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January 2009, Week 2 Marketing Archives

Friday, January 16, 2009

NovelQuest Emperor : A Chair for the CEO with Everything.

emperor chair

If you're searching for a gift to please the boss who has everything, why not spend your hard-earned cash on the Emperor, by  NovelQuest . The ideal chair for high-tech exec's features:
 

  • 3 synchronized 19" monitors with resolution of 3840X1024 pixels.
  • 5.1 surround sound system with subwoofer.
  • A full spectrum lamp.
  • A HEPA Air purification system.
  • Battery backup for 3 hours.emperor chair sideview
  • Cable TV input jack.
  • Multi-card readers.
  • USB,eSATA and Firewire ports.
  • iPod docking.
  • A base that automatically rotates 360 degrees every 8 hours.

How much will it cost you? 

Approximately, $40,000.
The Emperor's price tag makes the Embody Chair by Herman Miller a cheap alternative. Of course, if you have that amount of discretionary income,you're probably one of the "individuals of high net worth" that NovelQuest specifys in its company overview.

NovelQuest Emperor : A Chair for the CEO with Everything. By Matt O'Hern at 04:15 PM
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Recovery Bill Seeks More Converter Box Coupons Until Sept. 30

I found some of the details regarding the TV Converter Box Coupon Program in the latest economic recovery bill, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

 

Title III, section 47 of the bill calls for $650,000,000 worth of taxpayer dollars to fund cost associated with the convertor box coupon program, which will be made  available until September 30, 2009. (For those of you who may not know, the  program ran out of coupons.)

We're one month away until broadcasters make the complete transition to DTV broadcasts, but government officials fear that too many Americans will be left in the dark.

The Democrat-endorsed bill is expected to be voted within the next two weeks, when Barack Obama is President with a Democrat Majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, along with Julius Genachowski, the new chairman of the FCC.

Recovery Bill Seeks More Converter Box Coupons Until Sept. 30 By Matt O'Hern at 02:40 PM
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buyanewspaperday.com : A Call to Save Newspapers

buyanewspaperday.com

Newspapers are on the brink of extinction-warns Chris Freiberg , creator of buyanewspaperday.com and  Facebook group National Buy A Newspaper Day.

 The site urges every visitor to buy a copy of their local paper on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day. (How ironic is it that newspaper advocates are utilizing online media and social networks to rally their support?)

Currently, the Facebook group has 3,588 members , 500 who may participate,1,453 who declined the invitation, and 8,248 who have yet to respond.  Freiberg's call to action reads:


The newspaper is heavily focused on local news. It keeps you informed
about events in your town and keeps local government in-line. So for one day, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, please make it a point to pick up your local newspaper (reading it online doesn't count).
 

facebook buy a newspaperPrint media's demise should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the industry for the past decade.

Even the New York Times, one of the nation's most prominent papers, faces a fiscal crisis, with $400 million in debt, and many other papers around the nation are deep in the red

You may recall my post about newspapers seeking government support. Legislator Frank Nicastro  petitioned the Connecitcut state government to save the Bristol Press.

 For the past few years, many publishers and editors decided to decrease regional and national coverage to provide a deeper focus on on local stories

Unfortunately, the shift was too little, too late. Since 2002, TV and Radio have enjoyed double the amount of online ad growth compared to newspapers. I worked at a community newspaper for several years, so I sympathize with my former colleagues who are the in the "old media" and hoping for a viable solution.

I wonder if Punxsutawney Phil could offer his forecast for newspapers in addition to his winter prediction.He might call for a long, brutal winter.

buyanewspaperday.com : A Call to Save Newspapers By Matt O'Hern at 11:50 AM
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Palm Inc. Continues to Attract Investors

palm inc stock

Bono and Elevation Partners can keep singing, because their major investment in Palm Inc. looks like a smart move. Palm Inc. (NASDAQ:PALM) continued its upward climb today. I'll admit, Palm Inc's success defied my skepticism after Citigroup (which upgraded its Palm Inc. rating on Monday) plunged Tuesday and Wednesday.

I figured that since one of the market's most popular raters was facing its own financial crisis, investors might wonder "What gauge can we rely on?", then  panic and sell. I was wrong. Palm Inc's rally , along with Amazon, lifted tech stocks back into the gainers column after a skiddish start in the morning.

Evidently, the Palm Pre has made a good first impression.

Palm Inc. Continues to Attract Investors By Matt O'Hern at 04:00 PM
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Congress Wants to Make More DTV Converter Box Coupons

converter box coupon program

This is an update to my post about staticacrossamerica.com and the Feb. 17  analog to DTV transition.

The U.S. Congress is seeking $650 million to make more converter box coupons.

According to the report from Reuters, the coupons are part of the economic stimulus legislation released by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee today. Millions of Americans complained they needed more time and money for a converter box, and Barack Obama asked for an extension of the analog cutoff date, currently set for Feb. 17

Former FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin was an opponent of the extended deadline, but his term is over and Obama picked Julius Genachowski  to serve as the new FCC chairman.

If the economic stimulus legislation passes: I have a few questions:

  • How long will it take to produce and distrbute the coupons?
  • Will there be enough coupons to meet the current demand?
  • Will the the transition occur Feb. 17 since the residents have their discount?

Personally, I think if the new coupons are distributed by the end of January, it's the responsibility of each recipient to purchase a converter box by Feb. 17. Broadcasters shouldn't be forced to prolong analog broadcasts until every single resident is ready for the switch.

Congress Wants to Make More DTV Converter Box Coupons By Matt O'Hern at 03:16 PM
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Lebron James Brace Yourself Commercial Sparks NFL , Rap Rumors

lebron james brace yourself

Judging from the latest Lebron James commercial,  Nike understands the power of viral marketing, because it's creating a huge buzz on message boards and youtube, comparable to the  What's G? commercial by Gatorade.
During the short ad, the camera angle is behind James' head, and you hear his unmistakable voice:
 

First of all, I want to thank everyone for coming out here today. After having a long discussion with friends and family, I've decided to follow my first love.
 

The commercial ends with two text flashes: Brace Yourself. 1-18-09.

What's Lebron Jame's first love?  lebron cleveland browns
There's no easy answer. Obviously, basketball ranks among his top passions, but  in 2001, James was a First-Team All-State wide receiver, which is no small feat in the football-crazed state of Ohio.

(On that note, wide receivers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens were talented two-sport athletes. Moss was named Mr. Basketball for West Virgina when he played for Dupont High School,and Terrell Owens played football and basketball at the University of Tennessee-Chatanooga.)

The wesbite lebron2010 features a pic titled "Bron a Brown?", AKA, one of the lebrowns photos. It shows "Lebron" stitched on the back of a Cleveland Browns NFL jersey is one of the most popular on realcavsfans.com. Lebron 2010 was created by a Cavs fan who's trying to raise funds for a billboard in downtown cleveland spring/summer of 2010 to show LeBron that Cleveland supports him.


lebron james yankeesKeep in mind, James a free agent in 2010, and he's never hidden his love for New York. During the 2008 ALCS, James wore a Yankees cap when the Indians were hosting New York. I doubt James plans to sign with the Yankees for Spring Training, but it wouldn't be the first time the NBA's biggest star traded his basketball for a bat. James wears 23 in honor of his favorite player and mentor-Michael Jordan.
Jordan's tryout with Chicago White Sox and their Minor League Affiliate, the Birmingham Baron's was essentialy a failed publicity stunt.
(Yet his baseball jersey remains one of the top selling items at the Baron's stadium in Hoover, Alabama.)

Jame's other recent ad features him dancing to Kid N' Play,so perhaps he's going to follow Shaq's route to rap. When Shaq left Orlando for Los Angeles, he tried to convince us he was trying to expand his acting and rapping career. Kazaam and Steel didn't bombed at the box office, and I doubt any of his rap albums fared much better.


With Lebron and Nike, the possibilities are endless. Fans continue to speculate on youtube, but we won't know until Sunday.

Lebron James Brace Yourself Commercial Sparks NFL , Rap Rumors By Matt O'Hern at 09:47 AM
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Google Taps Spotmixer Ad Creator Tool to Simplify TV Ad Creation

Google and SpotMixer culminated their efforts to launch the SpotMixer Ad Creator Tool with a clear goal: Bring affordability to TV advertising  where it wasn't before.

spotmixer creator tool


SpotMixer'sAd Creator Tool suggests images and text based on the content of your AdWords online ads. Then Google 'asks' if you want to try a TV ad.  If you respond, "Yes", the tool dynamically creates a video ad from the businesses' text ad, using industry-specific t

emplates and pulling in stock photos and other assets.The free tool  appears when a customer is using Google AdWords. Spotmixer's Ad Creator tool provides a library of free images, audio and video for you to design a custom TV ad from, or you can upload your own content.

Spotmixer CEO John Love
considers the ad creator tool as the perfect match for customers who are searching for an easy and effective method to craft a professional-quality TV ad campaign, but don't have the production experience.


It was targeted toward such customers who don't have TV campaigns with Google. It's a way to get them thinking about Google TV and advertising on the Google TV network.It's a free service, so everybody was attracted to the idea that they can create a compelling tailored TV ad, right in line with Google.We can create a tailored ad so it's immediately engaging and it  gets them into a TV campaign quicker than they would have otherwise.

 

Kathleen Farley the Vice President of Product Marketing at One True Media , (the tool's developer) believes the creator tool will bridge the gap for customers who didn't have the capability to produce TV ads in the past.
 

There were some customers who had created a Google TV ads campaign but they couldn't run it because they didn't have a TV ad, so once SpotMixer was created they were off and running. We can take something online and translate it into broadcast quality.

Google Taps Spotmixer Ad Creator Tool to Simplify TV Ad Creation By Matt O'Hern at 06:40 AM
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Staticacrossamerica.com Lists Updates for Feb. 17 Digital Transition.

digital conversion countdown clock

Due to coupon shortages and unprepared consumers, millions of American televisions will go static on Feb. 17, the FCC date for analog to DTV transition. Barack Obama asked the FCC to delay the transition date, but FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin warned that such a delay would cause mass confusion among consumers and  prolong expenses for broadcasters since they would be forced to broadcast from two sources. 

An excpert from MSNBC's article explained the dillema between Obama and the FCC.

The government’s program offering $40 coupons to buy digital converter boxes ran out of money with more than 1.1 million Americans still on a waiting list.Kevin J. Martin, acknowledged that ultimately, this is Congress’ decision. But we’ve spent a lot of time and energy getting ready for the February 17 date. I am concerned about the consumer confusion that would be created.

 

Staticacrossamerica features a blog sponsored by Zip Express Installation  a company with a stake in the DTV debate, because it offers DTV converter boxes.

Personally, I think both sides dropped the ball. The FCC should have anticipated a greater demand for coupons, but consumers also have a responsibility to stay informed.

Staticacrossamerica.com Lists Updates for Feb. 17 Digital Transition. By Matt O'Hern at 02:41 PM
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Former Orbitz CTO Alex Zoghlin Joins VHT.com

vht logo

Success seems to follow Alex Zoghlin wherever he goes, and VHT Inc. hopes the  trend continues. After spending the past few years as the CTO of Orbitz and the CEO of G2 SwitchWorks Corp, Zoghlin is the new CEO of VHT Inc,a media marketing site for real estate.

Zoghlin will have a key role in developing realestatemediamarketplace.com.
In a press release, Zoghlin said he's eager to revitalize the real estate market.
by offering his experience with multimedia marketing.
 

The current economic climate and the explosion of new media and
marketing options is challenging for real estate professionals. In
times like these, successful companies identify innovative ways to
reinvent themselves and increase productivity, which is why I was
drawn to VHT.  I'm excited to be able to leverage my experience in
creating online solutions that will help VHT and its client roster of
market leaders.
 

VHT was founded 10 years ago and is one of the leading service providers for visual marketing services in real estate. With a base of 75,000 real estate clients nationwide, VHT provides valuable tools such as video tours, multi-media presentations, professional photography and expansive distribution services.

While it's unrealistic to expect a single man to revive the entire real estate market, Zoghlin's contributions should certainly provide a sense of optimism for VHT and its partners.

Former Orbitz CTO Alex Zoghlin Joins VHT.com By Matt O'Hern at 11:37 AM
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Will Citigroup's Fallout Crush Bono's Pride in Palm Inc?


Palm Inc. (NASDAQ: PALM) realized that sometimes you can't make it on your own. That's why it signed U2 lead-singer Paul Hewson, AKA Bono as an investment partner.palm pre bono
 
According to the Daily Express, Bono, a rockstar known for his efforts to save the third world, invested 67.1 million pounds to rescue the smart telephone maker and he earned $56.4 million after the stock shot sky high last Friday.

Palm Inc. received another boost on Monday, when Citigroup upgraded its rating of Palm Inc. from sell, to hold, and Citigroup analyst Jim Suva said the new Palm Pre has the potential to be an iconic handset.

Less than 24 hours after Suva's assessment, Citigroup's clout is in question, as the company scrambles for solutions to its own fiscal problems.was in need of its own financial savior, and was labeled as an emblem of the economic drought by Bloomberg.

Considering Citigroup's collapse, investors may question the validity of Suva's assesment. Citigroup's reputation is sure to take a hit, so it will be interesting to see if Palm Inc. is indirectly impacted. Will Palm investors react by selling and/or trading?


For the record, Bono is part of an investment team known as Elevation Partners, which invested 339 million pounds in exchange for 39% stake in the company, so they have a significant amount of their own funds hinging on the Palm Pre's success. Elevation Partners includes several managing directors:
 

  • Fred Anderson, the former executive VP at Apple.
  • Bret Pearlman, a former senior managing director of the Blackstone Group.
  • Marc Bodnick, former director of crisis management at Kroll Associates.
  • Roger McNamee, the co-founder of Silver Lake Partners

During a video interview with Kara Swisher of All Things Digital, McNamee pitched the Palm Pre's best features, such as the 3 megapixel camera (with flash), the slide-out keyboard and webOS.
 

McNamee said:

The Palm OS is gone because it was 13 years old and ran out of gas. Well that's going to happen to the other guys and we're starting over again.
When we made the investment million in Palm, we had to believe it could be successfull without the failure of iPhone. Authoring really matters to people and it comes with a set of apps you can't get anywhere else. There are capabilities on this operating system that don't exist on the other ones, so you'll have more function.
 

 If the Palm Pre can emerge as a leading smartphone, it will require more than just a litle luck of the Irish.

Will Citigroup's Fallout Crush Bono's Pride in Palm Inc? By Matt O'Hern at 10:32 AM
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Slacker : A Music App Made By Music Industry Pros

slacker bios

Music lovers have another source to find their favorite tunes.

When I saw Slacker, I wondered:

"This looks cool, but is it any different than Pandora, AOL Radio, (owned by CBS Radio) or iheartradio.com, (owned by clearchannel.)

The answer: Yes.

 

Here are some of Slacker's distinguishing characteristics that make it relevantly different.

 

 

  • High-quality stereo playback from any wireless connection.
  • Unique agreements with all the major labels and hundreds of indie labels rather then just riding off regular radio royalty laws.
  • "Peek Ahead" artist and album preview.
  • Instant access to hundreds of expertly programed genre stations- (compared to 28 on AOL Radio)
  • Create as many custom stations as you want through the web player at Slacker.com and they will instantly be accessible on your iPhone.
  • Real,live human music industry professionals who live and breathe these genres and they are constantly updating the pre-programed stations.
  • Album reviews and artist bios.

slacker steve miller bioI downloaded Slacker for a test drive and within the first few seconds of hearing the classic rock station, I noticed the sharp, premium quality sound. After a few minutes of tinkering around, I checked the artist bio, I was amazed by the incredibly detailed chronicles.

 I read the history of the Steve Miller Band and Boston, two of my favorite groups. The first few paragraphs filled my screen, and I scrolled down to read even more. Everything was there, from the band's beginning to its current status.

Don't let the name fool you, Slacker put plenty of time and effort to produce this great App.

Slacker : A Music App Made By Music Industry Pros By Matt O'Hern at 04:26 PM
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Hyundai Attempts to Redefine Image with Genesis vs. BMW ads

hyundai genesis

Luxury, speed and power are three words not normally associated with Hyundai, but the Korean Automaker is hyping its new sedan model- the Genesis, as the reasonable alternative to the BMW and Mercedes.

Apparently, Hyundai is trying to shed the stigma of a cheaply-constructed foreign car, but the latest ad for the 2009 Genesis gave me the impression that Hyundai is suffering from an inferiority complex.

The ad mentions the 375 hp engine, but the emphasis throughout the ad series is Hyundai's "better performance" than BMW and Mercedes.

  • "More effective braking power than the BMW 550i.
  • "Can pull more .94 G's through a corner, surprisingly better than  than the BMW 550i. Which means the competition may begin to fall out of the picture."
  • "It has 124 sound-dampening innovations that help make the cabin AS quiet as the flagship BMW and Mercedes sedans.


First of all, Hyundai's phrasing and terminology is suspect. "More effective" braking power sounds like they're spinning the braking stats to highlight one out of many categories. In the turning a corner comparison, Hyundai said "surprisingly better". My question is:

If your product is so  reliable and respected, why should we be surprised if its better? As for the ad regarding the quiet cabin, Hyundai's interior was equal to BMW and Mercedes.

Upon further analysis, Hyundai doesn't have any hard facts that convince me that the Genesis is indeed a superior automobile than its European competitors. Hyundai itself was surprised when its  car handled a corner better and their third ad didn't impress me at all, because Hyundai didn't even claim to be superior to its competitors

Superior quality for cheaper in price. Obviously, that's a common tactic that car companies have used for years, but it's harder to swallow when Hyundai tries to lure

Another important factor to consider is Hyundai's traditional market-low to middle income families. As middle America struggles to survive, why would Hyundai abandon them in hopes of luring wealthy CEOs and prominent businessmen who have already developed brand loyalty to their high performance luxury sedans?

Perhaps Hyundai is seeking the young, 25-35 year old mid-level entrepreneurs who are trying to show a savvy yet sporty side to their lifestyle.

Hyundai Attempts to Redefine Image with Genesis vs. BMW ads By Matt O'Hern at 12:35 PM
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Gadgets or Travel: Which Will You Cut During the Recession?

Should I stay (and play)or should I go?

For the past few days, I've had a few conversations about leisure, at home and on the road.

American's love their gadgets, and they also love to travel, but with the economic crunch hitting almost all of our wallets, we'll have to cutback in at least one of those areas. A A survey  by Forrester Research indicates that less than 35-35%% surveyed plan to trim vacation plans, but 45-55%% will reduce the amount they spend on "non-essential" retail.

Personally, I can find exciting destinations within a day's drive, rather than a cross-country flight, but many familys dedicate a significant portion of their budget to an annual, week-long trip to an exciting location.

Other families may opt to limit the travel and spend that money on more home-based entertainment. However, I bet that many are so strapped for cash that neither of those forementioned plans are reasonable for their budget.

I'm curious to see how the average American is designated their discretionary income. Will the gloomy predictions of the future economy force many of us to become introverts, or will we ignore the prognisticators, spend our money without fear and see the world?

I don't plan to buy any major techinical device, and my travel plans have already been altered. If my plans represent the average american, it could be  a TERRIBLE year for the travel industry as well as the tech industry , including major electronic manufacturers such as Sony (NYSE: SNE). The fallout from their failure could perpetuate the downward cycle we're already sucked into.

Tell us how you have adjusted your budget for the 2009 economy.

Gadgets or Travel: Which Will You Cut During the Recession? By Matt O'Hern at 09:52 AM
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Pepsi 8 Pack Feedback Inspires bringbackthe12pack.com

pepsi 8 pack

Since our first post about Pepsi's transition to the 8-pack, we've received tons of feedback from angry consumers. Your voices have been heard lound and clear. The firestorm of criticism inspired me to create bringbackthe12pack.com.

Feel free to visit the site if you want to give Pepsi a piece of your mind. (Keep in mind that the site is still in the initial stages of development.)

Pepsi 8 Pack Feedback Inspires bringbackthe12pack.com By Matt O'Hern at 04:25 PM
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Copyright 101: eBay Forces Tweebay to become Tweba

tweba vs. ebay

It didn't take long for the paranoid leaders at eBay to take down Tweebay: a Twitter auction site.

TechCrunch reported that Tweebay is now Tweba. The change is a resuilt of Paul Rawlings succumbing to the pressure from "a large corporate", obviously eBay,  threat to enforce copyright law.

Considering eBay's greedy tactics during the past six months, this news doesn't surprise me at all.

Copyright 101: eBay Forces Tweebay to become Tweba By Matt O'Hern at 01:20 PM
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Viewers Win With Hulu / TV.com Shared Content Agreement

hulu tv.com

You may recall a recent  post when I listed the stats suggesting that online video is taking a significant chunk of viewers from the living room to the web. Major networks appreciate the shift, and CBS,(NYSE:CBS), is expanding its online video site, TV.com, as a result.  An article in today's edition of the Wall Street Journal  explained how the surge in demand for premium video content has pressured former rivals to share content.
 

Elizabeth Holme's story: 'CBS's TV.com boosts offering in bid to secure foothold' includied this quote:




As content agreements among competitors become increasingly common, video sites are expected to offer more of the same content. For example, fans ofNBC's comedy 30 Rock can watch full episodes on Hulu, as well as on TV.com and Comcast's Fancast.



 

In addition to TV.com's agreement with Hulu, it has also secured partnerships with other media leaders including Sony, PBS  and Showtime. Those agreements will give viewers access to modern day hits such as Dexter, to vintage shows such as Starsky and Hutch.

As a firm believer of free market principles, I  hope Hulu and tv.com maintain some form of competition, because that will always provide incentive for improvement.

Viewers Win With Hulu / TV.com Shared Content Agreement By Matt O'Hern at 10:46 AM
Comments (1)

BCS or 24 premier: Which Scored Higher Ratings for Fox?

24 logo

Fox claimed the championship on the 18-34 year-old market for the past week, with  the BCS Championship Game and Jack Bauer's return on 24. The Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners matchup attracted 26.76 million viewers,  including  an 8.6 rating for the adults age 18/34. (I think it's safe to assume that the majority of those adults were male.)

I have yet to see the ratings for the 24 season 7 premier, but judging from the daily views for my post on the What is G? commercial,I assume the sample represents an audience of at least 30-35 million.

When I saw Gatorade's commercial before the second hour of the two-hour 24 premier last night, I had a feeling that post would get new traffic, but what impressed me was the fact that it actually got MORE traffic from the 24 viewers. (Despite the fact that BCS was in the title, and 24 wasn't even mentioned).
Evidently,Gatorade found the right formula for creating online buzz. Sprint hopes to capitalize on the 24 fanbase. At the conclusion of the premier, Telecom giant offered an exclusive preview for next week's episode.

BCS or 24 premier: Which Scored Higher Ratings for Fox? By Matt O'Hern at 09:00 AM
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« January 2009 Week 1 January 2009 Week 3 »

  • 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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