Thursday, December 31, 2009

Twitter Carrying On Woodstock Spirit 40 Years Later

I watched the movie "Taking Woodstock" last night and thought that 40 years later Twitter may be the techno age equivalent of the 60s music festival. In the 1960s music was the communal force of its generation and Woodstock represented the ultimate platform for the expression of its time. Three days of peace and music was the tag line for the event that epitomized a generation.

The festival met with a lot of obstacles from the conservative powers that be in the beginning but by the end of the event had won many over. The musical "come ins" of the 60s were venues where the youth of the United States and much of the rest of the world could gather to meet, make friends and discuss the issues of the day. Many of the conversations were aimless and trivial, but had relevance to those holding them, much like many Twits. But amid the babble there are many important discussions occurring.

The decade that ends today has been one dominated by the internet and all things electronic. Music still holds an important place but it is social media that has become the place where we gather to hold our "come ins" - though they are called "tweetups" (one of the Oxford English Dictionary's words of the year).

The gathering of war and social protesters at the music events of the 60s is reflected in the use of Twitter as a gathering place for this passing decade's voices of protest and new thoughts.

While there may not be as many popular songs of protest that were around back then, there are social platforms that allow everyone to have their voices heard in ripples throughout the "global village".

More than MySpace which can be thought of as the first truly online global village or Facebook, the largest global social network, Twitter has become our social communication tool. The teenagers, who once looked at Twitter as something for older people, are fast coming around and "the older" crowd, who never used MySpace and rarely played with Facebook, have started to embrace the application.

Like Woodstock that just happened at the right time for the explosion of people who attended or tried to get there and made the event a nexus of a generation, Twitter can attribute some of its massive adoption to the growth of mobile devices and the apps that allow access to their application.

Neither Woodstock nor Twitter made money at first. The concert needed the movie rights and merchandising to see a profit after the event, but the organizers fought to hold it. Twitter obviously has yet to see a profit for their efforts, but they see its importance and future potential.

The lyrics of the Joni Mitchell song ring true of the potential of Twitter as a platform for social change. "I dreamed I saw the bomber death planes/ Riding shotgun in the sky,/ Turning into butterflies/ Above our nation" could be an echo of the sentiment of the Iranian protesters using Twitter to voice their desire for change in their country.

"I feel myself a cog in somethin' turning./And maybe it's the time of year,/ Yes and maybe it's the time of man./ And ... life is for learning".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Google Antitrust Possibilities

The lawyers and executives over at Google must be very aware of the antitrust problems they face, but then again I am sure that the people at AT&T were similarly aware before they were forced to break up the company. If they need any insights perhaps they can go through Google Books and find Ray G. Besing's book "Who Broke Up AT&T".

Google is not helping themselves with recent moves, like the purchase of AdMob announced this week and their intention of providing free GPS software.

The question is has Google gotten so big that growth activity has swamped their executives and they are too busy to think about the possibility of serious antitrust problems. Or are they just too confident that it will not happen to them. Has success blinded them?

AT&T's biggest factor in being broken up was "was using monopoly profits from its Western Electric subsidiary to subsidize the costs of its network, which was contrary to U.S. antitrust law," as Wikipedia notes.

Obviously Google is using profits from other areas to provide free services to internet users and website owners. Google Analytics is a good example, and would be interesting if someone remaining in the space were to challenge them.

Interestingly, AT&T is pushing the FCC to look in to Google's activities with their new Voice product. Meanwhile, the EU has been investigating Google Books and recently added a complaint from Italian newspaper publishers who claim they are being removed from regular search results because they decided not to be included in Google News.

In the US, the actions of AdWords creating minimum bids and use of Quality Scores etc. to justify huge increases in the cost per click for keywords has been voiced by many in the space, but a suit by TradeComet may add to the momentum of antitrust actions against Google. TradeComet had been buying clicks from hundreds of thousands of keywords to drive traffic to their SourceTool site, but "the complaint states, Google raised the price SourceTool had to pay for many keywords 100-fold (from 10¢ a word, for example, to $10). In a short time, TradeComet alleges, SourceTool lost 90% of its monthly traffic from Google and millions of dollars in revenue," BusinessWeek reported.

The video below of Dana R. Wagner, Google's top in-house antitrust lawyer shows they are aware of their situation.

You have to give it to Google for not restricting its growth based on fear of antitrust actions but the groups they are challenging have gotten bigger and more conspicious.

The move into the analytics field may have been the start. It was a relatively new industry and one that had an obvious fit to the search engine. The fact that it saw the demise of many small companies could come back to haunt them.

The push in to publishing and the development of Google News initially was well received and many news organizations worked hard to get included. Unfortunately, the eventual backlash has created enemies with people who control the perception the public that could change its popularity. The Google Books move is another dangerous step. Obviously online book selling giants Amazon and Barnes and Noble see this as a possible challenge to their existence.

The purchase of Gizmo5 and the addition of it to Android to offer free GPS service could see the demise of TomTom and Garmin - previously the two major GPS companies. Actions like this can only add to the antitrust argument.

Their purchase of AdMob is another area that could get them flak. The purchase not only gives them a solid mobile ad platform but data about mobile platforms, in particular the iPhone. As Forbes notes: "With the acquisition of AdMob, Google now has access to usage data of many of the most popular mobile apps--especially the apps in the iTunes App Store... they just scored a huge competitive advantage. Google will know more details than ever about how people are using iPhone apps, how they are engaging with advertising within those apps, and users' loyalty to those apps."

Having Apple, Microsoft and News Corp looking to stop you may be taking on too many fronts at the same time - which history shows have brought about the defeat of many aggressors.

The other thing Google has to watch for is their own success. At some point, if they keep increasing their market share of search that could also lead to problems.

It is an interesting position Google finds themselves. Larry and Sergey could never have thought their Back Rub search engine would grow into this global conglomerate - loved by most people and feared by many major businesses.

Next article - How Would Google Be Chopped Up If Forced To Divest

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Charity Is Good Karma: Come Join Us At SES IM Chairity Party

Okay folks I know we have all been going through the pinch of the economy, but it is time to give to those even less fortunate. And maybe it will give you a little karma.

The IM Charity Party will be held Wednesday night during SES San Jose. Four hours of open bar and finger food all yours for the reasonable donation of $50.

Ever wanted to know how to meet and become friends with the people who have been in our industry for years. This is the event. Come and have some fun and help a good cause. Meet the people who can get you on the private dinner lists, get some great insights into the latest moves and changes in the space.

Helping others is good karma - but at IM Charity Party you also get drinks and food to go with that.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SEOktoberfest An Event Worth Attending

This is absolutely the best, most intimate conference on the planet. The fact that there is nearly as many speakers as attendees means you get one on one help from some of the best in the industry. Hope to see you there if you win this auction covered below - and you get the tax break as it is a charitable donation.

"We are counting down the days now to attend our second annual SEO Oktoberfest in Munich. I have said this before and will say it again. Oktoberfest was the BEST party and BEST trip we have ever taken. Talk about getting the royal treatment? Marcus and Quadzilla don’t mess around when it comes to hosting an event," said Queen of the SEO conferences Barbara Boser.

This year it will be even better. More speakers, more attendees and more beer.

Wish you could come? How about bidding on a charity auction for the last ticket? Donate to a good cause and you could have the time of your life.

Click here for the charity auction. All proceeds will benefit AMAZONICA.

This is what you are bidding on:

You´re bidding on the last ticket for the sold out SEOktoberfest 2009 (22nd of September till the 24th of September)

The original ticket price is 5.000 euros, and the 15 tickets were sold out after only 20 minutes!

15 International Online-Marketing Experts, 15 Attendees, and 10 former Playmates – one conference – one big Party!

Here´s what´s happening at SEOktoberfest:

Tuesday, 22nd of September:
10 a.m – 4 p.m. – SEOktoberfest Conference
4 p.m. – 10 p.m. – Oktoberfest at famous Käfer Wiesn-Schnänke
open end – After Party at P1 Club

Wednesday, 23rd of September:
11 a.m. – 8 p.m. – We got a whole luxurious Spa completly rented out for everybody. 6 massage therapists etc. will get you fit again!
8 p.m. – open end – Friends & Family Dinner at Munich´s No.1 Wine-Restaurant Die blaue Donau

Thursday, 24th of September
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – SEOktoberfest Conference
4. p.m. – 10 p.m. – Oktoberfest at Schützen-Festhalle
open end – After Party at a secret location

What´s included in the price?


Every Attendee gets a whole Oktoberfest Outfit – Shoes, Lederhosen, Shirt etc., and everything you eat and / or drink, as well as all the transfers etc. – everything´s included!

Who are the Online Marketing Experts?

Todd Malicoat
Chris Winfield
Bob Rains
Johannes Beus
Brent Csutoras
Greg Boser
Barbara Boser
Todd Friesen
Marcus Tandler
Frank Watson

Friday, February 6, 2009

Helping SEOAly Come to IM Spring Break

Okay there is a game afoot and a new friend from Twitter @SEOAly is looking for a little help to win a prize to come. Have to help out... am speaking so am not eligible.

Okay 7 Things That Will Happen at IM Spring Break (lol - know there are bunches of things I can't write about).

1. There will be BOTW shirts and hoodies in abundance.
2. Google will be fairly and unfairly criticized.
3. Pics will be taken that many will wish weren't.
4. Twitter will be the main method of communication.
5. Outspoken Media will be inundated with work.
6. Money will be raised or charity.
7. Fishing will be a social media event.

Okay Aly you have another one under your belt. Good luck.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dennys Drops Grand Slam, Site Slam Left Cold

Seems Denny's could afford the $3 million for a clever ad - hell more it must have cost a bit to film it. And yet they did not think to expand the bandwidth of their servers that would be getting hit by viewers interested in the offer.

I was curious if there was a Denny's in NYC - for past 45 minutes the site has been kicking back Service Not Available - in all browser types I have tried.

Someone has to be facing some heat come tomorrow morning - if not right now. Good commercial - just stupid online awareness... ouch get this addressed fast and maybe it ads to the viral marketing and traffic flow!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Watch Out For The Gypsies

Started the day early and really was getting things done. Putting out the usual Monday fires and gaining on my Promethean Rock. So thought a few minutes over at Twitter was earned.

But I wasn't there for more than two twits, when I checked my replies and was tagged by Harry (The Gypsy) David - bastard. Typical gypsy style - a meme - an electronic chain letter... worse than being rickrolled. So I have to list seven things you may not know about me - lol the hard part about this one is picking ones that will not need too much reputation management afterwards.

So here goes:

1. I have a signed picture of my brother and I with Robert Kennedy - a prized possession. My mother worked for him before he was shot and we met him a few times when we were over here from school in Australia.

2. I just erased one that can only be told in person - so ask me about that one next time you see me! (cheating a little so okay I have two kids 16 and 13)

3. I love cooking shows - but have never turned on the gas for my stove in my apartment. Silly really watching the Food Network and those reality cooking shows but never using any of the knowledge gained apart from looking for the items on menus when I am out.

4. I have played in two bands when I was younger that went on to get record deals after I left - does it mean I was that bad - I say because I just did not have the commitment to starve for my art.

5. I really want to be a playwright - but again the starving thing has always stopped me from pursuing too long.

6. I used to be one of the best porn film title writers around - sorta glad I got that Masters degree in Journalism! I had originally come to the US to work for Sports Illustrated - loved sports reporting but again you got all the good stories after hours at the bars and it was hard stretching the salary. So I moonlighted doing anything and everything.

7. I co-founded a newspaper in 1985 that is still being published today. We started it on an Apple 2 and the first laser printer - both of which I bartered from Alphagraphics in return for advertising in the paper. Loads of fun beta testing Aldus Pagemaker and selling advertising for half cash and half barter - food, drinks, clothing and even free office space.

So okay that is my things you now know. And I am suppose to tag seven other people - let's see who I can get to actually complete this.

1. Lauren (the future Mrs Kid Rock) Vaccarello
2. Todd (Stuntdubl) Mailicoat
3. Avi (Fire Boy) Wilenski
4. Chris (The Senator) Winfield
5. Pat (FeedtheBot) Sexton
6. Lisa (The Lisa) Barone
7. Rhea (Don't Mess With Red) Drysdale

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Who Is The Biggest Social Media Whore?

Granted I do not follow every user on Twitter, nor am I really active on Facebook and the sundry other social apps - but I am very curious as to who people see as the biggest social media whore.

Now remember we are using the term whore in only the kindest connotation - lawyers told me to say that wouldn't want one of these skanks suing me!

So I will start the ball rolling and nominate Guy Kawasaki - or just "The Guy" - because over the past 18 months he has submerged himself in the social waters and has been reborn as the omnipresent social being.

I need a Reality Check after an hour or two on Twitter because I feel like I am praying to the wrong god (ok figured he deserved a book plug after the nomination).

So give me you votes and feel free to insert links - after all it is the biggest social media whore.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Is New Mahalo Answers Widget Massive Link Builder?

Mahalo means thanks or gratitude in Hawaiian and I guess that's what founder Jason Calacanis is saying to all the people who install their new Answers widget.

Not only that it also takes anyone who uses this widget on their site over to Mahalo. Nice one guys - link building and traffic hijacking all in one friendly format.

Jason, in case you are new to widgets, the good ones may have a link in them, but they usually function totally on the site that embeds them. With a little more work it could have been a decent addition to a website. Jason, how about tweaking it and allowing the entire thing to stay on the user's site. Offer a little customization so it fits into the site's look and feel.

As is, it is pretty heavy handed. Jason announced the launch on Twitter. And a few minutes later was sipping port.

Come on mate, this one is just shameless.

Thursday, January 1, 2009