Archive for May, 2007

Ticketmaster’s Email

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Tonight, I’m going to the Morrissey concert here in town. On May 9th, just a few weeks ago, Ticketmaster sent me this email:

Ticketmaster

Thing one, that’s barely readable. Who designed that? Who chose grey words on grey? Who said black on charcoal is easy to read? This is NOT compelling.

I guess Ticketmaster sees a secondary market. I think the secret message of the email is, "Don’t sell them on eBay!" I went back to the Morrissey page for my event, and found that 3 fans were selling their tickets. I paid $55 per ticket for row W. The closest for-sale-by-fans tickets were row R, and they wanted $107 per ticket. Maybe these tickets were from the $85/ticket section.

This would be illegal if they stood outside the venue, right? I think scalping laws are supposed to say that you can’t sell the ticket for more than X% over face value. If there were $85 tickets and are now $107, that’s 26% over face value.

Weirder than that is that row L is still available for the evening directly from Ticketmaster. I could have had closer than W, but didn’t want to pay for it. But someone buying on May 9th, when I got that email, could get row R from a fan for $107 per ticket OR row L from Ticketmaster for $85 per ticket.

I’m not sure this resale by fans will really work, especially not where the better seats are still available!


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Impressed By Bad Spelling

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Impress is the new service from Office Max. They’ll design and/or print your stuff. I was there having them photocopy when I noticed a manual for the staff at the back of the room. It said:

Program Role Outs at Impress

Role? Really? Nope. Good thing I didn’t want you to design my stuff.


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My American Idol

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

I don’t watch American Idol. I never have any idea what’s going on. But there is something I wonder.

What would happen if American Idol contests were nameless… contestant 1, contestant 2, etc… And what if some where regular people but some were some of the bigger singers with hits. Jessica Simpson. That lead singer from Maroon 5. Gwen Stefani. The lead singer of lots of bands with hits the last couple of years.

Who would win? Would the lead singer of Maroon 5 win the contest if we didn’t know it were him? What would judges and America say about these people if we really just judged their singing?

I’m not saying that stage presence means nothing. I think a look can hurt you but doesn’t necessarily make you. So American Idol is really about who they can package and sell to the country to buy. In my version, it’s really just a singing contest that could be judged blind. That is a reality show I’d probably watch. :)

The trick would have to be that America wouldn’t know that celebrities were involved until the end. Otherwise, it’s not blind – it’s already slanted.


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Pledgebank.com

Monday, May 28th, 2007

I think pledgebank.com is a neat idea. You sign in, and you promise to do a certain thing, but only if a certain number of people do it as well. The idea is to get more things done by inspiring friends, family, and random people checking out pledgebank to join you in your goal.

I first heard of it when the pledge was that a guy named Matt would pay $50 to go see Seth Godin speak in Phoenix, AZ, but only if 499 other people did. Lots of people pledged to get Seth to this area, and while it didn’t hit 499, there was enough interest to make it happen! That was fun. :)

I was looking at some of the pledges today, and I just found them a bit weird. One was that someone would pledge $100 to help the victims of a recent tornado but only if 50 other people did. I would just pledge the $100 and get those people help. Let’s not wait!

Another one had to do with sending a box of chocolate to women to were victims of domestic violence in Belarus. This was evidently through Amnesty International. I can’t help but wonder if the money is better spent by giving STRAIGHT to Amnesty International rather than sending some women some chocolate. Who knows if getting chocolates may trigger bad memories of the "nice" moments with their partner… before they may have ended up in a battered women’s shelter.

So pledgebank is generally good according to me, but let’s do some really positive and fun things. That’s what I suggest. :)


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Seth Godin on tour

Thursday, May 24th, 2007


Hello from Tempe, AZ, where Seth Godin will soon be speaking. His new book is called The Dip… look for it!

Rotate head to see photo properly. :)


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Extra Charges!

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

I’ve had Sprint for my mobile phone service for years. I’m happy with them. My phone is a little weird with getting pictures from other camera phones, so I used to go to the Sprint website to see the images.

The last two times I’ve logged in, I was shown a lovely ad telling me about printing my photos, and then it shows me this:

At first, I thought that the charges would ONLY be for if you wanted to print or archive like the image above this offered. I read the terms and conditions, and it seems that to use their website for picture mail at all, you agree to pay an extra $5 per month.

No thanks. I’ll keep handling images from my mobile, albeit awkwardly. Mobile phone companies nickel and dime us enough. I don’t need to also pay them $5 for the right to see images people send me on the Sprint website like I used to for free.


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A Speedy Government Agency!

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Wow! I never thought I’d say this, but THANK YOU, Town of Oyster Bay, New York! You are FAST and efficient!!!

On Monday 8 May, I Federal Expressed them a letter and money order to get a certified copy of my birth certificate. I enclosed a return Fed Ex so that I could get it quickly. They said to expect it to take a week.

Well, they got it 9 May. They processed it 9 May. They sent it 9 May, so I got it the next day! 48 hours after I put that Fed Ex in my local box, I got the birth certificate.

Hooray! I don’t live there anymore, but that’s someone’s tax dollars at work. Nice work, Town of Oyster Bay!!!


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When Subscribership Stalls

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Nearly two years ago, I was reading the home page of one of the companies in my industry. Here is part of that home page from November 2005, thanks to archive.org:

Here is part of their home page in May 2007:

I blurred out their name as I’m not looking to embarrass them. But what’s going on? 18 months ago, you had "over 4,000 businesses," and now you have "over 4,000 companies." Now, I know that if I had 4027, I’d say "over 4,000" in my marketing. If I had 4103 clients, I’d say "over 4,100." :) So "over 4,000" to me says "between 4,000 and 4,100."

That means given 18 months to market themselves… PESA conferences, last year’s eBay Live convention, visibility in the Solutions Directory, having the opportunity for eBay staff to recommend them to sellers, and whatever else they are doing to promote themselves… they aren’t growing. I know people are signing up to them, so that means that generally, just as many companies are signing up as are leaving. And the people I know who are freshly signing up with them are not the people leaving. The veterans are leaving, and we’ve seen our own clients choose to leave these guys.

That’s bad.

What do you do when you are losing as many people as you are gaining? And what happens when you’re watching this happen over 18 months? This isn’t a short plateau. This is the way it seems to be for these people, and with new competitors popping up all the time, what are they going to do?

I don’t know the answer. I’ve tried to give them suggestions over the years, and not only are they not interested, but they seem to come out with more and more ways to fire shots at my company when we don’t even compete with them. So good luck to them.


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Auction Software and Constipation

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Most people like the name "Auctiva" for the company and software that many eBay sellers use.

However, with the new and heavily-advertised product, Activia, I find that many of my clients who use Auctiva are referring to it as Activia.

Auctiva is software for eBay sellers.

Activia is yogurt to help keep you regular.

That’s bad marketing. Oops! :)


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Alcohol Will Help

Friday, May 18th, 2007

What is going on on TV?

I saw Where In The World Is Matt Lauer. He was taking questions from school children. He told a girl, who looked 10 or 11, basically made it sound like having some Guinness was a magical and helpful experience. The little girl looked shocked.

I recently saw an Ellen DeGeneres show where she had on an actress who just heard that her TV series was cancelled. Of course, the woman was disappointed. Ellen tells the woman that she needs a mojito, and a remote controlled truck drives one out. The woman is drinking it, and leans into Ellen to say, "This is REALLY good."

I could never stand the show Friends. It made no sense to me and I couldn’t identify with it. I saw it maybe twice. One was a show where the plot seemed to be (I couldn’t bear to watch the whole episode) that some guy (Fun Bobby?) stopped drinking because he was evidently a problem drinker. Turns out that once he’s not drinking, he’s not fun! What an ironic plot twist. Drinking made him fun. So what happens next? The Friends start drinking when they’re around him so he’ll seem more fun.

I am not a Puritan of any sort. I am not putting black tape on the body parts of nude statues. But I do think that what children and adults watch on TV influences them. I think that there is a certain target audience, especially for the show Friends, that will clearly get the message about how drinking and fun are connected. I’m not sure there is ANY way that show could have ended that would have made it clear that you don’t have to drink to be a fun person nor do you have to drink to think that other people are fun.

What is going on on TV?


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