Friday, June 29, 2007

Custom M&Ms

I was supposed to receive some Custom M&Ms around Valentine's Day. Never arrived, only the dispenser. I'd assumed someone had walked by and stolen the box... I got home from work yesterday, and saw, sitting outside, an M&Ms box. 4 and a half months late; a new record for late delivery. I called M&Ms, more out of curiosity over what could possibly delay an order for so long. They picked up within about 15 seconds, and Paul, who answered the phone, seemed just as disturbed as I did. No good explanation for the delay; but he did put a credit on the account. I have this vision of someone in a warehouse picking up the the paper with the order, and deciding to put it back in the system. The M&Ms are tasty; even if belated :)

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

I went to an organizational conference for an upcoming 2.0 conference in Northern Virginia. Spirited discussion, and met two folks whose blogs I've added to my reader: Geoff Livingston, who runs a local communications firm; and Ken Yarmosh, who has a blog at TechnoSight, very nicely designed, and very informative.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More online shopping news links posted at

Saturday, June 09, 2007

How not to run a contest:

To promote the Beijing Olympics, run a contest offering 10 trips to the Olympics, 5 to Chinese residents, 5 to families elsewhere in the world.

Pare down to the top 50 vote getting families. A friend of mine is in the top 50, so I've heard this first hand. Rather than letting only 1 vote come in per IP address, limit it to 1 vote per minute, resulting in a flood of nonstop voting. After complaints, start round two.

Don't announce the start date for the second and final round. Have an easily hacked captcha, allowing some technically adept families to have 20,000 votes by the end of the first day. When complaints flood in, send a note to all competitors (CC them, instead of BCC'ing them), and tell them that the new rules are that some portion of the results will be their stories that they post, but that votes will also count. Leave all competitors in a state of confusion, wondering how the contest actually works.

Should you want to vote after all that, go here.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

GAP: We'd like your email and zip code, please.
When I checked out at the Gap last weekend, I noticed that the POS terminal, after I swiped my credit card, asked for both my email address and zip code. It popped an onscreen keyboard that I could use the stylus to type in the information. There was a conveniently located cancel button if I choose not to enter. I hadn't seen this before; the only information I could find was this 2002 press release from Gap. Has anyone seen this from other retailers?

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

2869 error messages

I was loading Itunes onto an old PC, and couldn't get past a 2869 error message. It initially seemed to be a question of running as Administrator on my machine. After wading through Google search results, that on an older machine, you need to install Quicktime, first, separately, and then you can install Itunes. Things now seem to be working fine.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Links from this Monday, cross-posted on Blog.Shop.Org:

Google acquires Feedburner: Lots of blogs use Feedburner to distribute and measure RSS feeds. Good opportunity to further the spread of Adwords in new channels.

Mark Cuban on pricing Internet video.

Mahalo launches. Jason Calacanis's new search engine. Human powered. See what they're editing in real time.

Search Marketing Expo is this week in Seattle. Great summary of the paid search roundtable.

PriceGrabber launches ShopGreen, ecofriendly shopping.

Multichannel sellers debate Amazon vs. Ebay.

Friday, June 01, 2007


I was visiting Jason Calacanis's new search venture. It's an intriguing idea; all hand edited search results -- so theoretically no computers gaming the system, and more relevant results. I did a search on Planet Earth, and was pleasantly surprised. It opens with the top 7 links their guide has picked, and browsing through them, you'd get a fairly clear view of what Planet Earth is. The little "!" warning triangles, are also a friendly approach to letting you know what's going to happen, although I'm not sure how much pop-up deserve their own warning.

They also have links to Google News on Planet Earth. The choice there is to search on Planet Earth and "BBC", which is an interesting decision. I suspect it was a guide looking for something that would yield results, rather than a preference for the BBC version vs. Discovery Channel.

Mahalo is definitely something that I'll keep an eye on as it evolves; it should be a useful resource as they build out their index beyond the 4k terms they have now.

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