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SON-OF-A-PITCH



PRACTICAL REFLECTIONS ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE AND THE WORLD OF INTERACTIVE PR



Updated: 2015-09-16T16:40:10.405-04:00

 



Duran Duran Set to Invade SecondLife

2006-08-11T14:18:22.716-04:00

Eighties icons Duran Duran are primed to become the first major pop act to have a presence inside of Second Life.

According to their official Web site, John Taylor, Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Andy Taylor have commissioned a set of custom avatars that they plan to use to perform concerts and schedule media appearances that mirror their real world activities.

DD keyboardist Nick Rhodes sees endless possibilities in Second Life: "our community will be able to help develop the island into a fully functional, futuristic utopia, where you can never be quite sure what to expect."

The quintet is expected to make their virtual debut later this month.



Another One Microsoft Blogger Bites the Dust

2006-08-10T07:44:12.183-04:00

Four months into his gig at Microsoft, fellow RSS-addict Niall Kennedy has decided to part ways with the company, citing a desire to venture out on his own.

Whether or not the big M decides to move forward with development on the feed platform he was hired to lead is anyone's guess, but Niall certainly hopes so.

So do I.



Primp Your Avatar

2006-08-11T15:26:37.063-04:00

Sponsored by Wal-Mart, The Yahoo! Avatar Fashion Show invites consumers to dress their virtual selves in the retailer's gear and submit their creations for a chance to win one of five $100 gift cards.

Launched this morning, the competition is already heating up. Best in show will be determined by an open vote.

(image)



Add Your .02 to the New Rules of Marketing and PR

2006-08-07T16:43:24.053-04:00

One of my favorite PR bloggers, David Meerman Scott, is planning a new book on blogging, podcasting, viral marketing and online media.

David intends to blog his way through his journey and has invited us to follow along, contribute to the process, offer suggestions and keep him on track.

He expects the final product - tenatively titled The New Rules of Marketing and PR - to be completed by the end of the year.



Google to Add Viacom Programming to Video Store

2006-08-06T20:43:34.526-04:00

With the ink barely dry on their deal with AP, Google has just announced an alliance with Viacom Inc., parent company to MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Spike TV, TV Land, DreamWorks, that will bring more than 100 hours of ad-supported content to their growing video store.

While additional details related to their partnership remain confidential, an unnamed Viacom exec close to the negotiations told The New York Times that his company would retain at least two-thirds of the ad revenue generated by the union, an arrangement that marks the first of its kind for the search engine giant.

Akin to their agreement with iTunes, the clips - from programs like Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, SpongeBob SquarePants and MTV's Video Music Awards and seventeen others - will be made available for download at $1.99 a pop.



Dignity Outshines Freedom of Speech in Chinese Blog Defamation Case

2006-08-05T09:54:45.276-04:00

Journalism professor Chen Tangfa was awarded a whopping 1,000 yuan (that's $126 to you and me) after a Chinese court ruled that critical comments made by a student on his personal "bo-ke" (or blog) amounted to defamation.

After initially arguing that his company had no right to edit content posted on the blogs they host, Fang Huaifeng - a spokesman for Blogcn.com - said the network would now "review every complaint received and delete material deemed offensive," according to China's Xinhua News Agency. Close to 5 million users make up the Blogcn.cn community.

Meanwhile, back in Nanjing, Tangfa - whose case may very well represent the first of its kind in his country - said "winning shows personal dignity outweighs freedom of speech."

Hat-tip: AP.



New and Improved Windows Spaces Unveiled

2006-08-06T12:57:18.196-04:00

On Tuesday, Microsoft began rolling out an enhanced version of Windows Spaces, the popular blogging platform used by over 120 million unique visitors each month.

According to a company statement, the new product - dubbed Windows Live Spaces - includes social networking features "designed to help users discover and connect with friends through their trusted contacts and allows customers to personalise their Windows Live Spaces with gadgets."

Unfortunately, the relaunch has suffered from a series flaws, as Mary Jo Foley of Microsoft Watch reports.

In lighter news, the big M has also introduced Live QnA, a service (currently in beta) that's been described as an online forum that allows consumers to ask and get answers to questions on a variety topics.



Online News Audience Broad, Not Deep

2006-08-02T16:48:29.473-04:00

A biennial survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has found that 48% of all Americans spend at least 30 minutes getting their news from broadcast television. By comparison, 10% were found to pass that same amount of time getting their fix from popular portals like MSNBC, Yahoo!, CNN, Google, AOL and FoxNews.

Among those polled, sites maintained by newspapers were almost as popular as network news sites; The New York Times and USA Today led the pack in terms of those most frequented.

Pew's News Consumption and Believability Study has also identified blogs as a popular source for a "significant number," of consumers aged 18-24. Nearly 10% of the test group that fell within this demo admitted to reading at least one news blogs regularly.



YouTube Bests the BBC, MySpace

2006-08-01T17:02:01.250-04:00

For the month of May, YouTube's reach outgrew that of the BBC's Web properties writes Mark Sweney of MediaGuardian.

"Its success," he says, "has been such that a price tag of as much as $1 billion (£536 billion) has been put on the company and rumours are circulating of a possible initial public offering."

Among the potential suitors eyeing the video-sharing phenom? Yahoo!, NewsCorp., Google, Sony, Time Warner, Adobe Systems, Viacom, Microsoft and Apple, according to ZDNet's Russell Shaw.

With any luck, one of them will have figured out a way to translate a 3.9% daily share of all global Internet traffic into dollars and cents... if that's even what it's all about.



CEO Blogging Not an Extreme Sport

2006-07-30T11:00:31.733-04:00

Despite encouraging employees to blog, many of the CEOs behind our biggest companies have chosen not to, leaving what Randall Stross at The New York Times, describes as "an embarrassing silence at the top that the combined clacking of those underlings cannot fill."

Whether we focus on those who get it versus those who don't, there's no denying that CEO blogging is a popular topic these days. "For the chief executive sincerely interested in increasing information flow to the fullest range of stakeholders," writes Stross, "a blog is a hydraulic wonder."

So where is everybody?



Has Unilever Discovered the Key to Successful MySpace Marketing?

2006-08-02T16:50:48.126-04:00

Unilever has aligned itself with Christine Dolce, a California cosmetician with over 900,000 MySpace friends, in a campaign designed build some buzz for their Axe brand of deodorant.

"To draw in the 18- to 24-year-old lustful lads to whom Axe is shamelessly marketed," says The Economist, "Dolce hosted an interactive game, called "Gamekillers," based around dating tips and designed subtly to promote Axe."

The key to the program, according to Unilever's Kevin George, is subtlety. "When you deliver content they want to engage with, they don't mind if it comes from a brand."

To date, more than 75,000 MySpacers have signed up for the game.

Hat-tip: Ross Fadner, Online Media Daily.

Disclosure: Unilever is a Weber Shandwick client.



One-time Wonkette Named Time.com Editor

2006-07-27T22:13:48.616-04:00

Craving the "comparatively literary world of newsmagazines," blogger/author Ana Marie Cox has accepted the position of new Washington editor for Time.com.

Cox joined Time in March as a contributing writer.

She's expected to assume her new role on July 31.

Hat-tip: Reuters.



J&J Seeks Mommy Bloggers for New Directory

2006-07-29T17:14:17.433-04:00

This Fall, Johnson's Baby, a division of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies will launch their Mom Blogger Project.

Described as a "powerful blog publicity engine," the initiative is designed to draw newbies to the blogosphere and help those already active to attract more readers.

(image)



Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Blog?

2006-07-29T03:06:09.820-04:00

CEOs at some of our largest companies, that's who, according to Debbie Weil.


Followed are five of her tips for blogophobes along with commentary from yours truly:

  1. Think about blogging strategically.
    Don't lose sight of the tactical stuff: why do you want to blog? Does blogging fit into your overall marcomm strategy? What do you want to say? More importantly, what do your customers want/need to hear?

  2. Consider starting an event-specific blog.
    There are two schools of thought here: one that sees value in blogs designed to "live" for a limited period of time and another that believes that unless you're in it for the long haul, there really isn't any point. Which side of the fence are you on?

  3. Get familiar with the convention of blogging.
    More importantly, get familiar with the language of blogging. Test your mettle behind your firewall and practice, practice, practice. Passion has a way of shining through - with any luck, you'll know if and when to make your views public.

  4. Don't worry about running out of things to say.
    Occassional posts about your company, products or services are okay, so long as you don't overdo it. Go deep and blog about your industry instead.

  5. Just do it.
    But only if it makes sense - 'nuff said.



Technorati Unveils New Look

2006-07-24T14:39:23.930-04:00

Easier and more intuitive to search, simpler and brighter design, redesigned search results pages and better sorting options... what do you think?

(image)



Social Computing for Dummies

2006-07-23T17:10:21.136-04:00

Today's quote - courtesy of The Register's David Tebbutt by way of Neville Hobson - is actually a couple of days old:

"Think of social computing as a platform upon which people can collaborate in ad hoc groups, where they can share their expertise with others, possibly strangers, and where the by-products of their activities automatically add to the wealth of retained corporate knowledge."

While Tebbutt names wikis, blogs, RSS and tags as the "main software elements," he goes on to suggest that "more traditional elements like forums, directories and discussion boards," should also be thought of as "part of the mix."



YouTube Buzz Helps Resurrect Shelved Sitcom

2006-07-23T16:33:37.843-04:00

One month after showing up on YouTube, Nobody's Watching - a comedy pilot developed for the WB by Bill Lawrence (Scrubs and Spin City) and writing partners Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman (Family Guy) - has caught the attention of NBC.

According to Variety, the network has ordered six additional scripts and plans to promote the show through a series of viral clips hosted by the popular video-sharing site. The first batch is expected to debut this Fall.

Commenting on the renewed interest in his project, creator Lawrence stated that "if network TV doesn't embrace the Internet as both a place to launch and test shows but also as a place where shows can live, they're going to fall further and further behind."

To date, program snippets one, two and three have racked up over 750,000 views.



CIA Contractor Fired Over Controversial Blog Post

2006-07-22T21:38:42.236-04:00

When Christine Axsmith - a CIA software contractor/blogger employed by BAE Systems - posted her views on the Geneva Conventions and torture to Intelink, the intelligence community's highly-classified Intranet, she wasn't expecting to lose her job.

But that's exacly what happened, writes Dana Priest of The Washington Post.

Despite an immediate apology, Axsmith, a self-proclaimed "loudmouth with a knack for writing a catchy headline," reportedly had her security clearance before being subjected to a rather harsh inquiry and allegedly threatened with criminal prosecution for "unauthorized use of a government computer system."

Quoted in the article, Axsmith says she stands by her decision to voice her opinion. "I know I hit the radar and it was amplified," she admits. "I think I've had an impact."



New Features Being Tested at AOL CityGuide

2006-07-21T17:22:09.223-04:00

Dynamic lists of events and venues (ranked in popularity by users), improved locators and expanded photo galleries are among the new features being tested behind the beta walls at AOL's CityGuide.

Twenty-five cities are part of the test - here's a look at new and improved hub for New York:

(image)



Wal-Mart's New "Social Network" Too Uncool for School

2006-07-21T00:53:37.930-04:00

Wal-Mart and Sony have teamed up to create The HUB, "a quasi-social-networking site for teens designed to allow them to express their individuality," writes AdAge's Maya Frazier.

HUB-monitors will narc out "hubsters" who wish to participate/contribute content by ratting them out to their parents, screening/scrubbing all submissions and preventing them from directly interacting with one another.

(image)

Sounds like a hit to me.



Beyond Blogger: India Blog Ban, Part Two

2006-07-19T00:21:44.146-04:00

India's Blogspot ban is "picking up momentum in India and the entire Indian blogosphere is speaking in one voice against the ban," writes Digital Inspiration's Amit Agarwal.

Since Saturday, the story has garnered a fair amount of international coverage, landing on the likes of Michelle Malkin, Boing Boing, and The Mercury News' Silicon Beat.

Geocities sites and blogs hosted by TypePad are also being blocked, writes Amit, while "blogs hosted on WordPress, LiveJournal, MSN Spaces, Rediff.com, IndiaTimes and Yahoo! 360°," have seemingly been spared.



Social Networks Going to the Dogs (and Cats)

2006-07-16T14:40:54.990-04:00

"As human social-networking sites like Friendster.com and MySpace.com have become increasingly popular," writes Newsweek's Malak Hamwi, "similar sites have popped up for pets."Dogster.com, Catster.com, Hamsterster.com and Petster.com are among the growing communities helping pet lovers connect to one another.Oh, and they're fair ground for marketers, too.Technorati Tags: cat, cats, Catster, Catster.com, community, communities, dog, dogs, Dogster, Dogster.com, Friendster, Friendster.com, Hamsterster, Hamsterster.com, Internet, Malak Hamwi, marketing, MySpace, MySpace.com, Newsweek, online community, online communities, online marketing, pet, pets, Petster, Petster.com, PR, public relations, social media, social network, social networking, social networks, WebAdd to: Technorati, Digg, del.icio.us, Yahoo, BlinkList, Spurl, reddit, Furl[...]



Blogger Blogs Blocked by Indian Government

2006-07-15T16:29:10.410-04:00

Following what amounts to cries of censorship among bloggers in her part of the world, Mridula of Travel Tales from India is wondering if the recent blockage of Blogger blogs is in fact the work of her country's Ministry of Communication.After days of speculation, her ISP confirmed it.UPDATE: Apparently, this all happened today, and according to Mridula, it's her company's ISP - Spectranet - that's enforcing the blockade. After another go-around with a customer service rep, government orders could neither be confirmed nor denied. "Things are not so simple," she writes. "It is utter confusion."Technorati Tags: blog, Blogger, blogging, blogs, blogspot, censorship, government, India, Indian Ministry of Communication, Internet, ISP, politics, PR, public relations, social media, Spectranet, WebAdd to: Technorati, Digg, del.icio.us, Yahoo, BlinkList, Spurl, reddit, Furl [...]



New Search Engine ExactSeek Launches Beta

2006-07-15T10:30:48.573-04:00

Jayde Online's new search engine/directory - ExactSeek - has gone beta, promising to "provide searchers with a quality database of around 100 million Web sites."Specialized databases and niche search engines are among the resources tapped by their algorithm for image, blog and article results.Hat-tip: iMedia Connection.Technorati Tags: Best-SearchEngine, beta, beta test, Blog-Search, blog monitoring, blog search, blogs, ExactSeek, FreeWebSubmission, GoArticles, image search, iMedia Connection, Internet, Jayde Online, Jayde Online Network, marketing, NewWebDirectory, PR, public relation, search, search engine, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, SEM, SEO, SEO-News, SiteProNews, social media, WebAdd to: Technorati, Digg, del.icio.us, Yahoo, BlinkList, Spurl, reddit, Furl[...]



Moving Beyond the "Blogging-as-Sales-Tool" Mindset

2006-07-13T16:28:44.556-04:00

eMarketer says it's time for businesses to reconsider blogging."A generation for whom sharing information via social networks and personal blogs is second nature will demand being addressed as human beings without the filters applied by traditional corporate communications," says senior analyst James Belcher, and "marketers and PR professionals who want to remain relevant in this environment will add blogging and blogosphere literacy to their skill sets, or risk falling behind their customers."Good advice.Technorati Tags: blog, blogging, blogs, business, eMarketer, Forbes, Forbes 200, Forbes 500, General Motors, GM, Internet, James Belcher, marketing, PR, public relations, social media, Socialtext, Sun, WebAdd to: Technorati, Digg, del.icio.us, Yahoo, BlinkList, Spurl, reddit, Furl[...]