Friday, August 29, 2008

Delta Trip Insurance

I'd highly recommend against using Delta's trip insurance. Conceptually, it should cover expenses associated with canceling a trip. In reality, it's designed to make actually filing a claim as difficult as possible. My experience was that it would only cover items that you could get a doctors note justifying, and, that they'd design as complicated a claims process as possible. With Delta, they would only cover the $100 change fee, leaving a credit on an airline we never fly, and I believe there was a deductible involved as well.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One Bullet Away

Someone had given me the Audiobook, One Bullet Away. I hadn't realized the Rolling Stone writer, who had put together Generation Kill for HBO was embedded with his platoon. It's a great listen, and I'd highly recommend it.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Scan It at Giant

Well, I've seen the grocery store of the future. Walk in to Giant, get a handheld scanner. Scan and bag your food as you walk around the store. Go through a special checkout lane that downloads the products, and your checkout is done, extremely quickly. Looks like it's been 3 years in the making. There's a new logo, and new produce and deli technology, too.
Personally, it felt a bit overwhelming, trying to remember to bag and scan products, and follow a grocery list. With two people, I can see that avoiding the checkout lines would be a huge time savings. The official Giant info is here.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Help a Reporter

If you're interested in seeing what reporters are looking for resources for, I'd recommend Help a Reporter. Put together by Peter Shankman, he aggregates a variety of requests from journalists he knows, and sends out a three times daily email.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Visa's Olympic Ad

From a Visa print ad: "Maybe it's not where an athlete's from that makes us root for them. Maybe it's not the flag on their back, or the anthem that we hear when they win that makes us cheer. Maybe it's simply that they are human. And we are human. And when they succeed, we succeed."

Interesting theory... I'm wondering if there's a Visa corollary, since we're usually rooting for one or two athletes in a field of eight to ten. So, if the athlete we're rooting for doesn't succeed, does that mean we personally don't succeed?

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Great example of local branding. Our local community paper has a half page ad every week for a local realtor, Merelyn Kaye. In the ad, she always has a tag line, "Google Merelyn". It's a nice credibility builder for folks who aren't online savvy, and she benefits from having a name that makes it easy for her to rank #1 for her desired search term.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Scot Wingo - nice quote

Nice quotes from Scot Wingo in the NYTimes article on Ebay. Of course, they refer to Channel Advisor as "the market research firm ChannelAdvisor", but if you're going to be quoted multiple times in the Times, that's got to fall into the "all publicity is good publicity" category.

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Interesting links today

What makes for a good blog?

Interesting feature on Harry Joiner's blog - a service called Zemanta that is designed to make it easier to reblog something you see on someone else's blog. Not sure it would work for a custom domain, but a neat idea.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mary Carillo

Watching the Olympics - apparently people in different countries eat food different from us. :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Google analytics

Oddly, I logged in yesterday, and all of my Google Analytics stats were gone. I've had this happen a couple of times, and chalked it up to both old code, and the fact I have several Google accounts. I haven't seen anything in blog posts about this, and am curious whether anyone has seen something similar.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Storestacker contest

I don't normally post about online marketing contests, but have enjoyed reading for a while. They've got a contest going with Storestacker. It looks like they help you build niche websites. I'll be curious to take a look at the free report they offer.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Traffic Court

I recently attended traffic court in Silver Spring. Fascinating experience.

About fifty people go into a courtroom, and wait for the judge to come in. The judge then starts ripping through his docket, seeing if the appropriate parties are present. You can either plead innocent, or guilty with an explanation. Either way, it appears that if you go "trial", the longest of which was five minutes, you have to pay court costs of $22.50. If both the defendant and the police are there, there's a little trial. In most cases, someone didn't show. It seemed like the judge was willing to knock down the points or severity, if someone had gone to the trouble to show up, and sounded credible/sincere, and the responding officer didn't point out that say, the gentleman claiming a clean record, had actually put six other points on his license since the traffic stop. The most interesting moment, was two parties who both showed up regarding a wreck at 3:30am on a rainy night, where it was clear, someone ran a red light, but it was also equally unclear who it was. It seemed like they were bent on disputing the traffic ticket, but more importantly, putting on their side of the case for a civil suit that was going on.

Also interesting, ties goes to the police. If no one shows, it's a "failure to appear", with whatever consequences that entails.
How'd I do? Well, I was going to plead innocent, had pictures of the intersection ready to show, but no officer showed. A bit of a letdown, in spite of the good result, with no dramatic moment in court to show for it :)

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Friday, August 08, 2008

reviewing Mike Gamson

I spoke yesterday at eTail on leveraging Social Media. My panel went well, and judging from the questions afterwards, there are a lot of companies at different points along the adoption curve. Questions ranged from how to start a blog to monitoring social chatter to ROI models.

The panel before mine was titled "Unleashing the Power of Web 2.0". Mike Gamson, of LinkedIn, was presenting. During his talk, he mentioned that he frequently talks at colleges to students about how they present themselves online. This felt like a very similar presentation. There was a long history of the companies that were 1.0, and who's now leading the 2.0 revolution. There was mention of Reid Hoffman founding the company. There were, however, very few lessons on how to apply any of the growth LinkedIn got to growing your own business. Which seemed odd to me. LinkedIn's a huge success story - surely there were lots of choices that could have helped or hindered its viral growth. There was a mention of Dell's success as a participant in social media, ignoring the Jeff Jarvis debacle. And, after 95% of the room had raised their hands to say that they use LinkedIn, there were 4 or 5 slides showing the LinkedIn product, including the demographics of the site.

So, since it was on Social Networking Day, I'll ask a social question - if you were attending the panel, what was your take? (I know what Dan Neely thought.) And, Mike, if you're reading this, what was the goal of the presentation?

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Josh Neiman

I'm speaking tomorrow at eTail on Leveraging Social Media. Nice example of it today. I've been wondering what to do with the pile of business cards I've collected, and how to reach out/stay in touch with all the interesting folks I've met, while dealing with all of the emails that have collected. After I finished the Affiliate panel today, I found out someone in the room had followed my Twitter feed - Josh Neiman from UBid. Neat way to stay in touch/keep up with someone - hopefully he'll come by the session tomorrow.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Twitter feed

I've been posting "tweets" to my Twitter Account, which you can find here: Josh's Twitter Account. The Wifi/Verizon access is non-existent in the base of the Hilton, so it's an easier way to post.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Social marketing

I'm talking Thursday about "Leveraging Social Media To Build Content, Increase SEO Rankings And Create Enhanced User Experiences". If you were attending a session with that title, anything you'd especially like to see?

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

eTail 08

I'm speaking at eTail 08 in DC next week. I'm excited about the show, the speaker lineup looks much improved from last year. Anyone attending and want to meet up?

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Friday, August 01, 2008

10,000 Bottles of Bud

The commute home last night was exceptionally slow for the time of day that I was driving. About a mile from the house, I saw the reason. On the overpass, a truck had seemingly gone up and over the side barriers, landed on it's side, and completely split open and flattened out. In the poor quality, cameraphone picture to the left, you can see the overpass, and then the truck to the right of it. And, what was sprawled all the way down the overpass, and the hillside. Split open cases of what looked to be Budweiser 12 packs. Reminds me of the old Harry Chapin song, 30,000 pounds of bananas. Here's the local Fox News story - much easier to get a good picture with a helicopter :)