Intelligent Voice First Interactive Advertising

We are in very early days of the Voice First revolution and Intelligent Voice First interactive advertisements along with true Voice Commerce will form the new backbone to Voice First AI just as pay-per-click and shopping carts formed the last revolution. In the next 10 years “Dumb Pipes” of audio and video channels that do not have Voice First AI deeply integrated, will be seen as ancient as live radio, TV and music downloads look today. Spotify took a great first step in to Intelligent Voice First interactive advertisements.

Via Brian Roemmele on Quora

Tackling Tech Bias for People with Disabilities

Fantastic post… every organization, nonprofit, and church could gain valuable insight from the takeaways here:

The best path ahead is to seek out the affected stakeholders and work with them towards a fair and equitable system. If we can identify and remove bias against people with disabilities from our technologies, we will be taking an important step towards creating a society that respects and upholds the human rights of us all.

Via Venturebeat

Personal Branding (Not Selling Out)

I’m not a huge fan of the “personal brand” phrase, but I do appreciate how David Bowie (a constructed name and a series of constructed personas) was a “personal brand” of sorts and never in a band (besides those three Tin Machine albums in the early ’90s that we won’t talk about here). Same with Prince. Madonna. Elvis.

It’s a big leap, but creating your space and persona online is more possible than ever:

Your personal brand statement consists of 3 key elements:

• Your target audience: The specific market or people that you serve.

• The value you offer: How you help your target market.

• What makes you unique: Why people choose you over the competition.

— Read on www.shopify.com/blog/116266245-personal-branding-how-to-market-yourself-without-selling-out

“We won’t let that happen.”

Who would have thought the annoying little service that lit up my text messages in 2006 with updates from other text nerds posting to 40404 would go on to become the political and media juggernaut it is today…

President Donald Trump on Saturday took to Twitter to allege social media companies are discriminating against prominent conservatives, saying “we won’t let that happen.”

— Read on www.politico.com/story/2018/08/18/trump-social-media-censorship-conservatives-twitter-facebook-787899

Why People Do or Don’t Go To Church

Interesting stats about the reasons Americans attend or do not attend church regularly…

“For instance, two-thirds of people who cite logistical reasons or that they “practice their faith in other ways” as very important factors in keeping them away from religious services identify with a religion (primarily Christianity), as do 56% of those who dislike features of particular congregations or religious services. Roughly half of those who say they practice their faith in other ways also report praying every day, as do 44% of those who name logistical reasons as key factors in keeping them away from church and 36% of those who dislike elements of services and congregations. By contrast, just 15% of those who do not attend religious services due to a lack of belief say they pray daily.”

via Pew Research Center Religion and Public Life

Churches Should Realize That Branding is Dead

As with many things to do with marketing and messaging, churches are way behind the curve when realizing that relationships are much more powerful than advertisements or fancy branding.

Marketing data points have already moved larger brands to this realization but there’s still a large vacuum in the world of nonprofit and religious org marketing that keeps outreach trapped in the pre-internet days.

The Best Marketers Will Realize That “Branding” Is Dead And It’s All About Community Activation And Relationship Building. David Minifie, CXO & Executive Vice President, Centene Corporation

As a CMO, I wanted to elevate from Advertising (like personal injury lawyers) to Brand Building (like Harley Davidson).  As a CXO, however, my perspective has changed.  I want to take Transactions (like glancing at the newspaper sports scores), turn them into Engagements (like reading Sports Illustrated) and then elevate them into Relationships (like being a Cardinals fan in St. Louis).  Manufacturers that focus on branding and not relationships…beware!

— Read on www.forbes.com/

Video at every stage of the customer journey

Holistic marketing campaigns that are based on customer journeys and utilize a mixture of text, video, and image based ads have always been the vehicle for real results if you had enough budget.

It’s great to see Google (YouTube) helping to make this reachable for nonprofits, community groups, and religious orgs with a limited budget as well…

Increasingly, video is also leading people to take action. In fact, globally, conversions generated by YouTube ads are up 150 percent year over year.1 Using TrueView for action, you can drive any action on your website that’s important to your business, like booking a trip, scheduling a test drive or requesting more information.

— Read on blog.google/products/ads/results-on-youtube/

My Experiment With Digital Nomadicism

I’m technically on family holiday vacation this week, holed up in a lovely cabin in the mountains north of Asheville.

We have wifi here, but I decided to opt for the Touch and my Blackberry (and Kindle of course) over lugging up the Macbook Pro. I’m actually writing this on the Touch with the fantastic WordPress app. Honestly, it’s pretty smooth and I need to do this more frequently.

What I’ve realized this week is that I can do most everything that I do on my laptop with just the Touch and the Blackberry. Tweeting, reading feeds in Google Rader, answering email, playing in Facebook, and now blogging are almost more enjoyable on the Touch over the laptop.

But what about “business stuff” like checking stats, reading and writing Docs and spreadsheets or FTP’ing into sites? All are (easily) doable and smooth in this sort of a mobile scenario. Actually, I’m really enjoying stretching myself and learning the new skill of mobile aptitude.

Of course, much of the content I create and consume is based in cloud computing rather than relying on a desktop. I make heavy use of all the Google apps. When I have needed a doc, I just access it in either Dropbox or on drop.io since I keep things sync’d on those places anyway. It’s worked out well.

So, my grand experiment in digital nomadicism is going surprisingly well. I could easily see myself just bringing the Touch and Blackberry to Affiliate Summit this month and leaving the Macbook home. 8 of my text books for the coming semester are in the Kindle, so my load for school will def be the Touch (Bible software apps are tremendous), blackberry and Kindle.

Digital nomadicism isn’t for everyone, of course. I unabashedly rely on web and cloud apps over desktop bound software and I’m not tied to an enterprise infrastructure that requires any special software. But a lighter load in a new year is always a good thing!

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Fallacy of Twitter Authority Based on Followers

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Michael Arrington backing up Loic Le Meur’s call for something akin to a Twitter PageRank algorithm with authority based on the number of followers:

Should Twitter Add Authority-based Search?: “I’m with him on this. Most of the time I just want to read everything people are writing about a topic to more or less take the temperature of the masses on whatever I’m researching. But sometimes it would be nice to hear what just the top users are saying on a particular topic, too, since so many more people hear their message.”

I have 3,000 or something followers but I think this is a terrible idea with the following logic:

1) Pagerank sucks (now) for blogs and isn’t a true measure of a blog’s worth, value or credibility.

2) Even then, Twitter is not blogging. Ranking people according to something as transient and flimsy as the number of followers is a worse idea than ranking blogs according to their number of inbound links. Oh, and imagine the gamers.

3) Twitter is a not only a micro-presence platform, it’s a micro-community platform. What purpose would such a “follower algorithm” serve?

Some (most) of my favorite and most “valuable” people I follow on Twitter have under 1k followers. Calling them less credible or their tweets less substantive based solely on the number of followers is silly.

4) I agree with Arrington that it is nice to hear what “top users are saying on a particular topic” rather than crowdsurfing. However, there are already great tools for that. It’s called the follow function combined with RSS or Summize or Yahoo Pipes or Google Alerts, etc. The “top user” on a particular topic such as Hebrew Bible or some niche realm that I’m interested in is not necessarily going to have thousands of followers.

The best metric here is individual intuition and discernment.

5) This isn’t an argument for “wisdom of the crowds” or the “power of the conversation” etc. I’m not a big fan of that mentality, either. Those types of 2006-esque arguments are annoying at best.

Instead, my point is that it would incredibly difficult to institute something like a “worth quotient” on all users of Twitter (even more so than blogging). Putting something like a rank or worth based on the (easily gamed) number of followers a person has makes it even worse.

There Has to Be a Better Way

Don’t get me wrong, If Arrington or Le Meur or Twitter could come up with a ranking or worth algorithm based on something inventive and truly reflective of value, I’d be all for it. If Twitter could put together something revolutionary for determining authority akin to PageRank back in the ’90’s, I’d be the person yelling the loudest from the mountaintop for adoption.

However, this ain’t it.

This seems more like A-Listers grasping at straws to me.

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AOL Opening Up to Growth

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Bill Wilson, AOL’s EVP of Programming, emailed me a followup to my post on AOL’s recent successes to let me know that the new comScore Media Metrix reports were out.

AOL had significant growth both in the passive page view metric as well as the more active attention metrics. New visitors and users were also both up 9% this year over last.

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The corporate press release with all of its statistical goodness can be found here:

AOL Sites Hit Record Audience Reach and Engagement in October | AOL Corporate: “AOL programming sites hit all-time high traffic numbers and marked the 21st month of consecutive year-over-year growth for unique visitors, according to the October 2008 comScore Media Metrix report. Unique visitors to AOL’s programming content sites grew 7% year-over-year to 54.3 million in October, and page views more than doubled, up 101% year-over-year to 4.2 billion. Engagement (total minutes) grew 51% year-over-year in October. Total minutes reached an all-time high on AOL.com, http://aol.com, growing 27% year-over-year. Additionally, AOL.com page views grew 27%, and unique visitors and total visitors were up 9%, year-over-year, as the site further opened up to third-party content, services and features. In addition, AOL Webmail, http://mail.aol.com, reached an all-time high of 3.5 billion page views marking a 31% year-over-year growth. “

As I wrote in my post last week, AOL is on the right path with their decision to open up and allow existing and new users to leverage the AOL.com homepage as their home base for the web. We’ve recently seen Yahoo and just this week Microsoft’s Live.com follow in similar paths as well as Google with the iGoogle platform.

I don’t think we’re in a return phase of the “power of the portal,” but we are seeing the metaphor of the portal being expanded to encompass social media and social networks and real time (AIM) data deliverability and consumption.

Pay attention to AOL and Platform-A.

GeekCast 43: Valley vs Affiliates

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GeekCast 43 is up and it’s a good listen. The entire gang of Shawn Collins, Jim Kukral, Lisa Picarille and myself chat about online marketing, gadgets, web2.0 and all-things-geek for 70 minutes.

If you’re new to the show, start with this one b/c it’s one of our best (in my opinion).

Here’s the mp3 or head over to GeekCast.fm for the stream if you’re of that persuasion.

Show Notes:

– Shawn Got a Blackberry Bold
– AT&T’s Marketing Woes

– Calacanis Redux: Affiliates v Silicon Valley
– Of Runways and Layoffs
– Ad:Tech’s Mood
– Examples of Good Businesses (FatWallet, Zac Johnson, Scott Jangro)

– Twitter Woes and Feature Complaints
– Revenue’s Marketing

– Ask500People.com
– More AdTech Talk

– Branding: affiliate.com, Izea and Coke
– Netbooks

Twitter Disables Search

First Track and now search

We’ve had to disable person search; it was being abused in ways that were detrimental to the overall stability of the service. We hope to bring out a more stable (and better) version but not in the short term.

Tough luck for all the new members who are just finding out about Twitter and disappointing for those of us doing the heavy lifting of evangelizing the Twitter gospel to the great untracked masses.

Makes you wonder how long we’ll keep doing such…

Todd and Sam’s Geeky Podcast

Todd Crawford and I recorded our first (in a series) of weekly podcasts focused on all things geeky (gadgets, web2.0, new sites, etc).

The show runs about an hour and I thought it was one of he best podcasts I’ve done in a while.

http://www.hipcast.com/playweb?audioid=P3b69097de17a55471ec5e2b493ca1b5ebF98QFREYmN2&buffer=5&shape=6&fc=FFFFFF&pc=CCFF33&kc=FFCC33&bc=FFFFFF&brand=1&player=ap27
MP3 File

Here are the topics:

– New iPods (and 2.1 software)
– iPhone apps
DropBox
Yammer
BearHug Camp
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– Netbooks and the culture of streaming
– Macbook Batteries
– Two Fingers

Give it a listen and let us know what you think. Shows will be published every Friday and run about an hour in length.

XMPP as the Marketer’s Golden Egg; Latency as Magic Beans

XMPP has had a meteoric rise in term of its profile and application over the last two years. Part of that is due to the rise of microblogging services such as Twitter or Identi.ca that leverage the XMPP platform to deliver real time updates to users.

However, there has been a hiccup in Twitter’s usage of XMPP over the last few months and that hiccup has helped to give more exposure to XMPP instead of putting it on the shelf. The increasingly popular Track feature of Twitter (which allowed users to follow certain keywords they were interested in… in real time… without having to rely upon the latency of RSS and/or an increasingly hampered Twitter API) was pulled a few months ago. Twitter’s Biz Stone comments about the disabling of Track for everyone here:

Our goal is to support as many applications, projects, mash-ups, and devices as possible so we’ll continue to think about how best to do this. While the XMPP feed of the full Twitter Public Timeline is an amazing resource, drinking from the fire hose is not the best way to quench a thirst. With continued updates and refinement, our API will support most scenarios in a way that preserves overall system performance.

Track WAS the ultimate web tool and began to function as the neural spine for many of us. The latency of a hampered API does not fill the void. Early adopters like myself got a taste of its power and now thinkers and users such as Steve Gillmor are looking for an angry fix:

But Twitter is living on borrowed time with its XMPP blockade. The flowering of micro-objects opens the door to applications that leverage swarming around events and the growing availability of iPhone-class mobile devices. The success of App Store stars such as Evernote suggests that adding micro-object support will accelerate usage of the XMPP backbone. Latency in that environment will be an instant deal-breaker, opening the door for better-financed competitors to subsidize real time services to capture audience.

Before we go too much deeper, it’s important to explain exactly what XMPP is and why marketers should be researching and developing its application.

Wikipedia explains:

Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is an open, XML-inspired protocol for near-real-time, extensible instant messaging (IM) and presence information (a.k.a. buddy lists). It is the core protocol of the Jabber Instant Messaging and Presence technology. The protocol is built to be extensible and other features such as Voice over IP and file transfer signaling have been added.

Unlike most instant messaging protocols, XMPP is an open standard. Like e-mail, it is an open system where anyone who has a domain name and a suitable Internet connection can run their own Jabber server and talk to users on other servers. The standard server implementations and many clients are also free and open source software.

That sounds incredibly geeky and innocuous to most direct marketers, but put on your thinking cap for a moment and re-read Gillmor’s quote above with that information in mind.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to come to the realization that in the coming years, the real world web stars will be applications that deliver on demand, in real time and with micro-object support. XMPP stands as the protocol, above all other protocols, to deliver those messages to the masses.

The future of marketing is not based on latency or delayed access to timely information. RSS is wonderful and has changed my world, but its asynchronous delivery only makes me want to plant the latency bean in some fertile garden so that I can climb the vine to the ultimate marketing prize… real time tracking and delivery of information that I opt-in to.

Keep an eye on XMPP. And especially keep an eye on the first company to tap into its marketing power (Identi.ca?).

Attractive Microblogging for Marketers 301

During my presentation called “Leveraging Social Media” at Affiliate Summit East, I took up most of the allotted hour to discuss tools and strategies that affiliate marketers could use to help them both better monitor and better participate in the increasingly important social networks out there in the wild.

This is an important issue because not only are these networks (in my presentation we touched on Twitter, Friendfeed, Seesmic and Facebook, but there are dozens of others) important for “traffic” but these hubs of communities have become an invaluable source for marketers to find conversions, early adopters and brand evangelists.

The main questions that most people had during, after and in the week since about the presentation pertained to the “how” aspect of using these networks in a responsible manner.

It’s not an easy question to answer since a great deal of operating in the social web is subjective and full of variables associated with individual programs, personalities and the social networks themselves.

At the end of the day, my constant recommendations all went along the lines of “do your homework, know the community and don’t feel obliged to use services such as ping.fm to cover everything.” In fact, I advise marketers to generally stay away from services like ping.fm because the fine line between “participant” and “spammer” is so easy to cross (and so easy to seemed to have crossed).

In other words, be interesting and provide a service (such as pointing to relevant info, even if its yours) in a responsible (whatever that means to you) manner.

DeWitt Clinton gets very geeky and brings in another aspect that you might want to consider if you’re a marketer with a little bit of know-how… attractiveness.

Head over to his blog and read the rest of the entry with the examples he gives. It’s a powerful read that points to the need for both functionality and appeal as you get your messages out there (and aren’t all messages marketing messages?):

Microblogging syndication formats » DeWitt Clinton: “This is just the beginning — I feel I’m only scratching the surface of what can be extracted from existing syndication formats. For example, comment stream aggregation (via the comments element or RFC 4685 autodiscovery) is a great next step after this. And I only call out FriendFeed because they’re the best at aggregating multiple content sources, but these concepts apply to any content aggregator, and finding a way to reuse existing formats like RSS and Atom to create rich presentations automatically will enable us to do more with less manual work between aggregators and publishers.”

While practicality is important to reach, don’t discount the need to reach people through visual appeal!

1,000th Post

“Now, with the blogs, you can share your thoughts with up to 10 people.”

This is my 1,000th (published…a few dozen never saw the light of day, thankfully) post on CostPerNews.

CPN went live on Nov 1, 2006 and I had no idea where it was going (and still don’t). 19 months later (at an average of 52 posts a month), we’ve hit the magic 1k mark.

I knew in October of ’06 that I wanted to have a place where I could write as frequently or infrequently as I wanted and cover the emerging web2.0 space and the connections I was (and still am) seeing with traditional affiliate marketing. I came up with the name while mowing the lawn that Fall and ran inside to register the domain before I forgot. Luckily, I didn’t forget.

I can honestly say that this little blog has been the most important vehicle for my own personal brand and business, helping me to get into doors that wouldn’t have been opened otherwise and helping me to get to know some pretty incredible people along the way. If you’re wondering if you should start a blog, take it from me… yes.

So, thank you for being there and listening to my crazy ramblings about Twitter and Tumblr and RSS and open source over the past couple of years. I’ve sold this blog, quit this blog (twice), re-acquired this blog and redesigned it (at least 10 times). And here we are again.

I’ve grown a lot with this place and I look forward to growing even more with the next thousand posts.

Many thanks all!!

Sam

Twhirl and FriendFeed Room Sharing Coming Soon?

Twhirl (recently acquired by Seesmic) is the most interesting of the Twitter desktop apps. I’ve never been a big fan as I relied heavily on Twitter’s GTalk integration to get real time updates and use Track via XMPP.

However, for FriendFeed, Twhirl rocks.

So, I found this note from Seesmic’s Loic Le Meur interesting…


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I’ve been playing with FriendFeed’s Room feature in the Affiliate Marketing Room. It’s fairly nifty and should only get better.

Loic mentioned on a Gillmor Gang podcast a few weeks ago that Twhirl is working on a feature to allow for XMPP to flow through its service in Twitter as well. If that happens, I might be using Twhirl a great deal more.

ShareASale Knows Marketing

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So even though I now work at Motive Interactive, I think this is a great promotion by the ShareASale team. Nicely done and I’d wager that you will definitely be copied on the idea!