Google’s Deal Maker

December 19th, 2005

Alan Meckler has an interesting post in reference to Eric Schmidt’s involvement in the latest Google - AOL deal:

“Eric Schmidt was the difference on this deal - make no mistake about it. 15 years of battling Microsoft and a lot of Internet history, gave Eric the impetus to make the deal. Now Google and AOL will reap the benefits of this alliance.”

Check it out.

Tags: google, aol, microsoft, blocking and tackling

The Entreprenuerial Life

December 18th, 2005

Darren Rouse lays out 7 characteristics of the entrepreneurial life after discussing his start up experiences with a colleague. The truth be told - I have found them all to be accurate in my entreprenuerial life:

The good:

Freedom/Flexibility - Working for yourself brings with it some wonderful positives including the freedom not to have to answer to anyone and the ability to set your own course (and work hours).

The bad:

Emotional Roller Coaster - We both spoke of times of elation, lots of fear and uncertainty and times of real disappointment and even depression.

The Ugly:

Workaholism - Talk to most start up owners and you see a glazed look in their eyes that is the direct result of the combination of lack of sleep, too many hours in front of a screen and the inability to get your mind off the job.

Check out all 7 at Darren’s kick ass blog -

Tags: entrepreneurism, business, problogger, darren rouse,

Interesting Quote of the Week

December 16th, 2005

Dave Winer on “How to Make Money on the Internet Ver. 3″

“Now the fundamental law of the Internet seems to be the more you send them away the more they come back”

“People come back to places that send them away. Memorize that one.”

Pandora: Create Your Own Radio Station

December 14th, 2005

This is a very cool application, Pandora. Its brought to you by the folks at the Music Genome Project. Pandora allows you to create your own customized music stations perse. You start with a blank slate, then add an artist or genre, etc and then Pandora will start streaming tunes based on the data you feed it. Whats cool, is that you can then continue to add additional artists and genres to your station and the system will continue learning your interests. Pandora keeps on playing music and exposing you to new tunage that you may have never heard before (thats the beauty of it). You can create multiple stations, launch the player and keep it on your desktop etc..

Of course, using the player and creating is completely free, you just have to register after a certain amount of use. In order to keep the service free, it would appear that the Music Genome Project has some kind of advertising arrangement with Apple, since iTunes ads rotate continuously. You can of course also purchase any tune you are listening to via iTunes directly from the player, or also purchase the album via I think its a great idea. Check it out, build a station.

Tags: music, digital download, itunes, apple, amazon, personal radio

Modeling Word of Mouth Marketing

December 13th, 2005

They say one of the most powerful marketing mediums is word of mouth. The friendly dialouge that begins within some core social networks, friends telling friends, and then spreads from there. Very powerful indeed. Think about how many things you have tried because it came via the recommendation of a friend. A book you may have read, a vacation spot you may have visted, a product you purchased for your home, etc.. If you spend some time thinking about it you will find that your social network is one of the most influential elements around you.

This is not a revolutionary concept, its been studied and put into practical application for quite some time. In fact, its so powerful that now there are agencies dedicated solely to the modeling and execution of word of mouth marketing strategies. The latest on the scene is Todd Tweedy’s Boldmouth, which was officially launched this week. Todd is very specific about the difference between defining what his agency does: “Word of mouth marketing” versus the common and widely used term of “Buzz Marketing” - Mr. Tweedy, wants to make sure that there is a clear understanding that these are completely two different practice areas - word of mouth being much more powerful that “buzz marketing.” Todd states:

“Real word-of-mouth marketing is about sharing advice as well as product and service recommendations. These informal and typically person-to-person dialogs should not to be confused with “buzz marketing” that is nothing more than an attempt to artificially engineer a referral by offering incentives so that “agents” make recommendations on behalf of an organization. “Buzz marketing companies don’t create buzz. People that are interested in a product or service create ‘buzz’ using word of mouth,”

This of course, as AdRants states, is a direct shot at the “other” agency BuzzAgents, which works exactly under the model that Todd counters in his quote above. I would have to agree with Todd, there is a lot of truth in his statement. There is definitely something “artificial” about the buzz marketing approach versus true word of mouth. Buzz is more of a forced message, whereas WOM is a more natural and holistic approach.

“Disguising a commercial as a person and having these “agents” share commercial messages on an unsuspecting audience with misleading ‘buzz’ tactics simply creates more ad clutter and puts brands in unnecessary danger.”

Definitely an interesting point of view - although I believe there is some effectiveness for clients who engage with that model, there is a more positive influence and a longer term effect for brands who engage with true word of mouth marketing. After sifting through Todd’s blog (Word Spreads Quickly) (great name), I came across one of his posts that links to a diagram of how a successful WOM marketing campaign should be modeled, check it out:

This image tells alot. I never knew exactly what went into a strategic WOM campaign prior to studying the image. A structured approach to these various elements and getting them to work in unison is apparently what Todd calls the “secret sauce” to WOM marketing. Additionally, I am sure there are many other elements and tweaks to this model that can be added to further enhance a campaign. As you can see, effective WOM marketing is very much a practice area of expertise, combining knowledge from multiple channels. Thanks Todd for the great post and good luck with Boldmouth!

Tags: word of mouth, marketing, buzz generation, boldmouth, buzzagents,

Rocketboom on Tivo

December 12th, 2005

Here we go - the morphing of the on-demand medias. TiVo has just announced that it will offer up the popular videoblog Rocketboom in its show directory. Served up fresh daily, will be Rocketbooms 3 minute spin on strange and unique topics of the day.

Wow though… what does this mean? TiVo, the mainstream, on-demand technology company linking up with a pioneering videoblogging unit from NYC? The program TiVo is experimenting with is dubbed the “TiVo Video Download Trial” and seems to be set up for just this type of experimentation. Whats next? Will Tivo and the other mainstream on-demand providers start to open up different channels to the popular homegrown medias? Discuss….

Through reading the news on TiVo’s site - one of the really interesting points about Rocketboom, is its production costs (or lack of):

“Rocketboom is created with a consumer-level video camera, a laptop, two lights and a map with no additional overhead or costs. Also, Rocketboom is distributed online, all around the world and on demand, and thus has a much larger potential audience than any TV broadcast. However, Rocketboom spends $0 on promotion, relying entirely on word-of-mouth, and close to $0 on distribution because bandwidth costs and space are so inexpensive. Schedule: 3-5 minute episodes, released Monday - Friday.”

As mentioned in a previous post, I have recently become the proud new owner of a TiVo system (and helped out a great charity along the way), I plan on setting it up tonight or tomorrow and will be sure to tune into Rocketboom via my telly. I used to be a daily viewer of Rocketboom, maybe now via Tivo and watching it on the big screen, it will make its way back in my daily media routine. If you haven’t checked out Rocketboom yet, be sure to check Amanda Congdon and her whacky world out.

Tags: rocketboom, tivo, on demand media, videoblogging, amanda congdon,

In the Press: The Sun on Corporate Podcasting

December 11th, 2005

Jamie Smith Hopkins writes a great piece in today’s Baltimore Sun Business section on how corporations are jumping on the podcasting bandwagon. I am quoted in regards to my work on the Disney, GM and Verizon Wireless podcasts. Jamie did great research and covered a lot of the various angles that are driving the growth of the medium. What is clearly pointed out is how fast corporations have come to adopt podcasting vs. blogging. You can check out the article here (quick reg required - I will update the link accordingly).

Tags: podcasting, corporate podcasting, ipods, business, marketing, media

Text Pay Me

December 10th, 2005

This is really cool. Trailing along the likes of PayPal’s simple model of sending or receiving money to anyone with an email address, a new service called TextPayMe is taking it to the next level, by launching a new secure mobile payment solution. Yes, text message your payment to someone. Definitely different, but in the evolving world of mobile commerce, this is a model that could be quite effective. The company is even promoting a page prompting users to sign up to buy and sell on Craigslist using the service.

“In public beta phase of testing, TextPayMe allows users to send money via text messaging. To deliver a payment, a user simply enters the amount he or she wishes to send and the recipient’s cell phone number (or personal alias) — the transaction is instantaneous.”

per Textually.

Tags: mobile phones, mobile commerce, craigslist, text messaging, commerce

The iPod Compatible Bed

December 10th, 2005

Yes, thats right, the iPod compatible bed. Check it out:

By Design Mobel.

per PodcastingNews.

Interesting Employment Tactic

December 10th, 2005

Here is one of the more unique ways I have seen someone try to get a job at a company, check out - a weblog that was started by a Google employee hopeful. The author does not reveal his or her name, but makes contact via email simple at [email protected]. The blog contains posts about some of Google’s upcoming goods, and rants in general. Interesting way to gain the attention of a prospective employer:

“A lot of people want to work for Google. I’m one of them. In order to increase my chances of ever getting noticed (let alone hired) by them I have to stand out. This is my attempt to do so.”

Like the Million Dollar Homepage, lets see how fast this trend spreads throughout the blogosphere.

Tags: google, recruitment, blogging,