Maybe it’s because

Maybe it’s because I work in marketing, but I get so pissed when I receive multiple mailings (email or direct mail) from a company because I subscribe or am a member to more than one thing. It seems possible and in fact quite easy to run a de-dupe process so that people only have to be hit once with a message.

Silicon Alley Reporter is the worst offender of this practice… I am not sure why they do it, but everytime there is some special offer I get at least 3 emails from them, each from a different list I subscribe to. I may be a bit harsh here so take it for what it is… SAR is a small business. Everyone knows this stuff is coming from the place and that the different messages are really just based on topics of interest – unlike their marketing which is generic. I actually emailed back to them some time ago, and don’t recall getting a response, nor have I seen a difference in their practices. A tip for them — simple desktop based spamware, does not let you send messages to the same address… why do they pay money for this low-end krap. (the k is for emphasis)

In the same way, ClickZ and their sister pubs at are also very guilty of this. When it is conference time, I will get up to four invitations to the same event. This is a marketing focused organization and they can’t get it right? Come on… Wake up! Think about the simple lift in response (not just how wonderful your open rate is from sending multiples to each address) would be if you lowered the total number sent.

My last example is Citi Bank. Today I received two messages about improvements to my online access to two different credit cards. Seems ok right? I mean you can have more than one card from a bank and expect more than one thing… The magic here is that I actually went through the effort of combining my access online so I only login once to see both cards. Why is Citi Bank unable to see this? I don’t know other than to guess that they have a very expensive CRM platform that no one knows how to use. ;(

Google’s dominant position

Examines whether Google’s dominant position as the Web’s leading search

engine threatens the independence of the Web. The article: “So powerful

has Google become that many companies view it as the Web itself. If you’re

not listed on its indexes, they say, you might as well not exist. And if

you don’t advertise on Google or otherwise curry favor, critics add, you

may never find out what it takes to get a prominent listing.” Danny

Sullivan, who runs “So many people are dependent on

Google’s free editorial traffic that it’s like food out of their mouths to

lose ranking. Search engines are not in the business of supporting

people’s companies. But if they are going to provide editorial, they need

to provide support. These are some of the issues they face.”

Just caught this is Adweek:

Just caught this is Adweek:

A big fat thanks to record execs

Thank you for fighting the good fight against Internet MP3 file-swapping. Because of you, millions of kids will stop wasting time listening to new music and seeking out new bands. No more spreading the word to complete strangers about your artists. No more harmful exposure to thousands of bands via Internet radio either. With any luck they won’t talk about music at all. You probably knew you’d make millions by embracing the technology. After all, the kids swapping were like ten times more likely to buy CD’s, making your cause all the more admirable. It must have cost a bundle in future revenue, but don’t worry – computers are just a fad anyway, and the Internet is just plain stupid.

- Rolling Stone

Jackass #1

While made for only $5 Million, Jackass took in an estimated $22.7 Million this past weekend which is incredible considering how it was undermarketed and maintains a strong R rating.

“Older teenagers and college-age students apparently just love to watch people do the things that the people do in this movie,” said Paul Dergarabedian, chairman of Exhibitor Relations, a Los Angeles company that monitors box-office results. “It’s like people will always stop to see a train wreck.”

Not exactly ad free…

Not exactly ad free, but no graphical ads… Google is providing both the search results and the search technology to what is essentially the iWon platform (it was created by the same people). Based on how hot text ads are right now, they expect to be profitable after the first month!

Hype or reality? You decide. I set it to my default home page after personalizing it. The site is damn fast and with the Google engine behind it with minimal design, how can you go wrong…

The target audience, according to Steinman, is disenchanted Yahoo users. “They have 40 different advertising placements on their homepage,” he notes. “And they changed their privacy policy six months ago to use their list for all sorts of marketing.” The nerve. Myway, meanwhile, says it won’t collect user info or send users any e-mail. Gordon Hodge, an analyst, predicts Yahoo isn’t likely to feel any heat from Myway anytime soon, commenting: “The question is how they can get the word out about it.” Indeed, unlike Iwon, which launched with a $70 million ad campaign in 1999, Myway “plans little advertising.” However, observes Steinman: “Google spent nothing on marketing and look where they are.”

Just reviewing a presentation…

Just reviewing a presentation that will be used for a Monday meeting and caught this headline:

A fully integrated, synergistic brand-building and franchise-expanding initiative

I know I work in marketing but come on… Could that be any more self-serving and meaningless?

distorted reality

I guess engineering and marketing a product designed to kill you over the longest possible amount of time tends to skew your view of reality…

Philip Morris, the largest cigarette maker, has also expressed its disapproval of strong anti-tobacco ads. In April, company officials wrote to Debra Bodenstine, the director for health awareness and tobacco at the Florida Department of Health, contending that recent ads „ created by Crispin, Porter & Bogusky „ concerning Philip Morris’s marketing of cigarettes overseas were “inaccurate, misleading and false.”

not exactly a clear view…

The Times article (login name: cyberpunk21; password: cyberpunk21) is a reviewer’s comparison of the two products. But, with MSN advertisements surrounding the content, the page indirectly suggests the article is biased toward MSN — diminishing The New York Times’ journalistic credibility.


LET THEM EAT CAKE. “Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s chief designer, recently made headlines by suggesting that Chanel customers lose weight if they want to wear his tiny new “shrink-to-fit” creations,” writes Chris Hoyt in Out There. “Although everyone got a lot of laughs out of his advice (particularly his “this is not something fascist we are imposing” remark), his apparent disregard for the customer struck an uncomfortably familiar chord when it comes to the promotions we see coming out of too many packaged goods promotion agencies …”

From the NYT…

From the NYT…

There is little question the Postal Service can use help. It supposedly is a self-supporting independent agency, but it is owned by the federal government. Although it pays no taxes, it is not subsidized. It deals with four unions „ for city carriers, rural carriers, clerks and mail handlers „ and its labor negotiations are subject to final arbitration.

The Postal Service must go through an arduous legislative review each time it wishes to raise a rate or close an office „ and not surprisingly, few members of Congress will vote to allow any post offices to close in their districts. Moreover, its pension liabilities “would swamp most companies,” Mr. Davis said.

So encumbered, the Postal Service lost more than $1 billion in each of the last two years. Although its recent rate increases will probably enable it to turn a profit of $600 million or so in fiscal 2003, which began on Oct. 1, Mr. Nolan puts the amount in context. “That’s enough for two weeks’ payroll,” he said.

It all makes sense now…

It all makes sense now… When Neustar decided to launch two new TLD’s (Top Level Domain) .Biz and .US they seemed like odd choices. They also wanted to limit the usage of .Biz to businesses which does make sense.

For those of you not keeping score at home… Originally the main tld’s – .com, .net and .org – were intended to serve sites based on type. Commercial, Network Operator like ISPs and Non-Profits were supposed to each have their own space which they did until around 1995 when the commercialization of the web really took off. When things started getting competitive for VeriSign, then Network solutions, in around 1996-7 the walls came down and sites used whatever

names they wanted to based on what was available and made sense for their purpose. But I digress…

It seems all along Neustar had a longer term horizon than the average eye gave them credit for… As a spinoff of Lockheed Martin, Neustar won a potentially lucrative contract which became available through the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Our government forced AT&T to maintain a backup database of phone records elsewhere and, you guessed it, Neustar is the place. The trick for them will be to properly monetize what they have. When Network Solutions tried this a few years back with something called The Dot Com Directory. It failed miserably. Neustar needs to find a way to do what they want – match customer database records for companies and sell the accurate and cleansed data back.

The Dark Side of Digital Identity. From a Forbes profile of Neustar’s Jeffrey Ganek: “Ganek’s little-known database [of North American telephone numbers] could be a treasure trove of data as Microsoft and big rivals race to gain control of consumers’ digital identities for Web commerce and services. Neustar could mine the information, repackage it and sell it to businesses that want easier ways to reach consumers. …Ganek thinks he can easily double revenue if he can persuade telcos to let him mine their data and run a digital identity database.” [icann.Blog]

When Yahoo launched their online

When Yahoo launched their online gaming service one publisher was suspiciously left out. Well today it’s revealed that AOL in fact did the deal with EA and starting with Need for Speed will launch a premium service called “First Play” which like “First Listen” and “First View” will give subscribers a chance to play games (music and videos) first through AOL.

AOL looks to games for subscriber boost. The company expands its offerings with a service that gives AOL subscribers exclusive access to new online games and downloadable demos from leading game publisher Electronic Arts. [CNET]

I read this article last

I read this article last night and did not think much of it until later when I checked my referers through Radio. I noticed that several things I have written (some recent and some older) had been picked up by Google. Unfortunately, the URL linked to my main page, not the article being referenced and upon arrival there is no easy way for someone coming into the average blog to then track down the article or story. While things like trackbacks and permalinks can be used by blogs, the bots from the search engines are not able to distinguish them yet. Hopefully soon…

Google loves blogs. Blogs loves Google. But is there trouble in paradise? When items slip of the front page of most blogs, there is an anecdotal two- to three-week delay before archived items are reindexed. As Dylan Tweney points out this is an artifact of the fact that Google’s basic unit of indexing is the web page URL and blogs are more fine-grained: the post as the basic unit, usually multiple posts on a single page.

Permalinks arose to address this same issue, allowing post-level targetting of links to web posts. This is generally implemented with named anchors within pages, although it’s also possible to assign each entry its own page in the archives, even if several entries are aggregated at any one time on the blog’s index page.

Dylan has a suggestion, though, to help the Googlesphere catch up with the blogosphere:

As it turns out, we do have a couple of data formats that understand the difference between a post and a page, include useful summary data, and even include handy pointers back to the exact archive location of a post. They’re called RSS and RDF.

These syndication formats are used to aggregate news, but they could be useful indexing tools too. What if Google (or Daypop, once they can afford to buy a few new hard drives) collected RSS and RDF feeds — and then archived them in a searchable index?

Instead of news stories scrolling off into oblivion when they get to the bottom of a feed, they’d enter a permanent index where they could be used for information retrieval later.

It seems that the same approach would work when indexing an intranet or enterprise portal. Maybe part of the solution for turning k-logs into a true knowledge sharing system is to make sure the search implementation indexes RSS feeds from k-logs, making knowledge retrieval possible without discontinuities.

First AOL, then MSN and

First AOL, then MSN and now Yahoo… Rich Media ads finally break through to the mainstream. I guess media companies and portals have finally realized that not banners get out-performed by richer media like superstitials and eye-blasters, but they need to support them to get the revenue.

Yahoo to run multimedia ads. Under pressure to boost sales in a lifeless ad market, the Web portal launches AdVison, a full-page ad that broadcasts commercials, and runs Web pages, surveys and online games.


AOL Chairman’s No. 1 Ally

AOL Chairman’s No. 1 Ally Turns Into His Biggest FoeAOL Chairman’s No. 1 Ally Turns Into His Biggest Foe. Two years after America Online agreed to acquire Time Warner, Ted Turner has soured on both the merger and Stephen Case, its principal architect.

Not quite the glory days for Ted and his views of the company two years ago when we was quoted as saying that the merger of AOL and Time Warner could be compared to “the first time I made love.”

If you want the good

If you want the good stuff, or at least want it first, you will have to pay. Star Wars trailer – buy Quicktime. Two Towers trailer, login to AOL. Good thing I have an account!

AOL previews second Tolkien film. America Online says it will debut the promotional trailer for “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” in a move to draw traffic to the online service. [CNET]

We all miss the old

We all miss the old dot-com days in NYC when you could order pretty much anything youu desired and have it delivered by messenger within an hour. Kozmo and UrbanFetch bit the dust… WebVan never made it here, but now people are starting to get excited with the idea of Fresh Direct.

Can FreshDirect Bring Home the Bacon?. WebVan crashed, and other online grocers haven’t won consumers’ hearts. Now, Joe Defele says his New York startup has the right recipe [Business Week: Daily Briefing]

I have become a huge

I have become a huge fan of the Google News site. Once I get settled with everything on Radio, I will look into getting this going.

Bruce Loebrich has scraped RSS feeds for Google news, and a RSS 2.0 success story. In other words, it’s okay to use the features in 2.0. We’re doing it at UserLand and so is Bruce. [Scripting News]