $20 bucks when all the overhead cost are factored in on payday. Ultimately, they learn why independent farmers rely on billions in government subsidies every year- corn's value is determined by different factors and market demands than it was when many farmers started growing the product a few decades ago.

The same logic can be applied to most websites today, because developers (growers) must be in touch with the demands of the market. Obviously, that principle applies to any business in a free economy, but when you look at the specific factors in the marketing shift in corn and websites,  you'll be surprised by the parallels.

Corn:

  • Was touted for its incredible value to agriculture.
  • Supply increased for the anticipated spike in demand.
  • Quantity became more important than quality.(92 million acres planted and 13.1 bushels were harvested in 07.)
  • cattle farmers and food companies found a new value. (Cheaper feed and cheaper sweetener.)
  • Corn-fed beef became the standard in American restaurants and stores. (More than half of all the U.S. corn harvest went to animal feed)
  • High fructose corn syrup became the most popular form of food and drink. sweetener.(the U.S.D.A estimated that Americans consume 79 pounds of corn sweetener per year.


Result: Corn's role in agriculture was drastically changed. Flavor and quantity outweighed nutritional value.


Websites:

  • Were touted for their incredible value to business.
  • Supply increased for the anticipated spike in demand.
  • Quantity became more important than quality.
  • Search engines like Yahoo and Google found a new value.
  • Google search result rankings became the new standard.


Result: Page rankings and traffic became top priorities for developers.

What Do Google and Corn Syrup Have in Common? By Matt O'Hern at 11:54 AM
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iPhone App Idea: Voice Reminder Alarms

voice alert app

If you're not a morning person, the prospect of setting your alarm for an earlier time than routine is dreadful, because your body is accustomed to its routine.

I don't know how your memory works in the wee hours of the morning, but I'm certainly not on my A game, or even my B game, and the thought of getting out of bed is daunting enough. That's why my memory is TERRIBLE in the early morning, and if I'm waking early for a reason, it would be nice to have a customized voice alarm as an instant reminder.

For example, instead of hearing chimebells, I could wake up to the sound of

 

Don't forget!!!! You need to post an early blog today!!!

 

Such a reminder would ensure that I didn't hit the snooze button and prompt me to action. It's more powerful than a written note or text reminder, because it's the first impression on my mind and there's no avoiding it.

If you know of such an App, feel free to let me know, and I'll write a review about it.

iPhone App Idea: Voice Reminder Alarms By Matt O'Hern at 09:39 AM
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Google Authorizes One True Media as AdWords Video Reseller

google one true media

One True Media just launched a video advertising partnership with Google Ad Words.

The deal utilizes One True Media's video platform:SpotMixer, which helps small and medium-sized businesses build video campaigns with" easy-to-use, yet sophisticated" templates and tools for  video ad creation, distribution and analytics.

After SpotMixer simplified the video production process in 2005,  the next priority was distribution. During my interview with One True Media co-founder and CEO John Love , he explained how financial support from  DAG Ventures, NTT Finance,Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer and Young Chung provided the V.C. and customer feedback provided the  incentive to pursue and finalize the deal.

What we heard from early customers was  'there's another barrier' that's on the distribution side of things. That's what this announcement is about - making distribution as simple as the creation. It's a complete one- stop shop for creators.You can take an ad and distribute in a low-cost and easy fashion on the latest advertising network, (Google). 

SpotMixer offers marketers the ability to cost-effectively create, target and manage online video ad campaigns in a self-serve environment. With SpotMixer, businesses can eliminate the costly middle man by creating and producing their own ads, overseeing the campaigns, and directly managing distribution of those ads, both online and on television.

One True Media developed Spot Mixer last May. Since its creation, the  video platform has lured over 3 million users,and an average of 10,000 videos created every day. Love and Kathleen Farley, the VP of product marketing, noticed many of the videos were being created by businesses with "how-tos", customer testimonials and  product reviews. One True Media's video partnership with Google didn't occur overnight.Implementation of their API, creation and distribution, required several months of work.

The finished product is a template with "sophisticated,yet simple to use" interface. Spot Mixer provides users with a library of music and other content to use to supplement their own.Templates can be altered by the user at any time.Typical ads run  15-30 seconds and the templates are designed according to brand identity or the relevant industry.
Kathleen Farley said.
 

We have our own that's one of the reasons we love our partnership with Google , we're taking the complexity out of the process and giving small business access to what was only previously available to big brands. I had a customer tell me he  was able to produce his campaign within 30 minutes,and I would be surprised if it takes more than an hour.
 

How much is it going to cost you?

Once you have paid a flat $49 month fee for a spot network, you can make any changes covered in your flat fee, and to join the Google content network
You pay CPM, with minimum daily bid of 10 dollars. You can change your campaign at any time, and the Google network cost depends on keywords and who you're targeting.

In the volatile current economic climate, simplified ad distribution can reduce overhead costs that virtually every company faces, and Love believes that's one of the most appealing aspects of SpotMixer's deal with Google.



They can do what they hired other people to do at a fraction of the cost, which is very important to these business that want to have control.


 

Kathleen Farley also sees the potential for SpotMixer to level the playing field between small and large businesses.

 

We're taking the complexity out of the process and giving small business access to what was only previously available to big brands. That's one of the reasons we love our partnership with Google.

 

 

Google Authorizes One True Media as AdWords Video Reseller By Matt O'Hern at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What is G? Commercial Drives BCS Viewers to Google

what is g?As I watched Ohio State and Texas battle in the Fiesta Bowl last night, a mysterious 60-second commercial  grabbed my attention.

It was narrated by Lil Wayne, and sports icons scrolled across the screen, including Dwayne Wade, Derek Jeter, Bill Russell and Muhammed Ali. They're followed by three men in white masks and the commercial ends with a capital G.
So what's G?
According to Lil Wayne, it's more than just a new line of a low-carb sports drinks,G is:

  • The emblem of a warrior
  • The swagger of an athlete
  • A champion AND a dynasty
  • Gifted
  • Golden
  • Genuine
  • Glorious-
  • A lower case god
  • The greatest of all time.
  • The heart hustle and soul of the game

Luckily for Gatorade, the game was so boring that I decided to search "what is G? commercial" to learn more about the ad. (Which is exactly what they wanted me to do)robert cade

My query uncovered a plethora of bloggers talking about Gatorade's new ad.

For years, I enjoyed Gatorade's commercials as much as the games they interrupted. My eyes always focused on the screen when I heard that opening beat to  "Be Like Mike"  or the unmistakable voice of Keith Jackson telling his rendition about "The Legend of Gatorade", a 60-second ad that detailed the history of the drink's creation at the University of Florida. Who could forget the  quote from co-creator Dr. Robert Cade.
 

 Naturally we called the stuff Gatorade
 

Gatorade's executives have changed course from Jordan highlights and history lessons. Star power is still important, but the inclusion of a rap star proves that Pepsi co, Gatorade's parent company, is attemping to make Gatorade a drink that appeals to all of pop-culture, as opposed to young athletes.

UPDATE: Gatorade sent us a media kit and you can read our post about it here.

What is G? Commercial Drives BCS Viewers to Google By Matt O'Hern at 04:50 PM
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Macbook Wheel Video Creates Buzz

I've always been amused by the buzz following any story regarding Steve Jobs or any product from Apple.

Harsh critics and die-hard fans of Apple never fail to provide humorous amounts of sensational comments. That's why I love this video from the Onion, on the new Macbook. "Wheel."


The keyboard is replaced by a giant version of the touch-sensitive wheel featured on iPods, and Mac enthusiasts rave about the "simplicity" of Apple's latest product. During a mock interview, Brian Gilman, a fictional "Senior Product Innovator" for Apple said:

 

At Apple our philosophy is create products that are simple to use, and nothing is more simple than a single giant button..Everything is just a few-hundred clicks away. We like to think we're giving customers features that they don't even realize they want yet.

 

My favorite "feature" on the Macbook Wheel was the "Predictive Sentence Technology" which completes the sentence for you. As an iPhone user, I've learned just how often  auto-complete feature is more of an inconvenience than a perk. (Yet I can't convince myself to deactivate it.)

Macbook Wheel Video Creates Buzz By Matt O'Hern at 12:48 PM
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iPhone Friend Finder Apps: Loopt vs. Over Here

We've all become accustomed to answering the same old question every time we answer our cell phone-
 

Where are you?

 

over here friend finderThanks to new applications such as Loopt and Over Here, your friends don't need to ask anymore. Once you join either network, you can see if your buds are  just around the corner, or in a different continent.

Loopt and Over Here both monitor your friend's movements, but Loopt provides detailed data, including status updates for each of your friends.

Some users may consider the tracking technology as an invasion of privacy. The very concept sounds like a self-imposed probation tracker or something you would read about in a George Orwell novel, but these apps are designed for practical daily use, and they require friend approval.

Anyway, I downloaded both Apps, and Loopt has a serious advantages in three key areas:networking, accuracy and structure. Over Here, by Ed Lea , has several bugs and is only available on iPhone, while Loopt is available on AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Metro PCS, T-Mobile and Boost.

Loopt can sync your location and status with Twitter and Facebook. Over Here notifies your friends via email, which is convenient, but it's not as handy as the multiple outlets offered by Loopt.

Loopt wins in the accuracy category as well. On my first attempt to view my current location,  Over Here showed that I was in the middle of the Indian River. I live on an island, so I can understand the confusion, but I expected better accuracy. (If only I was lucky enough to blog from a personal yacht.)

My only gripe with Loopt was its tendency to crash when I attempted to enter my password. In this head-to-head comparison, Loopt wins by a significant margin. Apparently, I'm not the only iPhone user who thinks that Over Here needs a  lot of work, just read these reviews at getsatisfaction.com,

 

iPhone Friend Finder Apps: Loopt vs. Over Here By Matt O'Hern at 09:08 AM
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Monday, January 05, 2009

Visual Tricks in ShamWow and other ads

shamwow vince

By now, you've probably seen that Sham Wow ad starring Vince Offer- a slick-talking spike-haired wiseguy in his 20's who raves about an overpriced rag.

I was joking around with my friends about Vince's condescending tone, New York accent. His pompous demeanor ,headset and rushed delivery imply that he has better things to do than waste his time talking to you- the ignorant consumer.

My favorite Shamwow quotes from Vince:

'Are you following me camera guy?'

'You know the Germans are always going to make good stuff.'

'You're going to spend $20 a month on paper towels so you already throwing your money away.'

shamwow paper towelsI think one reason the infomercial became memorable from the clutter of late-night ads is because of his tacky headset. It's totally irrelevant to the ad, but it's also one of the main items you remember. For some reason, those seemingly  trivial visual touches can make a lasting impression.

Don't believe me? Ask anyone from the Orlando area about Appliance Direct. For years,a lady in plaid dress and a knee brace has yelled "If you didn't buy direct, you paid too much!" at the end of every ad. The funny thing is- her knee brace has alternated between each leg. Obviously, she recovered from her initial injury years ago, but for some odd reason, the brace remained. "Lee the appliance lady" told tackyfabulousorlando blog, that the knee brace remains because it evoked a positive reaction from focus groups.

So what's my point? Whether its a knee brace or a headset, those simple visual tricks can distinguish a brand from the rest of the pack.

UPDATE: Vince is in thesmokinggun  after he was caught with a prositute and arrested for battery at a Miami hotel.

Visual Tricks in ShamWow and other ads By Matt O'Hern at 02:20 PM
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AFLAC CEO Boosts Company's Image with Humility

aflac logo

In the wake of the Wall Street meltdown, corporate CEO's don't have the best reputation with the American public. I believe it's unfair to lump every CEO into one category, but the court of public opinion is heavily influenced by every news report of a CEO taking the easy way out of a dire situation with a "golden parachute" of compensation.

While many of us live from paycheck to paycheck, it’s infuriating to hear some of the outrageous figures CEOs are earning. That’s why Daniel Amos, the CEO of AFLAC, is being hailed as an exemplary leader. AFLAC's policies, including say on pay, portray Amos as an executive who is in touch with his workers, rather than the stereotypical, money-grabbing character we've become accustomed to visualizing.

 Last night, Amos was a guest on Mike Huckabee's weekly TV show on Fox News, and Amos explained why he didn't receive a $13 million dollar bonus. AFLAC uses a “Say on Pay program”, where AFLAC's investors vote on the figure they think the top five executives should earn. AFLAC's reasoning? If times are tough for their employees and investors, times should be tough for them as well. Amos told the USA Today he would refuse any “golden parachute” offer that bCEOs were receiving during the banking crisis last fall.

If they don't think I'm doing a good job, they don't have to worry about paying me off.

Amos' stance is more than a paradigm shift, it’s also a great strategy to bolster AFLAC's image. For all the personal income Amos lost from his possible bonus, he's virtually raised millions more in positive, free publicity from major news coverage.

AFLAC CEO Boosts Company's Image with Humility By Matt O'Hern at 09:00 AM
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Friday, January 02, 2009

Feed Chronicle = Customizable Drudge Report

feed chronicle logo

For novice Internet users,  Google Reader, RSS feeds and other media tools may seem too foreign to tinker with. Feed Chronicle, "the collaborative newspaper" does all the work for you and arranges your story in a friendly, familiar format.feed chronicle sports

On Feed Chronicle news sources are determined by the user. The front page is displayed in a three column layout, with tabs for various news topics: World, US, Business, Technology, Entertainment, Sports, Science and Offbeat.

A simple homepage might seem like a suicide design plan for a news site, but plenty of Americans still prefer a simple and straightforward layout, such as Drudge Report. Drudge's dull design has been criticized for years, but the site attracts millions of readers each day and up to 7 billion each year.

Essentially, the  publishers of Feed Chronicle devised a personal version of Drudge Report and gave  more control to the reader. A customizable layout scheme allows each member to choose five different sources for each news segment of their online "paper".For a lighthearted, satirical source, you can choose the Onion.  Other news sources include:


I was pleased by the two-step registration process, and within 10 minutes, I completed my custom "newspaper."

Here's my list of pros and cons for the beta version of Feed Chronicle.
Pros:

  • Customizable news layout.
  • Easy interface- which caters to its target market.
  • Multiple news categories.

Cons:

  • Lack of sources for certain sections, including sports and science.

There's still room for improvement, but I think the minds at launched Feed Chronicle may have found an ideal site for news junkies.

Feed Chronicle = Customizable Drudge Report By Matt O'Hern at 02:58 PM
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Tech Companies to Watch in 2009

As we enter 2009, former tech leaders are scrambling for solutions to spark sales, while expanding 3G technology is opening new doors forambitious developers.

Freeverse: Developed several top-selling iPhone Apps, including Flick Fishing, Flick Bowling and Wingnuts Moto Chaser.

Epic Tilt: Developed popular games and apps for App Store, including ESPN Cameraman, Pussycatt Dolls Party Pack, and geezeo logoBe like Lil Wayne.

Lexcycle: Creators of the Stanza App, which includes hundreds of classic literary works for free reading.

Geezeo.com: Combines social networking, personal finance, and a unique gauge of the economy. Geezeo uses member-submitted banking data to analyze consumer trends..

china mobile limitedChina Mobile Limited: China's primary mobile provider is rapidly building its 3G network and its potential market is larger than the  entire U.S. population.

tv.com: CBS' answer to youtube and hulu, TV.com uses neutral platform that broadcasts hit shows from each of the major networks, including Grey's Anatomy and Heroes.

Microsoft: Jerry Seinfeld and the Mojave Experiment ads didn't convince customers or investors that the company has gone stale.

Ooyala: Founded by three former Google leaders, Ooyala has over 5,000 publishers using its syndication platform - Backlot. Ooyala's goal is to build a successful technology company that focuses on delivering premium video content to  providers, advertisers, and most importantly, consumers.

Sony: 2008 was a rough year for Sony. Disappointing PS3 sales and exploding PC batteries and a layoff of 16,000 workers combined to scare investors from the tech giant.

Nintendo: Wii's phenomenal success continues to amaze investors, but the momentum will eventually stall. What's the next big product from one of our favorite video game makers?

Tech Companies to Watch in 2009 By Matt O'Hern at 11:53 AM
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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Consumers Question Best Buy Calibration Service

best buy logo

Does your TV need some fine-tuning? Evidently,HDTV's are like high-performance sports cars, because they need to be tweaked for optimal performance, or, in your TV's case- picture quality. At least, that's what Best Buy is telling us.

The troubled electronics retailer is being critcized in the blogosphere, for its $300 calibration service.

I'll read more info about this "calibration technique", because of few of the readers on dvice and consumerist claim it's a legit service. (Of course, those could be some Best Buy posters.)
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Best Buy is coming off  a tough holiday season, so I wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be a big scam.

Consumers Question Best Buy Calibration Service By Matt O'Hern at 04:29 PM
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Trueblood: Internet Marketing Story of the Year

vote vote results

Our readers have spoken, and they declared Marketingshift's top story of 2008: HBO's extreme marketing of Trueblood.

Jason Dowdell wrote the first Trueblood plost after he received an unusual package containing a vial full of red liquid along with a small card with Japanese writing on it and a URL. Eventually, Jason realized it was HBO's creative media pack to promote the new series, Trueblood.

Before we knew it, readers were hooked on the HBO hit series about modern vampires. Four months after the post, we still receive comments on a daily basis, which is why it comes as no surprise that Trueblood received 41% of the  total votes out of 10 stories. It was followed by Amazon's holiday sales record, which received 25% of the vote. In third place, there was a tie between the boycottalabamanow.com controversy and our post about slower traffic for eBay and Best Buy during holiday sales. They each received 16.7% of the vote.

We're glad you voted and enjoyed the crazy ride known as 2008 with us. We can't wait to see the amazing developments in 2009.

Trueblood: Internet Marketing Story of the Year By Matt O'Hern at 01:07 PM
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Newspapers Next In Line for Bailout Funds

us capitol

One of government's harshest critics might be  latest contestant in the Bailout Sweepstakes - Newspapers.

I was catching up with one of my old friends from journalism school and he predicted newspapers would be the next in line for government help, if the  auto bailout is granted. We chuckled, but today, his prediction is close to becoming a reality. State representative Frank Nicastro is begging the state of Connecticut to save the Bristol Press and New Britain's paper, The Herald.

Nicastro claims print media, particularly local papers, are still a vital component of American media, because it provides news that's "ignored by big papers,television and radio stations."

I worked at a local paper, and I'll be the first to tell you that a government-funded bailout, at the state or federal level, is NOT the solution. A government-funded press isn't a free press, and it won't fulfill its duty to cover the government without any influence. Once D.C. or your state starts throwing cash at your newspaper, they'll be obligated to return the favor.

Paul Janensch, a journalism professor at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, and a former reporter, agrees with my stance. He told Reuters,
"You can't expect a watchdog to bite the hand that feeds it,"

If Nicastro is succesful in his attempt to take  taxpayer money, it's only a matter of time before the major publishers head to capital hill for a  slice of the federal pie.

Author Hugo Black said that criticism of government finds sanctuary in several portions of the 1st Amendment. It is part of the right of free speech. It embraces freedom of the press.

In Rueter's same article, Marc Levy, executive editor of the Herald and the Press, claimed that objectivity won't be sacrificed, and it will be business as usual.

 

It's the brutal reality. You'd say, 'thank you very much for helping me with that, but now we have to ask you about this thing.'

 

media political donationsAnother key fact to consider is that mulitiple surveys revealed  the vast majority of print journalists who donate to politicians favor the Democratic Party. (Including a survey by NBC) Remember that the Democrat party that will have executive power and an expanded presence in congress this year.

Do you honestly think that major publishers, such as Gannett, will use an objective approach toward a government that's putting food on their table?
Print publishers and editors can claim they're victims of circumstance,but so can  everyone else in this economy.

Maybe if those newsroom executives had prioritized online publishing before the major shift occurred, they wouldn't be in the dire situation they now face.

I hate to see ANY newspapers close their doors, but I also don't want to the government play favorites with handouts, and if I wanted state-run media, I would move to Cuba or North Korea.  Newspapers need to search for creative solutions,such as the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post's shared content agreement,which is one step in the right direction.

Newspapers Next In Line for Bailout Funds By Matt O'Hern at 10:57 AM
Comments (1)

January 2009 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (18 entries) January 1-10
  • Week 2 (17 entries) January 11-17
  • Week 3 (15 entries) January 18-24
  • Week 4 (15 entries) January 25-31

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