May 24, 2005

  • Great List of Useful Web Tools

    “” contributor “kpaul” has put together a “Web Apps Compendium v1.0” that provides summaries and links to just about every tool an online marketer would want in their toolbox. Well almost all. The few that are missing are now getting added in the comments.

    Any favorite online tools you can’t live without?

    (Thanks to One Degree co-conspirator “Neil Lee” for the head’s up)

    Originally published at on May 24, 2005.

May 20, 2005

  • Google, The Portal

    Well, we all knew this was going to have to happen someday. Google has been adding personalized services and portal-like features for a while now and it looks like they are revealing a new (optional) home page. You can make “your Google Homepage here”. Coverage will on this will be extensive. To see what people are saying right now, use “this technorati search”.

    Here are some of the first stories:

    • “Google Blog — A Method To Our Madness”
    • “SearchEngineWatch — Google Launches Personalized Home Page”
    • “Gizmodo — Breaking: Google Launching Personal Portal Page”
    • “Lifehacker — Google Personalized Homepage”
    • “O’Reilly Radar — New products from Google”
    • “Slashdot — Google’s New Personalized Homepage”
    • “John Battelle — myGoogle”
    • “Jeremy Zawodny — Imitation and the Slippery Slope of Portaldom: My Google”
    • “Jupiter — David Card — Google and Portals”
    • “Search Engine Marketing Weblog — Personalized Google Home Page”
    • “ — New Personalized Google Home Page”
    • “Search Engine Lowdown — Personalized Google Homepage Launches”
    • “Unofficial Google Blog — Personalized Google Home Page”

    What we’re seeing right now is a very primitive first step on the road to integrating all the disparate Google tools and to aggregating feeds and services from other sources. I particularly like now standard Google “ajax” implementation that allows you to drag and drop the page elements to customize it just right.

    So what’s the early verdict? Do we think this is a smart move right now? Will Google follow the path of other portals like Lycos and Excite or will this be a new approach?

    Originally published at on May 20, 2005.

  • MyGoogle’s Hidden Messages?

    Just now while checking the “Personalized Google Homepage” I set up as part of writing “last night’s post”, I noticed Google’s “word of the day” was:

    presage: an omen; also, to predict.

    And the “quote of the day” was:

    The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action. — Frank Herbert

    It’s good to see that the folks at Google haven’t lost their sense of humor. And while we’re looking for hidden meaning, has anyone figured out why the personalized homepage is in a folder called “ig”? iGoogle? No thoughts on this from “John” or “Om” yet. Then again, Om disagrees and says “that humor is not part of the daily routine at Google HQ”.

    Originally published at on May 20, 2005.

May 17, 2005

  • Can’t Knock Knock Knock

    Seth Godin’s latest ebook is called “KNOCK KNOCK, Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Building a Web Site That Works”. For less than ten bucks it is most definitely the deal of the day. Go, buy it now.

    In the “CMA E-marketing Certificate course” I teach here in Toronto we use Michael Porter’s Harvard Business Review article “The Internet and Strategy” as the centerpiece of our discussions around using the Internet as a business tool. While reviewing the article this semester it struck me that Michael Porter’s article and Seth’s “Purple Cow” are saying exactly the same thing in two entirely different ways. Some people will like Porter’s theory-heavy bschool way of learning this stuff and others will enjoy Seth’s no-holds-barred, over-the-top analogies and colorful metaphors. (Personally, I like both) But the essence of the message is the same — you need to be remarkable in many ways in order to have an advantage these days. The Internet can play a key part in that, but it generally is not the whole story.

    With KNOCK KNOCK, Seth is taking stuff User Experience experts (“myself included”) have been saying for a long time. But he manages to boil it down into plain English directions that will make sense to those that don’t eat, sleep, and breathe all things Internet. And I commend him for that. (And yes the title of this post is what I meant to type. Think about it.)

    Originally published at on May 17, 2005.

May 10, 2005

  • Giftless Links

    “Robert Scoble” and “Shel Israel” are writing a book on corporate blogging called “Naked Conversations”.

    They’re practicing what they preach and using their “Naked Conversations” (Formerly “the Red Couch”) as a launching pad and test bed for many of the ideas and much of the content in the book. Scoble just posted “Corporate Blog Tip #8 — A link is a gift” which had some really great thoughts about the power of linking to others. I posted a reply pointing out that we don’t always want to give a gift when we link.

    Here’s my comment:

    Links are indeed gifts. It’s particularly nice when you find folks pointing to you that you’ve never heard of before and your circle of conversation expands once again. The big issue we face at is how (or whether) to link to sites that we think are doing a poor job or are unethical. We want to talk about them and we feel it is important for readers to get reference links to help with context, but these are sites we definitely do not want to send gifts to. It would be interesting to have a conversation about “giftless links”. I guess the most obvious course of action is to use “nofollow” which resolves the search issues, but I do wonder what else people have done to provide “giftless links”.

    So far at One Degree we haven’t used “nofollow” in the body of our posts (although we do use it elsewhere), but I’m thinking we might adopt this approach. It seems best to let the reader on the page see the link and follow it within the context of our post while at the same time denying nasty sites of any Googlejuice. Too bad “Textile 2” (which we use) doesn’t support nofollow yet. In any event, we’ll use nofollow very sparingly in posts as, in general, we want outbound links to be followed both by humans and machines.

    Originally published at on May 10, 2005.

May 9, 2005

  • Bell Canada Improves E-mail First Impression

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    That’s a tiny little bit of my inbox you’re looking at.

    The top e-mail came in tonight while the others came in over the last few months. As you can see, “Bell Canada” has finally fixed the “from” and gratuitous subject line personalization they’ve been using for ages. And it seems they’ve realized that not every offer they send deserves an exclamation mark! All of them are better than Bell’s early days when they would use my name — all in lowercase letters — at the beginning of the subject line — the one spot you knew had to be capitalized.

    Originally published at on May 9, 2005.