Archive for August, 2010

The Best Digital Marketing On The Web

August 27, 2010

(This is NOT a sponsored post. I did not receive any kind of payment for this.)

Did you know that is currently doing some of the most creative, innovative, and spreadable digital marketing on the web right now?

On July 13, 2010 I received this email:

from Vivian Harcourt
date Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 2:03 PM
subject Content contribution.

Vivian Here,

I’m with a company that makes and distributes infographics. I was wondering if you’d be interested in posting our infographics and we’ll pay you $10 for each infographic you post.

Here are some of the works we’ve done with other blogs:

I could send you 3 a week. We’ll provide you content as well as pay you. All you would have to do is link us when you have uploaded, and provide us with your paypal and we submit payment.

What do you think?

Much Appreciated,

Hrm? A little suspicious, isn’t it? I don’t receive many soliciting emails for my blog, and more importantly I never reply because I don’t do advertising. This one was intriguing, though.

It turns out that this was a solicitation for a very special kind of banner add. One that would appear as a compelling piece of content, presented directly inline with your original blog content, but would link back to the advertiser’s site – Advertising disguised as content.

I visited the links and immediately recognized the work. You probably will, too. These fun and well-designed infographics have been popping up all over some of the most popular sites on the web.

What do you think? Is this a smart strategy for earning a lot of impressions and clicks for a very low cost? Or is this a shameful bait and switch by the publisher on its readers? Or both?

Mashable, iPod Revolution, May 5, 2010

Urlesque, Rickroll, June 1, 2010

Buzzfeed, History of Memes, August 26, 2010

And I’m sure you’ve seen others like this.

So what do you think? Is this a clever new kind of online advertising? Should we all be trying strategies like this? Is it unethical for publishers to use these graphics without explicitly labeling them as sponsored content?

Let me hear it in the comments.


SXSW 2011 – Thunderdome 2: Electric Bugaloo

August 23, 2010

This is the last week for voting on panel submissions for SXSW 2011. Bud Caddell and I would like your vote – Community Thunderdome: Branded vs. Unbranded, You Decide.

Of course we’re not the only ones who are hoping to make it to Austin next March. Here are a few from my colleagues at Undercurrent, friends from The Bucket Brigade, and other internet and blogger friends. There’s a ton of very smart people and exciting ideas in here, and I really hope that I’ll get to hear them all present in Austin. Please vote for them, and hopefully we’ll get to make the trip together. (and take over the universe in the process : )

And, of course, Community Thunderdome: Branded vs. Unbranded, You Decide.

I’m sure that there are other good submissions that I’ve left out. Feel free to add them in the comments.

Thank you to everyone who’s voting, and good luck!

SXSW 2011: Back To The Thunderdome

August 16, 2010

Hey, man, we’re, like, gettin’ the band back together!

Please vote for our panel submission for SXSWi 2011 – Community Thunderdome: Branded vs. Unbranded, You Decide.

Bud Caddell and I are hoping to return to Austin next year, to share with you the sequal to our 2010 panel: Web Video Thunderdome.

Last year’s panel was very well received. We were even fortunate enough to be ranked 15th overall in attendee satisfaction according to the feedback cards.

Bud and I have been doing a ton of thinking and work around how to engage crowds and communities in meaningful new ways, and we think that this will be a hot topic for 2011.

Panel Description:

Mike Arauz and Bud Caddell had so much fun at SXSWi 2010 comparing branded vs. unbranded web video, we want to return in 2011 to look at the latest pressing challenge for brands: how do we work with a community? In a digital world, the effectiveness of our marketing efforts depends on our ability to engage and empower a network of individuals connected by a shared interest. Brands today must learn how to harness crowds and collaborate with communities to find meaning within culture, to market products, and simply to make money. Who’s doing it the best and how do you judge that sort of thing? We’ll look in depth at examples from the last 6 months and break down how brands did it, how people participated, and what was accomplished. We’ll split the programs into categories and the SXSWi attendees will vote on who did it best.

Questions We’ll Answer:

  1. Who had the most successful consumer engagement program this year?
  2. Why was it so successful?
  3. What can we learn from it?
  4. What are the key principles of organizing collective action?
  5. What can I do to make this part of my work?

Please vote for our panel submission for SXSWi 2011 – Community Thunderdome: Branded vs. Unbranded, You Decide.

There are also a ton of other exciting panel submissions from many friends and colleagues. I want to give everyone a fair plug, so I’m going to break up those over a couple separate posts.

Please help us spread the word! Click here to share the panel page with your Twitter followers: “Vote for @mikearauz and @bud_caddell panel – Community Thunderdome for SXSWi 2011!”

The Ethics of Online Secrecy

August 10, 2010

facebook privacy ethics rights

Do we have the right to observe others without their knowledge?

Fifty years before Facebook came along this question would have been a much easier to answer. The answer would have been a quick “No. Of course not.”

In the physical world, this point of view still holds true. We don’t assume it’s our right to follow someone around town, hiding behind trashcans and bushes to mask our presence. But how does this point of view shift when we get on the web?

Recently, my girlfriend introduced me to a fascinating debate currently underway in a relatively small niche social network / blogging platform. It’s a closed system composed of mostly alumnae of the same university, and each person has a profile to which they can publish any length of text, including links, pics, and videos. Very much like any blog, except a bit more like LiveJournal in its closed-off-ness and how the posts tend to be very referential to each other in more of an ongoing community dialogue than just a collection of personal commentary.

Historically this platform has had a function available that enables users to see who is reading whose profiles; i.e. if I opted in to this feature, other users would be able to see that I had read their profile, and I would be able to see which users were reading my profile. But, this is a strictly opt-in two-way feature. Only the people who have opted in can be seen by others.

Not at all unlike Facebook, some people prefer to read other profiles anonymously, without the performer knowing that they are out there in the audience.

But, a few weeks ago, one of the super-admins floated the idea of automatically opting everyone in – by default – to the non-anonymous version of the system. In other words, everyone would be able to see everyone who had visited their profile, and no one would  be able to visit anyone else’s profile without that person knowing.

As you might guess, not everyone was comfortable with this situation. Imagine if one day Facebook announced that they had changed the rules, and suddenly we each had a Visitor Reports page that listed which other users had checked out our profile recently, what they checked out, and how frequently they visited. For an instant it might be awesome…before we quickly realized that everyone else had it, too. Suddenly all of our exes, first-grade crushes, ex-friends, workplace crushes, arch nemesis and mortal enemies, and all the other people we keep tabs on would see that we had been visiting their profile. I suspect we’d see a previously unimagined level of outrage from the Facebook user community.

Which leads me in a very round-about way (Forgive me. You take two months off from blogging, and it takes a little time to get back in shape.) to my original question:  Do we have the right to observe others without their knowledge? The scenario above, and imagining how it would be treated within Facebook, leads me to answer emphatically, “Yes. Absolutely. …on the web.”

What is it about the web that flips this long-held social norm on its head? Why do we guard our browsing habits so closely? Why are we scared of what Google might have to share about us? Why do we feel that it’s our right to look at someone’s Facebook photos without them knowing?

Comments very welcome.