Category Archives: Internet

How I Became a Virtual Millionaire on Empire Ave

Invest in (e)DEVINELINES on EmpireAvenue.com - the Social Stock Market

If I had a dollar for every “eave,” I’d be a millionaire twice over. But as it is, I’m not even rich on paper. Only in cyberspace, and with a virtual currency.

What am I rambling on about?

Allow me to explain. A few months ago, my tech-savvy friend Oscar invited me to join EmpireAvenue.com, the social stock market. I had heard a little about it, but I wasn’t particularly interested in playing an online game. Especially not a play version of eTrade.

Not Another Game!
I’m really not a gamer. I don’t play Xbox, Wii or any video games. I’ve never played Farmville, Mafia Wars, Second Life or Angry Birds. About the closest I’ve gotten to playing any type of game is “checking in” on FourSquare. But I rationalized that this smart-phone app also had marketing applications. And FourSquare could occasionally get me a free appetizer or dessert at restaurants.

So I resisted initially. I needed another social time-sink like I needed a… well, like a hole in the wallet. Yes, Empire Avenue was a game, but it turned out to be more than that.  Continue reading

GuitarTV.com Makes Noise on Social Media Channels

The GuitarTV.com site, showing co-creator Steve Vai in a clip from the film "Crossroads."

Ever watch a music video and wonder what kind of gear the guitarist is using? Or how much the guitar cost and what type of amplifier was used? Maybe you wanted to know which album had that song. Or find sheet music tabs. Or score tickets to the next gig.

Six-String Gearheads, Rejoice! 

You can stop wondering and start rocking. Everything you want to know—and buy—from your favorite guitar slingers can now be found in one place. (Cue drum roll…)

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome: GuitarTV.com

Back when MTV used to play actual music, the network would list the artist, song and album info, but only at the beginning and end of the video. If you missed it, you were out of luck. GuitarTV takes that idea and cranks it up by a factor of at least six. Continue reading

Tweet This: Top 5 UnMarketing Twitter Tips

Scott Stratten spreads UnMarketing awesomeness at LinkedOC.

When you go to an UnMarketing event, there’s no need to turn off or even silence your cell phone. (As long as your ringtone is not by Ke$ha.) That’s because Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing, wants you to tweet about it. You see, Scott is not ashamed to admit he loves Twitter.

“I Speak In Tweets”

That’s how Scott Stratten started off his keynote at the most recent LinkedOC event organized by Bryan Elliott. True to his word, Scott’s talk was filled with pithy UnNuggets that could be sent out in 140 characters or less. (Only problem was the cell phone reception—or rather, unreception—was spotty at best.) Just in case there was any doubt about when to tweet, Scott would pause just a little too long and give a big exaggerated wink. He’s subtle like that.

Scott Stratten on social media ROI: "Every time you ask for ROI on Twitter, a kitten dies." And Scott makes a face.

Engagement 2.0

Hosted by Gothic Moon Studios in Orange, the theme of the evening was engagement, which also happens to be part of the subtitle of his book: “Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.” While engagement is not exactly a new idea, the way Scott packages and delivers it is refreshingly humorous and direct. And his book reads a lot like the way he speaks. (Probably because he dictated much of it with voice-to-text software. See page 108.)

By the way, be sure to read the footnotes in UnMarketing, because they’re mostly snarky asides. In fact, Scott is so genuine, he even looks like his avatar picture in person. Always a good thing.

Scott Stratten is always branding, always UnMarketing. Yes, even this can be considered branding.

The 30-Day Twitter Challenge

A couple years ago, Scott was about to give up on Twitter as a networking tool (see Chapter 17: How Twitter Changed My Business). But before he bailed completely, he was willing to give it one last push. A 30-Day Twitter Challenge. So with about 2,000 followers at that point, he virtually lived on Twitter for the next month. That’s when he saw the light and became a true Twitter believer.

After his 30-day challenge, he had 10,000 followers and was “hooked.” Stratten writes, “I had made better and stronger relationships in that time span than all the other social networking sites combined. I had built a loyal following, booked speaking engagements, and gained consulting clients, without ever pitching a thing.”

One of the main reasons he believes in the power of Twitter is the absence of any barrier to engagement. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter doesn’t require permission or approval for you to follow and engage anyone you like.

Here are Scott Stratten’s Top 5 Twitter Tips from UnMarketingContinue reading

Accidental AutoTune Celebs – Antoine and the Bear

Antoine Dodson's YouTube rant has spawned a hit song as well as a Halloween costume.

The Rapist and the Rainbow

A funny thing happened at the most recent wedding reception I worked. The mother of the bride says to me (as the DJ), “Have you heard that song about that guy on YouTube who stopped the rapist?”

A song about the what…? I don’t think so.

“You know, about the intruder who snuck in and was trying to rape the guy’s sister in her bed?”

Hmm. No, I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

Then there was the 13-year-old’s birthday party, where some kid wanted to hear the “Double Rainbow” song.

Is that a Skittles commercial? No? I don’t think I’ve heard that one either. Sorry, just not as hip as I used to be. (So much music, so little time.)

Lyrics by YouTube, Music by Gregory Bros.

“Bed Intruder” and “Double Rainbow” have a few things in common.

They’re both hit iTunes songs that were inspired by viral YouTube videos. Both have resulted in new commercial opportunities for their accidental stars. Continue reading

The Quotable Chris Brogan

 

Oakley was the site of the Linked OC Chris Brogan event.

 

Typist, blogger, author, marketer, trainer, entrepreneur… Chris Brogan is a busy guy. Expensive, too. Fortunately, he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Brogan and his companies (New Marketing Labs, Human Business Works, Third Tribe Marketing) help other companies use social media tools to be more human in their business relationships. Or as Chris puts it, “…it’s really ridiculous that my job is to fly all over the earth explaining why video and the Internet is awesome…and yet, that’s the long and short of it.”

Speaking at Oakley’s corporate office last Tuesday under the auspices of Bryan Elliott’s Linked Orange County group, it was a freewheeling, sometimes rambling, but always entertaining discussion. Continue reading

Hold the Creativity, I Just Need an Ad, Quick

PlaceLocal builds ads automatically while you wait.

Sure, budgets are tight, but can a small business afford not to be creative when advertising?

The problem with creativity in advertising, as many businesses owners see it, is that it doesn’t always translate to the bottom line with leads or sales. The Taco Bell Chihuahua campaign is a prime example. People talked a lot about the dog, but they didn’t buy more tacos.

On the other hand, there’s a well-known maxim in the ad biz that “nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising”. Meaning, if your product doesn’t deliver as promised, an engaging ad will doom your sucky product more quickly. Remember the Outpost.com campaign with the gerbils shot from a cannon? It was engaging, but it was also creatively self-indulgent. There was no relevance whatsoever to the brand, which disappeared almost as fast as the commercial won awards.

Is Creativity a Luxury?

Just as most ad agencies are set up to service larger clients, most mom-and-pop shops don’t have much of an ad budget and usually have to settle for the local paper or PennySaver-style coupon mailer. So creativity is not even part of the decision.

Introducing Automated Advertising

Now an advertising technology company out of New Haven called PaperG has come up with a creative solution to bridge the budget gap between small businesses and local ad publishers. PaperG’s new software tool, PlaceLocal, creates customized display ads by using images and reviews found online. Continue reading

Old Spice Guy Spends Two Days In Bathroom, Blows Up YouTube

Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice Guy, the hardest working man in the bathroom.

After two days and two hundred kajillion personalized videos, even the Old Spice Guy has to take a break and come out of the bathroom.

Please forgive the link overload here, but after spending the last 48 hours or so in front of a camera, the Old Spice Guy (Isaiah Mustafa in real life) has been overwhelming social media channels by tweeting links to customized videos made for fans with his bare hands.

The suave smelling dude responded directly to ordinary average fans from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, gave shout-outs to corporate pals like Starbucks, GQ and sister company Gillette, nods to influential blogger fans like Perez Hilton and Guy Kawasaki (“Is there a Girl Kawasaki?”!), props to celebrity friends like Ellen Degeneres, Ryan Seacrest, Apolo Anton Ohno, and Ashton Kutcher. He wowed Mrs. Kutcher by bashing a pirate piñata, courted Alyssa Milano with roses, wooed Rose McGowan, successfully proposed marriage on behalf of fan JS Beals, and admitted he’s only human and will eventually die someday. He even responded to himself (Isaiah Mustafa). Continue reading

Learn How Google Works: In Gory Detail

Suitable for framing or as a wall poster. Via @KateToon and PPCblog. (But where are the hamsters?)

Celebrating Freedom of Choice with Devo

Exercising Freedom of Choice with Devo at Hollywood Park, July 1, 2010.

I saw Devo in concert for $7, thanks to a Facebook ad.

Everyone loves to have freedom of choice, not to mention a good deal. So when I found out I could see Devo live for $7—no, that’s not a typo—instead the usual $70+ fee that most concerts charge these days for tickets (plus service charge, convenience fee, etc., etc.), I was all over it. It became a family outing. And best of all, kids were free.

Funny anecdote: When trying to look up the band online before attending the show, my teenage daughter had to ask, “How do you spell ‘Devo’?” Continue reading