« January 2004 | Main | March 2004 »

Enthusiasts Call Web Feed Next Big Thing


E-mail is crippled, concussed by an irrepressible spam stream. Web surfing can be equally confounding, a wobbly wade through bursts of pop-ups and loudmouthed video ads.

And that may explain the excitement these days over a somewhat crude but nifty software tool that automatically delivers updated information to your computer directly from your favorite Web sites.

Enthusiasts see these Web feeds as sketching the outline of the next Net revolution.
The technology behind them is called RSS

Of course we already knew this. I'm pleased to see it's adoption rate accelerating.

Are you reading this blog through an RSS reader? I use Sharpreader. It's great.

If those look a little scary, some folks find this less intimidating.

Finally - are you thinking about this in the context of how you do business? Have you started using RSS to stay connected with your customers and prospects?

Apple is doing it.
So is Wired.

Are you?

Per usual - if you need a hand getting an RSS reader set up and going--drop me a note, I'm happy to offer free help.

If your business needs to start taking advantage of RSS and you aren't sure how--drop me a note for that too, that's the sort of stuff I do.

Bandwagon time

Latest Meme.

Found here (for fun, click back through the meme chain)

Step 1: Open your mp3 player.
Step 2: Put all of your music on random.
Step 3: List the first ten songs it plays, no matter how embarrassing.

*GULP* here goes:

1. Sean Paul : Shout (Street Respect)
2. Dire Straits : Sultans Of Swing
3. Paul Simon : Graceland
4. Enya : Marble Halls
5. Great Big Sea : Yarmouth Town
6. Lucky Boys Confusion : Never Like This
7. The White Stripes : There's No Home For You Here
8. Randy Travis : 1982
9. Ladytron : Seventeen
10. Pink Floyd : Vera


Business babble

Huh? We do stuff. Priceless!

I am constantly struggling to not spout "marketing company babble" in an attempt to sound legitimate and win clients. My professional side gravitates toward that kind of talk, and I want to puke when I catch myself doing it.

For some reason corporate communication, in order to sound legit and important, has this certain haze around it. You never quite know what the heck is being said, but it sounds important. It's all a big turn-off for me and I'm regularly trying to tone it down myself while still trying to sound like I know what I'm doing.

I blame all this on lawyers (sorry Doug). There is no more hazy language than that of the well written legal document, designed to at once close all holes, yet still leave enough ambiguity that pretty much any claim can be argued in court with the help of the document.

For some reason, this hazy corporate-speak business babble has permeated everything and it's gross.

People don't connect to corporations, people connect to people. To be effective, marketing should sound like it comes from a person.

Anyhow - check out this site, read through it and laugh out loud. It's great.

Popups = commercial suicide

We already knew this, of course. But popups do more harm than good. Desperation marketing through popups, under certain conditions, may bring a temporary boost--but the long term damage to your company may be irreversible. This is just common sense, I know. But the persistant scourge of popups leads me to believe that someone isn't getting it. Now there's a study (like we needed one) by Forrester research that finds what we already know:

Rob Stevens, director of business behaviour at Bunnyfoot Universality, said that brands could be doing themselves irreparable damage by refusing to give up pop-ups. "Brands are undoubtedly committing commercial suicide by insisting on using pop-ups. The effect of such techniques goes way beyond annoying the user; they frustrate, they impose and they engender mistrust. Pop-ups are therefore not just a huge waste of money; they are also extremely negative for a brand."

If you can't come up with anything more creative than popups to drive traffic to your site - we need to talk.

Grey Tuesday

Grey Tuesday
Why is this site grey today? (kottke.org)
Downhill Battle

Record companies continue to make horrible but very educational marketing moves.

From the school of what not to do:
1) Sue customers.
2) Threaten customers.
3) Pick a fight with customers.
4) Ignore customers.
5) Stuff your head in the sand and pretend that reality isn't.

From the school of what works well (observe, and then imagine the power of this Grey Tuesday protest)
This works:
1) Create a cause, something that people can (and want to) get behind
2) Use the power of the Internet (blogs, email, websites) to spread the word virally
3) Make it easy (and fun!) to spread the word
4) Create a strong community around what you are doing
5) Give participants/customers an easy way to become involved

P.S. Save yourself the download, this music is (c)rap :)

Visa Security Update SCAM

All the makings of a scam. Looks mildly legit, it's scary if true, it asks you to click a button and enter personal information. Don't fall for it! It's just a scam, of course.

If ever you are in doubt, grab a piece of the copy in the email and drop it in google with the word "scam" and watch the fur fly.

(click for larger)

Google tops the search charts - for now.

A status they don't own as handily as before. In fact with the loss of Yahoo they've gone from owning nearly 80% of the search engine market to owning less than half. That's a big deal kids.

Things are really heating up. Make sure you stay tuned to the Search Engine Lowdown to keep current.

Another interesting note - because of Yahoo's new (non-Google) engine, they are putting emphasis on META keywords. Because Google doesn't use them, they haven't been as critical in the past as they are now. If you are serious about search engine marketing, make sure you've got them in place, and that they are unique and specific on each different page of your site.

Yahoo not Googling anymore

Yahoo quit using Google last week. This erodes Google marketshare significantly, and creates a very interesting competitive landscape in the search engine world.

E-commerce sales jump sharply in 4Q

Go e-commerce, go.

Commerce Department said so-called e-commerce sales — purchases over the Internet, e-mail or other electronic networks — rose by 29.7 percent in the final three months of 2003 over the previous quarter to $17.23 billion.

Apple gets RSS

I've carried on about RSS here before, and it's no surprise that Apple shows the way.

Watch and learn. The future of business communication is upon us.