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May 2009 Marketing Archives

Friday, May 08, 2009

Freeverse Develops Top Gun Video Game for iPhone

top gun iphone

 Goose, Maverick and the gang are all back, as Top Gun returns, to your iPhone. The blockbuster 80's action movie was a popular game on the original Nintendo and more than 20 years later, it's among the top selling games in the Apple App Store.

I was pleasantly surprised by the smooth controls, but you have to remember that the same rules apply from original version: Down is up, up is down, right is left, left is right. top gun screenshotThe game features 10 missions,including a tutorial that introduces you to the controls and weapons.
You can purchase the game for a discounted rate of $1.99 this week, and it's certainly worth the price. freeverse logoThe soundtrack includes the official top gun theme,as well as a remake of Kenny Loggins' "Highway to the danger zone."

If you love all things 80's or you're just looking for a great action game to add to your iPhone, download Top Gun, today. The game was developed by Freeverse.

Freeverse Develops Top Gun Video Game for iPhone By Matt O'Hern at 04:54 PM
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AT&T Claims New York Times Report on Data Caps is False

new york times att

I was just listening to AT&Ts media relations leader (Didn't catch his name) defend the telecom leader's reputation on the Clark Howard Show, national radio. He was being interviewed by nationally syndicated consumer watchdog reporter Clark Howard.
AT&T was in Howard's crosshairs after he read a report from the New York Times claiming that wireless card holders would be charged for using Youtube,Hulu and any other video sites other than AT&T's video platform. AT&T's media relations spokesperson defended the terms and claimed that the only limitation was on TV signals relayed to a PC or mobile via a device such as Slingbox.
They also discussed the future of 4G networks and network capacity.  It's still too early to tell when AT&T will fully implement 4G, but it's expected to arrive within the next 24 months.

AT&T Claims New York Times Report on Data Caps is False By Matt O'Hern at 04:09 PM
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KFC Fumbles Grilled Chicken Giveaway Hyped by Oprah

oprah grilled chicken

In a twist of irony, the "Unthink the way you think about KFC" marketing campaign couldn't have a more fitting title. Oprah, the world's best hype machine, created an online buzz about the KFC Grilled Chicken giveaway this week, but many customers were disappointed when they discovered that their local chain was either out of the chicken due to high demand, or one of the franchises that opted out of the promotion.
New York City customers exercised peaceful resistance and staged a sit-in when KFC told them they'd run out of the grilled chicken. kfc grilled chicken couponThe story made ABC, under the headline

"Coupon holders looking for free chicken meal overwhelm KFC stores."

Check out this excerpt from ABC'S article. It reads like a scene out of a Seinfeld episode.

A riot rumored online, however, did not take place, a KFC spokeswoman told The Associated Press.'Some customers were upset because they couldn't get their chicken, but there was no riot," said spokeswoman Laurie Schalow.

Karen Straughn, the director of the mediation unit for the Consumer Protection Division, told the NBC Affiliate in Baltimore that the consumers should be informed that the promotion is limited to participating locations.

There certainly can't be false advertising. So, it's important they indicated it's only going to be participating locations if it's limited. That might be a result of whether or not it’s a franchise store versus if it's owned by the company. So, you might have those situations, and the independent franchise agreements usually don't require that they go along with every promotion.

I scanned through Oprah's Twitter Page to see if she'd mentioned the grilled chicken craze, but I couldn't find anything. However, I found this gem on YouTube, which serves as another example of you get what you pay for. KFC is part of Yum Brands, which also owns Taco Bell.

KFC Fumbles Grilled Chicken Giveaway Hyped by Oprah By Matt O'Hern at 10:22 AM
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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sea World Markets Shamu on Twitter as RealShamu

real shamu

I was browsing through Twitter profiles today when I had to do a double take. I saw the screen name- shamu-logo.jpgThat's right, Shamu, the world's most popular Orca now has its own Twitter page.shamu logo
I checked to see who beat Sea World to the punch, and it's some random dude in Orlando with 10 followers. He needs to cash in on his URL. I'm sure Seaworld would pay a decent amount for it.

Judging from Shamu's bio, he's a team player.


I live at SeaWorld. I'm a large, athletic, black and white marine mammal. I'm not THE star of SeaWorld, I'm A star of SeaWorld.

Here are a few samples of Shamu's status updates:


@MoniDarkTower Given the choice between "maybe" visiting SeaWorld and "definitely" visiting SeaWorld, always go with "definitely."about 2 hours ago from Power Twitter in reply to MoniDarkTower
SECOND WARNING: I unleash a hurricane of cute baby photos on Mother's Day. Here, I'll waste a dolphin one now. 3 hours ago from Power Twitter
@Quiksand @Michael_Phelps half killer whale? It's going to take me a while to get my head around the biology of that. Who did Mershaq?


This is a smart move by SeaWorld because web savvy kids can stay connected with their favorite character after they leave the park. The easier it is for them to remember Shamu, whether its via Twitter or the Shamu Cam, the more likely they'll ask to go back to Sea World.
mickey mouse twitter
Since Orlando is only a short drive from Merritt Island, I couldn't help but wonder if our other celebrity, Mickey Mouse, had his own Twitter page. Apparently, Disney will have to pay up for that name as well, because Mickey and Mickey Mouse are both already taken.

Sea World Markets Shamu on Twitter as RealShamu By Matt O'Hern at 02:06 PM
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Poll Results: iPhone & Blackberry GPS Don't Replace Garmin, Tom-Tom

iphone gps poll

During the past year, stock prices have sunk for hands-free, talking GPS devices such as Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) and Tom-Tom (Public, AMS:TOM2).

For Garmin, the drop occoured around the same time the 3G iPhone was released. I couldn't help but wonder if the increased availability of GPS devices via mobile phones led to a decline in demand for the dashboard navigational devices. In my first post about this topic, I wrote

"To be fair, the vast majority of stocks plunged in August, so the decline can't be directly attributed to the arrival of the iPhone. Regardless, GPS device manufacturers must find new ways to market their products as a safe and thorough alternative to hand-held navigational devices."

I used polldaddy to gauge how many consumers considered a mobile-phone GPS as a sufficient replacement for a dashboard-mounted navigational device. According to the results, the mobile phone GPS doesn't live up to the Garmin or Tom-Tom.

Poll Results: iPhone & Blackberry GPS Don't Replace Garmin, Tom-Tom By Matt O'Hern at 10:32 AM
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Phases of New Online Market Development aka Niches

About 4 years ago I put together a handful of observations on new markets aka niches from the perspective of marketing and business development. Being a seasoned seo veteran and having worked on my fair share of sites, I had seen one thing happen over and over again and was surprised that not many people spoke about it. Today that phenomenon is happening again and its latest incarnation can be found in Twitter. If you want more information on my theory than what I put below you can always ping me directly or hit me up on twitter. I will say that there is not a single new niche industry or market segment that falls outside of this model and I strongly believe this single theory can drive the development of any marketers or entrepreneurs career for the next 50 years.

DATA Business Model and the Phases of New Markets / Niches
  1. New market is born and leaders are created. Etsy created a niche for crafters and it's founders are the hand made goods experts. Threadless did this with artists and tees. Twitter is doing this with a new data format of tweets (still needs a recognizable industry name but there aren't enough competitors out there yet). Blogs made feeds sexy but before they were called feeds they were just known by their specs, RSS, all purpose XML and the budding Atom.
  2. Key inflencers are sought out for advice and consulting, their blogs are heavily trafficked. When I started mshift I spoke a lot of blogs and feeds and this new democratization of data and interviewed the key folks in the space. Now all those folks companies have been acquired ;)
  3. Data is aggregated in silos (services spring up). Don't think walled gardens here. I'm talking about businesses that hone in on this new data source and apply their own meaning to data they see, they key ingredient is usefulness of data. There are hundreds of sites dedicated to Twitter and making it better but many of them will die soon as Twitter adds more features. But once there are more twitter competitors and a real name applied to a tweet, we'll see meta-aggregators spring up. 6 years ago blog directories were springing up and now they've exploded into every niche imaginable.
  4. Filtering algorithms are laid on top of aggregated data. Yahoo! Pipes now allows you to aggregate and filter in a wysiwyg interface and when you look at the sources of data they let you fetch, nearly all of it is an xml feed of one sort or another. Back in 1997 we saw the first public display of aggregators and we called them meta search engines. Dogpile comes to mind and it just piled up search results from multiple search engines so you could see all of their results in a simple interface. Today you have to add more meaning than simply regurgitating results back to users but regurgitation is where it all starts. We have a prettier name for it now, it's called aggregate. Stock twits demonstrates this principle on top of Twitter's data.
  5. Refinement of the data via filtering occurs. The first place this happens is within the user interface. literally only shows you tweets about publicly traded stocks on twitter. So the refinement is built into the interface since this site is already a niche withing the Twitter data niche. Then within that user interface you can filter the data further like seeing only stocks you're interested in or stocks your followers follow and so on. This refinement drives the vast majority of the blog fodder mentioned above and you'll see the industry experts talk about it and get commented on the most.

I hope this helps some of you understand a bit more about the rapidly changing landscape of the internet but that it's all driven by a very simple process and should not be feared!

Phases of New Online Market Development aka Niches By Jason Dowdell at 09:31 AM
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

IBM Wants You Healthier and Smarter

ibm logoIBM (NYSE:IBM)holds the keys to your future health, at least, that's what they want you to believe in their latest IBM Smarter ad. Various faces from the medical community tout the technological advances during the fast-paced, 30-second clip. In case you couldn't keep up with the pace, here's a transcript of the IBM commercial, which you can find on the Youtube IBM Advertising Channel.

By 2010, 30% of the data stored on the world's computers will be medical images.The trouble is, all of that information is trapped. X-rays aren't talking,medical records aren't talking, patient histories aren't talking to insurance forms.We're trying to connect all of that data.Make it smart. We would see the patterns in your medical history. In the history of entire populations. Predict dangerous drug combinations.We could tailor cures to your genetic code. Put the focus back where it belongs- on the patient. That's what I'm working on. I'm an IBM-er, let's build a smarter planet.

IBM Wants You Healthier and Smarter By Matt O'Hern at 04:28 PM
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John Kerry Calls Newspapers "Endangered Species" & Questions Credibility of Online News

john kerry newspapers

Former Presidential candidate John Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, voiced his concerns about the struggling newspaper industry. During a senate panel about the status of the industry, Kerry implied that online news sources may not be as reliable as the print editions.

Will the emerging news media be more fragmented by interests and political partisanship?" Kerry asked. There also is the important question of whether online journalism will sustain the values of professional journalism, the way the newspaper industry has.

I agree with Kerry on one point: Newspapers face more scrutiny than a random blog, because they're managed by an editorial staff.  In a perfect world, no news articles would contain any bias, but that's a pipe dream.

Kerry's foolish to suggest that most print newspapers strongly adhere to a code of "values" that's higher than most online news sites. If each paper defines their own set of values, there's no consistent standard for objectivity.

It's no coincidence that republicans prefer the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times, and vice-versa.
Newspaper bias may not be as blatantly obvious compared to an online site, it still exist. Everyone is biased, the only difference is a matter of degrees. Senator Ben Cardin , who introduced the newspaper revitilzation act, is one of several politicians, including Nancy Pelosi, who believe that newspapers should be reclassified as non-charitable organizations to receive tax exempt status.

At this point, I don't think any action, private or public, can save the faltering newspaper industry. It's too little, too late.

John Kerry Calls Newspapers "Endangered Species" & Questions Credibility of Online News By Matt O'Hern at 03:08 PM
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Dhani Jones Autographed Poster Giveaway

dhani tackles the globe

UPDATE: Dhani's posters have arrived and the second one is up for grabs: Click here to answer the trivia question for your chance to win.

Here's a chance to win some free Dhani Jones gear just by watching TV.

For the past eight weeks, we've covered  Dhani and the social media stats for his new show on the Travel Channel, Dhani Tackles the Globe.In several different posts, Marketingshift praised Dhani's savvy social networking tactics with  Youtube , Facebook and Twitter  have lured thousands of fans.

Dhani's football fans and show fans both have the chance to win an autographed poster if they can answer our trivia questions. The posters are being sent today and we will post the first question, along with a picture of the posters, once they arrive.

Check this week for updates.

Dhani Jones Autographed Poster Giveaway By Matt O'Hern at 11:21 AM
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Dwight Howard Chooses Black Magic Nickname from Twitter Suggestions

dwight howard face

Orlando Magic superstar asked Twitter users sent Dwight Howard a list of wrestler nickname suggestions, hinting that the NBA Defensive Player of the Year,will be making a guest appearance at a wrestlng event. Howard announced the winner after the Magic vs. Celtics game last night. He chose "Black Magic." The winner received playoff tickets and a signed pair of autographed shoes from Dwight.

Howard's creative promo could set a new precedent for player-fan interaction and sports marketing. Fans used to flock to stadium exits for a chance to meet their favorite players, but now they can have a direct dialogue with their favorite athletes, thanks to social networking.

Dwight Howard Chooses Black Magic Nickname from Twitter Suggestions By Matt O'Hern at 11:25 AM
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MTV / Viacom Study: Youth Value Wesbite Reviews

viacom logo

One of the most coveted marketing demographics, the 12-24 year olds, also known as the "Millenials", is becoming increasingly reliant on online research for consumer info.

MTV Networks International (MTVNI)and its parent company, Viacom (NYSE:VIA)surveyed youth in UK, US, Germany, India and Japan. The research revaled some interesting data regarding online influence.

  • 71% of those surveyed agreed that the internet makes choosing a brand easier, while blogs, review sites and social networking sites are increasingly important in affecting brand decisions.

Other interesting stats:

  • Website reviews are the 4th most important factor for movie decisions behind friends, TV and cinema ads and they play an equally important part as official websites when youth are looking to purchase electronic items.
  • Overall, across all markets, the vast majority of young people (69%) now research all purchases before buying anything.  This reaches a peak of 63% in the UK, 80% in Germany and 87% in India Practical considerations rank highest when determining what makes a brand desirable.
  • 12-24 year-olds deem quality, history and trust as the most important attributes a brand can possess
  • 18-24s are much more concerned with a brand’s history and 51% say that, “knowing a brand has been good for a long time”, makes it desirable. 

Evidently, the Hulu Effect continues to transcend mainstream culuture throughout the world.

MTV / Viacom Study: Youth Value Wesbite Reviews By Matt O'Hern at 09:12 AM
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Matter Network Recognized as Green Movement Hub By ComScore

matter network

Yahoo is Green with envy, thanks to Matter Network's first-place ranking in ComScore's measure of green-oriented content.

Matter Network is a rich media publishing company that reports on emerging green technologies and clean energy and their economic, political, and lifestyle impacts. It boasts an alliance of over 100 expert publishing, video production and web application companies tracking the latest sustainability solutions in subject areas including smart grid, wind, solar, automotive and eco-travel.

Here's a breakdown of Matter Network's monthly stats compared to Yahoo Green.

Minutes spent on site content
Matter Network: 26 million.
Yahoo Green: 8 million.

Matter Network: 7,457,000
Yahoo Green: 4,914,000.

Page Views:
Matter Network:27 million.
Yahoo Green:7 million.

Average minutes per visit:
Matter Network: 3.5
Yahoo Green: 1.6

Matter was founded by veterans of media and technology industry, including CEO Michael Penwarden, Editor John Gartner and VP of Business development, producer of MatterTV, Curt Dowdy. Penwarden explained Matter Network's mission.

Matter goes well beyond basic advertising services to create content-driven media syndication opportunities for its publishing and advertising partners.This provides brands with confidence their messaging is associated with high-quality content, closely tracked to guarantee it reaches exactly the right audience.  This is clearly where online media is headed, and we’re excited to be leading the way - especially in such a significant vertical topic.

Matter Network Recognized as Green Movement Hub By ComScore By Matt O'Hern at 07:42 AM
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Monday, May 04, 2009

Dwight Howard Asks Twitter & Facebook Fans For Wrestling Nickname

the wrestler dwight howard

With only a few hours remaining before tipoff to round two of the NBA playoffs, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, is tapping his social networks to create a second identity - a wrestling nickname.
dwight howard wrestler
Apparently, the National Basketball Association's defensive player of the year  is expanding his horizons as an entertainer. For Dwight's fans, this should come as no surprise. The young star is often compared to Shaq for his sense of humor and style of play. Howard poked fun at his predecessor in this video.As refreshing as it is to see a NBA superstar reaching out to his fanbase, Howard held out on revealing the winning nickname until after the Magic vs. Celtics game tonight, an obvious ploy to lure more playoff viewers.

Judging from Howard the frequency of Dwight Howard's Tweets on Twitter and updates Facebook, he enjoys the dialogue with his fans. To keep the dialogue as genuine and transparent as possible, Howard should negotiate for more freedom with his site to remove the barriers of direct communication in his social networks. In a league defined by personalities, the NBA has every incentive to regulate player interactions with the press, but that doesn't mean they should control social networks as well.

Dwight Howard Asks Twitter & Facebook Fans For Wrestling Nickname By Matt O'Hern at 03:48 PM
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Update: Boost Mobile Credited for Sprint Nextel Profit in 1st Quarter

boost mobile logo

Earlier today, I cited a growing trend toward prepaid mobile plans, specifically among Sprint (NYSE:S) customers who were opting for Boost Mobile, (Sprint's prepaid divison.)

The telecom leader defied the analysts' projections with a profit rise in the first quarter. Many experts expected Sprint to post a loss after 1.25 million customers left, but thanks to Boost Mobile's appeal, Sprint boasted a succesful quarter. According to a report from Bloomberg, 764,000 new subscribers enlisted for prepaid plans.


More customers, plagued by the economic slump which has hurt credit scores and spending, will reject contracts in favor of prepaid service this year, the company said. Contract customer turnover declined to 2.3 percent, meeting the prediction of Soleil Securities/Nelson Alpha Research analyst Michael Nelson. That compares with the 1.2 percent reported by AT&T Inc. and 1.1 percent at Verizon Communications Inc.

Update: Boost Mobile Credited for Sprint Nextel Profit in 1st Quarter By Matt O'Hern at 01:10 PM
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Social Media Update for Dhani Tackles the Globe Week 8: Cambodia

Eight weeks after the Travel Channel aired the debut episode of Dhani Tackles the Globe, starring Dhani Jones, the Cincinnati Bengals' linebacker social networking tactics have attracted a remarkable following.

Since the pilot episode, Dhani's networks have enjoyed remarkable growth. His Facebook fan page has attracted an average of 1,000 additional fans per week and he has more than 10 times the amount of followers on his Twitter page, up from 389 followers the day after the premier, to 5,367, today. On Youtube, Dhani has more than 88,000 channel views and 1,800 subscribers.

Tonight, Dhani travels to Cambodia,where he samples fried tarantulas, feeds snakes and watches contortionists. Sounds like a scene out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Social Media Update for Dhani Tackles the Globe Week 8: Cambodia By Matt O'Hern at 12:05 PM
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Sprint Subscriber Base May Be shifting to Boost Mobile Prepaid

sprint logo

An evaporating subscriber base forced Sprint (NYSE:S) to take drastic cost-cutting measures, and the telecom giant is expected to outsource management of its mobile towers to Ericsson.

Sprint hasn't disclosed whether or not this move will hinder expansion plans for its 4G network. A section of today's edition of the Wall Street Journal caught my eye- the rising popularity of Sprint's pre-paid plans.


The Overland Park, Kan., company, which reports earnings Monday, is expected to say it lost more than one million contract customers in the first quarter, though some analysts expect solid gains in less profitable subscribers who prepay for service.

The prepaid division, Boost Mobile,  has received mixed reviews for its edgy commercials  in the "unwronged" series, including the man baby ad that ends with the "breast milk" comment. Prepaid plans were viewed as outdated, but now as more families are forced to live on fixed incomes, it's easy to see why a pre-paid plan would become much more appealing.

Perhaps you're one of the many customers who have made the switch. Have economic conditions forced you consider a prepaid plan?

*Update: Boost Mobile Credited for Sprint Nextel Profit in 1st Quarter

Sprint Subscriber Base May Be shifting to Boost Mobile Prepaid By Matt O'Hern at 09:24 AM
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Friday, May 01, 2009

Ebay Alternative Site, Tweba, Launches Improved Marketplace

tweba logo

Imagine eBay without the fees and Craigslist without the creepy factor, and you'll get Tweba 2. Tweba's blog details the revised version:

No longer do you have to give out your Ebay Store, Bonanzle Store, Tweba Listings, etc…. You simply show everyone your Tweba feed and then they can choose where to buy your stuff from. a central place for all your needs.Tweba also allows as well as standard buying and selling but also new ways to get stuff. On Tweba you can also Ask for something and then a seller can make you an offer by uploading a description and photo, etc of their item. You can then acceptor reject it.


The original version of Tweba was created by Paul Rawlings,when the site was  known as Tweebay. Copyright lawyers at eBay noticed the similar name, and Tweba renamed and relaunched its site to provide a Twitter-style marketplace.
To register, you must have a Twitter account and follow Tweba, at At login, you'll request a tweba passcode, which will be sent as direct message to your twitter account. Once you get the passcode, you're in.
 You have 240 characters to describe your item and every time you post an item for sale,bid or make any type of transaction on Tweba, you'll receive a Direct Message on Twitter to confirm its you.Items can be sorted into 27 different categories, ranging from antiques to video games.If you've got a Twitter account, put eBay on hold and take the new Tweba for a test drive.

Ebay Alternative Site, Tweba, Launches Improved Marketplace By Matt O'Hern at 03:56 PM
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Facebook Fan Pages: Where Are the Perks for the Fans?

facebook fan pages

Dunkin Donuts has 541,436 Facebook fans, but does anyone even know the significance of that number? Besides showing your loyalty, what's the point of becoming a fan of company with a Facebook page?

For Facebook users, there are only a few perks for becoming a fan, and some pages are designed with different agendas.Categories run the gambit, from athletes and actors to non-profit organizations and restaurants. Some pages are much more sophisticated than others, with varying amounts of company information and interactive features.

For example, the Dunkin Donuts page features videos, company news, promos and events (free ice coffee day). Buffalo Wild Wings, one of the fastest growing sports bars in America, has 111,568 Facebook fans, and its page includes buddy icons, fan photos, fan reviews, games and desktop downloads.
Gatorade's page has 3,542 fans recently launched, and its content.emphasis is on video  Gatorade commercials and high school team season mini-documentaries known as "Replays" are available for viewing.

makeNon-Profit Organizations, such as Make A Wish Foundation  , Samaritan's Purse and St. Jude Children's research hospital, utilize their pages to thank their volunteers and spread awareness about their efforts to help children with life-threatening illnesses.

Marketers at Subway and Dr. Pepper haven't added much content. Personally, I think these pages would become much more appealing if they offered an incentive to become fan, such as contests for coupons and other discounts.

Facebook Fan Pages: Where Are the Perks for the Fans? By Matt O'Hern at 12:00 PM
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May 2009 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (18 entries) May 1-9
  • Week 2 (11 entries) May 10-16
  • Week 3 (14 entries) May 17-23
  • Week 4 (10 entries) May 24-30
  • Week 5 (0 entries) May 31-31

Poll Results: iPhone & Blackberry GPS Don't Replace Garmin, Tom-Tom
my g1 has gps, and with the new update it speaks d...
by charlie taylor
Dhani Jones Autographed Poster Giveaway
i love you so much. i wonted to know if i could ge...
by cat !!
Dhani Jones Autographed Poster Giveaway
I loved the Thailand episode and would also like t...
by Locksman
Dhani Jones Autographed Poster Giveaway
KFC Fumbles Grilled Chicken Giveaway Hyped by Oprah
is this new chicken from KFC fried and THEN grille...
by Nomad

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