by Dennis Yang
Thu, Jul 29th 2010 6:10am
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 28th 2010 1:14pm
from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept
This new article points out that "The Twitter Effect" doesn't really appear to have any impact at all, but does mention that studios are trying to jump on this "Twitter" bandwagon by "buying trending terms" on the site. But watching the movie studios try to figure out this whole social media landscape can be pretty funny. Adam Singer sent over an email he just received from Warner Bros. asking him to join its "word of mouth marketing team" in which the studio would pay him to say nice things about Warner Bros. films:
Hello,Here's a tip for Warner Bros.' "word of mouth marketing team." If it's really "word of mouth marketing," it probably doesn't require you to pay people to talk about your bad movies. And, of course, depending on how the various bloggers on the "team" indicate their relationship with WB, the studio may be opening itself up to FTC problems.
I am a part of the Warner Brothers word of mouth marketing team and recently came across your blog! Your blog uniquely stood out as dynamic, informative and highly creative. We are seeking bloggers that are passionate about entertainment to help us engage your readers with content that would be interesting to them.
We would like to have you join our WB Word marketing team to let fans know about our latest releases and relevant content/products. As a member of the team, you will be asked to display photos, clips, and stories on your Blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The best part is you will get paid! Additionally, we may even debut event previews and new content so that fans like you get to enjoy it first.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jul 26th 2010 9:43am
Reviewer Caught Posting Marketing Material As A Review... Uses DMCA To Takedown Site Of Guy Who Exposed Him
from the this-is-going-to-backfire-badly dept
There's some site called BenchmarkReviews. I'd never heard of it, but apparently it recently published a review of a Herman Miller chair supposedly written by one Olin Coles, who appears to own the site. Fair enough. However, some folks noticed some... well... oddities about the review, and started discussing them in the "World of Stuart" forums, leading journalist Stuart Campbell (of World of Stuart fame) to investigate. In looking through the details, it quickly became clear that the "review" text appeared to have copied potentially large segments from either marketing material or a press release. Some of the sources of the material were found out -- including a Herman Miller product brochure (pdf) and a furniture store company's product description. As people commented on the BenchmarkReviews website pointing this out, those comments were swiftly deleted, and the users' IP addresses were banned.
Campbell then sent Coles an email, identifying himself and asking a series of questions about the "review." Instead of replying, Campbell discovered that Coles posted a note to BenchmarkReview's forums, publicly naming Campbell, claiming that Campbell was banned from the site for making "anonymous... threats." Campbell says that the forum post displayed his name, email address and phone number, though it appears to only currently show his name and IP address.
Next up, a reader of Campbell's site contacted the furniture store in question, Smart Furniture, who claimed that they had written their own product description, suggesting that Benchmark Review may have copied it from Smart Furniture (or that Smart Furniture was lying).
Next up? Well, suddenly the text of the original review at Benchmark Review started gradually morphing, with no notice of the changes. Of course, Campbell had the originals and highlighted the ongoing changes. Oddly, the newly changed review included a whole bunch of ads pointing to Smart Furniture, the company who claimed to have created some of the text that showed up (uncredited) in the review.
That's when things got nasty. Apparently Coles sent a DMCA takedown to Campbell's hosting provider a company called JustHost. JustHost then totally overreacted, pulled down the entire site and seemed utterly clueless about how to properly handle a DMCA takedown notice and counternotice. In the end, JustHost would only allow Campbell's site to go back online if he removed the "offending" material. It has been removed, but the original blog post has been reposted elsewhere, so you can compare it to what's left.
The DMCA claim is clearly bogus -- and if Campbell decides to pursue it, the DMCA does allow for sanctions against those who knowingly file false DMCA claims. Cambell's post was clearly providing commentary on the review, and highlighting problems with it. The material was quoted in the context of highlighting the problems with the text, and certainly was not used in a manner that infringes. It's difficult to see how much deeper a hole Coles wants to dig himself here. His activities have only served to call that much more attention to the problems of the original "review" (if you can call it that), and filing a bogus DMCA notice to take down the website of the guy who called him on his activities seems only likely to make matters even worse for himself.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 15th 2010 10:03am
from the skip-a-generation-or-two dept
[Jacob] Goldenberg offers the following thought experiment. Imagine that John is a laggard who buys a Walkman and listens to it while he jogs every day. Eventually, the Discman comes along, but John doesn't upgrade because he doesn't see anything wrong with his Walkman and doesn't want to re-buy his music on CD. Then MiniDisc players come along, but John still holds on to his Walkman. Then, 16 years after he bought his portable tape deck, MP3 players become the hot new thing.The research shows that this is often the case. The folks normally considered "late adopters" skip multiple generations, but when they upgrade, they upgrade to the latest and greatest, and are often among the first buyers of those devices, often planning to hang onto them for another few generations. Amusingly, as I thought about this, I realized that this actually describes me! For example, I tend to keep mobile phones for four or five years before upgrading, but when I do upgrade, I get something pretty new and snazzy and then use it until I'm almost embarrassed to show it ("wait, you write for a tech blog with that phone?" has been said to me more than once). Same with other gadgets as well. I have an ancient mp3 player and no intention of upgrading. I had the same super bulky and not very good digital camera for seven years before I recently bought a brand new one that puts the old one to shame.
By now, though, John is finally starting to feel self-conscious about his huge, bulky Walkman, and maybe it's starting to break down. He's finally ready to buy a new music player, so he becomes--ironically--one of the first people to get an iPod.
The research then suggests that targeting those "late leapfroggers" rather than the early adopters can actually do quite a bit for the bottom line:
Goldenberg argues that the economic impact of leapfrogging laggards is huge. By his calculations, if only 10 percent of laggards leapfrog, their purchases can drive profits from a new gadget 89 percent higher than they would be without leapfrogging. "And that can be the difference between succeeding and not succeeding," he says.Thompson then wonders if some of this is driving the early sales success of the iPads. Sure, early adopters are buying it, but for some "laggards" who never bought a smartphone or a laptop, perhaps it's a reasonable buy? I'm not completely convinced that's the case, but it's an interesting theory. Would love to see some actual data on how many iPad buyers didn't already have a smartphone or a laptop.
If Goldenberg is right, marketers have made a colossal error by snubbing laggards. Instead, they ought to be frantically figuring out how to market to them. After all, early adopters don't need much convincing. But if you can figure out how to tip just 1 percent of laggards into the "buy" category, the upside is huge. What's more, Goldenberg thinks word-of-mouth recommendations from laggards are supremely persuasive: If John can handle that new gizmo, anyone can, right?
That said, this story got me thinking about a concept that I've been pondering lately, which often explains why people have so much trouble understanding certain aspects of trends: it's because people have difficultly conceptualizing dynamic markets as an ongoing connected process, but instead, automatically think of them as an encapsulated unit. If you look at any product totally in isolation, the normal "adoption curve" that Geoffrey Moore built his career on makes sense.
It assumes an orderly progression from beginning to end, with your typical bell curve. But that assumes that each product is a market unto itself, without impact from additional innovations and newer products. That's not the case at all. Many of the "late adopters" never actually get around to adopting, and when they adopt, they may have jumped up onto another, higher curve, rather than coming down the back end of the adoption bell curve. Recognizing such dynamic market forces isn't always easy to do, and it's a huge reason why people sometimes have such difficulty predicting market trends.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, May 25th 2010 8:54pm
from the nice-try dept
The other popular tactic is to lie about what kind of wireless network you're actually offering. There were the claims that any wireless broadband solution was "WiMAX" back before the WiMAX standard was even set. So you started to get companies calling their solution "WiMAX" and then including all sorts of fine print about how it was "pre-WiMAX" and would certainly be upgraded to WiMAX once WiMAX actually existed.
Similarly, nearly a decade ago, when all the talk was about the upcoming "3G" networks, the mobile carriers all started pushing claims that they were offering "3G" when they absolutely were not. There were some interim "2.5G" steps, and some aggressive marketers just decided to round up. And, it looks like they're doing that again. T-Mobile is going around claiming its HSPA+ network offers "4G speeds," which, of course, is not to be confused with actual 4G. And, of course, this is an "up to" situation, where the network could, theoretically, sorta, kinda touch on "4G speeds," but probably won't for most people.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 29th 2010 7:45pm
from the vote-daisy dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 10th 2010 3:22pm
from the price-elasticity dept
In the video game world, at least, they seem more open to this concept. Last year we wrote about Valve reporting on some numbers that showed the more they reduced the price, the greater the money they brought in. In the case of reducing the price by 75%, Valve found sales increased 1470%. Not bad! But apparently an online video gaming store in Sweden has them beat.
Rasmus Larsson points us to a report from an online gaming store that also reduced prices by 75% and saw sales increase by an astounding 5500% (Google translation from the original). A similar test, with a price decrease of 50% saw sales increase 533%. Interestingly, after each price decrease, the company put the price back up again and saw a (slight) sales increase at the higher price too. As the article notes "the price is marketing."
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 29th 2010 4:40pm
from the alternative-means dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 29th 2010 3:38pm
from the different-worlds dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 15th 2010 6:35pm
from the is-there-a-pizzster? dept
A few weeks back, reader Josh sent in this analysis from someone in the pizza industry about why "free" makes a lot of sense as a piece of a larger marketing strategy. What struck me is how similar the discussion is to the discussions we have here. There are people who complain that giving away free food "devalues" the food. You have people complaining that the "cost" of free food is too high. But, in the end, the guy makes a good case for why free is a great system, for bringing in new customers, who can turn into loyal paying customers:
Many times I hear, "Giving away free food diminishes the value of my brand." My response is usually laughter, followed by a question: "Are you kidding me?" The goal with free food is to drive qualified prospective customers into your establishment to try your food, service and experience.Of course, the economics with food is quite a bit different than with content. With food, each "free sample" has a direct cost in that the same items cannot be sold. With content, the argument in favor of using "free" is even stronger, because you are just giving away copies -- and each copy is free to make and distribute, even if the original copy cost money.