Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth chats about Microsoft, marketing and open software…
Q: What about growth in adoption rates, any kind of numbers that you can give me?
A:We know now that there are probably at least 8 million [Ubuntu] users….
On the other hand, what they do want to do is they want customers to feel slightly nervous of Linux. I think Microsoft is certainly sort of becoming a smarter operator into how they interact with Linux and with free software. They spent a lot of time saying it doesn’t exist, it is a toy, it is a cancer, and it is dangerous, and calling it anti-capitalist, and now they seem to be engaging in a much more realistic competitive pragmatic fashion to that problem.
Today is the last day of 2006 and tonight at midnight we’ll pass that spot in space and time in our planet’s revolution around the nearest star which people and places around the earth following the Gregorian Calendar mark as the beginning of a new year.
The calendar that we use to mark this new year is relatively new, dating back just about 450 years and based on the Roman calendar which is about 2200 years old. There are still older calendars, such as the many calendars of ancient Mesopotamia (the Assyrian calendar being my favorite) which are based on lunar cycles. There are numerous other calendars in use by many people on earth today, and this particular coordinate doesn’t mark the beginning of a new year on those.
What most of these calendars share in common is their emphasis on cycles and the implications of a once-dominant agrarian mode of life. We sowed, we reaped, we stored and we celebrated.
This cycle of the year carries over into our own online marketing existence. In most instances, we don’t have to wait an entire season to reap what we’ve sown in our own program’s ad buys, media spends or affiliate programs. In some cases, the ROS (Return on Sow… I just coined that!) happens within hours or days or in the course of a few weeks. Rarely do we have to wait months for the germination or even ripening of the fruits of our work in online marketing.
Open source marketing is the future. Need proof? Study how the Mozilla Foundation is building momentum behind Firefox.
Mozilla today launched a community effort to secure enough funds to take out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times. The full-page ad will include the names of everyone who supports the campaign along with a message about the benefits/features of the awesome Firefox browser. An individual contribution of $30 will get your name included in the ad ($10 student rate). eWeek has more details.
However, that is not always the case, especially when we consider the seed-to-maturity time that some ideas need for their development and harvest. In some cases, thoughts, ideas or insights that we plant in fertile soil can take years before they are ready to reap.
Perhaps this is the case with the ideas of Cluetrain or even open source marketing. The idea has caught on, web2.0 has given the incentive and platforms such as widgets are allowing for the expression of open source marketing from marketers with Madison Ave budgets to affiliate marketers and merchants working with a small and limited budget.
These are exciting times in the history of messages, conversations, communication, media and marketing.
We may be passing the same point in space and time that we’ve passed over and over for the last four billion years, but something revolutionary is happening in our short lived and young species…
We are combining new technologies, new educational models, new sociological models, new psychological insights and a deeper understanding of how we communicate with each other (verbally, graphically or silently) as animals… and turning that mash into something different.
I don’t know what that “different” thing is yet, but it has something to do with open source marketing, technologies, lifestyles and experiences.
My favorite example? Beer (yes, I am brewing some… I’ll send samples on request… Cost Per Beer?). Ponder the history.
Here’s an interesting “8 Part List” from collaborativemarketing.com to ponder as we come closer to that point in our planet’s revolution around the nearest star…
These strategies are as sophisticated as the new markets themselves but a few principles are emerging.
1. BACK TO THE SOURCE Consumers are no longer happy to sit back and be fed a brand and its values. They want to interact with the ‘brand source’ in the same way that Linux programmers want to get their hands on the programming source code. That means giving consumers access to the brand and inviting them to co-create on branded projects. Open Source marketeers understand this and make it easy for customers to get involved with a brand and affect its direction, maybe even its values.
2. SPOT BRAND FANS The new breed recognise there is no point in ‘demanding back the source material’ because it is well and truly out there — in the public domain. And it’s not coming back. In fact, they look to put the brand source materials in the hands of the consumers, especially brand fans like George Masters. Then they sit back and watch the fireworks as communities create and innovate in ways that enlarge and enrich the community.
3. BE A BRAND HOST They know that that brand guardians are no longer relevant to the marketplace and that brand hosts are more in tune with the times. Today’s consumer wants to interact with big, exciting, sexy brands, but on their own terms. Brands can host the party and try and make it attractive to consumers but they must realise that the new consumer has a full diary and plenty of suitors. marketplaceWelcome_1 and that brand hosts are more in tune with the times.
4. ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? The voice of the mass markets was a LOUD and BOOMING monologue. Which didn’t leave a lot of time to listen to anyone. Open Source communities are all about conversation and dialogue. Open Source Marketing means listening really closely to the rumours and whispers that bring the new marketplace alive.
5. GET REAL (LIKE SCOBLE) Authenticity is one of the most valuable currencies in the transparent marketplace. So human, friendly voices (like Robert Scoble) are particularly effective. Corporate speak and PR flack is just ignored. And it’s no good just pretending. YOU WILL GET RUMBLED. This can be a difficult leap of faith for companies who have been used their brands like shields, to keep the world at bay.
6. YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE CLEVERER THAN YOU Open Source marketeers understand that their customers are clever, cleverer than themselves and their agencies. So they try and tap into this intelligence to help grow their brands. By the way, this includes the obssessive customers who make a racket about every last product detail or development and constantly get in touch with leftfield ideas. They are probably the most valuable.
7. LET GO Open source marketeers understand, most importantly, that people are now in control of the brands that for so long have been wrapped up and locked in corporate safes. Brands are no longer proprietary and companies need to adapt to that reality. There’s no point in calling in the lawyers to try and change things back. The world has moved on.
8. OPEN MINDS Open Source marketeers also know this new environment is not as dangerous as it sounds. They know the greatest barriers are the mental ones built up during the reign of mass marketing and TV.
By setting some rough parameters and then challenging consumers to get involved, or co-create, they are already seeing some fantastic results.
Here’s the last part of our series (unless you’d like a particular service/platform covered)… how are merchants/marketers/affiliates using or not using Wikipedia?
Wikipedia has received tremendous press and is appearing at the top of organic search engine results on every platform for most topics.
Aside from the “Affiliate Marketing” entry, I’ve not been able to find much use, or attempted use, of Wikipedia by affiliate marketers. The affiliate networks do have entries, but they are rather short. ShareASale has no entry yet, and I’ve not been able to find any CPA network entry, either.
One exception is Jeff Molander’s The Partner Maker’s entry.
Is there a way to tastefully and ethically use Wikipedia to promote an affiliate program? With the exception of FatWallet’s entry, no program has attempted to take on this challenge.
There’s not even an entry on ABestWeb, which is thought of as the most relationship based community in affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is said to be based on the leveraging of relationships. What does it say about the relationships and communities we’ve created when even the most recognizable brand in the industry has such a skinny entry on the world’s repository of knowledge?
AdventureQuest, from Artix Entertainment, is a four year old flash based online role playing platform hoping to sustain a community in an already crowded field dominated by World of Warcraft.
However, AdventureQuest has taken a unique twist with its plans to enroll members by signing up with the affiliate management company Partnercentric and starting a program this month…
Gamers and business owners alike will all be excited to hear that there is now a FIRST EVER affiliate program for a Massively Single Player Role Playing Game (MSPRPG). That’s right, you can now earn up to 50% for all upgraded customers for Artix Entertainment’s AdventureQuest and DragonFable RPG titles.
The affiliate program is being run on DirectTrack and starts with a 30% payout for new sign-ups but can tier up to 50%. Play is free unless the member wants to upgrade to “Guardian” status within the game, which costs a one time payment of $19.95.
Program manager Dan Fink of Partnercentric says that the site has had tremendous growth in numbers since creating its affiliate program. Fink was interested in managing and developing the affiliate program for Artix since this would be the first time an online RPG had used affiliate marketing to reach new customers and members.
Being a gamer myself it’s great to see a quality game company like Artix Entertainment bring affiliate marketing to online gaming. Not only can the quality of their work be seen in their game, but also their creative used in the program. We have about 70 different flash creative that are all of high quality design and convert extremely well so far.
I’ve played the game for a few minutes here and there today and it does flow nicely. Granted, it is no WoW, but it is promising to see new online RPG communities seeking out affiiate marketing as a means to increase reach and distribution.
What if the game of Blog-Tag going around the blogosphere in which bloggers are sharing five things about themselves that relatively few people know, and then tagging five other bloggers to be “it” morphed into bloggers sharing the five charities they believe are most worthy of contribution?
Let’s see if this idea will work. I will start by tagging Stefan Tilkov, Scott Mark, David Heinemeier Hansson and one blogger whom I don’t know (even virtually) but will tag via trackback in hopes that they will consider charity a higher priority over etiquette or other secondary concerns.
Somehow James found me and sent me a trackback to participate, so here are five of the charities and groups that I’ve given time and money to over the last few months. This list will vary for you, since I believe that charity should be as immediate and personal as possible. That’s not always possible (Darfur) but it’s a goal that I strive for.
ACLU (no, I’m not joking… I’m a hippie libertarian and card carrying member)
Carl Sagan Foundation
Instead of “tagging” 5 others, I’ll just put out the idea that anyone who reads CPN is encouraged to consider giving either to their local communities or to their region, to their country, world and the Cosmos in general.
However, there’s a better way to spread worthy meme’s like this rather than through tagging (especially since everyone is sick of the “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Me” virus) as I’m sure James knows, and I’m glad to see he’s trying to turn the 5 People thing into something worthwhile. Tagging is wonderful, but it can come across as too forceful. Attack with love and spread good ideas through more subtle means and the payoff for the good causes you’d like to support will be higher. Doing good should be a subversive maneuver hidden away until it germinates. Just my thoughts.
If you haven’t listened to the latest AffiliateThing by Shawn Collins and Lisa Picarille, you need to download that now and give a quick listen. There’s some interesting stuff on there for your listening pleasure.
One of the things they hit on are our ongoing posts about affiliate marketing and web2.0 platforms such as Twitter and YouTube.
I’m sure you are all familiar with the platform. How does/can affiliate marketing work with MySpace for you? I’d argue that it can’t. I think most affiliate marketers use too much of a “push” mentality to work with MySpace. Have any marketers successfully used MySpace (beyond the site placements) to effectively drive traffic to their site/program?
(BTW, Shawn evidently owns affiliatewidget.com… contribute to costperlove.com to help me buy it from him!)
A number of blogs in the online marketing sector use Performancing (such as Linda Buquet and Steve Rubel among 28,000 others), and I wonder how this will affect or not affect their use, of the Performancing platform.
Is this a complete buy-out or will PayPerPost only be acquiring part of Performancing’s services? Arrington says the Firefox plugin is not being acquired and will be spun-off, but that seems odd to me.
More answers when they come…