Its a Google-world we just live in it

I’ve never been that concerned search engine traffic to my blog posts and more bothered about owning my own reputation on Google.

This is primarily because I don’t monetise the site through advertising and instead think that having a good search karma is payment enough. However I gave some additional thought to search engine optimisation (SEO) and personal blog traffic after Improbulus provided a primer presentation at the June London Bloggers event and summarised it on her blog. The advice there is all very good and I would recommend that you nip over and check it out.

One thing I do, is use Flickr for my picture hosting on this blog. If I use an image, I post a link to the blog post that used it. That provides at least inbound link to the post and the blog provides contextual text around the image. What this allows people to do is find your content in both image search and normal search options.  This can also be done for embedded video as well if you felt inclined.

Links of the day

Big Ideas – interesting events in London

Luxury brands discover social networks – International Herald Tribune

Biting the Apple Article – Eurogamer – interesting analysis piece from a games publication trying to make sense of the digital living room. One interesting quote in the comments: this is probably the last gen that we can really call them “games consoles”

Format Magazine » Kidrobot interview

Apple fumbles social media issues management

I suck big time

MobileMe has managed to ruin the performance of Apple’s .mac service and has had a patchy rate of success that makes Twitter look like a cast-iron solid enterprise platform. Even Walt Mossberg realises that MobileMe is a metaphorical dog. Now contracts and calendar synchronisation is a non-trivial computing problem especially across multiple computers and phones, but Apple promised ‘Exchange for the rest of us‘.

Apple’s tight-lipped approach has been put one-side to try a more open social media approach. The posting tries to be transparent  about what Apple is doing to make MobileMe perform better.

There is no sense of a real person behind the post, beyond the ‘Steve made me write this’ introduction like as if the author brought it down on stone tablets from the executive suite. There is little to no emotion; i.e. we’re unhappy that our product sucks and these are the things that we’re doing. There was no obvious way to react to the post.
Is the company going to enter into a dialogue?A better approach would be to demonstrate some real contrition about the unholy mess, especially when you compare it with the crisis management efforts of brands like JetBlue. And to start thinking about building up a dialogue in advance of any future bumps in the road.

Links of the day

SPINNING AROUND: BBC GOES MONKEY FOR OLYMPICS  – I really like Jamie Hewlett’s work on this. I also liked the BBC’s adaption of his Phoo Action strip

Max Mosley victory could spell the end of kiss and tells – Brand Republic News – Brand Republic – less work for people like Max Clifford in fighting fires and brokering story sales then

bitemarks: Survey: Boomers Don’t Like Social Media

Design 9707 – Hong Kong Design – cool product design site

Microsoft dreams up a new kind of search with BrowseRank » VentureBeat

Driving seat: Living with The Flip

A while ago I shared the unboxing pictures of The Flip camcorder that I got sent by Weber Shandwick. I’ve had a chance to play with it and here’s my inital thoughts.

The device is pretty robust and has been perfectly happy to float around in the bottom of my messenger bag the past number of weeks. In terms of video quality it provides a superior video experience to both my Nokia E90 and my Nokia N95.

The video itself is easy to remove from the device as an upload, my Mac treats The Flip the same way as a USB memory stick. I did find  with the videos that I made at Interesting 08, that there was a problem converting the video shot into a suitable format for YouTube and the supplied software was a bit flakey on occasion. For this reason I would recommend that Mac users download ffmegx  instead – a shareware application that costs the princely sum of 15 USD.

Things to remember

  • Video eats through batteries compared to a still camera, however AA batteries are easy enough to pick up on the go
  • The microphone on the camera has quite a large angle for picking up sound – you can hear myself and Jonathan Hopkins talking low in one of the videos I recorded at Interesting 08 despite the fact that both of us were well behind the camera
  • A light plastic case means that you will get camera shake, however a standard camera tripod will do the trick

Conclusion 

The Flip presents an easy way to record digital video and transfer it on to a computer, however the more technology conscious may want to wait around for the Kodak Zi6 camcorder which also offers SD card storage and HD video quality. Ultimately, the films are only going to be as good as the camera operator.

The Pirate Bay temporary rebrand

The Pirate Bay temporary rebrand, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

The folks at the The Pirate Bay have redesigned their front page to celebrate the launch of The Dark Knight. Apparently the page logo links to a torrent of the film shot with a video camera in the cinema.

Regardless I like the creativity in the logo which harks back to the Bat light Gotham Police department used to hail the dark knight in the early comics. Kudos to Torrent Freak.

Links of the day

Boomkat – Your independent music specialist

Economic Impact of Word-of-Mouth Calculated Using Net Promoter Model

10 Questions Analyst Relations Have About Social Media – Jeremiah Owyang attempts to answer these questions with the help of his blog readership

100-word Version: Why tech blogging sucks – Valleywag distilled a Robert Scoble post – PR and marketers have somehow corrupted technology blogs apparently.

Irish Examiner | Social networking website posed threat to trial – Bebo in court of press opinion

Hong Kong Film Posters – I just love going through this site when I am short of inspiration for ideas

Security flaws in online banking sites found to be widespread – interesting reading. When will something like this sink a bank’s reputation and brand below the water line. A lot of the stuff seems like the same things you’d see on spoof sites

ITExaminer.com – Bangalore-based IT news site by Mike Magee

Steve Ballmer: Killing Apple and Google With Kindness? | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

Collaboration – brand strategy

New Balance 1400 Super Team 33

I am a bit of a sucker for street wear. Collaborations have been in the blood of street wear since the beginning as graffiti artists did guest designs for brands and designers like Shawn Stussy engaged mainstream bands in a form of involuntary collaboration by hijacking their likeness – from Richard Nixon in the ‘skateboarding is not a crime’ t-shirts to his double-s logo aping Chanel.

Over the past few years collaboration has ripped into overdrive. A week doesn’t go past without a Nike or Adidas collaboration happening with a smaller independent brand like trainer shop Huf, streetwear pioneers Stussy or tattoo artist Mr Cartoon. There are dedicated websites covering this news, my favourite being Hypebeast.

This trend has gone beyond the big brands into streetwear labels themselves. Stussy’s big push in spring was their Destiny range with Futura and the summer range is a collaboration with Japanese label Neighourhood with the Boneyards collecton.

Pseudo Collaboration

New Balance – as well as collaborating with brands like Stussy on special colour ways the brand also has collaborations within its own design teams. For instance Japanese designers at New Balance were branded Super Team 33 and have issued a range of collaborations, my favourite being a set of tropical fish themed New Balance 1400s originally released at the beginning of 2006.

Brand Equity

The piece that hasn’t been looked at all that well is how it can affect brands over time. Young brands if over-exposed can go off the boil, a classic example is the way Pierre Cardin over extended itself by issuing too many licences across too wide a range of products – from shirts and leisure wear to cheap travel luggage. This ran along side their pioneering of the off-the-peg designer suit for men.

But how will the collaborations that Stussy is going affect its value as a brand. Is it just a salon for t-shirt designers or does the whole Stussy tribe ethos still exist? What does their brand stand for? Are we in the marketing equivalent of those ‘Will it Blend’ videos and what will the resulting carnage look like?

Links of the day

UNIQLOCK – really good case study from Projector Tokyo on their Uniqlock campaign

Matt McAlister » Chad Dickerson to join Etsy in New York – this a great move for Chad but a bit of a loss for Yahoo!

Top Latin America Web Rankings Issued for April

Toor2122 – Steve Rambam – Privacy Is Dead – Get Over It – really interested talk that was also presented at Last HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference. Invaluable for marketers and privacy freaks alike.

Google PageRank Patent May Go Poof | WebProNews

Yahoo! Search Blog: SMX Local & Mobile, Yahoo! Local Sneak Peek

Telewaving.com – WordPress client for Nokia S60 devices

WordPress for iPhone – this is going to get a lot of hype, whats wrong with using the update by email option? I think this is brand over requirement. You are not a credible digerati brand unless you support the iPhone platform.

Wadds’ tech pr blog: Google Ad Planner stats don’t add up

MediaPost Publications – Digital Media On The Rise Globally – 07/22/2008 – some great stats in here from WPP

PR FAIL – a collection of bad things.

that canadian girl » Open letter to PR agencies: It doesn’t have to be that way, you know… – nice bloggers versus PRs posting

Ampersand : Creating a Sustainable Enterprise – interesting article by my ex-colleague Stuart Smith

I’m not getting domesticated but these Alessi designs are the bomb

I love the playful nature of these range of table accessories that Alessi has done with the National Palace Museum, Taiwan. The Orientales collection looks like it has stepped out of the Early Learning Centre or designed by the hepcats at Fisher-Price.  They’re so good they have me raving about bottle stops, soy sauce containers, milk jugs and egg cups. Here is a link to The Orientales collection on Alessi’s UK site.

alessi.jpg

Links of the day

6 Sayings for Search Engine Success (Top Tips to Boost Blog Ranking)

What’s On – Japan foundation

JAPAN-UK 150 – some interesting events celebrating 150 years of a UK / Japanese relationship

Uncomfortable Answers to Questions on the Economy – NYTimes.com

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . Inflection Point | PBS

Bloomberg.com: Technology – Motorola claims executive took secrets to Apple – Interesting read: synopsis. Motorola wants to restrict the right to trade of a former executive. Secondly Motorola’s problems are due the iPhone getting a lift up off its strategies and tactics. ROTFL – no MOTO is the sign of poor user experience

Business Cards – a set on Flickr – Thanks to Rachel for this inspirational set of business card images on Flickr

Mac Mojo: The Office for Mac Team – Solver for Excel 2008 – great data analysis add-on for the Mac Office version of Excel

The 3D Internet Will Change How We Live – WSJ.com

Shameless plug: Wahanda

My ex-colleague Salim Mitha moved from Yahoo! Search to setting up Wahanda (click here to check out the site) earlier this year. I was a bit surprised when I first heard about Wahanda, it seemed a long way to go from search engines to a health and beauty experience aggregator, but in reality its more about lateral thinking in the link between the marketplaces.

At the back of search is linking the right information with people, the information can vary in its nature and location but that’s essentially why consumers use it. Wahanda allows consumers to better understand and action overly complex consumer propositions (has anyone tried reading the product list at one of these places?).

Building a brand around a aggregator allows it to become the trusted arbiter of information, if you have a major brand you be concerned at getting mediated out of the equation, a bit like what Google has done with a lot of e-commerce providers – think of the way DSG (Dixons, Currys, The Link etc) are a shadow of their former dominant selves. The flip side of the coin is that everyone wins in a market like this where there are no existing brands of that strength the aggregator makes everyone a potential winner.

Why health and spas?

Here’s some of the facts that Wahanda bandy around:

  • The global spa economy is now worth an estimated USD $60 billion (to put that in perspective according to official bodies, in 2007 the hugely high profile worldwide motion picture box office took $26.7 billion, while the global recorded music market (including digital music) was $29 billion and, unlike the wellness industry, that’s a shrinking market)
  • Europe is the largest regional spa market exceeding $18 billion, with the US as the second largest region at $12 billion
  • There are now more than 71,000 spas worldwide. Day and salon spas represent the majority of the market (63%), hotel spas (16%), medical spas (6%), and destination spas (2.1%)

Their spiel

Wahanda is a health, beauty and wellness community & marketplace that connects consumers, wellness businesses and professionals through content, community ratings & reviews and commerce. The site, which is live now and will be fully transactional in September, is on track to become the leading marketing channel for the wellness industry. With more spas, treatments and practitioners listed than on any other site, Wahanda will bring together transactional abilities (to search, find, book and purchase treatments or vouchers) with a thriving interactive user community of recommendations, reviews, and information.

Go over and help Salim with load testing now, go back post-September to buy a nice experience for the spouse / partner / passing acquiantance / bit on the side.

Links of the day

Panda Relocation Foundation – I suspect that this is a viral site for the forthcoming Ben Stiller movie Tropic Thunder

How to Create a Social Media Monitoring Strategy

Trends in Japan » Ekipedia highlights train station accessibility – Really sweet accessibility mapping for public transport in Japan

What Getting Buzzed Says About Yahoo! – its all about core competences, in Yahoo!’s case aggregating an audience and playing to its strengths

YouTomb: where copyright-clobbered youtubes go to die – Boing Boing

Beijing Apple Store in Photos

Lost In Translation: Japanese Market Not Sold On iPhone Cool Factor – In Japan, like elsewhere, gadget fans lined up to be some of the first to buy the new iPhone last week. However, after the initial rush, it appears that consumers there aren’t completely sold on the device

Why Silicon Valley Should Be Worried – GigaOM

Nike campaign celebrates 20 years of ‘Just Do It’ – Brand Republic News – Brand Republic

Corporate Social Networks Are A Waste of Money, Study Finds – ReadWriteWeb

Reuters AlertNet – Homepage – Reuters news for NGOs spotlighting disasters around the world

adfunture workshop YOKA – SC Charity Edition – unboxing

adfunture workshop YOKA – SC Charity Edition – unboxing, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

adfunture workshop in Hong Kong came up with a limited edition vinyl panda to raise funds for the victims of the Western China earthquake. The depressed panda is both beautiful and at the same time says everything that needs to be said. adfunture workshop had the following collaborators: DITA Eyewear, Staple Design, Suitman, Revelator, Black Cross, GUE and Puma. A canny move for the brands involved, but not exploitative or mawkish; especially when you think how often marketers fail to get the tone right in situations like this.

I have taken some photographs of the YOKA unboxing and put them on flickr.