Social Media Social Media Marketing

Disclosure and social media

166086716_4102608908_m.jpgRecently, I had the pleasure of sitting through a meeting that Boxbe was being pitched for “buzz marketing” marketing services from a third party. This company proceeded to show us pretty graphs and charts that illustrated how social media marketing can help small companies grow more quickly. Hmmmm…

Social media, it turns out can also help spread word of mouth more quickly. Having popped into this meeting a little late, I didn’t get to introduce myself, but largely, I kept my mouth shut to see where this company was going with their presentation.

Then they started talking about how they have many “agents” that post on their own blogs as well as comment on message boards, other blogs and in social networks without disclosure of their interests. They then proceed to detail out how they use dial up accounts, coffee shops and IP masking to obfuscate their IP addresses so their “marketers” can have conversations with themselves.

Now, staying silent in this meeting proved to be more and more difficult. Finally, I asked if they used Pay Per Post and the guy pitching us said, “No, they disclose who they are marketing for.”

Not exactly the answer I was looking for.

After this meeting, which didn’t last too long, I felt like I needed a shower.

It’s pretty easy to see companies today using tactics like this, but somehow it still surprises me. Maybe Scoble’s book had a lot of influence on me. Maybe, just maybe, I have morals, but somehow even beyond that, maybe I’m just not that stupid.

I’m sure that in the short run, they could have helped us get more users for Boxbe, but in the long run, I have to think that this kind of sleazy marketing just comes back to haunt you.

Just ask John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.

photo by Flickr user amy_kearns
Building Community Social Media Marketing Video Wetpaint Wiki

Wikis made easy

Ah, Lee and Sachi LeFever, you’ve done it again! I love wikis, but often explaining a wiki to people who don’t use them can be difficult. And honestly, until Wetpaint, I didn’t recommend wikis to non-technical people as the wiki text used, while easier than HTML, isn’t that easy for non-techies to pick up.

Them: “what’s a wiki?”
Me “um, it’s a web page that anyone can edit”
Them“oh, like Wikipedia? you mean I can edit that?”
Me: “ya, like Wikipedia, except it can be about anything you want”
Them: “oh…That’s … kinda neat. But why would I want to make an encyclopedia about something else?”
Me: “no, no, it doesn’t have to be an encyclopedia. It can be anything you want it to be. It can replace long email threads, it can replace message board thread gone amuck with the same questions over and over again. Wikis are really versatile.”
Them: “oh… Hold on, hold on… Anyone can edit Wikipedia? How is it so good?”
Me: “Ugh.”

For a quick look at what a wiki is, click below for CommonCraft’s video. Thanks again for your help crystalizing this topic, Lee and Sachi.

Geek Fun Social Media Social Media Marketing

Ziki ad follow up

ziki logo.jpgSo first off, if you haven’t used Google Adwords, I highly recommend it. Besides being a great user experience, you can learn quite a bit about search terms that you might be interested in.

To feed the ego, I now have a sense of how many people are searching for ‘Randy Stewart‘ on Google over the last month. I didn’t realize that Google showed this data, but I guess it makes sense to know what you are paying for.

So, Ziki…. how much are they paying for my name? Well, I’m not an SEM specialist, but given that I have the third position when you do a search on my name and I know how much I pay when someone clicks, I’m imagining that Ziki is paying slightly less than I am.

How much am I paying, let’s just say 6x the copper version of Abraham Lincoln. I’m still interested in what Ziki is doing and I think it’s a really smart marketing campaign. They haven’t reached their 10k goal in signups just yet, so there is still an opportunity to get in on their campaign.

Geek Fun Google Site News Social Media Social Media Marketing

How much for a Google ad?

Given Ziki’s marketing gimmick, I’m curious just how cheap it is to buy an ad for my name on Yahoo! or Google. I’ve never used either AdWords or Yahoo! Marketing Solutions personally, so it will be a fun way to see if I get any clickers. No fair clicking on my ad if you are reading this, but feel free to click on the Ziki one ;-)

I’ll let you know how it turns out in the next few days.

Building Community Social Media Social Media Marketing

Ziki – free advertising for bloggers

ziki logo.jpgOr anyone who has ever used a social network or a service with feeds…

I love the idea of aggregating all my social network data and social media contributions into a single place, but they have made a somewhat kludgy effort at doing so. I certainly did a bit more clicking than necessary. Here’s my page.

Building Community

To attract people in an already crowded space, they are promoting their first 10,000 users by buying ads on Google, MSN, and Yahoo!. Marketing members’ content appeals to their egos and in turn gets more users to the site through the ad spend.

I’m imagining that buying name based keywords is relatively inexpensive with few people actually clicking. Arguably, this is the best, if not least expensive, way for a growing social media site to spend money in text advertising.

Bottom Line

Ziki is definitely an interesting concept but it seems like I’d just want all of this stuff aggregated on my own blog. If they master the art of publicity for their members, it certainly would be a valuable service for those looking for an audience.

[via Paul Stamatiou]

Marketing Social Media Marketing

Zillow – Make Me Move

Zillow unveils its latest feature tonight, Make Me Move.

The idea is pretty simple, set a price that you would be willing to sell your house for and wait for the offers to come in. Ok, this is a bit gimmicky, but fun nevertheless.

zillow make me move.jpg

Of course, this is a pretty good way to get people to give Zillow a little more info about your home.


But at least I can finally move my house down the hill where it belongs.


Moving is a pain in the butt, but we all have our price.

TechCrunch has more on Z’s other new features, the Real Estate Wiki and free listings for agents and sellers.

Social Media Social Media Marketing

How to rig Digg

logo digg.jpgCNET reports this morning about how internet marketers are “planting stories, paying people to promote items, and otherwise trying to manipulate rankings on Digg and other so-called social media sites like Reddit and Delicious to drum up more links to their Web sites and thus more business.”

Thanks for giving away all my secrets, CNET.

Seriously, though, there are certainly good ways and bad ways to use social media to market goods and services. This CNET article goes over the bad ways.

Building Community Social Media Social Media Marketing

Social Media Club – Seattle Meetup – Wednesday, December 6, 2006

logo_smc.gifChris Heuer and Kristie Wells are coming to town! In the last several months, I’ve gotten to know these guys fairly well and enjoyed our “big picture” discussions of the web and social media in particular.

Here’s a blurb from their site that best describes Social Media Club.

Social Media Club is being organized for the purpose of sharing best practices, establishing ethics and standards, and promoting media literacy around the emerging area of Social Media. This is the beginning of a global conversation about building an organization and community where diverse groups of people who care about social media can come together to discover, connect, share, and learn.

As someone who has been working in social media for a while, I’m planning on attending. Hope to see you there.

Date – Wednesday, December 6
Time – 6:30-8:00 pm
LocationYoungstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle

Social Media Club
Details on