Friday, December 29, 2006

More 'Z-Listy' goodness

Sandy at Purple Wren has put her own unique spin on the 'Z-List'. She's taken the list and added everyone's pictures! Or at least a pic from their blog. Great idea, and it's fun to see if you can guess which pic belongs to which blog. AND....she added links to every pic. Just from doing the Top 25 list every week, I can tell that this must have taken a TON of time for Sandy to put together, so be sure to check it out!

Tammy has started her own list, the 'W-List'. A list by women, for women! I think it will be interesting to see if this continues, remember the original 'Z-List' was for under-appreciated marketing blogs, there are plenty of communities that could spin off their own version of the list and gain the same benefits.

And thanks to Ann for posting about the 'Z-List' on Daily Fix. I've never included DF on any of the lists, simply because the blog has so many links and is so well-known. That's due in great part to Ann's community-building efforts.

On a personal note, posting here will be a bit light for the next few days, and I'm going to try to get more or less back on track on Tuesday of next week. The book reviews will return next month, and I'm going to shoot for doing one every 2 weeks. Marketing Champions, by Roy Young and Allen Weiss will be next, and likely The Long Tail by Chris Anderson after that.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Friends of Gavin

Wanted to let everyone know that right before Christmas, a group of cyclists including Gavin Heaton's (Servant of Chaos) father-in-law, were injured in a car accident. The good news is that Gavin is reporting that all of the cyclists are improving.

Obviously, there is never a good time for something like this, especially not at Christmas time. That's why I'd like to call on The Viral Community to do what we can to try to make this time a little bit more bearable for everyone involved. Cam has set up a site where donations for the injured cyclists and their families can be made via PayPal. Also, you can send well wishes to everyone by signing the Guestbook. Trust me, the well wishes really do make a difference. Either way, please take a second to keep Gavin's friends and family in your thoughts.

Thanks to David Armano for the graphic, and a great recap of the story.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 36

Here's the standings for Week 36:

1 - Seth's Blog - 5,056 (-20)(LW - 1)
2 - Creating Passionate Users - 15,244 (+405)(LW - 2)
3 - Duct Tape Marketing - 16,440 (+195)(LW - 3)
4 - Gaping Void - 17,329 (-143)(LW - 4)
5 - Marketing Shift - 31,918 (+112)(LW - 5)
6 - Daily Fix - 42,745 (+762)(LW - 6)
7 - Coolzor - 59,491 (-1,953)(LW - 7)
8 - Converstations - 70,291 (+5,195)(LW - 8)
9 - The Viral Garden - 75,877 (+1,548)(LW - 9)
10 - New School of Network Marketing - 75,967 (+2,301)(LW - 10)
11 - HorsePigCow - 84,480 (+521)(LW - 11)
12 - Logic + Emotion - 89,790 (-1,165)(LW - 12)
13 - What's Next - 118,180 (-1,544)(LW - 13)
14 - Jaffe Juice - 118,219 (+502)(LW - 14)
15 - Brand Autopsy - 122,698 (+578)(LW - 15)
16 - Emergence Marketing - 154,027 (-6,819)(LW - 16)
17 - Experience Curve - 165,705 (-859)(LW - 17)
18 - Diva Marketing - 170,878 (-1,055)(LW - 18)
19 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 183,605 (+9,799)(LW- 21)
20 - Make Marketing History - 184,903 (+6,767)(LW - 20)
21 - Church of the Customer - 187,714 (+1,745)(LW - 19)
22 - Marketing Nirvana - 189,428 (+5,897)(LW - 22)
23 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 201,645 (+13,178)(LW - 25)
24 - Blackfriars' Marketing - 203,322 (-836)(LW - 23)
25 - Marketing Headhunter - 206,388 (+1,631)(LW - 24)

First, a clarification. I've changed the format of the listings a bit starting this week. Previously I had the blog's name, then it's Alexa ranking, and THEN it's position last week in the Top 25, and then finally, how many spots up or down its Alexa ranking moved. I have no idea why I never noticed this, but obviously the movement of the Alexa ranking needs to come right after the current Alexa ranking, and that should save some confusion going forward. No idea why I never spotted this before.

As for the countdown itself, this list was surprisingly strong, with 16 blogs having positive weeks. Kathy Sierra's Creating Passionate Users had another strong week and is on the verge of having its Alexa score dip under 15K. Past CPU, Mike Sansone's Converstations continues to burn up the Top 10, and has another huge week. If his winning streak continues, Converstations could give CoolZ0r a run for its money in a few weeks.

Past the Top 10, an easily identifiable gap has developed between the Top 15 blogs and #16-25. But only 52K in Alexa ranking separates the final 10 blogs. Pro Hip-Hop had a nice week to hold-off Make Marketing History, which just continues its torrid pace. BMA barely stayed in the Top 25 last week, but rebounds nicely to have the biggest jump of the week.

No new blogs, but the 'Z-List' meme had a serious affect on almost every blog. Drew's Marketing Minute came within a whisker of making the list, and if the meme is still running strong by next Weds, we could see as many as 3-4 new entries because of it.

As always, next update is next Wednesday.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Seth picks up the 'Z-List' meme

Well, sorta.

Several of you have emailed me or left comments letting me know about Seth creating a page on Squidoo to rank "good blogs", but it's obvious that he started with the 'Z-List' of blogs that's getting passed around so much, as the basis for the list. It also appears that Seth, or someone else, have added several of the so-called 'A-List' blogs, such as his, Creating Passionate Users, and Gaping Void. I'm not a big fan of that, since I think it dilutes the purpose of the 'Z-List', and as you can see, the so-called 'A-Listers' have mostly moved to the top already. But hey, that's the beauty of the community, they can take an idea and run with it wherever they want. The end result is that most of you should see even more traffic and links to your blogs, and find some more good reads, so that's a good thing, and I thank Seth for doing this.

If you're a Squidoo member, you can go and vote on moving each blog up or down.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Methinks the 'Z-Listers' are winning

So is our lil meme working?

Becky at Customers Rock! emailed me last Thurs. to let me know she had 7 blogs linking to her blog, at the time.

She has 44 now.

Peter Kim had 35 blogs linking to his a week ago. He's up to 80 now.

Granted, not all of the links came from our 'Z-Lister' meme, but a chunk of them did.

I've seen several of you posting about getting a boost in traffic and links. Love it. One of my oldest blogging buds, Jordan at Tell Ten Friends says that the meme "has brought me a huge burst in traffic and links, and I haven’t had the time to reciprocate to all of the linkers. This one I will rectify much sooner. Thanks to all of you who are reposting my link over and over again, I am entirely grateful. I haven’t checked yet, but you might have moved me up the Technorati ladder quite a few notches. In blog land, that’s like hard currency."

And if anyone's wondering, I believe I had around 290 blogs linking here before leaving the 'Z-Lister' post, and now I'm at 304, so it's helping the blogs I've linked to much more than it is mine. Which is exactly what I had hoped.

So as I've been reading all the posts from all of you about how you've been getting a nice bump in traffic and links, I've been making a mental list of the blogs I want to add to the list, and I'll do that here, using Jordan's list as the starting point, and adding my new ones at the top:

Creative Think
Movie Marketing Madness
Blog Till You Drop!
Get Shouty!
One Reader at a Time
Critical Fluff
The New PR
Own Your Brand!
Work, in Plain English
Buzz Canuck
New Millenium PR
Pardon My French
Troy Worman's Blog
The Instigator Blog
Diva Marketing
Marketing Hipster
The Marketing Minute
Funny Business
The Frager Factor
Open The Dialogue
Word Sell
Note to CMO:
That's Great Marketing!
Shotgun Marketing Blog
Customers Rock!
Being Peter Kim
Pow! Right Between The Eyes! Andy Nulman’s Blog About Surprise
Billions With Zero Knowledge
Working at Home on the Internet
MapleLeaf 2.0
Two Hat Marketing

The Engaging Brand
The Branding Blog
Drew's Marketing Minute
Golden Practices
Tell Ten Friends
Flooring the Consumer
Kinetic Ideas
Unconventional Thinking
Conversation Agent
The Copywriting Maven
Hee-Haw Marketing
Scott Burkett's Pothole on the Infobahn
Multi-Cult Classics
Logic + Emotion
Branding & Marketing
Popcorn n Roses
On Influence & Automation
Servant of Chaos
Presentation Zen
Dmitry Linkov
John Wagner
Nick Rice
CKs Blog
Design Sojourn
Frozen Puck
The Sartorialist
Small Surfaces
Africa Unchained
Marketing Nirvana
Bob Sutton
¡Hola! Oi! Hi!
Shut Up and Drink the Kool-Aid!
Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together
Community Guy
Social Media on the fly
Jeremy Latham’s Blog
SMogger Social Media Blog

Whew! Ok if you are new to the game (and I just added about 20 blogs so some of you might be), here's the deal: Simply cut and paste the ENTIRE list above to a post on your blog. That's it. You'll get a ton of happy bloggers suddenly coming to YOUR blog to thank you, you'll get a ton of great new blogs to read, you'll likely get a ton of links yourself, but most of all, you'll feel good about making a whole lot of other bloggers feel good about themselves.

All by taking a couple of minutes to leave a simple post. Not a bad deal, eh?

PS: Check out this list of Z-Listers from Christine's blog. Notice that her list is almost as long as the one above, and at least HALF of them are different!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 35

Here's the standings for Week 35:

1 - Seth's Blog - 5,036 (LW - 1)(-69)
2 - Creating Passionate Users - 15,649 (LW - 2)(+843)
3 - Duct Tape Marketing - 16,635 (LW - 3)(-47)
4 - Gaping Void - 17,186 (LW - 4)(-248)
5 - Marketing Shift - 32,030 (LW - 5)(-1,364)
6 - Daily Fix - 43,507 (LW - 6)(-727)
7 - Coolzor - 57,538 (LW - 7)(-371)
8 - Converstations - 75,486 (LW - 9)(+1,512)
9 - The Viral Garden - 77,425 (LW - 8)(-799)
10 - New School of Network Marketing - 78,268 (LW - 10)(+558)
11 - HorsePigCow - 85,001 (LW - 11)(+1,547)
12 - Logic + Emotion - 88,625 (LW - 12)(-2,464)
13 - What's Next - 116,636 (LW - 13)(-3,770)
14 - Jaffe Juice - 118,721 (LW - 15)(+1,128)
15 - Brand Autopsy - 123,276 (LW - 14)(-6,675)
16 - Emergence Marketing - 147,208 (LW - 16)(-7,508)
17 - Experience Curve - 164,846 (LW - 17)(-11,368)
18 - Diva Marketing - 169,823 (LW - 18)(+2,683)
19 - Church of the Customer - 189,459 (LW - 19)(-12,211)
20 - Make Marketing History - 191,670 (LW - 20)(+3,573)
21 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 193,404 (LW- 21)(+7,267)
22 - Marketing Nirvana - 195,325 (LW - 22)(+7,131)
23 - Blackfriars' Marketing - 202,486 (LW - UR)
24 - Marketing Headhunter - 208,019 (LW - 24)(+22,808)
25 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 214,823 (LW - 23)(-2,431)

In the Top 10, Creating Passionate Users has a big week, and dips under 16K for the first time. Unfortunately, Duct Tape Marketing and Gaping Void can't keep pace, and both slip slightly. Converstations continues its tear, and is up to #8.

Past the Top 10, Pro Hip Hop Marketing had a nice jump as did Marketing Nirvana, and Make Marketing History just shows no signs of slowing down. Marketing Headhunter has the week's biggest jump in Alexa ranking.

The lone new entry is Blackfriars' Marketing, which makes a nice splash in at #23. Note that an Alexa ranking of 200K will barely make the Top 25 cut now.

Next update is next Wednesday.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Time says 'You' are the Person of the Year, bloggers buy it

Well it seems the hot topic of the day is Time Magazine naming 'You' as its Person of the Year.

My take? Big deal.

Call me a cynic, but I'm guessing this was more a publicity stunt than anything else. Time knows that bloggers will go apeshit over this story, and we are. I just did a Google Blog Search for links to the Time POY piece, and there are already OVER 1,200 LINKS to the story!

I'm sure next week we'll have more mainsteam media jumping on this angle by making bloggers and YouTube fans and MySpacers part of their 'Best of 2006' list.

As Chris says: 'The majority of the public will say..."What's a blog?...."What's a YouTube?"..."Wiki-what?"'

Does Time let its writers blog? Does the magazine have a presence in Second Life? Are readers given the opportunity to submit stories? Does Time link to bloggers as sources for their stories?

I wondered as I read this passage from the Person of the Year article:
And we are so ready for it. We're ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos—those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms—than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.

And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.

Note that 'we' was tossed around early and often in that section. The beauty of social-media is that it gives simple communication tools to the masses. Always wanted your own pirate radio station? Now you can start a podcast. Always wanted your own website but didn't know enough about HTML to start one? Fire up a free blog. An aspiring filmmaker or simply a daredevil that loves attention? Welcome to YouTube.

But looking at Time's website, I don't think they are part of the same 'we' that the rest of us are. I see plenty of RSS feeds, and even a few blogs. But those are tools to send content MY way. How do I respond? If I go to the blogs on Time's website, I see that I can't leave comments. And ironically, the Person of the Year article itself doesn't accept comments or feedback. If Time really believes that social-media is so important that it's dubbed 'You' as the Person of the Year, then why won't they let 'You' send content back their way?

So Time, I have to call bullshit. This was simply a publicity stunt in order to get a boatload of free links, and an attempt to gain some relevance with bloggers. If you actually believed in the power of the people, you'd be using those tools to give us a way to let our voice be heard, instead of simply as another channel to push more content in our direction.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fantasy Football Sunday

And then there were 8.

The playoffs start this weekend for the Marketing Bloggers fantasy football league. The playoff matchups are(seeds in parentheses):

(1)Airbag Industries vs. (8) Brand Autopsy
(4)The DIG Tank vs. (5) UX Magazine
(3)Brains on Fire (6) Casual Sundays
(7)The Social Customers vs. (2)The Viral Garden

IMO, I need a big game from my QB to have a chance in this game. QB has been the one position where the team has been consistently inconsistent. Out of 4 QBs, I'm still not sure if I've found a consistent one. I've been going with Vince Young in the past few weeks, and I'll stick with him. I almost went with Vick, then as soon as I decide to keep him on the bench, he throws for 4 TDs against the Cowboys. Ugh. Even Alex Smith went off for 3 TDs last Thursday, so if Young tanks today against Jax, that will probably cost me the game.

And if LJ wants to go off for about 5 TDs, I won't complain ;)

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Friday, December 15, 2006

'Z-Lister' update

Well it seems the 'Z-Lister' meme is having the desired affect, as several of you have emailed me to tell me that your blog traffic is up, and that your links are up as well. I decided to check on the 5 blogs I linked to originally, and see how many links each had gotten since Tuesday:

Shotgun Marketing Blog(31)
Customers Rock!(23)
Being Peter Kim(24)

Not bad for 3 days! Also several of you have emailed and left comments saying you had added your own entries to the list. I'm going to try to add everyone from the lists I could find, so this might be a doozy....

Shotgun Marketing Blog
Customers Rock!
Being Peter Kim
Pow! Right Between The Eyes! Andy Nulman’s Blog About Surprise
Billions With Zero Knowledge
Working at Home on the Internet
MapleLeaf 2.0
Two Hat Marketing

The Emerging Brand
The Branding Blog
Drew's Marketing Minute
Golden Practices
Tell Ten Friends
Flooring the Consumer
Kinetic Ideas
Unconventional Thinking
The Copywriting Maven
Hee-Haw Marketing
Scott Burkett's Pothole on the Infobahn
Multi-Cult Classics
Logic + Emotion
Branding & Marketing
Popcorn n Roses
On Influence & Automation
Servant of Chaos
Presentation Zen
Dmitry Linkov
John Wagner
Nick Rice
CKs Blog
Design Sojourn
Frozen Puck
The Sartorialist
Small Surfaces
Africa Unchained
Marketing Nirvana
Bob Sutton
¡Hola! Oi! Hi!
Shut Up and Drink the Kool-Aid!
Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together
Community Guy
Social Media on the fly

So there you go! If you're late to the game and want to play, simply cut and paste the long list above into a blog post, then add whatever blogs you want of your own, and that's it! Then whoever reads your post can repost your list, and add any blogs they want, and it continues to snowball from there! You're doing your part to bring attention to blogs that deserve it, and turning Technorati's 'authority' rankings on its ear ;) And you'll more than likely get a whole slew of new links and a nice traffic bump too. Everyone wins!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Can David Letterman save the music industry from itself?

As the P2P file-sharing version of Napster fell to its death, crushed by the weight of a steady stream of RIAA-backed lawsuits at the first of the decade, an incredibly significant event occurred that all but validated the model of increasing sales by giving away music. And it was all but ignored by the very people it would have benefited the most.

Several high-profile artists such as Metallica, Dr. Dre and Madonna pursued legal means of stopping their music from being shared on the wildly-popular P2P service, especially singles that were leaked to Napster prior to being released commercially. Many artists claimed that making their music available on the service took money from their pockets, and this was of course a stance that the RIAA was more than happy to support vehemently.

But in 2000, as the service was already entering its lawsuit-enduced downward spiral, a funny thing happened. In October, Radiohead saw their Kid A album debut at the top of Billboard's Top 200 chart. This was surprising for two reasons; first, the album had no singles and almost non-existant radio-play prior to release, and second, the band had never had an album crack Top 20 in the U.S.

But what the band had going for them, was Napster. Months prior to the album's late-fall release, Kid A was leaked to the file-sharing network, and millions of users that had never heard of the band were suddenly exposed to its music, and they loved it. So an alternative band that had previously enjoyed modest sales at best, was suddenly a mainstream hit. This seemed to validate Napster as a channel for increasing music sales, not destroying the industry, as the RIAA and some artists had all but claimed. But again, this wasn't what the industry wanted to hear, so they ignored the significance of Radiohead's sudden success, and less than a year later, the service was shutdown by a court injunction, and would never return as a P2p file-sharing network.

But today, TV networks are discovering for themselves that making their product available for free on the internet, can lead to mo money. In October, CBS created a brand channel on YouTube, and began seeding it with video clips from the network's shows. The deal also came with an interesting twist; CBS would allow its clips to be downloadable, if YouTube would grant the network the right to remove any existing copyrighted material, or let it stand and share in the ad revenue the clip generates.

So far, the experiment has been a wild success. CBS has uploaded over 300 clips to the channel, which have been viewed over 30 million times, and the channel has over 35,000 subscribers.

And the network's move to freely distribute its content via YouTube, has been a shot in the arm for CBS' shows, as Late Night with David Letterman, and The Late Late Show, among others, both saw their audiences spike after having video clips from the shows seeded on YouTube. And it couldn't have come at a better time for the network, since November was a "sweeps" month, where networks use ratings and audience share to set advertising rates for the coming months. The end result was that CBS finished November's sweeps as the most-watched network.

And here's the money quote from Chris Taylor, Business 2.0 Magazine editor:
The Nielsen ratings did more than give CBS a lift. It provided key evidence in the war between copyright owners and freeloaders. Music buffs, for instance, have long argued that the free sharing of songs drives CD and other music sales. The problem is, they've never had the statistics to prove it.

But video-sharing proponents do. The CBS deal shows that a direct connection can be made when it comes to free-for-all TV downloads. Networks now have both YouTube figures and Nielsen numbers at their disposal.

As a result, other networks are seeing the success that CBS is having with their brand channel, and you'll likely see similar offerings from FOX, NBC, and others in the near future.

But will we finally see the music industry learning from the lessons that Napster users tried to teach it years ago? They now have the model in play to see that giving away content can actually boost the bottom-line. This is why I devote so much time to the measures that Nettwerk takes to empower their music fans to trade and market their artists' music. It's why I post constantly about The Donnas' model based on increasing sales by giving their music away through Because these guys are ahead of the curve. They are already operating in the space that the rest of the industry will eventually discover, even if it's against their own will.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 34

Here's the standings for Week 34:

1 - Seth's Blog - 4,967 (LW - 1)(+174)
2 - Creating Passionate Users - 16,492 (LW - 2)(-39)
3 - Duct Tape Marketing - 16,588 (LW - 3)(+502)
4 - Gaping Void - 16,938 (LW - 4)(+691)
5 - Marketing Shift - 30,666 (LW - 5)(-980)
6 - Daily Fix - 42,780 (LW - 6)(+1,698)
7 - Coolzor - 57,167 (LW - 7)(-2,481)
8 - The Viral Garden - 76,626 (LW - 8)(-1,748)
9 - Converstations - 76,998 (LW - 10)(+5,444)
10 - New School of Network Marketing - 78,826 (LW - 9)(+1,931)
11 - HorsePigCow - 86,548 (LW - 11)(-3,933)
12 - Logic + Emotion - 86,161 (LW - 12)(+2,316)
13 - What's Next - 112,866 (LW - 13)(-6,002)
14 - Brand Autopsy - 116,601 (LW - 14)(-4,558)
15 - Jaffe Juice - 119,849 (LW - 15)(+5,088)
16 - Emergence Marketing - 139,700 (LW - 16)(-14,162)
17 - Experience Curve - 153,478 (LW - 17)(-15,288)
18 - Diva Marketing - 172,506 (LW - 19)(+6,924)
19 - Church of the Customer - 177,248 (LW - 18)(-3,783)
20 - Make Marketing History - 195,243 (LW - 20)(+7,627)
21 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 200,671 (LW- 21)(+2,205)
22 - Marketing Nirvana - 202,456 (LW - 23)(-630)
23 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 212,392 (LW - 22)(-4,844)
24 - Marketing Headhunter - 230,827 (LW - UR)
25 - Spare Change - 245,606 (LW - 24)(-21,579)

Darth Godin tightened his deathgrip on the Top 25 this week, moving his Alexa score under 5,000 for the first time. But not to be outdone, Duct Tape Marketing and Gaping Void both dipped under 17,000, to mark the first time we've had four blogs with an Alexa ranking under 17,000. Past the Top 4, Daily Fix, New School, and Converstations all had big weeks.

Past the Top 10, L+E, Jaffe Juice and Diva Marketing all had nice weeks. John continues his winning streak as Make Marketing History has another nice move.

Top 25 vet Marketing Headhunter re-enters the Top 25 at #24

Next update is next Wednesday.

PS: Thanks to everyone that's picking up on the 'Z-Lister' meme. The longest list I've seen so far is from Converstations, and I'll repost Mike's picks here:

Shotgun Marketing Blog
Customers Rock!
Being Peter Kim
Two Hat Marketing
The Emerging Brand
The Branding Blog
Drew's Marketing Minute
Golden Practices
Tell Ten Friends
Flooring the Consumer
On Influence and Automation
Kinetic Ideas

Where's your list of 'Z-Listers'?

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Revenge of the 'Z-Lister'

Here's the deal: In an effort to bring more link-love to those blogs that I feel aren't getting their due, I've created a small list of blogs below that I've linked to. The idea is to create a meme built around giving link-love to the blogs that deserve it, and hopefully turn Technorati's system of using a blog's # of links to determine its 'authority', on its ear.

What YOU can do is simply create a new post on your blog, but CUT AND PASTE the list I have below, and then ADD any blogs you feel aren't getting their due either. It can be 1 blog, or a hundred(or none if you simply want to repost the same list), but the idea is, find those great blogs that, for whatever reason, you feel aren't getting their due, link-wise.

Then after you leave your post, the next blogger will do the same thing, cut and paste YOUR list, and add THEIR blogs to the list, then repost it. Add the same instructions in your post that the next blogger should cut and paste YOUR list, and add any blogs they feel should be on it to THEIR list. The list will get increasingly long, and all the blogs will get a sort of reverse 'pyramid-affect' of link-love.

This is a PAINFULLY easy way to bring extra links and exposure to those blogs that deserve it. I would institute an 'honor' rule that you don't include your own blog. The end result is that many great blogs will get a ton of extra exposure, we'll all find some great new blogs to add to our reading list, and you'll get mucho good karma points for helping out your fellow bloggers! And who knows some of that link-love might even come back to you!

Here's my list(Cut and paste to your blog, and add as few or many blogs as you like):

Shotgun Marketing Blog
Customers Rock!
Being Peter Kim

Social Media has killed the 'isolated incident'

Karl long has a great post about users of Nintendo's Wii game console system, and how the controllers are coming loose during the wild gestations that are required as games are played. The problem with the controllers is effectively converting the controllers into, as Karl states, a "plasma killing missle."

First of all, I haven't played the Wii, so I have no idea how easily this happens. And it may be that this is a very rare event.

But thanks to social media, one person's problems with a product are instantly communicated to the world. Already there are videos on YouTube that demonstrate the problem with the remotes, but there is even a site dedicated to the flaw, entitled The site gives GRAPHIC detail of how Wii owners have damaged their belongings and each other, just by playing the Wii. And oh yes, there are pictures.

This is how social-media changes a company's marketing. In years past, a company with reports of product problems and damage resulting from customers using their product, may be inclined to take their time 'investigating' the problem, hoping that it is really an 'isolated incident' that will 'go away'.

No more. Today even if the problem IS an isolated incident, there can still be video evidence of the problem posted on the internet within minutes, and within hours a community will spring up around the problem. So while the problem may indeed be 'isolated', the damage to the brand will likely be anything but, and the longer a company takes to address the problem, the worse it gets. And even with a site such as, where most of the 'problems' seem to be coming from users' carelessness more so than defective products, the damage is still done. The mom that sees the picture of the woman with her eye swollen shut doesn't remember that it happened because her drunk boyfriend accidentally punched her in the eye while playing Zelda, the mother remembers that the injury occurred while the couple was playing with the Wii.

The community is using tools that makes them smarter and faster than you are. Ignore both at your own peril.

UPDATE: is reporting that some Wii users that had their remote strap break have been sent replacement remotes with a thicker strap. Also, there are already just under SIX MILLION Google results for the term 'wii have a problem'.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Word of Mouth Marketing

I knew that the tactics that Andy talks about in Word of Mouth Marketing would work before I even started reading the book. I blogged back in October about the book as soon as I received it, because I was surprised that Andy had included a bag of Dale and Thomas popcorn! What's even more curious is that both Brains on Fire and Open The Dialogue referenced my 'popcorn' post in their reviews of the book. So Andy definitely knows how to get people talking.

To be honest, most of the book is a good primer on word-of-mouth marketing, and a nice refresher course for most of us. If you are a student, then you definitely need this book as it will be infinitely more valuable than anything you can get from a stale and outdated textbook.

Still, as I was reading this book, I really didn't feel that any new ground was being broken. It was a great reminder of many basic marketing principles, but not much else. But all that changed in the last 2 chapters of the book for me, as Sernovitz goes into how companies can JOIN the conversation. After spending the majority of the book detailing ways that companies can get their customers talking, Sernovitz caps it by then shifting into how companies can react to what their communities are saying. He makes the wonderful point that WOM marketing is TWO-WAY, and that WOM is PARTICIPATORY marketing! Love it! Andy explains exactly how to track conversations on blogs about your company, and how to join those conversations, either by commenting on existing blogs, or starting your own. And he walks you through that process as well. And he addresses ways to deal with negative feedback, which is something many companies struggle mightily with.

Finally, Sernovitz makes a point to stress throughout the book that you cannot fake WOM, and that if you try to manipulate it, that it will come back to bite you in the ass every single time. And he's exactly right. Do everything you can to give your community something to talk about, and to make it as easy as possible to talk about you, but do NOT attempt to deceive the community, because they are ALWAYS smarter than you are. Always. Andy goes to great lengths to stress that you either do it right, or don't do it at all.

Overall, Word of Mouth Marketing is a nice refresher read for seasoned marketers, and for students and companies that are trying to get up to speed, especially with reacting to conversations about their company on the internet, it's a must-have. In fact, Andy could probably take the last 2 chapters that deal primarily with responding to bloggers, and starting your own blog, and expand those into a separate book. Amazon has it on sale for around $16, which is a bargain.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fantasy Football Sunday

We're heading into the final week of the regular season in the Marketing Bloggers fantasy football league, and there's still plenty up in the air. The Viral Garden won a close one over The DIG Tank to take over 1st in the league last week. This week is a rematch with UX Magazine, who I beat in one of the closest games of the year in Week 1, by just 0.13 points.

The decision to go with Vince Young at QB last week didn't bite me, so I'm going to stick with him this week as he has his homecoming against the Texans. I'm hoping that he'll want to show-out back in his home state, and try to make sure the Texans see what a mistake they made in bypassing him to draft Mario Williams at #1. I finally got decent production from my WRs last week, as well as my #2 RB, and if that can continue, I like my chances in the playoffs.

Heading into the final week, 6 of the 8 playoff spots are secured, with the teams that have qualified for the playoffs being:

The Viral Garden(10-3)
Airbag Industries(9-4)
The DIG Tank(9-4)
Brains on Fire(8-5)
Casual Sundays(Fridays)(8-5)
UX Magazine(8-5)

There's 2 spots left, with 5 teams still fighting for them:

Brand Autopsy(7-6)
The Social Customers(6-7)
Own Your Brand(6-7)
The Buzz Canucks(5-8)
True Talk(5-8)

Brand Autopsy is the only blog that controls its destiny. If John wins, BA is in, everyone else needs help. The Social Customers have a huge point lead over Own Your Brand, so a win likely gets them in as well. A big kink in the plans for BA is that their opponent this week, Church of the Customer, has jumped out to an almost 40-point lead due to strong performances last Thursday by Ben Rothlisberger and Willie Paaaaaahker.

Next week, the playoff brackets.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Viral Community News

Tons o' links to get to, so here we go:

1 - Jaynie has the very first episode of BAMCast up at BMA. Very good, quirky and funny as only Jayne can be, give it a listen!

2 - Dave Dolak has started a new website devoted to business branding.

3 - Check out Mark's marketing and advertising blog MortarBlog.

4 - Many of your Daily Fix writers/readers will recognize Stephen Denny from his many thoughtful comments. Here's his blog, Note to CMO.

5 - John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame has a ton of great pre-release promotions for his new book, so check them out!

6 - Check out Peter's new blogging articles site, Blogging Articles 24X7.

7 - Becky has decided to join the addiction that is blogging, and here's her new blog, Customers Rock! Check it out as she's off to a great start!

8 - Thanks to Roger for just emailing me his story about demonstrating his Ball of Whacks at FAO Schwartz.

9 - My new post is up at Daily Fix, I talk about the need to Blur the Lines between the company and its community, and talk about Willie Davidson's unique approach to 'market research'.

10 - Karen Rynes, Director of Marketing for Jaduka, has come up with a great series of posts examining Social Media.

11 - Finally, a pair of great links from David Armano. First, he has created some great blogging t-shirts.(I agree, 'Eat Sleep Blog' is the winner!) And David has also taken the '2006 in Picture' post and converted everyone's responses into a '2006 in your words' slideshow!

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Great ideas take on a life of their own...

As the gang at Brains on Fire would say, "Warning: Potential horn tootin' ahead."

As most of you no doubt know, the Marketing Profs Book Club, Hosted by CK, was unveiled on Tuesday at Daily Fix. What MP and CK have teamed up to do is bring leading business/marketing authors, and their community of fans, together. For anyone that signs up, they will be able to discuss the book with the authors and fellow readers, and post questions about the book for the community and authors to answer. In addition, the first 30 people that sign up will be given an autographed copy of the book, with the first one being Citizen Marketers, which I reviewed earlier this week.

Who benefits from this program? Everyone.

The community gets great books for free. The community gets to DISCUSS those great books not only with each other, but with the authors. Knowledge is gained and shared, everyone ends up smarter. The authors win because they not only get invaluable attention drawn to their books, and of course sales, but they too get to learn from their communities, and get the type of hands-on feedback companies pay HUGE amounts of money for. Gold for everyone!

And as happens with most good ideas, this one is growing into a monster. CK said the number of people that had signed up as of last night was over 400, including readers from every continent and she's waiting on confirmation from a particularly bookwormy penguin in Antartica. I'm sure the total is approaching or has passed 500 by now. That number could easily reach a thousand by the time the program goes live in January.

Another reason why I take great pride in writing for Daily Fix. Not only am I surrounded by wonderful marketers such as CK that truly want to use marketing as an empowerment tool, but our fearless leader, Ann, shares in that vision, and is smart enough to recognize a smart idea such as CK's Book Club, and run with it.

A great idea, and while CK and Ann are working with leading authors to help spread knowledge, we can all learn plenty from these savvy marketers about embracing and empowering your community.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 33

Here's the standings for Week 33:

1 - Seth's Blog - 5,141 (LW - 1)(+9)
2 - Creating Passionate Users - 16,453 (LW - 3)(+998)
3 - Duct Tape Marketing - 17,090 (LW - 2)(-75)
4 - Gaping Void - 17,629 (LW - 4)(+823)
5 - Marketing Shift - 29,686 (LW - 5)(-1,015)
6 - Daily Fix - 44,478 (LW - 6)(-1,205)
7 - Coolzor - 54,686 (LW - 7)(-1,877)
8 - The Viral Garden - 74,878 (LW - 8)(+1,042)
9 - New School of Network Marketing - 80,757 (LW - 9)(+625)
10 - Converstations - 82,442 (LW - 12)(+7,027)
11 - HorsePigCow - 82,615 (LW - 10)(+704)
12 - Logic + Emotion - 88,477 (LW - 11)(-824)
13 - What's Next - 106,864 (LW - 14)(-701)
14 - Brand Autopsy - 112,043 (LW - 13)(-953)
15 - Jaffe Juice - 124,937 (LW - 17)(+2,632)
16 - Emergence Marketing - 125,538 (LW - 15)(-8,533)
17 - Experience Curve - 138,190 (LW - 16)(-12,986)
18 - Church of the Customer - 173,465 (LW - 18)(-30,631)
19 - Diva Marketing - 179,430 (LW - 19)(+1,692)
20 - Make Marketing History - 202,870 (LW - 24)(+21,909)
21 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 202,876 (LW- 20)(-5,992)
22 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 207,548 (LW - 21)(-1,344)
23 - Marketing Nirvana - 213,789 (LW - 22)(-630)
24 - Spare Change - 224,027 (LW - 23)(-9,813)
25 - Brains on Fire - 261,609 (LW - 25)(-25,383)

Creating Passionate Users has another big week, and moves up to #2. Duct Tape was down a bit, but Gaping Void dipped under 18K as well. Will be interesting to see if the 3 can inch closer to Seth, who has had a death-grip on #1 since Week 1. The other big move in the Top 10 was Converstations, as Mike has another big week and lands in the Top 10.

The rest of the Top 25 was surprisingly weak this time, with one notable exception. Make Marketing History had a very nice week, jumping up 4 spots to crack the Top 20.

Next update is next Wednesday.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More waves of community-empowered goodness rippling from Vancouver

Sometimes when I'm pressed for a new topic here, I'll go to Google News and do some searching. Common terms I like to use to find stories are "marketing", "social-media", "promotion", and the like. But there's one search term that almost always reveals a hidden nugget of a story for me.

"Terry McBride".

And the latest search for the Nettwerk CEO brought me some very interesting quotes from McBride last week at the Transmission Music Conference in Vancouver. McBride, expanding on a topic he addressed during my interview with him back in October, talked about the potential of peer-to-peer music recommendations as a selling channel. McBride wants to empower music fans to sell music themselves through email, IMs, and text messages, with the sender receiving a portion of the sale.

"Stop talking about having kids transfer music to every device they have. Just do it," he said. "You can do it right now. There's nothing stopping you. The only thing that's stopping you are your egos."

Terry is, of course, exactly right. But for the immediate future, it's not going to happen, because the dinosaurs running the big music labels will never give up that type of control over the distribution of their music.

And I think Terry knows that better than anyone.

Recall that Terry also stressed that labels needed to give more control over music back to artists, and give fans music in more forms. They mostly ignored him, so he started having his clients go independent, allowing them complete control over their music, giving them a much greater share of the profits, and the ability to sell their music in any form they desire.

Now he's stressing a move toward peer-to-peer music recommendation, and unless the big labels suddenly grow brains, that's not going to happen either.

The REAL question is, when it doesn't happen, will Nettwerk again follow its own advice and jump into the P2P game themselves? Was this another reason why Terry is trying to move his clients, such as The Barenaked Ladies, to their own label so they have complete control over their music and how it is distributed? Is this the precursor to Nettwerk maybe partnering with an existing social-networking site to give its users the ability to share and recommend music through emails and IMs? With a mobile version of the service so users can wirelessly recommend and sell music? Or will Nettwerk create their own social-networking site with the peer-recommendation system as its backbone?


Am I jumping to conclusions? Giving Nettwerk too much credit? Maybe, but based on Nettwerk's actions thus far, I'm betting they have something in the works.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Citizen Marketers

One of the first things that struck me when I began reading Citizen Marketers, was the ability that Ben and Jackie (calling them McConnell and Huba just doesn't fit) have to take a concept as misunderstood as Social Media, and scale it down to where it is accessible to all, and to do so without talking down to the reader. In fact, the book does such a good job of giving background on the various forms of social media, that it can double as a general primer on the subject.

But where CM shines is in explaining what exactly Citizen Marketing is, who these people are, and what motivates them. I'll be honest, going into reading this book, I was a bit worried that this would simply be a collection of case studies providing examples of citizen marketing, bookended with an introduction and conclusion chapter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, Ben and Jackie have done exhaustive research into the subject of citizen marketing, and instead of simply rehashing examples such as the CGM buzz behind Snakes on a Plane, Jarvis' Dell Hell, or the liberation of Fiona Apple (quite possibly my favorite story in the book, which I'd never heard of previously), Ben and Jackie talked to all the parties involved, and discovered what they did, why they did it, and who they did it for.

Their conclusion was that they were dealing with, concerned citizens. Citizens whose love of their favorite brand compelled them to take action on its behalf. And thanks to the rise of the internet, and more specifically social media, those concerned citizens not only have the tools necessary to produce their own brand marketing, they have the ability to reach others, and mobilize them to share their cause. One person's blog post lamenting the cancellation of a favorite TV show can blossom into a full-fledged petition drive that saves the series. A bad customer service experience at a fast food restaurant can be recorded and uploaded to YouTube within minutes. Jarvis' post about his dissatisfaction over his Dell erupted into Dell Hell, which eventually forced the Austin-based computer maker to totally re-examine their customer-service, and revamp their policy on reading and responding to bloggers(IOW, creating a policy for reading and responding to bloggers).

But in my opinion, the heart of the book lies in Ben and Jackie's breakdown of Citizen Marketers into four distinct categories, which they have dubbed 'The Four Fs', all with their own motivations for their actions. I'll quote the pair from their Church of the Customer blog on their roles:
1. Filters

The Filters are human wire services. They collect traditional media stories, bloggers’ rants and raves, podcasts, or fan creations about a specific company or brand and then package this information into a daily or near-daily stream of links, story summaries, and observations.

Most Filters maintain a steady objectivity like traditional news wire services, but some Filters cross over into analysis. For the most part, Filters are not prone to fits of pique or confrontation, and they occasionally produce their own journalistic work.

2. Fanatics

The Fanatics are true believers and evangelists. They love to analyze the daily or weekly progress of a brand, product, organization, or person and prescribe courses of action. They are, essentially, volunteer coaches.

The Fanatics praise great work -- which may vary widely from marketing to accessory development -- but they will also critique mistakes or obvious lapses in full view of the world, just like a coach may do as a teaching tool.

3. Facilitators

Facilitators are community creators. Their primary citizen marketer tool is a Web-based bulletin board or community software. Facilitators are like the mayors of online towns, and some online communities exceed the populations of small cities.

4. Firecrackers

Firecrackers are the one-hit wonders of citizen marketers. They can attract considerable attention because they have created a song, animation, video, or novelty that generates a lot of interest but tends to die out quickly as the creators go on with their other work.

Sometimes the proverbial wild hair springs up and a few hours later, two guys with a video camera record a funny rap about McDonald’s McNuggets, post it to a few video-sharing sites, and watch it accumulate 70,000 views. Not all Firecrackers are get-’em-out-fast productions. George Masters’ homemade ad for the iPod was a popular one-hit wonder, but he spent five months creating it.

In conclusion, buy this book. It isn't a marketing book, it's a book about your community of customers. What motivates them, and what inspires them to take action, both on behalf of, and against your brand. A customer is shaken from their apathy toward a brand, and spurned to action either in response to a brand's indifference towards them, or as a result of the brand's reaching out and offering the hand of empowerment to them. Right now your brand likely sits on one side of this fence, and gaining a better understanding of your customers and what gives them the incentive to act, will help you understand how they view you.

And on a final note, this review serves as another example of the benefits of finding and empowering your community to market for you. In this post, I literally begged Ben and Jackie for a copy of this book to review, and mentioned that I'd like a free copy "before I can buy it"(and I did intend on purchasing the book when it became available). I had a copy in my mailbox in a few days, and that prompted me to go ahead and order their first book, Creating Customer Evangelists, from Amazon, and I'll be reviewing it as well in a few weeks. So to those industries (read: music) that still believe that giving away your product simply results in a lost sale, consider that by giving away a copy of Citizen Marketers, Ben and Jackie not only got a sale back, but a review here for each book.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fantasy Football Sunday

I've been meaning to post about this for literally weeks, but back at the start of the season, John Moore from the Brand Autopsy blog was nice enough to start a Fantasy Football League just for Marketing Bloggers. The list of blogs in the league are some of the best on the internet, and includes:

Airbag Industries
Brains on Fire
Brand Autopsy
Buzz Canuck
Casual Fridays
Church of the Customer
The DIG Tank
The Fast Growth Blog
Own Your Brand
Shotgun Marketing
Social Customer Manifesto
True Talk
UX Magazine
The Viral Garden

If you're not familiar with fantasy football, you 'draft' a team of players, and you get points for each player based on how those players perform in actual games. For example, if a quarterback throws for a TD, you get 6 points. If he throws an interception, you lose 2 points. We play a 'season', and for each week, you are paired against another marketing blogger. The points for each player are added up to get a score for each team, and the team with the higher score, wins that week.

Luckily, I'm coming into Week 13 tied for the lead, record-wise(9-3), in the league with DIG Tank. DIG Tank is the overall #1 team based on points. Oh and BTW, The Viral Garden plays The DIG Tank this week.

I'm rolling the dice a bit with this week's lineup, giving Vince Young his first start this year, and benching the incredibly inconsistent Michael Vick. Amazingly, I have FOUR QBs on my roster, and still don't have a consistent starter in Week 13. I'll need a big game from Young, along with solid play from my WRs and Leon Washington to have a chance against The DIG Tank. Larry Johnson has been a rock this year, and should rush for big points against the hapless Cleveland Browns.

Next week is the last week of the season, and then the playoffs start. Right now The Viral Garden and The DIG Tank are the only 2 blogs that have clinched a playoff spot. There are 14 teams, and 8 of them will make the playoffs.

I'll update everyone for at least 2 more weeks, and hopefully a bit longer than that if The Viral Garden can keep winning in the playoffs. I will say that this season has been a BLAST, and John has found a way to get me excited about pro football, which I previously could have cared less about. Besides the Steelers of course, then again they haven't given me much to get excited about this year anyway.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 32

Here's the standings for Week 32:

1 - Seth's Blog - 5,150 (LW - 1)(-1)
2 - Duct Tape Marketing - 17,015 (LW - 2)(-25)
3 - Creating Passionate Users - 17,451 (LW - 3)(+1,085)
4 - Gaping Void - 18,452 (LW - 4)(+166)
5 - Marketing Shift - 28,671 (LW - 5)(+722)
6 - Daily Fix - 43,273 (LW - 6)(-1,098)
7 - Coolzor - 52,809 (LW - 7)(-1,025)
8 - The Viral Garden - 75,920 (LW - 9)(-332)
9 - New School of Network Marketing - 81,382 (LW - 10)(+6,385)
10 - HorsePigCow - 83,319 (LW - 8)(-8,502)
11 - Logic + Emotion - 87,653 (LW - 11)(+3,959)
12 - Converstations - 89,469 (LW - 12)(+9,062)
13 - Brand Autopsy - 104,378 (LW - 13)(-953)
14 - What's Next - 106,163 (LW - 14)(+646)
15 - Emergence Marketing - 117,005 (LW - 15)(-9,327)
16 - Experience Curve - 125,204 (LW - 16)(-6,062)
17 - Jaffe Juice - 127,569 (LW - 18)(+1,216)
18 - Church of the Customer - 142,834 (LW - 17)(-22,929)
19 - Diva Marketing - 181,122 (LW - 20)(+12,701)
20 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 196,884 (LW- 21)(+2,747)
21 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 206,204 (LW - 23)(+3,259)
22 - Marketing Nirvana - 213,159 (LW - 19)(-25,724)
23 - Spare Change - 214,214 (LW - 22)(-13,765)
24 - Make Marketing History - 224,779 (LW - 25)(+43,572)
25 - Brains on Fire - 236,226 (LW - 24)(+4,894)

The Top 25 continues to get tighter. All the blogs in the top half of the Top 25 now have an Alexa ranking of under 90K, and I think we're eventually headed toward needing a score of less than 200,000K to make the Top 25 at all. The group as a whole continues to move upward, and the closer a blog's score gets to 100K, the more 'stable' its ranking movements tend to become.

Also, I always like to look at the last 5 spots to see how the guys on the edge do. 3 of the blogs were up, with Make Marketing History having the biggest jump the Top 25 has seen in weeks. Both Spare Change and Marketing Nirvana were down, but that's a rarity for Nedra and Mario, so I'm sure they'll bounce back quickly.

Next update is next Wednesday.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

10 Steps to Starting a Company Blog, new article up at Marketing Profs

I have a new article up at Marketing Profs, "Ten Steps to Starting a Company Blog". It's a primer for companies and businesses that are considering a jump into the blogosphere, but aren't sure how to go about it.

It's a premium article(Marketing Profs membership required), but I wanted to summarize 3 main areas that I tried to stress in the piece:

1 - Understanding up-front that a blog is a LONG-TERM investment. You can't start one and drop it after a week if you don't think you are getting anything out of it. It's like a garden, it takes time to produce, and you have to work at it. I wanted to spell out what the requirements would be beforehand, so companies could decide for themselves if they are willing to make the commitment, because starting a blog and then letting it die due to inactivity is FAR worse than never blogging at all.

2 - Writing the blog from the READER'S point of view. Give the readers a reason to come check your blog out(Hint: They aren't waiting for a chance to hear you pimp your own products, really they aren't). Tailor your offerings so that you provide information that THEY want, and that will help THEM, and they'll be MUCH more likely to listen to the occasional post about your products. A perfect example of this is the blog MasiGuy. Tim Jackson is a brand manager for Masi bicycles, but note that his blog isn't about Masi products, it's about cycling. Sure he mentions Masi products from time to time, but the focus is on his love of cycling, and as a result, his blog appeals to fellow cycling enthusiasts, and as a result, he has exposed countless readers to Masi products, that otherwise would have likely never encountered the brand. Remember to keep your audience's wants and needs in mind when crafting your content.

3 - Have a comment policy in place before you start blogging. Comments are the lifeblood of a blog, and you need to take every step possible to make it as painless as possible for your community to give you feedback. I talk about the need to be careful in responding to negative or even antagonistic comments, as in almost every case, YOUR response will carry far more weight than the commenter. Also, make every effort to have comments show on your blog as quickly as possible. If you moderate comments, make sure you constantly have someone available to approve incoming comments. You cannot afford to wait 2-3 days over the weekend to let comments go through, that's one of the fastest ways to kill interest in your blog. Remember, it's all about the community!

Check it out if you have a chance. If your thinking about joining the blogosphere but aren't sure how to do it, this walks you through the process step-by-step.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I wanted to thank Steve, SteveMax, Nancy, Dante, Jennifer, Uno Technology, Imaginacya, James, Ariel, and Sandi for adding The Viral Garden to their Technorati Favorites. If you'd like to add The Viral Garden to your Technorati Favorites, just click on the logo below, and I'll be happy to add your blog to my favorites, and also link to your blog here. Thanks!

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Friday, November 24, 2006

If an A-Lister blogs in the woods, does anyone read them?

I got an email from Terry Ng a few days ago alerting me to the fact that I am now officially a 'B-List' blogger, and that he has created a special widget for other bloggers to determine what list they are on. I think it's a smart idea from Terry, and obviously a great source of linkbait as bloggers all over the internet are linking to his widget.

But in the end, it all gets another 'so what?' from me. As I've said all along, being an A-List blogger is about as prestigious as being the 3rd-best bobsledder in Cuba. When you get outside of the blogosphere, really no one cares.

But Chris at Shotgun Marketing brings up an even better point. While we are so busy with navel-gazing, we aren't seeing that growth of the blogosphere as a whole may be stagnating:
My current view of the "State of the Blogosphere" is that it’s like the Shakers. Bloggers are passionate about the blogosphere, but the belief will die out because you’re not creating new adherents.

Yes. Your blog is ranked 9,XXX on Technorati, but the only thing that really shows is your influence with other bloggers. What’s the reach of your blog to the non-blog community?

Right now the blogosphere, for all its power, is equivalent to a room full of people who each have a bullhorn and they’re all talking. Every now and then, they all point to one of the bullhorns and maybe repeat what that A-list bullhorn is saying. And every now and then, someone from outside the room stops and listens, but it’s mostly a closed system.

I said months ago that if you're looking to make waves in the blogosphere, you are swimming upstream, and the key is attracting attention from the mainstream, whether it be the media, business, marketers, or everyday people on the street. IOW, finding ways to OPEN the system. Most of America from the individual to corporate level could care less about blogs.

Show them what they are missing.

BTW I want to thank Rachelle and the AMA for inviting me to attend MPlanet, a 'marketing event' that will be taking place in Orlando next Weds.-Friday. Sounds like a ton of fun, and includes marketers from many of the top companies in the world speaking, including our own Eric Kintz on behalf of HP. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend, but many top bloggers will be there, and Peter Kim will also be presenting. Hopefully, in 2007 we'll begin to see these events include more bloggers as speakers.

Pic via Flickr user Matt McGee

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

MySpace: Your contract is officially under review

My latest favorite spam friend request to arrive in my MySpace mailbox (along with pic of totally hot babe, natch):
Hi, I'm Ms Dewey. I'm a new search engine. I am contacting a few people in the biz., to have a chance to be one of my first friends. If you like my website, I'll add you as a friend. But only if you keep me in your top 8. :)

By the way, nice profile!

Ms. Dewey

My reply?

Sorry this user is not accepting invitations to be spammed at this time.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Want to go swimming? Try going WITH the current

At the Future of Television Forum at New York University's Stern School of Business last week, David Poltrack, CBS's chief research officer, said(via Ad Age):
We're in a position right now where no one wants to take [content off YouTube]. When you have something the public really wants, the economic value in that is to come up with a way to satisfy the rights holders and serve the consumers.

Sounds good, but here's the money quote(emphasis added):
"If they're [consumers] going to steal it, give it to them anyway," he said. "But also make it easier to access and present it better than YouTube or BitTorrent or anywhere else."

Not thrilled about the 'stealing' label, but he's at least smart enough to realize that if your community is interacting with your product in a way that they enjoy, the best solution is to ENHANCE that interaction, not to stifle it. Give the user a better experience, and THAT can be monetized. It's a lesson that Napster should have taught the music industry years ago, but one they are still grasping to understand.

UPDATE: Right on cue, and just as I was going to leave this post, I discover that Universal Music is suing MySpace, claiming the social-networking site "enables users to upload copyrighted music and videos without authorization."

Unbelievable. Keep swimming upstream against the current of the community boys. All it does it make you tired, get you wet, and eventually the community will simply go around, or over you.

Pic via Flickr user Spike n...

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Friday, November 17, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 30

Here's the standings for Week 30:

1 - Seth's Blog - 5,149 (LW - 1)(+3)
2 - Duct Tape Marketing - 16,990 (LW - 2)(-142)
3 - Creating Passionate Users - 18,536 (LW - 3)(-129)
4 - Gaping Void - 18,618 (LW - 4)(-161)
5 - Marketing Shift - 29,393 (LW - 5)(+522)
6 - Daily Fix - 42,175 (LW - 6)(-791)
7 - Coolzor - 51,784 (LW - 7)(-119)
8 - HorsePigCow - 74,817 (LW - 9)(+602)
9 - The Viral Garden - 75,588 (LW - 8)(-610)
10 - New School of Network Marketing - 87,767 (LW - 10)(+90)
11 - Logic + Emotion - 91,612 (LW - 11)(-3,014)
12 - Converstations - 98,531 (LW - 12)(+1,538)
13 - Brand Autopsy - 103,425 (LW - 14)(+1,505)
14 - What's Next - 106,809 (LW - 15)(-1,285)
15 - Emergence Marketing - 107,678 (LW - 13)(-2,642)
16 - Experience Curve - 119,142 (LW - 17)(-2,916)
17 - Church of the Customer - 119,905 (LW - 16)(-6,686)
18 - Jaffe Juice - 127,293 (LW - 18)(+1,216)
19 - Marketing Nirvana - 187,435 (LW - 19)(-5,340)
20 - Diva Marketing - 193,823 (LW - 21)(+6,667)
21 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 199,631 (LW- 22)(+2,137)
22 - Spare Change - 200,449 (LW - 20)(-3,475)
23 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 209,463 (LW - 23)(+7,937)
24 - Brains on Fire - 241,120 (LW - 24)(-6,387)
25 - Make Marketing History - 268,351 (LW - 25)(-7,982)

The countdown pretty much treaded water this week with 10 blogs being up, 15 down. The first big move upward didn't come until Diva Marketing moved up a spot to #20. BMA did continue its streak with another solid up week, in fact the biggest in the Top 25 this week. Will be interesting to see what happens moving into December. From what I remember of BMA's traffic last year, from about the middle of Dec. till the end of the year, traffic fell off a cliff, then bounced right back after the Holidays. I assume most other blogs had similar results.

Next update is next Wednesday.

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