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Archive for October, 2007

Viral Email Marketing, Why does it work?

In an attempt to show you the power of viral email marketing, I present one of the funniest emails I’ve ever read. Behold:

Last weekend I put an exhaust fan in the ceiling for my wife’s grandfather.  While my wife’s brother and I were fitting the fan in between the joists, we found something under the insulation. What we found was this:

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A JC Penney catalog from 1977. It’s not often blog fodder just falls in my lap, but holy hell this was two solid inches of it, right there for the taking. I thumbed through it quickly and found my next dining room set, which is apparently made by adding upholstery to old barrels

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 Also, I am totally getting this for my bathroom:

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There’s plenty more home furnishings where those came from, however I’m not going to bore you with that. Instead, I’m going to bore you with something else. The clothes. The clothes are fantastic.

Here’s how to get your butt kicked in elementary school: 4.jpg

Just look at that belt. It’s like a boob-job for your pants. He probably needed help just to lift it into place. The belt loops have to be three inches long. And way to pull them up to your armpits, grandpa.

Here’s how to get your butt kicked in high school: 5.jpg

This kid looks like he’s pretending to be David Soul, who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15.

Here’s how to get your butt kicked on the golf course: 6.jpg

This ‘all purpose jumpsuit’ is, according to the description, equally appropriate for playing golf or simply relaxing around the house. Personally, I can’t see wearing this unless you happen to be relaxing around your cell in D-block.

Here’s how to get your butt kicked pretty much anywhere:

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If you look at that picture quickly, it looks like Mr. Bob ‘No-pants’ Saget has his hand in the other guy’s pocket. In this case, he doesn’t, although you can tell just by looking at them that it’s happened – or if it hasn’t happened it will. Oh yes. It will. As soon as he puts down his matching coffee cup.

Here’s how to get your butt kicked at the beach:
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He looks like he’s reaching for a gun, but you know it’s probably just a bottle of suntan lotion in a holster.

How to get your butt kicked in a meeting:
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If you wear this suit and don’t sell used cars for a living, I believe you can be fined and face serious repercussions, up to and including termination. Or imprisonment, in which case you’d be forced to wear that orange jumpsuit.  

How to get your butt kicked on every day up to and including St. Patrick’s Day10.jpg Dear god in heaven, I don’t believe that color exists in nature. There is NO excuse for wearing either of these ensembles unless you’re working as a body guard for the Lucky Charms leprechaun.In this next one, Your Search For VALUE Ends at Penneys11.jpg

As does your search for chest hair.And this — Seriously. No words.
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Oh wait, it turns out that there are words after all. Those words are What. The. H*** . I’m guessing the snap front gives you quick access to the chest hair. The little tie must be the pull tab.Also, judging by the sheer amount of matching his/hers outfits, I’m guessing that in 1977 it was considered pretty stylish for couples to dress alike. These couples look happy, don’t they?
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I am especially fond of this one, which I have entitled ‘Cowboy Chachi Loves You Best.’
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And nothing showcases your everlasting love more than the commitment of matching bathing suits. That, and a blonde girl with a look on her face that says ‘I love the way you fit into that.’
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Then, after the lovin’, you can relax in your one-piece matching terry cloth jumpsuits:
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 could go on, but I’m tired, and my eyes hurt from this trip back in time. I think it’s the colors. That said, I will leave you with these tasteful little numbers:

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Man, that’s sexy.

So as you can see how the viral nature of email marketing works, I will send this on and so on and so forth. What are some of the most popular viral emails ever sent? Why does it work? Because it’s funny. Period.

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Are your websites optimized for Google’s Universal Search?

Google is changing the way we all view search.  Back in May, it introduced a “Universal Search” system that  blends listings from its news, video, images, local and book search engines among those it gathers from crawling web pages.

The move potentially should be a huge boon for searchers, while search marketers who have paid attention to the importance of specialized or vertical search will see new opportunities.

But it has now become more imperative to include video, images, news articles and other content that search engines will want to crawl. Because of this search engine marketers are going to now add this to the mix of “things to do” in order to rank well in Google’s SERPS.

Where this is all going is towards a more vertical type of search result. By being more vertical, the result is more targeted.  The end result is a blend of everything in one column, hence better and more relevance.

Because of this change in a more targeted approach to search results, it means that you as a web afficionado, better have more quality content on your site. The better your content, the more of it that which will be pushed up. By better I mean variety as well.

Google’s ultimate vision for universal search is to search across all its content sources, then comapre and rank all the information in real time, and then deliver a single integrated set of precise and personalized search results.

So when designing a page, or a site, as your goal once was to be in the top 3 on the first page, it’s now important to be on the first page. Why? Because you are now competing with images, videos, blogs, and new results in the organic listings. So the more eye catching your graphics are that appear in the results on the first page, the better your chance of being clicked on, even if your not in the top 3. So the more diverse your site is in it’s approach to content, the better your chances.

So how prepared are you?

Google Phone, fact from fiction.

Here are the Google phone facts: 

According to the WSJ, Google will unveil its long-anticipated plan to bring its software to cell phones within the next two weeks. The “Google-powered” phones are expected to make it to market by mid-2008. The ad-supported phone will have services bundling Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail, the operating system would be open to developers to build additional features.

Google executives have complained that carriers have locked up the market and stifled innovation in the U.S. telephony market. They may bid on 700MHz wireless spectrum, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said last week.

Here are the Google phone rumors and speculation:

Unlike Apple’s iPhone, the Gphone probably won’t be an actual hardware device. Instead, it’s more likely to be a bundle of software and supporting infrastructure that allows a phone manufactured by someone else to access Google services, experts say.

Google will probably partner with France Telecom’s mobile-telephony division Orange and KDDI in Japan, says Stephen Arnold, author of The Google Legacy and a new book, Google Version 2.0: The Calculating Predator. Arnold has researched Google’s patents and found more than a dozen that relate to mobile telephony.

“There is going to be a Google phone as a reference device, probably more than one,” Arnold told CNET News.com. “They will hook into the Googleplex to deliver functionality that ranges from ‘search without search’ (information that anticipates what someone may be looking for), to mapping and calendar services. Google is positioned to move different ways in response to market behavior.”

 

UBS analyst Arthur Hsieh believes that Taiwanese handset maker HTC will ship 50,000 or so handsets by year’s end to developers with the Gphone operating system, according to a recent research note. That’s a sliver of the nearly 1.4 million iPhones that have been sold so far, of course, but it’s a start.

It’s likely the Gphone will be advertising-supported given that the company has filed a patent application for advertising-supported telephony, Arnold said. Not only has Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt expressed interest in the notion of subsidizing the cost of phones with advertising, but the company offers ads on its mobile applications today, said Greg Sterling, principal at Sterling Market Intelligence.

Look for applications like “search, mapping, communications like Google Talk instant messaging,” with ads, said Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research. “That’s their business model, selling ads.”

Don’t expect a fancy touch-screen interface that would compete with Google partner Apple’s iPhone and drive up the cost of the Gphone, experts said. Google may try to do a better version of the Windows Mobile device, only cheaper. If the iPhone is a Lexus, the Gphone will probably be a Honda, particularly if it’s supported by advertising.

Offering a low-cost or subsidized device would also fit in with the company’s strategy to leapfrog with wireless technology in emerging markets, analysts said. “There are going to be a billion or more mobile-phone subscribers in the next few years, and these are people who not only have never used a mobile phone before, but also have never used the Internet before,” Golvin said. “Their first experience of the Internet is likely to be on a mobile phone, not a PC.”

“I tend to feel it will be an operating system and they’ll partner with a handset company,” said Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land. “There will be a Google phone. It will be mini-computer-like, the same way that the Windows Mobile Device is.”

How wired are you? Let me count the ways.

Look around, what do you see in your house right now. Cell phone, home computer, ipod, laptop, PDA, wireless router, VOIP, Digital Cable, Digital Camera, DVR…

OK now look around aagain, who’s wired more? You? Your Friends,  Your neighbor, their kids or your kids?

We now live in a world where 5 and 6 year olds  are more computer savvy and accustomed to the computer than adults were 5 and 6 years ago! However, a sad thing is happening in the new digital universe. Actual  parks and playgrounds that adults once enjoyed as children are being replaced by the virtual places like social networking  sites like MySpace and FaceBook. Additionaly text messaging, instant messenging,  video-music swapping sites and gaming have supplanted the outside world for the inside world.

So the questions is to many parents and educators puzzled by the social habits of this young and wired generation, do you go along? or do you stand on the sideline and worry and fret about how their child is going to turn out?

According to Anastasia Goodstein, author of “Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online” and blogger for Ypulse.com, theirs is a virtual space wherein they play games, experiment with self-expression, and socialize with friends.

As an adult, you can do the same. As a parent and an adult, you shouldn’t let technology scare you into  powerlessness, or intimidate you.  There are many social networking sites that speak to your challenges and your niche, believe it or not.  As well, there are many forums and BBS groups that are niche like in nature that can help you get a feel for the online world. Understanding how these groups interact, will help you in understanding the larger networks.

 As an adult you should also try to balance the virtual world with the real world as well. being wired is not a bad thing, but remember there is no substitute for some type of physical activity or actual face to face encounters. Here’s an idea! Self Express face to face.

According to Donna Bogatin  You are too wired if:

YOU PUT A BLUETOOTH HEADSET IN YOUR MOTORCYCLE HELMET

YOUR CELLPHONE IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT BATHROOM ACCESSORY

YOU PREFER YOUR CELLPHONE OVER TOM CRUISE

YOU BELIEVE YOUR RIGHT TO A CELLPHONE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL

YOU BELIEVE YOUR RIGHT TO YAK IN PUBLIC IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PUBLIC SAFETY

YOU LIVE BLOG A HOSPITAL PROCEDURE

YOU SUFFER FROM A WORK-INDUCED TECH ADDICTION

YOU INTERRUPT SEX TO ANSWER YOUR CELLPHONE

So remember, balance the gadgets, or just wait a little longer and all of the gadgets will be on one device.  It sure does make you wonder how anything got done before computers and cell phones. By Balancing now you reduce the chance that you or your kids will lose any type of social people skills that you have cultivated up to this point. When you think about it, Isn’t the social network almost anti-social because it reduces the actual encounter down to your ability to type a coherent message? The coherent message resembling something like this:  C U L8R, GTG. How is that social interaction?  I can see it now, in 10 years our society will consist of text based face to face conversations where no one looks at each other. Hell they may even use their devices to speak for them as they stand next to each other at a function. Social gatherings will  certainly take on new meaning.

Do you think we are too wired for our own good? Do we improve on it? How so?

A social network that strikes a nerve.

CarePages has to be one of the most heart warming and gut wrenching social networking sites online today.CarePages are free, easy-to-use Web pages, brought to you by Revolution Health, that help family and friends communicate when a loved one is receiving care.

CarePages help Families:

Create a virtual meeting place on the web
Share news and photos as often as needed
Receive emotional support during a time of need

CarePages help families stay connected, informed, and supported. When a loved one is hospitalized or receiving care it can be difficult to communicate. With CarePages, updates are shared via email automatically and visitors can leave messages for the patient and family on the Web page. CarePages give families an emotional lift that is hard to deliver in any other way.

If ever there were a  social networking site that was geared towards something truly emotional this is it. If there are other sites out there, that I should be aware of, please do not hesitate to send them to me. Or better yet let’s Digg the story!

Site du jour

How Do I say this?

How Do I Say This? is an online video advice column, focusing on the things in life that people find impossible to say. They post The users submissions (video, images, text) and use them to help create a final episode answering thecurrent problem. Users may even see their work featured on mtvU television segments!  If you have something you don’t know how to say to someone?  Or if you Have advice you have to share? This is the site for all you Dr. Phil wannabe’s.

Tech solutions that actually help society, where are they?

So I read this blurb this morning: According to a study conducted by the
Crimes Against Children’s Resource Center, the percentage of Internet users
ages 10 to 17 exposed to unwanted pornography in the previous year
increased from 25% in 2000 to 34% in 2005. According to a survey conducted
in 2004 by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 45% of
teens said they have friends who regularly download pornography from the
Internet. According to Nielsen/Net Ratings for February 2002, nearly 16% of
visitors to ‘adult’ websites were younger than 18 years of age.

Which led me to think, are we doing enough as a society to shield children from this? Should children be allowed or exposed to the expressions of free speech? I’d say the answer is no and no. Listen, I’m all for all of the great things that are being done right now for the benefit of web 2.0 and social networking, it truly is a magical time in our cyber world.

But don’t you think that part of our time as  online marketers and developers, should be devoted to using our awsome strength in regards to creating technology solutions to change things? Shouldn’t our tech knowledge and skills be used in somehow trying to segment our children from porn?  We all might as well admit that we all have seen porn online;, and I would love to see stats on how many adults have viewed porn, either at length, accidentily, or for whatever purpose. The gist is, we have all seen it. it’s too easy to find it. Want to know how easy? Just go into Google images for example and type in a simple term, and chances are some type of porn image will be included. Why? Because as I said in an earlier entry, porn marketers and tech developers are some of the savviest in the business.  They know how to drive traffic into porn related sites. Well you know what? Use some of that savviness to create some type of block to minimize the exposure to children. Riddle me this: What possible good does it serve for a child to view porn?

I don’t think parents have to be obligated to purchase something to block content.  You might think thats a bold statement, but when out in the streets or in public places, porn isn’t a storefront either like it is in cyberspace. Ok yes, there are certain streets in the US that have stroefronts, but you have to go out of your way to get there. the point is, I think there needs to be the www for all of mankind and then there needs to be the xxx  for porn. I know this was shot down, as far as domain extensions go but my other point is, porn needs to have it’s own universe and there need to be hoops that one would have to jump thru besides a button that says enter if you’re over 18. That has to the most assinine barrier to objectionable content I’ve ever seen.

Look, the crux of this rant is to say that it’s just not fair to children for them to see things that they don’t need to see just yet. You’re point might be,”well they will see it eventually”, and my point is, not if there were better controls in place. you might also say, well if they don’t see it here, then they will elsewhere, and I’ll  say, “not if it is made more difficult.” Then I will suggest, how about the only way to view porn online is by having a valid credit card? Then, there would always be a record in case it wasnt used by an adult. Plus, we know that most people under the age of 18 do not have a credit card. Sounds fairly easy doesn’t it?

Can’t blame me for trying, but at least I’m thinking of ways to prevent it. What are you doing about it? Chances are, not much. Thoughts anyone?


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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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