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Posts from April 2006

April 28, 2006

Show Us Your Sigs

"Kate's":http://www.onedegree.ca/category/kate-trgovac recent post ("Your Sig Is A Marketing Tool":http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/04/23/your-sig-file-is-a-marketing-tool) inspired a bit of discussion and I ended up getting some people sending _me_ their sig files as examples of what they thought worked. I was going to share a few of these with you but then realized I was setting myself up for endless requests to post _everyone's_ sig file. So I decided against that strategy. Then inspiration hit. Let's highlight some of the more interesting and effective e-mail signatures of One Degree readers right here at One Degree. So, if you think you have a particularly effective sign-off for your business e-mail, send a message with your sig to . We'll take a look at what we get and over the course of a few days we'll showcase the best of the bunch.

April 27, 2006

Will Wii Rock Nintendo?

wii.png One Degree reader Matt Williams "writes in":http://www.onedegree.ca/tips asking about Nintendo Wii:
I'd like to see One Degree's take on Nintendo's potential marketing goof when it comes to their next-gen system previously titled the "Revolution":http://revolution.nintendo.com/ which "has":http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/wii/wii-pisses-people-off-170106.php "now":http://www.realtechnews.com/posts/3002 "been":http://www.4colorrebellion.com/archives/2006/04/27/4cr-on-wii/ "changed":http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1529658/20060427/index.jhtml to the "Wii" (pronounced "we"). What do you guys think?
p. I'm not sure there is such a thing as "One Degree's take" (since we all write about our personal opinions and bring different experiences and biases to everything we do), but I thought it might be a good group excercise for us. Comments are open. What do you think? Does Wii rock you, or does it piss you off? (Pardon the double-sided bad puns.) Let me kick things off by noting that Googling "Nintendo Revolution" today yields 7.9 million results while "Nintendo Wii" yields 6. Hell that's close to a Googlewhack!

April 26, 2006

Fast Facts from Search Engine Strategies Conference

I'm halfway through the amazing two-day Search Engine Strategies conference in Toronto and wanted to share a few juicy tidbits with One Degree readers right away. I'll be posting more info gleaned from the conference over the coming weeks, but consider this an appetizer. Danny Sullivan, Editor of Search Engine Watch, proposed a new definition of search engine marketing: "desire expressed via keywords" and predicted that anywhere you can type in words, search marketing will be there.

Continue reading "Fast Facts from Search Engine Strategies Conference" »

April 25, 2006

What's Interesting In Canada?

This evening at "DemoCamp 5":http://barcamp.pbwiki.com/TorCampDemoCamp5 I will be announcing a new feature here at One Degree called "Interesting":http://www.onedegree.ca/category/interesting. For too long Canadian companies - whether start-ups or established firms, boys in the basement or girls in the garage - have had very low visibility in the market. Could you name ten interesting Internet ideas coming out of Canada right now if someone asked you to? I'm not sure _I_ could and I'm _supposed_ to be on top of all this stuff! At least that was the case before BarCamp (and its little brother DemoCamp) started doing an _amazing job_ of highlighting bright ideas. The industry is now coming together as it hasn't in a long time. With that in mind I wanted to figure out a way to help those DemoCampers take their message even further while also spotlighting interesting companies that don't necessarily fit into the DemoCamp format. To that end _"Interesting"_ will be a place for us to *showcase _Canadian_ companies and individuals doing particularly interesting things on and with the Internet.* Because One Degree is all about marketing we'll give special preference to ideas with commercial value and/or a real business model in place, but we want to tell you about anything that might stimulate your thinking about how to the Internet is changing your business and culture in general. If you have suggestions of "Interesting" companies, just "contact me":http://www.onedegree.ca/tips with details and we'll add them to the list of companies we'll be considering for Interesting. (And yes, we're serious about these being interesting _Canadian_ ideas - "Techcrunch":http://www.techcrunch.com/ has the Valley covered pretty well already!)

Even Amazon Can't Sweat ALL The Details

While I think of "Amazon":http://www.amazon.com/ as a company that _really_ gets what it takes to do business online, even they can make the occasional mistake. Those nice folks in the e-mail marketing group at amazon.com just sent me one of those "because you bought... we thought you'd like to know about..." messages pointing out that "The Criterion Edition of Late Spring":http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EOTWIS/ is about to be released. amazonlatespring.jpg Can you spot the problem? On the site the price is $39.99 while in the e-mail it says "$39.95+$0.04 sourcing fee". Oops. I'm really not picking on Amazon here, just giving you something to point to the next time *you* send an "oops" to *your* list. Just show this to your boss and let her know that even Amazon can't sweat _all_ the details!

April 24, 2006

Your Sig File Is A Marketing Tool

oldstyle_sig.jpg The "email signature":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signature_block ("sig file") is probably the oldest online marketing tool. Sig files originated when email did, way back in 1965. Originally the domain of geeks (and I use the term with the utmost affection), they often contained only basic contact information, but also elaborate creations of "ASCii art":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCII_art, pithy quotes and self-classification systems (e.g. "The Geek Code":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geek_Code -- yes, this collections of numbers, letters and symbols actually means something to geeks, such as my feelings about Star Trek, my dislike of Windows and my level of education). And then, the marketers invaded. Well, invaded is a little strong. Marketers figured out that they could use that space for more than just basic contact information. So, forty-some years after the advent of sig files, where have marketers taken them? The earliest true marketing use of a sig file (and one that is still considered one of the "best uses of sig files as a viral marketing device":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing#Notable_examples_of_viral_marketing ) was by Hotmail; even prior to its acquisition by Microsoft, all Hotmail emails went out with an advertisement for the Hotmail service itself in the signature. This is now standard practice across email services and not nearly as effective as the early days. What has been the next step in the evolution of sig files?

Continue reading "Your Sig File Is A Marketing Tool" »

April 20, 2006

BarCamp Hits Ottawa This Weekend

BarCamp Ottawa The organizers of "BarCamp Ottawa":http://barcamp.org/BarCampOttawa have done an outstanding job on organizing this "unevent". A bunch of "BarCamp Toronto":http://barcamp.org/TorCamp veterans are making the trip up the 401 to join in what looks like it could be one of the highlights of the years for the online community in the capitol. I particularly like that they've set up a "Spread BarCamp Ottawa":http://barcamp.org/SpreadBarCampOttawa page a la "Spread Firefox":http://www.spreadfirefox.com/. (That's where the banner above is from) Well done! Sorry I won't be able to make it (this time).

Thirsty For More Viral Marketing

Brita Image Viral marketing. If the term makes you cringe, you probably work in interactive media. Far too often these days, clients ask us to create campaigns that are "viral," citing the popularity of applications that, frankly, have gotten old, and praising the apparent ease with which they generate consumer attention. The more mainstream the concept of viral marketing becomes, the more misguided advertisers' perception of it. This is largely because the majority of the applications they see weren't designed for marketing purposes. There's a lot more to viral success than slapping up a funny tool or glamorous microsite and waiting for it to become the next "Sith Sense":http://sithsense.com. And there are many more poor attempts out there than worthy endeavours. Brita TV Bumper So when I come across an effort that is as clever as it is effective from a marketing standpoint, I immediately take note. Last week, I was turned onto Clorox Company of Canada's new Brita Faucet Filtration System microsite, a companion piece to "the current ad campaign":http://mail3.mediapost.com/otlbrita.html. Both are based on the concept that "you deserve better" -- better water, that is -- and remind us that the water we consume within our homes isn't expressly reserved for this purpose.

Continue reading "Thirsty For More Viral Marketing" »

April 19, 2006

Should You Ask People To Unsubscribe?

As part of the enhancements we've been doing to One Degree to celebrate our first anniversary we've moved to a new outbound e-mail system. Our intention from Day One was to provide _daily_ e-mail alerts but we never had a nicely automated (and cost effective) way to do this. We added "Feedblitz":http://www.feedblitz.com to the site a few weeks ago and the uptake and feedback from new subscribers has been great. But we still have a load of subscribers from the past year who came to expect a _weekly_ e-mail digest rather than an overnight push of links to all posts from the previous day. What to do, what to do. Well, * We could just move people over to daily, but that didn't seem right. * We could tell them to sign-up for the new list and kill the old one (not good from a retention and customer service standpoint), or, * We could let them know about the change and give them a chance to get out before we made the switch.

Continue reading "Should You Ask People To Unsubscribe?" »

iSummit Diary: "Wife Crack" and "Branded Entertainment"

I attended, and was a speaker at, iSummit 2006, March 29-31, 2006 in Toronto, Canada. This entry is the second of two featuring my notes from the sessions I attended.

Xbox 360 Live Arcade

John David, the Lead Program Manager for Xbox Live Arcade, gave attendees a tour of this next generation videogame console's Arcade service and revealed some other interesting factoids about the 360:

  • Arcade gives Xbox 360 owners who connect to the Xbox Live service the opportunity to download and sample 'simple' arcade games. All are free to sample, but in most cases a small fee is required to play the full game.
  • 50% of Xbox owners so far have connected to the Xbox Live online service.
  • According to John, Arcade is a way for Microsoft to get the game console "back into the family room" where it will be used by all members of the family, not just the hardcore gamers.
  • 3 million arcade games have been downloaded through Arcade.
  • Microsoft had expected an average 8.5% conversion rate of Arcade game trials to purchase, but have been getting a remarkable 20% conversion rate instead.
  • I learned a new term; John referred to a few of the Arcade games as "wife crack," meaning a game, usually puzzle based, that is highly addictive to the female spouse of a male gamer. (Of course, lots of women play videogames, but "wife crack" refers to games that appeal to spouses who normally never play videogames.) Microsoft is very interested in these "secondary" gamers (the spouse) because that's where the growth in the videogame market lies. See also "gamer widow."
  • While Microsoft's focus is still on making the 360 "an awesome games box" the Xbox 360 console has other capabilities that make it directly competitive with current and future offerings from other major players, including cable and satellite companies.
  • Microsoft will soon be adding music videos and song downloads to the Xbox Live Marketplace, some free, some paid. Hello, iTunes? It will be interesting to see what will happen when (not if) Microsoft adds TV shows and movies to the menu. Background downloading of large media files is apparently in the works.
  • Xbox Live is also a communications platform: 600,000 text messages a day are exchanged on Xbox Live between its members.

Continue reading "iSummit Diary: "Wife Crack" and "Branded Entertainment"" »

April 18, 2006

Tag Cloud As Heatmap

Jonathan Snook ("snook.ca":http://www.snook.ca/) noted a bright idea a few weeks ago that I've been meaning to post. Snook pointed out that "The Guardian":guardian.co.uk in the UK has adopted a rather unique "heatmap" approach to organizing popular tags in their "Comment is free...":http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/subjectheatmap.html area. Guardian Heatmap Tag Cloud If you know a bit about CSS(Cascading Style Sheets) you'll see that this isn't that hard to execute and the visual effect is very impressive. I'd like to see more of this sort of innovative visual styling driven by real navigational needs instead of simply decorating the page.

The Web As Lobbying Tool

While checking the weather the other day I noticed that "the Weather Network":http://www.theweathernetwork.com/ is running in-house banner ads pointing to "allchannelalert":http://www.allchannelalert.com/pages/english/index.html All Channel Alerts The site is a public awareness/lobbying site to support The Weather Network's "CRTC filing":http://www.allchannelalert.com/pages/english/view_CRTC_application.html to run a service to provide severe weather warnings across *all channels* (hence the name of the site). I thought this was a smart move and particularly liked the "madlib":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madlibs style "letter writing campaign":http://www.allchannelalert.com/pages/english/CRTC_english.html page that offers to mail your letter of support to the CRTC for you.

April 17, 2006

No Syndicate Canada This Year

We just got word from the organizers of "Syndicate Canada":http://www.syndicate.plumcom.ca/ (originally mentioned "in this One Degree article":http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/02/27/syndicate-canada-june-1415-toronto) that they will not be holding the event this year despite a significant amount of planning that has already gone into it. The official statement is: bq.. We've recently made a decision not to hold the Syndicate Canada Conference at this point in time. This decision is based upon the realization that Syndicated technology is new and emerging into the commercial marketplace and many companies are still establishing themselves and are not quite ready to move forward in Canada. We will continue to monitor and assess the Canadian market to determine the best timing for an event. p. Given the (I believe) overwhelmingly positive response to the "Mesh Conference":http://www.meshconference.com/ and "BarCamp Toronto":http://barcamp.org/TorCamp it's hard not to read this as cold feet about the ability of the market to support three major events in such close proximity. Too bad, I was looking forward to it. _(Disclosure: I was asked by Jai Cole to be on the Advisory Board for this event and had given them my $0.02 worth the agenda for the conference. Note also that "Tucows":http://www.tucows.com/ (my day job) is sponsoring lunch on the first day of Mesh)._

Don't Tell Me There's Nothing New

Let me share a current pet peeve with you in the hopes that you can avoid doing the same to your gentle readers (and maybe we can get the Globe & Mail to fix this for me). I like getting the "Daily Tech Alert":http://www.theglobeandmail.com/newsletter/ e-mail update that the "Globe and Mail":http://www.globeandmail.com/ sends out each week day. Daily Tech Alert At left you see a bit of a recent issue of the newsletter. Good content. Well laid out. So what's the problem? Well, this is the *April 11th edition* of the _daily_ tech alert. Why on earth are they pointing me to articles that are almost a month old? My guess is the criteria for what to post is something like "give me the four most recent Tech Reviews and place them here." But obviously they're posting less than they expected and now we end up the same links _literally_ every day for weeks. I'm losing interest in the Daily Tech Alert because I keep seeing the same stuff. Moral of the story - don't tell me that you don't have anything new. Either get something new, or don't send anything.

2006 CNMA Finalists Announced

Just before the long weekend here in Canada, the "CNMA":http://www.cnma.ca/ announced the finalists for this year's awards honouring the best in new media Canada has to offer. As the announcement noted: bq.. Hailing from almost every province in Canada, finalists include companies and individuals accomplished in the digital interactive media space. Finalists represent a wide range of government, private and public organizations from every facet of the new media industry including programmers, designers, educators and advocates. Every year, hundreds of new media professionals submit nominations for Canadian New Media Awards and a panel of esteemed industry experts collaborate online to select the finalists. This year's cross-country Selection Committee consisted of 135 judges, representing private, public and non-profit sectors and included several finalists and winners from previous years. Over 500 professionals and aspiring industry members are expected to attend this year's event. Of the 43 finalists, 19 are from Ontario, 12 are from B.C., 3 are from Quebec, 7 from Alberta, 1 from Saskatchewan and 1 from Nova Scotia. p. A "complete list of CMNA finalists":http://cnma.ca/index_e/06finalists.html is on their site. You can also "buy tickets for the awards show at the Carlu":http://cnma.ca/index_e/ticket_ordering/index.html if you are looking for a good night out in the company of Canada's online movers and shakers. _Disclosure: One Degree is a sponsor of the CNMA._

April 14, 2006

Canadians' Top 100 Sites Revealed

Most One Degree readers are probably familiar with the "Alexa Traffic Rankings":http://www.alexa.com/. Alexa, owned by "Amazon.com":http://www.amazon.com/, uses its toolbar to track the popularity of every site on the Internet and then ranks them based on traffic. The ranking information is displayed in the toolbar and is freely available on their website for everyone else. Alexa has always been an interesting tool for marketers. While the precision of the rankings is debatable, it does provide useful trend information and the unique data gathering methodology makes for an interesting comparison with ComScore. The one draw back was that you could only view the rankings on a worldwide scale, but this week, you can now "view the top 100 sites by country!":http://www.alexa.com/site/ds/top_sites?cc=CA&ts_mode=country&lang=none Here are a few quick observations (feel free to add your own in the comments): * Web2.0 sites like "MySpace":http://www.myspace.com/ (9) and "Blogger":http://www.blogger.com/ (11) are doing well in Canada * "Amazon.com":http://www.amazon.com/ (14) is much more popular than "Amazon.ca":http://www.amazon.ca/ (52) * "Apple":http://www.apple.com/ (34) is in a tight battle with "Dell":http://www.dell.com/ (35) * Affiliate networks and ad serving companies rank highly most likely because users are briefly on their pages when they are redirected by an ad. * My site, "RedFlagDeals.com,":http://www.redflagdeals.com/ ranks 60th Alexa rankings update regularly, so the list will change often. Over the next few weeks and months it will be interesting to see how sites move and which sites are able to break into the top 100.

April 12, 2006

iSummit Diary: 3G Content and Machinima Marketing

I attended, and was a speaker at, iSummit 2006, March 29-31, 2006 in Toronto, Canada. This entry is the first of two featuring my notes from the sessions I attended.

iSummit is described as "an international entertainment and media event dedicated to the business of digital content on interactive platforms." This was a lively and intimate conference focused more on interactive content rather the underlying technology. It was also a really diverse and international crowd made up of folks from the television, interactive, technology, and marketing worlds (or unusual combinations of each). Kudos to the New Media Business Alliance and the sponsors for putting on such a stimulating event.

The 3G Experience: Signals From Around the World

  • This session was devoted to the high-speed 3G mobile phone networks, coming soon (as early as this fall) to Canada but already quite popular in other parts of the world.
  • In Japan, teenagers account for 70% of the 3G network revenue, most of which is pay-per-use and pay-per-view service and data offerings.
  • One panelist suggested that Asia was ahead of the Australian market by 2 years, and that Australia was ahead of the US (and Canadian) market by 2 years.
  • In England there are already 3-5 million 3G subscribers, depending on who you ask.
  • In Italy, the most popular 3G content is ringtones (30%), 'adult' (25%), games (20%), TV clips (15%), music/songs (7%), sports info (3%), and 'gossip' content (2%).
  • Speaking of TV, short video 'digests' are the way to go versus long-form video.
  • Another interesting statistic: the typical mobile phone user changes their phone every 18 months.
  • One obstacle to success with 3G phones was said to be the user interface; the easier they are made to use, the more easily the revenue will flow.
  • We were shown a demonstration of Kemeleon, a very cool 'animated messaging' service that converts SMS messages into animated character video messages. Weird, yes, but also hugely popular with teenagers in Asia. (Apparently some of the most popular, and profitable, 3G services are completely 'pointless' from a rational or traditional point-of-view. Go figure.)

Continue reading "iSummit Diary: 3G Content and Machinima Marketing" »

April 11, 2006

Use Content To Segment E-mail Lists

Here's a bright idea for content publishers from Etienne Garbugli at "Aeroplan.com":http://www.aeroplan.com/. Etienne pointed out that CNN allows you to sign up for news alerts based on keywords on articles. For example, in "this CNN article about the Apple vs. Apple lawsuit":http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/ptech/03/30/britain.apple.dispute.ap/index.html we get this News Alert sign-up box: cnnalerts.png Etienne suggested that this could be a nice way for publishers to segment lists based on interest. Thanks Etienne!

5 Questions for Hugh Thompson, Digital Home Canada

Hugh Thompson _Hugh Thompson is the publisher and owner of "Digital Home Canada":http://www.digitalhomecanada.com/. He is a consultant with over 10 years of online experience working for advertising agencies, vendors and consulting directly with clients on maximizing ROI from web marketing and e-commerce initiatives. As a voice for the Canadian electronic consumer, Hugh is a frequent guest on radio and television programs across the country discussing the latest in consumer electronics and the business of convergence in the digital home._ *One Degree: Why did you start Digital Home Canada?* Some guys like cars but my passion has always been computers and consumer electronics so I decided to create a website about the convergence of technology in the home. *One Degree: Did you intend it to be money making venture and did you ever expect that it would become your full-time job?* When I first created Digital Home, it was for my own enjoyment. Once Digital Home was up and running, I considered trying to turn it into a moneymaker however since it was just after 9/11 and the dot com bust, I decided against it! For several years, Digital Home simply became a neglected hobby while I went about the business of earning a living and raising a young family. During that time I actually shut the site down for a short period of time, however so many people emailed asking me to reconsider that finally in the Fall of 2004, I hooked up with "24/7 Canada":http://www.247canada.com/ who agreed to provide advertising representation for Digital Home. With advertising representation secure, I "re-launched" the site with new technology, new servers and a new approach. In November 2004, Digital Home became a full-time endeavour for me. *One Degree: How do people find out about your site - is most of your traffic from searchers or from regular community members?*

Continue reading "5 Questions for Hugh Thompson, Digital Home Canada" »

April 10, 2006

'Meet' the E-zine Queen April 20!

One of the easiest, most proven ways to attract new business is to gain status as a recognized authority and/or sought-after resource in your field. And nobody knows how to do it better and faster than Alexandria Brown, the E-zine Queen. Alexandria has been named one of the "Top 10 Direct Marketers in the World" by Mark Victor Hansen & Associates. In this free teleclass, Alexandria is going to share some of her best secrets to publishing an ezine that makes you money -- the right format, the right content ideas and how to build your list of ezine subscribers. Sign up for this free teleclass now.

How Universally Appealing Will Web 2.0 Be?

"Slate":http://www.slate.com is one of my favourite online publications - and not just because is survived the Microsoft Sidewalk days! Slate's technology coverage includes "Clive Thompson":http://www.slate.com/id/2110034/ (late of Shift and "Canadian Business":http://www.canadianbusiness.com and currently of "Wired":http://www.wired.com and the NYT among other publications) and is consistently excellent. The site's webhead column has "a recent article by Paul Boutin":http://www.slate.com/id/2138951/ expressing some confusion about what the web 2.0 craze really means. Any other Web 2.0 'skeptics' out there? To follow on "my recent post on email":http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/03/30/sorry-rss-email-is-here-to-stay, 'Web 2.0' is the latest next best thing, but as Boutin says, basically a way of packaging specific ways of interacting with content, user-generated and other. In other words, is Web 2.0 a way online content will be augmented for specific types of sites and audiences (and personality types, and degrees of technology savviness) rather than the way of the future? I personally love (what I understand) Web 2.0 (to be), but I can also see how it's not going to work for certain kinds of audiences, content and information. An example would be sites that are intended to showcase design and visual content, or transactional sites where you want users to get to buy and not lost in how they can engage.

Bell Comments On One Degree's Gordon And Frank Experiment

gordon.jpg Back on February 6th we started an interesting experiment here at One Degree when I registered "gordonandfrank.ca":http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/02/06/gordonandfrankca and pointed it to a One Degree article about the importance of protecting domain names. That post and several subsequent ones drew lots of traffic and a loads of comments. One common theme was "why hasn't Bell or Cossette" said anything about this. Well, now they have...

Continue reading "Bell Comments On One Degree's Gordon And Frank Experiment" »

April 04, 2006

Changes At One Degree

You may have noticed a few changes on the site in the last few days. We're in the midst of an upgrade that puts in place some subtle but important enhances to the way we do things around here. More on the why and what of (ahem) One Degree 2.0 over the next few days and weeks. You may also notice slightly lighter posting for a few days while we iron the wrinkles out of the upgrade.

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