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Month: November 2006

QotD: Can A Video Card Have Friends?

A while ago Matt Williams sent me this…

I was just downloading the latest nVidia drivers for my new GFX card and guess what? nVidia has their own “MySpace page”: Is this a new, serious marketing medium?
I always thought of MySpace to be a social networking site, but how do you socialize with a corporation that manufactures graphics cards? Are they just out there to get people who use their cards to be “friends” to advertise the strength of their product? Are they hoping that the friends of these people will see their buddies using the nVidia cards and follow suit?

So, let’s help Matt out here folks. What do you think of the nVidia Myspace page and the concept of companies engaging in social networks this way.

Comment below and share your wisdom…


Five Questions For James Sherrett, AdHack

James Sherrett is the man behind AdHack, a new "Do It Yourself Advertising Community”.  Hailing originally from Winnipeg, he moved to Vancouver in 1998, and began working in large companies, at the intersection point between technology, culture, creativity, and communications. In addition to creating AdHack, James is a published author, an amateur photographer, and runs his own consulting firm; Work Industries.

One Degree: You describe Adhack as a “Do It Yourself Advertising Community”.  What the heck does that mean?

First of all, ‘do-it-yourself.’ To me, do-it-yourself means:

  • The masses (all of us) have seized the tools required to make professional ads
  • We’re voicing our opinions in public spaces: blogs, review sites, word of mouth
  • We’re connecting with each other in innovative ways
  • We’re looking at existing ads and thinking, “I can do better than that.”

AdHack is the manifestation of our collective conversations about the things we buy. What does that mean? Here’s a real-world scenario. My brother Scott and I do triathlons together. We’re beginners but we’re keen. He’s just earned his annual bonus at work and wants to buy a bike. He asks me about my bike, a Trek 1200. I tell him it rocks my socks: I love riding it, it was the right price for me, I can upgrade the components when I want, it’s light and sturdy and I feel like I can fly when I’m on it.

That quick conversation with me about the bike is the way my brother and I, and most people, make many of our purchase decisions. We ask people we know, people we trust about their experiences. It’s also how lots of us love to share our experiences. By adding my story to AdHack I can help other people who are also looking for a bike.

Enter the ‘advertising community’ part of AdHack. I love the bike so much that I add my story of the Trek 1200 to AdHack – as a video, a written note, photos, audio. It doesn’t matter, AdHack accepts all media. My story is credible, my other opinions and offerings to the site make me a trusted source, other members of the AdHack community back up my claims regarding the bike, and my story gains a certain popularity. AdHack can then approach Trek and show them the community and excitement around this particular bike, and basically sell the ad or ad concepts to Trek. AdHack splits that payment with the community member(s) who contributed the ad.

Or, my story of buying a Trek 1200 could have been scathing. The gears stick, the frame rivets are starting to rust and I feel nervous descending hills because the bike feels like it’s coming apart at the seams. I tell that story on AdHack and it resonates, building a momentum, because it’s the real deal. AdHack takes that feedback to Trek and helps them drive product innovation from it, delivering the real-world feedback on their product. All kinds of other opportunities can then present themselves. Companies can commission ads from the AdHack community. Companies can test ads in the AdHack community. We can make t-shirts. The possibilities become pretty endless as long as keep it authentic for the community.

One Degree: What’s wrong with the way we make ads now?

There are plenty of folks doing great thinking and writing about what’s wrong with the way we make ads now (Russell Davies, Umair Haque, Scott Karp, the folks at Leo Burnett Toronto, Joseph Jaffe) so I’ll defer to their expertise on that question. My focus with AdHack is on how to get better ads – ads that mean something to the people who make them and ads that mean something to the people who watch / read / see / listen to them. Today almost every single ad I see has no value to me. I don’t know the person or people who made it. I don’t trust the message and I frankly don’t care. I think that AdHack can change that and invert the current structure so that we get ads that mean something.

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4 Internet Marketing Lessons From My Mexican Holiday

Gentle ocean breeze, white powder sand, Mai Tais hand delivered to an umbrella protected beach chair – yes indeed, there’s nothing like a week’s vacation in the Mexican Riviera. I’ve included a picture of my hotel here just to help those of you currently struck at your desks to find the motivation to take your own trip sometime soon.


But what, you might be asking, does any of this vacation boasting have to do with internet marketing (the philosophical foundation of our special Lots, it seems. To outline this point, I have included here “Michael’s 4 Internet Marketing Lessons from my Mexican holiday”.

Lesson 1: Travel Review sites are really just fancy words for “Blogs” about travel.

I use and I love it. Do you remember when your only source of online information on a hotel came from the hotel chain itself? It was the sound of one hand’s thunderous self-applause. Well, now there is a real-time forum for discussion on virtually any hotel or resort in the world, along with rankings and pictures and real people to ask questions to who just got back from where you are thinking of going. The consumer value of user generated content in the travel industry has turned 60 year old grandmothers from Wichita into blogging machines without them even knowing it. Move over Paul Theroux!

Lesson 2: The traditional travel industry still hasn’t realized that the Internet has changed its business model forever.

My wife (who is also an Internet professional) really wanted to use the local travel agent. She argued that she was really nice and helpful and close to our house. My wife even started the search for our holiday with her and got prices and availability options. But what came apparent very quickly is that as we wanted more information over a period of days, the restrictions on the agent’s working hours and availability became a huge bottleneck in our search, and eventually we turned to the Internet to get all of the information we needed in real time (in this case using Even still, my wife was committed to booking with the local person. Unfortunately, we made our final decision to book a special available deal on Saturday morning and she didn’t work on the weekends. We had no choice but to book our holiday through the “always open, always on”, Internet travel service. That industry will not survive without changing.

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