Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I'm on Blog-hiatus until Jan 8th. Happy new year to all, and looking forward to scribbling more in '07.

Save This Page

Friday, December 22, 2006

WOMMA Trustiness Slides

I've got my slides from the WOMMA conference posted up. I spoke about trust and the need to establish a structured way to think about the trust you have as an asset. Enjoy!
Save This Page

Monday, December 18, 2006

ClickZ Article Slides

Hello. If you clicked over from my column today, looking for slides...I'm sorry. I'm on a wireless connection here at the SF Courthouse (got jury duty) and am having trouble uploading the slides. Tell you what: send me an email, and I'll let you know when I can get those posted. Thanks!
Save This Page

What's in a (trademarked) Name?: The LinkSys iPhone Release

Ultra-Insider/Techie Kingdom Blog Gizmodo announced last Friday "Gizmodo Knows: iPhone Will Be Announced on Monday" and followed up with the very tasty post: "It isn't what I expected at all."

Well, they revealed the punchline this morning. There is a new iPhone, but its made by LinkSys, not, as everyone expected, by Apple.

LinkSys, evidently, owns the iPhone trademark, and Apple really hasn't got any rights on it. But this is the sort of thing that truly challenges the notion of trademarks. Clearly, legally, trademarks belong to the owner, and the owner is the one who filed for it first, right? That would be LinkSys.

But, in the real world, trademarks represent companies and people. In the world today, a lowercase "i" before some common word clearly points back to Apple. You can see this quite clearly in the discussions after the Gizmodo leak and before the official announcement. Linksys is clearly going to have to deal with a let-down surrounding their product. "Oh...its not from Apple." will be the first reaction (among many). The second is "Well, I wonder when Apple's phone is coming?"
Save This Page

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Person of the Year is You (Us)

Hey: you got named person of the year! I'm so proud of you. I know, no one thought you would ever amont to much, but there you are! You

Good for Time. The individual has certainly moved into the fore this last year. I haven't read the article, but Google buying YouTube (not to mention Yahoo buying Flickr) certainly shows the economic power of the individual.

The changes that the computer and the Internet have brought are more than about media. They are about society and culture. The Age of the Individual is dawning, it seems. Just in time.
Save This Page

Friday, December 15, 2006

Another Fake Blog Uncovered

It looks like another fake blog has been uncovered, this one thanks to Sony.

Yeeeesh. Why, oh why are people still launching fake blogs? Who doesn't realized by now that this is a bad idea? It's like the headline is "Man surprised that hitting self in the head with hammer hurts, causes bruise".
Save This Page

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What WOM is Wot?

Just finished up my sessions at WOMMA. They keep on attracting great, big crowds of qualified people. Congratulations to Andy and his staff for putting on another excellent event.

Now: what's up with the issue about online vs. offline WOM? As I mentioned before, Pete wrote about it in ClickZ, based on an article in Adage, which referenced a Keller Fay study, telling us that the "Real Action" for WOM is offline (link in the right sidebar).

What on earth does "real action" mean? Clearly the majority of WOM happens face to face. That's definitely clear. But why is there a growing split between the practioners of offline and online WOM? That seems totally counterproductive.

What we've got to come to is a notion that all pieces of the media equation are critical. In fact, I predict that we are going to very quickly move away from discussions about the particular channel, and even the particular form. Consumer Generated Media is important for us to understand and monitor. But, as marketers and not media watchers, we need to look at the end: what does CGM do?

That's the interesting answer. The notion that's going to have to come to the forefront is something along the lines of the Collective Narrative. That is, that the collective--consumers, creators, and commentators--will dynamically form up new stories about brands, which will both hold and drive value.

Online or off is a distracting conversation, especially as the two begin to entangle one another. Time to look toward to the goals of brand value creation, protection and conservation.
Save This Page

@ WOMMA Event

I'm in DC this morning, speaking at the WOMMA event. If you're there, please say hello. In the meantime, take a read through Pete's comments on what WOM is. Great points; I'm going to follow up when I get a few spare minutes...
Save This Page

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wiki Book on Business

I just joined onto a project to write a business book, Wiki-style. The project is called We are Smarter than Me, and the ultimate product will be a book about (what else) doing business in a community-driven world. I added my first section, in the marketing chapter (naturally), adding a new theme about CGM.

Join up!
Save This Page

Thursday, December 07, 2006


My deep condolences to our friends at CNET and to James Kim's family.
Save This Page

WalMart Rattles their (toy) Sword

WalMart sent shivers down the spines of retailers across the land this year, in what could almost be described as the Bizarro World Scrooge Strategy. They told the world that, at this time of year, they are in day-to-day discussions on pricing for toys, and would not rule out dropping the prices on toys between now and the ChanuCristmaKwanzaa season.

(This is Bizarro Scrooge in that they are making other's holiday seasons more miserable by increasing access to gifts.)

I wrote a little about this in my ClickZ column this week, specifically talking about the control that the channel weilds over manufacturers. It's hard to judge the effect this will have on manufacturers, but I wonder if they will call the manufacturer before dropping the price on the Pirates of the Caribbean Isla Cruces Playset?? Or, will they simply do it, then present the numbers back, after the season and tell them how they made up the difference in volume, and therefore should be forgiven (monetarily) for doing what they needed to drive business?

Whatever the deal, the fact remains: manufacturers need to strengthen their brands to avoid being taken advantage of by the channel. If they do this, it will actually protect value on both sides of the purchase equation.
Save This Page

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Chicago SES session (live Blogs)

Just back from a super-fast trip to Chicago for the ClickZ sessions at SES. My presentaiton was "Why Social Media: 3 Wrong Reasons, 2 Right Reasons and a Bonus Concept". I'll get my slides up later, but two people live-blogged it, here and here.

Thanks to Rebecca for inviting me!
Save This Page

The VW Crash Ad: Hot or Not?

This new VW ad:

has some people upset. The blog Sadly, No has a condemnation of the ad, along with (at last count) 102 comments. The blogger clearly hates the ad, claiming that he'd much rather see the normal, expected forms of car advertising.

Yeah, right.

He's clearly had a strong negative reaction to the ad, but he's off, comparing the work to the normal stuff. In fact, the whole point is that this ad (well done, by the way) sets it apart. Certainly its good to think about cars in terms of adverture, luxury and American Pride. But the truth is that driving also means accidents, and the VW is definitely showing a level of bravery in depicting the scene in this way.
Save This Page

Monday, December 04, 2006

Online Community Research and Data

There's a new report out today, from USC's Annenberg Center for The Digital Future about online communities. There's some good data bits in the summary, including:

  • 2/3 of Americans are using the Internet at home
  • more women than men go online
  • 1/3 of Internet users watch less TV
  • People spend an average of 8.9 hours per week online
But the real excitement in the report comes around their discussion of online communities, and it is where my skeptical nature rears its ugly head. The report says they "found" that people who participate in online communities "feel as strongly" about their online community as they do about the real world.

I don't buy this. I mean, I believe that's what people said, but the truth is a little more complicated. That is, people say they find the online community as important as the offline, but they say this, in part, as a way of communicating how they want to be represented in the real world. They want to be seen as someone who is deeply in touch with an online world.

But, the fact is, online communities are, at their root, media. The real world, at its root, is the real world. There is not mediating agent between two people. Between two avatars, profiles or chat icons, there is. Does that mean that the interaction that takes place is meaningless? Of course not. Deep discussions have occurred online and I understand they have had an effect on people.

Advertisers, however, must be practical about their view of this space (and I am talking to advertisers here). This is a unique and novel media experience, of course. No one ever had a relationship with anything broadcast that approaches the relationship that people have with members of their buddy list.

Interacting in a community, though, remains an activity in which people engage, which is mediated by not only technology, but interface and the allowances made by the designers of the world.

That second part--allowances--is critical to understanding this distinction, partially because it allows us to think about telephones differently and distinctly. That is, you could argue (with me) that a telephone call between two people could be considered a media-activity, under my definition. But the phone remains a part of the real-world, in part because there is only a core feature: transmitting voices. There is no other significant allowances built in by the designers.

Ultimately, I believe we will come to understand online communities, and people's connections with them, along a spectrum, that will absolutely include media. So we will say that it is not watching television, but it is also not sitting down with someone.

Perhaps we can consider a break-up litmus test. That is, we can ask two questions: if you are done with the relationship, do you need to break up with the "person" on the other end, and--if so--can you do it over the medium. So, when you get sick of watching a tv show, you don't need to actually break up. You just stop watching. But if you are dating someone, can you break up with their avatar, and still feel good about yourself?
Save This Page