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  • dbinkowski 3:19 am on February 4, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Firebrand: The (Online) Superbowl of Advertisements 

    Tonight was the Superbowl, where the supposed best ads (Although Jason Calacanis’s “Salesgenie racist Superbowl ad post says otherwise) of the year were aired. While I thought this year’s crop was weak, with Tide To Go’s “talking stain” being the standout exception, it’s fun to watch the most creative, fun spots from years past. Enter Firebrand. It’s a new site that only shows the best ads from around the world – so you don’t have to be tortured by the ghost of 30-spots-past, lame YouTube clips or US-specific stuff.

    Now, if you’ve read my blog you’d think that I hate advertising. I want to clarify something — I don’t hate advertisements, I just hate bad advertisements. The site is loaded with great ads from tons of brands from Nike, FedEx, several car companies, liquor companies, you name it. It would be great to see some classic ads re-aired here as well – the Nike “Revolution” spots were genius and I could watch them daily.

    Anyway, when you have a minute, check out Firebrand at work as part of Firebrand Monday and their scads of ads. Definitely worth a look, especially if you’re a marketer.

    digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/tech_news/Firebrand_The_Online_Superbowl_of_Advertisements’;

    Advertisements
     
    • Julia Roy 1:22 am on February 12, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I also thought the ad’s this year were pretty weak. It’s too bad considering this year had the largest superbowl audience ever.

  • dbinkowski 2:50 pm on January 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Top Digg Users: "It’s really not about the community" 

    The NY Times has a great article on a battle raging over on Digg between the site operators and some “Power Users” on the site. Digg, for those unfamiliar, is a social news site. What does that mean? Basically, people find stuff from around the web, including news stories, blog posts, photos and video, submit it to Digg and the community deems whether or not it’s worth viewing. There’s a bit of controversy as to what stories are dug(g) and which are “buried”, meaning deemed irrelevant or not important by the community. For example, this post by Neil Patel documents stories about certain web sites or submitted by certain people are being buried by Digg employees. The Power Users are claiming “censorship”, but much like the Google PageRank/PayPerPost story, once you mess with a company’s business model, or in this case algorithm, they have every right to correct it. The Power Users are planning to boycott the site and not submit new stories.

    So what’s the story with the Digg power users? Like most communities, there are folks who invest a lot of time, effort and energy to help make the site what it is. Without their submissions and social network, stories wouldn’t make the home page. Those who’ve had stories on the home page have seen traffic spikes, also known as the Digg effect, and some argue there’s any monetary value of making the home page. That being said, the argument could be made that the site’s content and popularity has been driven by these power users, which was enabled by Digg’s algorithm.

    So why the uproar? Well, Digg decided to re-tool its algorithm so the greater community could decide which stories work. In theory, broadening the number of people whose votes count should increase the number of users on the site, since, much like the lottery, there’s an equal chance of winning; in this case it’s making the home page because the general populous of Digg deems it worthy. This logic was also employed on the redesigned Netscape home page and failed miserably. Valleywag calls this the Jason Calacanis effect.

    Digg has the right to change its algorithm. However, the power users have a right to leave. Will this kill the site? Probably not — others will rise to the top and determine which stories are home page worthy.

    Three key learnings are:

    1. The few rule the many in communities. Call it the “Lord of the Flies effect” — and predictably, those in power are going to be upset when their authority and the playing field has been leveled.
    2. Don’t screw with success. I understand the intention of trying to get more people involved in the site, but expanding the site to include more topics would have been an easier way than pissing off the power user base.
    3. As Phil Gomes pointed out on Twitter, No one wins. One side just loses more slowly. — Prez, from HBO’s “The Wire”. Both sides are wrong, and ultimately the users of Digg will lose. The algorithm change should have been communicated better to users. The users should understand that the business has to evolve. In the end, asking the community for ideas isn’t a bad thing, but pissing them off is.

    digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/tech_news/Top_Digg_Users_It_s_really_not_about_the_community’;

     
  • dbinkowski 2:50 pm on January 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Top Digg Users: “It’s really not about the community” 

    The NY Times has a great article on a battle raging over on Digg between the site operators and some “Power Users” on the site. Digg, for those unfamiliar, is a social news site. What does that mean? Basically, people find stuff from around the web, including news stories, blog posts, photos and video, submit it to Digg and the community deems whether or not it’s worth viewing. There’s a bit of controversy as to what stories are dug(g) and which are “buried”, meaning deemed irrelevant or not important by the community. For example, this post by Neil Patel documents stories about certain web sites or submitted by certain people are being buried by Digg employees. The Power Users are claiming “censorship”, but much like the Google PageRank/PayPerPost story, once you mess with a company’s business model, or in this case algorithm, they have every right to correct it. The Power Users are planning to boycott the site and not submit new stories.

    So what’s the story with the Digg power users? Like most communities, there are folks who invest a lot of time, effort and energy to help make the site what it is. Without their submissions and social network, stories wouldn’t make the home page. Those who’ve had stories on the home page have seen traffic spikes, also known as the Digg effect, and some argue there’s any monetary value of making the home page. That being said, the argument could be made that the site’s content and popularity has been driven by these power users, which was enabled by Digg’s algorithm.

    So why the uproar? Well, Digg decided to re-tool its algorithm so the greater community could decide which stories work. In theory, broadening the number of people whose votes count should increase the number of users on the site, since, much like the lottery, there’s an equal chance of winning; in this case it’s making the home page because the general populous of Digg deems it worthy. This logic was also employed on the redesigned Netscape home page and failed miserably. Valleywag calls this the Jason Calacanis effect.

    Digg has the right to change its algorithm. However, the power users have a right to leave. Will this kill the site? Probably not — others will rise to the top and determine which stories are home page worthy.

    Three key learnings are:

    1. The few rule the many in communities. Call it the “Lord of the Flies effect” — and predictably, those in power are going to be upset when their authority and the playing field has been leveled.
    2. Don’t screw with success. I understand the intention of trying to get more people involved in the site, but expanding the site to include more topics would have been an easier way than pissing off the power user base.
    3. As Phil Gomes pointed out on Twitter, No one wins. One side just loses more slowly. — Prez, from HBO’s “The Wire”. Both sides are wrong, and ultimately the users of Digg will lose. The algorithm change should have been communicated better to users. The users should understand that the business has to evolve. In the end, asking the community for ideas isn’t a bad thing, but pissing them off is.

    digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/tech_news/Top_Digg_Users_It_s_really_not_about_the_community’;

     
  • dbinkowski 2:56 pm on December 16, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    If Twitter went away, would anyone care? 

    Disclaimer: This is no way an attempt to rip off of the great series John Moore runs over on BrandAutopsy — the title just seemed fitting.

    I have been using Twitter for some time now, increasing my usage to see if it changes how I’m consuming media and, more importantly, my opinion of it. I’m nearing my 500th update, and my opinion has yet to change. It’s still full of essentially useless information with the occasional nugget of good information thrown in.

    Case in point are a few gems over the past 24 hours from people I’m following that include JasonCalacanis‘s tweet that he’s “Walking the dogs at 1 am…” and chrisabraham‘s “Stumbled to the kitchen and made bread and butter and cheese” update.

    Twitter was scheduled to go down for maintenance yesterday for 12 hours, with Twitter addicts, aka Twitheads, freaking out that they wouldn’t be able to update their virtual friends with useless info. For those unfamiliar with Twitter, think of it this way — remember when cell phones first came out, and people would call each other just because they could? Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Loren has a funny vid about it here. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    So with the astute point that life will go on and that people will still stay in touch via email, Facebook, phone, Skype — hell, you name it — I’ve tried to find reasons as to why Twitter will succeed… because yesterday’s reaction to scheduled maintenance (which, consequently, was moved to tonight at 10 PM PST) was the closest thing I’ve seen to a web-app version of Y2K. Is it really the type of 2.0 app that, if it went away, would cause riots? Um, no.

    Aside from the fact that there are a ton of other apps and technologies out there with wider adoption, having self-serving marketers publish bad research titles don’t help the cause — just because I have Twitter on my Facebook page doesn’t mean people read it, let alone know what the hell it is, let alone “use” it, as Forrester claims. If I use my iPhone, it means I am physically touching, listening or doing something with it. Forrester’s research says that it counts as “use” if someone on the subway sees it. I completely respect their work and studies, but that footnote make the research nearly worthless. The reality is that 1% of regular web users have interacted with Twitter — so while the marketing/PR and tech folks of the world, essentially, are on board, the general public isn’t. “Why not?”, you may be asking. Here are a few reasons:

    1. It’s not SMS/texting.. Kids can text and talk to each other through their cell phones, and that’s where all of their friends are now, including address books, installed IM apps, etc.
    2. It doesn’t provide a better solution. The daily “Bring that noise back!” messages, e.g. our service is down, are way too frequent to be providing what I’d consider to be a good product.
    3. No incentive. The only way I can see people jumping on en masse is if a major brand decided to provide a large enough benefit to try it. The “it’s cool!” factor doesn’t hold water.
    4. No upgrades. The site has been basically the same since it launched. There are some third party apps, like Snitter, that are more useful than the site itself (minus lapses/delays in updates), but the functionality of the site – from searching your tweets via the web to creating different permissions for groups of friends to basic functions like importing your address books from your cell- has basically remained the same. Meanwhile, Google buys Jaiku and will undoubtedly integrate it into their list of tools and bury Twitter because they have mass, not just hype from < 1% of the hyper-active web users.

    People will ask “What’s in it for me?” when being asked to use a new product or service. This value proposition is where Twitter has no real answer. Given the aforementioned reasons, the best Twitter can hope for is to be acquired by MS, Yahoo, IAC or another web giant and become integrated in their properties in a way that makes sense and is usable — and answers the question. As mentioned, Google is clearly out of the equation with their acquisition of Jaiku and, if there is an opportunity for microblogging to succeed, will happen as a result of their actions and answer – not hype from the 1% or bad research.

    digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/tech_news/If_Twitter_went_away_would_anyone_care&#8217;;

     
    • whatsnext 5:01 pm on December 16, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      this makes me wonder what you want from twitter? it’s a way to talk to people. nobody is scintillating in every thought they utter.

      for me, twitter is a way to stay in touch with friends, meet new people, and learn from some great minds. and if they want to tell me what they had for dinner, that’s fine with me.

      when all of someone’s tweets are inane, i stop following them.

    • David Binkowski 5:06 pm on December 16, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      BL,
      thanks for the comment. but what i want to know is that if it went away, would you really care or just migrate to another app/site?

    • John 5:33 pm on December 16, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      David … you are by no means ripping this off from me. After all, I copped this “would you miss” idea from the MAVERICKS AT WORK book.

      I’m a very casual Twitter-doer but some of the tweets I read said people would be migrating to a different app while Twitter was down. Seems like people are more attached to connecting online with people than they are attached to Twitter.

      Thanks for the linkage David.

    • David Binkowski 5:50 pm on December 16, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      john,
      thanks for the comment and history behind “would you care?”. it’s a great concept.

      i had the fortune of presenting with Peter Hart and he had a great slide about “The New Free Agents” – basically the combination of the internet, customer service and comparison shopping has made the everyday person less loyal to brands.

      this was followed by an open question to the company we were presenting at: “Given this, what are you doing to drive loyalty?”

      i would pose that same question to Biz and the Twitter posse.

    • EricaOGrady 7:07 pm on December 16, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Hey David,

      Funny thing – if I hadn’t seen a link to your post from one of my Twitter contacts – I probably never would have read this post…

      Just food for thought 😉

      -E

    • David Binkowski 7:14 pm on December 16, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      erica
      good point, and thanks for the comment, however it could have easily as come via email, Facebook, Pownce or any other web property/technology you’re a part of.

    • COD 9:51 pm on February 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I too am only here because of your tweet. However, since I average maybe 5-10 tweets a week, I’m pretty sure I would not miss it if it went away. I killed my Facebook profile last month and have not missed it for one second.

  • dbinkowski 5:27 pm on November 17, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    In a bitter twist of irony, PayPerPost laughably cries censorship against Google 

    Jason Calacanis posted earlier that Google has decided to drop PayPerPost “posties” bloggers page rankings down to zero.

    Explained via their site, a Page Ranking is:

    PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.” Using these and other factors, Google provides its views on pages’ relative importance.

    Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don’t match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines dozens of aspects of the page’s content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it’s a good match for your query.

    So what they’re saying is that if what you search for isn’t what you wanted turning up in the search results, we have the right to make it good. Makes sense.

    Two things stand out to me from their definition:

    1. The “uniquely democratic nature of the web” is not something that, for those of us who’ve taught the history of the internet and dialed in to (and programmed!) BSSes back in the day, involved paying people to create posts in favor of a client. The inherent nature of the beast is honesty, not chedda. The word “purity” is one reason why splogs and PPP bloggers are being singled out.

    2. Let’s go back to basics and ask “What makes search successful?” Relevancy. This is discussed in the last paragraph that clearly states that they examine “dozens of aspects of the page’s content to determine if it’s a good match for your query. ”

    It’s no secret that Google’s business will suffer if their search results blow. And they have a very clear policy as to what constitutes a splog. As Loren Feldman appropriately points out, thatGoogle is a business. And as a business they can do, for the most part, whatever the hell they want — especially if they deem it’s not what’s best for the consumer.

    In this case, they’ve decided that the PPP model is junking up their business. And as I’ve said before, I agree — which is why I find it comically ironic that the CEO of PPP is asking congress to step in and stop this pseudo “censorship”, when in reality PPP has issues of their own on censoring bloggers.

    Side note: I swear that when I clicked through Jason’s link I thought the PPP blog was for “sensitive toothpaste” before reading a few paragraphs of content. In Stewie’s sarcastic voice, my first thought was “Yeah…You might want to cut down on the ads”.

    The bottom line is that Google is a business, and they can choose to omit you if they decide your business is screwing with theirs.

    digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/tech_news/In_a_bitter_twist_of_irony_PayPerPost_cries_censorship_against_Google&#8217;;

     
  • dbinkowski 12:50 pm on October 12, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    More proof people hate marketers: Facebook traffic dips 

    Via Whatsnext via GigaOm, it looks like opening up the platform to apps and spamming, err, advertising to people on their homepages wasn’t such a great idea. Traffic for the site, including unique visitors and time spent on the site, is down compared to last month.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong – I love pwning chumps with my Vampire and sharing my music taste via iLike, but I don’t want to join your causes, compare movie tastes or join your Entourage. I’m not saying opening up the platform to developers was wrong… In fact, it’s the evolution of the internet, so I haven’t stopped chanting “power to the people”.

    But I can say that filling the center of my page with garbage, err, “targeted ads”, is not what I’m used to. And when you start messing with the formula that made you successful you’d better have some really strong content to keep me coming back, not just silly, useless third party apps. I’ll also add that most of the ads I see are completely irrelevant to my interests. Ouch, that hurts.

    “There has to be another explanation”, you say? Sure. How about this: Follow the kids. While the recent data shows “old married guys” are joining Facebook by the thousands, which very well may be a legitimate reason for not wanting to hang out with Dad, think about this common sense fact — the college and high school kids on the site don’t have as much time to spend on the site because they’re back in class.

    Here’s a simple formula on how to lose visitors for future social networking sites targeted at 18-24:

    Lack of relevancy + creepy old men + school starting = Less time online

    Update: via Valleywag is this priceless quote from Jason Calacanis. Sure, he owns Mahalo, so there is a minor conflict there, but it’s dead on:

    “Social networking is second only to chat rooms as the worst place to advertise. The content there from your friends and your family is more compelling than any advertisement. Google has the greatest advertising in media history — search advertising. When you type a word into the box, we know what you’re looking for. When you’re on Facebook, we know you’re looking to meet a girl or talk to your friends. It’s a terrible platform for advertising. The holy grail of e-commerce forever has been that people are going to buy something online because their friends did, or that everybody here is into skiing so we’re going to sell a bunch of skiing stuff. It hasn’t happened. Plus, e-commerce is a low-margin business. It’s nowhere near search inventory.”

    digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/tech_news/Proof_people_hate_marketers_Facebook_traffic_dips&#8217;;

     
    • Jason 6:44 pm on October 12, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      curious… how do you see Facebook and Mahalo as a conflict? One is a social network the other is a human-powered social network. couldn’t be more different in my mind!

      best j

    • David Binkowski 6:51 pm on October 12, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Hey J,
      Let me clarify — it’s a conflict meaning promoting Search since that’s your game, not comparing Facebook and Mahalo.

  • dbinkowski 5:32 pm on August 15, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Anti-fat blogging is back 

    Earlier this year I tried to gain weight as part of my “Anti-Fat Blogging” kick, which was in a direct response to the silly “fat blogging” craze. And I’m glad Jason and Co. have lost weight, good for them. However, my plan backfired when I started exercising regularly and found it impossible to put on a pound. I’m 6’6″ and weigh a slim 215 lbs, which puts me at an average weight and BMI for my height.

    I’ve been playing basketball a lot the past few weeks and noticed that I’m getting bounced around by the bigger fellas, so as of today the anti-fat blogging campaign is back on. I had a huge omelette and potatoes at a client meeting this morning, a protein bar at noon and, fearing that wouldn’t hold me over , grabbed a chicken salad. A rumor was spreading around the office about a lunch spread from a meeting that was adjourning at 2 PM, but I couldn’t wait.

    Well, as luck would have it, the tray of sandwiches passed by my office around 1 so I popped out and grabbed a turkey & muenster cheese to go with my salad, pictured below. I don’t have the caloric intake specifics but at this point I have to be over 2,000 for the day, however I do have a game tonight and a high metabolism so I will be eating at least two more times today. More to come!

    digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/basketball/Anti_fat_blogging_is_back&#8217;;

     
  • dbinkowski 5:32 pm on August 15, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Anti-fat blogging is back 

    Earlier this year I tried to gain weight as part of my “Anti-Fat Blogging” kick, which was in a direct response to the silly “fat blogging” craze. And I’m glad Jason and Co. have lost weight, good for them. However, my plan backfired when I started exercising regularly and found it impossible to put on a pound. I’m 6’6″ and weigh a slim 215 lbs, which puts me at an average weight and BMI for my height.

    I’ve been playing basketball a lot the past few weeks and noticed that I’m getting bounced around by the bigger fellas, so as of today the anti-fat blogging campaign is back on. I had a huge omelette and potatoes at a client meeting this morning, a protein bar at noon and, fearing that wouldn’t hold me over , grabbed a chicken salad. A rumor was spreading around the office about a lunch spread from a meeting that was adjourning at 2 PM, but I couldn’t wait.

    Well, as luck would have it, the tray of sandwiches passed by my office around 1 so I popped out and grabbed a turkey & muenster cheese to go with my salad, pictured below. I don’t have the caloric intake specifics but at this point I have to be over 2,000 for the day, however I do have a game tonight and a high metabolism so I will be eating at least two more times today. More to come!

    digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/basketball/Anti_fat_blogging_is_back&#8217;;

     
    • Kai 6:43 pm on August 17, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Here’s how you gain weight: Alternate between diet sodas and regular sodas. The aspartame in the diet soda will slow down your metabolism and the high fructose corn syrup in the regular soda will be easily transformed into fat. (It works: I’m the same height as you and I weigh 35 pounds more.)

  • dbinkowski 2:15 am on March 6, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Fatblogging for the sake of Fatblogging 

    I’m sure you’ve seen that several bloggers have jumped on the Fatblogging bandwagon. I refuse to do it. I guess that’s just the rebel in me. In fact, instead of losing 15 pounds, I’m going to try and gain 15 pounds. That’s right, I’m anti-Fatblogging. I know it’s going to be difficult to eat whatever I want, but damnit I’m committed. So who’s with me?

    Disclaimer: I’m 6’6″, weigh 215 lbs and have single digit body fat…so I’m not going on a crash diet to gain 15 pounds of fat, but muscle through a smart diet and weightlifting. Who says bloggers have to be out of shape? 😛

    I know this is going to be a real challenge, so I’m asking on you to help:

    BL – I saw you’re going to leave 1/2 of your portions of your meals. Let me know where you’ll be and I’ll swing by to pack on the calories. It takes a lot of calories against this metabolism to put on weight so I’ll take all the help I can get.

    Jason, Hugh and everyone else – go ahead and send me your beer. I read somewhere that Guinness isn’t bad for you and actually contains less carbs than skim milk.

     
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