Monthly Archives: March 2007

The Dark Side of Social Media

One of the most prominent bloggers on marketing and social media, Kathy Sierra, has blogged that she’s been receiving death threats online.
Ironically it’s other prominent bloggers, including Cluetrain
Manifesto co-author Chris Locke, whose blogs were the source of the
threats. So far, the motive is murky but the impact is disturbing–on both sides of the equation.
There’s not much for me to add to the conversation. Read Kathy’s summary for the details, and read Chris Locke’s response.

The Marketing Duel of Coke vs. Coke

Victor Cook has just posted a great analysis of the internal battle over marketing strategy that has divided Coke since the merger of its marketing and bottling enterprises. The analysis itself is educational. But when you realize that only a small group of marketers in the country can drive, much less understand, this level of analysis, you get a crystal clear sense of why so few marketers have a seat in the boardroom.

On Being a Blogging Fool

I’m at an overlap for a couple of weeks where I’m writing for four blogs. It’s a little insane, but it’s keeping me very well engaged. I’ve decided that after I finish my gig guest-blogging for Unica, I’m going to continue the same focus with my MotiveLab blog, and turn Marketonomy into more of a dedicated look at the broader issues of marketing–in essence just distilling out from Marketonomy the social media content and leaving the rest.

I’m working on an editorial plan that will turn each blog into a dedicated area of focus. So my expanding media empire of one will consist of MotiveLab (social media), MarketingRev (marketing tech) and Marketonomy (the marketing profession). I’ll eventually put a small meta-navigation bar at the top of each blog to link them together. I should have this all in place by the first week of April.

In the meantime, I’ve been writing today about a new blogging platform for businesses at MarketingRev, called HubSpot, which looks promising. I’ve been writing about some funny social media trends at Unica, including speculation over how American Idol Sanjay has survived despite really bad singing, and Expedia’s Wiki Whitewashing (hat tip: Mike Moore). And finally, I wrote a short entry about the market penetration of the Social Media meme at MotiveLab.

Another New Day

It’s been a week since I last posted, which feels like an eternity. I’ve been heads down driving relentlessly through twenty hour days and caffeine-fueled eternities at my desk, drumming out the new Web site for MotiveLab. And now it’s launched. And my head is spinning. I never expected that I would end up building another agency, but here I am, and I’m incredibly excited. There’s nothing quite like running blindly ahead, running completely on faith in finding your way, or your way finding you, and then watching it all fall into place. MarketingRev and MotiveLab are more perfectly matched as synergetic partners than if I had engineered it, and they’re completely different than what I expected.

I’ve got a lot of things happening on the perimeter. I’ve had some great discussions continuing on the Unica blog about various challenges and opportunities in Social Media. I’ve got some great partnerships emerging with BuzzLogic, Clickability, Netline, and SimpleFeed. And probably more significant than anything else, I’ve started working on a book with Victor Cook to create a more mainstream explanation of the concepts in Competing for Customers and Capital. It’s hard to believe I was reading his articles in academic marketing journals a decade ago, and now I’m collaborating with him. We’re looking for ways to make the production of material more open and accessible than traditional book projects–inspired in some ways by Chris Anderson’s Long-Tail "blog-on-the-way-to-a-book" concept. We’ll see how that shapes up.

I’ve still got a lot of tweaking and refinements to make on the MotiveLab site. Please don’t be shy with feedback and suggestions. I’m sure I’ll be up for all kinds of skeptical and cynical comments from the punditsphere about a "social marketing" agency, and that’s okay. For the first time in a long time I’m very clear about the path ahead. It’s a nice change.

Slimy Opt-In Tactics

After upgrading my system, I just tried to view a RealPlayer video file for the first time. As opposed to Flash video players, like YouTube, or the kind I recently launched for MarketingRev, RealPlayer has a dedicated client application that sits on your computer to play RealPlayer files, and oh yeah, communicate back to Real. These pods that communicate back to the mother ship have been abused enough to make consumers leary of them, but if it’s something you really want to watch, you just shut up and let them play.

So I’m forced to go through an initializing wizard with my RealPlayer. Of course, it first tries to take over all my video files by helpfully auto-checking the box "Make RealPlayer My Default Media Player", but I catch it and decline. It’s the next screen that Really pisses me off. It’s an opt-in screen that invites me to subscribe to a list of Spam-bot feeds with lots of FREE RealPlayer content. You can see four  feeds in the small selection box, and to my surprise, they’re not automatically checked for my opt-in permission.


Okay, I’m not being hoodwinked on this screen. I’m about to click "next" when I notice there’s a scroll bar on the selection box. I scroll down, and low and behold, when get below the fold there are a lot more Spam feeds, and these hidden feeds are auto-checked for opt-in permission.


Those scum sucking slimebags.

There is absolutely no question in my mind that this box was set up to purposely deceive users into opting in to email they had no intention of subscribing to. The unchecked subscription boxes are shown to users so they let down their guard, while the auto-checked boxes are hidden in a way that the vast majority of users would never notice. This kind of tactic is a tacit admission in my mind of an inability to effectively market information people actually want so they have to resort to deceptive tactics in order to fool people into subscribing. I can only imagine what their spamming tactics are like.  

Making Sense of RSS

I’ve finally posted my first videocast on, laying out the fundamentals of RSS and its implications for marketers in an interview with Mark Carlson, the CEO of SimpleFeed. It’s not a big bells and whistles kind of video, but if you’re a marketer and you’re not up to speed on RSS, it’s a quick and painless way to learn about many of the key issues and challenges. I’m working on a long series of similar videos, and I’m taking suggestions and comments on improving them

The current video is a straightforward interview, which I shot, edited and posted with consumer equipment and software. That’s in stark contrast to a series of videos I’ve been working on in partnership with MinerProductions, where we’ve had professional cameramen, editors, and a truckload of equipment. The difference to me is interesting to parse–both in what happens when you work on a big production, and how viewers receive it, and I talked a little about this issue on the Unica blog.   Suffice to say I think video is going to continue to be rapidly democratized, but I also think it’s going to evolve a lot faster toward the kind of production values we are accustomed to on television.