Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Viral Community News

The 'Night of the Living Comments' edition.

Here's the great blogs and posts I found when I went on my commenting spree(NOW you see why I did it ;)

Quite possibly the most awesomely prefect blog name: Get Shouty. Close second is Conformists Unite.

Gavin has started KarmaCredits.org, which he explains is:
We are drawing a line in the sand. We are daring you to join us, to raise your voice in chorus. But it is oh so much more than talk.

If you have found us here, then you will have read this post at the Daily Fix – if not please do.

Karma Credits is a site for passionate marketers. It is a space for collaboration and ideation. We are about strategy and about doing.

Also, Gavin has a post about how blogs are the new online resume. One of the earlier posts I left here was on this very subject.

I first found out about this a few days ago on Marketing Nirvana, Google has now given us the ability to create a 'custom' search engine by only selecting certain sites to be included. Here is the engine that Mario created, with many members of the Viral Community. Also, Media Landscaping has created their version, which looks to have almost every member of the Top 25 Marketing and Advertising blogs, plus a ton of other great Ad and Marketing blogs.

Kate be her name, and this be her blog.

Roger von Oech has done a great job of creating his blogging community. Roger has personally reached out to many bloggers either through their blogs or via email to say howdy, pick their brains, and as a result his blog Creative Think is off to a flying start, and he's gotten everyone talking about his Ball of Whacks. Can't wait to get mine and start playing with it! Companies and bloggers alike that are looking for pointers on how to join the blogosphere the right way and to make an immediate impact, should ask Roger for advice.

I can't even remember how I found Pat's blog Sports Marketing 2.0, but I'm glad I did. Pat is the Director of Database Marketing & E Commerce for the Indianapolis Colts, and he discusses how the Colts as well as other teams are entering the social media realm. Good stuff because its coming from the 'other side of the fence'.

The "A-Ha!" blog. Lani emailed me a few months ago with an incredibly nice email about this article I wrote for Marketing Profs, and I found the email again by accident while searching my inbox, and I guess it was fate, because I never noticed that she included her and Alan's blog address! Thanks again!

So my commenting spree was a definite success, it generated some great discussion in the 'Comments' post, and I found several great new blogs.

PS: When is YOUR commenting spree starting?

Monday, October 30, 2006

This might be significant...

Dove's 2006 Super Bowl spot generated almost 500 million impressions for Campaignforrealbeauty.com. Oprah even devoted an entire episode to the ad and the "Campaign for Real Beauty".

Then Unilver seeded one commercial on YouTube earlier this month.

Which one do you think worked better?

According to Alexa, the traffic spike Unilever enjoyed from one YouTube video going viral is OVER TRIPLE what Dove garnered from its Super Bowl spot.

Anyone wanna do the cost analysis on $3.75 million vs. free?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Night of the living comments

Gavin has a post about leaving comments, and how to encourage visitors to your blog to speak up and make a contribution. It's funny because I've been dancing around this same topic for a while, how to convert the lurkers into community members, ie, commenters.

Finally I realized that visitors will only comment if they want to, and that no one can 'make' them become involved if they don't want to be. Then I got to thinking, maybe I'm looking at this from a 'what can you do for me' angle, instead of 'what can I do for you?'. Maybe the best way to get more people to comment on my blog is to first comment on their blog? Doesn't make much sense when I preach about joining the community, then want the community to come to me.

So here is my idea. From now until Monday, I leave 100 comments on 100 blogs. I can't control whether or not anyone comments on MY blog, but I can definitely control whether or not *I* comment on any other blogs. I checked my Bloglines feeds and I've got around 60-65 blogs on there now. Add in another 35-40, and that gets me up to 100.

So in the spirit of walking the walk, I'm going to spend quite a bit of time out in the community today and through the weekend. You might not see me here, but you'll probably see me on your blog. Who knows, maybe I'll get a few new commenters here, or better yet, maybe some of you will decide to join in on the fun and go on your own commenting spree.

Poe said it best: "Hey everyone when I walk the walk, I gotta back it all up, can I talk the talk?"

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 27

Here's the standings for Week 27:

1 - Seth's Blog - 5,319 (LW - 1)(+74)
2 - Duct Tape Marketing - 17,587 (LW - 2)(+404)
3 - Creating Passionate Users - 18,289 (LW - 3)(-26)
4 - Gaping Void - 19,078 (LW - 4)(+140)
5 - Marketing Shift - 32,886 (LW - 5)(+972)
6 - Daily Fix - 39,215 (LW - 6)(-338)
7 - Coolzor - 54,369 (LW - 7)(+3,376)
8 - HorsePigCow - 68,723 (LW - 8)(-415)
9 - The Viral Garden - 77,961 (LW - 10)(+329)
10 - Church of the Customer - 80,242 (LW - 9)(-7,203)
11 - Logic + Emotion - 95,005 (LW - 14)(+5,332)
12 - New School of Network Marketing - 97,906 (LW - 11)(-169)
13 - Emergence Marketing - 99,369 (LW - 13)(-871)
14 - Converstations - 99,899 (LW - 15)(+3,780)
15 - Brand Autopsy - 102,748 (LW - 12)(-4,618)
16 - What's Next - 110,828 (LW - 16)(-3,842)
17 - Experience Curve - 116,945 (LW - 17)(-6,481)
18 - Jaffe Juice - 133,411 (LW - 18)(+9,688)
19 - Marketing Nirvana - 173,540 (LW - 19)(-20,262)
20 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 196,186 (LW- 21)(+11,051)
21 - Diva Marketing - 208,923 (LW - 20)(-2,446)
22 - Brains on Fire - 210,076 (LW - 22)(+4,261)
23 - Spare Change - 220,865 (LW - 23)(+2,065)
24 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 232,398 (LW - 25)(+16,209)
25 - Marketallica - 258,962 (LW - 24)(-15,959)

Duct Tape Marketing continues to quietly inch upward. John still is in with the same pack as Gaping Void and CPU, but DTM is looking pretty good right now. Also, GV stays at #4 again this week after spending the last few months at #2. Other than this blog and Church of the Customer swapping places, the Top 10 stayed intact.

L+E has a nice bump up 3 spots to #11, Converstations also has a nice move as both also crack Alexa's Top 100,000.

Jaffe Juice has another nice week as Joe has started a nice run. Pro Hip Hop and Brains on Fire are up as well. Spare Change continues a nice winning streak, being up every week since joining the Top 25. BMA has a nice jump as well, which I'll attribute to the 'Critical Haw' affect.

Next update is next Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Coke decides they are ready to join the Mentos geyser party

Well it seems that Coke finally likes the Mentos-Diet Coke geyser videos, now that they've developed a model to make money off them.

After first saying that they didn't approve of their customers enjoying their product, Coke has now switched gears and is embracing the geyser video movement. Of course by now no one gives a damned about the videos anymore, but that's beside the point.

The point is WHY does Coke suddenly now like the idea? Because they have found a way to monetize the videos, of course! Coke has created a new 'Poetry in Motion' contest and website which will let users upload crazy videos of them doing crazy things with all sorts of items.

Crazy man!

Kevin Nalty says kudos "to Coke for demonstrating adaptive marketing. The best kind."

I say the BEST kind of adaptive marketing that Coke could engage in, is letting their customers take control of their brand, instead of trying to stop them until they can find a way to make money off them. As Virginia says "Is someone trying to hijack your marketing? Are you fighting back or sending them a thank you note?"

Monday, October 23, 2006

Joe takes his crayons and goes home to Second Life

Congrats to Joe Jaffe, Shel Holtz, Neville Hobson, and CC Chapman for the forming of their 'new marketing' company, crayon. The company will 'officially' launch on their own island in Second Life on Thursday, the island shares the name of their site, Crayonville.

Jaffe explains the genesis of the company:
crayon is the realization of almost 5 years of evangelism, passion and thought leadership designed around the central premise that the world has changed; the consumer has changed; but marketing has not. Judging by the general consensus and response to my book, together with countless conversations with senior marketers, not to mention the level of discourse on blogs like yours, it became readily apparent that now was the time to scale and staff up to accommodate the acute lack of clarity and mass confusion regarding what to do next…

Enter crayon…

In short, crayon is a shape-shifter; a mash-up; a company that integrates the best of the consulting, agency, advisory, thought leadership and education worlds. crayon’s goal is to help our clients:

• Amplify, extend and enhance relevance, experience and value through bold, alternative and non-traditional approaches

• Join the conversation

• Create disproportionate positive business impact

Think of it as the marketing services embodiment of “Life after the 30-second spot” and then some.

Then it should be a smashing success. Congrats to Joe and the gang, and I wish them all the best. Joe does a lot of 'behind-the-scenes' work to help other bloggers that most don't know about, and he and Shel, Neville and CC deserve all the success I am sure they are going to enjoy as they use new marketing to prove new marketing.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Read no blogs...like no blogs

DA had an interesting post that I had to forego commenting on his blog about, and instead expand into a post here.

The post focuses on this study/report by the Wharton School of Business. Basically it's just several faculty members giving their opinions on blogs. As expected, the instructors that read and write their own blogs, love them. What is suprising, is that the members that see no value in blogs, are the ones that don't read them.

"Blogs are the latest forum for people who have nothing to say that others actually care about," states Wharton marketing professor Xavier Dreze. The mode of a distribution, explains Dreze, "is its highest point. What this means is that there are more blogs with 0 subscriptions than blogs with one subscription or two or three or four. There is a reason why the modal number of subscriptions to a blog is 0."

He doesn't read blogs because "I don't see the point. It's a bunch of people writing their opinions, and those people have no credibility. The information content is very low."

Here's another gem:
Management professor Saikat Chaudhuri is also skeptical of blogs. "I actually don't read any blogs because I am still trying to demystify their value," he says, adding that he thinks their relevance "lies in receiving informed opinion by experts on a topic as a reader, developing one's reputation for such expertise as a contributor, and providing a focused discussion forum in general. However, there are many such blogs to choose from, so I find it difficult to distinguish between genuinely useful ones and those merely exchanging or relating social experiences."

Shockingly, they are both completely wrong. You can't measure the value of blogs on the content published. The reason why blogs are so important, is because they give everyone a voice. And perhaps more importantly, they let everyone find their voice.

Perfect example: In graduate school, I was exposed to several branding and marketing authors by my instructors, my favorites were probably Al and Laura Ries. The instructors brought their books to my attention, but thanks to blogging, I was able to communicate directly with Laura through her blog. I've gone from reading the books of top marketing authors, to reading and communicating with top marketing bloggers.

Communication is the difference. My voice can communicate with your voice.

Not every blog is a treasure-chest of wonderful content. Likewise, not every book is a great read. Would these instructors tell their students to stop reading books, simply because some are bad? Would they encourage their students to read The Origin of Brands, but to avoid reading and commenting on Laura's The Origin of Brands blog?

DA adds this:
Xavier is certainly entitled to his opinion. And there is of course a lot of trash out there in general—not limited to blogs. But I have to say, this reinforces the stereotype that places of academia can become insulated. Get out there people! Go out in the real world and see things from different perspectives. Lots of professionals are out there blogging. People who PRACTICE what they do for a living. If we can't learn from them—who can we learn from?
Exactly. Who should I listen to, the marketing blogger that is PASSIONATE about his profession, or the marketing instructor that slams blogs, and admits that he's never read them?

Blogs are an incredible empowerment tool. Personally I would steer clear of anyone that tried to teach young and impressionable minds that they shouldn't be empowered to find their own voice, and to hear the voices of others.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Google-YouTube deal: Here's what you missed

The $1.65 billion price-tag that Google paid for YouTube grabbed all the headlines, but there's a very big underlying story that's just now coming out. The New York Times reported today that just prior to the deal being struck with Google, Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, Sony and Bertelsmann’s jointly owned Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and the Warner Music Group, all agreed to take stakes in YouTube. No doubt this was a move to appease the labels that had strongly hinted that they were considering lawsuits against YouTube for the video-sharing site making copyrighted material available. And I'm sure that this was a strong factor in whether or not Google agreed to purchase YouTube.

But here's the potentially huge problem: An additional element of the deal with the labels involves YouTube upgrading their existing technology to identify copyrighted material that users have uploaded to the site without permission.


I think we all know where this is likely headed, YouTube gives the information that it collects to the music labels, and soon every parent in America whose child has uploaded a music video to YouTube, has a letter in their mailbox threatening legal action against the family, which the label will agree to drop if the unknowing parent can pony up $10,000. Does anyone really think this isn't the road the RIAA and the labels are headed down?

Yes, apparently we still have to say outloud that 'Suing your own customers is bad for business'.

So many great books...

I've been lucky enough to have several marketing authors/bloggers send me books lately to review. Unfortunately, I really haven't had time yet to give them the attention they deserve.

But I'm going to have to move Andy Sernovitz's 'Word of Mouth Marketing' book to the top of my list. Andy did one thing that I didn't like, he didn't personally mention me as the other books I've received did, I just received a 'form letter' greeting. I'm big on personalization, but I'm willing to overlook it in this case, because when I opened the book for Andy's book, I discovered that he had also sent me a free bag of Dale and Thomas popcorn!

Great move by Andy as it was completely unexpected, and now he's gotten me talking about him and his book before I even start reading it. And the Dale and Thomas popcorn was delicious, whereas I'd never heard of the company before this.

As Andy says in his book, 'Do something worth talking about!' So far so good. I'll be reviewing Word of Mouth Marketing soon, as well as the other books I've received lately (promise!). And Ben and Jackie if you guys want to send me a copy of your upcoming book Citizen Marketers to review (before I can buy it), just let me know ;)

Don't forget the 'community' in community-empowerment

'Create our ads/product' promotions are just as popular as ever. While in the sense of getting customers involved in the marketing process, this is a good step, but also a small one. The company ultimately benefits far more from these type of initiatives than the community does. The company throws a few prizes at the winners, and in the end gets their ad/product created at a fraction of the price they would have paid, and usually have a far superior finished product.

Eventually, the community will begin to get bored with these types of promotions, and realize they are simply doing the hard work for the companies. That's why the smart companies NOW are the ones that are shifting the balance toward the community, and giving their customers something out of the deal. The 'create our ad for us' promotion doesn't empower the community, it empowers the company.

I recently blogged on BMA about a new promotion that The Barenaked Ladies have started. They are letting fans remix 6 of their songs completely by letting fans purchase the 'pro files' to each track, which lets them completely re-do the song. The band has set up a site where fans can submit their remixes, and the winner for each track will be packaged together as a special BNL EP that will be sold with the proceeds going to charities. That's a step in the right direction, but companies can still do more.

I've received 3 emails just this month from companies wanting advice on how to embrace and build their communities. My advice is always this: Build your campaign/movement around their passions, not yours.

Empower your community, and they'll happily return the favor.

Pic via Flickr user eugene

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 26

Here's the standings for Week 26:

1 - Seth's Blog - 5,393 (LW - 1)(-83)
2 - Duct Tape Marketing - 17,991 (LW - 2)(+81)
3 - Creating Passionate Users - 18,263 (LW - 3)(+277)
4 - Gaping Void - 19,218 (LW - 4)(-524)
5 - Marketing Shift - 33,858 (LW - 5)(+785)
6 - Daily Fix - 38,877 (LW - 6)(+3,151)
7 - Coolzor - 57,745 (LW - 7)(-4,795)
8 - HorsePigCow - 68,308 (LW - 8)(-2,170)
9 - Church of the Customer - 73,039 (LW - 9)(-4,349)
10 - The Viral Garden - 78,290 (LW - 10)(+681)
11 - New School of Network Marketing - 97,737 (LW - 11)(-3,297)
12 - Brand Autopsy - 98,130 (LW - 12)(+152)
13 - Emergence Marketing - 98,498 (LW - 14)(+1,666)
14 - Logic + Emotion - 100,337 (LW - 15)(+6,735)
15 - Converstations - 103,679 (LW - 16)(+4,405)
16 - What's Next - 106,986 (LW - 13)(-8,292)
17 - Experience Curve - 110,464 (LW - 17)(+47)
18 - Jaffe Juice - 143,099 (LW - 19)(+3,078)
19 - Marketing Nirvana - 153,278 (LW - 18)(-11,426)
20 - Diva Marketing - 206,477 (LW - 20)(-16,990)
21 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 207,237 (LW- 21)(-1,019)
22 - Brains on Fire - 214,337 (LW - 22)(+3,566)
23 - Spare Change - 222,930 (LW - 24)(+14,291)
24 - Marketallica - 243,003 (LW - 23)(-13,293)
25 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 248,607 (LW - 25)(-210)

Marketing Shift and Daily Fix continue to march upward, while the Top 4 continues to tread water. DF is starting to gain on MS, but what's going to be interesting to see is if either blog can make a run at the Top 4, which has pretty much been set in stone from Day One. HorsePigCow continues to slide, but yet again neither this blog nor Church of the Customer can take advantage of it.

Look at how closely grouped #11-#17 is. Less than 13,000 points seperates 7 blogs. Past that, Spare Change has another nice week and looks to be making a run at the Top 20. No new blogs this week and BMA hangs onto the last spot barely.

Next update is next Wednesday.

Congrats to DA

David Armano's "Blog's Eye View" series of presentations are over in NYC, and it looks like they were the smashing success we knew they'd be. Here's his recap of Day One, and here's Day Two.

It's been really great to see L+E take off. It was completely organic. He's shared his knowledge with his readers, and has actively become a participant in their communities. His smartitude and his willingness to reach out to other bloggers in turn drew us into L+E. DA creates some amazing visuals as we all know, but his humbleness and love of being part of the blogging community has been just as instrumental in his quick rise to blogging fame.

David is the perfect case study of how if you have passion for your work, and your community, that your blog can take off like a rocket. Technorati puts L+E at around the 6,500th most popular blog on the internet. That's after EIGHT months people.

Congrats David, and I mean this as a compliment, but you are truly an A-Lister!

PS I stole his pics from the presentations, the top one is Max Kalehoff, CK, Jaffe, DA, and Greg Verdino. The second one is Ann 'sis' Handley, DA, and Maura Welch from The Boston Globe's blog Business Filter.

Additionally, here's David's presentation.

Double PS: Thanks to C(space)K for telling me I had bungled the spelling of Max's name. Sorry,

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Viral Garden's interview with Nettwerk's Terry McBride

If you enjoy music, if you have an interest in marketing, then you need to get to know Terry McBride. That's because much of what you'll see in the next few years in music distribution and marketing, is likely going to come from the principles that Terry is applying to the management of his artists at Nettwerk Music Group now. Artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne, and The Barenaked Ladies.

For decades, major music labels have tried to keep a tight rein over control of how music is distributed, how it is priced, and who gets to keep it. Nettwerk has broken in the opposite direction, giving customers music in literally any form imaginable, giving them cheaper or even free music, and giving artists more control over their music, which in turn gives these artists the ability to sell that music in more forms and for less(see there's a method to the madness).

No one knows for sure what the future of music marketing and distribution will look like, but the odds are good that it will be very similar to the model that Terry is applying to the management of Nettwerk's artists today.

The Viral Garden: You have said repeatedly that we need to view music as a product like water, that nourishes as it is consumed, and that should not be controlled. How does this philosophy apply to the marketing of Nettwerk'™s artists and the distribution of their music?

Terry McBride: Well it varies from artist to artist as each is at a different stage of their careers and some are tied into recording and publishing agreements that limit their creative initiatives due to the labels and publishers wanting control. Those who are free and are able to collapse their copyrights will in turn have the ability to give up the control and realize by doing so that their imaginations take over. I hope through leading different artists down this path such as Barenaked Ladies, The Format, State Radio, Leigh Nash, that others will get excited by what they see. For example Sarah McLachlan has agreed for the first time to release a multi-track to the public so that they can make their own mixes, this was based on how well received the BNL ones went.

TVG: You mentioned The Barenaked Ladies. I've read that Nettwerk took a very unique approach in releasing their new CD, Barenaked Ladies Are Me. If you could, talk about what made the marketing and distribution of this release different from previous releases?

TM: This is all based on a simple principle, put the music where the music fan spends their time and allow them to consume it how they want. Thus with Barenaked Ladies Are Me, we have 29 songs, but over 250 assets when we count up the various versions (studio, acoustic, live, ringtones, multitracks, fan mixes). Then combine them with all the various formats ( Vinyl, CD, USB, 5.1, Digital) and then put them everywhere ( traditional store, All Digital DSP's, Live venues, Band site, Starbucks & so on).

TVG: “ Something I have discovered firsthand, is that Nettwerk makes a point to reach out to bloggers and communicate with them. So far, it seems that most labels are only sending review copies of new CDs to a few '˜tastemaker' blogs, but are there other ways that labels can involve bloggers in the promotional process?

TM: Well, we see bloggers as music fans that love to communicate on a personal level, thus I think they should be treated with better communication than the traditional type of journalist who does it as a paid job. I think down the road bloggers with a great track record will be able to make a decent living from the fact that they can sell the music that they are promoting by using peer to peer economic advances such as what Snocap is fostering.

TVG:“ Many people are saying that podcasting could be the next area of social media to see explosive growth. Do you agree with this, and if podcasting does grow over the next few years, how can music labels leverage this medium as a promotional channel for their artists?

TM: Not sure I agree with that, I am quite sure that those doing podcatsing have the perception that it will. I simply see P2P recommendation within the technology realms of IM, Text and e-mails being a far more immediate and personalized way of exchanging recommendations, opinion and commerce.

TVG: Nettwerk seems to understand the importance of reaching out to and empowering the communities of fans for their artists. Why aren'™t more labels as willing to involve their fans in the marketing process? Is it simply a control issue?

TM: Not sure why they do not, I think its rooted in old ways of doing things and not wanting to lose the control that they enjoy.

TVG: Something that impressed me when I talked to Erin Kinghorn earlier this year, was her saying that you encourage all of Nettwerk's artists to donate their time to charitable causes, to instill a sense of '˜giving back' and being a part of the '˜global community'™. Talk about why you wanted to instill a sense of giving back into the culture at Nettwerk.

TM: It's key to keeping artists in touch with everyday reality and making the world a better place for us all, really quite that simple.

TVG: Finally, I know that Save the Music Fan is something that you are passionate about. Can you explain how Save the Music Fan came to be, and what its goals are?

TM: Save The Music Fan is about stopping the litigation of music fans and simply came about from one of the many law suits. We decided to fund the defense of a fan whose family thought that the RIAA is in the wrong.

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Sarah pic via DesertOfMyDreams.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fair warning...

If you're a music fan, and interested in how music is and likely will be distributed and marketed in the future, you'll want to check back here on Monday for a special treat. Then you'll want to check out my next post on Daily Fix on Tuesday. Even BMA isn't safe.

Till then, The Garden is yours my friends, enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Why aren't you blogging?

My newest best friend online is Flori. Flori contacted me on MySpace after finding Tim's post on DF via a Google search, and reading the comment I left there. That comment led her to follow the link here, where she saw the link to my MySpace page, and contacted me there.

Great example of how connected the online world has become, but I digress...

When we started messaging, of course one of the first questions I asked Flori was if she blogged. She said she didn't, and I was struck by the reasons she gave for not blogging.

She didn't know what to write about, she didn't think she could write well enough, she didn't think she would be witty enough.

And above all else, she didn't think she would have anything interesting to say.

How many of us can say that we didn't have these same concerns before we started blogging? I can't, because I had these EXACT same thoughts about this time last year before I joined BMA. Many bloggers I've talked to can relate similar stories.

But in the end, my only regret about blogging is that I waited so long to get started. I've heard this from many other bloggers as well.

So as I told my new friend Flori, if you aren't blogging, then start right now. It will make you a better writer, it will make you better informed, it will make you a better marketer, and you'll love it. From a purely professional standpoint, blogging literally gives you hand-on experience with viral marketing and social media, two of the hottest areas of marketing right now. There's really no downside to blogging, besides the addiction, of course ;)

I asked Flori if it was ok to relate this story, because I wanted her to hear from the Viral Community and have everyone tell her their experiences with blogging. To Flori and every other visitor that's wondering if they should blog, what do you guys have to say? What advice can you give anyone that's not blogging yet?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

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

Here's the standings for Week 25:

1 - Seth's Blog - 5,310 (LW - 1)(+72)
2 - Duct Tape Marketing - 18,072 (LW - 2)(+209)
3 - Creating Passionate Users - 18,540 (LW - 4)(+708)
4 - Gaping Void - 18,694 (LW - 3)(-35)
5 - Marketing Shift - 34,643 (LW - 5)(+1,610)
6 - Daily Fix - 42,028 (LW - 6)(+2,593)
7 - Coolzor - 52,950 (LW - 7)(-4)
8 - HorsePigCow - 66,138 (LW - 8)(-1,787)
9 - Church of the Customer - 68,690 (LW - 9)(-2,444)
10 - The Viral Garden - 78,971 (LW - 10)(-653)
11 - New School of Network Marketing - 94,440 (LW - 13)(+4,959)
12 - Brand Autopsy - 98,282 (LW - 12)(-230)
13 - What's Next - 98,694 (LW - 11)(-2,478)
14 - Emergence Marketing - 100,164 (LW - 14)(+1,410)
15 - Logic + Emotion - 107,072 (LW - 15)(No Change)
16 - Converstations - 108,084 (LW - 17)(+78)
17 - Experience Curve - 110,511 (LW - 16)(+264)
18 - Marketing Nirvana - 141,852 (LW - 18)(+1,014)
19 - Jaffe Juice - 146,177 (LW - 19)(+5,923)
20 - Diva Marketing - 189,487 (LW - 20)(-11,251)
21 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 206,218 (LW- 21)(+5,596)
22 - Brains on Fire - 217,903 (LW - 23)(+8,806)
23 - Marketallica - 229,710 (LW - 22)(-16,815)
24 - Spare Change - 237,221 (LW - 24)(+6,575)
25 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 248,397 (LW - 25)(+456)

In the Top 10, Gaping Void slides another notch this week, and Marketing Shift and Daily Fix continue to close ranks on the Top 4. New School has another nice week and is now closing in on the Top 10.

#21-25 showed plenty of pop, with 4 of the 5 blogs being up. Very good sign when the bottom of the list is up.

This marks the 6-month anniversary of the Top 25 countdown, and I decided to go back and look at the first list for some perspective. As you can see, the group as a whole continues to see its Alexa rank shrink. Now BMA is #25 with a score of 248,397. That same score would have put them at #20 in April. Seth was #1 in April as well, but his Alexa score then was over double what it is now, at 11,018. This suggests that blogs as a whole, at least marketing blogs, continue to grow faster than the average blog/website.

BTW thanks to John at Duct Tape Marketing, and Nedra at Spare Change for adding the Top 25 Marketing Blogs Logo to their blogs!

Next update is next Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google acquires YouTube, does this mean a boost for Revver?

By now everyone knows that Google has acquired YouTube in an all-stock deal worth $1.65 billion. Leading up to the deal, both YouTube and Google signed distribution deals with music labels.

More than likely, YT was trying to lock down the major labels in an effort to elleviate copyright-lawsuit concerns to both Google and Yahoo!. But this move could signal an eventual move to a subscription service for YouTube.

Either way, Google now needs to get a LOT of money back from their purchase.

Peter Kim did some number-crunching, and found that Google paid $167 per video for YouTube. Yikes. Obviously, Google has to do some hustling to get that money back. More ad placements before/after and alongside videos are a likely solution. But again, Google may decide to make YouTube a subscription service, or at least, offer a pay version that doesn't include ads.

Either way, the bloom is likely off the rose for YT, and the community that built YouTube may consider leaving if more ads and a subscription model are in the works.

And when a site such as YouTube loses its 'by the people, for the people' feel, the community will go away. That could mean a boost to Revver. Users of YT will eventually realize that they are uploading videos and Google is making money off them, so why not upload their videos to Revver and pocket the change themselves? And as we see here, Revver's traffic continues to climb.

If Revver is smart, they'll be making moves right now to strengthen and empower their community, because it's going to be very difficult for YouTube's popularity to go anywhere but down from here. Those users that leave YouTube will go somewhere.

Opportunity is about to come calling, will be interesting to see who is in place to pick up the phone.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Viral Community News

The 'pat ourselves on the back' edition.

Congratulations for several members of the VC:

Paul McEnany of Hee-Haw Marketing has joined the ranks at BMA. Win/win for everyone, BMA gets a solid writer/blogger, Paul and HHM get more exposure. Congrats Paul!

Speaking of new gigs, Ann has added both CK and Tim 'MasiGuy' Jackson to writers list at Daily Fix! Congrats to both of you, and an additional congrats to Tim for being featured in the New York Times(reg required)!

And the beat goes on, as Karl Long at Experience Curve has accepted a job with Nokia. Congrats to Karl, who is currently in the middle of a cross-country trip that started out in Florida, and he should be somewhere in the Southwest right now celebrating his birthday, so a double congrats to Mr. Long!

All of the above examples point out what a wonderful communication tool blogs are. Successful bloggers draw more and more attention to themselves, and in doing so, expand the reach of their writings.

UPDATE: As I was writing this, I thought I'd better check my Bloglines(Which I've neglected since Thurs) to see if I am missing anyone. Sure enough, I didn't realize that "David" has been promoted to VP at Digitas, and that Chris has been quoted in the UK, Australia, and was interviewed by OMMA magazine! Congrats guys!

It's funny because when I started blogging in earnest about this time last year, when I would tell people that I was blogging to get a job, it was with a TON of blind faith. Because there really wasn't a lot of precendent for bloggers (other than the few isolated cases at the time) making a name for themselves, or even getting work from their blogging. But I had a feeling that if you were smart and a good writer, that a tool such as a blog simply helped you put your expertise out there and get noticed. Turns out, I was right, as the above list, as well as my own personal experiences, now proves.

I couldn't be prouder of how our group has grown and prospered in the past few months, and I think it's only the start.

Let the good times roll ;)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 24

Here's the standings for Week 24:

1 - Seth's Blog - 5,382 (LW - 1)(-32)
2 - Duct Tape Marketing - 18,281 (LW - 3)(-353)
3 - Gaping Void - 18,659 (LW - 2)(-1,321)
4 - Creating Passionate Users - 19,248 (LW - 4)(+1,295)
5 - Marketing Shift - 36,253 (LW - 5)(+639)
6 - Daily Fix - 44,621 (LW - 6)(+2,652)
7 - Coolzor - 52,946 (LW - 7)(-1,796)
8 - HorsePigCow - 64,351 (LW - 9)(-806)
9 - Church of the Customer - 66,246 (LW - 8)(-3,609)
10 - The Viral Garden - 78,318 (LW - 10)(-4,865)
11 - What's Next - 96,216 (LW - 11)(-4,440)
12 - Brand Autopsy - 98,052 (LW - 12)(-1,797)
13 - New School of Network Marketing - 99,399 (LW - 14)(+3,928)
14 - Emergence Marketing - 101,574 (LW - 13)(+1,031)
15 - Logic + Emotion - 107,072 (LW - 15)(+2,393)
16 - Experience Curve - 110,775 (LW - 17)(+4,454)
17 - Converstations - 111,988 (LW - 16)(+78)
18 - Marketing Nirvana - 142,866 (LW - 19)(+998)
19 - Jaffe Juice - 152,100 (LW - 18)(-11,481)
20 - Diva Marketing - 178,236 (LW - 20)(-9,821)
21 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 211,814 (LW- 23)(+6,053)
22 - Marketallica - 212,895 (LW - 21)(-2,989)
23 - Brains on Fire - 226,709 (LW - 22)(-13,141)
24 - Spare Change - 243,796 (LW - UR)
25 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 248,853 (LW - 24)(-21,090)

Business as usual, the winners keep winning, the losers....Duct Tape Marketing jumps back in front of Gaping Void at #2. While DTM, GV, and CPU continue to stay in their narrow 17,000-20,000 Alexa band, Marketing Shift and Daily Fix continue to march upward. Since CPU entered the Top 4, no other blogs have come close to the top quartet, and it will be interesting to see if either MS or DF can make a run at them.

#7-#12 were all down, #13-#18 were all up. That could lead to some big shakeups if the trend continues. Clyde Smith's Pro Hip-Hop Marketing has a nice Alexa move and jumps 2 spots. BMA is on the verge of being eliminated, but thankfully Paul McEnany's Hee-Haw Marketing has joined up, so I'm sure we'll see BMA begin to rise (ahhh nothing like pressure).

Congrats to Nedra Weinreich, who's Spare Change marketing blog enters the countdown at #24. Nedra make sure to pick up your Top 25 logo!

Next update is next Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How do YOU define community?

I found this post from Jake the Community Guy, where he gives his views on what a community is. Here's the main idea:
A community is a group of people who form relationships over time by interacting regularly around shared experiences, which are of interest to all of them for varying individual reasons.

My first thought was, 'Passion has to be in there somewhere'. In fact, at least for online communities, it seems that passion is literally the backbone of the community.

Then there's the issue of community forming by people that interact regularly around shared experiences. I'll be in Tuscaloosa this Saturday with 100,000 people I have never met in my life, but all will be members of the community of Alabama Crimson Tide fans. All will be newfound friends.

So I started to think this through and come up with 'my version' of what a community is. Then I realized that perhaps it's best as we define ourselves together. We can all add our thoughts and opinions and as a group, define ourselves.

So what do YOU think is community? Does the above definition work for you? If not, what would you change or add? My contribution is that I think communities form around a shared passion, what's your's?

Pic via Flickr users TooMuchPete

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Every detail is important

This post, reminded me of a this post I did for BMA earlier this year. Both are great examples of community-empowerment.

In the latter, the city of Seattle did a study and found that callers to city-hall were put on hold an average of 50 seconds. For years the city had fielded complaints about the long wait times, and the stale muzak that the citizens were forced to endure.

The city had an epiphany, and decided that they could do something about the stale muzak, and the distasteful wait times all at once. Seattle dumped muzak and instead began playing songs from local bands. The system, called OnHold(Brilliant!), rotates local bands and artists in the on-hold buffer, letting callers have a very personalized alternative to boring muzak. The best part is that at the end of the call, listeners are given the address for OnHold, where they can go and download a podcast of the music they have heard, or buy the songs individually. A portion of all sales benefit Seattle's art education programs. This is besides the obvious benefit to the local music scene. And a vibrant music scene of course ultimately benefits the city as well.

The first example at the top comes from Portland, Oregon, where Rumblefish has partnered with Umpqua Bank, a regional bank, to create The Discover Local Music Project. This project lets Umpqua sell music from local artists through a specially-created site called the community hub. Rumblefish adds that originally the project was aimed at attracting more young customers, but instead all age groups are interested in hearing and supporting local bands. One of the bands, Rye Hollow, is even doing a mult-city tour based around the locations of the Umpqua branches.

Another community-empowerment move that strengthens the local music scene, which extends to the local economy, and eventually, comes back to Umpqua. Rumblefish reports that the bank has seen a 20% increase in new deposits since beginning this service.

Again, this is what happens when you put the wants and needs of your community of customers on an even or HIGHER level than your own. Satisfying your community's wants and needs is the quickest way to meet your own.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Apologies for the light blogging

Hopefully you've noticed, but I didn't post much the last week or so. I promise to do better this week, but here's some of the things that were keeping me busy:

1 - An interview with a label exec in New York for The Viral Garden

2 - Helping a marketing consultant in New York with work for clients on the West Coast.

3 - Talking with a Chief Content Officer in Massachusetts about an article for a marketing website based on the West Coast.

4 - Writing for MarketingVox.

5 - Interviewing a CEO in another country(more later...)

And additionally, last week my blog went to where I have never been, USC's Marshall School of Business. A few nights ago, Ann Handley spoke to one of the school's graduate classes, and included The Viral Garden in her presentation. Oh, and I also had my first speaking invitation.

So more blogging from now on, I promise.

BTW while I am thinking about it, a big congrats to Karl at Experience Curve for getting a job with Nokia! Which apparently will let him play with phones, the internet, and video games (yes I'm jealous!). Very cool and exciting to see big companies starting to cherry-pick the best bloggers!

Additionally, thanks to Martin, Rhonda, and Stephen for adding me to their Technorati Favorites!