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Posts from January 2008

January 31, 2008

Welcome to New Contributors on One Degree

Superheroes In the past couple of weeks, we've had a few new contributors here on One Degree.  We'd like to formally welcome them to our League of Extraordinary Contributors:

We originally interviewed Simon Rodrigue in one of our 5 Question Interviews; now he's blogging and writing for us.  His piece on Online Merchandising gives a great framework for thinking about how to position and promote your product online.

We met our new contributor from Halifax, Ben Boudreau, through CBC's Canada Writes. His most recent post, MRP 101 - Measuring for Success! was picked up as one of the top 15 PR posts of the day over at PR Voices earlier this week.

Sonia Carreno is the principal of Toronto-based Passage Communications.  Her post on Social Networking and the Key to Anne's Diary - Biometrics had our Anne-obsessed managing editor wishing the internet had been around when she was a kid.

Our contributors are One Degree's greatest asset. If you're interested in writing for One Degree, we'd love to hear from you! Here's how you can become a contributor.

Photo credit: Superheroes by Matt Stratton

Feb 7 - Web Analytics to Marketing Optimization - Ottawa

January 30, 2008

N2S on the Bar Scene


Social Networking and The Key To Anne's Diary...Biometrics


I had a great chat this week with Emily Want, CEO of Anne's Diary.  A subsidiary of Logica Holdings Group, the site launched in November and quickly gained the valuable reputation of becoming one of the Internet's "super-safest social networks". Inspired by one of Canada’s cultural literary gems, Anne of Green Gables, it's not hard to see why safety is critical for its chosen demographic.

The Toronto-based site's commitment to providing a safe environment for girls between 6 and 14 is echoed in their partnerships with Fujitsu Microelectronics and123ID to provide biometric login kits for fingerprint authentication that replaces password authentication for each incoming member on the network.

The biometric solution uses Novell's Modular Authentication Service to enroll users into Novell "eDirectory", eliminating the children’s need to remember logins or risk intrusion from outsiders.

To sign up, users pay a fee of $119.25 US per year or $12.95 US per month and receive a starter kit.  The starter kit includes a fingerprint reader that is tied to the member's identity once it has been approved.  As part of the approval process, parents must submit contact details for a guarantor (similar to a passport process).  Once the guarantor is contacted through Anne's Diary, the member is given an ID and may join the site.

One of the site's features is a direct line into the Ontario Provincial Police representative Robyn MacEachern.  Robyn is a Police Officer and a specialist in Youth Crime Prevention. She has partnered with Anne's Diary to help not only keep the site as safe as possible, but also to give advice to other people about how to stay safe online.

Continue reading "Social Networking and The Key To Anne's Diary...Biometrics" »

Update for our Email Subscribers

Many thanks to the 13 of you who responded to our poll :)  I don't know if statistically we can call that a fair sample (less than 2% - any statisticians in the audience?) but we'll take what we get.

So, you should notice a couple of changes in the One Degree email.  We've put a list of the articles in that issue at the top - you can use it to navigate to the full articles below.  This seemed to give the best of all worlds: folks who scan can have a list; folks who like the full-meal-deal can either skip the list and dive right in, or be judicious in their selection.

Feedback welcome either in the comments or by email.  We hope to add some other incremental improvements to the newsletter and it's easier to do that if you let us know what's working!

January 29, 2008

Recognizing Employees in Small but Significant Ways

Saw this on Savvica.com today (Savvica is a Toronto-based company founded by Malgosia and John Green) on their jobs page ...

They don't just remove a job, but they keep the content & link (good for Google), strike it out (good for both Readers/Applicants - I'm not waiting to hear about an open position - and Investors - company has hired in the past) and indicate who they filled it with by welcoming them to the company (great for new employee acknowledgment).


Nicely done!

Malgosia is the speaker at tomorrow night's (Wed, Jan 30) Toronto Girl Geek Dinner.  There are still a few spots on the wiki - so sign-up if you want to reserve a seat!

Make Customers Assume the Best

January 28, 2008

Domain Names Are the Stars of Tinseltown Conference

Last week I was in Hollywood, California attending and speaking at DOMAINfest 2008, one of the domain industry's two big conferences. Attendance was up this year with nearly 700 people attending from more than 25 countries. Many of the attendees were domainers (domain name investors) looking to buy, sell, and network.

I attended a number of sessions over the course of the event and thought I'd share a few highlights:

"Domain Names and the Law"

Domain name legal expert John Berryhill cautioned domain owners to be wary of vaguely worded purchase inquiries that don't explicitly offer to buy the domain; they could be lawyers representing trademark holders who are trolling with a different agenda (e.g. gathering info for a future legal claim against the unsuspecting domain owner).

Berryhill says, "The best trademark search tool is Google," as opposed to relying on official trademark databases.

"Domainers Town Hall with Frank Schilling"

This session was a Q&A with Frank Schilling, one the most famous and successful domainers in the world. Here are some choice quotes from Frank:

  • "Domain names ARE the Internet."
  • "There's no shelf life on domain names...domains are like Cognac" - on domain names as assets.
  • Owners of even just ten domains will be the media companies of the future."

When asked, Frank said he owns about 370,000 domain names that are managed as a business by a small team of five, including himself and his wife.

"Understanding the Big Picture"

Monty Cahn from Moniker provided some insights into the overall strength of the domain industry. Cahn says 70% of Internet users are using direct navigation (typing a domain into the browser address window) to get to a site. He also predicts that aftermarket (previously-owned) domain name sales will be a $1 billion business in 2010. Cahn estimates that also by 2010, 240 million domain names will have been registered. For reference, that's about double the amount that are registered today.

(My Tucows colleague James Koole helped with this report.)

MRP 101 – Measuring for Success!

A long-standing issue in the communications field is that of proving the return on investment for PR initiatives. Since the profession is not and will likely never become scientific, it has always been difficult to quantify our impact. A communicator can rarely stand up at a general meeting and explain that this letter to the editor changed 568 public perceptions thereby saving the client $8500. Don’t even think about justifying a word-of-mouth campaign to the finance department responsible for your budget!

In order to bring our profession to the next level of accountability, the Canadian Public Relations Society and International Association of Business Communicators joined together to showcase a new tool being presented as one of the biggest steps in reaching a level of standardized evaluation of our work – Media Relations Rating Points.

The Media Relations Rating Points system (MRP) is being called a cost-effective, simple measurement that gives professionals apples-to-apples comparisons of Media Relations initiatives. By predetermining customized evaluation criteria (key messages, inclusion of photo, quote from spokesperson – what you want to hear and see in the media coverage) for each campaign, a simple point system then offers a direct rating out of ten to quantify your success. Over 300 users representing over 1300 clients have already incorporated the system into their practices.

What does all this mean? Well, let’s find out by evaluating my own media campaign. In November of 2007, I was a finalist in the CBC Radio Canada Writes competition. [Despite crashing and burning in the first round, I still maintain the rights to hold this over the heads of my peers until the end of time.] As such, I made numerous radio appearances and was interviewed for both local newspapers in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We’ll use my media coverage to illustrate how the MRP system works. Read on!

Continue reading "MRP 101 – Measuring for Success!" »

Feb 6 - Web Analytics to Marketing Optimization - Montréal

Activation Emails: How to Make a Positive First Impression

Congratulations! You’ve got a new subscriber – someone who took the time to enroll on your website.  At a minimum, they’ve given you some contact information and permission to communicate with them. They may also have given you details about their preferences and probably a variety of demographic details that you will use for segmentation and targeting.

Now what?

The very next thing you do with email is critical in creating the tone for your online relationship with this new subscriber. So, rather than simply adding their name to the next regularly scheduled product/service emails, take this opportunity to create a truly positive first impression: it’s time to confirm and activate the subscriber. This focused approach to news subscribers is, what we at ThinData call an activation email.

Key Components of Activation Email

Activation emails achieve several purposes in your efforts to create a strong first impression. And, as such, you need to include several key components in your activation emails including the following:

Key Component: Include a sincere "thank you" message.
Purpose: Demonstrates your appreciation for the new subscriber.

Key Components: Include a description of the content, frequency and timing of emails subscribers can expect to receive, a clear instruction to add the "from address" to their address book/safe list and a link prompting subscribers to confirm and activate their subscription (i.e. double opt-in).
Purpose: Sets clear expectations of forthcoming messages, which can dramatically reduce incidences of subscribers deleting/mislabeling messages as spam.

Key Component: Activation emails should be sent within 48 hours of the initial subscription.
Purpose: Demonstrates a commitment to responsiveness.

Key Component:
Include the subscriber’s name, details about the subscription process such as when the subscription was initiated and the point of registration (e.g. specific website, specific product/offer, specific point-of-sale location, etc.). If additional data is known about the subscriber – e.g. gathered through a loyalty program or contained in a CRM system – use this information to further customize the content of the activation email.
Purpose: Demonstrates a commitment to ensuring email is relevant and personalized.

Activation emails also adhere to the most current Best Practices established by the Messaging Anti-Abuse Work Group (MAAWG) (pdf). These best practices recommend that when collecting subscriber information, email senders should always:

  • Seek out and verify consent/permission; and
  • Validate email addresses

Finally, an activation email provides another opportunity to highlight product information and/or provide rewards for subscribing. At the end of the day, there is only one opportunity to make a strong and positive first impression – and a well-considered, well-timed, targeted activation email plays a vital role.

Call for Nominations for the 2008 FITC Awards

Fitc_awards_3 Nominations are now open for the seventh annual FITC Design and Technology Awards, a celebration of the hottest talent and coolest work in design and technology today. Interested individuals and companies can go to http://awards.fitc.ca/main/submissions/ for details or to submit a project in one of over 15 categories.

New this year, the "Best Canadian" categories (designer, developer, studio and student portfolio) have been opened-up to a nomination process.

The deadline for nominations is March 1, 2008.

The FITC Design and Technology Awards will be presented at at gala event on April 21, 2008 during FITC Toronto: The Design and Festival, one of the largest events of its kind in the world. For more information, go to http://www.fitc.ca.

January 24, 2008

What Do You Use Your Dot-ca Domain Name For?

Cira_logo Your blog.
Your business.
Your pictures.
Your life.
What do you use your dot-ca domain name for?

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) wants to hear your dot-ca story. If selected, your story and website will appear as part of a national campaign to celebrate the registration of the Millionth dot-ca domain name.

Tell us your dot-ca story and you could win one of five Apple MacBook laptops. Complete the contest entry form before February 8th for your chance to win. Enter now!

Visit the CIRA website for complete contest rules.


N2S on Loan Applications


January 22, 2008

Tue, Feb 5 - Web Analytics to Marketing Optimization - Toronto

Feb 23-24 - PodCamp Toronto

Six simple tricks to boost AdWords clicks

January 21, 2008

Are Your Personal Photos Ready for a National Ad Campaign?

Remember that time you posted your wedding photos on Flickr? How about that time that you added your portfolio to your blog for a bit of self-promotion?

It doesn't take a web specialist to recognize the booming growth of social networking as the general public continues to flirt with voyeurism. My dad, my dog, my hairdresser and over 300 of my –ahem- closest personal friends all have their Facebook sites loaded up with photos, videos, poetry and artwork to showcase their interests, talents and personalities. Despite the warning stories of people being fired for what has been seen on their profiles [Okay, the guy who called in sick so he could get hammered in a fairy costume deserved everything he got...], we can't help but want to show off our lives. But what if the tables were turned? What if someone else was showing off your photos, your songs, your life?

Before you click that upload button again, read on.

On a sunny day last summer, a group of kids got together to wash cars in support of the local church. Justin Ho-Wee Wong snapped a shot of his friend, 15-year-old Alison Chang, as she gave a quick peace sign and a smile. That evening, he added the photo to his Flickr account.

Months later, another user of the photo-sharing network uploads a picture he took of a bus stop ad for the Are You With Us Or Not Virgin Mobile campaign in Australia. The ad, featuring a young woman with a fresh smile and a goofy peace sign, caught his eye because of the Flickr URL source in the bottom corner. He posts the photo saying, "I wonder if he knows that his photo is being used here (most of his photos seem to be using a Creative Commons Attribution license). Anyway - congratulations!"

Truth is, neither Justin nor Alison knew that the photo was being used for a national marketing campaign. When they weighed in on the comments section, Alison wondered if she was being insulted while Justin wondered if Virgin Mobile would give him free stuff.

Over the past seven months since the ad was discovered, the debate has raged on with over 250 comments on the uploaded photo of the ad and 280 replies to the forum discussion about the ad campaign in general. Flickr users were somewhere between up-in-arms, scared stupid and told-you-so...

Justin posted his photo using a Creative Commons (CC) license. Typically, these licenses are used to make your photos more accessible for reprinting or reposting as long as the original is attributed. Think of it as registering all of your photos with a stock service - once they're in there, it's not up to you what they're used for.

Now, in most countries including Canada, the U.S., the E.U., a model release form is necessary for any commercial use of a recognizable image of any person. Given that the photo was posted under the condition that it is fair game, so to speak, Virgin Mobile can likely place the liability back on the photographer who is expected to secure all necessary sign-offs before making his work public.

Alison surely knew that her friend posted the photo on Flickr but it’s unlikely that either had thought of the possibilities of posting her image using the CC license Justin had chosen.

While Flickr does offer the safer alternative of using an All Rights Reserved license, Facebook has this to say about user-generated content:

By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.

Before you click that upload button again, make sure you look good enough to make up for the fact that you could be endorsing adult diapers, fungal itch cream, drug rehabilitation programs, or worse…www.adultfriendfinder.com. Yikes.

Play safe!

Bloggers Take Home the Test the Nation Trophy

Test_the_nation_bloggers CBC's Test the Nation: Trivia aired Sunday evening and One Degree's editor-in-chief Kate Trgovac and contributor Alexa Clark, as well as other blogging luminaries like David Jones from PR Works and Rick Spence of Canadian Entrepreneur, were right there in the studio competing as part of the winning  "Blogger" Team.

Easily the rowdiest team in the studio (especially during the technology section), the bloggers beat out cab drivers, flight crew, chefs, backpackers and celebrity look-alikes to take home the glittering 21st Century Trivia trophy. Wooo! Congratulations, bloggers!! Finally - all that time in front the computer is paying off.

It was a banner night all round for the bloggers - Rick Spence of Canadian Entrepreneur had the highest overall score and the blogger team's celebrity coach, Samantha Bee of The Daily Show, had the best score among the celebrities.

The great thing about a whole team of bloggers is that you know most of them blogged about the whole experience seconds after it was over. Check out a full list of bloggers below the fold!

Continue reading "Bloggers Take Home the Test the Nation Trophy" »

January 17, 2008

Heeeey...Is that a Geek in Your Pocket, or...?

Pocket_geek_2Ever wonder what happens behind the cubicle walls of a software developer? I mean, besides Warcraft?

QNX Software Systems, in an effort to build their developer community, Foundry27, is stripping away the mystery and gives you the chance to be both master and tormentor of their virtual online software developer - Pocket Geek.

The Pocket Geek, developed for QNX by the fine folks at Fuel Industries, is a Flash-based game in which you play manager to a pocket-sized coder who's got five days to finish the big project. To ensure that your geek successfully completes his assignment, you'll need to keep him energized and productive by choosing the best combinations of entertainment, food, drinks, and toys. Be sure to keep an eye on your Pocket Geek's status - if you redline too often, you'll flame your Geek out before he completes his mission.

And as if gaining valuable geek management experience isn't enough, there are prizes to be had! The player with the best Pocket Geek score at the end of the month is eligible to win a $1000 prize package of the toys featured in the game, including a PS3 , iPod Touch, harman/kardon SoundSticks, a $50 gift certificate from ThinkGeek.com, and QNX swag.

Play Pocket Geek now through July for your monthly chance to win.

CBC's "Fortune Hunters" Profiles Web 2.0 Entrepreneurs

Fortune_hunters Looking for some inspiration to help you kick-start your own web-based business?
CBC Newsworld's new business show Fortune Hunters is all about entrepreneurs chasing the hottest trends. On January 19, they'll be profiling successful Web 2.0 entrepreneurs  Albert Lai and Ali and Alex de Bold of ChickAdvisor.com

More information and show times can be found here. Be sure and tune in on January 19!

And if you're interested in a little tasty pre-reading before the show airs, may we suggest:

Warren Jansons of Canoe.ca on User-Generated Content at IAB Big Day in Toronto

I interview Warren Jansons of Canoe.ca at the Interactive To The Max Big Day conference in Toronto, November 22, 2007. Warren discusses user-generated content, peer-to-peer advertising, Facebook and the confluence of traditional media.

January 16, 2008

Online Merchandising – The Base of the Business

First things first – we sell things. They could be products, services, ideas or access to a community but we are selling it, and the long term success of our idea, site or business depends on our ability to make the consumer understand what we are selling and believe (trust) our proposition enough that they will participate in a transaction. For many online players this is more of a reality than for others; those of us who sell products and services online know that our success and survival depends on selling as many of the proposed offering as possible.

But how many online retailers build a strategy that surrounds the overall product offering? With all of the talk around social media, consumer generated content, viral videos, online advertising and interactive media, it becomes difficult to understand that you need to support the process of selling online. I am not suggesting that you don’t do any of the above - in fact I would suggest that you embrace as many of the different tactics as possible that help you achieve your goals - but making use of social media requires a measured approach that aligns with the overall merchandising strategy.

So what exactly is a merchandising strategy? It can be broken down into three key components – offering (the products/services that you offer), value (value proposition to the consumer) and content (how are you offering the products/services to the consumer). Depending on your customer demographics and target market, you can adjust the three components to present the most optimal offering to the marketplace. In this post I am going to focus on developing a strategy for a product-based business at a very high level by discussing each of these three areas.

Continue reading "Online Merchandising – The Base of the Business " »

Stacey Grant-Thompson from Rogers Canada on Mobile Advertising and Data Rates at IAB Big Day in Toronto

I interview Stacey Grant-Thompson of Rogers Canada at the Interactive To The Max Big Day conference in Toronto, November 22, 2007. Stacey discusses the future of mobile advertising in Canada, data rates and the coming of the iPhone.

Editor's Note: Corrected Stacey's last name.  Our apologies to Ms. Grant-Thompson.

January 15, 2008

Anwar Sumar of Dell Canada on Self-Directed Content at the IAB Big Day in Toronto

I interview Anwar Sumar from Dell Canada at the IAB's Big Day in Toronto.  He answers my questions about creating your own self-directed rich content to act as an advertising platform and the lessons that Dell Canada learned from some adver-gaming activities.

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