January 17, 2008

Target Apparently Doesn't Understand New Media

By Li Evans

File this under "Stupid Responses from Public Relations Departments".  Target, apparently only deals with "Traditional Media".  Wow, talk about being in the stone-age. Hat-Tip to fellow local twitterer, Annie, for this piece.  Gawker Media has a short piece about a letter sent to Target calling them out about their latest ad campaign, and also the rather, rude reply.

Target Ad in Times Square, Photo Credit to Flickr User Bennet4SenateAmy Jussle, who runs a blog called "Shaping Youth", blogged about and contacted Target about this ad, that's being featured in Times Square in New York City.  Whether you agree with Amy's position on the ad being subversive or exploitive, isn't really why I'm bringing it to the attention of this audience.  Target's reply is what I want to bring to the forefront.

via Gawker (emphasis mine):

"Good Morning Amy,

Thank you for contacting Target; unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with non-traditional media outlets. This practice is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest.

Once again thank you for your interest, and have a nice day."

*just blinks for a few minutes*

Target is now in for a rather rude awakening I think, they are apparently rather clueless to the online marketing world around them.  It's not the "traditional" media that's going to affect them, those pesky "non-traditional media outlets" like ummm lets say.... bloggers .....that are going to be their problem.  A few prominent bloggers have just got wind of this and well lets just say, the power of the blogosphere is a heck of a thing to contend with.  I wonder how long the PR Idiot at Target that decided to respond to Amy with that response will have their job after this?

Photo Credit: Flickr User Bennett4Senate

December 20, 2007

Is Twitter Really Dangerous? Get A Plan In Place Now!

By Li Evans

Twitterlogo I "heart" Twitter

With that said, I was a little taken aback by Michael Krigsman's "Twitter Is Dangerous" title of his article when I saw it on Techmeme this morning.  I was like HUH?  Really now, you aren't going to tell me Al Qaeda is using it to send secret messages are you?  Then I read the article.

Michael's definitely got a great point.  Fortunately for Twitter, most of it's early adopters have a sense of what is ethical to do and not do when it comes to "tweeting" on Twitter.  However, as Twitter's user base grows (it's now over 700,000 users) and enters more into the mainstream, not only is this going to be an issue for IT departments but for Public Relations and Online Marketing Departments as well.

This is the time when you need to add Twitter to your "online communications" policy. Twitter is not like your normal instant messenger like AOL's AIM, Yahoo Instant Messenger or ICQ.  Those IM clients are one-to-one communications.  With Twitter you can talk to hundreds and possibly thousands of followers with just 1 tweet that's 140 characters long.

Onlinecommuncationscartoon Twitter is great when you want to reach the captive masses fast.  It can also be a burden if your employees are using Twitter and do not understand the implications of one tweet that leaks vital information.  However, this burden is no more dangerous than having an employee hitting "reply all" or posting a blog post about sensitive information.  The issue needs to be addressed with company employees about discretion and use of online communication mediums.

Is Twitter really dangerous?  Only if you don't plan for and address the key issues your company could potentially have with it.  If you don't have an online communications policy in place now, get one and make sure Twitter's added to the mix.  If you do have one in place, make sure you add Twitter and notify your employees about the policy changes.

November 05, 2007

Green Week at NBC Universal - TV Marketing Aligns with Online Marketing Seamlessly

By Li Evans

Nbc_green_is_universal_week Last night as I watched in utter agony as the Eagles got trounced by the Cowboys, I was struck by the efforts of NBC marketing it's "Green Week".  Not only is the network promoting this through the Today Show, but it's permeating throughout everything NBC is doing this week, including sporting events such as Sunday Night Football and even to the local affiliates.  They even managed to point out the Eagles "Go Green" project during the game last night, lead by Christina Lurie, and it's the most active in the NFL (hey at least the Eagles are doing something right this season!).

Regular shows such as Chuck, Heroes and Life all have special programming.  However, it just doesn't end there.  It moves over to other NBC Universal, Inc. owned properties such as USA Networks, Bravo and Sci Fi Channels.  Shows like Monk. Flash Gordon and Real Housewives all are participating.  It's actually pretty neat to see not just one major network but at least 3 others kicking into promoting this effort.  At NBC's "Green is Universal" site, there's a whole list of networks and shows that are participating.

NBC's Green Week goes way beyond just changing the well known colorful peacock logo they have to be green, the websites all have changed to reflect the marketing of the effort as well.  Beyond the colors changing there's an entire subset of information around Green Week available.

Today_show_ends_of_the_earth I think you are getting the "green" picture here.  This had to take some very strategic planning months in advance.  Dealing with huge conglomerates is tough enough, let alone having to deal with a lot of TV shows and crossing channels like they have, but they have done it seamlessly.  How many times as an online marketing have I found myself frustrated with companies not making sure all advertising channels are in the loop together?  Enough that I've lost count on my fingers and toes.

Cheers to NBC Universal, what a great job on this effort, one well worth every minute and dollar spent pulling it all together!

For some added fun to push awareness of the "Green" efforts, there's a relatively new green social network.  Check out "Do The Green Thing", and watch the video that launches with the site, it's rather hilarious!

August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Cre8asite Forums!

By Li Evans

Did you know that Cre8asite Forums is 5 years old today?  Wow, time flies doesn't it?

Congratulations to Kim, Bill and the rest of the crew at Cre8asite that keep the site running and continually dispense great advice, news and conversation. 

August 16, 2007

OMG the SKYPE is Falling - Coworkers Forced to Communicate Face to Face

By Li Evans

Skype Sorry.. I couldn't refuse.  If you didn't know, E-Bay owned Skype is down and has been for quite a while today.  E-bay's message says 12-24 hours till it's return.  Apparently software is the cause.  If a legitimate phone company went offline for that long because of software problems, wouldn't there be riots? 

Right now it's just a plethora of activity out on Techmeme.

It's a pain for us here at the office, we use Skype to communicate from the front office to the back.  Guess that means we actually have to get up, walk to a cubicle and talk to our co-workers today. :)

April 23, 2007

Newspapers Online - With Revenue Falling What's Next?

By Li Evans

Newspapers According to an article on PaidContent today, newspaper companies are seeing a slowing in online ad revenue growth.  This really struck me as interesting.  Especially in light of a lot of smaller newspaper companies striking deals with the search engines like Yahoo to handle their online advertising.

It seems that the online version of the newspapers are increasing feeling the competition from websites by TV Stations and magazines like Time, Inc.  What's interesting to note, some of these websites from the TV Stations and Magazines, are increasingly adding Social Media pieces.

From voting on stories, to forums to discuss "hot topics" these sites are increasingly giving the "consumer" more control. However, they aren't putting the entire reigns over to the reader.  Instead they are giving their readers a "piece" of the action that creates a stickiness.  This stickiness brings back the readers time and time again because of their time investment.

Granted, I'm not saying that newspapers need to totally plunge into Social Media, but it is an opportunity that is definitely worth investigating.  From "sharing" local photos, to a "sound off" message board and adding voting on the top stories, or the ability to comment on articles, there's a lot of different ways newspapers can incorporate their users into participating on their site.

The other end of the spectrum is for newspapers to strike deals with the search engines.  Yahoo, seems to be really moving to capture all the newspapers it can.  In the past two weeks, Yahoo sealed a deal with 250 newspapers to provide the advertising for the papers from contextual ads to HotJobs and classified listings. 

Yahoo I really took notice to this when my old hometown newspaper, the Pottsville Republican Herald had an article about it's parent company, the Times Shamrock, Inc., striking a deal with Yahoo!  It's basically the same one described in the LA Times article about the deal with 250 newspapers.  I emailed the article's author to see if I could get some kind of clarification if Yahoo! was going to help them with the banner and image ads they have on their sites, but the author never replied back.  So, I'm still left wondering.

What's interesting is that Yahoo!'s replacing Google on most of these sites.  I guess Google isn't seeing the same value in the news industry as Yahoo does.  I guess for the newspapers, any help is great for them, seeing their numbers continue to fall.

April 02, 2007

DoubleClick For Sale - Part 2

By Michael Abolafia

According to a recent article it looks like Google, Yahoo and AOL have joined Microsoft as interested parties to purchase DoubleClick.  As i mentioned in my previous blog entry, the affiliate network GoogleyahooPerformics would be a part of this sale.  I feel as though a sale to Microsoft, Google and Yahoo would have the potential to greatly change the affiliate space.

Many people have come out and said that the new Google CPA network would be the end of affiliate marketing.  I do not believe that to be true at all.  Could it take a small cut out of traditional Affiliate Marketing?  Maybe.  However, to me affiliate marketing is about relationships and matching offerings to the needs of a marketing partner.  This could be in the form of interactive banners, data feeds, search banners, etc.  Until Google could offer these types of customizability and relationships their offerings will not have a big negative impact on the Affiliate Marketing space.  But could the purchase of DoubleClick provide them with this opportunity?

March 20, 2007

Google Maps' Traffic vs. Traffic.com

By Li Evans

Since the beginning of March I've been running an experiment of my own between Google Maps' Traffic feature and Traffic.com.  I wanted to see how well Google's traffic information compared to Traffic.com for the Philadelphia area.  George, left a comment yesterday asking about the comparison, so after two weeks of using each side by side, here's my review.

I live in Limerick, PA which is north west of the heart of downtown Philly and I drive about 25 miles to Plymouth Meeting, PA.  I take Rt. 422 east to the Schuylkill (Skoo-kull) Expressway (I-76) east to the Blue Route (I-476) north.  Most days it takes me about 35-40 minutes to get to work.  There are alternate ways to get to the office, but I only use them when Rt. 422 is really backed up, since the alternate way consists of two lane roads and a lot of stop lights (it is about 4 miles less in distance though).

Googlemapforwork

If I had relied solely on Google Maps' Traffic, I'd be cursing every time Rt. 422 backs up.  Google Maps' Traffic fails miserably where Traffic.com tells me exactly where its backing up, jammed or slowed.  The map above shows the route via Google Maps.  I highlighted my route in blue, and an alternate in purple, and then pointed out where it normally backs up in red, where Google consistently fails to point out.

Trafficcommap

Traffic.com however, shows both "Backed Up" and "Slowed" traffic areas, and updates that information consistently.  The great thing about Traffic.com, is that you can get reports emailed to you for your drives (I've got them set for both going to and coming from work), and additionally, if your route experiences a "jammed factor" beyond a certain threshold, you can be emailed as well.  Traffic.com also marks off where there's accidents, issues or construction - Google doesn't do that at all.

Mytraffic

I don't know where Google gets its information from for its traffic reporting.  Where ever they do, at least for the Philly area, leaves a lot to be desired.  Traffic.com, hands down is the superior service here.  Of course Traffic.com has a very extensive network built up here, complete with digital drive information -- and you even seen their own vehicles on occasion, driving through the traffic during your drives.

Google Maps Traffic might be good for the occasional traveler to the "City of Brotherly Love", but its sorely lacking for the every day commutes in area.  For now at least, I'm sticking with Traffic.com - it keeps my blood pressure down!

February 22, 2007

Tired of Wikipedia? Try Britannica

By Li Evans

Nowikipedia_1 Since Wikipedia put the "link condom" on all the links pointing outside of its wiki, they've angered a lot of people who use to be their supporters.  Andy Beal has even suggested a "no follow" linking back to Wikipedia.

I just got done reading Lisa Barone's post about her issues with Wikipedia.  Both of these issues bring me back to a suggestion I made a few months ago, that the engines stop using Wikipedia as "the authority", I'd like to add to that suggestion for everyone else out there stop linking to Wikipedia, period.

There is a tried and true authority in this type of verified information, and it's a relied on and trusted (by college professors) source for quick definitions that you can use for free (just like Wikipedia!).  Yes - Encyclopedia Britannica has a FREE section believe it or not.  It's free encyclopedia section gives you enough information to get your point across, and it's verified by experts.

Conciseencyclopedia Just head out to Britannica's site, type in the word you'd like to search on, if it has information on it, you'll see it in their "Free - Concise Encyclopedia" section.  You then just click on the links that closely match your criteria and you can garner a decent amount of information, perfect for those of us who just link to explain a term.

Of course if you are in need of more in-depth information, you need to be a member to access it.  But stop and think, this is verified, highly reliable research.  This isn't information that teenagers in their free time between skateboarding and texting their friends are placing into a wiki.  It's probably well worth the investment if you need to be constantly doing that deep kind of research.

Give Britannica a whirl, you might be surprised how useful it really can be!

February 05, 2007

My Super Proposal On Veronica Mars?

By Li Evans

Mysuperproposal_3Arrrg! TypePad decides to go down at the most inopportune times! I wanted this out a few hours agao, but Typepad wouldn’t cooperate, sorry folks!

Well if you watched the SuperBowl, and you've seen the line ups of commercials, you'll know by now that JP's deal fell through to have a commercial appear during the game.  Probably what was most disappointing was that CBS was still calling JP during the game to say it "might" still happen.  By the 3rd quarter, it was a no go. I had been in contact with Joe the morning of the SuperBowl, and because they won the adAge poll, there was that “chance”, but it wasn’t to be. :(

What sucks is that we had to suffer through Flomax, re-fried GoDaddy and SalesGenie commercials instead.  Blah!

Veronicamars There is a bright spot though, JP's still going to do his proposal via a TV program.  Which one?  Veronica Mars!  I'm a fan of that show - love the twists and spins those writers come up with!  Anyway - back to JP, he's bought a local spot on the CW where he lives.  No, I don't know where that is, since Joe's the only one who knows that (I've considered bribing him, but you know that price might be a little high!), it's been kept under tight wraps.  But interestingly enough Joe's working on possibly getting the commercial aired nationally.

Either way, if I find out more - I'll let you know.  So watch Veronica Mars tomorrow night to see the super proposal we didn't get to see during the big game!

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