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Posts from December 2006

December 15, 2006

Gone (Ice) Fishin'

One Degree will be taking an extended hiatus to enjoy the holidays over the last few weeks of 2006.  We'll be back to our regular publishing schedule starting Wednesday January 3rd. All the best for the holidays and here's to 2007 being the best year ever!

December 14, 2006

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - June Macdonald

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. June Macdonald shares her thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? The explosion in blogs (only Ken knew they would get this popular), social media sites, and the mess of tagging and feed icons. It was really hard to keep up with them all if you weren’t glued to your monitor with an intravenous DSL line (think Boomer). I had some catching up to (still) do.

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? They’re in development for 2007, so other than finally getting a better handle on email delivery, we’ll have to wait for the new year to get results on these new goodies. I personally started up a lot of accounts on all the usual suspect sites, but there are so many… I did spend less money on iTunes this year and used Pandora.com instead.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? I don’t know about the biggest trends, but these are what’s up in my crystal ball:

  • Despite being hyped as being the next thing for several years now, with the proliferation of smart phones and more people reading email on mobile devices and better availability of GPRS, mobile marketing is going to be getting another look. Mobile IM is going to increase dramatically as it becomes available from all carriers in all flavours.
  • Email response may dip with the recent increase in spam, but then go back to same levels of the last couple years, and meantime email marketers discover RSS.
  • More spammers get sued. Hooray!
  • Marketing communications gets less hype and more content. The Mac/PC guy ads are a TV example I think of how the concept of conversations are going to impact ad and direct email creative. Less shouting and going over the top and more direct communication to humans.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped?

  • Mobile marketing.
  • Regional media restrictions so I can download Grey’s Anatomy off of ABC or BSG off of Space Station — or is that the ‘wishful thinking’ section?
  • Social media.  

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies?

  • YouTube classifieds. And they go local. I want to see if Boris matches his voice. Seriously, similar to others postings we’ll see Google will get in and make some changes.
  • New job requirements and education courses on having insightful conversations with customers. Customer relations 101 added to marketing programs and becomes part of more companies’ HR offerings.

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - June Li

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006?

  • The immense hype around Web 2.0 continues to build. Content proliferates since “I do because I can”. However, because of social media, the good bubbles to the top much faster than before (which is a good thing).
  • Slow uptake measuring the return on dollars spent building, maintaining and enhancing one’s web presence (OK, maybe I’m just a bit biased on this topic). Continued belief by many (not One Degree readers) that brochure-ware sites are all that’s needed, that ROI measurement is not worth it, unless you are selling online.
  • Continued belief that if you build it, they will come (without checking to see if in fact anyone’s coming!). Growth in corporate blogging.

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? Blogs, readers and LinkedIn.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007?

  • “Traditional” agencies will finally realize the great opportunity in tying offline campaigns to some online property.
  • More text ads in video casts (because you can’t fast forward past them).
  • More portable widgets, with links back to originator sites.
  • Shorter and more focused (I hope) podcasts.
  • Corporate blogs will be more focused and a truly useful venue for open, transparent conversation.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped?  Web 2.0, when done for the sake of Web 2.0’ing.

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies?

  • Online purchases will continue to break records and predictions every year.
  • The Second Life bubble will burst.
  • The Open Project Directory, “temporarily down” since late October, will die and disappear.
  • Google will continue to break-out into new, non-traditional areas (and this will NOT be a surprise).

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Bill Sweetman

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Bill Sweetman shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? I can’t believe we went through yet another whole year without Yahoo! offering a paid search service that geo-targets Canadians. Year after year, Yahoo! tells the Canadian Internet marketing community that this is “coming soon.” Apparently it’s “coming soon” in Q1 2007. Yeah, sure…

I also noticed there seem to be more mobile marketing service companies offering “the next big thing” than there are probably mobile subscribers in Canada. OK, I’m exaggerating, but I’m starting to wonder whether there should be a ban on starting YAMMC (Yet Another Mobile Marketing Company). At this point, the market (in Canada, anyway) is oversaturated.

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? Personally, blogs and social media sites were big for me this year. I also explored Second Life, tinkered with Google Analytics, and kicked the tires of Microsoft AdCenter.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? The Internet marketing talent shortage (at the mid-to-senior level) is going to get worse, which will slow the growth of service companies that don’t have their HR act together. So-called “mass media” marketing professionals are going to realize that Google is moving into their turf much faster than they realize … if they even realize this at all. Podcasting will start to emerge from relative obscurity and begin to appear on the corporate radar screens as a potentially viable option.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? That’s easy: Web 2.0. When companies start issuing press releases saying they are “Web 2.0-enabled” solely in the hope of increasing their stock market value, you know the end is near. Go away. Now.

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? We’re going to see a lot of movement in the podcasting space. I expect several large media companies will try to acquire the leading independent podcast directories (like Podcast Pickle), and if I were a large software company based in Redmond, Washington I would be seriously considering buying one of the more popular podcast creation software programs (and/or the company that created it).

Webcom Toronto 2007 Conference

Webcom Toronto 2007 Conference
April 10-12 / University of Toronto
Building Smarter Organizations: Tools & Practices Interactive communications & Web 2.0

Webcom Toronto focuses on the tools and practices necessary to build smarter organizations which can compete successfully in a global economy. Prepare your organization for a strong position in the Web world by tapping into knowledgeable presentations on innovation, strategies for sharing knowledge and supporting the mobile work, enterprise discovery and search, intranet infrastructure and content management, as well as social media and collaborative tools.

For more information head to the Webcom Toronto website.

December 13, 2006

Handling the Holiday Rush

It seems every year some new product is in short supply and parents are scrambling to get one. This year it’s the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. A few years ago it was the Tickle-Me Elmo toy.

The key to getting maximum exposure from the product launch is balancing the aura of demand created by limited supply and actually getting the products in the hands of users. This strategy has worked extremely well with a number of different product launches. Recently a new problem has developed and organized groups have started to buy high demand products at retail prices and re-sell them for a considerable mark-up. Right now there are over 4000 listings on Ebay Canada for PlayStations 3s, most of them $200+ above the retail price.

This problem isn’t really new, music promoters have been dealing with these scalpers for years. They’ve created arm/wrist band programs, contests, lotteries and even special purchasing sales to fan club members, all with various degrees of success. At one-point online sales were viewed as the answer to a lot of these problems but recently we’ve seen web sites brought down by the flood of people trying to purchase and organized groups have simple moved online. Online sites like Ebay and Craigslist also make it easier for people to profit off re-selling these products.

I think most marketers would understand that companies really do want to get their product into end-user hands. A good base of loyal customers can quickly become evangelists and help drive further product demand. Should we be concerned with this trend? Is there really an online solution?

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Mitch Joel

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Mitch Joel shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? There were two that really struck me. Both have to do with how major corporations took interest in Podcasting and also in virtual worlds like Second Life. The fact is, that the numbers are not “there” yet, but big business is interested in the few people that are engaged in these channels. They’re excited about audio content (which is cool) and they’re also taking online virtual worlds seriously (I guess it’s not all Dungeons & Dragons types).

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? Podcasting was the big one for Twist Image. We did it for our company (Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast) and we even created a few for our clients (like Scotiabank The Money Clip). With what talk radio has gone through over the years, it’s refreshing to see people interested in audio content. Truth is, we love producing our own show and we love the challenge of getting people engaged in audio for the Web which is still primarily a text-driven environment.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007?

Social Media. Everyone will still be talking Blogs, Podcasting, wikis, sharing sites, conversations, etc… This notion that all of us want content created by all of us that all of us can comment on and re-create will continue to be overly powerful. It will continue to truly muffle everything else like email open rates, banner ad clickthroughs and search engine click fraud.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? Video. I think video is Phase Alpha. The ability to watch moving pictures on the Web is very primitive and not where we should be. We’ll see that these millions of YouTube videos of friends kicking each other in the nuts grew tiring (albeit always worth a chuckle) and video will have to mature. My gut is that we’ll break down the walls of Blogs, Podcasting, flickr sharing, YouTubes, etc… and we’ll each have a central space that will be like a scrapbook. And, as the mood is, you’ll post images, words, video or audio depending on your mood. Imagine that :)

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? Does Twist Image count as a break-out company (c’mon, I had to get that out there ;)? Seriously, the big news will come around virtual worlds. Someone will get it right and take home a hefty bounty for it – think next-generation web browser. I don’t think it will be Second Life, but I may be proven wrong. I also think there will be the beginnings of a major shift in the search space. This will involve some form of mobile search and the ability to find things in a more folksonomy (non-hierarchical) based way. Hey, a boy needs to dream.

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Richard McCann

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Richard McCann shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006?

  • Blog Marketing. Although important and should not be ignored , it is still on the early adopter side of the chasm. It is impressive to see the proactive approach many marketers are taking.
  • Advertising and Retail on Second Life

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? I think I subscribed to every web 2.0 site under the sun, the following survived – Linkedin, Google Analytics and Trends, Bloglines and Upcoming.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007?

  • NicheCasting
  • Social Networking
  • Blog Monitoring – a required daily task
  • The Unconference Trend will grow stronger
  • Marketers will get into building Widgets/Tiles/Chicklets/Portlets for sites like Google.
  • SMS/Text Messaging Marketing Campaigns.
  • Less Banner Ads, more targeted campaigns
  • Search Engine Analytics gets even stronger

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped?

  • The Importance of Blogs for Marketing
  • Unchecked Consumer Generated Content – I foresee a couple of more accidents that will spur people away
  • Video/Photo Storage sites, the market is too saturated and with undefined revenue models.

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies?

  • The large agencies like Carlson Marketing will come back strong after being dormant
  • The collapse and acquisition of a majority of web 2.0 sites. Very few will remain independent and viable. 
  • In Game Advertising jumps to the next level – event sponsorship and online boutiques.

December 12, 2006

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Michael Seaton

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Michael Seaton shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? Wow, where to start? First, the most interesting trend was how important authenticity, transparency and accountability have become for corporations. However, it is not surprising having read the Clue Train Manifesto over 5 years ago. The surprising element is how this finally began to break through and take off this past year. Online communities, where consumers are speaking and being heard, gained prominence in 2006 and emerged as a powerful force in the market. Brands have no choice now but to listen, respond and communicate in a human voice, with the consumer – not at the consumer.

Second, 2006 will forever be remembered as the year marketers began connecting to other marketers via social media in droves (although One Degree was doing it well before 2006). The abundance of ideas, insights and great debates were an inspiration to all involved.

Third, an interesting trend was YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Blogs (and to a certain extent Second Life) busting out and hitting the mainstream media as daily news items.

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? Yes, both personally and professionally. Podcasts, blogs and RSS played a huge role over the past 12 – 18 months. I can’t remember what it was like before these tools were in my daily life as a marketer and a consumer.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? Two items here. First, accountability on marketing spend and, return on marketing investment will take the spotlight this year. Not scary for those of us who have already been monetizing our digital marketing investments. However, for those who have not been measuring their marketing, they’d better start!

Second, given the proliferation of tagging, sharing sites and directories, I can’t help but think the rumblings of consolidation will begin (or continue) with the likes of Google and Yahoo! leading the charge. How many photo sharing sites or video sites can there be? How many social networking sites can we tolerate? Who’s going to fix Technorati or Digg and make them work better. Which feed readers/catchers will dominate as mainstream adoption takes hold? Lots of exciting stuff ahead.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? I hate to say this given my above statement, but I believe that nothing will really get fixed. If it does it will be in small incremental steps. So, the hype that “we will be doing everything better and getting rid of some noise” will likely not happen. We will still be muddling through.

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? I predict that Yahoo will continue to go through a downturn in 2007. We’ll see by Q3-Q4 ’07 if their re-org was too late or just in time to save them. My biggest prediction is that we will all be surprised and astounded by what we did not and never could see coming. That is because the power is with consumers and communities now. Who knows what it could be? Maybe a group Skype call to the Psychic hotline is in order. All the best to everyone in 2007!

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Salima Valji

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Salima Valji shares her thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? I was amazed at the incredible growth and popularity of the Web 2.0 concept – it’s EVERYWHERE! Furthermore, the speed at which blogging and podcasting grew in popularity both by customers and marketers! We are definitely in the Digital Marketing revolution which will continue to move at digital speed!

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? For us at Microsoft, this was the year for upgrading our Analytics! Atlas and WebTrends are now a key part of our marketing toolkit which replaced our old systems. Podcasting was a new media we leveraged which provided good engagement – we will definitely be investing in this for 2007.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? With the release of Windows Vista, IE 7, Outlook 2007 and Windows Live – RSS use will become more prevalent as these tools allow for easy RSS consumption. So consumer use of RSS will definitely increase – but by no means will this medium replace email, but RSS can be a great tool for subscriber acquisition, product updates, promotions, events, etc. particularly with your loyal customers.

I also see greater use of Video downloads – but not for commercial advertising. YouTube and iTunes has proved that people consume and download videos – why not use videos for product information or product how to’s?

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? RSS is a great tool – but as I mentioned in point #3, RSS will not take over email. What about marketing that I think is underhyped? Mobile marketing – When are we going to start leveraging this communication vehicle? I know that the infrastructure is not yet available in North America to take advantage of this, but yet countries such as China, Korea, and Japan are moving quickly in this space.

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? Hmmmm….what companies will Microsoft pick up? GOOGLE!!!!!

December 11, 2006

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Michael Garrity

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Michael Garrity shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006?

  • The explosive growth of the “Social Web”: Ask around, almost everyone under 30 in North America manages a socially-networked personal page disclosing more information on their wants, desires and fears than I’ve exposed to my wife in 5 years of marriage. 60 year old Grandmothers from Wichita are blogging on their favorite travel destinations and arranging to meet new friends from Maine on the Aloha deck for drinks. And everyone and their dog seems to be LinkedIn, Plaxo’ed, AKA’ed, Rapleaf’ed, etc.. The speed by which the social web has caught on and the depth of personal content which individuals are willing to openly exchange threw me completely off-guard in 2006 and, I fundamentally believe, speaks volumes to the deep-seated alienation felt in our society and our deep desire to make meaningful connections. This is a thunderous cry for a revisit of traditional one-way communications mediums like television and radio.
  • The plodding pace of the “Mobile Web”: Pundits have been “punditing” for years on how pervasive the mobile web would be by now. But for those of us reliant on it every day, it’s like watching paint dry. Someone please give me something useful I can use over my mobile device (besides email and text messaging) that doesn’t take a week just to load up a page telling me there’s an error.
  • The glacial pace of the “Digital Home”: They can put a man on the moon but they can’t give me a single converter with an Ipod-style track wheel to control my home entertainment system and to launch a local search and music download interface. I mean, how hard can this be? What should be the panicked rush by the ever-diminishing traditional telco players to brand, own and expand the digital home has been an exercise in navel gazing and finger pointing. Folks, if you are listening, the window is closing on you, hurry up!

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006?

  • On the business side, my team added an event based marketing platform to our service and we outsourced web analytics to a professional third party (seemingly small moves but a big shift for us).
  • On the personal side, I finally got around to setting up a Digg account, Myspace page and several other social web applications just to see what all the fuss was about. Some of them are pretty cool but some, I just don’t get. Maybe I’m getting old.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007?

  • Advertising power shifts further away from traditional players: Away not just from the traditional media (which is now pretty widely agreed upon% ) but also from the traditional portals and will eventually find it’s way to the new interactive platforms of choice – the mobile web and the digital home. I think those two platforms will make big headway in 2007 in changing how the marketing landscape will look by the end of this decade. My bold prediction is that 50% of on-line ad revenue by 2010 will be generated by the mobile and digital home platforms. My 2007 sub-predictions are that:
    • The Digital Home gets serious
    • Mobile Computing finds a way to get functionality and content right
  • Social Computing gets scary: When evolution turns to revolution, something always goes wrong. My prediction is that capitalism, fraudsters and self-sabotage will change the way the social web operates in 2007 and the safeguards it constructs to protect itself. This will change the way we see the marketing potential of social computing in 2007. Some of the ways I see this changing are through authenticity and identification verification, trusted circles vs. open networks.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? Here are my 4 over-hyped predictions:

  • “Phishing” is today’s Y2K. It’s a scare tactic to clamp down on email usage and email is so 1999.
  • Even the existing low hype for Microsoft’s Vista will be considered over-hyped.
  • Apple’s iPod is at the top of the S curve and will likely get surpassed by lower cost and more reliable digital music units (likely phone based).
  • Digg is dead. As soon as one of Digg’s “reliable” experts auctioned off his profile to the highest bidder, Digg was done!

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? Other than the spin-offs from above (mobile search, mobile ad-serve, IPTV-based gaming, etc.), the only other one that comes to me is the fate of Microsoft’s Live.com platform. I believe that 2007 will be their “cotillion” year and if it goes well (and not all cotillions do, I’ve heard) they will reshape the portal battleground, especially in Canada with their Sympatico relationship. I’m still not sure how all the parts will fit together for Marketers but they are my pick for the most interesting initiative to watch in 2007.

Innovator Challenge Innovates With Video

RBC has, ironically, gotten innovative with their 2006 Innovator Challenge, and put together a neatly integrated site, complete with embedded video. The prize, a heafty $20,000, is part of a contest to where students compete to best describe “how teens will influence tomorrow’s financial services industry.”

The site is full of web 2.0 content – blog, video, and RSS – and has geared itself towards the web-savvy students who are keen to work with these tools. This challenge is bound to turn heads not only from competing students, but from competing financial service companies in Canada. RBC has mobilized a specific demographic by creating a sizeable monetary prize (something all students are keen on), as well as working with the notion that Web 2.0 is both a tool for content creation, but also for discourse. I cannot wait to see what ideas come out of this project!

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Kate Trgovac

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Kate Trgovac shares her thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? Brands having MySpace pages.

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? YouTube ... PumpTalk at Petro-Canada was really successful and provided some great learnings and insight.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? Niche rules. The long tail rules. Marketers are going to have to get way smarter and way faster about finding their really passionate and really profitable audiences. Marketers must embrace the long tail and stay nimble. Also .. tech & marketing will need to develop closer relationships. I don’t know that marketing, in its current traditional form, can stay up to date. Consumers innovate faster than we do. We need to surround ourselves with smart geeks and smart customers – people who can keep us up to date and honest.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped?
At the risk of being unpopular … SecondLife. I don’t think it’s sufficient for realworld brands just to open stores there. What about the unique SecondLife brands? My concern is that it’s working simply because its new. But is there a sustainable model for using SL for a realworld brand? I’m not convinced we’ve seen it yet.

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? In sticking with my niche theme … big social networks that don’t protect my privacy or my identity will fail. Smaller, more easily trustable social networks will thrive (so MySpace drops while Maya’s Mom grows). More focus on kids and families as we start to realize that the current generation lives and breathes digital in a way older folks don’t. Integration of assets across delivery platforms—anyone who can easily get my pictures to be stored on flickr, featured in my blog, streamed to my brother’s cell phone and featured on the TV in my parents living room will win. One content source; many painless access points.

Continue reading "Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Kate Trgovac" »

December 10, 2006

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Colin Smillie

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Colin Smillie shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? The speed of the whole Web 2.0 scene and their focus on the niche markets. This is great news for marketing programs that want to get more target customers.

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? Video is probably the most obvious new tool. I think RSS feeds really came into their own in 2006. Internet to SMS tools have also taken off outside of North America too.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? Reverse publishing to print and other more offline media. Both Google and Yahoo! are moving to take their dominance online to other media. Internet marketing companies are well positioned to allow companies to publish from the internet.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? Web 2.0, many of these sites are focused are markets that are just too small. There will be a lot of failures over the next 12 months and probably even more consolidation.

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yahoo and Google get closer. At the same time I’m expecting to see more start-ups as it becomes easier and easier to get a web site off the ground. I’m expecting a lot of these to flourish with minimal VC support.

QotD - Canadian Best In Class SEOs?

A One Degree reader wrote me the other day asking:

Could you provide me a couple of best in class of SEO firms in Canada that you could recommend?

I had a short list I could provide them with but it was VERY short - TOO short.  So I'm opening it up to you folks. If you have a company you would suggest, feel free to add contact information in the details. Rules of Engagement - No, you can't recommend yourself.  Yes, the company HAS to be operating in Canada.

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Keith Holloway

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Keith Holloway shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006?

  • Search Engine Optimization is on almost everyone’s radar screen. I’ve been in the field for about 8 years and it has always been an uphill battle convincing people that it has any value. Now people are calling me asking for it regularly. Web Analytics has also become something clients are far more interested in than ever before.
  • The explosion of online video. The rise of YouTube and the subsequent acquisition by Google. We’ve expected video to become more and more important on the Internet as broadband access becomes ubiquitous, but the speed of adoption is phenomenal.
  • The rise of Podcasting.

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006?

  • Trellian keyworddiscovery tool breaks out as the best keyword research tool on the market. It beats out the other tools we’ve been using including Wordtracker by a long shot.
  • Our own: we’ve built a search marketing dashboard in response to the renewed interest in SEO.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007?

  • An increase in the use of video on web sites as a marketing and sales tool to increase conversion and assist in the sales process.We also expect to see an increased use of video and image ads in Google.
  • The use of personas in developing more effective web site content.
  • Total spend on Pay Per Click advertising increases. Ads and landing pages will get more relevant as achieving and maintaining high conversion rates become essential to compete because of price increases. Medium and large businesses get more interested in SEO due to skyrocketing PPC advertising costs.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? Video ads. It takes too long to watch them and it is too difficult to test multiple variations to optimize your campaigns. Text ads, on the other hand, are quick and easy to read and click through. People already fast forward through ads with their PVR’s so why would they specifically watch them on web sites?

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies?

  • Microsoft’s Live search bombs so bad it gets canned.
  • The new HotMail beta gets reworked because thousands of people complain and ask to get rolled back to the previous version.
  • Major consolidation of some social networking sites and the death of others. The problem of fake profiles for advertising and spam cause huge difficulties in management of the sites and keeping audiences interested.
  • The rise of Democracy player and on demand Internet TV.

Continue reading "Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Keith Holloway" »

December 07, 2006

Five Questions For Simon Rodrigue, Home Depot

Simon Rodrigue, Senior Manager, eCommerce and Interactive Marketing at Home Depot Canada, has been tasked with the role of creating a consumer-centric business that supports the retail channel in Canada. With his help, Home Depot now ranks among the top Online Canadian retailers, as the company continues to evolve its traditional media plan to include a mixed media strategy. Prior to working at Home Depot Canada, Simon was a Senior Business and Marketing Consultant with Nortel Networks Global Services.

One Degree: Tell me about the Hammer Drop concept?

The Hammer Drop concept is something we started working on a little over a year ago. We study trends and how interesting sites are evolving and how they could be incorporated into our concept of Home Improvement online. As a relatively new player in eCommerce in Canada, we felt that this could encourage consumers to try homedepot.ca for the first time.

One Degree: This is based on woot.com right? I think it’s pretty cool that an established brand like Home Depot would adopt such an innovative approach. Was this hard to sell internally?

It is absolutely based off woot.com, with a Canadian/Home Depot twist. It actually wasn’t that hard to sell internally. At Home Depot we understand the value of a strong multi-channel presence and building customer engagement through our website. Hammer Drop is just a piece to that puzzle.

One Degree: What’s the response been since you launched Hammer Drop?

The response to Hammer Drop has been great. We have been very happy with the results and since we’ve launched, many of the other etailers have followed suit in the Canada marketplace. We plan to continue to evolve this property over the holiday season and into 2007.

One Degree: Standard question for all online retailers – what’s your take on the state of e-commerce in Canada?

I personally feel that as an industry we are 2 – 3 years behind and I don’t believe that it is the consumer’s willingness that is keeping us back. In Canada, online and broadband penetration is among the highest in the world and most consumers bank online. What we lack is overall selection in the Canadian marketplace and as retailers we are to blame.

An easy exercise to understand the dilemma our consumers face is to pick a key product category and search for the number of Canadian retailers that are selling these products or services online. Typically you’ll find one or two Canadian retailers that have a serious offering (either equal or greater than the store) and a couple that have a few selected products. The majority of the products that the consumer will have access too are from US based firms and when the consumer takes shipping into consideration the purchase is not worth while.

We’re in a perfect Game Theory situation where if retailers all focused on providing more selection and a better experience, the whole market could see incredible growth. I could go on with some other potential opportunities for the Canadian marketplace, but I’ll save it for a full contribution to One Degree.

One Degree: How closely do you work with your US counterparts at homedepot.com?

We have a great relationship with homedepot.com and use it to our advantage. Although we are autonomous from a business perspective, we leverage the relationship and expertise that they have. This has allowed us to quickly enter the market with some new technologies that we would not have been able to afford if we were a Canadian only business. The other advantage is that as we are a smaller and more flexible team we often take on tests for the global organization so we can see how a new technology or ideas interacts with our brand.

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Marc Poirier

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Marc Poirier shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? Blogs going corporate. I heard the rumors and I laughed. I knew small companies would find great ways to capitalize on them, of course. But Walmart? and McDonald’s?

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? Yes we did. The most significant tool we have added to our kit is basecamp, an awesome project management application that anyone can use. We love it, and so do our clients.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? Bloggers getting paid to post or to review products and services.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? Web 2.0 – it’ll be time to start hyping something else for 2008.

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? I’ll repeat last year’s prediction, Microsoft will buy Yahoo. There were rumors this past year, but nothing has materialized. If Microsoft means it when they say they want to take over search, they will HAVE to buy their way in.

TripAdvisor Took My Idea. Thanks!

Well, OK, maybe TripAdvisor didn't take my idea exactly (time will tell), but one thing's for certain: they did like the domain names I suggested in my One Degree post from earlier this week, Take My Idea, Please!

I guess I should be flattered. It would appear that not only do the folks at TripAdvisor read my Internet marketing blog, where this post orginally appeared on December 4, but they liked my idea so much they immediately went and registered the domain names I suggested. Good for TripAdvisor. You guys work fast.

December 06, 2006

Burger King As A Gamer?

Burger King has had some interesting ad campaigns over the last few years, most notably their “Subservient Chicken” and “The King” campaigns. They’ve recently extended these campaigns by selling video games featuring their characters.

Burger King is offering 3 games, at a price of $4.99 with a meal purchase or $12.99 for all 3 games. These prices are far below typical video game prices. The games are only available for the Xbox and Xbox 360 and feature support for the Xbox Live system to play online. The video games are also supported by the www.bkgamer.com micro-site with top scores, downloadable desktop wallpaper and Instant Messenger icons.

Burger King has done a great job of promoting the games with TV and online ads. A number of video game web sites have reviewed the games, some with positive reviews, some not, but all of them are talking about Burger King. With teens spending more time online and playing video games, in game advertising strategies are expected to increase. I’m not sure it makes sense to create an entire game experience like Burger King has but maybe the days of cheap plastic toys with your burger are over.

White Ribbon Campaign launches blog ...

I’m thrilled to see another Canadian organization launching a blog. This time it’s the White Ribbon campaign—the world'€™s largest effort by men to end men's violence against women. It was started by a handful of men in Canada in 1991 on the second anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Their blog is called Our Future has No Violence Against Women. The plans for the blog include:

  1. Provide updates on activities from White Ribbon Campaigns around the world
  2. Host commentary and opinion pieces from advocates working to end violence against women from across the planet
  3. Serve as a centralized online forum for individuals to come and discuss issues

They’ve gotten off to a good start with some commentary on the recent Dawson school shooting in Montreal as well as the UN’s declaration of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Thanks to Chris Carder for the head’s up on the White Ribbon blog.

~~~ For those of you in Vancouver, the December 6th Memorial Rally gets underway at 6:30p.m, outside the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, 350 West Georgia. Also, a passionate call to action by Gina Whitfield. ~~~

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Sulemaan Ahmed

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Sulemaan Ahmed shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? The growth of blogging and podcasting. They are both still in what I’d call the early adopter phase but they will go mainstream (to varying degrees) as email did in the coming years. I don’t think it’s a question of ‘if’ anymore but rather ‘when’.

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? Personally, I would say that I started blogging myself and also started using RSS feeds a lot more. Not to mention listening to marketing podcasts on my iPod was new use of an old tool. Only so much U2 and Pet Shop Boys one can listen to after all.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? I’d have to say the increased usage and adoption of search engines by businesses. The continued growth by Google, the coming Panama application (reminds me of the Van Halen song) by Yahoo! and search tools by Microsoft are all going to grow the search market even further. That’s great because competition is a good thing. Another trend is increased adoption and usage of video online. My old man was in television for 30 years and he’s glad he retired as the current t.v. advertising model is not sustainable. If you are in television sales, it’s time for a career change. The effects are already being felt. My hope is that the television industry doesn’t go down the legal war path like the music industry did. You can’t stop a moving freight train so you might as well hop on for the ride.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? I think Second Life. Besides branding, I don’t see much use for it from a commercial perspective. Some of my fellow digerati will probably disagree. I wouldn’t call it ‘No Life’ but I’m just not sold on it. Having said that, nothing would make me happier than being proven wrong as I’m a proponent of all things digital-marketing.

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? Hmm, besides One Degree being purchased by a HUGE conglomerate for millions of dollars. And all of the contributors can go on a nice sabbatical? Wait a minute, where are my stock options Ken??? In all seriousness, I think search is going to continue to grow like crazy as it’s mainstream enough that more companies will invest heavily into it and move their advertising away from other offline mediums. I’m also predicting some kind of mash-up with iPods. Whether they can become cell-phone or GPS enabled devices, there is potential there.

In terms of bubbles bursting? Hopefully nothing as I’m still recovering from Nortel. Reputations toppled? Well after the Michael Richards (N.B. – This may offend viewers) debacle, basically anyone who is an ass in front of anyone else that has the ability to upload to YouTube. I always preferred George anyway. Happy Festivus everyone!

Take My Idea, Please!

I love films. Always have. Always will.

Unfortunately, I may never step foot inside a movie theatre again.

For the last few years, every single time I have gone to see a film in a theatre the overall experience has been really frustrating.

Last weekend was sadly typical. My wife and I went to see Casino Royale at our local movie theatre. We should have stayed at home. Not because of the film, which is quite good, but because of all the other crap we had to put up with.

(Be patient, there's an Internet angle to this...)

Continue reading "Take My Idea, Please!" »

December 05, 2006

Five Questions For Rob Lewis, The Common Fan

TheCommonFan.com gives ordinary hockey Fans a place to join or create a hockey Pool with absolutely zero hassle, and it’s FREE. There is no need for a Pool administrator, planning, or making decisions. Heck, we can even pick your players for you, though we have a feeling you’ll want to do that part yourself.

One Degree: What made you start thecommonfan.com?

Common Fan was started by five guys who love hockey. After years of using frustrating online hockey pools from OfficePools.com, Yahoo!, and PickUpHockey.com we thought we’d ease our frustration by just building our own. The idea made perfect sense, no longer would we be frustrated by clunky interfaces, trash talk chat so difficult to use that no one ends up using it, and few to no personalization options.

Over the past couple months; TheCommonFan.com has evolved into an amazing marketing tool for anyone interested in our demographic – Canadian men between 15 and 39. Since anyone can set up their own weekly, monthly, or annual hockey pool for FREE, we’ve had quite a few businesses join the countless office and personal hockey pools on the site. For example, InBev’s Beer.com website is running one of the largest pools on our site and has engaged a much larger audience as a result. I’m sure they appreciated the 25,000 promotional beer coasters we’ve handed out across Canada too. On the other end of the spectrum, Jack the Modern Barbershop in Vancouver runs regular monthly pools for their clients and gives away prizes to the winners. In their case, it makes the customers a little more loyal, and brings in new clients to the shop as well.

One Degree: Do you make money exclusively from Google ads or will you be doing more with the site? (Not that there’s anything wrong with Adsense)

To date, we make money exclusively from Google Ads but these ads are essentially placeholders until we have national advertisers on board. Our focus in Season One is on building content and traffic. TheCommonFan.com blog does incredibly well with the search engines and has turned into our main marketing tool. As new Fans sign up, personalize their profiles, set up new pools, and participate in Trash Talk, this user-generated content grows our site. We’re currently delivering 10,000 page impressions per day and expect that to triple that by start of next season.

One Degree: How much explaining do you need to do to get new visitors up-to-speed?

Any visitor that has spent any time on other online hockey pool websites will find TheCommonFan.com more than self-explanatory. The big difference between our site and others is that we’ve made it super simple to register – new users need only an email address and password to get started. Once they’re in, they can join public pools and set up their own pools in seconds.

One Degree: You launched at the beginning of this hockey season. What are you doing to increase awareness and use of the site?

We learned a lot about start-up marketing from 37signals book Getting Real. We started blogging about our impending launch in the middle of the summer. This allowed us to generate some buzz in the hockey blogging community. Capturing over 1,000 email addresses of hockey fans interested in learning more about TheCommonFan.com gave us a huge traffic boost the day we went live.

Now that the season has started, we’re focused on finding organizations that can benefit from using TheCommonFan.com. Businesses that serve the same demographic tend to get the concept immediately after visiting the site. The flexibility of our pool formats means that we don’t have to sit back and wait for the season to wrap up before starting anything new. Monthly pools are driving awareness during the NHL season, and we’re pumped about our Fans using TheCommonFan.com for 2007 playoff pools.

One Degree: What happens in the off-season?

Season Two is where TheCommonFan.com gets exciting. By October of 2007, we will have 10,000 hockey fans using the site and we’ll be close to launching other sports league pools. The simple pool format works for almost any sport, and there a few worldwide that are a little more popular than hockey – stay tuned.

Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 - Jon Lax

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Jon Lax shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006? Large clients embracing sites like YouTube for distributing their TV commercials. Surprising in that they see the value in handing something over to a community and letting it go. The Dove campaign was really a great proof that excellent creative does not need to be placed in paid media to be successful.

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006? Video. Never before have we done as much video production and concepting. We now have 3 people with video editing, writing and production skills. We had 1 in 2005.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007? Microbuys. Doing really quick and niche advertising. Creative custom created for placements. Banner ads will begin a slow death as CTRs continue to plummet.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? User generated content will reach a saturation point. How many times can you watch someone get kicked in the crotch?

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies?

  • Microsoft will have a terrible 2007. Vista will be a failure. People will wonder why they waited all this time for a Windows update that is full of security holes and still clunky. Corporations will begin looking at Apple and Linux as serious contenders.
  • The bubble will burst in a small way. The Web can’t support 250+ video sharing sites, or 100+ social networking sites. There will be a shake out with a lot of sites closing down. But it will not have the same impact that the first bubble did since all the financing is private and not on the public markets.
  • IPTV will begin to show its power in 2007 as an alternative to cable and satellite. The new Apple ITV box will be the start of the disruption of TV. PVR will seem like a minor annoyance to what is about to be unleashed.

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