Forum spam = marketing fail

Posted January 29, 2009 by bluerootblog
Categories: Blue Root

Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been saying it for some time that forum spam is the quickest root to gaining an untrustworthy reputation online. Even though some of my clients have tried to contract me to seed links to sites, I’m still of the opinion that linking sites out of proper context is the lowest form of spam!

I am very active in a number of forums. If I’m working on a campaign that is in context with a thread that I read I may link to it, however my real point is that true online marketing is picked up by communities through its merit and its visibility. Brands shouldn’t have to post on forums saying “hey check this out *link*”.

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Online marketing that succeeds today relies on intelligent ideas implemented in a unique and interesting way. Spam is the brainchild of brands and companies that refuse to open themselves up to modern social media roots.

FlickR, consumer blogs, youtube, live web events, webinars, webTV! These are the tools that have been around for ages that still work in a digital world. Spam is a waste of time, money and destroys brand credability.

Twitter your way to 5 minutes of fame

Posted January 19, 2009 by bluerootblog
Categories: Blue Root

Tags: , , , , ,

This week a plane crashed in the Hudsen River in New York. Within minutes a man called Janis Krum has taken a pic on his IPhone and uploaded it on to Twitter. This picture then proceeded to get viewed so many times it crashed the Twitpic server.

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This type of media hype that promotes the mobility of social media is highlighting the ease at which this picture was posted online and the importance of online communities.

Janis Krum is now appearing all over the news networks talking about what happened that day and about Twitter.

BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7834505.stm

Guardian Newspaper online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/us-airways-crash-photos?picture=341937541

The LEDE: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/can-a-tweet-be-a-scoop/

The astronomical costs of Pay-per-click

Posted January 12, 2009 by bluerootblog
Categories: Blue Root

Tags: ,

Pay per click is an expensive business.  Today I was looking through a great website, http://www.thefuturebuzz.com, and found an article called “49 Amazing Social Media, Web 2.0 and Internet stats“.  On top of all of the less surprising or frankly not entirely interesting stats (2 minutes, 46 seconds is the average length of a YouTube video.. Snore..), I found an absolute beauty that will open your eyes.

$39.96 – the average cost per click for the phrase “consolidation of school loans” in AdWords (source:  keyword tool)

Why are companies paying nearly $40 dollars per click on Google?  And more importantly, why aren’t rival companies spending their spare time clicking on rivals links to charge them more money?  Surely the only beneficiary from this state of affairs is Google?  It’s not like they are paying $40 per transaction or sign up.  They are paying $40 every time an individual clicks a link, even if they then decide that they were really looking for School Loan Constellations (It’s a famous star system seen in the Southern Hemisphere, seen during the winter months… Not really..)

Well, to tell you the truth, there are far more efficient ways to get interested customers to your sites without paying astronomical Google prices.  For example, we’ve provided campaigns to some key companies that averaged out at less than 15 pence (22 cents) per click.  There is honestly no reason to spent so much of your business precious cash on Google marketing when there are so many other options out there.

How not to book your honeymoon..

Posted January 9, 2009 by bluerootblog
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’ve been tasked with the undesirable job of planning and booking (and therefore paying for…) our honeymoon in September.  I’ve booked a number of holidays before, and all have gone off without a hitch, so why is it that this is such an annoying task?  It’s a common problem faced by a large number of business, the problem of linking online and offline services.

I’ve always booked holidays over the phone after planning the travel and accommodation myself, yet for the honeymoon I decided to take all of the hassle out of it and let a travel company sort it all out for me.  Of course, for something so important as our honeymoon I’d like to talk to an advisor face-to-face, but of course want to enquire at a number of websites for basic prices before calling the company I’m interested in pursuing.  However, after entering my details, holiday requirements and budget into several sites, I began receiving call after call after call from interchangeable sales advisors hankering for my business.  What really gets me is how, after I’ve spent hours entering my details, they insist on asking me the same questions over and over to make sure they have it right.  I was even asked on one occasion how to spell my surname.  My name was on the sheet!  I know that because I put it there!

Oh well, I guess in this financial climate everyone is trying to provide a better service, but for me a better service would be a quick email to thank me for my enquiry and to provide some base prices and some great ideas for trips.  People don’t always want a painfully cheerful sales advisor calling them back the instant the form is filled in.  The internet is used by the majority of people to avoid having to talk to someone when making a purchase, so it should be understood by holiday companies that calls shouldn’t be made unless the customer has requested more in depth information.  If it really is essential, then please make it quick, and please, please, don’t be too cheerful… 🙂

Anyway, back to the honeymoon.  So far I’ve narrowed it down to Tanzania and Zanzibar, Malaysia or Thailand.  I’ll let you know when I’ve finally made my mind up.

Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

A very social media Christmas period

Posted January 5, 2009 by bluerootblog
Categories: Blue Root

Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m not sure if it’s right or wrong, but at least I find it interesting.  I’m talking about how social media relationships work over the Christmas period, and whether it’s perceived by the majority of people as a necessary pass-time during such a family orientated holiday or, more likely, as an anti-social behavior for the socially inept.  So what comes first for social media users, offline relationships with friends and families, or online relationships?

Many “non-tech savvy” people (read as normal people who don’t spend hours online each day) would be surprised at the activity levels online over Christmas.  Out of interest, I logged onto World of Warcraft on Christmas Eve (in between meeting the mother in law, followed by the father in law, followed by the fiance’s brother and wife, followed by having a meal with said fiance… Xmas was tiring..) and was surprised to find a huge number of people were choosing to spend their time with their online friends.  As I walked around, I was wished Merry Christmas numerous times, and left feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.  Following this, I logged onto a few of my frequented forums to, again, be happy to see people chatting away with their online friends.  In many of these people’s lives, their online friends are more important than offline friends.  No, this shouldn’t be seen as them being geeks, but it SHOULD suggest that online relationships aren’t just throw-away, part time and anti-social wastes of time, but central to people’s social calendar.  As work takes up more of our day, and the cost of living

I know it’s an old concept to some people, but I just thought I’d share the importance of social media as an intrinsic part of people’s lives.  For example, a good friend of mine recently spent Christmas in New York with his girlfriend.  They met playing Scrabbulous on Facebook.  My housemate met her boyfriend playing World of Warcraft and now are part of their own guild called “Just the two of us”.  Yes, sickening, but true…  If millions of people spend Christmas Eve online with their friends rather than being with their family then perhaps it should be realised how essential these online relationships are.

World of Warcraft wedding

Two gamers marry on World of Warcraft

Two gamers marry on World of Warcraft

Innovative blogging…from the womb

Posted December 15, 2008 by bluerootblog
Categories: Blue Root

Tags: , , , , ,

This has to rank up there with the most innovative, yet also the most pointless social media ideas out there.  Kickbee is a band worn by a mother to be which is filled with sensors and wires.  No, it’s not to monitor the babies health and well-being, it’s design is purely social media.  When the baby kicks, Kickbee posts a Twitter post to inform all concerned of the occasion.

kickbee

Great idea, but it needs some improvement.  Why not conduct a scientific study to learn the “language” of a babies movements in the womb.  Rather than informing us that the kid has kicked, why not INTERPRET what it’s trying to say.  “It’s dark in here..” for example, or “stop eating gherkins with custard, I hate them!”.  Either way, I’d like to see some babies express militant views or dislike for public transport etc, just to lighten the long 9 month wait.

So where do we go from here?  Sensors on your stomach to inform people when you’re hungry, Brain sensors to tell your friends when you’re bored, maybe a sensor on your car to tell all of your friends when your car gets stolen.  Ok, most would laugh but a few may help. Maybe..  Hey, why don’t we hook our pets up so we know when they sleep, go outside, chase cats etc? That would be AMAZING. In fact, I’m working on it now.  Next stop, Radio Shack..

We’re not stupid

Posted November 27, 2008 by bluerootblog
Categories: Blue Root

Tags: , , ,

You need to treat your customers with respect.  They’re not stupid, and can see through all of your fancy marketing ideas.  For example, here is a shortened version of an email campaign i was sent from a company that sells sports training books.  All names are made up to protect their identities…

First email (sent to ENTIRE customer mailing list…)

From: John Johnson (Marketing manager)

To: Sarah Sarahson (CEO)

Hi Sarah,

I just had a thought.  Why don’t we increase our 30% discount to 50%.  That’s right, i said 50%.  We have such great books so why not do everyone a favor for the holidays!

John

Second email (sent to ENTIRE customer mailing list…)

From: Sarah Sarahson (CEO)

To: John Johnson (Marketing manager)

John,

Are you nuts?  that’s far too cheap! I know we love our customers, and our books are great, but the company simply can’t afford 50% off.  Lets stick to 30%.  That’s still a huge discount!

Sarah

Third and final email (sent to ENTIRE customer mailing list…)

From: Sarah Sarahson (CEO)

To: Entire mailing list

Dear valued customers,

I’d like to apologise for the emails you received yesterday.  A gremlin in the system must have delivered them to you all, so I’m sorry.

I have recieved hundreds of emails calling me a Scrooge for not agreeing to the 50% discount, so in light of this I’d like to finally agree to it, but only in the run up to Christmas!  We can’t afford to offer such a CRAZY discount for any longer!

That’s right, we are now offering 50% off all books until the 25th of December! You lucky people!

Have a great Christmas,

Sarah Sarahson (CEO)

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There we go.  This email apparently “accidentally” slipped onto the mass email server and was sent out to thousands of contacts.  No, I have no idea how this happened either.  It’s either one INCREDIBLY unlucky accident or a completely obvious and lame attempt at a marketing ploy.  As I said earlier, please don’t think we are that stupid..