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Does BlogHer Still Have Its Heart?


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

BlogHerThis week Friday Fun = BlogHer! I started my piggy bank BlogHer fund as soon as I got back to Atlanta from BlogHer 2005. 

Although I believe in what Lisa, Elisa and Jory wanted to accomplish - to the extent that I happily invested a bunch of volunteer hours behind the scenes - to go from 200 people to 700 at a conference is more than a challenge. My thoughts couldn't help but turn to, "Would the increase in attendees loose the intimacy of 2005?"

Meeting-up with one of the savviest bloggers and dear friend Yvonne DiVita at the Atlanta airport was a  perfect way to begin the trip to San Jose.  Yvonne and I have been invited to participate in a non conference panel conceived by biz blogger diva - Susan Getgood. Susan's  concept  was a series of 5-minute mini case studies of how companies are using blogs. Sort of a spin on the minute dating idea but here cases will be shared with all.

Catching a few rays poolside (after checking email!) I met Maria Benet who was at BlogHer 2005. Although Diva has been up for over 2-years, I felt like a babe in the woods chatting with Maria who has been blogging for over 5 years! When she asked about Max I knew I had found another kindred spirit. She's kindly promised a Blogger Story which will be an adventure to read!

Then I saw Average Jane who was wearing the coolest t-shirt with her cartoon self.  So very fun.  It was off to a BlogHer thank you cocktail party on party bus where who should I find but the Barbara Walters of podcasting in Europe - Nicole Simon.

At the cocktail party Kalyn Denny and Elise Bauer diva food bloggers extraordinaries welcomed me with the warmth that is evident in their writing. It was wonderful to meet these divas who I worked with as a BlogHer contributing food editor.  Elana Centor was there and Nancy White and I met Beth Kanter who blogs about non profits.

Robert Scoble walked in with a video camera and his cute blogger son Patrick. After a quick hug the important question at this party was."Where's Maryam?" "She's parking her BMW." said he.  Hmmm thought the diva bloggers .. equality does not mean chivalry. Maryam, who is as charming as her blog set us straight. They came in separate cars. Okay Robert .. you may stay and play with the BlogHer Divas!

As the party came to a close, Chris Carfi, Lisa's partner and I agreed that altho BlogHer 2006 would indeed be different the heart of BlogHer was indeed alive and well .

Jeneane, Ronni and Koan .. wish you were here. We'll toast you with a CA vino or perhaps an appletini. See you at BlogHer 07!

Astrology_12 Biz Astro Tips

business astrology for fun
By Diva Astrology Bloggers Paula Dare & Donna Page

Very good news-Mercury turns Direct 7/28/06. Communication should start
flowing more effectively. If you’ve been holding off signing contracts, or starting new projects, you’ll likely find things falling into place with more ease.

Other planetary energy suggests it will be a rather pleasant week. It is also a good week to take a look at your company’s image. Are you projecting what you want the customer to see? Go over your mission statement. Are you following it? If you don’t have one, write one.

Special thanks to blog pal Wayne Hurlbert for his very kind post about Diva Marketings Friday Fun series.

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eNewsletters Need New Content


Ad_age Received the latest issue of Advertising Age a few days ago. I love reading industry gossip and the latest on who is doing what. It was a great excuse to take a break from more mundane work. So I poured a glass of peach ice tea and settled out on my little patio with Max to catch-up on the news.

Began reading the front page. Hmmm...it sounded so familiar. Turned the page to read another article. Hmmm..it sounded so familiar.  Quickly skimmed the rest of the pub. Hmm...it sounded so familiar.

I subscribe to Ad Age's email push. Most of the stuff in the print version I had read days before. In fact, many of the articles had been commented on and conversations taken place on blogs. It was def old news to me and I must admit a little disappointing.

Lessons Learned: Bloggers who are incorporating eNewsletters in your marketing plans beware. Please include fresh content in your eNewsletters that you are not posting on your blog.

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Blogger Stories New Chapters


BStorieslogger Stories is a blog that I launched to tell the stories of how people have been touched by blogs, podcasts, vlogs. It's an opportunity for people to tell their personal stories of how their lives have been influenced by social media.

The new chapters of Blogger Stories include the story of a women from the South of France who uses blogs to express her creativity that her job won't allow; how blogs help build the self-confidence of a hearing impaired woman and the kindness of bloggers.

Special guest story teller Richard Edelman, President and CEO, of Edelman shares two tales of his experiences with social media and how his blog posts found their way into mainstream media.

Richard Edelman - Speak Up, Blogger Story
Allison Gower - All About Qtags; The Platform, Blogger Story
Christelle Alexandre - Mkgmd - le mag du marketing multidimentionnel, Blogger Story
Des Walsh - Thinking Home Business, Blogger Story
Peggy Payne - Peggy Payne's Boldness BlogBlogger Story
Meryl K. Evans - Meryl's Notes Blog; Bionic Ear, Blogger Story
Monica Ricci - Your Life. Organized, Blogger Story

Do you have an interesting story about how social media has touched your life? Drop me an email at bloggerstories at yahoo dot com and include:

1. Your name
2. Your blog title and url
3. Business or personal blog story
4. Your blogger story (about 500 words more or less)

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Jupiter Reseach - End Story


In another part of the blogopshere I'm a guest blogger at The Medical Blog Network and thought a post on medical/healthcare consumer searches would be interesting. Jupiter Research recently dropped a media release highlighting results from a study about healhcare search engines. I had a couple of questions. So I dropped David Schatsky, President of JupiterKagan an email asking for clarification of the methodology. With 24-hours I received a detailed response from Vic Beck, VP, Peter Arnold Associates.

According to my pal Bill Neal, SDR, Inc., the information complied with APOOR Ethics Standards. Bill's comments are at the end of the post. Thanks to Bill and Thomas M. Guterbock, APPOR Ethics Chair for their on-going help.

Perhaps one day all research firms will include the methodology with their releases a la Harris Interactive and get that providing this type of data is not giving away trade secrets but establishing credibility of their results and conclusions as well as, of the organization.

In the meantime, kudos to Peter Arnold and Jupiter Research for providing the data quickly and kindly when requested. It's nice to know that a social media "community" can encourage positive changes. My hope is that this will be a win-win for all.

Sidebar: David has a great post on Logic + Emotion, People Respond: The New PR, that is a must read for business bloggers and companies who are/have been/will be touched by social media = every biz diva and divo.

Vic agreed to allow me to post the methodology. Following is JupiterResearch's methodology for its Health Search Report along with Bill's commentary.

[Vic Beck] Here is the detail in response to your question.

In May 2006, JupiterResearch designed and fielded a survey to online consumers selected randomly from the Ipsos US online consumer panel. [Bill Neal]  Okay, that is a good panel and is well managed - however, they should reveal to total number of persons/households in that sampling frame - was it the entire 400,000 or 2 million?. A total of 2,157 individuals responded to the survey. [Bill Neal] They should reveal the number of invitations sent out so one can assess the response rate. Generally, anything under 20% for a panel is highly suspect. Respondents were asked approximately 25 closed-ended questions about their behaviors, attitudes and preferences as they relate to wireless high speed Internet access at home and in public places, online authentication measures, searching for health and wellness information online, and searching for information on homeowners' insurance. 

Respondents received an e-mail invitation to participate in the survey with an attached URL linked to the Web-based survey form. [Bill Neal] That is typical for online panel surveys. The samples were carefully balanced by a series of demographic and behavioral characteristics to ensure that they were representative of the online population. Demographic weighting variables included age, gender, household income, household education, household type, region, market size, race and Hispanic ethnicity. [Bill Neal] Okay, that's good. Additionally, JupiterResearch took the unconventional step of weighting the data by AOL usage, online tenure, and connection speed (broadband versus dial-up), three key determinants of online behavior. [Bill Neal] That's even better.

Balancing quotas are derived from JupiterResearch's Internet Population Model which relies on US Census Bureau data and a rich foundation of primary consumer survey research to determine the size, demographics and ethnographics of the US online population. The survey data are fully applicable to the US online population within a confidence interval of plus or minus three percent.[Bill Neal]  Good!

In this survey effort, JupiterResearch worked with its research partner, Ipsos-Insight, on the technical tasks of survey fielding, sample building, balancing, and data processing. Ipsos-Insight is one of the largest market research companies in the US and maintains a general research panel of 400,000 households. Ipsos-Insight also has access to the Ipsos US Online Panel, which comprises two million Internet users, offering JupiterResearch an easy way to target and survey current online users. Panel-based market research enables researchers to have baseline knowledge of each survey respondent, increase survey participation rates, and permit careful rationing of survey fielding to reduce survey burnout.
[Bill Neal] Generally sounds legit from a data collection point of view. Exceptions noted above.

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Friday Fun: All's Fair In Love, War & Advertising


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

We..the people..consumers are exposed daily to 765.32 billion messages. As every marketer reading this knows .. it's not an easy job to cut throught the clutter. From ads on barf bags to egg-vertising, to balloon sharks swimming through buildings companies are pulling out stops to get their brands noticed. My only questions .. do the strategies support and extend the brand?
Sidebar: I made up the number. But is sure does feel like 765.32 billion!

I vote this for the quote of the week:

"Barf bags have a lot of shelf life -- people aren't barfing as much in planes as they used to." Michael Boyd, president Boyd Group

Want to buy space on a barf bag? US Airways plans to sell ads on its air-sickness bags. Hmm . . I don't know about you but when was the last time you looked at that little bag in the pocket in front of your seat?  Perhaps couponing might work.

Interesting thoughts from Latina comedian Margo Gomez on Maga's BIG Blog  - In a pinch I’ve been able to write on barf bags but there was only one random bag in my row and with a wad of used gum stuck in it. Barf bags may be going the way of airplane food and in flight magazines. And that’s wrong. Cut back on seat belts or the inflatable stuff that will never save us, but not this. Every passenger needs the passenger next to them to have a fresh barf bag. It’s a security matter.

Read More:
Media Buyer Planner
Barf Bag Collection

Cbs_eggs I'm betting that CBS's egg-vertising strategy - laser imprinting messages on 35 million real eggs - is really a promotion for a new game show. Guess which show goes with the egg-message. Look for the Egg Game at your local grocery story this fall.

Rack the case on CBS -  CSI
Scramble to Win on CBS - The Amazing Race
Hard-Boiled Drama - Shark
New Grade-A CBS Comedy -
The Class Professional Poachers - Smith

The ad campaign will for sure be as much fun with these tag lines: Shelling Out Laughs, Funny Side Up and Leave the Yolks to Us. <ouch. ouch. ouch.> Click on the eggs graphic to see more.

EggFusion, the company behind the concept promotes its strategy as a way to ensure repeat messaging: 1. open a carton in the store to see if eggs are cracked 2. transfer eggs from the carton to the refrigerator 3. crack them open.

Ready get set go .. a new buzz word: Outernet.  A strategy used to reach customers "outside of their homes as they go about their daily lives." Made up by CBS.

Read More:
Media Buyer Planner

How would you promote a Discovery show about sharks? Why have a few swim through your Discovery_channel_shark corporate offices of course! Talk about not safe to go into the work "waters."

Read More:
Media Buyer Planner

Welcome a couple of new bloggers to the blogosphere. I met Martha Retallick a few months ago when I spoke to the cool folks at the AMA Tuscon Chapter. Martha launched a blog about water conservation The Water Harvesting Blog. Caffeine Marketing is written by Matthew Peschong who is working on his master’s degree in marketing at Minnesota State University.

P.s. Technorati folks tags are not working .. again. Thanks.

Biz Astro Tips

Astrology_12 business astrology for fun
By Diva Astrology Bloggers Paula Dare & Donna Page

The Sun enters Leo and Mars enters Virgo tomorrow, the universe is asking us to work hard at having fun, and have fun at working hard.

Sometimes even when you love your work you can start to feel bogged down. This week is about reconnecting with your enthusiasm and joy and making your job a game. Is there a contest your firm can enter? Is there a team effort program that will reward tremendous performance, perhaps with a trip to Hawaii?  How can you make your product or service more fun and playful?

The Sun enters Leo and Mars enters Virgo tomorrow, the universe is asking us to work hard at having fun, and have fun at working hard. Sometimes even when you love your work you can start to feel bogged down. This week is about reconnecting with your enthusiasm and joy and making your job a game. Is there a contest your firm can enter? Is there a team effort program that will reward tremendous performance, perhaps with a trip to Hawaii?  How can you make your product or service more fun and playful?

Work with the planets: be enthusiastic, see how much more you accomplish, then give yourself a special reward for a job well done.

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Barbaro = Passion = Blog = Community


Quick question. What makes a successful blog?
Quick answer: Passion

Barbaro My pal Alex Brown is passionate about technology marketing and racing horses. He's combined both to tell the story and spread the word of Barbaro at Tim Wooley Horseracing. That alone would have been sufficient to write a post. But there's more to this story.

Barbaro is an American thoroughbred racehorse who won the 2006 Kentucky Derby. His win made him the sixth undefeated horse to win that race. Talk was that he was on track to become the next "superhorse." However, a few short weeks after his Derby success Barbaro was injured as he came out of the starting gate at the Preakness Stakes.

Alex was not the only person who was passionate about Barbaro. Hundreds. Pehaps millions of people were searching the internet every day for news about Barbaro's condition. Alex turned Tim Wooley Horseracing into Barbaro Central complete with daily updates, photos and a blog. At the time of this post Barbaro's July 18th's post showed 630 comments and counting. The site shot from a handful of visitors a day to over 16K a day.

Quick question. What makes a successful blog?
Quick answer: Passion

Alex did more than develop a space to provide information about Barbaro. He created a community where people who are passionate about Barbaro can rally.

  • Two soldiers presented Barbaro with an American flag that had been flown in from Iraq to honour the wounded warrior Barbaro!
  • His story is showing us the heart of this sport. We're discovering why we love animals so much. We're appreciating how special it is just to watch a racehorse compete and walk away healthy.
  • I can't thank you enough for all of the updates you are providing! I check this site 1st thing in the morning and all through the day!

It's the stuff that movies are made of .. I'm thinking Barbaro and the Blog. Alex who would you like to play you?

Ann Hadley, MarketingProfs, Mack Collier, Viral Garden. David Armano Logic + Emotion and Eric Kurtz, Marketing Excellence would be proud.

From sire to sire
It's born in the blood
The fire of a mare
And the strength of a stud
It's breeding and it's training
And it's something unknown
That drives you and carries
You home.
And it's run for the roses
As fast as you can
Your fate is delivered
Your moment's at hand
It's the chance of a lifetime
In a lifetime of chance
And it's high time you joined
In the dance
It's high time you joined
In the dance --
Run for the Roses

Barbaro_2 Read More About Barbaro
YouTube Videos
News Video

Photos At Bolton Center
LA Times

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In-house SEM Only


SEMPO will be hosting its first in-house search marketer gathering at  SES San Jose. The event is open to all in-house search marketers .. but .. No Vendors Allowed. Client-side Only.

When: 6:30 to 8:00pm, Wednesday August 9th
Where: Room C at the Conference Facility
RSVP: RSVP to [email protected]

Sidebar: SEMPO is a non-profit professional association working to increase awareness and promote the value of Search Engine Marketing worldwide.

Heard it from: Dave Williams, 360i

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CAFA Law Blog Joins "The Conversation"


Niche buster is what Anthony Rollo calls blogs. Anthony is the visionary behind the McGlinchy Stafford's CAFA Law Blog.Cafa_law_blog_mcglinchey_logo_1 I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony and the team of talented bloggers last week when I was invited to participate in the firm's Creative (Blog) Retreat. Hunter Twiford squashed all illusions that lawyers don't know how to party! However, everything about July in New Orleans is true .. hot and muggy.

The main goal of CAFA Law blog was to position the blog as a resource for the (at the time of launch) new Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. With that in mind, phase one of a long-term strategy, focused on content. Getting it up fast. Getting it up right. CAFA Law blog boasts write-ups of every single CAFA case about 100.

Sidebar: Techies interested in law take a look at the CAFA case against big boy Microsoft. Wonder what Robert Scoble's pals at Channel Nine would think ..

With an emphasis on content-content-content the community, interactive elements were put on the back burner. That's why I was brought in .. to help strategize phase two of the CAFA Law Blog .. joining the conversation. My thanks to Ashley Bond, the firm's marketing diva, who so gets the power of community.

A couple of questions and lessons learned. Can a blog that neglects community be successful? In marketing language it depends on the goals set.  For McGlinchey, one of the southeast's largest law firm, over 20k hits a month is a nice success indicator. Add accolades within the industry, a few new clients and a national reputation as experts in CAFA, nice Google rankings and it's not a bad day's work.

However, not taking advantage of social media:

  • limited exposure in conversations occurring in the blogosphere about CAFA
  • missed opportunities to reinforce the positioning as the Go To Blog for CAFA
  • limited bloggy networking opportunities that might lead to additional exposure e.g., speaking engagements, clients, media pick-up
  • missing one of joys of blogging .. the people interaction

Anthony has agreed to a Diva Marketing Biz Blog Profile interview. If you have any burning questions let me know and I'll include them. In the meantime, I'm excited for that the team is taking the leap into the discussion. Come on in the water's great .. and a drink from the Kool-Aid fountain can be refreshing.

A special treat for me was meeting Kevin O'Keefe of Lexblogs who was also on the agenda.

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Jupiter Research Makes Some Changes


Blogger_cartoon_1 Checking blog stats one finds interesting links .. a referral to David Schatsky's, President JupiterKagan, blog. Both  David and Greg Dowling, the Jupiter Research analyst of the infamous Jupiter Research corporate weblog study, provide additional information about the methodology and the results .. some are rather surprising.

Sidebar: If you missed the threads here's a link to the back-story.

David Schatsky's post is titled  Bashed By The Blogosphere For Our Blog Research. My high level take aways .. 

  • Jupiter will do better interfacing with "interested parties" (as long as they don't perceive you to be a competitor).
  • They will look into how to provide more methodology information so "interested parties can better interpret the information." 
  • David will personally talk to Jupiter Research's "PR firm and provide them with clearer guidelines on how to handle inquiries from bloggers in the future, and (he'll) look into providing a bit more information in news releases as well, at least in the versions we post on our site.

Sidebar: If anyone from Jupiter Research or Peter Arnold Associates is popping by (or any other research firm), I suggest you check out the AAPOR Press page for specific guidelines on what an organization is ethically obligated to provide to the public. I had an interesting chat with Tom Guterback, 2006-07 Ethics Chair of AAPOR and director of the University of VA Center for Research, this afternoon. Disclosure of research methodology applies to any publicly cited research finding including media releases.

However, the company is only obligated to provide information the pertains directly to the results revealed. Although Jupiter Research offers general information about the process of their research methodology, it by no means meets the standards of AAPOR Ethic Guidelines for disclosure of specific results.

I strongly encourage anyone who has posted information regarding the results of this study to read Greg Dowling's post.  No one that I read got it right. The "...nearly 70 percent of all site operators will have implemented corporate blogs by the end of 2006." did not refer to marketing or business bloggers but to "Web site decision makers from companies with more than $50 million in revenue."

Directly from Greg's post:
"It should also be noted that the term " "Weblogs" in the context of this report (and press release) does not differentiate between external Weblogs or internal "dark" Weblogs and is referring to the deployment of Weblog authoring technology not the creation of customer facing Weblogs.

To reiterate, the survey respondents were Web site decision makers with budget authority asked about technology deployments, not marketers asked about their use of Weblogs. However, marketers were surveyed for the data point, "Only 32 percent of marketing executives said they use corporate Weblogs to generate WoM around their company's products or services."

I appreciate everyone's support and comments on Diva and on so many great blogs. Thanks to Fard and to Neville for staying the course on this one.  Working together we might have made a difference in the way a company conducts business that will result in a win-win that positively impacts the blogging and marketing research industires. 

As Mack, Dave, Eric and Ann would say this is what it means to belong to a community ~ where the voice of one turns into the voices of many.

Sidebar: Lou woulda liked this one!

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Answers From Jupiter Research (JupiterKagan)


A few weeks ago JupiterKagan/Jupiter Research issued a press release that provided results from a study about corporate blogs - Jupiter Finds That Deployment of Corporate Weblogs Will Double in 2006. I was puzzled by one particular finding -  "... nearly 70 percent of all site operators will have implemented corporate blogs by the end of 2006." The stat seemed high to me.

I contacted JupiterKagan/Jupiter Research, via their agency Peter Arnold Associates, to lean something about the methodology (not included in the release). JupiterKagan/Jupiter Research refused to provide additional information (which in all fairness was their right).  However, concerned with the study's conclusions, I voiced my questions - which I felt was my obligation to the readers of Diva Marketing. Here's the link to the Diva Marketing posts one and two and three.

The posts caught the attention of many in the biz blogosphere including Fard Johnmar who bought the research and came to his own conclusions; and Ian Betteridge who commented on NevilleHobson.com that I should have contacted Jupiter directly. Ian I took your advise.

JupiterKagan's/Jupiter Research's Response
I left a voice message for David Schatsky, President, JupiterKagan, Inc. I offered Mr. Schatsky an opportunity to tell his side of the story. The following is the unedited eMail exchanges that Mr. Schatsky kindly gave me permission to post on Diva Marketing.

David Schatsky's eMail response  #1

Hi Toby.

Thanks for your voice mail. I appreciate your interest in our research.

You must be aware that it is disingenuous in the extreme to publicly voice "concerns about JupiterResearch's lack of methodology information to support the findings of a study" when in fact our methodology is transparent to all of our clients.

We do not tend to devote time to providing information of this type for free to anyone, as it's generally beyond the scope of the interest of publications who follow the sectors we cover and does not benefit Jupiter or Jupiter's clients--who pay for the privilege of exclusive access to this information. You owe your readers a correction of this misrepresentation.

I'll tell you that some of the data cited in the report you are discussing and mentioned in our press release is from a survey of 251 executives from a variety of industries who make decisions about their company's Web site spending and who work at companies with $50 million or more in revenue.

It's worth noting that some of the other bloggers you engaged in dialog thus misrepresented the focus of our study, suggesting it focused on Fortune 500 companies. That's not what we said in our report or in the release. For the sake of your own credibility, it's worth correcting that misrepresentation as well.

Thanks and best regards,

David Schatsky
JupiterKagan, Inc.

Toby's eMail response:

Mr. Schatsky -

Appreciate your email response to my message. 

I want to make it very clear that my intention was never to bash JupiterKagan; however, when an organization provides research findings to the general public, for example, as stated in a media release, without the benefit of background details don't you agree it may cause people to question how those findings were determined? Although JupiterKagan's clients may be familiar with its methodologies,  I'm sure JupiterKagan doesn't expect the marketing community at-large to accept results from (any) research at face value.

In my message to you I offered the opportunity to present your side of the story. Would you like me to post your response to Diva Marketing? I will  be happy to publish your comments unedited. If you prefer that this remains a private conversation between us I will  certainly honor your request.

Looking forward to your response.

Very best.

David Schatsky's eMail response #2

I agree that our news releases may cause people to question how our findings were determined.  That's a good thing from our perspective. An aim of those releases is to motivate people that have a significant stake in understanding and applying out findings to inquire with us about becoming clients. 

JupiterResearch clients have unfettered access to our analysts. Our analysts can not only explain the finer points of methodology, but also provide market intelligence, advice on best practices, insight into trends, and so on.

Feel free to post my response on your site.

David Schatsky

Mr. Schatsky seems to think that I owe you an apology. I apologize to all readers who feel I misled them. I stand firm in my belief that any marketing research firm that offers results to the public should include information about the methodology. If not, don't be surprised if marketers, bloggers, the media or prospective clients question your findings and draw conclusions based on the information provided including questioning the credibility.

Sidebar: The debate for the marketing research community - Is it a business decision not to include methodology with publicly published findings or is it an ethical issue? Thanks to Bill Neal, SDR, Inc. for the link to the AAPOR Code of Ethics - reference - III. Minimal Disclosure of Research Findings (American Association for Public Opinion Research).

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