Category Archives: Web

Crowdsourcing Brand Identity with BrandTags

Jen’s friend Christine alerted us to a fascinating and highly-addictive website called brand tags. The concept is simple: the site shows you a familiar brand logo and you type the single word or short phrase that comes to mind when you see the logo.

The site is a social tagging experiment, and it aggregates all of the phrases for each brand into a tag cloud. (For those unfamiliar with a tag cloud, it’s a way of visually showing the prevalence of a certain tag. The more often a brand phrase is tagged by users, the larger it appears in the cloud.) The site is a side-project of a marketer, and in his blog he reports that he received over 600,000 tags in the first 2 weeks.

NPR: Awesome AND Boring

What first comes to mind when the masses think of NPR?

NPR’s brand tag cloud.
High recognition and a lot of favorable brand attributes, such as “intelligent”, “smart”, “honest”, “good”. We also have some negatives: “boring”, “stodgy”, “old”, “who?”. There are some misperceptions to overcome, such as “liberal”. And let’s not forget “schwetty balls”, the legacy of a very memorable Alec Baldwin SNL skit.

What about Taco Bell’s brand tag cloud?
As khopper said on Twitter:

The largest brand associations with Taco Bell, after CHEAP FAST MEXICAN FOOD appear to be CHIHUAHUA and DIARRHEA – yikes!

Comments? What did the masses say about some of your favorite brands?

Facebook’s Silent Revolution with Sponsored Ads

Amid all the outcry over Beacon’s privacy concerns, (like having Facebook tell your wife what she’s getting for Christmas) the simple brilliance of Facebook’s on-site advertising is going unnoticed. Here’s a personal account of how Facebook’s relatively straightforward “sponsored messages” are finally making personalized word-of-mouth a reality.

In addition to banner ads, Facebook now features sponsored advertiser messages in their homepage feed. I rarely look at them, but like all ads you unconsciously take them in with a glance. I decided to click on one that was a new Apple video ad lampooning Vista. Funny and so true. As an XP user who purposely avoided Vista, the message was relevant. It wasn’t going to make me rush out to a Mac store, but I did click the integrated link to post it to my Facebook profile because surely someone else would think it was funny. What followed was a debate with three Facebook friends who were silent Mac advocates. My conversations with them also spurred 2 offline conversations (which I alluded to in a comment posting on that Facebook thread.)

Word-of-mouth on product review sites and bulletin boards is nothing new. Likewise, I could always get a word of mouth reco on any product when I ask someone in my offline (or online network). But this was different because I didn’t intend to start a conversation. I wasn’t seeking an opinion. In this case, the advertiser (Apple) planted the seed and what ensued was an awakening of mac advocates who were people in my closed personal/professional network; these are people I trust far more than any expert on CNET and more than the aggregated opinions of hundreds of reviewers on Amazon. I could also have received this video by email, but it wouldn’t have spurred the same interaction that a small Facebook Thread captured (and preserved) for all of my network to see. Not to mention the analytics that Facebook or Apple could get from this episode.

Here are some guesses at what an advertiser might be allowed to see in the analytics, in order of increasing value.

  • Impressions: number of people who might have seen the ad blurb because it was on their feed page
  • Video Views: Number of started/completed views of the mac commercial
  • Number of forwards to friends
  • Number of adds to profiles
  • Number of viral views (forwarded link views plus views after posting to profile)
  • Number of discussion comments
  • View actual discussion comments (tone/subject of the discussion)

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Getting ready for eMetrics

Washington D.C.’s web community has an amazing breadth and depth of talent. The eMetrics Online Marketing Summit rolls into town next Monday, and I’ll have the honor of moderating one of the speaker panels alongside some very remarkable members of the D.C. community, including Phil Kemelor, Julie Perlmutter, and Ann Poritzky. Should be an exciting week…

In the near future, I’ll also be working with both the public sector and social media sections of the Web Analytics Association.

NOSO: the anti-Web 2.0 Experience

Do you need a momentary escape from your Web 2.0 lifestyle of blogging, vlogging, texting, updating facebook, trading stocks online, and writing Amazon reviews?

Check out . Here’s how NOSO bills itself:

NOSO is a real-world platform for temporary disengagement from social networking environments. The NOSO experience offers a unique opportunity to create NO Connections by scheduling NO Events with other NO Friends.

Social Media Haiku

I applied to a job opening today that required I write a haiku about online technology. And yes, I’m as excited as you might imagine.

Without further ado, I present: “Thanks for the Add”

Profile never said
You’re 40 and live with mom
Don’t want 2 meet u

So with that, if anyone has a favorite haiku to post, let’s hear it…

Google’s future

The future of Google is the cover story on this week’s economist. Here’s the leader (no subscription required.)

The article discusses how quickly the company has grown and the growing pains they may soon face, such as anti-trust prosecution or increased public concerns over privacy.

In my previous post, I referred to their search algorithm as their “secret sauce.” From a search marketer’s perspective, this is certainly true. The Economist uses the term secret sauce to refer to Google’s method of networking hundreds of thousands of cheap (yes, very cheap) computers to form the world’s largest supercomputer. From a high-level, this really is their best kept secret.

How Google and Matt Cutts make the internet useful

Last week, Jen and I had dinner with our friends Sarah, Matt, and Sarah’s parents. Sarah’s father Roger is a mathematics professor in Morehead, Kentucky and has a keen interest in computers. As we loaded the dishwasher, he asked me a bit about the work I’ve done in development and interactive marketing. He then started to tell me about a friend’s son who was highly regarded in his field. Roger began by stating that this individual was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina but left before completing his PhD.

I cut him off mid-sentence. “Are you talking about Matt Cutts?”, I asked. Roger beamed in affirmation.

I would venture to say that anyone working in search engine marketing has probably heard of Matt Cutts, and if your search marketing team hasn’t, you might want to hire someone else. Matt is a senior engineer at Google and is in charge of web spam: preventing it, not creating it. Matt joined Google very early in the company’s history and has helped it develop and continually refine its search algorithm. So how has this changed your life and what’s an algorithm?

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Movable Type going Open Source…

I was late to get on this one. Six Apart’s Movable Type, still the top choice of many companies for enterprise blogging, is going open source.

WordPress is the dominant platform right now and currently powers this blog; its lead has been in large part due to its founder’s commitment to Open Source as well as a strong developer community.

TMC Labs: Movable type vs. WordPress war heats up

TMC Labs: Review of Movable Type 4.0 beta

Revamped Jamey Schwartz Classic Site

It’s been a several week project, but I just relauched the site. Jamey was a friend of mine, and I’d done a flat site of a few pages, contact form, and some photos for the first few years.

This year, I built out an online section that allows tournament registration and has private message boards. With Scott’s permission, I adapted a lot of the backend code he wrote for the L5Flyers site. Even though he’s a thousand miles in Denver, it was just like we were working on a project together again. Excellent…

The site is in beta starting tomorrow. The board of directors is going to bang on it and make sure everything is fully operational. I’ll continue to build out reporting function for the tournament directors as we approach August.