Thursday, January 31, 2008

Refusenicks: The anti-Facebook movement

London Times: A new anti-Facebook movement is spreading across the UK. Known as the "Facebook refusenicks," the network of students are founding chapters at universities across Britain. The group's chief complaint is that Facebook compromises user privacy in gathering user data and selling it to advertisers.
Of course, "refusenicks" often find themselves out of the loop when it comes to student events, as most promoters have turned exclusively to Facebook to get the word out about parties, clubs, etc. "I felt like a complete stranger," said one of the group's members after her first week at school. "I had to find out from other students what nights were being held, and still do." Another student, who fancies himself as the nonconformist type, added, "What happened to the good old posters and flyers? Now it's just Facebook this, Facebook that. I'm sick of it, which is why I refuse to create a profile."
The group's main message is that Facebook's decision to open itself to the public and then open its users' data to advertise has alienated members who originally joined the social network for its small, private, student community based structure. Nowadays, Facebook even broadcasts profiles to

Just the type of anti social behaviour that I love
Ooh. Facebook does feel creepy these days. I can't blame these kids for being the last bastions of old skool university communication.
They do have a strong point- students who originally joined Facebook were after private structure. Even though most of these students would have graduated by now.

Ultimately I think it's too hard for people to delete profiles when most of their friends are interacting on Facebook. It's got a stranglehold on us now so unless we get Face-bored we're in this for the long haul.

The Times (UK) Spamming Social Media Sites Since 2004, The Times retained the established SEO consulting firm Sitelynx to handle their search engine marketing. Working on behalf of The Times, a Sitelynx employee posted thousands of links to community and social news websites, including Mahalo,, StumbleUpon, Metafilter, Yahoo! Answers, Ma.gnolia, and Netscape's Propeller. His actions were done without any disclosure of his affiliation to Sitelynx or The Times and were, in some cases, posted under the assumed identity of his wife.

The accounts were all created by Piotr "Peter" Wyspianski, an SEO Manager at Sitelynx since June 2007. (Though his LinkedIn resume says "Executive.")

Before coming to Sitelynx, Piotr had a history of promoting his own business, an online jewelry store called Signature Gems, by using his profiles on sites like Myspace, Flickr, and Yahoo 360 to manipulate his search engine rankings. After coming to Sitelynx, he continued to use this technique to promote The Times.

Some nice tactics
If anything, this teaches you it's a lot of hard work to get your stuff out there. But if you commit to spreading the message, chances are it will pay off.
The article has a list of most of the sites Piotr used to promote his jewellery and The Times. You should check out what he did.

I actually have a rogue Facebook account. It started off as a laugh, but became an experiment on how an idea can spread through the net. I have a lot of friends I don't know and it's weird watching their lives unfold down my mini feed.
I don't do any real work on it and it's growing of its own accord. Except I have done some mini promotional activities. I sometimes tag myself in photos and join groups which relate to my character. And there are tonnes of other rogue profiles for various inanimate objects and characters. I like how we all seem to find each other. And I can't tell you who I am, because then you will know it's me!

It is amazing how the merging of the net and people's behaviours have allowed this 'play' to happen. And people like it. I always interact with people when they chat to me and it always is a lot of fun. They lap up the ability to participate with something interesting. It's a good lesson for brands too. People do want to interact, and that involves participation, conversation and some fun in between!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yahoo's Yang Sees a Challenging 2008

...Some article about Yahoo and challenges. Whatever.

Yang's Chompers!!!
Those are the biggest effing teeth I have ever seen!!!!

U2 Manager McGuinness Calls On ISPs To Control Piracy

Wendy Davis:
U2 manager Paul McGuinness has added his voice to those calling on Internet service providers to implement controversial anti-piracy measures, including filtering their networks and canceling the accounts of people who upload copyrighted music. In another proposal, he suggested that ISPs and record labels enter into a revenue-sharing partnership.

You idiot, don't you know piracy is Even Better Than the Real Thing??
You old dinosaur!! It's a good idea to prevent change. Let's also burn books and impede new ideas.
Good one! Instead of trying to block something you cannot control, how about thinking of better ways to do old things?

I can just picture this McGuinness character in his fancy office with his fancy things, materialistic greed and the desire to attain more. He has no idea what the freedom and joy of a good song can bring, or the added benefit of getting something for nothing.
Times have changed. A good enough musician will find ways to make a buck and it won't necessarily be through the selling of low quality digital content (go read the Future of Music). Musicians now have to work harder to get their songs out there and if that means sacrificing a few of those dollars so their music can be heard it isn't such a big deal.

And Paul, this is dedicated to you:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Subway sues Quiznos over video contest

The New York Times: Sandwich chain Subway is alleging that rival Quiznos and Viacom's iFilm damaged its brand via a user-generated video contest. The lawsuit could determine whether marketers can be held liable for messages contained in content created by outsiders, according to this article.

Finally, some real controversy
It's taken a while, but finally 2008 has delivered.
I was thinking this story was completely harmless and there was no way Subway could win. That was until I read that Quiznos actually challenged their supporters to make an ad which demonstrated Quiznos' superiority over Subway!
That's a little bit excessive.

And from the poor victim involved:
"Quiznos led you to believe it was O.K. to do it...It’s like mudslinging, in a sense. Like politicians slinging mud back and forth at each other. I took it that it was all fair in business."
Poor guy. Interesting that he can't make up his own mind about whether something is ok or not. Also interesting that he thinks that Politicians slinging mud at each other is ok. Always a good solution to detract from your own problems and bring attention to someone else's.
And we're talking about products! Nothing special, not the end of the world. If Subway was smart, they would have done their own ad, destroying Quiznos. That would have been something exciting!

Spelling is a bit crap, but it brings the point across nicely.

Children learn the art of flattery around 4

A joint Canadian-Chinese study indicates that children learn to tell social lies around age four:
They asked a group of preschool children ages 3 to 6 to rate drawings by children and adults they knew, as well as strangers. The preschoolers judged the artwork both when the artist was present, and when he or she was absent. The three-year-olds were completely honest, and remained consistent in their ratings; it didn’t matter who drew it, or whether the person was in the room. Five- and six-year-olds gave more flattering ratings when the artist was in front of them. They flattered both strangers and those they knew (although familiar people got a higher dose of praise). Among the four-year-olds, half the group displayed flattery while the other half did not. This supports the idea that age four is a key transitional period in children’s social understanding of the world."

Being a constant outlier, most things have never really applied to me.
Cute. I like what is suggested:
"...adults flatter for two reasons. It can be to show gratitude for some positive action in the past. As well, when they’re meeting someone for first time – someone who may turn out to be important for their advancement down the road – flattery is also used as an investment for future favourable treatment from the person.”

This doesn't apply to me.
Most advertising people are full of shit. As most ad people have no idea what they're doing it makes more sense to them to offer flattery for that future advancement down the road (although advancement is exchangeable with rescue) .
A more discernible individual can smell BS accurately and flattery is really not even on the cards. Better to offer them up to the wolves than waste time beating around the bush.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Facebook Data Available To Third Party Sites

Facebook is extending its influence across the Web in a big way, by today allowing developers to create third-party programs outside of Facebook that tap into the company's social data pool. Apps developed using Facebook's API can now access the social network's features and its so-called "social graph" of user information from outside the site.

Holy hell FB! What are you doing???
This freaks me the most:
"Facebook has now implemented the ability to leverage cookies to access a user’s data even when they are not at your application"
Has the FB not learned anything? Or are they just trying their best at whoring themselves again to get into the press?
Maybe FB just wants to keep trying different crazy things and then the thing that they actually want is so minor it will just get through.

I don't care. This sounds very creepy. I'd like to migrate, but all my Luddite friends are on FB so I'm forced to stick with it.

Driven to be fat

SMH: Residents of fattest areas within NSW, Australia, blame lack of public transport for obesity.

I think the fat has gone to your brain!!
I have never heard of anything so ridiculous!
The public transport around here is really inadequate … we've had so many new freeways and motorways built out here that is just so easy to drive everywhere," Rebecca Stephenson, a long-time Hawkesbury resident, said.
Rebecca, fatty, you can't go around blaming highways for your fatness quotient.The fact that you have a car doesn't detract that you choose not to walk 200 metres down the road to get public transport!!

I'm sure you're wondering how my rant relates to advertising. Well, the complaints and the ridiculous scapegoating on innocent parties, or even the inanimate object, is rampant in the industry. If a fat person can blame her fatness on a road, ad people shouldn't blame their lack of sales on bad TV, the internet or anything else seemingly blameable.
If a campaign and strategy takes into account new trends and behaviours, there is no reason why the campaign shouldn't succeed.

So just like Rebecca should stop eating 17 hamburgers a day, ad people should stop putting their efforts in to the same old crap.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Athletes' New Game: Their Own Web Ads

Adam Thompson WSJ: Low-Budget spots put stars in control of their marketing
Two NBA athletes, Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns and Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors are self-promoting. In an effort to win votes for the NBA All-Star Game, Bosh wrote and shot his own Web commercial in which he takes on the persona of a used-salesman to get fans to vote for him. The commercial, which he created with his girlfriend and his brother, has gained more than 376,000 views on YouTube.

Great, all we need - More ads!
Thank you celebrities. You don't already flood my world through places you shouldn't be in (ie the News). But now you decide to get your hot little hands on a camera and have a little foray in the self-promotion advertising arena.
The freedom of the internet is great, and let me massage your inflated ego too, you're great. But the internet can be so much more. Step up to the plate and don't be so second rate.

Ad spending will double, but what consumer cares?

Mark Walsh : Internet Ads Will More Than Double By 2011
Yankee Group forecasts that Internet advertising will more than double to $50.3 billion in 2011 from $21.7 billion last year, driven by technology investments that will boost online ad performance. While the size of the U.S. Internet audience will level off in the next few years, ad dollars have yet to catch up with the growth in online media consumption.

Good one Yankee Group, but it doesn't mean much when ads don't work!
It's great marketers are spending more online, following the wave of people and such. However, if we're placing most of the emphasis on banner ads, really, who gives a crap?? Consumers certainly don't and most marketers don't understand the other options out there.

What about spending more money online to create programs and benefits that consumers can tack on to the products they are already buying? Keep them loyal and such. Forget the 'new ad platforms', it's just the same shit, different smell.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oprah Harpo boom boom

Oh, Oprah, why do you have to heavily populate my life like a Starbucks on every corner?
This piece of news is everywhere. I haven't read one news page without it jumping out at me, uninvited.

I don't really get Oprah anyway. She clearly stands for stuff bubble and spice and all things nice but it/she gives me the heebie jeebies.
I mean what kind of sick individual has their photo on EVERY single cover of their magazine?? You don't see Elle* doing it.

It's not normal to be so "for the good of all people". I'm truly worried what wholesome shit will be on this channel.
How much self discovery can one person do? Isn't she tired yet? Isn't she exhausted of screaming in that weird baritone way when she gets all excited?

Well I'm sure I'll only have one use for her in the near future and that will be just like a Starbucks which always, ALWAYS pops up whenever I am need of the facilities (I don't really know what that means, but it's a nice tie in and I'm sure you can use your imagination).

*A very lame attempt at a joke which I will probably regret later.

You only need the first 5 seconds of this video to get the weird baritone thing

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Faceook's next victim - applications

c/o Trend Central: In response to user backlash against the overuse of applications cluttering profile pages, Facebook recently announced that a new profile clean-up tool will allow users to hide applications. While this is good news for Facebook users, it's not so good for application developers since the hiding of applications will decrease the chances of going viral.

Ha ha -The whore succumbs to public pressure
Facebook, you silly, silly wench.
I really have a love/hate relationship with you and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I know that secretly you want to make piles of money, but at the same time you want to be the "people's Facebook".
But this is very good, this anti application thing. It will make my Facebook experience a happier one. Now advertisers/widget makers have another hurdle to battle. Sucked in!

Video ads are planned for grocery carts

Yahoo News: ShopRite to offer smart carts this year
Microsoft Corp. will debut its new MediaCart technology in ShopRite supermarkets on the East Coast later this year. The new grocery carts will be equipped with a video console to help shoppers locate products in the store from an uploaded grocery list, as well as scan and pay for them from the cart.

OMG!! It's finally happening!
People have been talking about this for years. Good to see it finally getting into gear.
I wish smart carts the best of luck.

RIP radio?

SMH: Podcasting has changed the way we listen to the trannie and may even replace it, writes Andrew Bock.

10% of the population and you think that's mainstream??
What in the world is with news providers sensationalising stories?
In 3 countries I have recently been to, Canada (Good old Nova Scotia), USA (New York) and Australia (Sydney), the media (CBC, Channel 1 News and Channel 9 respectively) latches on to anything they can twist and manipulate into absolute sensationalised, irrational crap!
I'm not getting into it here, but this podcasting story has some elements of good to it, but it's mostly evil.
850,000 monthly downloads is a pretty good figure, 2 million is even better in a country of 20 million. I still think it's a long way off from killing radio.
What about all those talk radio stars? All the people who stay at home listening so that they can call up and talk to someone and complain about something which is a real non issue in real time?
Podcasts take away the live element and create a whole lot of DRM problems.
To say that podcasts will kill radio is silly. There is clearly a place for both.
And most definitely a place for someone to pen a one hit wonder "podcasting killed the video/radio star"

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's a blog-out

I'm lagging. Too much work, too much stuff to do. Here's a round up of what' s keeping me interested at the mo...

Joe Mandese: French Plan Likely To Reduce Supply Of TV Ad Time, Accelerate The Internet
The French media marketplace is bracing for a government plan to take advertising off the nation's state-owned TV channels, a move that is expected to erode TV's share of ad spending and accelerate the Internet's in a market that is the home of two of the ad industry's biggest agency holding companies.
Sweet! Go Frenchies
Who gives a crap about ad agencies! It's all about the consumer. I love how Europe knows this. Was it Germany that banned the iPhone alignment to one phone service provider?
I doubt anyone else outside of the Europe will go ahead with this one. They care too much about money and cash.

Tameka Kee: WatchMouse: Facebook is Worst-Performing Social Networking Site
Facebook earned the title of worst-performing social networking site in terms of user perception of speed and availability. MySpace scored a 923 and "loaded well and recorded few errors," but Twitter and Windows Live Spaces fared worse--with SPIs of 1476 and 1386, respectively
The whore makes it into the news again with nothing relevant at all.
Who the hell cares? What is this retarded score? How many errors does Windows have? People still use it.
Just another reason for Facebook to get into the press again for the 1,097th time this week.

Mark Walsh: Study: Mobile Subscribers Taking Note Of Ads
One in three U.S. mobile subscribers, or 78 million people, saw or listened to an ad on their cell phone during the last three months, according to a study by mobile entertainment company Limbo in partnership with Britain-based market research firm GfK NOP Research
Mmm, people are seeing and listening, but not acting!
That's right, people are noticing the ads just like TV. Just like the internet, just like Print. It doesn't mean they are going to do anything about it. That's because traditional advertising is largely ineffective.
It is great that people know where a brand advertised, but if it doesn't lead to purchase the whole campaign is a waste.
Furthermore, this data won't help in solving this huge mobile advertising issue that everyone is so keen on solving. Stop talking about how to solve mobile. That's not the right question in the first place. Kevin Federline Finally Finds Some Success
Britney's Ex Beats Out Jessica Simpson, Sheryl Crow for Most-Talked-About Super Bowl Ad-- Like chips and seven-layer dip, celebrity ads have become a Super Bowl staple. But marketers need more than a famous face to resonate with viewers -- they need buzz, according to new market research from Cymfony, a division of TNS Media Intelligence.
How is it, that of all people, K-Fed outgrew the shame and humiliation and came out on top?
This is a lesson for us all. If you go through a bad patch, come out the aftermath, then lay low.
Very low.
Then when things are starting to quiet down, don't take yourself too seriously. Poke a bit of fun at yourself.
This is where Britney went wrong. She started poking fun at herself (eg shaving her head, exposing her privates, etc), but she was still in the grieving period. As a result it just came out as depressed and insane.
K-Fed has done his grieving, his retrospection. He has emerged victorious.
I never thought I would say this, but I applaud you KFed.

Joe Mandese: Nielsen Gets Passive Aggressive: Asks Stations To Be More Active, Take Responsibility For Coding Snafus
Following a series of unusual and surprising glitches in its highly redundant and supposedly fool-proof television coding system, Nielsen Media Research Wednesday sent letters to U.S. TV stations asking for help to ensure there are no more snafus.
Neilsen?! What the hell is wrong with you? How do you even sell product??
Ratings aren't accurate in any case there are further inaccuracies with the system? You sell this dodgy data that is only a small proportion of the population and try to tell us it's a true reflection of the overall population. THEN you have errors in the tracking system so the data is even more defunct than it was before.......
Why are you still in business? Why do agencies keep paying you? I just don't get it.

And Coors are totally ripping off Doritos at the Superbowl. This comment indicates you should not get away with it.

I was trying to find that song "Freak out" but this turned up...much better!
What freaks!! Just like Nielsen and Coors.

The real song is here

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Welcome back Kotter!

Wow, what a nice break.
Coming back, good to see all the news still has hints of notes with nothingness.

Good to see all these trends still floating around. Good to see the same people talking about everyone being unaware and unsure of what's going on around them. Good to see the 'what's going on' being the same stuff it has been for the last 2 or so years.
So, I've made it my mission to harness everything we know and really do something about it. It's time to properly change the face of advertising in today's world.
I'm leveraging the bullshit and going to make a difference.
See you there!