Thursday, 24 September 2009

Customers comment - Google Sidewiki meets Brands in Public

Not just one but TWO new ways for the opinions and comments from Joe Public, (both advocates and detractors) to be made visible in a relevant way, either gathered together or actually alongside an organisation's webpages, one from Squidoo and one from Google.

Brands in Public
Nice project this. My colleagues and I have been evaluating Radian6 and other social media monitoring tools this year with some success and it's really interesting to see what the Squidoo team has been cooking up around brand.

Brands in Public is a single page about a Brand, unofficial pages (but not for long I suspect with the sponsorship options) that aggregate together positive and negative comment from Twitter, YouTube, blog posts. Google trends too. The good and the bad.

here's Dell In Public so you can check out the concept

Google Sidewiki
This is far, far more controversial and I cannot believe Google will be able to keep Sidewiki in this form.
Sikewiki adds an expandable column to the lefthand side of your browser (via Google toolbar) where you can read and add comments about the content on the specific web page you are viewing at the time.
There is no 'owner' or moderator, rather Google uses algorithms to try and ensure the most useful content appears higher in the list and hateful comments are way lower.
'Open' and 'social' are good however this sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen IMHO.

Does anyone remember Third Voice? Exactly, we have been here before; maybe Google has the muscle tomake it work this time.

Sidewiki could be a game-changing tool which benefits everyone however there is a lot of bigotry, ignorance and hatred out there, as well as lame marketers that create negative comments about their completion rather than creating great ideas that spread.

I'm watching this one with interest.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Google does not use keyword meta tags to find your case studies

Recently the subject of keywords and META tags has come up with a couple of clients.

Case studies can be a large investment and quite rightly you want the reference materials you create to reach the largest audience possible and also for the major search engines to pick them up.

I was amazed to learn Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking (and Google is not alone here).

This change happened some years ago due to keywords meta tags being abused via the addition of hundreds of unrelated words or naming competitors and their products. Rigging the game can only be a short term ploy.

Google also states the 'description' tag is not used for search ranking but IS displayed in results (which I know as I had a typo in mine which took a while to propagate through once I had changed it)

Of course keywords may have a use for less sophisticated search engines and also many companies use these for the search functionality of their document management systems.
See video below or read the transcript.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The most annoying phrase of all time...

Is 'of all time'.

You will currently see or hear it ten times a day and when you think about it the phrase is total nonsense.

In fact it's the most annoying phrase recorded, or to date :o)

Sunday, 13 September 2009

UK approves TV product placement - are we heading for The Truman Show?

Traditional media is going through considerable change; some wonder if and in what format printed newspapers will survive (Ben M noticed UK newspaper loyalty schemes) while interruption-marketing such as TV advertising is trying to work out how to cope with falling revenues (not simply recession-driven as they would have us believe).

Until now UK TV channels have been fined if company logos are not obscured or covered.

According to the BBC the government now believes that placement should be allowed in some circumstances and will announce the change next week.

Product placement will not be permissible for the BBC or children's programmes on any channel.

As with paid blogs it's essential that viewers know that this promotion has taken part. My knee-jerk reaction was that this move has to be a a bad thing however as the BBC article points out, we are already watching masses of imported shows from the US and sports events already carry a large amount of sponsorship. Movies and rock concerts are full of product placement too.

In a world where TV and other interruption advertising has is becoming less and less effective (no one is paying attention unless they choose to) this move provides a revenue stop-gap.

The big question is where does 'push' or 'interruption' marketing go next?

Maybe we are not heading for The Truman Show however marketers and production companies need be careful; if product placement gets silly viewers will simply vote with their remotes and everyone will lose.

Friday, 11 September 2009

When we all know it's broken

It's Saturday morning and I've made a quick dash into B&Q (Home Depot in the US?). Heading for the checkouts I become aware that there are none open, not a single one.

Someone armed with a spreadsheet and some graph paper had worked out four self-service checkouts can fit in the same space as ones manned by humans AND they can save the staff costs by getting their customers to scan their own items. A great idea (actually no).

Not only this but they fitted them in a store that has never had more than half the checkouts open (does not need the space) and two members of staff were required to help and pacify the irate builders forced to scan their loads of bricks and numerous heavy items and placing them on the weight-sensitive box designed to lessen theft.

Of course using my rare gift I had managed to select two items without bar codes and rather than looking them up in a book (as would happen at any normal checkout) a staff member was send to obtain the numbers. He simply swapped the items for ones with codes so it's misery for the next person to select them, and groundhog day for the other staff.

All this to save the cost of two minimum-wage staff. The cost to their business of dissatisfied customers and negative WOM must cost thousands.

This reminded me of the website thisisbroken and the funny Seth Godin video on the same riff (the series/parallel taxi rank example is great).

I know it's broken, the shop-floor-level B&Q staff know it's broken, how much custom will B&Q lose before management realise it's broken too?

Express checkouts (which sort of imply it's quicker for you to do things than for trained staff) - great for cornflakes, less so for concrete.