"When you register at Fo.rtuito.us it randomly introduces you to another member. You have four days to interact with that member via anonymous email to see if you can become friends. If after those four days both people decide they would like to stay friends, they are added to your permanent friends list. You are then introduced to another person."
Who knows if it will have the same traction as MySpace or Bebo, (which is growing as fast as MySpace) but as Michael points out, if it was offered as a feature on those existing social networking powerhouses, it will definitely get traffic.
Here's one that Darren added to the already great list that has direct correlations with the company vision of Tell Ten Friends:
Web 1.0 was about advertising, Web 2.0 is about word of mouth.
Not only does that one mean a lot to my company, but it also helps define the line between life before the "bubble," and what's been happening since it popped. I've added my own below, and I encourage you to add yours:
Web 1.0 was about companies, Web 2.0 is user-driven. Or...Web 1.0 was about them, Web 2.0 is about Us.
Bonus Link:: First, dream up your idea for a new Web 2.0 product or company. Then, enter it into the flickr logo makr. Then start saving your money for the inevitable copyright infringement suit.
And he doesn't want to spend it on print advertising anymore. In his "quick letter to the newspaper and magazine industries," he says that a lot of his entertainment industry peers feel the same way. I guess he's okay with print for his beloved Mavs, but when it comes to his movie companies:
"It's expensive to advertise movies or TV shows in either newspapers or magazines. Very expensive. Where entertainment is traditionally advertised, you guys know you got us, and it shows in your pricing. The pricing in the Movie and TV sections of print media is outrageous.
"Which means that every single company in the entertainment business is looking for a way to never ever have to spend a nickel with you again. Our entire business knows we have to spend money with you now, but we are experimenting with every option possible to pull that money from you and spend it elsewhere."
Mr. Cuban isn't exactly known for being subtle, so it's no surprise that he's bitching publicly about this, his latest beef. Still, you gotta hand it to Mark, he's an agent of change.
He'll probably end up getting a better rate for all of the display ads he buys for 2929 Entertainment and HDNet, but I'd rather see him prove that you can do it without print, just to put a scare into them. I don't hate print; I still love it. But I think we all know paper's days are numbered, and I for one am ready for the revolution.
It's the most popular show in North America, and nothing else even comes close.
It embarrassed the Grammies this year when the two were aired on the same night, and in the finale the other day, 63.4 million votes came pouring in to help decide a winner. As Ryan Seacrest announced on the show, that's more votes than any Presidential candidate in the history of the U.S. (Watch the language there, more than any one candidate; not more than the whole election)
Some fans have bragged about voting as many as 100 times each, making some people think that the number of votes is somehow less relevant. I disagree. My wife and I have watched every season, but have yet to vote. WE DO however share our opinions back-and-forth and try to predict what the voting outcome will be. And thanks(?) to her diligence, we hardly ever miss an episode.
Why? Why would I, being of sane mind and body, tune into American Idol along with millions of others, helping make it more of a cultural phenomenon than just another TV show?
Because American Idol does what every other company on the planet should be doing. It gives the audience a voice. It brings them into the discussion, and make their opinions matter.
Taylor Hicks' soulful swagger and Katherine McPhee's physical attributes aside, the reason why fans are so rabid for the show and have put it on top is because it's interactive. As consumers, we want to be involved. We want to be heard. At the very least, we want some proof that our opinions and feedback aren't just falling on deaf ears.
It gives us something to think about when we're running our own businesses:
How can you invent a model that will work in your company? To involve the most loyal of your customers, bring them into the discussion and reap the benefits of their feedback and conversation?
Want people to tell ten friends about your business? Give them something to talk about. Sometimes all you have to do is talk to them at all, (and listen!) and the rest will take care of itself.
Steve says that this is a sure sign that paid video and podcasts are next. I say it's a sure sign that the slow-to-change mass media companies are clutching at straws to hold onto some market share, as more and more people turn off the evening news in favour of other sources of information and entertainment.
I've hammered NBC before, and here I go again: Wake up! Your business is in advertising first and foremost, and you're on a very slippery slope when what is supposed to be your most objective content (the news) is suddenly being sold as product.
Sell ads, not news. Give the clips away with ad support, and this idea might have a future. If necessary, sell a hi-res version separately (via your own site) to the two people in any given story that will buy it from you; but otherwise concentrate on ideas to deliver value to your advertisers.
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe there really IS a market out there that will actually pay for news stories and NOT turn around and use them for commercial purposes, but my gut tells me this is an idea destined for failure.
NBC deserves an honorable mention for making an effort, but their last two attempts at taking a piece of the new-media pie are failures, imho.
As I proceed to plan the future of Tell Ten Friends, I wanted to conduct some very vital market research. I have a survey about marketing, that takes about 2 minutes to complete.
With your help, I'd like to forward it to as many Business Owners and marketing decision makers as possible. (preferably businesses with less than $30 M per year in sales) I can't do this alone, so please help out by forwarding it "ten friends" if you can think of that many.
It's the single-most effective online advertising tool on the web today, as far as I'm concerned. And it's totally free. It's conspicuously free of any ad support whatsoever, and I use it as the shining example whenever I try to explain to someone why user-driven content is king right now. (MySpace isn't for everybody, after all)
The other night I put on ad in the Vancouver vehicle classifieds on the site, and within minutes my phone was ringing, and I was getting emails like crazy. First thing the next morning, I guy came by and gave me my full asking price for my car; while my phone kept ringing. I had to rush upstairs after he left to delete the ad, but still the calls came trickling in.
I subscribe to the RSS feeds for work leads as well, and if things ever slow down for me, you can bet I'll be posting ads for Tell Ten Friends' services as well.
I just can't believe that after getting so much value from a site, I have yet to pay a nickel, or be subjected to even one banner ad with talking emoticons, etc.
I guess what I'm saying is, I love Craigslist. I even like how when you bookmark it, it leaves a little "peace sign" icon. Maybe it will be free forever.
The evening was a success for its intended audience; up-and-coming artists looking for ideas and guidance about how to market themselves. I was hoping to steal a few great ideas, but they didn't discuss anything too out of the ordinary. "Sell t-shirts" was a theme that kept resurfacing, among other ways of "making music while making money."
The most intriguing part of the night for me was when Carter Marshall, the online marketing guy, eluded to the fact that within a year, there will be a monetary system behind the streaming music on MySpace pages. In his brief explanation, third party aggregators will kick a few pennies to an artist any time a song gets streamed, and then provide a click-through system where you can purchase the music through said aggregator (at which point a bigger commission gets paid). It will be up and running by Christmas, he said. I'll believe it when I see it.
Erin Kinghorn was breath of fresh air. She had plenty of great advice for artists to help them plan their marketing, and the highlights of the night it seemed where when she lit up talking about her favorite new band or performer, or the podcasts she just can't live without. The Barenaked Ladies are doing a weekly podcast while they produce their upcoming album, and Erin tunes in religiously.
It was the kind of evening that would have taught a lot to the 30% or so of industry people, and the remaining 70% of artists. J.D. would have been in his element, and would have made a great addition to the panel.
Question period came, and in tandem Ryan and I confronted the issue that Mack was most interested in. As I mentioned, it was geared toward musicians, so our questions were answered as if we were, which was a shame. Ryan's question was something to the effect of: "What kind of plan do you have for using blogs to spread the message?" What followed was an explanation about what a blog was, so I grilled them with the follow-up: "How have you as a label used blogging for promotion; have you focused any of your PR efforts on fan bloggers?" Sadly, I was instructed as to how I would go about doing such a thing, and not given the insider Nettwerk trade secrets. I didn't have the resolve to keep pushing and get into the specifics of 100 CDs for 100 bloggers; it just wasn't the right audience.
Overall, It was great to see a label reaching out to unsigned artists and helping them advance their fledgling careers. It serves as hard evidence that they are striving to reach out to fans and the community to create a conversation rather than "pushing music on them."
Afterwards, we went to the Kingston Hotel for some beer and nachos outside on the patio. I love the summertime.
Disclaimer:: This is not a ploy to get on the Top 25 Marketing Blogs list. (That's up to Alexa, and I'm too much of fan of most on the list to think that I'll ever be in that category)
Recently, Mack Collier was invited into the fold at MarketingProf's Daily Fix by Ann Handley. The winners in this deal are huge audience that already flocks to DF for the writings of the likes of Handley, Seth Godin, John Jantsch et al. They're gonna love Mack.
As he points out in his post today (a Sunday, btw) Mack has been blogging for exactly eight months. In that short time, he built a huge following at Beyond Madison Avenue, and then expanded his portfolio to include The Viral Garden, a blog that his quickly shot up in the rankings, due to Collier's faithful fan club.
But none of that is much of a surprise to me.
Mack is a great blogger. He's ideas are good, his writing is clear and he's never short on opinion, especially when it comes to how musicians and companies market themselves. But do a technorati search for marketing, and you'll find those traits alone don't exactly make him a member of an exclusive club.
The reason why Mack is seeing so much success is because he practices what he preaches. As he'll tell you, it's not enough to post great content, you've got to get off your own blog, and join other conversations elsewhere. It's great advice (advice I follow religiously; so much so that I can't find time to post as often as I'd like to) for anyone looking to bring their own blog into the great conversation that is the blogosphere.
But even that isn't what makes Mack a terrific blogger, imo.
In a seriesofposts on both BMA and The Viral Garden, Mack has focused on bringing the readers and commenters on his blog together. He just wanted us to read what we were missing on each other's blogs, and in the process he accidentally created a network of bloggers, discussing different topics but sharing a passion for the conversation. It's how I discovered great blogs like Andrea's, JD's and Chris'.
Today he disclosed how he discovered my blog: He found me at the bottom. And he's been linking to me like a madman ever since.
Not that I'm TOO vain, but I do watch my stats. We probably all do the occasional vanity search, no? Thing is, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I owe a great deal of my traffic and readership to Mack. And if you peek through the comments on any one of my posts, you'll find he's far and away the most regular contributor. I suspect a lot of us could say the same about our blogs; that he's a faithful reader, and takes the time to leave comments often.
So here is what I invite you to do; If you're a fan of Mack the way I am, leave a quick comment about him here, and then fly over to his latest post at VG and give him some love there too. He deserves it.
A lot of the work that I do with Tell Ten Friends is in PR. For the past few months, I've seen some success in pitching stories about my clients to bloggers in addition to the "mainstream" media. The only way to do this right is to follow a certain degree of blogging etiquette, so as not to labeled a spammer.
Most fans of this blog have their own great blogs, many of which have large audiences. As the rest of the world catches up with RSS and the online conversation, those audiences are going to be more and more coveted by PR firms and various other "marketers."
This means two things:
1. Bloggers will see plenty of pitches 2. Bloggers will see plenty of spam
I'm here to help identify the difference, in a blinding flash of the obvious: Spam was written for "them," while pitches are written for you. The principle difference is whether or not they have taken the time to identify you by name, prove that they've read your blog, and leave legitimate contact information for themselves.
I receive plenty of spam- some comes randomly via email, some comes in the form of comments here on the blog, and yesterday I coined a term because I get so much "MySpam" via MySpace. But today I received an honest-to-goodness pitch.
Here's what they did right:
1. Used my name 2. Wrote the subject line specifically for me. 3. Complimented me on my blog and even quoted two separate posts (flattery will get you everywhere). 4. Left his full name 5. Sent it from his personal email address, with a link to it in his signature.
Not because I'm plugging his product but rather because he was so diligent, I'm going to link to him: www.igotnewsforyou.com. And I'll let their site do the talking.
To be fair to "Benjamin" and his project, I won't offer my review of the product here, but rather I'd love to hear what my readers have to say. Follow the link to their site, and please leave your feedback in the comments section here. I'll pass it on to them via email, along with my two cents.
It's been a big week in the MySpace universe; at least from my perspective.
The Good:: For one, I made it to ten friends and counting! Finally I live up to the company name.
Also, I found a great example of MySpace marketing in action. Actually, Steve from Adrants found it for me, and pointed the way. Check out how Entourage (my favorite show) is plugging in to the MySpace community, and using it to promote the show's characters. Not the stars, but the characters they play. For example, check out Johnny Drama's page. Now they just need to create a page for Ari!
The idea behind the promotion is that you create your own MySpace "entourage" and add the show's characters as friends, etc. Huge viral opportunity if you ask me.
As a marketer, and as the target demographic for the promotion, I say great work, HBO (and insert name of agency here). They're giving a car away too. Good incentive for MySpacers.
And now the bad:: I've been "MySpammed" by pyramid schemes and porn sites via friend requests. There's always a couple of bad seeds, no?
When I read this post the first time, I thought...duh!
But then it came up in my feeder again (a fateful re-publishing by the Copyblogger?) and I realized that the reason I seemed indifferent at first is because it sounds like the same thing I say to people everyday. Which is why I've fallen in love with it, now. Here it is, in Brian's words:
Perhaps as a means of helping the "old guard" make the transition to online publishing, etc. or perhaps to stir up some nostalgia in people like me...someone clever has built a cool new service that helps you create your own newspaper clippings, Web 2.0 style.
This reminds of something else I saw the other day...it's called Better Bad News, a service that allows you to type in your message, then choose the talking head that you want to have read it off the teleprompter. Funny stuff.
Actually, I think about this all the time, but it was great to see it in print:
The world wide web isn't about pages, it's about people. It isn't about information, it's about the ideas and insights of people around the world.
Regardless of whether you read Salon.com, The New York times online, or any number of frequently updated blogs and personal websites, the true value of your experience, evolution and insight doesn't lie in the words you read on the screen but in the minds of people who write them, as well as your reaqction to their writing. We as readers need and deserve to know who those people are. And we need to recognize, reach out to, and embrace them.
So, I guess it was only a matter of time. I find myself telling people all the time: If you want to reach the "MySpace" generation, you gotta become one of them. It's a state of mind thing, and nothing to do with age.
So I joined the masses so to speak, if no other reason than as an example of how it can work as a marketing tool (And because I really want people to become my friends!).
Anyway, the straw that finally broke the camels back was when I read Steve Rubel's post about how California Gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides is using MySpace as part of his official campaign. They know what the rest of the marketing world is slowly cluing in to: 76 million users can't be wrong. So yes, I finally relented and now I have my very own MySpace.
I used to have a Handspring. Sold it. Then I had a Palm Tungsten C. Sold that, too. I just couldn't be bothered with lugging around another bulky tech-device (the iPod has its reserved belt space as it is).
I'll always have a cellphone, and I believe that I should be able to get anything I want out of the one device. And I don't think it's too much to ask to have it all without having an $80-a-month phone and data plan on my handset (a la Blackberry). So, I check my gmail from my new phone with my included web browsing feature, and forego the cost of the data service. Still, my phone's organizer leaves a little to be desired.
Maybe it's just me, but I want it all. And I want it for cheap, or free. Don't you?
So it was with much delight that I came across the Google Calendar (no link for you this time, Google!). I was thrilled when Tara Hunt told us that it would SMS you alerts about your events, etc. My joy was deflated rather quickly when I discovered that the SMS service was available in the US, but not in Canada.
Then I found 30boxes.com. This tip-off also came from Tara, and although she says she's using Google Calendar instead, I've decided to switch in the opposite direction, because in Canada, 30boxes WILL SMS you alerts about your scheduled events. This whole idea is far from perfect, but it is certainly handy to be able to share your calendar with "buddies," and buzz yourself when you've got a meeting, etc. I like it, so far. Suprisingly, the text service costs nothing (unless your carrier charges you, and they WILL) so it's really a handy means of time management.
Check it out, it may make your life a little easier. (This handy new Web 2.0 product brought to you by Tell Ten Friends)
Bonus Link:: YouTube, who I'm obviously a big fan of, have really hit the big time. Check out this Washington Post article that explains the significance of user-generated content like YouTube, MySpace, etc. Here's an excerpt, about 21-year-old YouTube user David Lehre, who has become a star on the site:
In an interview, Lehre described a recent series of meetings with the heads of major TV and movie studios. "Every meeting I went into, they were pretty much scared of me," Lehre said. "They were kind of looking to me for the answer. I'm hitting a market they're not hitting anymore, and they're looking for the next big thing."
Lehre believes entertainment executives are looking to the way young people use the Internet to keep their businesses viable. "People connect with my movies because I'm just 21, and all my friends are 18, 19, 20," Lehre said. "Kids our age want to see stuff that we make."
I guess you could say the theme here is "Marketing 2.0."
I'm fascinated by the rapid changes happening in the world of marketing and new media.
Wanna join the conversation? Leave a comment, or send me an email.