Archive for November, 2005

What’s That Smell?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

We drove through downtown on the motorcycle a few nights ago. Driving by fast food smells like some sort of cooked meat (or Wysong dog food). Driving by some of the Mexican places smelled like Mexican food. Driving through some of the neighbourhoods produced smells of charcoal or home-cooked food.

Driving by a few of our restaurants produced NO smell at all. We drove by a ribs place. Have you ever driven by a ribs place and NOT been able to smell it from the street? This had no smell at all. No smoke rising from anything. I’m assuming that means they do a lot of defrosting, maybe a lot of microwaving.

That’s bad marketing. Now we don’t want to eat there. I don’t want to eat at any place that produces no smell. Before I see the sign, before I read the menu, before I sit in the booth, I can smell the place. Some places in town can be smelled from a few blocks away, and they smell great. We want to eat there!

Why try eating at a place that produces no smell? What is the smell of a restaurant that produces no smell?


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Addiction Is An Adjective

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

On Friday, Dr. Phil said that addiction is an adjective.

!


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McDonalds Labelling Food

Monday, November 7th, 2005

I’m calling McDonald’s announcement that they’re going to put complete nutritional information good marketing because I think that it’s the right thing for them to do. I think that anybody who reads it may not want to eat the food, which technically makes it bad marketing.

But I have a prediction about this labelling.

I think that a Big Mac will be broken into 2 or more "servings." So it might say something like LOW IN FAT! 300 calories! (per serving) How many servings? 2. You see that on a lot of "diet" items. Take a can of canned soup. Most people eat the whole can. But it’s 2 or 3 "servings" in a can to make it look like it has fewer calories, fats, and sodium. Check salad dressings. They look low cal, but the serving is two tablespoons. Squish that whole packet on your salad, and you’ve dresesd it with like 300 calories just of dressing.

I think McD will break items into multiple servings to make them look not so bad. Make no mistake! That stuff is BAD. But I’ll call this good marketing as long as the truth is somewhere in there and people might think twice before eating so much of that stuff.


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I Love Taking Showers

Friday, November 4th, 2005

We get some pretty BAD local jingles. Songs with no melody. One great example is the very monotonous (literally) Benjamin Plumbing Supply.

They have a few variations of the song. One announces the toilet as the best seat in the house. One says, "Benjamin Plumbing Supply. There’s a place in my house where I love taking showers." Another is, "Benjamin Plumbing Supply. With a beautiful sink, AND A TUB THAT’S EXQUISITE." All caps imply oversinging and overemoting. Imagine the melody as nearly Old McDonald Had a Farm but lifeless. I don’t think you could pay me to sing these words.


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Competition Through Copyright Infringement

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Many years ago, a German website designer wanted to partner with me. I told him I’d consider that. It looked like things were moving forward until I went back to his website. Every page had been changed to read EXACTLY as my website did, just translated into German. My writing style, some silly/sarcastic sentences I had, every exclamation point… it was all in there.

That wasn’t OK. I contacted him, and luckily, he was sorry and he changed his site back. That partnership didn’t happen. I hadn’t through about that story until today.

Someone in my industry is barely on my radar. I know she’s watching us since we’re the big fish. When she had her website redone, the writing style was so different that I thought I had written her website. I think she was going for my style, which of course is all over our website and marketing materials. But I could never find something she flat out stole from our writing.

Until today.

Today I was looking at her entry in the eBay Solutions Directory. I’ve never really read hers much since it’s similar to how her old website read, and I was never impressed with that site or what it said (it’s the new website that reads more like mine). But today, something caught my eye. There was a paragraph of text that I KNEW I wrote.

My heart POUNDED as I first searched all HTML files on my hard drive for some of those phrases. Didn’t find it. I went to www.archive.org and looked at versions of my website from 2003. I knew I had written those sentences! Finally, I searched one of the phrases in *.* on my hard drive and it came up. Big duh for where it was.

The paragraph is in OUR Solutions Directory entry! So if you read ours and then hers, you will literally see the same paragraph. How’s THAT for balls! I had been figuring that she was copying my writing style, but now she got lazy and copied the entire paragraph word for word.

I don’t appreciate competition through using my own marketing. It’s copyright infringement, it’s plagiarism, and it’s misrepresentation. If she’s so creative and helpful to businesses, why is she stealing my marketing?

She will be hearing from me this time with my attorney CC’ed. My lawyer can deal directly with her if there’s a next time. She wasn’t on my radar much, but now she’s fired a shot. Luckily, I’m not a revenge type of person, but I am very protective of my company, creative marketing I develop, and when people are choosing unfair methods of competition.


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Of The Sun and Of The Sun

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

One of the Native American tribes near Tucson has built 2 casinos on their property. Casino del Sol and Casino Of The Sun.

You read that right. They evidently ran out of names.

Their main competition around here is Desert Diamond. Casino del Sol and Desert Diamond are basically two of our best local concert venues. Other than that, they’re not Vegas!


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That’s Where We Live!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

Once in a while, I make a choice that few seem to understand. In March, we moved from suburban NYC to Tucson, Arizona, sight unseen. Not everybody was supportive of that. Tucson? Why not Phoenix?

If you’ve ever seen Phoenix and Tucson, you’ll know why Tucson. I won’t go on about how great Tucson is since I don’t want anybody to find out. :)

But someone found out. The November 2005 Fast Company magazine has a section on "15 hot cities for creative types." We’re creative. That’s the nature of our lives and business. So what are those cities? In no particular order:

Sacramento, CA
Phoenix, AZ
Salt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TX
Raleigh-Durham, NC
San Diego, CA
Portland, OR
Madison, WI
Tucson, AZ
Colorado Springs, CO
Dublin, Ireland
Helsinki, Finland
Montreal, Quebec
Sydney, Australia
Vancouver, BC

Yes, you saw Tucson in there. A hot city for creative people. We already knew we picked the right place, but Fast Company figured it out too. :)

Oh, nobody picked Massapequa, NY? Shocking! :)


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Entrepreneur Magazine’s Target Audience

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

In August, we advertised in Entrepreneur Magazine’s special "eBay Startup Guide" edition. Most of the calls we received are from people who don’t have their own businesses. They are looking to learn enough about eBay to get rich quick. One person had inventory and a real business. Everybody else wanted to use drop shippers and not bother learning much about eBay. And why should they when everything they see and read says eBay is easy, get rich quick, don’t keep inventory, etc…

The reality is that eBay is easy if the money you bring in for the item is found money. If you run your garage sale or fall cleaning sale on eBay, you’ll find it fun and easy to make money. If you have inventory and/or a real operation, you’ll need to take eBay more seriously including considering strategies, operations management, the economics of eBay, buyer expectations, and more. We THOUGHT those would be the people reading Entrepreneur. They’re evidently not! It’s the get rich quick/infomercial/"business opportunity" crowd.

Someone I know was surprised because she reads Entrepreneur all the time and says the ad section has lots of ads for learn eBay CDs and drop shippers. I said that clinches it. Those also target people who want to learn or understand a minimal amount, not keep inventory, and do a minimal amount. Those don’t really target existing businesses with inventory who want eBay to be a serious sales channel. That’s our target client whether they are new to eBay or already selling and want to improve.

They evidently don’t read Entrepreneur. This makes me think that Entrepreneur’s target audience may have a lot of wannabes, and people are already advertising to THEM.


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