Archive for August, 2007

Cool Firefox Trick

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

OK, I may be the last person on the planet to learn about this Firefox trick, but thanks to Erika (new here at As Was) for enlightening me!

Let’s say you’re on a web form that you use often… a search engine, currency exchange, map, finding something local to you, search eBay items, etc… Let’s say you use Firefox since you have to be for this one!

Right click inside that form, and choose "Add a Keyword for this search." Let’s say I’m in Google maps. I can name it Google Maps (so I don’t forget), and I can use "map" as my keyword.

Now, in the address bar, if I type in "map 5040 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ" in the address bar, no matter what web page I’m looking at right now, it knows that goes in the Google Maps form, and it’ll jump right there.

Very neat way to quickly get to some of your favorite searches! Thanks to Erika for teaching me that one.


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Blender Magazine’s Target Audience

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Blender Magazine. When you search Yahoo for them, their entry says, "Music magazine covering everything from hip-hop to rock, punk to R&B." Their HTML title tag says, "Artist News, Music Reviews, Artists Interviews, Music Videos and More on Blender :: The Ultimate Guide to Music and More."

So I’m going to guess that this is a music magazine read by music fans. Evidently I’m wrong! Here’s something my friend, Jen, had in her blog, reproduced here with written permission:

This is Jen’s renewal letter with her commentary and how she sent it back. Who can blame her. The letter tells her to think about all the gorgeous women in an issue of Blender, multiply that by 11 issues, and think about what you’re missing. Thousands of men will get these amazing hot chicks in their mailbox, and YOU WILL NOT! You are left out in the lonely XY chromosome cold, Jennifer. :)

Blender’s home page links to articles and features like:

  • An interview from Nick Harcourt from KCRW.
  • Best guitar solos ever.
  • Arcade Fire is on the cover (not a scantily clad hot chick)
  • "Our Favorite Musicians’ Favorite Bad Albums"
  • Reviews and updates on Lollapalooza, Rage Against The Machine, Silverchair, and other bands.

This actually seems like a music magazine, but the letter to Jen clearly indicates that there is another focus. "More beautiful women than you’ll find in any other music magazine." Yes, that would be because other music magazines are about MUSIC. Imagine that. Music magazines that aren’t dedicated to how many hot chicks they can put in their pages.

And if you read the whole letter, it’s one of the most stupidly-written things I’ve ever read. Blender is that important to my life? What could be smarter? Lots of things, actually!

Bad marketing, Blender. Decide what you are as trying to be Maxim and Rolling Stone at the same time may not work… not when you send a woman a letter like that!


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The eBay UK Toolbar

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

I recently reformatted my computer, and had to reinstall everything. It’s not that bad. I can now do it in about 12 hours.

Among things that got reinstalled was eBay’s toolbar. I LOVE eBay’s toolbar. I speak to sellers all day (clients and potential clients), and it’s SO easy for me to quickly get to items by number and sellers by name.

I went to download the new eBay toolbar, and that seemed to be gone. It was like an eBay pull down menu with mostly Yahoo features. I installed in twice in case I was missing something, but only say that the default search box was Yahoo. If I took the time to make it eBay, I could only pre-define how it searched. So I couldn’t say by seller or T&D or titles or something else.

I figured that eBay in other countries probably still has the old toolbar. So I downloaded the eBay.co.uk toolbar. Yes, everything will land me on the eBay.co.uk site with prices in British pounds, but that won’t matter for 95% of the reasons I go to eBay all day. I am going to look at how people are listing, and advise on how our services can help. So the currency doesn’t matter.

I have my functionality back, but hey eBay, I’d really rather the functionality I had from an eBay.com toolbar. That’s why this one is labelled bad marketing. You took the best features out to make room for Yahoo. If I wanted the Yahoo toolbar, I can download it. But if I want the eBay features I had, I now can’t get them.


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We Are a Marketing Firm

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Evidently summer time means time to cold call me, which I don’t recommend that you do.

I am getting calls from companies who want to be my marketing firm. We are a marketing firm. We’re not going to pay you to be a marketing firm’s marketing. I’m happy with our marketing, and if anything stands in our way, it’s budget and not ideas!

I got a call 2 weeks ago from a guy who wanted to help us with our pay-per-click campaigns. Yes, you and 20 other spam emails I get every hour!

It reminds me of the time a company called me asking if I wanted to take their beginner Photoshop class. I asked where they found me to call me. In the Yellow Pages. Under what? Graphic designers. And you’re calling me to TAKE the Photoshop class or teach it? Take it. OK, you are out of your MIND. Why don’t you call people who DON’T know Photoshop?

I wonder how many times someone has ended up with a new client because of cold calling. I’ve been in business over 12 years, and I believe I have hired one vendor who cold called me. So for the hundreds of the rest of you who have called, and the thousands who have and will email, your chances are really slim. Please don’t solicit us as you are likely to have me hang up on you JUST for cold calling us. If I want what you do, I will seek out your competitor because you cold called and that’s how much I like that.

We don’t cold call, incidentally. :)


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How to Talk Me Out of Being Your Affiliate

Friday, August 10th, 2007

Last week, I got an email from a company I won’t name. I’d never heard of them. They acted like I had. They didn’t really tell me what they do. They just focused on the income potential for me if I recommend their system. Their email pointed out that there are so many people in my industry making money by getting people to sign up with them.

That’s a great way to make sure I never work with you. Another great way was to have a website that looked and read like a scam. But before I ever saw your website, I got an email that told me nothing other than there’s money for me out there if I tell people who trust me to work with this other company.

This is not the first time I have received a call or email like this, and I have to say I just don’t get it. I can’t imagine calling a company up and treating the person on the other end of the phone like it doesn’t matter what we do… we’re gonna make them money, and they should just trust that.

I can’t imagine the people that sign up as affiliates with these companies. I think that some people have forgotten about integrity. They will put their name on anything. They’ll sign up for anything that makes them money. And as long as they have people who believe that they’re a good source of information, they have people who will sign up to these things and make them money. Are you one of those people?


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Child Protective Services

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

There has been an ongoing scandal in Tucson over a father murdering his children. Evidently CPS had pages and pages on both parents, and it was hard to tell who was worse. It sounded like the mother, but I guess in the end it was the father. And the scandal is about why CPS saw things but didn’t do more, sort of allowing this to end in murder by not stepping in.

So I keep seeing these ridiculous reports, videos, and blog posts about Britney Spears. She’s out all night drinking. She’s stripping in a club. Her children have bad teeth because they drink a lot of juice, and evidently she tried to get her toddler’s teeth whitened. Her children seem to barely have their mother. Their mother has been in and out of rehab. Their mother does incoherent interviews and photo shoots, which means people have records of these things. How about all the video of her "freaking out" like the head shaving thing? How about the video of her not having her infants properly in car seats? Is this a good mother who is there for her children?

Where is Child Protective Services? With all that is on video and on record, why isn’t somebody stepping in? If the mother were some young urban nobody, I’d think that that person would be in the system. Are we excusing this because she might have family and hired help trying to make things good for these kids? Even so, what inconsistent lives, influences, and lessons they must have.

I am not trying to say that Britney will murder her children, but she has the potential to kill their self-esteem and future. She has the power to raise them to be just like her. Somebody should be stepping in. What are they waiting for?


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American Inventor

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

I watched some of American Inventor, but now I don’t care who wins. Once they didn’t vote the deaf guy to the finals, I don’t care who wins. You picked an aluminum foil cutter over that?

The judges didn’t think the technology existed for the invention the deaf guy had. His idea was for someone to talk into something that looked like a Sidekick, and what they said would come up on the screen. He can then type back, and that way, deaf people can "speak" with anybody. It was AWESOME.

And with how far we’ve come with voice recognition and handheld devices, these people didn’t think a prototype could be made for under $50,000 of R&D. Huh? We have mobile phones that will evidently recognise SONGS from you holding the phone up to speakers playing a song… and the judges think that nobody can make a device that would do voice recognition? Even on a handheld Windows device?

The judges really missed it on this one. I hope somebody finds that guy and gives him some money. Every deaf person could own one of those, carry it around, and be able to communicate. That’s mass marketing. So American Inventory judges, you are stuck in some other era of technology, and you chose the wrong inventor.


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Mirapex is the New “Happy Fun Ball”

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

I recently heard a TV commercial for a drug for restless legs syndrome, which I still don’t totally believe in. But one of the side effects they mentioned was that you might gamble more and have "urges." Here is the full text from their website. I think it says it all.

    When beginning to take MIRAPEX, you should be cautious until you know how the drug will affect you. Some people who take MIRAPEX can become sleepy or fall asleep while doing normal everyday activities like driving a car. It is possible that MIRAPEX treatment can cause someone to feel faint or become dizzy when standing up from a seated or prone position. There are reports of some people having hallucinations (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, or tasting something that does not actually exist) while taking MIRAPEX. However, hallucinations are uncommon in people taking MIRAPEX for primary restless legs syndrome and occur more frequently in people over 65 taking MIRAPEX for Parkinson’s disease.

    There have been reports of patients taking certain medications to treat Parkinson’s disease or RLS, including MIRAPEX, that have reported problems with gambling, compulsive eating, and increased sex drive. It is not possible to reliably estimate how often these behaviors occur to determine which factors may contribute to them. If you or your family members notice that you are developing unusual behaviors, talk to your doctor.

    Please note that this is not a complete list of possible side effects. Your doctor or pharmacist can give you further information. Likewise, it is important to talk to your doctor if you experience any of these problems.

    IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT MIRAPEX: MIRAPEX may cause you to fall asleep without any warning, even while doing normal daily activities such as driving. When taking MIRAPEX hallucinations may occur and sometimes you may feel dizzy, sweaty or nauseated upon standing up. The most common side effects in clinical trials for RLS were nausea, headache, and tiredness. You should talk with your doctor if you experience these problems.


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“Not My Target Audience”

Monday, August 6th, 2007

We’re planning our own conference, and we’ve started talking to vendors in our industry who we like enough to invite them. It will be invite-only for vendors since why have companies there that we don’t like or recommend. The conference will be small, probably 200-300 people, so the idea is for people to have quality time with vendors they may not have previously considered, who we are convinced will help eBay businesses.

One of the vendors wrote back today that they wouldn’t come to our conference because they doubted that there would be enough potential users in that 200 or so. Here are my thoughts on that response.

  1. This is a company who doesn’t have more than 1 competitors that I know of. Maybe zero competitors. And yet people ask me for software like theirs because they’ve never heard of this company. I think this company could use more visibility, and our conference would certainly bring them that.
  2. When you say that you don’t think there are enough potential users in my conference attendees, you are saying (to me) that you think that these 200 don’t know anybody who might want your product. These things ripple out. There are sellers we met at eBay Live who weren’t interested in hiring us, but were so impressed by us that they have recommended us to friends. That’s why I like to treat every potential client with huge respect and give them all of my time. I know that even if they don’t hire us, they will have a great impression of us, and probably tell a friend. Word will get around!

So this company might want to stop thinking small. I think their target audience of users is bigger than they think, and I think it’s growing. But I think that if they keep thinking small, people who might rather use their software will just choose something from another vendor. Those users will then talk about that vendor rather than you, so you make things continually smaller for yourself.

I think that thinking small is bad marketing.


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Somnambulism With Amnesia

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

I saw another commercial for one of those sleeping drugs. When they listed the side effects, I noticed that they said that one side effect was,

"Somnambulism with amnesia for the event."

As I once said, can we get a little more colloquial!

The translation of the above is sleepwalking without remembering that you sleepwalked. Which is probably not a good thing. If they then listed some of the usual stuff like uncontrollable diarrhea, I missed it. I was breaking down all of those syllables to get to the real meaning.

What a shame that they can’t just be straightforward and say these side effects with everyday words that people will understand. If you’re so confident about this medication, you shouldn’t try to trick people into ignoring your list of side effects. It’s a great med, right?


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