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Posts from November 2007

November 27, 2007

"Noise to Signal" on Social Media Parenting


November 26, 2007

2008 - Year of the Mobile Web, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we talked about setting up domains specifically to cater to the mobile user. There are many approaches to setting up sub-domains specific to mobile. I've seen "m." (m.facebook.com), "mobile." (mobile.nytimes.com), "wap." (wap.gc.ca) and "mobile" added to the actual URL (CNNmobile.com). My advice - remember that typing on a mobile device is not as easy as on a full desktop keyboard, so short is better.  "m." is by far the most logical approach if you aren't convinced you need to invest in a specific dotMobi domain name.

Now that you know what the mobile web is all about, here are some reasons why 2008 could finally be the year consumers in Canada adopt it:

  1. Pending introduction of the iPhone in Canada. The mobile web experience is better on an iPhone. The iPhone safari browser makes surfing the web on mobile fun again.  Other competitors are working on mobile devices to compete with the iPhone.  At the minimum, the iPhone will drive overall consumer awareness of the mobile web.
  2. Fixed data plans in Canada. Bell has quietly introduced an unlimited mobile browser plan - Rogers can't be far behind - and many believe it's a mandatory condition for releasing the iPhone to Canada. When the data plans become cheaper or fixed, you'll see mass adoption similar to what happened after the introduction of unlimited SMS plans.
  3. Consumer awareness around mobile specific sites.  Some of the most popular websites on the net like Facebook and YouTube now offer a mobile specific experience which is training consumers to expect and look for other optimized mobile sites.
  4. Google. With the announcement last week of their new open mobile platform called Android, Google is entering the mobile web space aggressively which is bound to accelerate adoption and usage of the mobile web in Canada and around the world.

In the U.S. where there are already fixed data plans and mobile internet adoption rates as high as 25%, we're seeing case studies from P&G that demonstrate that the mobile web can be at least as effective in driving customer behaviour as the desktop internet.  In one example, a multi-channel above and below the line campaign for Covergirl saw a higher number of unique visitors and opt-ins on the mobile web over the desktop web.

Marketers new to the mobile channel in Canada should probably start with what already works - SMS; however, those with year-end budgets and a client looking to be innovative can start leveraging the mobile web now.

November 20, 2007

Five Questions for Mario Parisé - Second Slice Magazine

Second_sliceA new Canadian online digital magazine, Second Slice,  focuses on issues of marketing in virtual worlds. One Degree sat down with its publisher and VP at One Up Marketing, Mario Parisé, to learn about this new publication.

One Degree: Who are you, what is Second Slice Magazine, and how did it all get started?

Mario Parisé. 23. From Sudbury, Ontario. Second Slice is an attempt to give marketers who are active in virtual worlds a stronger and more unified voice. It all got started when the more mainstream business press decided to go on a Second Life bashing spree, ridiculing marketers and businesses going in-world. They started a fight, and we're not backing down.

One Degree: So you see this as a way to take on the critics?

In part, yes.  More importantly this is about recognizing that for all their problems, and the hurdles we have yet to face, virtual worlds are important. They represent a fundamental shift in society that we will not fully appreciate for many years, much like how it took so long for us to recognize the importance of the 2D Web. The goal is to foster discussion and debate that takes us, as marketers, as an industry, and as people, to entirely new levels that we cannot even foresee.

One Degree: Who's contributed to this first issue?

Sarah "Intellagirl Tully" Robbins has pitched in an article on how virtual worlds fit into the big picture of Web 2.0. Kate Trgovac is contributing a multi-part series on what marketers can and must learn from indigenous fashion designers. Nic Mitham has written a multi-part piece on virtual retailing. Evelyne Gervais, my partner in crime, talks intimately about the importance of seeing ourselves not only as marketers, but as part of a community. We're also reprinting a few important and controversial blog posts from Joseph Jaffe and John Wall (with their permission).

One Degree: What's the benefit of Second Slice to the readers?

Ideally, if we do our jobs right, reading Second Slice means you will be as knowledgeable, if not more so, than anyone else when it comes to marketing in virtual worlds. It should ultimately act as a platform for teaching and debate. Whether or not we achieve that goal is a judgment I'll leave to the community.

One Degree: What are your hopes for the magazine?

Fundamentally, I hope people contribute. I hope that everyone who reads it is inspired to get their hands dirty, experiment, and then write about that. I hope we start many arguments, that people get riled up, take stances, and ultimately grow from the experience. I hope we can inspire that kind of passion. If we don't, the magazine might as well not be published at all.

"Noise to Signal" on PR Company wants YOU to blog?


November 19, 2007

BC Hydro's Green Gifts: Harnessing Facebook Gift-giving Energy for Conservation

When you're a company looking to make your first foray into the thickets of social media, building your own online community from scratch – and taking on everything from usability issues to platform selection to how you get that critical mass of people to sign up in the first place – can seem pretty daunting, and with good reason.

British Columbia's public power utility, BC Hydro, is taking a different tack: a toe in the water that could well signal a bigger splash to come. Instead of building their own stand-alone entry in the Web 2.0 sweepstakes and trying to lure users from other sites, they've headed to where people are already participating in droves: Facebook.

BC Hydro, with the help of Social Signal, has created Green Gifts, a brand new Facebook Platform application. Green Gifts lets you send a free virtual gift to your friends, including an icon-sized environmentally-themed image, a personal message from you, and a practical Power Smart tip for conserving energy and reducing your environmental footprint.


And it's that tip that's the key to the whole thing. Virtual gift-giving is huge on Facebook (as your notification inbox attests soon after you join it). BC Hydro wanted to capture just a little of that activity... and give people a chance to devote it to energy conservation.

Which is emblematic of the approach we're recommending to many of our clients who are new to the social web (and more than a few who are old hands). You don't have to create the next Facebook, YouTube or Flickr to successfully engage your public; especially if you're starting out, join them wherever they're already participating:

  • Chances are good your potential users are already voting with their feet - or, more to the point, their browsers. For instance, judging by the figures for the Vancouver and Kelowna networks alone, there are well over half a million British Columbians registered on Facebook, and the number keeps growing. The province's goal of becoming energy self-sufficient by 2016 makes it urgent that BC Hydro's message reach as many ears and eyes as possible... and Facebook's an ideal vehicle.
  • Look for opportunities that offer plenty of participatory infrastructure. The Facebook Platform is loaded with features, beautifully usable and highly flexible. (Want to program in PHP? Go ahead. Java? Sure. Flash? Knock yourself out.) The documentation is extensive and, at least as far as functionality goes, thorough. (Facebook's admirable determination to prevent spam and abuse, on the other hand, translates into unannounced notification restrictions and usage algorithms that had us climbing the walls once or twice. Eh, we lived.)
  • Look for the culture of participation among the users, and work with it. Facebook is a place where people come to keep touch with each other, and often it's a light touch at that. Green Gifts gives users a way to connect, while spreading the word about conservation.

November 18, 2007

One Degree In Cruise Control over Next Few Weeks...

Hello everyone .. Just a quick note to let you know that 2/3 of the regular One Degree management and editorial crew are headed off on their honeymoon. We've got a few things scheduled but we will definitely be lighter on posting. We'll be back in the full swing of things in early December.

November 14, 2007

2008 - Year of the Mobile Web, Part 1

Mobilepic Canadian Marketers interested in leveraging the full reach of mobile have rarely ventured (so far) beyond SMS to the mobile web...and with good reason.

Aside from the fact that only about 11% of Canadians with mobile devices actually use the mobile internet, the experience to date has been inconsistent at best and convoluted and expensive at worst.

Besides a general lack of consumer awareness that you can actually browse the web on your mobile device, there have been some other major barriers to adoption:

  1. Graphics not optimized for the mobile web resulting in an inconsistent experience
  2. Slow access
  3. Difficult to navigate - just try tsn.ca in your mobile browser... there are about 14 pages of navigation before you get to the content!
  4. Content is not optimized for the mobile experience
  5. No support for PDF, javascript or flash - so many sites just simply don't work on the mobile web

In order for the mobile web to become more relevant and important than the desktop web, consumers need an experience that is consistent, easy, and intuitive. Enter dotMobi. dotMobi is the first and only Internet domain extension designed specifically for mobile. dotMobi is the consumer trustmark for reliable mobile content sites and for the devices that will provide the best experience. Consumers seeing a URL with ".mobi" should know that the site is optimized to work specifically for their mobile device.

dotmobi is not a technology - it's a set of open standards based on the W3C Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) designed to create a consistent and positive mobile web experience. You can follow these practices for your own domain / sub-domain without having to promote a separate URL...although dotmobi is a consumer trustmark that says this WILL work on my mobile device.

The dotMobi domain name is the result of many of the world's industry leaders coming together to create a common mobile domain platform. Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, T-Mobile, vodaphone and telefonica have all supported the initiative. The following mobile associations have also supported it: CTIA, CWTA, GSM Association, Mobile Entertainment forum, Mobile Marketing Association, RCA, and W3C (the folks who invented this internet thing).

There has been some debate in the mobile community over the value of having a domain name setup specifically for mobile. Some argue that smart brands have one URL with an auto-detect script setup to determine which version (desktop or mobile for example) to serve up. For example, Facebook will serve up a completely different experience on the iPhone, BlackBerry, or desktop web based on auto-detection - all from their main URL. Ford of Canada has done exactly this but with two URLs - type in their mobile URL (fordca.mobi) on the web and you'll be redirected to ford.ca. Try typing in ford.ca in your mobile web browser, and you'll be redirected to the mobile URL.

Detractors of dotMobi or a separate mobile URL have a logical point of view - why should you have to market a separate URL after investing time and money into your .ca or .com site? I would point out that consumers browsing the mobile web or receiving an embedded link in an SMS message may be more apt to click-through to your site if they know it's optimized specifically for the mobile web. Until the majority of sites offer an equivalent mobile experience, there is value in having a separate mobile URL as a necessary marketing evil.

Now that you have a mobile overview, stay tuned for Part 2, where I'll break down the reasons why  2008 could finally be the year consumers in Canada adopt the mobile web.

November 13, 2007

"Noise to Signal" on Wikisomnia

For the next few weeks we'll be running some "classic" Noise to Signal cartoons as Rob takes a cartooning break ...

November 12, 2007

The Great Web 2.0 Opportunity for PR

As Web 2.0 matures and there are sparks of discussion about Web 3.0, the PR industry has an opportunity not only to join the party, but to establish itself as a major player.

Last week, Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail, declared a ban on PR people who had sent him unwanted press releases or other spam. In the spirit of “full disclosure”, I’m sure that I have sent unwanted or even irrelevant emails of the sort to journalists during my career. But this post is about reinvention, not paying for sins of the past! So, PR pros - let's ask ourselves the following questions and take a step towards making PR the key to our client or company’s success in the Web 2.0 world.

1. Are you a PR spammer? If you send out each and every press release to your entire media list, you may well be. Chris Anderson certainly thinks so. A great PR agency I used to work with, Ricochet Public Relations, would not send out a press release to a mass press list. If it was a story they could pitch, they would target a select group of journalists they felt would be interested in the story and include the press release as additional information supporting the pitch. They got better results, because journalists were more likely to take a look at what they were sending them, because they developed a reputation for not sending spam.

2. Have you tried the Social Media Press Release? The Social Media Press Release (SMPR) is a template developed by SHIFT PR in response to a call for the death of the press release. At their core, press releases should be a teaser for journalists to write something more about the subject. The SMPR includes the key points of the release and includes a variety of media (images, video, etc.) to give journalists and bloggers a variety of information to put together their own unique stories on the topic. The concept is evolving, but the key is to just try it. I recently tried it out myself after debating it for ages. I’ll do some things differently the next time, but it was a good time to just do it.

3. Do you treat bloggers like old-school journalists? The most common faux pas is an email to a blogger that reads something like “I read your blog and thought you might be interested in this product/services/press release/company”. The reality is usually that bloggers have different rules of engagement and are interested in conversations, not pitches. Start by reading the blog and making comments where appropriate. You will want to establish who is getting a lot of attention through links and other coverage, but keep in mind it may be also worth building a relationship with an emerging voice in the blogosphere. They may not be big now, but a few months from now, they may be a leading authority.

4. Do you integrate your marketing programs? PR is not an island, but part of the bigger marketing bucket. The term "integrated marketing" has been thrown around for a while now, but if your client isn’t embracing it or your company isn’t doing it, here’s an opportunity to take the lead. Bottom line - include your SEO keywords in your press releases, link to your company blog and reference the landing page designed by your product marketing team.

5. Are you the resident expert on buzz? There is tremendous value in getting a positive mention of your company, but to those who don’t really get PR, that doesn’t provide long term value to your organization or client. However, PR has a front row seat to the outside world and finding out what people are talking about and care about. Analyze what trends the community (bloggers, analysts, industry experts) is talking about, what is important to them and figure out how you can funnel that into market research, your next product or service or marketing campaign. For those target who consumers (B2C as opposed to B2B), there is an interesting company, Umbria, that analyzes the discussion in blogs, forums and the like to provide actionable insight to its customers. For example, it provides data weekly to CNN on what the blogosphere is saying about current issues.

Some of you may be questioning whether PR can really grab a seat at the grown-up table. Let’s be honest - most people still don’t really understand what PR is and how it can impact a business. By demonstrating the power PR and communications can have and defining its role, there is a real opportunity for PR to take a leadership position.

Remember when you were in school and you went away for the summer and came back totally different? Well this could be PR’s first day of the new school year.

November 11, 2007

Wednesday, November 14 - November Girl Geek Dinner - Toronto

GgdNovember's dinner - scheduled for Wednesday November 14th at Brassaii (dinner is $40/pp, taxes & gratuity included) - is almost upon us and Kate Trgovac of Reinvent! Communications will be speaking about Virtual Worlds.

The popularity of virtual worlds is rising. Second Life is one of the most well-known, with Canadian brands like Telus, Harlequin and Canada Post setting up a presence or holding an event, but what about other worlds? Habbo Hotel. Virtual Laguna Beach. Club Penguin. StarDolls. Sony’s Home. Billions of dollars are being invested globally in 2D and 3D immersive experiences leading some to wonder:

  • How will these experiences fit in with social networks?
  • What’s the appeal?
  • Should I be worried: as a marketer, a parent, a participant?

Kate will share some of her thoughts on the rising popularity of virtual worlds and give an overview of a few of the more popular ones.

Be sure to sign-up at the Toronto Girl Geek Dinners Wiki.

Tuesday, November 20 - CaseCamp 6 - Toronto

Cc6CaseCamp 6 is here -- this time with a Facebook Experiment!

OneDegree readers are cordially invited to CaseCamp Toronto 6 on November 20 at the Century Room on King Street. Register in advance on the CaseCamp 6 wiki, Facebook page, or just show up. As always, the event is free.

The programme is looking hot! Three of the four confirmed 15-minute case-studies include:

  1. Globeandmail.com - Engaging the Community: Comments and Beyond, by 
Angus Frame, Editor of Globeandmail.com

  2. Mobile Marketing for Levis @ Virgin Fest Toronto, by Brady Murphy, Managing Partner at Vortex Mobile
  3. Treehugger.com - Growing a global online community, by Lloyd Alter, Treehugger.com

In the lounge, Media Lab Toronto will be hosting an interactive mobile experience while Andrew Mcconnachie will be providing aural pleasure from the DJ booth.

The CaseCamp Facebook Experiment
Last week’s Facebook announcement of "Pages" and "Social Ads" was hotly debated across the Web. There’s no doubt that finding a sustainable balance between the needs of community and of marketers is the most significant challenge facing communications today.

CaseCamp is a place for experimentation – so we’ve created a Facebook profile for CaseCamp 6 where we’ll be running social ads all this week, and we’re going to encourage debate at CaseCamp on what worked and what didn’t.


Become a Fan of CaseCamp if you’d like to participate and have the ads present in your own social graph to get a first hand sense of how your audiences are going to feel when you ask them to become fans of your brand.

See you November 20th!  And feel free to get in touch by email or phone (416.566.2322) if you’d like to chat.

November 08, 2007

DMC: Mark Hurst from Creative Good on Reducing Info Clutter

Mark's was one of the talks I was most looking forward to at the DMC. I've followed his work at Creative Good for quite a while. I was disappointed, overall, in his talk because it really seemed like a LONG promo for his book, Bit Literacy. What would have been really great is if his book was handed out at the DMC; then I wouldn't have minded the "read my book to understand what I'm talking about" nature of his talk as much. As it was, if you had never heard of Mark and didn't know he was using a special tool (GooToDo, see below) to de-clutter his inbox, I would imagine you were a little frustrated. The lead-up to the talk promised a lot and then ultimately delivered, in my opinion, little. However, I AM going to get the book .. because Mark is quite smart and quite passionate about the info clutter topic. I've read a free guide on managing your email (PDF) that he wrote a couple of years ago. And I've enjoyed his Uncle Mark's Gift Guide and Almanac where he really applies his understanding of technology and usability to the practical arena of gift giving. We interviewed Mark after his talk and asked him what the one thing you can do to get out from information overload ... clean up your inbox!! You can play the video that Alexa shot if you want to hear him say it :) [NB .. if you can't see the embedded video, use the direct link. I'm currently having issues w/ Viddler.] For those of you who were wondering how the heck Mark sent emails to "monday" or "2 weeks from now", he was demo'ing his online To-Do list (paid) service called GooToDo. If you have any feedback on Mark's talk or tips on how you manage info overload, please leave a comment!

November 07, 2007

"Noise to Signal" on Growing Up Digital


Wednesday, November 14 - Web Analytics Wednesday - Toronto

Are you going to Web Analytics Wednesday (WAW) Toronto on November 14th? You should! It’s going to be at Bar Wellington, 520 Wellington Street West, 416.341.8880. Sign up on the event Web site.

What is WAW?
A brain child of Eric Peterson, WAW events are an opportunity for folks interested in Web Analytics to meet face to face informally and chat about sweet successes or trials and tribulations of working in analytics. WAW's began in early 2005 and are held around the world at 6 P.M. local time. Frequently asked questions about WAW.)

A big "Thank you" to Patrick Glinski, Critical Mass for organizing this event (and the last 2 also!)

You do NOT have to be a Web analyst or heavily involved in Web analytics to attend. All are welcome, whether you're from the Toronto area or not. In fact, at the past WAWs, we've had the pleasure of meeting Joseph and Susan Carrabis of NextStage Evolution (Scotsburn, N.S), Shaina Boone from Critical Mass (Chicago) and Mike Spaeth from Coremetrics (New York), who all happened to be in the area and joined our gathering.

Join us! To find out more about the event and register, check out the event Web site.

November 06, 2007

What's Cool to Tweens? Hint, it's not pogs!

Do you remember pogs?  What about Pokemon?  Or Cabbage Patch Kids? All of these were considered "cool" at one time or another during my childhood.  The most technologically advanced "cool" thing was Pong on my Atari home system. Kids today have a different sense of cool.  Or at least different options.  YTV has released their Tween Report for Fall 2007 and all things digital are all things cool:


Also of note, this generation is currently feeling safe, happy and optimistic about the future!

With increasingly gruesome headlines flashing before our eyes, it’s comforting to know that the majority of kids feel safe at home, in school and in their neighbourhoods. - 93% of kids agree with the statement “My neighbourhood is safe” (49% agree a lot, 44% agree a little) - 93% of kids say “I feel safe in my school” (46% agree a lot, 47% agree a little) - 95% of kids say “My parents can always keep me safe” (66% agree a lot, 29% agree a little)

Today’s generation of tweens appear to be happy, content, and optimistic about the future: - 91% of kids believe they will go to University (59% agree a lot, 32% agree a little) - 97% of kids say they “have great friends” (66% agree a lot, 31% agree a little) - 96% of kids agree with the statement “I believe I will have a good job” (69% agree a lot, 28% agree a little) - And 96% of kids say “I am happy most of the time” (59% agree a lot, 37% agree a little)

November 05, 2007

SocialAds: The worst kept secret in marketing

Forget the Microsoft deal. The real sign of Facebook’s maturity? Its new PR tactics, now featuring announcements of important upcoming announcements and information strategically leaked to highly trafficked blogs.

Such it is that our 23-year-old social overlord's secret advertising announcement, scheduled for tomorrow in New York, has received more thorough analysis than the federal government’s budget, despite no official confirmation in Zuckerberg’s status.

If even half the speculation proves true, that status might tomorrow read: “Mark is becoming the richest twentysomething in history by helping advertisers know you better than your mom.” Poking Madison Ave. We knew something was up in May, when Facebook opened the doors to widget-building with its Facebook developer platform. (Today, I can hardly imagine life without some of these essential widgets, allowing you to throw sheep at friends after turning them into zombies.) Now Facebook is approaching 50 million users and, following the Microsoft deal, is apparently worth nearly $15 billion. What to do with these friends—making Facebook the number two social site behind MySpace—and a strategic alliance with Microsoft, which desperately chases Google for online ad revenue? Enter SocialAds, the name that Facebook trademarked in late September, likely for a new advertising service targeting users based on highly personal information such as their age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, relationship status, location and interests. Mark has sent you a message Christian rock promoter throwing a singles event in Sarnia? Facebook lets you hit the right masses. Television producer interested in who has your program as a favourite? Facebook gives you a better rating than Nielsen. Ethics and privacy aside—the subject of future articles, no doubt—Facebook’s move into highly personalized promotion could be no less important than Google’s launch of AdWords about seven years earlier. Forrester says social marketing will be worth about $10 billion by 2012. So whether you agree with it or not, to reach your target audience, you probably want to add the SocialAds application to your marketing profile.

November 04, 2007

IAB Canada Launches "Social Network"

The Interactive Advertising Board of Canada has launched a "social network" to celebrate their 10th anniversary.  The site, www.iabcanada10th.com, collects stories, photos and videos from the interactive scene from the last 10 years. I'm not sure I'd call it a social network, but it is a great project for people to share their stories and tall tales from the first 10 years in our industry.


November 01, 2007

"Noise to Signal" on Upgrading


Wednesday, November 14 – Web Analytics Seminar - Toronto

Do you need to measure the value of your Web site?

  • Need to figure out how your website ROI can be relevantly assessed?
  • Can you evaluate how well your site is reaching and connecting with your target audience?
  • Are you still counting "hits" and struggling to understand the value, effectiveness, and impact of your site?
  • Puzzled about how to measure social media and Web 2.0?

Then this seminar is for you!

"Boost Your Website's Impact, Effectiveness and ROI with Web Analytics" is back by popular demand! Our new one-day boot camp format covers all the bases to bring you up to speed on using Web analytics to make your web site work harder and be more effective. You'll leave with practical, useful, and up-to-date know how and case studies.

One Degree readers get a special pricing on registration when they register online by November 8. Check out the savings at the One Degree Special Discount Page.

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