Category Archives: Marketing

Mums prefer

Tandy catalogue: Mums Tandy to CandyI was browsing through the junk mail the other day and came across a Tandy catalogue, selling stuff for Mother’s Day, with the slogans such as “Mums prefer Tandy to Candy” and “Mums prefer MP3 players” and “Mums prefer printers”.

Now hear this, all geeks. Just in case you thought Mother’s Day was a great excuse to go out gizmo shopping: This is bollocks. Mums don’t prefer electronic toys. Mums do not prefer them to chocolates. My mum would find an MP3 player overwhelmingly useless. She’d know what it was, but she wouldn’t want it. She would not want a printer. In fact I don’t think there’s anything in that catalogue that she’d want.

Okay so there’s probably some hip young groovy mums who might like a new camera phone, but reality is most would consider a new gizmo to be in the same league as the bowling ball Homer Simpson bought Marge for her birthday.

Google tests RSS adverts

Google is testing ads in RSS.

I was reluctant at first to switch to providing full RSS feeds (entire posts, not just extracts), as it would reduce the already-paltry revenue from Adsense. But really, any revenue from Adsense is a bonus in this game, it’s not the end game unless you’re racking up a gazillion hits a day. The main point is to get your blogs read.

This however has the potential of re-gaining some of that advert revenue, even if readers are getting to you via an RSS aggregator. Question is, would people find it too annoying to find adverts mid-feed? If I personally found it too annoying, could I bring myself to include ads in my feeds?

Here we get about 4 times as many hits on the RSS feed as on the home page. But of course we have no idea how many people read that RSS feed, since it goes to places like Newsgator which might get it seen by hundreds of people.

It’ll be something to watch, anyway.

PS. Friday 8am. Dave Winer on RSS ads: “If we wanted to, as an industry, reject the idea, we could, by asking the people who create the software to add a feature that strips out all ads.”

Will corporate blogging go worldwide?

An article from The Economist on Robert Scoble, and the whole corporate blogging thing, and also revealing why Microsoft’s developer TV “channel” is called Channel 9. (And here’s Scoble on the tree in the picture in the Economist article.)

Corporate blogging has certainly taken off in the States. But will it be worldwide like personal blogging? Will it move out of the IT industry into other sectors? Does the rest of the world enjoy evangelising for their companies like the Americans do? Do companies in the rest of the world have that kind of online community that American IT companies do?

Indeed, since the IT industry is largely driven by American innovation, are there companies elsewhere that have the kind of geek following needed to bring corporate blogs up to the kind of readership where senior management consider them worthwhile?

Scoble is unrepentant, considering it inexusable for a corporate web site not to be doing this and making it clear it’s not technology for technology’s sake: it’s marketing, and feeding your web site with visitors.

Despite the global village, in some respects those of us in AU remain a little way behind the pack. Mick at G’day World talked on one of their recent podcasts about trying to set up a corporate blogging conference, and it seems to have died for now for lack of sponsors.

I recall that I saw URLs on US TV ads in early 1996. It must have been another year before they popped up in Australian TV ads. Maybe there’ll be a similar delay until corporate blogging takes a foothold here and worldwide.

Copy Protection?

Back for my birthday, Cathy bought me The Cat Empire CD. Which is great, I love The Cat Empire. After unwrapping the present, I read the back cover and realized it was one of the broken copy protected EMI CDs. And after much howling and frustration it went back to the shop (still in its shrinkwrap) to be swapped for a CD that complies with the Red Book standard.
Fast forward to last week, when I was at my local library. There was The Cat Empire CD! “Great, I’d Love to listen to that”, thinks I. I take it home, and in a fit of pique decide to see if I can load it onto my MP3/WMA player… and it does, using XP’s Media Player.
Isn’t copy protection meant to work? I guess that’s why I bought the LiteOn CD drive – it has a reputation for reading “difficult” disks. I can listen to the music, and haven’t paid for it, when I would have been happy to pay for it… the CIA calls that “blowback”, don’t they?

Corporate blogs

It’s interesting to see the rise of corporate blogs, particularly in the IT sector. As a way for companies to get employees talking directly to customers (though not necessarily vice-versa) they seem to be a useful tool. Not to mention going some way to humanising the drones sitting in their hutches within the monolithic evil corporate empire.

Microsoft has a whole bunch of blogs happening, varying from technical to personal and a fair mix in between.

Sun has also jumped on the bandwagon, as has IBM and Borland.

Google has an official blog, a joint effort from various company people, which is the most corporate-like of them all. (Perhaps a tad ironic, since they own Blogger and have a reputation for fostering employee creativity.)

So what’s the real difference between personal and corporate blogs? Well Mark Pilgrim (who has his own blog and an IBM one) reckons a corporate blog is just like a personal blog, except you don’t get to use the word “motherfucker.”