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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Traffick Infinite Regression Awards 2009

"We love ourselves, don't we?" So said The Church Lady. And yes, lady, we do. We, the Internauti, the digeridoochebags who endlessly refer to ourselves in our posts/tweets/dead-trees-missives, etc. Even when our subject matter is that this or that form of media is a sinking ship.

The Reggies roll on.

Last year, Traffick revived the somewhat-annual Internet Internet Infinite Infinite (Keyword Stuffing) Regression Awards with the help of Matt Larkin, a fine budding writer who will someday fully get the hang of boasting about himself. But to cap off this pivotal Year to Forget, it's back to yours truly, the creator of the Reggies.

Without any further ado:

Best Tweet About an Article that Criticizes Tweeting: By the guy who tweeted about the New York Post article "Tweeting is so shilly". Note, among other things, an encrypted critique of The Huffington Post, found in the sessionid of the destination URL.

Best Blog Post About the "Death" of Blogging: This one that really hammers the scare quotes in there. It's from 2008, but we had to wait and see whether blogging actually died before we went ahead with this. Nyaaah nyaaaah, didn't die!

Best SERP for [search engine]: It's still Dogpile.com. Google has a sense of humor. Don't ever deny it. And no, my vintage Dogpile shirt is still not for sale.









Best, er, I mean lamest, Paid Search Ad that Gives Money to Google to Try to Salvage a Competing Search Engine's Market Share:
An AdWords ad for Bing. "Visit the Bing(TM) Official Site to Make Key Decisions Quick & Easy." WTF? I can see Obama's whole cabinet heading there right now, on the strength of that ad. Too bad George W. didn't have Bing to work with when he was The Decider. But it's not too late to take some endorsement cash. Move fast, sir. If you don't take the money, Shatner will.

Best SERP for [techmeme]: This cool Google result that shows popular recently-tweeted articles that are highlighted on Techmeme, giving credit to all of Twitter, Techmeme, and the New York Times for an article about the Blackberry's tenth anniversary. So in other words, it takes four media companies to give free PR to Research in Motion.













Fifth Most Controversial Post on Sphinn, About Sphinn (Chosen as Example Here Based on Prediction that Fewest Number of Commenters on the Thread Are Likely to Punch Me for Citing It): "Sphinn.com No Longer Belongs to the People":

Reason for Everyone's Unshakeable Childishness: Well, Sesame Street just turned 40.

Best Free Audiobook About Things Costing Nothing: Free, by Chris Anderson, on Audible.com. He charges $20,000 and up for keynote speeches.

Most Lifelike-Looking "Official Retweet Widget" that Is Not the Actual Quasi-Official Retweet Widget: The one at Retweet.com. The most-used one appears to be Tweetmeme.

Most Appropriately-Misunderstood Self-Referential Publication Name-in-Waiting: Memememe, or memememe.com, is generally rendered as "me-me-me-me!" Not surprising.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Ratty Old Briefcase

In an old Yahoo Mail account, I just stumbled on Yahoo's announcement that they'd be closing the Briefcase file storage service as of March 30. I was immediately curious if I actually had anything in my old briefcase. Perhaps a couple of non-working pens? Pennies? An old Hubba Bubba gum wrapper? Scribbled 3 a.m. notes for a visionary new business model, illegible to the naked eye or the sane mind?

As it turns out, along with a few seemingly random email attachments, I had an old email address book. And as I looked through some of my correspondents from then, I got a bit nostalgic. A good old Topica-Editorial-produced email newsletter from 2001, Dot Com Winners and Losers, caught my attention. A Jenny Baker would review winners like Flooz (got funded that week) and losers like DrKoop (took it on the chin that week). (So much more polite than F***ed Company. Of course, in the usual bout of self-referentiality, Jenny saw fit to review F***ed Company one week... labeling it a "winner.")

One day, as part of the usual endless feedback loop of 2001 dot com irony, Topica told Jenny to stop writing that column; she was told to focus "her writerly resources elsewhere, to help us advance toward our goal of profita.... Ah, you know the drill."

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Saturday, January 10, 2009

Spotted: Backlash Against Advertising... By Advertisers, in Ads

Recently I've come across examples of ads that get all introspective and self-referential on us, essentially by self-deprecatingly referring to the questionable value of advertising itself.

Billboard ads spotted around Toronto showed an ad for Miele appliances with shouty graphics -- "up to 40% off!" - "hurry in!" - "BLOWOUT!" - " - "Offer expires Dec. 31!"... followed by something along the lines of:

"Sorry. We never have sales. We're new to this."

Maxwell House is running a TV ad that says "The average TV advertisement costs $245,000. This one cost $19,000. Where should we spend the difference?" (The idea came from ad agency: Ogilvy Toronto.)

Two very different brands. But they have something in common: they're openly questioning advertising business as usual... right in the ads. With the help of an ad agency!

Worthy causes -- seen as more worthy than advertising? Referring to the cost of advertising -- in an ad? Apologizing for a sale promotion, to get a laugh? We're on the verge of a major crisis of confidence in the old brand logic. The cracks are starting to show.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Monday, August 25, 2008

Circularity Update

It seems that the expression "jumped the shark" has jumped the shark so much, it has now jumped the shark to say that jumping the shark, the expression, has jumped the shark.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Sunday, June 15, 2008

Meta-Thought 2: Layers of the Onion

One thing that was amazingly clear this week, after the dust settled, was how wrong and useless the hair-trigger blog posts were in reference to Yahoo's "termination" of talks with Microsoft, and its ad deal with Google.

This little rhythm happens. Yahoo makes an announcement or two. PR informs some bloggers. Other bloggers happen on it. Heck a friend of mine even phoned me to remind me to read the PR email that had just come in with reference to the Yahoo-Google ad deal.

It's getting to the end of a busy day - or it is after hours. And bloggers feel compelled to post. Under that scenario, many (half?) the posts you see are very close to just regurgitating press releases. In that "taking press releases literally" mode, incorrect analyses are actually spread around the industry... for a short time.

But this short time is long enough for many readers to bite off a little bit of wrong info, and move onto their day. The waters get muddied.

Somewhere by the middle of next day, the channel has been refilled by the content of more seasoned journalists, Wall Street analysts, etc. weighing in with more textured coverage. Then, additional facts -- like Yahoo turning down a similar deal with Microsoft -- come to light. Suddenly the knee-jerk posts need to be revised, revisited, and re-released... if anyone's still reading.

Some writers, particularly those at the New York Times and Mike Arrington, seem to gauge the tone of their coverage to the stock price of the company in question. Not always a bad idea, if you want to seem in step for a couple of days. Hence the time lapse of approximately one day before the "Yang you blew it" "massive destruction of shareholder value" posts began coalescing together like one big nascent anti-Yang Googlebomb. As YHOO shares stabilize and creep back up, the vicious attacks will become more sporadic, though we should probably expect daily telegrams and missives in longhand to be sent to Sunnyvale from the Desk of Carl Icahn. If we're lucky, these will be forwarded to Valleywag.

It seems like it's getting harder and harder to digest the news -- and it isn't that the blogosphere writ large is "to blame." But there are clear differences among bloggers: they break down into (i) a rare few who have running insights and access to better facts; (ii) those (like me) who are sometimes insightful and sometimes have access to better facts; and (iii) those who make no attempt to add anything to the discussion, but who are quick at posting "something."

I'm not sure if you can address all of this with an algorithm... or what... but in the case of something like Techmeme or Technorati, it's clear the playing field (like any playing field that rewards visibility) is getting soft-spammed by quick-response rehash posts and even knee-jerk posts that are flat wrong about the facts.

Admit it, gamers, er, I mean bloggers -- we're all a little bit part of the problem.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Sunday, January 27, 2008

O Lifeworld Where Art Thou

Law firm claims that you can copyright a cease-and desist, thus layering law on top of law and contributing to the ever finer, subtler and cozier weave of what we formally ungraciously referred to as the "iron cage of bureaucracy."

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pondering the Sales Equation, Part 2

Looking at literature on how to sell better is always an eye-opener for me because it makes me realize a couple of things about my own business, which does indeed revolve around selling a service.

One thing we are unconsciously doing at my company is accelerating our thinking past selling to our customer, to selling to their customers. After all, that's the whole point of our service: targeting our client's customer. Our client is a customer, but if we linger on that point too long without getting engaged with their customers, no one wins. What's required in this scenario, it seems, is "double empathy." Especially for shops (like Future Now; we do a shorthand version of this) who must engage in profile and scenario research to help other shops sell better in a whole variety of industries, it's great mental gymnastics. As the television personal trainers say, it "gets you out of your comfort zone." Since the phone started ringing in 2001, and I started helping other companies sell to their customers, I've been out of my "comfort zone." This becomes a comfort zone in itself. I wouldn't trade that experience in developing "double empathy" for the world.

The situation can, however, go up another notch in complexity. We are a marketing company helping other companies market to their customers, so we have to market to our clients and help our clients market to their clients. So far, so good. But what if we have to help a marketing company market to their clients? And what if their clients were, in many cases, marketers? We'd be marketing to a marketing company who is marketing to marketers.

Without going into detail, then, about why we say no to some of these projects, it's safest to say that certain projects make my head explode. For safety's sake, we'd be much better off taking it down one or two orders of complexity: we help you market software, or accounting services, or something made out of aluminum.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Monday, April 16, 2007

Endless Loop, Rev. 3.1a

Lately I've run across a few of those "moratoriums"... you know the ones, "I declare a moratorium on people saying 'Good Times'," or the lists of moratoriums that take it a bit too far and get way too specific (sorry, but I'll definitely keep using the terms 'platform' and 'ecosystem' because they work for me).

I was hoping to now bring you a list of "moratoriums on moratoriums," but the list is a bit long; rest assured there are somewhere between 48 and 1,000 folks out there discussing or declaring moratoriums on moratoriums. A lot of those, surprisingly, are in the context of a political body like a city council passing a motion on the matter. I found a lot fewer recent said declarations in the context of the present echo chamber. A technorati search turned up only one result, last time I checked. (By contrast, if you search for "technorati" on technorati, you get 1.3 million results.)

What I did not find anywhere, though -- and what I am hereby declaring today -- is a moratorium on moratoriums on moratoriums.

All by way of proving I'm not part of an Amazonian tribe that defies Chomskyan linguistic paradigms.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This Echo Chamber Goes to 12 (Because 11's So Over With)

Infinite Internet Regression Awards: 2007 (aka The Reggies III)

By John Molson

Ah yes, 2003. When we were apologizing here for skipping 2002 in the Annual Internet Infinite Regression Awards. We then proceeded to skip 2004 and 2005, pausing briefly in 2006 to tip our cap to the concept following the mesh conference.

Some version of the Fibonacci Sequence now compels me to write again.

I now present the third ever Internet Infinite Regression ... hmm, nah, that's not going to fly, because the regularity of the dates got messed up completely.

Well, how about the First Annual Internet Infinite Regression Warning. Yes, I like the sounds of that. Perhaps we can even set up our own Situation Room.

To sum up before starting, it's clearly a plus ša change... situation here in the world of self-referentiality. There's a whole new whack of quite prominent self-referrers here in the link-baitosphere, yet amazingly they're mostly seen as elder statesmen! And why not. This is America, metaphorically speaking.

To head off potential resentment of this post, let me say that I love and revere some of the folks listed below, and hate or am indifferent to others. Calling you names has very little to do with my regard for you, or lack of it. If I've erred, I'm sure I'll be owing you a fine meal somewhere hip.

So, since 2003 we've seen the rise of:

Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion. Home of today's most prominent "blogging about blogging".

Wikipedia, Wikipedia. The ultimate Wikipedia-Squared entry.

Googling Google. Did you know that Google shows up 941,000,000 times in a Google search? Note to radio newsreaders: this isn't called "941 million hits on Google."

Wikipedia-Watch.org. Note the charming look and feel.

Daniel-Brandt-Watch.org. I'd sooner watch Baywatch.

Lunch 2.0. To me, not disruptive or creative enough. I'm lobbying for Bathrobe 2.0; prerequisites being a bunch of self-appointed 2.0 Geeks, a nice hotel, a fire in the nice hotel, and a great conversation on the sidewalk outside. If the hotel is nice enough, everyone will be wearing the same bathrobe, and all the bathrobes will fit. Sweet.

The Echo Chamber: Sometimes expressed as a "worry" that something like this "might" happen, quaintly expressed by people who caused it to happen at least one bubble ago, and are still going strong.

Podcasting About Podcasting: Apparently this is already passe. Or is it? Don't look up. Seriously: what is truly happening in the podcasting-about-podcasting vertical is a shakeout. Before, you had to be goodlooking to get away with podcasting about podcasting. Soon, you'll need to be very goodlooking.

Linkbaiting About Linkbaiting: Well, what do you think this is? People, Matt Cutts actually endorses linkbaiting! He calls it white hat SEO! Link, Digg, do whatever you need to do to express your (and my) infinite regressyness. Please. Run, do not walk, to your blog client or other social media app. Tell them about this puzzling post. Create an endless loop of monetization for this website. I dare you.

Social bookmark about social bookmarking. Hey! Now you're getting the hang of it!

A Message from Chad and Steve
. Hi, we're billionaires, and we're going to post this video now. On the site that made us that billion! Yeah, baby!

All sounds a bit daft, doesn't it?

Don't knock it until you try it. Got any more to suggest? Post your own! On your blog, or podcast, not here. You don't have the password! This ain't a wiki, pal!

Plus c'est la meme chose. Really, I meant meme. "Meme" chose, get it?

--

John Molson, humorist, has been writing covertly for Traffick.com for several years, concurrent with overtly not existing. This bio, written by Andrew Goodman, is fake. The Blogger author field should take care of any remaining subterfuge. He spent half the day instant-messaging a friend about his instant-messaging habits. He lives in Toronto.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




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