Saturday, August 28, 2004

Succinct Post on the Value of Blogs

Found this quite nice, and quite efficient, post from a blogger on the value of blogs, from a marketing/P.R. standpoint.

He captures quite nicely the primary advantages of a blog: immediacy, dynamic content, giving an authentic voice to an entity like a company.

You can read it here

Friday, August 27, 2004

Welcoming New Clients

I'll be starting online marketing programs for two new theatrical productions over the next couple of weeks.

The first, "A Couple of Blaguards", will open at the Post Street Theatre on 9/20/04. This is a piece from the McCourt brothers, Frank, author of "Angela's Ashes", and his brother Malachy, author of "A Monk Swimming."

The second, "Addicted", will open at the Marines Memorial Theatre on October 2nd for a limited 2 week run. They are hoping to bring this one-man show back for a longer run after this initial run.

Stay tuned, and I'll let you know as soon as we get the Worker Bees promotions up and running.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Blog Application #6: Project Management Tool

Interesting blog entry over at MicroPersuasion yesterday.

Steve Rubell primarily tracks how "participatory" tools like blogs are impacting his traditional line of work, P.R., but here he brings an example of how Cornell University is using a blog to track, monitor and inform on the status of one of its web design projects.

It's a fascinating concept. And while I've discussed Blog Applications #1-#5 in an earlier entry, this is clearly one I hadn't considered...making it Blog Application #6.

They are posting screenshots, logo options, status etc. And they are soliciting feedback on same. They are communicating not only amongst the team members, but to the larger Cornell community.

Theoretically, blogs are open to the entire world (although you can restrict access if you really want to.) So obviously you might not want to use such a mechanism for group communication for highly sensitive or proprietary projects.

But, really, why wouldn't blogs become the perfect vehicle, the most economical and user-friendly vehicle for group communication...obsoleting sophisticated (read: expensive) enterprise software solutions?

And here's a little bonus: you might get some curious blogger like me running across your site and offering some unsolicited, but also unbillable free advice.

Obviously there are no inherent features in blog software today to do specific project management tasks such as Project Management applications perform. But I could see it easily replacing today's email-based team communication.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Blog Application #5: Classroom Tool

So you're probably wondering, what are applications # 1-4?

Well, as I opined in this entry, currently they're used for:

1. Political Punditry

2. Online Navel Gazing

3. Personal Publishing

I think they are also a terrific:

4. Marketing and Customer Service Tool

And now apparently, some teachers are using blogs as a handy classroom tool. [Reg. required after one week.]

I especially like how the blogs level the playing field between kids who are naturally dominant or extroverted and kids who tend to be shyer, more passive, quieter in class. Apparently online everyone feels free to dive right in.

Kinda cool.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Meme Experiment II: A New Meme That Raises Your Blog's Google Rankings! By Nova on Weblogs

This posting is a new, improved, second-generation meme experiment that is designed to spread faster and more broadly than the first meme experiment.

This new meme is simply better because it's more beneficial to you to participate. Why? Because by participating in this meme, you may be able to raise the Google rank and visibility of your blog. In other words, this meme rewards your blog for hosting it.


This is purely an experiment and is just for fun. We are really just curious to see what will happen. Furthermore, we have no commercial intentions. We don't mean to annoy anyone. However, if you don't have much curiosity, or at least a sense of humor, you might find this experiment to be upsetting. In that case, I suggest a good strong cup of coffee every morning. If after that you are still unhappy, you must not read any further! On the other hand, if you are interested in exploring new frontiers, keep reading and we look forward to your participation in this experiment. It's totally voluntary. What's the "meme" being spread here? Well, actually there are many memes that this posting represents. And your weblog URL will be one of them, if you participate.

How It Works.

Just copy this full text of this meme and follow the instructions below to fill out your blog's answers to the survey and add your blog's URL to the "PATH LIST" at the bottom of this post. The path list is the history of all the blogs that the meme traveled through to reach you. The last URL before yours in the path list should be the URL for the blog you discovered this meme on. By adding your URL after it, your blog URL becomes part of the path for the meme. Everyone who gets the meme downstream from you will then include your URL on their blog. And by doing that, they are in effect linking to your blog from their blog, which in turn raises your blog's Google rank. By posting this meme to your blog you help raise the rankings of every blog in the path before yours, and every blog that later posts as a result of your blog then helps to raise your Google ranking. Kinda cool, huh?

By hosting a copy of this meme on your blog you are part of a worldwide network experiment to see how a blog posting spreads across social networks, geography and time. The dataset from this experiment is public, open and decentralized -- every blog that participates hosts their own data about their own blog.

Anyone can then get the whole dataset by just searching Google for this unique string: 98818912959q This code is the "global unique identifier," or GUID for this Meme -- it marks every web page that participates in this Meme so that it can later be found with all the others.

To see how this meme is growing at any time, or to join the discussion about this experiment, visit the Root Posting for this meme at to see trackbacks and comments there.

A Collaborative, Distributed, Emergent Blogroll

This Meme is effectively a collaborative, distributed, emergent blogroll. It is no different really than any blogroll (any list of other blogs you add to your blog) -- it just forms in a different way. Instead of you adding all the links to it, your social network adds them and then you add yours at the end and send it on to others in your social network. There's no top-down control or guidance of the process. Every blog that participates is equal. Nobody knows what the result of this experiment will be.

Can Your Blog Out-Rank the A-List Blogs?

This Meme, if it works as we hypothesize it might, could help a lot of lesser known blogs get better rankings than even the "A-List" blogs. In other words, it's kind of like unionizing to beat the big guys. There is strength in numbers, after all. Let's see if this works! If it does work, we should find lots of lesser-known blogs that participate in this experiment appearing in the "top lists" of the major blog indexes. Who knows, maybe we can even take over the top lists? You can see that this works by just looking at the results of the first meme experiment which launched the Minding The Planet weblog to the number 5 slot of the Daypop Top 40 blog posting index in just two days! Who knows, maybe it will be your blog up there next?

Why Are We Doing This?

OK, so why are we doing this? The short answer is, "Because we can!!!" But seriously, we're also doing this because it is an interesting way to generate a dataset that we and others may study to analyze how ideas move across social relationships on the Web, and how communities can emerge and self-organize. It's fun and it's research, and anyway, it's harmless and it helps bloggers get better visibility, so we figured we'd just try it and just see what happens! We hope you'll join us!

Interested in participating? Follow the instructions, below...


Step 1 First, to add your blog to this experiment, copy the whole meme (the full text, including the introductory information above and these instructions and the path list at the end) to your blog.

Step 2: Fill in your answers to these REQUIRED SURVEY FIELDS (Note: Replace the answers below with your own answers)

(1) I found this experiment at URL:

(2) I found this meme on date (day/month/year):18/08/04

(3) I found this meme at time (24 hour time): 15:54:00

(4) I found it via "Newsreader Software" or "Browsing the Web" or "Searching the Web" or "An E-Mail Message": Newsreader Software

(5) I posted this Meme at my URL:

(6) I posted this on date (day/month/year): 18/08/04

(7) I posted this at time (24 hour time): 16:22:00

(8) My posting location is (city, state, country): San Jose, CA USA

Step 3: You may also fill in these OPTIONAL SURVEY FIELDS (Replace the answers below with your own answers):

(9) My blog is hosted by: Blogger

(10) My age is:

(11) My gender is: Female

(12) My occupation is: Marketing Consultant/Writer

(13) I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: NewNewsWire Lite

(14) I use the following software to post to my blog: Blogger

(15) I have been blogging since (day, month, year): xx/04/03

(16) My web browser is: Safari

(17) My operating system is: Mac OS X

Step 4: Don't forget to add your URL after the last URL in the PATH LIST below:

The Path List below shows the sequence of blogs that this meme traveled through to reach your blog. Add your blog's homepage URL to the end of this list, if you want your blog's Google rankings to be raised as others get the meme from your blog. Also note that if in your blog you post this meme in two parts -- an excerpt and an extended entry -- make sure to tell your readers to copy the whole meme into their blog, including the Path List. Also Note: If anyone has put anything inappropriate in the list -- like porn or advertising for example -- then feel free to delete it from the list. Unless you like porn and/or advertising! Then, at the end of the list, add a text link and a hotlink to your URL)


1. Minding The Planet
2. Pheedo
3. A Penny For...
4. Elisa's Personal Blog
5. The Worker Bees Blog
6. (your URL goes here; also, please add a new line after this one, for the next person.)

Want To Immerse Yourself in the World O' Blogs?

You might want to consider attending BloggerCon III.

I did not attend BloggerCon I or II, but I'm definitely signed up for this one. How can I resist? It's in Palo Alto.

They don't have a Program up on the site yet. My hope is that the branch out beyond talking about cool techno-features, like RSS feeds and where those are going or blog aggregators and how they're the "next Google." Given the way Google had to slash their IPO price today, perhaps people will stop referring to everything as the next Google.

I'd like to talk more about the segmentation of blogging. There are different reasons and motivations to blog; there are different applications for blogs.

The future of blogs will expand beyond political punditry, online navel gazing and personal publishing. The opportunity to generate business and even revenue from blogs will be more than just selling ad space.

If I am incorrect about that one, then the blogosphere will contract as quickly as it has expanded, and all of the companies who have staked their time, money and reputations on building a richer infrastructure for blogs will be the next little bubble.

Hey Dave! I hear you're still looking for people to be on you can tell by this post...I'm an active blogger AND opinionated. Call me :)

Monday, August 16, 2004

I Hope You're Googling Yourself

People call it ego-surfing...the act of Googling your name and finding how you're captured online.

But for businesses, it's not's smart, proactive marketing.

Do you think Scientific Atlanta Googles itself and has found this little blog entry gem:

Boing Boing rant about the SA Explorer 8000 DVR

And I certainly hope TiVo has found it, since for all the hate the guy has for SA, he has nothing but the love for TiVo (as do I of course.)

People are talking about you and your business whether you like it or not. Best to keep on top of it...and maybe even to host a blog that lets them keep the chatter where you can see it...and respond to it ASAP!

Interesting post on fake blog commenters

YPulse is a blog about reaching Generation Y, and today she has an interesting post about commenters touting Warner Brothers product on blogs. Problem? They were Warner Brother employees posing as tweeners.

This brings up one of my pet topics: authenticity. Authenticity is everything on a blog or in the online community in general.

I CAN go post offers in my online communities and in my blogs. But I have to be a genuine member of these communities outside those offers. And I have to match the offer with the community.

I'm not going to go push my theatre discounts on my political communities. And I'm not going to push my political blog out to the theatre communities.

It's pretty simple. You have to be an authentic member of your online world. Dropping by to drop a sales pitch, then leaving never to be heard from again...sure recipe for disaster.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Great Offer for Worker Bees Blog Readers

One of my clients, TheatreWorks has given me a discount offer for my various blog readers.

They are presenting the World Premiere of a new musical version of the beloved children's book "A Little Princess." The show is running at the Mountain View CPA, which is a great venue. It makes for a great night out because there are so many restaurants up and down Castro Street.

The production and artistic staff are a very impressive bunch, from composer Andrew Lippa to Broadway director, Susan Schulman.

The show has two previews on Wednesday August 25th and Thursday August 26th, both at 8PM.

Those who call the box office and use the promotion code 'BLOG' can purchase preview tickets for half price ($16 including a $2 facility fee.) That phone number is: 650.463.1960. (No online order or walk-ups will be taken.

"A Little Princess" was one of my favorite childhood books, so I'm pretty excited to go see it. I'll be there at the very first preview!

And if you haven't already, please check out the TheatreWorks blog.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

How NOT to Send a Group Email

I get this email. It's from a real person's name (that I did not recognize) and had a real-sounding email address.

And the subject line was 'Tina's Memorial Service.'

I couldn't think of anyone I know named Tina. Well, I mean I could, but we're talking about someone I worked with for a few months over 8 years ago and didn't keep in touch with, and someone who did nails briefly in the salon where I go, again some years ago, but who never did mine.

I open the email, and there's nothing in there but a word document, with the file name Tina_memorial_service.doc.

That's it. No signature. No body text. No nothing.

I stared at it for some time.

I mean most viruses aren't sent via word docs. So I was actually more convinced it would be some sick pornographic thing. But I was kind of haunted, thinking perhaps there was someone, somewhere I knew, that I wasn't thinking of, maybe I knew them as Christina, who had died.

So, I went to the trouble to view the file via Apple's text editor application. And even then, it simply said: join us for a webcast memorial service at a particular date and time. Now, that was weird too and didn't help me much. Finally, some little bell rang in the back of my head and I went and looked at the URL of the domain name of the From: email address.

Turns out that it was an animal welfare organization I had donated to weeks ago because someone sent me an email about the plight of these abused elephants from a circus or something that were rescued. The organization had been trying to raise enough money to house the elephants permanently at some sanctuary. I guess one of the animals died from its injuries. And they were going to do some kind of online action to commemorate the poor animal.

OK, weird idea anyway, but really, I honestly thought that spammers had found some new subject line that they figured people couldn't help but read and open the email.

So, I did these people what I consider to be a favor, and replied to their email, telling them that next time they really should include some kind of identifying information in the body of the email or many many people will delete that email unread, attachment unopened.

They haven't answered me, so maybe they didn't take it as the productive suggestion I intended.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Young Men: Watching TV? On the Internet? Watching TV Again?

It's getting a little confusing tracking the behavior of the young, male Homo Sapiens.

A study released last year made news because it claimed that young men were abandoning the TV in droves, preferring to spend their times online or playing video games. This was not so good for television advertisers. The bright spot of news was that the numbers showed that young men were also getting out of the house a little more.

Now, the latest Nielsen figures indicate that the young men are back!

This is heartening for TV advertisers, and less so for online advertisers. But mostly it throws into question how much market research is really worth. Just see my earlier entry on the huge gulf between to research firms on a single and apparently simple statistic.

I don't have the answer. So I tend to go by results I can personally track and tabulate.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

The LIFT Workshop is ON!

A while back I posted that I was going to start doing my first workshop for LIFT, but via a miscommunication and timing issues, it didn't work out.

But now I can say my first workshop for LIFT is on!

Topic: Know What You Want & How To Get There
When: Monday evenings starting August 23rd, 2004
Length: 6 weeks. There is no session on Labor Day, so it extends until October 4th, 2004
Time: 6PM-7:30PM
Location: Alza Corporate HQ; 900 Charleston Road; Mountain View, CA 94039

Things to know:

You can attend week one for free
You can also sign up online here: LIFT schedule
It is open only to women.

So, pass this along to all the women you know who would be interested in forging a new path.

Friday, August 06, 2004

As a Cable Industry Person, This One Hurt!

Before founding Worker Bees, I spent seven years marketing in the cable industry. I was all about buzz words such as: "voice, video and data", "broadband", "convergence" and the like. And I still do consulting work for my good cable friends.

Cable has all the ingredients to dominate the deliver of voice, video and data services into your home. They've got ubiquity; they've got the fat pipe; they've got that pipe going in both directions for two-way interactivity; they've got cash-flow; they've got the conservative financial approach...which is really just code for saying they like to squeeze their vendors and haven't often gone in for huge consumer marketing efforts.

But despite all these advantages, they face major competition. And if you're talking about video service into the home, with no fancy stuff added, cable is fighting a losing battle against satellite.

So, there I sat yesterday, getting my nails done, and the TV in the corner was on the soaps. Now, if something reaches the soaps, it is MAINSTREAM thinking.

One character isn't sure he wants to stay with the other, so he asks "do you have cable?" And the response?

"We got better than cable; we've got satellite! 700 channels of everything you could want and crystal clear picture!"

On a soap!

I felt bad for my cable buddies right then.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

UPDATED: Inaugural Column in the Metro Published Today

'Silicon Veggie', my new monthly column for the Metro, was published today.

Unfortunately it is NOT one of the direct links on their site, however when they get the pdf version loaded for this week's edition, you'll be able to view it there. I'll update this post when that happens.

It's pretty cool. They even have a little blurb on the front cover announcing the "New Meatless Columnist." Pretty funny.

They also have this "artist's representation" of my face on a turnip or beet accompanying the column...not so sure how I feel about that.

The Metro is free, so pick it up, usually wherever coffee is sold.

Here is a link to where you can download a pdf version of the entire issue! I'm on page 43.

The Perils of Advertising

Courtesy of the daily Marketing Vox Newsletter:

What to do when two HUGE computer retailers use the exact same model in the exact same locale for the exact same advertising message (namely, "buy our back-to-school products")?

Check it out here.

I'm sure Dell and Gateway ad execs have red faces right about now.

Come on guy...two heavyweights like you using stock photography for one of the biggest sales time frames of the year?

The message: choose where you cut your corners carefully.

In this Internet era, snafus like this never die...they get posted online and in blogs like mine!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Lesson Learned from Attending a Search Engine Marketing Seminar

I spent Friday morning at another seminar, this time on Search Engine Marketing. And I learned a valuable lesson there. Unfortunately the lesson wasn't so much on the topic of search engine marketing, but rather on how to build credibility into your presentation.

Going to these things usually does two things: reminds you of the list of all the things you've been meaning to do with your site or your marketing efforts, and reveals yet another list of new techniques you should add to that list.

This seminar was no different.

But early on, what really took my focus was that this presentation featured some market research on search engine marketing, and then provided some different research that said nearly the opposite.

I was amazed someone would leave that in a presentation without actually having an answer as to why the results were so different, and which one was probably correct, and why. This little moment happened early in the seminar, and it took me a good long while to get over it and assign any credibility whatsoever to the speaker.

So, note to self: supporting your presentation with market research report data is good...but be prepared to take a stand if you find conflicting reports...or don't use them at all.

[If you're curious, the data was about what percentage of hits on a web site typically come from searches. One report said only 13%!!!!! Another said it was 70-80%!!!! That's a huge gap. If you believe the former, you might not worry so much about search engine marketing at all, huh?]

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