Don't forget the rest of the digital puzzle

iStock_000005066615XSmall.jpgWith all of the buzz around social media it's easy to overlook the rest of the digital marketing puzzle. Yes, it's fun to talk about Twitter and Facebook and the other new bright shiny objects, but they're just one component of a balanced online marketing strategy.

Take a look at the following chart from e-Marketer that shows how US adults prefer to have companies communicate with them. Note that email is still almost twice as requested as web sites.

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That being said, social media has the opportunity to help drive business, create valuable content and serve as a landing point for various customer segments. Content is the foundation of any quality experience online, just ask anyone who's run a website.

Email - Social media (from Twitter to blogs) is centered around constant content updates. It's also a rule that very few people actually participate by commenting or adding content. Most people participate by reading and clicking (which is just as valuable in my opinion). Email is a perfect way, however, to summarize the best, most relevant conversations that are taking place.

Search - Search engines absolutely love social media content. It's categorized, updated frequently and is full of metadata. Results from blogs and other social media outlets are showing up in search result pages alongside corporate websites and official releases. The more relevant, popular, trusted sources will rise to the top...many times they'll be blogs.

Advertising - Sites like Facebook are full of user data that is being leveraged by marketers to create timely, relevant, targeted ads. Facebook made poor decisions early on with their Beacon program, but smart marketers are using the targeting to eliminate waste and only pay for the qualified clicks.

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With social media as one component of digital marketing mix, keep thinking about how it can integrate with other tactics. How can you use the content generated in emails, ads, mobile messaging, search targeting, etc.? How can you extend it offline into physical items for marketing. Look at examples like Moo.com that allow you to create social artifacts that lead people back to your space online.

Social media is not an island,
it's a high-power engine on the larger marketing ship.

Social media isn't the end-all-be-all, but it offers marketers unparalleled opportunity to participate in relevant ways. It also provides a launchpad for other marketing tactics. Social media is not an island, it's a high-power engine on the larger marketing ship.


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Social reputation patterns

Picture 12.pngI found a very interesting post on the Yahoo User Interface blog today discussing social reputation patterns. Reputation is a way to create engagement inside a community and plays an important part in many social networks and other action-driven sites.

Some quick examples of reputation systems are LinkedIn's profile completeness and eBay seller ratings. Having these levels of reputation in the system give interactions an added value. In eBay, sellers are given the incentive to deliver what they say they will, because they know they'll be rated afterward. LinkedIn's profile completeness level is dependent on helping others in the system and encourages more interaction.

Here are the patterns that Yahoo mentions:

rep-patterns.jpg

These patterns can also be used in different types of community environments. They range from altruistic, nurturing communities to combative, winner-takes-all environments. Certain brands can use each to deliver value to their community.

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Take a minute now and think about the communities that you participate in where users are given an incentive for taking action. Where does it fit in these patterns? Most sites use multiple patterns to engage different groups of users and it's a very powerful technique to engage users online and drive repeat visits and extended loyalty.



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Personalized brand experiences; Radiohead's Nude Re/Mix

By now you most likely know about Radiohead's experimental release program for their newest album "In Rainbows". Basically, the band set up a site where their fans could buy the album for whatever price they wanted to pay. People could have paid $0 or $100 if they wanted. You can read my original post along with what I decided to pay here.

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Radiohead is continuing to find innovative ways to allow fans to own the brand in a personalized way. The latest idea is a contest in partnership with Apple and their Garageband product. It allows people to buy their song "Nude" (track three) with all of the independent pieces of the track. So, you can buy the drum track, the bass track, the guitar track, the strings track and the voice track all independently.

Picture 16.pngOnce people have the pieces of the track, they're encouraged to remix the song using Garageband to create a completely unique take on it. Once they have a file they then go to the site www.radioheadremix.com and load their track into the community. Once there, people can vote for each track and create a widget to promote their entry.

This is a fantastic idea as a way to allow fans to get involved with the Radiohead brand, create something that is their own and join in a community of other, like minded fans. More companies, bands, products, teams, etc. need to look at this model as a way to create deeper engagement. Providing raw assets that can be used to create original, personal by-products could be powerful. It's not for every brand, but for Radiohead and their fan base it works well. Take a listen to some of the songs, they're quite incredible and took an obvious time investment.

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Who are you looking for? Criminals or evangelists?

Friendorfoe_2 Easily the most value that I receive from writing this blog is the interaction with you in the comments. Yesterday's challenge to marketers to wake up and start looking for ways to leverage new media (instead of shutting it down) was no exception. Great comments like those always lead me to new ideas and questions, so much so that I have a hard time sleeping.

One comment yesterday sparked me to think about a fundamental shift in thinking that needs to take place for companies to be able to fully engage in their community.

When you look at your brand's social media universe, are you looking for criminals or evangelists?

It seems like too many companies are looking for malicious intent right from the start. They treat loyal, fans and content creators like they're criminals when they should be engaging those people in alliances and helping them to add value to the larger community.

But, how can you tell friend from foe? This can, admittedly, be a little complex at first glance. I think the easiest way to tell friend from foe is to engage them in a conversation. Shoot them an email, be positive and see what they have to say. Online it's easy to reach out to the person taking the time to create on your behalf. Look at their intentions (which should be pretty clear) and come up with a plan to engage them whether the intent is positive or negative.

I do understand that there are legal protections that have to be maintained through the marketing process. Shel Holtz had a fantastic response to my post on his blog where he talks about blaming the law and not the lawyers and he's right. However, progressive companies that are willing to lay a little more on the line can really capitalize. Smaller companies could have a huge advantage over their larger, more bureaucratic, litigious counterparts.

What additional steps would you take to find more about somebody's intentions? What steps have you taken to engage evangelists when you spot them in the wild? These are passionate people who can be a powerful force in grassroots marketing.

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First//Look: Seesmic (pre-alpha)

What do you get when you combine video, social networking, micromedia and a very savvy French entrepreneur? You get Seesmic. Seesmic is the brainchild of French blog-star Loïc LeMeur and aims to do to video conversations what Twitter did to text-based conversations. The site is a social network where the primary content is video. Users record video, post it to the site and other users reply in video.

The site is in pre-alpha (only about 300 users testing right now) and a lot will change over the course of the next couple of months and I'll re-post when it goes into beta. Enjoy the video:


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here is an example of the user-side of the video experience from Seesmic:

Key takeaways for marketers:


  • The move toward video as an intimate, personal form of communicating is here
  • Technology has caught up to consumers and video is easy to record on Seesmic right through the browser
  • Conversations will be mobile on this site down the road so you can create, send and reply to videos from a mobile device
  • Content created by the users is re-mixed into a daily video best-of video that is then shared with everyone
  • Hooks into YouTube, Twitter and Skype help auto-promote content to larger, external networks
  • The company is asking for suggestions and proactive responding to them in video
  • The openness that the company is providing as they share how they are growing is a model more companies should follow

Through the videos they've created I have found myself becoming attached to the company and the model they are using to build a company. I will keep an eye on this in the future and let you know when more invites become available.

If you have a site that you would like me to look at and possibly do a post like this on, drop me an email or leave a comment on the post.


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Buzz Friday for November 16, 2007; mega edition

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across social media and new marketing this week. If there is anything that you would like to see in this post or if you have something you think is Buzz-worthy please drop me an email or leave a comment on this post. I want to make this as beneficial for you as I can.

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[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Inside the video:


  • Google announced two huge platforms over the past couple weeks. OpenSocial aims to make app development easier across multiple networks and Android looks to be the OS for mobile devices of the future.
  • OpenSocket has created a container to allow apps developed on Google's OpenSocial platform to run in Facebook. Where there is a will there is a way.
  • Blogger Social 08 Ramping up. Are you going?

And in other news:

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. StumbleUpon
  2. Geni
  3. Bloglines
  4. Upcoming
  5. Technorati

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Duct Tape Marketing
  3. Search Engine Guide
  4. Daily Fix
  5. Logic + Emotion
  6. Diva Marketing
  7. What's Next
  8. The Engaging Brand
  9. Brand Autopsy
  10. Influential Marketing

View the top full top 25

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Por que no te callas?
  2. Android demo
  3. Not the daily show, with some writer
  4. Why we fight
  5. Spice tesco 2007

More


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The power of first-person content

bandofbloggers.pngThere is something very compelling about seeing what is happening somewhere in the world through the eyes of the people who are there. I saw a segment on the History Channel for a new feature they were running on their site. It's called "Band of Bloggers" and features original, un-edited content from our troops on the front lines.

There is no editor or producer here and the clips are raw. The power of seeing our troops in action and hearing what they think is impressive and a nobel use of this technology. Troops can get a camera and then all they need is a computer to type their message, upload the videos and submit photos. All of this is woven into the site and forms a powerful story.

I urge you to check it out. For all of the talk of navel-gazing and bright shiny objects, the tools we're working with in social media are changing the world. Not five years ago you would have NEVER seen content like this unless you were related to somebody who was serving.

On a related, and belated, note many thanks to all of the men and women who serve now, and have served in the past, for the freedom we enjoy today.


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Inside//Out: Utterz (beta)

Picture 3.pngUtterz is a new micromedia service along the same lines as Twitter, Pownce and Jaiku. Utterz, however, concentrates more on multimedia than straight text with options to record audio and send video and photos. All of this content is tied to the user's cell phone, so all you have to do is dial in and Utterz knows who you are. The same thing goes with video and photos, just send the file in an email and they post it to your account.

As with any social network, and micromedia networks are no different, there is a balance between audience and functionality. The people make up the network and Utterz is new to the scene and has low adoption right now. On the other hand, the service makes it so easy to create content and automatically feed it out to existing services (website, blog, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) that it is worth a look.

Check out this Inside//Out look at Utterz:


[Feed readers, please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

What you need to know:


  • Utterz allows for micromedia content from a mobile phone to be easily created and distributed
  • Content creation is down to the level where anybody who has a mobile phone can be a creator
  • Content can include voice, video, photos or text
  • Content can also be accessed through the web or through applications built on their API
  • Utterz allows for quick creation, but the power is in the distribution (widgets, RSS feed, etc.)
  • Uses include communication breaking events in photo, video, voice and text, update messages to customers ("the network is down and we're working on it")
  • The use of multimedia allows more expression in out attention-casting
  • The success of these tools is getting the content to the audience, Utterz is a network, but your customer may not be there so extending the content to other networks is a key strategy

Here is one of the widgets that allow you to take the content to


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The blogger, journalist divide

This post is a little off-topic for Techno//Marketer, but I think it's an important issue to address concerning social media and it happened in my hometown. (This post is not, and will never be, political in nature.) The local newspaper here in Cleveland, The Plain Dealer, took a fairly progressive step and created an area of their site dedicated to political debate and hired four bloggers to create the content. Two covered things from a liberal perspective and two from a conservative under the banner "Wide Open".

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As of November 2, 2007 the project has been cancelled in the midst of quite a bit of controversy. Here is how things played out. These four bloggers were hired by the paper to present their opinions as bloggers. One of the bloggers openly attacked a politician's policies and stated that he had contributed to the campaign of that politician's opponent. The politician who was attacked complained to a Plain Dealer reporter who relayed his concerns to the PD's editor. The editor asked the blogger to refrain from covering that candidate and when the blogger refused, he was fired. Subsequently, one other blogger quit the project in protest which led to its suspension.

According to the blogger who was let go, he (and the others) were hired as just that. Bloggers. Not reporters. The bloggers were being paid, which is where I think this gets a little gray and his contribution to the opponent's campaign just adds to the fire.

So let me turn this to you, my readers and get your input on the crossroads of blogging and journalism. Here are some important questions to ponder:


  • Can a newspaper include blogger content and have editorial separation?
  • Are bloggers and journalists separate anymore?
  • If they are, are they bound by the same code of ethics?
  • Does paying the bloggers create the conflict of interest?
  • Do you think the Plain Dealer would have pulled an editorial piece under pressure from a politician?
  • Can traditional newspapers survive against pressure from citizen journalism?
  • What if no money had changed hands and the bloggers just contributed? Does that change things?

Let me hear what you think! Can we all just get along?


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Attention-casting

attention-cast.pngThere has been a lot of talk about the idea of "life streaming" lately. The term, however, doesn't sit right with me. Life streaming is defined as the use of one online web service to collect RSS feeds and aggregate them into chronological order. The problem I have is that it's not life-streaming. Justin.tv is true life streaming. If you want my life-stream you'll have to follow me around with a camera (which would be pretty boring most days).

What you are streaming is your attention and so I am re-terming this attention-casting. My attention-casting locations look at what I post on this blog, what I bookmark on del.icio.us, the videos I add to YouTube, the items from other people's feeds (350+) that I think are important, photos I take and add to Flickr and items I digg on Digg.com. All of these feeds, when combined in chronological order, tell you what has my attention at that moment and lets you see trends as they happen.

The latest stream that I've created is on Twitter under the username TechnoMarketer. This feed is the best way to see what I think is important in the world of social media in close to real-time. If you decide to follow me there you'll know within 30 minutes when I:


  • Share an item in my Google Reader account I think is valuable (this is how I build my Buzz Friday posts too)
  • Post a video on YouTube (way before I blog about it)
  • Digg something on Digg.com
  • Bookmark something on del.icio.us
  • Add a photo to Flickr
  • Add a new blog post here on Techno//Marketer

I do this through the service Twitterfeed.com which looks for updates from each service every 30 minutes and creates a new Tweet at the TechnMarketer account. Even if you don't use Twitter, you can subscribe to the feed from that account or you can subscribe at one of the other services I use for the same purpose (Jaiku and Tumblr).

One problem with this, and my biggest point of contention, is that this is one-way communication. Because these are aggregated from other services, there is little chance of feedback unless you come back from the original source. I do, however, think that there is value here is being able to see what I think is important almost immediately if you want to stay up to date on news and trends in new media and marketing.

What do you think? Is it valuable to you? Do you like to get information in one big chunk like my Buzz Friday posts?


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Social media and the 2007 Chicago marathon

Chicago in halfI spent this past weekend in the great city of Chicago cheering on my wife and our friend in their running of the 2007 Chicago marathon. We had a bit of a challenging start to the weekend (flight delayed, missed dinner with friends, long lines at every turn) that served as a foreshadowing to what was in store for them later on Sunday.

If you're not living in the midwest, let me give you an idea of the weather this past weekend. It was FREAKING HOT! So hot that you didn't want to go outside and this is not normal for this time of year. It should have been 55 degrees and it was 85. So translate those temperatures to trying to run 26.2 miles in the middle of the day. A recipe for disaster.

The race started great. 35,000 people shuffling over the start/finish line meant they didn't get into their normal stride until 20 minutes after the leaders started. That's a LOT of people. A group of friends and I stood at mile three to cheer them on. Everybody looked good for the most part, but that didn't last long. We didn't see them again until the 12 mile marker and they looked strong, but definitely feeling the heat. People started falling and sitting down. Only later did they tell us that there was no water until the fifth mile. That's a long time to be running in 85 degree weather. 300+ people were taken to hospitals and 1 runner tragically died.

Picture 22.pngNeedless to say (if you didn't know) they cancelled the race at the 3 hour 30 minute mark. My wife and friend made it to the 18th mile and they were told to start walking back to the start/finish line. There was a lot of confusion and some people kept going (without medical or water support). They got their medals, but felt cheated as they were definitely strong enough to keep going. I am super proud of them both for running strong and dealing with the situation better than I would have.

Race directors denied the fact that water was a scarcity. They claimed that there was plenty of water along the way and all stations were well staffed. But I saw something interesting watching the people run past me. Some carried cameras. They were documenting their runs along the way. Taking photos and videos of the crowds, the empty water stations, people standing in line at gas stations buying water, begging spectators for their water and the neighbors who came to their aid. Kudos to the people of Chicago, but shame on the race organizers.

Here are some of the videos from YouTube:

Here are more videos from YouTube. Here are blog posts about it and Flickr photos too.

I find these videos, photos and blog entries really compelling. You can see the frustration on the faces of people who trained for months only to start running with a lack of support. This situation is playing itself out in other events, in stores and on the street.

Who do you believe? The race organizer or the runners with the cameras? Who will you believe, your customer with the camera or the store manager? This is a movement that's just getting started.


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Inside//Out: Jaiku

logo-big.gifJaiku is a service that has been on my radar screen for some time now and I've been meaning to do an Inside//Out post on them. So why do one now? Simple, Google acquired the company yesterday (10/9/07). That alone has sent a deluge of marketers to the web trying to learn more about this presence application.

To keep it simple, Jaiku is on the same principle as Twitter (see my earlier video on Twitter here) or Pownce. You have 140 characters to tell people what you're doing, promote something of interest or communicate with colleagues and friends. Communication is one- and two-way through the messaging system. Here is the video with a more in-depth look.



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video]

Similarities to Twitter/Pownce:


  • There are 140 characters to each message
  • Brands can participate by creating an identity in the system
  • Users are added to each profile to receive updates
  • There is a developer API to pull information from the system
  • You can send and receive messages from a mobile device
  • Both services allow users to create a badge widget to post on their blog or website
  • Both allow updates from IM

Differences:


  • Twitter lacks the channel functionality to target messages to users of similar interests
  • Jaiku messages are threaded so that people can reply to an individual message and create a new, focused conversation
  • Jaiku can act a a life streaming repository to pull content from multiple places into one feed
  • Jaiku allows icons for each post to add visual context

[Extra:]
Robert Scoble did an interview with the founders of Jaiku on Podtech.


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The future of social, mobile networks

verdino_phone.pngGreg Verdino is away on vacation, but he asked me to guest blog on a topic of my choosing while he was gone. On top of being honored to be included with other great bloggers, like Doug Meacham, Ryan Karpeles and Jonathan Baskin, I knew I had to push myself to keep up with Greg's high standards.

The post that I wrote is a press release from the future (2009 to be exact) where Facebook releases a mobile operating system. It's where I think that the mobile, social web could go to truly bring value to the users and leverage mobile technology.

So, if you get a chance, head on over to the post on Greg's blog and check it out. Would love to know what you think.


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Blogging from the Marketing Profs B2B Forum 2007 - Day 2

Yesterday was my second day attending the Marketing Profs B2B Forum in Chicago. I met a lot of blog friends and made some new ones. The panel I attended on emerging media and its implications on B2B marketing was a great one and had the audience truly engaged. Here are my takeaways (videos will be coming later).

mprofs_socmedia_panel_small.jpg
[From left to right: Chris Yeh, Todd Andrlik, Mike Gamson, Phil Gomes, Matt Lohman and David Armano]

David Armano (moderator) | Critical Mass


  • B2B is made up of people
  • People demand good experiences
  • Technology is an enabler to deliver experience
  • Site progression has gone from Useful -> Usable -> Desirable -> Sustainable -> Social
  • 25% of social media content on the top 20 brands comes from social media
  • Dell example - Direct2Dell for blogging, Ideastorm for crowdsourcing, DellOutlet on Twitter
  • SalesForce example - Merging platforms with Facebook to create FaceForce

Todd Andrlik | Leopardo Construction


  • Social newsroom at Leopardo powered by Wordpress blogging software
  • Appears traditional, but has built in social media hooks
  • Search, RSS, tagging, categories are all built in
  • Looking to niche audiences to create blogs and show thought leadership (green building)

Matt Lohman | Knowledgestorm


  • Knowledge storm syndicates popular, topical blog content and surrounds it with related white papers and research
  • Engagement is over a longer sales cycle
  • Leveraging RSS to aggregate and disperse information
  • Bringing experts to the customers as a service and surround them with content

Phil Gomes | Edelman me2revolution


  • Demonstrated his Bloglines account live (750+ feeds)
  • Segments the information topically
  • Uses this network of nodes to process raw information
  • Looking at small programs that are more cost effective and add up to big benefit

Chris Yeh | Ustream


  • Video equipment is cheap and available
  • Youtube proves the demand for video is in place
  • Ustream does live video over the web for free
  • The interaction is 2-way
  • Chat is built in so feedback is real time
  • The content is embeddable and therefore portable to other networks
  • There is a sense of urgency with live video (if you miss it you lose out)

Mike Gamson | LinkedIn


  • LinkedIn empowers users to solidify offline relationships
  • Use on new biz pitches to leverage connections
  • The platform is evolving, but is professionally focused
  • Facebook is much more social and should remain separate

Related: You can see the MarketingProfs event photo pool on Flickr here.



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Photography 2.0

I saw this video on the Strobist blog. It's a great speech by commercial photographer Chase Jarvis at a NYC Photoshelter meeting. (I am an amateur photographer always looking to learn more.) His talk about the world of photography 2.0 echoes what is happening in the marketing industry. In fact, it shows the breadth of how these tools and networks we're creating to connect individuals are impacting the world at large.

Here is Chase's video (this is 55 minutes long, but worth the view):

Chase outlines some "universals" in his presentation. Here they are and how I think they apply to marketers around the world:


  1. Hard work: This is a given. Hard work and experimentation is the only way to get ahead. Some parts of Web2.0 enable laziness, but the people who put there head down and work hard will leap ahead.
  2. Passion: This is the crucial ingredient for me. If you work hard for something you're not passionate about, you're not getting ahead you're losing. Find your passion and use the technology to convey and leverage it.
  3. Personal style: This does apply to marketers. It's called branding. For marketers, this is the personal interaction, the support, the design, the UI, the logo, etc. It all comes together into a personal style.
  4. People: The core of business and certainly of Web2.0. The community, the U in UGC and the social networks are all made up of people. Take this away and there is no 2.0.
  5. Business: To me this gets to the business models. You have to have a knowledge of what makes business work. It's the only way you can turn that on its head, re-invent everything and change the world.
  6. Unconventional: Another tenet of Web2.0. Things that were unconventional a couple of years ago are mainstream. It's all about looking for the next unconventional thing to think about.
  7. Give Back: I love this. Giving back is something I practice on and off line. There are lots of ways to give back. Join an organization, donate money, donate time, become a mentor or use a forum like blogging to share what you know to make the whole community smarter.

Besides the DJ he has live mixing during his speech (phenomenally cool), I think Chase really gets the 2.0 movement. He's all about sharing what's made him a success and in turn is helping the next generation. He's not afraid of sabotaging his business, because he's using pieces of Web2.0 to be seen as a thought leader and visionary. Once somebody reaches that level, people turn to them and engage them MUCH more often than another person who holds their information tight to their vest.

Share, learn, grow. That's Web2.0. (And photography 2.0 too.)



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Inside//Out: Google Orkut (beta)

orkut_logo.pngFollowing up on yesterday's Yahoo Mash video, here is a look at Google's Orkut social network. There are a lot of similarities between the two search giants as they try to find their place in the social media universe.

Orkut is a little more refined and has more community hooks to join groups, etc. It lacks, however, the integration with third party applications like Facebook, MySpace and even Mash. The functionality in Orkut is pretty basic and requires some more advanced editing to really personalize the content. Orkut also suffers from a bit of identity confusion and sits at the "pro-social" (part social, part professional) divide.

Check out Google's Orkut:

[Feed readers please click through to the post for the video.]

Key takeaways:


  • As with Mash, enable people to do cool stuff and get out of their way!
  • Find out where your target audience is and focus there (Facebook, MySpace, Mash, etc.) - don't get sucked in to the hype of one network over another
  • If you're looking to build on the platform, you will need to wait until Google opens this up
  • Future hooks into outside content sources could make or break Orkut as network consolidation starts setting in
  • Expect Google to make some moves around this network to bring its content into one place and allow users to even further customize their branded search experience

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First//Look: Yahoo! Mash (beta)

Picture 7.pngFor big media companies, social networks are like lawyers. Everybody has one. The newest company to release a dedicated social network into beta is Yahoo. It's interesting to note that Yahoo has had all of the pieces of a truly engaging social network platform for as long as I can remember. Message boards, Answers, Flickr, MyYahoo!, etc. all operated independently of each other in the past. Yahoo has recently made moves to consolidate properties and is leveraging it's Yahoo ID system as a single sign-on for all of the sites.

Mash is still in beta. That being said, it has a way to go to catch up to the interactivity and personalization of MySpace and Facebook. This beta is hard to personalize, doesn't pull in RSS feeds with consistency and has few plugins from developers (because it is in beta). I would love to see Yahoo use some of it's own UI tools to make the experience better all around. Right now it appears very stripped down way (not in a good, Facebook-esque way).

Yahoo's long-term property acquisition and convergence strategy should help this network gain traction. They will need to determine what a user's forward facing presence is in the system and then let people build on that. For example, I have a Mash profile, MyYahoo profile, Flickr Profile, etc. That's too many for one entity and I could see Mash serving as a mid-range solution for doing some consolidation to make user's lives easier.

Check out my First//Look at the Mash beta:

[Feed readers please click through to the post for the video.]

Key takeaways:


  • Enable people to do cool stuff and get out of their way!
  • Find out where your target audience is and focus there (Facebook, MySpace, Mash, etc.) - don't get sucked in to the hype of one network over another
  • Try to add value to each and every interaction
  • Personalization is key. Let people feel like they own the space and make doing this as easy as possible
  • Leverage user generated content sources within the partner network to add more value (something that Yahoo/Google are better positioned to offer vs. Facebook and to some extent MySpace)

Related Videos:


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Inside//Out: Our Threads

ourthreadLogo.jpgThe OurThreads concept is one that I've been waiting to emerge from this Web 2.0, community-centered era we're in. Social shopping. OurThreads serves a couple different audiences, but uses fashion as the common thread (pardon the pun). Our Threads allows users to add their favorite items to their virtual closet, surf other people's closets and favorite items and allows users to sell and trade clothing between each other.

Check out the video:

[Feed readers click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

What they're doing right:


  • Build on the social nature of shopping
  • Build on personal expression of fashion
  • Cool way to interact with other people interested in fashion
  • Nice personal commerce options and user-generated ads to buy/sell/trade
  • Interesting boutique shop tie-ins

Opportunity to improve:


  • The site needs a little more AJAX/Dynamic data to make the experience easier
  • Carry though the closet idea to make it more like real life
  • Make it easier to load in new items
  • Add social shopping sidebar to chat with others and get advice

Overall this is a great site for those interested in fashion and trends and it's still early in their release so I would foresee them making modifications as more content is added and more users jump on board. I'll keep an eye on them as time elapses.


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Buzz Friday for August 17, 2007 (double issue)

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • Skype, the popular VoIP service owned by eBay, suffered a major outage yesterday. The outage even coincided with a dip in eBay's stock price. Connection? Oddly I heard about this from Twitter then blogs then Skype in that order with about 10 hours between the Tweet and Skype's response.
  • If you're thinking about buying a new iPod, hold off says Engadget. I would agree with this.
  • Bebo is the king of social networks in the UK. Keep an eye out for an Inside//Out post on Bebo next week.
  • It's my bill in a box. It seems AT&T is sending physical paper bills that detail all of the text messages their customers send and receive. This has resulted in many forests being chopped down as iJustine found out.
  • David Reich has a humorous look at a new move to regulate PR through a certificate. His point, there are bigger fish to fry.
  • Faris Yakob points to a funny clip around the Sony Bravia campaign. You have to have seen the previous ad to get it, but if you did you know just what this guy is talking about.
  • Looking to build your own social network? Check out this list of 34 options.
  • A recent NPD study shows that mobile phone sales have increase 14% in the US. Are you thinking about your mobile strategy?
  • Ever wonder why your Feedburner stats fluctuate from day to day? Check out the explanation straight from the source. Via ProBlogger.
  • Saatchi's starting a new agency called 'one word equity', check out Karl Long's take.
  • The iPhone's popularity has led one mobile advertising company to create a new ad unit just for it.
  • Adobe's rumored to be creating a new suite of office apps to compete with Microsoft using their AIR framework. Office Live needs to pick up the pace.
  • The best way to learn to design websites is by copying others. Jimdo makes that process super easy.
  • Yahoo is FINALLY starting to leverage their unique properties to compete with Google. The new Yahoo Local uses Flickr and Upcoming.org information to paint a better picture.
  • Mario Sundar offers a new model for social media. Just follow the LAMP.
  • iPhone and Facebook combine for a smooth, refined version of what the future of mobile sites should be. I tried this on a friend's phone and it's really cool.
  • Looking for ways to network more effectively at conferences? Check out the SEOmoz recommendations.
  • Seth has some interesting insights on opposites. Very thought provoking.
  • David Berkowitz gets his LinkedIn questions answered and LinkedIn shows how to recover from an initially poor service contact. (Still no comments from them on my Inside//Out post.)
  • Some pundits claim Facebook is opening up, but Justin Smith of the blog Inside Facebook disagrees. I tend to agree with him.
  • Greg Verdino reminds us that branding is what our fans say, not what we say. Check out his insightful post here.
  • AOL is making a move in mobile with a relaunched search.
  • Jeremiah notes a Lewis PR survey in which 90% of marketing departments are planning to launch a social media campaign in 2008.
  • New social network Yappd launched recently and claims to be a Twitter/Flickr mix. Look for a lot more of this kind of integration in the next quarter.
  • The status of virtual worlds are, as I've said before, like the web was in the mid-90's. Nick Wilson agrees. Tangerine Toad thinks they're mostly a waste right now for marketing, but notes there are other uses that are powerful. Doug Meacham has a well thought out post on why marketers are failing in some cases. This debate will rage on.
  • Via Amber MacArthur, check out this fun video of Connected Ventures letting off some steam.
  • If you're going to create a mobile site, it's important to develop mobile-only content. Discovery networks gets it.
  • TechCrunch reports that NBC's ClownCo received a $1 billion valuation and it still doesn't have a name. Seems pretty silly to me.
  • The NY Times is the latest publication to jump on the user-generated content bandwagon and let people submit photos.
  • Google released an API for their Docs utility.
  • PSFK has a look at what businesses think of consumer reviews using Yelp as an example.
  • Check out Luc's excellent post on what impact the Age of Conversation ebook has on reality.


Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Kaboodle
  2. Vimeo
  3. PageFlakes
  4. Instructables
  5. Revver

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Search Engine Guide
  6. What's Next
  7. Daily Fix
  8. Diva Marketing
  9. Converstations
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from the AdAge Power 150


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Micro Persuasion
  4. Adrants
  5. Pronet Advertising
  6. Search Engine Land
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Marketing Pilgrim
  9. tompeters!
  10. PSFK

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Cheney '94
  2. Battle at Kruger
  3. Post Secret
  4. UFO Haiti
  5. Thriller

More


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Buzz Friday for August 3, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • Do you wonder how powerful Google's search is? They recently "tweaked" their search algorithm and it caused a 28% drop in traffic to About.com.
  • The DIY Network is running a series called Blog Cabin where people could log on to a site and basically help design a log cabin through blog software. Four million votes have been tallied so far. Very innovative on DIY's part.
  • Google is using the power of crowdsourcing in non-US countries to build map dat points. Why not use the locals for the local stuff? Makes sense to me.
  • TubeMogul is a brilliant new service that I am using to simultaneously publish the video that I am creating here to (as of right now) 9 different video sites. This saves me at least an hour of follow up.
  • If you have a MySpace profile, Tom is probably your friend. The new site DropTom lets you set a new default user instead of poor ole' Tom.
  • Marcus Brown (aka Sacrum), my fellow Age of Conversation author, has started a new idea company called The Ides of March with a very cool model. He'll take on any problem for you and you pay him what you think it's worth. If you don't like the idea, he gets to blog it to his readers. He's a brilliant guy so what's to lose?
  • A new virtual world competitor to Second Life is ready in Multiverse. Look for lots more.
  • Social network Plaxo is rumored to be releasing their new version on Monday to compete more with LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Yahoo is revamping their video site to compete with YouTube. Better hurry guys!
  • Video service Veoh is partnering with the NCAA for a branded content channel.
  • Are you planning a conference that needs speakers? Check out David Berkowitz's 12 tips for pitching to help you out.
  • C.B. Whittemore warns why competing on price is a losing battle.
  • Vodafone pulled advertising from Facebook after it was seen on the group page of a racist political party in the UK. Makes you wonder how targeted FB ads are anyways.
  • CBS mobile is covering their bases forming partnerships with four major mobile ad companies.
  • Feedburner is allowing publishers to create self-serve ads through their network similar to Google AdSense.
  • In what is sure to be the first of many such scenarios, Facebook has closed its audio sharing service to prevent RIAA lawsuits.
  • If you have an iPhone and travel overseas beware. This guy had a $3000 cell phone bill.
  • Technokitten has a nice post on mobile gaming and her top 20 trends for the space.
  • Linden Labs, creators of Second Life, have banned gambling per FBI reviews.
  • Do you have some advice for people coming out of college? Head over to Ryan's blog and leave your best thoughts.
  • The LA Fire Department has started Twittering to get information out.
  • Jason Calacanis has declared Facebook bankruptcy on his blog. I would too if I had 500 people join in.


Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. vSocial
  2. Vimeo
  3. Odeo
  4. Twitter
  5. Frappr

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden - No change from last week


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Diva Marketing
  6. Daily Fix
  7. What's Next
  8. Converstations
  9. Church of the Customer
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Todd Andrlik - There is lots more competition on the Power150 since Todd partnered with AdAge.


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Micro Persuasion
  4. Pronet Advertising
  5. Adrants
  6. Search Engine Land
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Duct Tape Marketing
  9. Marketing Pilgrim
  10. tompeters!

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Thriller - still holding strong
  2. Chocolate Rain - a joke with staying power
  3. Dark Knight Official Teaser
  4. Rhain Davis at Manchester United
  5. Iron Man - Comic-Con preview

More


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The real power of Second Life

SL logo.gifIf you read this blog on a regular basis, or any of the other new media blogs out there, you've no doubt heard a lot about Second Life. It's even come into the cross-hairs of mainstream media as of late as reporters who dabble in the medium flush out its weaknesses, which it undoubtedly has. (You can read Wired's accusatory article here.)

My problem with most of "mainstream" media's take on it is that they either spend too little time with it (less than an hour) or don't even bother trying. Now, I admit there are more than a few shortcomings and limitations in Second Life and like everything in new media it's ONE option, not THE option. Here are a few of the main limitations:

  • It's rather slow (see the next point)
  • It wasn't built to scale to the volume of users that are there today
  • It's yet another application requiring yet another install

Those, however, are not the faults that the media usually finds. They target things like 'it's geeky', 'it's young', 'it's full of sex', etc. Those things are true, but Second Life is only three years old. Remember the arguments that people had in the late 90's against the Internet? Sound familiar? It should.

Remember the arguments that people had in the late 90's against the Internet? Sound familiar? It should.

Right now Second Life is experimental, but as I spend more and more time there the real power has become clearly evident. Here are a few of the things that make SL an option that should remain on the table for marketers as an option for their marketing mix.

Here I am in SL chilling out

Picture 3.png

  1. It's extremely engaging/immersive: This is a virtual world first and foremost. You can walk around, touch things, sit down, walk up and down stairs, jump up and down, shake other people's hands, have meetings, etc. It's as immersive as any video game and the movement and interaction are very similar as well. The designers who create areas are basically unlimited in what they can do and the laws of gravity certainly don't exist (for the most part). For the user, you can customize your wardrobe and total appearance down to every detail.
  2. It's more personal than email, IM or a phone call: As soon as your persona is created and you take your first steps, you become connected with them. When you walk up to somebody else you can IM and chat with them (and now you can use voice chat as well). Unlike normal chat and email, where you may be doing something else and not paying attention, the fact that you're physically represented makes you more connected and engaged.
  3. It bridges physical disconnect: Companies and organizations that are physically decentralized will find Second Life a powerful bridge builder. No matter where people are, they can jump on, meet up in a certain place and chat. The focus that you put on your character makes you pay attention more to what you're saying and makes you listen and engage more than any teleconference you could hold. Churches have been formed and are creating services, events are taking place to raise real money for charity, companies are holding staff meetings as well as conducting interviews, hosting/attending trade shows and putting on concerts. These are things that normally would consist of a teleconference, web streaming or IM and the virtual nature makes it a lot more fun and interactive.
  4. Connections are easily made: It's easy to make friends in SL since you can walk right up to almost anyone and strike up a conversation. You'll find people from all over the world there and learn new and interesting things in the process. In many ways SL mirrors life except the normal barriers of personal space are not there. You can talk to anybody, go anywhere and meet people who you normally wouldn't be able to meet offline.
  5. New voice feature: I already mentioned how having a physical representation in the world is engaging, but now voice has been added. You can basically talk to anybody and they can talk back to you. Think about it as an instant teleconference for free. This really just adds to the level of interactivity and makes the experience more immersive.

I hope that, before you write it off or scoff, you will take a stroll through Second Life. Heck, if you want I'll personally walk you through every single step. You can call me directly at 216-408-3312 or email me. The worst thing you can do is read the hype (or anti-hype) and believe it. You have to experience is for yourself.

Second Life may not be the end-all of virtual worlds. There may be a better one that comes along. Private worlds will surely spring up and I could totally see somebody like Facebook or MySpace adding this on to their existing network to enhance engagement. I'm available anytime to show you around (my screen name in SL is Mattanium Eros), so what are you waiting for? The worst that can happen is you find it's not right for your customers at this time, but you'll be a lot more educated in the end.

[Note] If you want to see more, check out my in-depth video on Second Life.




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Inside//Out: del.icio.us

delicious_logo.gifAccording to a recent Pew Internet Life, 28% of internet users have tagged content with 7% tagging content every day. One of the most popular tagging sites out today is del.icio.us (although it's not the only one). I personally use it to a) help me remember content that I want to revisit later, b) provides collective intelligence information and c) share relevant information with my readers.

Here is an Inside//Out look at del.icio.us.

Getting set up on the service is really straight forward and it easily integrates into the normal browsing experience. Clicking a link can tag the information, share it with the community and tell you how popular the content is.

Here are the keys to understanding tagging sites:


  • Very focused design puts information and usability first
  • Tags are keywords (yes it's that simple)
  • The tags are stored to your profile so you can reference them later from any web browser
  • Tags are shared globally so you can see related content from the entire network
  • You can create networks that feed aggregate content from all users and share
  • Popularity is gained by having something tagged multiple times in a shortened time frame
  • Great source for research, trend spotting and keeping the industry's pulse
  • Content is easily shared to blogs and other websites as well

If you have any questions or suggestions for a future Inside//Out post just email me or leave a comment on this post.

Click here to see past Inside//Out segments including Twitter, Mahalo and Second Life.




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Mobile social media and micromedia

iStock_000003099714XSmall.jpgI've been evangelizing the power of mobile technology for about six years now. From the early days of the original Palm Pilot and brutally slow early cell phone browsers the potential for making an impact is massive and is equally untapped. According to M:Metrics 55%+ of Americans now own a cell phone and that number is growing every day. On top of that, data access speeds are getting faster and phone functionality is becoming more robust.

Take these numbers from M:Metrics on consumption:
Picture 17.png

You can see that SMS (text messaging) is leading the way followed by photo messaging and content browsing. Given this information and looking at the types of MicroMedia that we're dealing with today, the potential uses of mobile for engagement is huge. MicroMedia is a term (coined?) created by Jermiah Owyang at Web Strategist. He saw the need for a missing term that really encompasses "micro-blogging" and "micro-messaging". You can read his definition at his post, here is my altered version leveraging his original:

Text, audio or video messages published to a trusted social community. Content is created and consumed using synchronized, mixed platforms including mobile, web-based and installed software applications, and often distributed using other social media tools.

The traditional web is comprised of high-bandwidth, large/wide format content. The problem is that it's not suitable for the small screen and the clunky (at best) data entry techniques on today's phone. What these new micromedia formats accomplish is creating value through quick, low-bandwidth, low-complexity content creation.

Here are some examples:


  • Presence apps (Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Facebook): These presence applications allow for quick updates to be published using multiple platforms and distributed using the same platforms to a trusted network of peers.
  • Social friend networks (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, etc.): This is more robust, high-bandwidth content, but mobile hooks are still there including publishing from phones, uploading audio/video/photos.
  • Photo/video networks (Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, etc.): Expanding on this point, more and more phones have photo/video cameras and are connected to the mobile network. Shooting a video or a photo and instantly uploading them to the web is a reality. The process is easy (send the file to a unique address) and near real-time.

All of this mobile, MicroMedia content adds value to the creator as well as the community of people that they're connected to. Social networks are great at serving as aggregators for small, frequent content much more so than traditional content management systems. For a couple examples, take a look at my Facebook profile and homepage and my Jaiku feed (which I just use to aggregate other MicroMedia into one centralized feed).

Picture 19.png


Picture 20.png

So, when you're looking at your social media endeavors, keep mobile in mind. Grab a phone and start playing with it. Take some photos and send them to friends. Take a video and send them too. Join Twitter and text message in some updates. Above all, keep an open mind, but don't let this pass you by.


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Buzz Friday for July 27, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • The value/monetization conversation in social media is staying front and center. CC Chapman has a very thoughtful post on the subject today which I encourage you to check out. Also check Mack's take on this subject. Both use Joseph Jaffe's iPhone for an episode example. More on this from me on Monday. Check my thoughts in the video.
  • A new Reuter's report shows that young people don't see tech, it's integrated and seamless for them. That's the way it is for me. The more technology disappears the more valuable it becomes.
  • Are you thinking about mobile? You should. Verizon's reported that in June alone, 10 billion text messages were sent and received.
  • Todd Andrlik's Power 150 marketing blogs list has joined forces with AdAge. Congrats to Todd for your hard work and dedication and to Ad Age for recognizing the value of this community of thought leaders.
  • The results of David Armano's UX guru poll are in. You can check them out here.
  • Sean @ Craphammer goes all out (that's a really bad choice of words) to promote the Age of Conversation book. Check his hilarious video here.
  • Iain Tait @ CrackUnit has a post on his seven deadly sins of digital (I can think of plenty more, but this is a good start).
  • Twitter received an undisclosed amount of VC funding to enhance the service.
  • The biggest thing holding back Pownce at this point is the lack of developer integration. TechCrunch reports an open AI could be coming at some point.
  • Absolut vodka has a great new promotion to help out hurricane Katrina victims with their Absolut New Orleans flavor.
  • Are you confused by SEO terms? Do you yearn to know what a 301 redirect is? Here is a quick glossary to help you out courtesy of SEOMoz.
  • ESPN will launch their new venture in mobile content with EXPN on Verizon and MediaFlo.
  • Joost is still in beta, but claims they will have 1 million users at their year-end launch. Personally, I've forgotten about the service and I'd be interested to see what percentage of those users are active.
  • Check out Greg Verdino's post about the re-purposing of 30 second spots. Using an existing ad online in a rich media ad is a lazy way to create web content. Don't think this an integrated campaign makes.
  • Verizon is the first to offer direct to YouTube video uploads. This would have been nice to see on the iPhone, but ironically it doesn't record video. Baffling.
  • Facebook's looking to monetize as evidenced by their new CFO, the former YouTube CFO.
  • Mack Collier points to Mario Sundar's post about comment rating platform SezWho. Are we ready for this or is this one more reason to keep new ideas from coming forward? People already don't comment and other people will comment no matter what.
  • Want to find more ways to collaborate online with groups of people? Check Mashable's list of over 60 apps.
  • The Simpsons Movie has a great little site for promotion called "SimpsonizeMe". Below is what I would look like as a character on the show. Try it out, you know you've always wanted to.

Me as a Simpsons character

Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Upcoming
  2. VidLife
  3. Rollyo
  4. Pando
  5. ZippyVideo

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Diva Marketing
  6. Daily Fix
  7. What's Next
  8. Converstations
  9. Church of the Customer
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Todd Andrlik - The Power 150 was acquired by AdAge. Read more here.


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Pronet Advertising
  4. Adrants
  5. Micro Persuasion
  6. Search Engine Land
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Duct Tape Marketing
  9. Marketing Pilgrim
  10. tompeters!

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Thriller
  2. Beyonce falls down steps
  3. Internet data lost
  4. El Nino predicador
  5. Paul sings opera

More


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A humorous look at the major video sites

It seems like a new video network pops up every 15 minutes. YouTube, Google Video, College Humor, Vemeo and on and on. Oddly, certain types of content seem to flock to each network. Check out this humorous look at each site. You have to love parody.

[Hat tip to Fallon's planning blog for pointing this out.]


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