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Category Archives for "Web 2.0"

What’s In A Name? Web 2.0 Domain Naming Disasters

The NYTimes nails it, talking about all these new made-up 2.0 names…

These are all actual Web sites that have hit the Web in the last year or so: Doostang. Wufoo. Bliin. Thoof. Bebo. Meebo. Meemo. Kudit. Raketu. Etelos. Iyogi. Oyogi. Qoop. Fark. Kijiji. Zixxo. Zoogmo.

These startups think that these names will stick in our minds because they’re so offbeat, but they’re wrong. Actually, all those twentysomething entrepreneurs are ensuring that we won’t remember them. Those names all blend together into a Dr. Seuss 2.0 jumble.

About the only neat domain name I like nowadays that fits into that category, sorta, is Xobni.com, which is Inbox spelled backwards. Makes sense because they do email stuff.

The piece continues…

These days, though, you get the impression that today’s startups aren’t even trying. They go directly for the Web 2.0 Name Generator. They think that if Google or Yahoo got away with cryptic names, they can do it, too.

But here’s a little wakeup call: People will learn to love your site’s wacky name only if they fall in love with the site itself. Google and Yahoo became household nutty names only because everyone loved their services. They did not succeed because they had silly names.

And when you name your site Yambo or Roombee, that’s a lot less likely to happen. You’re stacking the deck against your own success.

I couldn’t agree more. I thought the days of stupid made up company names died with the first bubble. I’m unsure why people are trying to bring that idea back; that you can make up a name and have it stick. Where’s the creativity?

Tell Me Why You Like Seesmic

I’m writing my monthly “Innovations” piece for Revenue Magazine about new hot video tool called Seesmic.

Do you use it? Tell me why it’s the next best thing? Don’t use it yet? I’m also open to hearing from you either by contacting me or leaving a comment below.. I might just quote you in the article. Thanks!

Updates! These are videos direct from Seesmic, updated as they come in.

Why I Fired Billionaire Mark Cuban & What Hollywood Doesn’t Understand About Marketing 2.0

It was an extremely tough decision to write this. I mean, who wants to cheese off a billionaire? And frankly, I’m worried that many will read this and take it as me trying to create link-bait, or whatever.

I have to have full-disclosure; I have a history of baiting Mr. Cuban. So take that in stride when you read this blog post. However, that bait actually did bring about my ability to work out a testing deal with him (which you will read about below), so I suppose you could say it worked to my advantage.

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I can honestly tell you that I’m haven’t written this for publicity, or to be mean spirited at all. Sure, the headline is probably the best link-bait headline I’ve ever constructed, except for the fact that it’s true, but I can implicitly say that there’s a lesson learned from my experience and I felt it needed to be shared.

That all being said, Jim, did you really fire Mark Cuban?

Well, yeah. The short story is this. Last fall I contacted Mark about a blog post he wrote where he asked for creative ideas for how to “sell more tickets” to movies online. He got back to me (and the network I used to own) and put me in touch with the movie studio he owns called Magnolia Pictures with the instructions to make a test work.

I sold a plan to them, and that was to setup a test of selling movie tickets to Magnolia Pictures movies on blogs, through affiliate marketing techniques. For example, a blogger would earn a few bucks if they could refer a reader to buy a ticket for a movie online.

The whole concept is pretty simple right? Magnolia Pictures makes smaller independent films, you know, the kind that live and die based on their buzz because they simply don’t have the huge Hollywood marketing budgets to get the word out. So it made perfect sense to let bloggers, who were already talking about these films, attempt to sell a few tickets and be compensated for it if they wished. (Note: we’re not talking about writing fake content for cash.)

For example, they had a movie called Jesus Camp that generated thousands of pages of blog fodder for them, and what did they get out of it besides some links to the movie home page? Nada, zip, zilch.

So the “test” was on. We all agreed to run the test to see if the technology would work. It did. Through the month of December 2006 we ran CPA banner creatives on a handful of movie-related blogs, including one of the biggest in the industry, across millions of impressions.

As I mentioned, the technology worked perfectly of course, the problem with “the test” was that the future success of the initiative was setup to fail without the rest of the plan being put in place at some point.

So What Was The Problem Then?

The problem was in the definition of “the test”. For us, it was very clear that the technology part of the test was easy to accomplish, and we did. That wasn’t what we pitched though. We pitched a complete solution to managing the affiliate program, which in essence was going to be a large community of bloggers and web citizens who weren’t going to be affiliates, but rather customer evangelists and uber content producers.

Too bad money got in the way, because they believed in the plan somewhat, yet didn’t want to pull the trigger.

Anyone in the affiliate marketing business knows the golden rule. You can’t just throw up a program and expect it to just work, right? Right. To be fair, I’m pretty sure that Mark realizes this, I mean, you don’t get to be that successful by not knowing one of the basic rules of business, which is effort=success. I mean, the guy is extremely smart.

Our long-term business plan was solid, and I believe it was exactly what needed to be done, and from our initial conversations with Mark and the gang at Magnolia Pictures, it was something we all agreed would work. However, we were asked to follow through with our plan to create this program (after the technology test), we were asked if we could do it for almost nothing monetarily.

Here Comes The Firing Part

I have to admit, I thought about it for a day. The lure of being on Mark Cuban’s blogroll and circle of influence was attractive, however, the obvious answer was there was no way we could commit unpaid resources to the project in “hopes” of it working, even with the possible shout-outs we might get, but weren’t even guaranteed.

So that was that, we had to fire Mark Cuban. Not because he doesn’t get it; it’s not that at all. He simply didn’t want to pay for it.

A Huge Missed Opportunity For Small Budget Hollywood?

I’m certainly no movie business guru. I don’t read the trades, or know much about the actual business of marketing movies, except for watching Entourage. So there is of course a chance that I’ve got this completely wrong, and I’m stupid. I’m sure you’ll correct me if so.

However, what I do know is online marketing, customer evangelism, user generated content, passion, attention, and blogging, and specifically how to combine all of those to be successful, regardless of the industry.

That being said, let’s look at the issues facing a small movie studio like Magnolia Pictures.

1. They don’t have the huge marketing budgets that large studios have.
2. They aren’t usually able to get the huge stars in their films who can carry a picture almost by themselves.
3. Their movies don’t usually get released nationwide, or even on multiple theatres.

So… how do they overcome those problems? Have they REALLY tried?

What are the big, or small, movie studios doing to market their movies besides throwing cash at a wall of media and hoping the reach enough eyeballs?

My solution was simple, and it involved bringing the bloggers and movie fans together to evangelize and promote the movies through social media and video sharing sites like Magnify.net, all processed through an “affiliate” channel that allowed “fans” to help sell tickets to movies online and get commissions from their indirect efforts.

It was building a community of fans and bloggers based around Magnolia’s small, yet powerfully charged films. In other words, simply tapping into their minds and the tools they are already using to spread the word.

If you don’t have a huge budget to promote the movie, what’s a better way than to enable your viewers to be part of the conversation and promotion?

Opportunity missed, perhaps.

Is Hollywood missing the marketing 2.0 boat? I think so. Can small movie studios like Magnolia Pictures continue to survive and thrive without marketing 2.0? I’m not sure they can.

You can view the original PowerPoint presentation presented to Magnolia here.

Pownce Made Me Appreciate Twitter

I’m being totally honest. I was not a huge Twitter user until I started playing with Pownce. But here’s what happened.

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Once I started playing around in Pownce, I realized that while Pownce was more visually appealing to me, Twitter just brought the goods. The simplicity of the solution, and the fact that I had already made the investment of adding a bunch of my core “friends” in, was enough to convince me that Twitter was in fact better for me.

In the end, it’s really about usefulness and time not wasted. Twitter got there first, and kept it simple. Therefore, they win.

Scoble says

How Do You Find A Book Agent To Help You Sell A Book?

I’m ready to publish the book that’s been in my head for the past few years. Now I just need an agent to help me sell it to a publisher. Anyone got an agent that they recommend? Ping me if so. jim@jimkukral.com.

Or, if you’re a book agent interested in a book about the future of online marketing and web 2.0, find me yourself so I can tell you more.

Why go the agent route? Because I’m a busy guy and I don’t have time to pitch directly to publishers, and I need someone to keep me in line and help me get this done the right way.

Internet & Web 2.0 Overload, Is Anyone Else Feeling It?

thescream.gifIt takes a lot to overload me. I constantly have 10 projects going of my own, plus consulting work, and my own blogs that I write like this one, and other blogs I write on, and I’m constantly reading/looking for new tools/resources related to my industry. Whew. And somehow I manage all of this without my head exploding.

But something has changed in the last month or so. There just seems like there’s… more now?

It feels like someone accelerated the Internet overnight? There’s just so much new stuff, so fast. And it’s not crap either. It’s powerful applications and tools and real change type things that are flying in at the speed of light, overtaking me, causing my brain to spin.

Is it just me?

What Is Social Search & Why Does It Matter?

searchguy.jpgSearchengineland nails “what is social search” with a piece today entitled ‘The Impending Social Search Inflection Point‘. This is probably the best piece on this topic I have read yet. A bit technical and high-level, yet still very readable for the masses. I admit I had to read it twice, heh.

A few highlights I pulled out below.

According to Jupiter, 41.2 percent of users report that general search results are often not directly relevant to queries, and 18 percent leave a search engine without having found the information they were seeking.

So who’s fault is this? Spammers who clog up the rankings or the engines? I say both?

As articulated by Chris Sherman, social search is information retrieval, way finding tools informed by human judgment. Social search is people helping people find stuff using plain-language questions and answers, collaborative content harvesting, directory building, voting and ranking, sharing, tagging, commenting on bookmarks, Web pages, news, images, videos and podcasts.

It’s not rocket surgery. It’s “helping people find stuff” at its core, using newer tools and techniques.

According to a Pew Internet and American Life report, 44 percent of Internet users are content creators. A significant ratio of the top 100 results for more queries are consumer-generated media such as blogs and social networks, which sounds like an invitation for social media marketers to seed more content.

Wow. 44% create content? That’s higher than I thought. As it gets easier and easier to do, how high will that number grow?

Web 2.0 innovations are disruptive. The emergence of open standards, richer user experiences, content portability, social networks and communities are quite disruptive to traditional algorithmic search, and are converging toward social search. Information retrieval is changing in real time. Web 2.0 open standards have in essence separated the content we search from its format and dedicated application. More and more frequently, information is being pushed to consumers before they even have a chance to use a search engine to pull it from the Web. AJAX and Flash are turning web pages into applications, themselves becoming platform-independent mashups of RSS feeds, smart widgets, badges, and modules.

Possibly the best paragraph explanation and analysis I’ve read in a long time on any particular subject.

Social search levels the economics. The explosion of consumer-generated media, the emergence of social search and the rise of the net’s culture of participation will eventually force a democratization of the web’s economics. Content-generating users, driving traffic and eyeballs, will increasingly share the wealth. The web is slowly but surely leveling the playing field for the rest of us in the tail. More and more personal blogs, MySpace profiles, and other communities display advertising and widgets wrapped around democratization of revenue share including payment. Consumers will eventually share the wealth in a more democratic way.

The time is now. What are you doing to stake your place as a new entrepreneurial type content producer in this new marketplace?

New BUMPzee Community Launched Today: How To Be Successful Online

You all know how much I love BUMPzee! Well, I love it even more now that I was chosen as one of the select few to manage my very own community while it’s still in beta. So what community did I make?

bzheaderlogo1.pngIntroducing the ‘How To Be Successful Online’ BUMPzee Community

Bookmark this: http://www.bumpzee.com/onlinesuccess/

What is the community all about?

The How To Be Successful Online community is for anyone who is interested in learning how to be successful on the Internet. The blogs and members of this community will focus on and discuss the world of Internet marketing, professional blogging and making money online. Join today for free, or submit your related blog for free as well.

That description you just read is really what JimKukral.com is all about, and many, many others like it that I read every day. Like those blogs, I don’t write about one topic like affiliate marketing only, but rather, I focus on writing about all types of online marketing, with the specific goal of trying to help businesses, brands and individuals be successful online.

Do you fit that mold? Are you someone who’s looking for more information about how to be successful online? Join the community for free!

Do you have a blog that talks about ways to be successful online? Submit your blog to the community for free!

FYI. I’ve preloaded the community with about 14 blogs, listed below (in no particular order & if I missed your blog, I’m sorry, just go add it).

If your blog is on the list below, go sign up and claim your blog, and most importantly, add the bump widget to your entries and sidebar. If your blog isn’t in the list below, what are you waiting for, submit it!

Not sure about BUMPzee yet. Read this.

Super Affiliate Marketing Blog
Earners Blog
Revenews
WaynePorter.com
Shoe Money
CostPerNews
Graywolf’s SEO Blog
Copyblogger
Andy Wibbels
Aaron Wall’s SEO Book.com
The Blog Herald
Ask the Blogger!
901am
ProBlogger Blog Tips
Jim Kukral Online Marketing Ideas

Oh yeah, and make sure to check out the other new beta BUMPzee community managed by CostPerNews’s Sam Harrelson.

Called “Next Gen Marketing”. In a nutshell, this community on BUMPzee will serve as an aggregator of blogs and insights focusing on developing trends and emerging tactics to address the rising tide of social media, attention economies and “web2.0″ platforms. It should be fun to see the discussions which arise there.

There’s also some new interface changes at BUMPzee too, so check it out!

Does Your Widget Or Web 2.0 Application Solve Problems?

widgets_03.jpgToday I was part of a panel on Web 2.0 over the ecomXpo, moderated by Shawn Collins, and including me, Scott Jangro and Sam Harrelson. It was entitled ‘Web 2.0: Views from the Thought Shapers’.

Pretty cool panel. We discussed a list of about 43 web 2.0 websites and widgets and gave our thoughts on each. Shawn has a list of the sites on his blog here.

Beyond just talking about those sites listed and some widgets, I specifically wanted to make one major point, which I will share here now.

Widgets, Web 2.0 Applications & Everything Else You Build Online Are A Waste Of Time Unless They Are Easy To Use, Easy To Understand & Solve A Particular Problem

People come to the Internet to have their problems solved, or to have fun. So if you are thinking about creating a widget or web 2.0 application, perhaps you should first ask yourself “how will this solve a problem for my target?” Then, and only then, when you have a clear answer should you proceed.

Case in point, you all know I LOVE BUMPzee. Why?

Because it solves problems for me. It saves me time. It exposes me to new sources of content in my niche without me having to work to find it. It connects me with people in my industry.

BumpZee

Oh yeah, and it’s fun to go there every day and follow conversations real time. Not to mention that the widget allows people to bump my stories up which provides my own blog and thoughts with more exposure.

Solve problems, and you’ll win.

ZEfrank’s Last ‘The Show’ Today

I gotta tell you, I’m a bit weepy after watching his last show today. Why? Well, I’m a sucker for sappy music and slow-motion montages, plus, you know, ZE is THAT good. It sucks this run is over.

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You can watch ZE’s first show one year ago here. My only solace is that I can be sure of meeting ZE in person and seeing him speak at the Affiliate Summit this summer in Miami. Bring it ZE, I know you will.

Thanks for the content and follow through, you have no idea how much what you have done has inspired me, on multiple levels.

Oh yeah, Happy St. Patrick’s day to everyone.