Posted by: benrowesayshello | September 1, 2008

A Social Media Storm

With Hurricane Gustav battering Cuba, and on it’s way to New Orleans, there’s another storm brewing – A social media storm.

Andy Carvin has created the Gustav Information Center, a website specifically to track information about the Hurricane. This was done using the free social network too, Ning. News about the site has spread like wildfire across the blogosphere and over Twitter.

The social network includes links to blogs and news items about Gustav, a forum to allow discussion, and a Google Map for anyone to offer accomodation to evacuating New Orleans residents.

And in the short space of 2 days, the social network is more just a collection of links to news and pictures. It’s a thriving community of volunteers, and people. It’s an interesting example of the real power of web 2.0, where anyone with an internet connection has the tools to create their own network quickly, easily, and for free.

(Photo Credit :: tcostart)

Posted by: buzzmckenna | July 17, 2008

Adobe Makes Flash Files More Searchable In Google, Yahoo

Adobe has unveiled Searchable SWF technology and is distributing a “search-engine optimized” version of Flash Player to Google and Yahoo.

For the full article, click here:

The following is an excerpt from research done into which sites are currently popular social media destinations for women aged 18-34.

Source: Nielsen Netview

Social Media / Community sites

According to Nielsen Netview 56.7% of Australian online users visited to a Community/ Social Media site.

48% of the visitors to Community/ Social Network sites are females.

80% of female visitors aged 18-34 who visited a Community/ Social Media site also visited Facebook

Females 18 – 24 years old visiting Community/ Social Media sites

84% visiting Community/ Social Media sites visited Facebook

54% visiting Community/ Social Media sites visited Myspace

Skew toward female (vs male) audience visiting: Facebook (21%), Bebo (36%), Live Journal (40%), Linked In (42%), Nine MSN Groups (50%)

Skew toward male (vs female) audience visiting: Blogger (40%), WordPress (38%), Digg (760%)

Females 25 – 34  years old visiting Community/ Social Media sites

77% visiting Community/ Social Media sites visited Facebook

38% visiting Community/ Social Media sites visited Myspace

Skew toward female (vs male) audience visiting: Facebook (11%), Myspace (75%), Window Live Spaces (42%), Yahoo7!Groups (66%), Live Journal (30%)

Skew toward male (vs female) audience visiting: Bebo: 89%, Six Apart Typepad 137%, Digg (150%)

Note: Nielsen Netview data comes with explanations regarding their methods and limits of extrapolation for certain sites with minimal sample results.

See: for more information.


Posted by: buzzmckenna | July 11, 2008

Notes from “Research for the Domestic Casino Market”

A review of some domestic and international casino websites revealed a trend in immersive, visual content verging on the cinematic. In order to convey the experiences casinos have to offer, the more innovative sites employed narrative techniques ranging from voice over narration to serving content based on common casino visitor profiles or idealised personality types.  Some sights are dabbling with the creation of a social networking presence, such as a Facebook profile for a Virtual Concierge, but there is no user generated content. Seems what goes on in casino complexes, stays in casino complexes…

Business Objectives

The manner in which each site  is designed to get more people to visit a Casino varies significantly from site to site. Six broad online  business objectives were identified consistently across the sites.

User Goals

The majority of User Goals on each site revolve around Event Attendance, Hotel Promotion and Event Planning. The most popular goal for domestic sits, beyond booking is downloading PDFs – ie. providing  information. Microsites also feature commonly. Secondary User Goals are related to Gaming, Venues & Loyalty.

The most common activities are Email Loyalty programs,  “How to Play” information and Maps.

Site Features

The analysis provided insight into specific features including:

1. The Brand Experience
2. User Goal Promotion
3. Member Services
– Campaigns and Email Promotions
– Value Programs
4. Other Subscriptions
– Podcasts and Webcasts
5. Interactive Media
6. Interactive Utility
– Music Player, Interactive Maps + Interactive Tours
– Photo Gallery & Virtual Tours
– Interactive Maps
– Personas
7. Distribution
– Personal Invitations
– Mobile Services

Engagement Tactics

Engagement tactics define the user experience of the site and consequently provide an opportunity to “experience” the brand attributes and create brand affinity.

MGM Grand: Cinematic video links home pages for site sections, dynamic navigation, streaming audio, video, virtual tour and slide shows for each element of content. Focus on booking and email newsletter promotion. A sensory experience at:

Mandalay Bay: “From the five personas … select the one that best describes why you come to Vegas. Based on your selection, you’ll go to a site designed around your interests and desires, so you can quickly and easily create your own experience …” Users “own the experience” at

Wynn, Las Vegas: Novel image based navigation,  streaming audio and commentary, video interviews, slideshows. Class and ambience set by the music, time to enjoy the experience at:


Looking at content by home page prioritisation and site sections revealed a significant difference between domestic and internal casino sites. While the Australian sites prioritise Events, Gaming, Bars and night life, global sites prioritise transactions that can be completed online including Hotel reservations & subscriptions to email Loyalty programs and Offers.

Variations on the standard site sections are Conrad Jupiters who provide navigation by experience and Mandalay Bay with a range of experiences by persona.


The online business objectives are supported by a range of user goals and interactive features:

Online Bookings
Special Offers, Packages, Competitions, cross promotion and the creation of exclusive opportunities through loyalty programs
Reach New Audiences
Personalised invitations, Social Network presence, Mobile services and online subscription services such as podcasts, webcasts and RSS
Improve 3rd Party Relationships
Integration of third party booking systems
Assist offline business goals
Have the site replicate the brand experience.
Increase user loyalty
Email promotions, value programs and club newsletters, podcasts, rewards     program, user generated content and itinerary creator.
Increase user engagement
Personas, a cinematic experience, Photo/tour Gallery, Event search, Music, Video, 3D or Interactive tours and maps.

Read More…

Posted by: benrowesayshello | July 11, 2008

Firefox gets Guiness World Record

You may have heard about a little web browser by the name of Firefox. 


Though it’s not so little anymore. Analysts are predicting that Mozilla’s Firefox will soon capture 20% of the total browser market share. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has lost more than 10% of the total browser market in the past 2 years, and most of it has been to Firefox. 
Better still, most of this has been done without ANY substantial marketing or advertising budget. Instead, Firefox have relied heavily on Word of Mouth from their loyal user base, along with the extraordinary power of social media.

Firefox Download Day

Firefox Download Day

Firefox’s latest campaign in June revolved around ‘Firefox Download Day’. ‘Download Day’ was an online event designed to encourage people to download the latest version of the browser, Firefox 3.         


And the campaign was a huge success. Over 8 million copies were downloaded in a 24 hour period. Which means Firefox is now a Guiness World Record-holder.These are just some of the social-media tools that Mozilla used to spread the word:        


  • Via their community portal, Spreadfirefox, Mozilla created a series of Firefox buttons and badges, that bloggers could embed on their own blogs, myspace pages and the like.
  • Facebook fan page – Fortunately for Mozilla, the Firefox Facebook page has over 115,000 members. They used this page to distribute links, articles and other information that pointed users to the Download Day site. Similar tactics were used on other social networking sites like Myspace and Bebo.
  • You Tube – The Firefox designers produced a series of videos, which promoted the new versions features. These were then added to Youtube.
  • Twitter – Mozilla also posted news and updates about Download Day to their 5,000 Uber Geeky followers through their twitter account.
  • Mozilla Party Central to celebrate the launch of Firefox 3, the Mozilla community hosted hundreds of parties across the planet. They used a Google-maps mashup to promote them.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Start a Facebook group, design a few blog badges and upload something to You Tube, and you’re a viral phenomenon, right?

Actually, no. We all know Word of Mouth marketing isn’t easy. You need loyal, preferably fanatical, customers who believe in what you do. And you need remarkable products that keep getting better. Without having these, it’s near impossible to achieve a word of mouth success story like Fireworks have. As they say, “If you want to be talked about, you need to be worth talking about”.

But if you can achieve all of the above, well-orchestrated social-media marketing campaign can turn your word of mouth up to 11.


Below are a few choice quotes from articles on future of digital marketing and economic downturn from recent US & Global reports. If you want anything else please let me know:

(Global)  Zenith Optimedia: Forecast: Advertisers to Continue Shift to Online  – Online component of advertising spend to increase in 2009/10, and exceeded 2008 predictions …  “Faced with an uncertain economic future, Western advertisers are shifting even more of their budgets online, where the returns on their investment are obvious, and easy to quantify and fine tune,” reads the report. “The quantity and quality of online video is improving all the time, and online audiences for full-length films and television programs — and the ads that surround them — are growing rapidly.” Jul 1, 2008 From:

(Global) Executives from IAB and Pricewaterhouse Coopers remain optimistic about Internet advertising’s future. “The fundamentals of interactive advertising spend continues to be positive and I would expect to see continued growth in the future,” Silverman said. IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg weighed in: “We expect growth to continue, as consumers spend more and more time online, and marketers find more — and more innovative — ways to reach them through digital media.” Jun 18, 2008 From:

(US) IDC: Internet Ad Spending Spared by Troubled Economy: IDC recently issued an Internet ad forecast that made similar points. It contended the economic downturn is actually helping the Internet marketing industry and IDC predicted the overall Internet ad revenue will double from $25.5 billion in 2007 to $51.1 billion in 2012. Internet advertising revenue in the United States reached $7.1 billion in the first quarter of 2008, a jump of nearly 24 percent compared to the same quarter in 2007, according to IDC. The research company said the figures show the economic slowdown crushing many other industries in the nation has not had an adverse impact on online advertising. In fact, IDC said it expects Internet advertising to rapidly grow throughout the rest of the year despite a general pullback in overall ad spending. Jun 10, 2008 From:

(US) Social Networks continue to show a strong future of growth. Two recent Forrester reports published by my colleagues, Josh Bernoff and Oliver Young, both showing the future of social computing for the interactive marketer and for enterprise 2.0 purchasing. “Social networks will get the largest number of increases, over 40% of those using it, along with user-generated content, blogs, and that old standby, email marketing.” May 05th, 2008 From:

(US) Nielsen Sees Moderate Q1 Online Ad Growth, Led by Search:Sponsored search link impressions in the health and telecom industries led growth in online advertising, said Nielsen. It reported search link impressions for health were up 108 percent on a quarter-to-quarter basis while telecommunications saw 80 percent growth. Rich media showed the biggest growth in the display category, according to Nielsen. Among verticals, the researchers found that hardware and electronics advertisers both saw a 65 percent increase in display impressions, while automotive and consumer goods companies also did well, increasing 45 percent and 42 percent respectively. Jun 17, 2008 From:


What is ‘Nike Dunk’? And when was it originally launched?


Hi All,


It’s Friday thing/k.


3 weeks ago Nike announced the launch of NIKE PHOTOiD, a mobile initiative that allows European consumers the opportunity to create personalized footwear from the visual world around them.


The idea is that NIKE PHOTOiD instantly analyses consumers’ own photos, matches the two most dominant colours to the NIKEiD palette and applies the colours to a chosen customisable shoe design.
So basically, on sending a photo from a phone to a shortcode via MMS, within seconds consumers receive a link to the NIKE PHOTOiD mobile internet site that features their customised footwear, superimposed over the picture that inspired it.


NIKE PHOTOiD was devised and developed in collaboration with AKQA. Let me stop here for a sec and write few words about AKQA. Do you know AKQA? If not, pls click in. It is one of the world’s most influential digital creative and technology companies. Among the company’s global clients you can find also Microsoft, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa. Now, let’s continue.


The footwear design can be saved as mobile wallpaper, sent to a friend, and, by entering the unique DESIGNiD at NIKEiD.COM, consumers can link directly to their design to complete and buy. FYI – The first style of footwear to be offered on NIKE PHOTOiD is the Nike Dunk, a classic basketball shoe originally launched in 1985.


Once again, it’s another idea that links between technology and user experience. In this case the mobile technology connects a consumer’s inspirational environment with their natural desire to create.


Enjoy your weekend.

Posted by: benrowesayshello | July 3, 2008

Crowdsourcing for Beer

One of the fascinating things about internet is that it allows us to invent brand new business models.


Take Crowdsourcing as an example. Now we can tap into the wisdom of the online crowd, and work with our customers in ways never before imagined. With the help of our online community we can gather great content, collect new ideas and even create new products.


There are some great cases of crowdsourcing out there, including some of the more well known:


Wikipedia : Probably the most famous example. Wikipedia is the worlds’ largest encyclopedia, with over 2,4 million articles and 175,000 authors.


Threadless : The online T-shirt store with a twist – Users can submit ideas for T-Shirts, and the most popular are printed and added to the company’s product range.


iStockphoto : iStockphoto completely re-invented the stock photography game with their online library of user-submitted, royalty free images.


Others are taking the idea of crowdsouring a step further. Including US based brewery called BeerBankroll, who are experimenting with involving the community to fund and manage their company.


How do they do it?


The first step is the Crowdfunding. Beerbankroll are recruiting members (50,000 to start with), who will contribute $US 50 to get the project up and running.


Once BeerBankroll has raised $100,000, the Crowdmanaging kicks in. The BeerBankroll community will then be involved in actively running the business. Members can submit product ideas and vote on management decisions. They can have a say in everything from the brand name, company logo, product design, product mix, marketing plan, advertising and sponsorship.


The company profits are then divided by three: One third is paid to members. One third goes back to the company. One third goes to charity.


If the experiment works, BeerBankroll will have an army of 50,000 beer drinking brand evangelists to help them spread the word.


Who wouldn’t want that?

  • The Age
  • Peter Munro
  • June 22, 2008
  • Page 1 of 6

IT’S the business paradox of the noughties: the more you give away, the more money you can make. For consumers, it delivers the ultimate reward: something for nothing.

The revolutionary trend has been branded “freeconomics”, and last week the music industry became the latest to join in with the delayed launch of Qtrax, the first 100% free and legal music download service for users in the US.

It adds to a growing stock of products and services being given away. Newspapers, telephones, flights, drinks and divorces are on offer free of charge. Games, bicycles, books and cars, WiFi, financial help and travel guides are also priced to go at absolutely nothing. No matter what you are looking for, there are few limits to what is being “freed”. Increasingly, money will become no object at all, changing the way we live, do business and play.

The revolutionary idea of freeconomics holds that freewheeling will soon become the norm rather than an anomaly. The idea comes from Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, who argues it will become the dominant business model of the future. And businesses that don’t follow suit won’t survive the digital age. “The moment a company’s primary expenses become things based in silicon, free becomes not just an option but the inevitable destination,” he has said.

For consumers, it could mean mothballing your wallet as more and more goods and services are given away. For businesses, the challenge will be finding new ways to make money from nothing. Free photocopies with printed advertisements on the backs of pages; free books to promote paid author speaking tours and licensing rights; free electric cars in exchange for signing up to a power contract.

On Qtrax, millions of songs from artists such as Radiohead and Amy Winehouse can now be downloaded legally for nothing online, with the unprecedented backing of major labels Universal Music Group and EMI. It’s a bold strike from the music industry, which will recoup revenue from advertising, to cash in on what is being called the free economy of the future. Continued…

Posted by: buzzmckenna | July 3, 2008

A Practical Guide to Branding

“About 15 years ago, ‘branding’ became a buzzword in the business vernacular, and people still get the words “branding,” “marketing,” and “advertising” mixed up all the time”.

The Promise You Make to the World

Steve Cecil, a copywriter and verbal-branding expert with Where Words in San Carlos, Calif., says a brand is a promise and branding is the act of devising the promise your company makes to the world. Marketing, he says, “is the strategy that differentiates your brand promise from all the other brand promises in that increasingly crowded house called “your category.”

Think of marketing like a toolbox containing branding, advertising, direct mail, market research, public relations, and other tools. “Marketing represents the combination of methods organizations use to persuade their target audience toward some specified behavior such as sales,” says Stephen Rapier, of Glendale (Calif.)-based The Artime Group.

Advertising, Rapier says, can take many forms: print, as in newspaper and magazine ads; outdoor, such as billboards; online Web banners; and broadcast advertising on radio and TV. “Typically, the goal of advertising is to grab attention, create positive perceptions, and prompt response while conveying information consumers will find relevant to their needs,” he notes.

The whole article appeared here on

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