Yelp is Broken and Social Flashmobs Apparently Rule

I was just reading about the social media meltdown of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, if you’re not familiar with it, the restaurant was featured on Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares production that airs on the FOX Network. To give you a quick recap, things did not go well for the owners of the restaurant and for the second time since Ramsay has been doing the show, he walked away and essentially refused to help the restauranteurs out.  This act in and of itself says a lot since in his own right, Ramsay can be pretty irascible. So for something to essentially send him packing, when we know what he’s capable of, it had to be pretty bad. Suffice it to say, the owners of this restaurant, took it to another level via these  Kitchen Nightmare Youtube videos.

Watching the videos of the show you can see why. But, not surprisingly, I found out about the particular show via social media. Why? Because the buzz of the show, the videos and of what the owners did  started to play itself out on Facebook.  When that happens, things can move quicker than an Arizona brushfire in July.  So quickly that the brush fires moved over from Facebook to Yelp and Reddit as well.

The gist or the fuel? Apparently the owners decided to respond to the trolls that were commenting about how bad they came off on the show.  This doesn’t absolve the restaurant owners but it does highlight the typical flash mob actions that occur on social networks.  Give them anything and they will run with it. More importantly however, it highlighted something else.

Here comes my point and it’s about Yelp.

Yelp may not be the go-to source for restaurant reviews.

Why? Well, The ABC restaurant has 1131 reviews, some of which might be good, but most are not. 99.9% are snarky, mean, negative “reviews. ” The point?  How many of those 1131 reviewers actually ate at the restaurant and how many just piled on for some good old flash mob social media bashing? 99.9%

What can Yelp do about that? Doesn’t that mean you can go and bash any restaurant, anywhere? Seems like it to me.  Unless I’m missing something.

Help me to understand.

Viral Video #234

This video was sent to me via email and naturally I sent it on, because that’s what we do. But computer graphics notwithstanding, this is still a pretty cool, “wow” type of video.


One world and where the hell is matt?

I have to give props to Peter Shankman on this one. As soon as I saw this video, it made me smile and then think that maybe the world we live isn’t so messed up as we think it is. All anyone wants is a warm meal, a roof over their head and something to smile about every day. Suffice it to say, the below video accomplishes 1 of 3.

I write as much about marketing and social media as the next person, but every once in awhile you have to lay down the pen, the judgement, the criticism and just realize, at the end of the day, it’s important to smile. Thanks Matt  for being extraordinarily ordinary.



Viral Message. When marketers hope we get it. Did you?

Here is a) a great message b) a video that has the potential to be viral and c) Is well done. .When you get to the end of the video, is it what you thought the message would be?

The Moonwalking Bear

This is courtesy of Dothetest

A passer-by asks you for directions. As you talk to him, two workmen walk between you carrying a door. In a flash the passer-by switches places with one of the workmen, and you are left giving directions to a different person. Do you think you would notice?

Researchers at Harvard University played this trick on some unsuspecting people and over 50 per cent failed to spot the change.

This phenomenon is known as “change blindness” – only a tiny fraction of all the information going into your brain enters your consciousness. People often fail to see a change in their surroundings because their attention is elsewhere.

Even stranger, if you are concentrating on something, you can become blind to other events that you would normally notice. This “inattention blindness” is possibly the reason why motorists collide with cyclists.

Just as it is important for road users to keep an eye out for cyclists, cyclists must also take steps to ensure they are seen by motorists.

Direct response marketing and social media have not evolved yet.

This morning as I was laying in bed deciding if I should get up. I start thinking of the strangest of things. One of them being direct response marketing, which is built on the premise that the customer is required or prompted for an immediate response. Of course it comes in many forms. “Act now”,… call this 800 number within the next…”order now and we’ll also add…”. You all get the point.

So my thoughts were, can there be a business model that ties in social media to direct marketing? I immediately went and Googled, “direct response marketing and social media”, and  the results look like this:


Thats great, the results show 3 links with stars that point back to Emerson Direct sites. Apparently we are one of the few companies actually engaged in thinking and writing and actually trying to meld the 2 disciplines into a viable working business model that clients and companies can utilize in driving traffic, sales, and eyeballs to their products and services.

Ok so here’s the deal.  I looked at the first result on the page and the original article came from Hollis Thomases at Clicks, the article Social Media Advertising: No Direct Response Proposition asserts that because of the ROI driven impatient nature of most DR marketers, the social media marketing model does not work. A valid point given the amount of time it takes to establish and grow any social network. But is it really? Or is that just a knee jerk reaction? Given the explosive growth and the phenomenal nature of social networks, my question would be, Why wouldn’t you want to go after targeted traffic congregating in one place? Isn’t that the challenge? To find that traffic, that demographic, so that you can market to it?

Hollis states that:

The problem with reconciling direct response (DR) advertising and social media is that to most advertisers, it’s all about a mathematical equation. If the numbers don’t work, they see the campaign as a failure. This mentality just doesn’t jibe with how social media ad campaigns succeed. Social media is about nurturing. In fact, the process is really more marketing than advertising, period. So unless the DR marketer is comfortable with the “D” standing for “delayed,” channel your ad dollars elsewhere.

I can again, partially agree with that but… Here are some questions that marketers and advertisers can ask themselves:

1) Why can’t Youtube, Flickr, and any type of VOD(video on demand) be a vehicle for a DRTV type of marketing? There are already a ton of advertisers taking advantage of viral videos. What do you see in the first 10-20 seconds of a lot of the video you see? A quick spot. What about URL’s watermarked on the bottom of videos? Why or what is stopping a DR marketer from tryinig to piggyback or create a DR spot that is used only in a Youtube type format? has it been done? I’m not sure. But I’m going to venture to say yes it has. Perhaps because of the fear of a low ROI or the time it takes for some of these social media sites to evolve it has driven marketers into a position of paralysis by analysis?

Isn’t a viral video a type of DRTV? Think about it, it spread so rapidly because the RESPONSE is so instant! The same holds true for direct mail for example. Isn’t a viral email the same as direct response mail? Your response to the email is direct, immediate and viral. Your attention is captivated and you must act. And what do you do? You send it to your favorites, the people that are most like you. Targeted, immediate and impressionable.

So the question remains: Can you or do you build relationships, which is the basis of social media in favor of a direct and immediate reponse? Or is there a happy medium? The only way for DR marketers to find out is to try. Sure it’s easy to say it doesn’t work and to fall back on what you know, but why would you ignore one of the most amazing technological advances to come along since Google?

Viral Video Explained

Here are 3 great examples of viral videos.  The  viral elements are so apparent when using these 3 videos as examples of viral marketing. In short order, they can all scale quickly, which means that the viral growth is exponential, i.e. it can spread quickly. The sharing of the link or the video is effortless, and lastly it’s humorous/touching/strikes a nerve. The first video has been viewed over 900,000 times. Which is a pretty solid number.

Now 900,000 for a  viral video might seem like a large number but if we look at the numbers associated with Jimmy Kimmels F@cking Ben Affleck Response to Matt and Sarah video, you’ll begin to re-think what is construed as a viral video. 

Currently that Jimmy Kimmel video has been seen almost 9 million times. That’s right, 9 million times.  I would suspect that the Hey Jude video will eventually spike pretty high. But as you can see, the power possessed by a truly viral video can reach far and why and travel quicker than a tornado warning. Now admit it, right now you are thinking of sharing this post with someone who might appreciate it? It’s not hard to do, you merely send the link and off it goes. Quick, efficient and no sweat for you. Viral.

To finish off this post, here is the viral video that prompted Jimmy Kimmel’s response video. The Sarah Silverman-Matt Damon Video has been seen by almost 13 million people and blogged about over 1900 times. Make that 1901 times.

Google Mobile- The Android Demo

I’m back on the mobile kick as of late and thought everyone would like to see this video demo, for those who have not seen it. It is very very cool. Watch out iphone is all I can say! The maps feature is extraordinary.