March 31, 2006

  • Thought

    If you look to your right, and down the page a bit you’ll notice something called “sidebar”. That’s all the links I find around the web that I want to share with you. I’m doing this by posting a sub-feed from my account so that the whole thing is seemless seamless. Ooh, seemless seamless. Sweet.

  • Thought

    I’m totally excited about the eventual release of Will Wright’s Spore. This is going to be SO cool. The kids and I have had great fun with open ended video games and this looks like it will top everything else we’ve tried to date.

    I’m also loving the way YouTube and Google Video allow you to embed their video on my site!

  • Here vs. There

    I’ve been blogging for a long time (well a long time for a new communication tool, not long time as in “the long now” long). My first “hello world post” was on July 4th, 2001.

    Between then and last year about now I blogged on a semi-regular basis and managed to get about 430 posts online during that time.

    Then I started One Degree and for all intents and purposes stopped my personal blog. Slowly the old was falling apart as more of my attention went to One Degree. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and I ripped the site down and replaced it with some minimalistic pages about me and what I do. But because my blog still used Blogger software for the back end it was just too much to contemplate a total overhaul given my infrequent posting.

    Now that I’ve joined Tucows I really want to move away from being a business site towards being my personal site.

    So, here’s how I’m hoping it will work out:

    • Here — Stuff about me, personal observations, asides, family and life stuff, capturing ideas, working through problems in public, etc.
    • There — One Degree is a group effort focussed entirely on Internet marketing, particularly in Canada, so most of my writing on that topic will be done over there.

    My guess is I’ll also be running a Tucows blog of some sort — I can’t imagine I wouldn’t — but you’ll have to wait to find out more about that.

    Any thoughts on the mix of “official” and “personal” blogging?

  • Thought

    The folks at 37signals posted this to their Flickr photostream a while ago and I wanted to capture it:

March 30, 2006

  • A Guide to CSS Support in Email

    The folks at “Campaign Monitor” have done a great service to anyone who’s ever needed to style HTML e-mail. I’ll let them tell you the problem they’ve helped you solve:

    If Internet Explorer is the schoolyard bully making our web design lives a little harder, then Hotmail, Lotus Notes and Eudora are serial killers making our email design lives hell. Yes, it’s really that bad. Inspired by the fantastic work of Xavier Frenette, we decided to put each of the popular email environments to the test and finalize once and for all what CSS is and isn’t supported out there. We’ll dig straight into our recommendations based on what we found, followed by the results themselves with a few more details about our findings.

    Their “Guide to CSS Support in Email” is highly recommended, as is Campaign Monitor’s e-mail marketing solution.

    Originally published at on March 30, 2006.

  • Solicit Post-purchase Reviews


    Here’s a “bright idea” courtesy of “Apple”. When I recently purchased some songs via “iTunes” my e-mail receipt came with a link asking me to review one of the tracks.

    I’m always surprised that sites (particularly commerce sites) don’t make better use of e-mail and “thank you” pages to get customers more involved in the community aspects of their services. Note that Apple also wisely does some subtle visual up-selling with the “those who bought your selections also bought” sidebar. Very nice.

    Originally published at on March 30, 2006.

March 29, 2006

  • DemoCamp 4 Another Success For BarCamp

    Self-confessed “strategy nerd” Mark Kuznicki gives us a “nice DemoCamp 4 overview” at his new blog “Remarkk!”. If you are not following what’s happening with “BarCamp Toronto” you really should be.

    (Thanks for the Diet Coke Mark!)

    Originally published at on March 29, 2006.

March 25, 2006

  • PR Disaster As Viral Opportunity?

    Did April Fools’ come a week early this year? Something very odd is going on over at “henderson bas” this weekend. Their home page has been replaced by this:

    <image lost due to link decay>

    The page title has been changed from “henderson bas — the nice agency” to “henderson bas — the cleanest agency in Canada” (the company’s URL is What’s going on here?

    All of this seems to spring from “Adrants’” publication of a purported “all hands” e-mail from the agency’s President, Dawna Henderson. Adrants Friday afternoon post called “The Nice Agency Isn’t So Nice” goes for the jugular, reprinting the full e-mail and then standing back as the comments flood in.

    I’m not going to republish the supposed e-mail here but you may want to “go read it” to see what all the fuss is about. In particular, look at the vitriol flowing in the comments to the post. I can’t imagine that this e-mail was planted at Adrants as a hoax by henderson bas — it just makes them look too bad. Part of me thought the “leaked e-mail” and the “humorous corporate response” looked a bit too much like a PR stunt but if that is the case it has gone horribly wrong in my mind. I can’t believe there could be a reason to inflict something like this on your company intentionally.

    So if we assume their home page is an attempt at damage control by making light of what’s going on at Adrants I’m not sure it is successful. My guess is lots of people (certainly most clients and potential clients of henderson bas) wouldn’t have caught wind of this. Now they’ve nicely drawn attention to the whole mess. Heck, I’m writing about it and now a few thousand more people know that not everyone thinks Henderson Bas is the Nice Agency! Finally, someone has done a nice job of taking this to the next level by starting “a CafePress Shop” selling commemorative shirts, hats, aprons, and wall clocks (as pictured here).

    Originally published at on March 25, 2006.

March 24, 2006

  • Ken Schafer Joins Tucows

    This is a slightly awkward but, given my role as Publisher and Contributing Editor of One Degree and “background in the industry” it does seem appropriate that One Degree break this story. Pardon me going all Michael Bolton and talking in the third person.

    “Dave Woroch”, VP Sales & Marketing for “Tucows Inc.” today announced via an e-mail to all Tucows staff that industry veteran and Publisher of One Degree Ken Schafer is joining Tucows as Vice President Marketing effective April 3rd. Tucows provides “Internet services” and “download libraries” through a global distribution network of 6,000 service providers. This distribution network primarily consists of web hosting companies, ISP (Internet Service Providers) and other Internet-related service companies. These companies use Tucows’ provisioned services to offer solutions to their customers: enterprises, small and medium businesses and consumers. Tucows is an accredited registrar with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and earns most of its revenue from domain name registration services plus hosted email, spam and virus protection, “Blogware”, website building tools, the Platypus Billing System and digital certificates.

    While Ken will be winding down his eight-year-old Internet consulting practice at the end of this month, One Degree will (okay, should) be unaffected by Ken’s new role at Tucows.

    Originally published at on March 24, 2006.

March 20, 2006

  • Spore — New Worlds, New Marketing

    Have you heard of “Spore” — the new game from Will Wright, creator of SimCity and the Sims? The PC game won’t be released for at least another 1 1/2 years but right now I’m pretty sure it is the best video game ever made.

    How can I say this? Well, I’ve seen Will Wright walk-through and talk-through what Spore is in both a “one-hour presentation” from the 2005 Games Developer Conference and an edited 35-minute version.

    I’m still getting my head around “micro-chunking” as a marketing strategy but I think there is something really big here.

    Spending 35 minutes watching Wright talk about his latest obsession is entertainment in itself. Heck, watching this on my Mac beat out watching CSI on TV one night last week. But it is also one of the best ads for a new product I’ve ever seen. Really a 35-minute infomercial full of passion and ideas that made me “ooh” out loud. We need to start thinking much more about making marketing that is inherently compelling AND entertaining AND incredibly easy to pass along. I found this on “Google Video” via “boing boing” and now you watched it on “One Degree” and if you took the time to watch the video my guess is you’ll be talking about this and passing it along to.

    Now, does anyone know if “EA” released this video intentionally, or was it a fan that put this online? Either way, this is a glimpse at the future of advertising.

    Originally published at on March 20, 2006.

March 15, 2006

  • Webnames Names One Degree One Of Canada’s Best

    It was nice to see that this month’s issue of The Server Room newsletter from Canadian domain registrar had some nice things to say about what we are doing here at One Degree:

    One Degree’s tagline is “where Canadian Internet Marketers gather” and Ken Schafer (One Degree’s publisher, contributing editor and recognized Internet marketing authority) has certainly pulled together an impressive roster of industry experts to share their knowledge on the gamut of Internet Marketing activities. The blog is updated daily, features Canadian-specific examples and covers topics as wide-ranging as affiliate programs, public relations and viral marketing. We consistently find the postings both thought-provoking and informative — definitely RSS or subscription worthy.

    Stop. We’re blushing. You had us at “impressive roster”. I don’t think we’ve ever been called “subscription-worthy” but we’ll take that as a high compliment in these days of overloaded inboxes. Of course, as soon as published this we fell off the wagon and didn’t publish for the better part of a week!

    Originally published at on March 15, 2006.

March 8, 2006

  • The Impact of Toronto’s WiFi Blanket

    Patrick Dinnen is a volunteer with the Wireless Toronto community group. Wireless Toronto launched in Spring 2005 with the goal of encouraging the growth of wireless networking and building community in interesting and innovative ways. Since their launch, Wireless Toronto has formed partnerships with local businesses to create a network of free-to-use WiFi hotspots across the GTA. As well as hotspots in cafes, bars, and restaurants Wireless Toronto switched on a free WiFi network covering the St Lawrence Market building in November 2005, creating Toronto’s largest public WiFi zone.

    One Degree: “Patrick, what does the “Toronto Hydro WiFi blanket announcement” mean to Toronto and to the “Wireless Toronto” initiative?”

    Patrick Dinnen: Thinking about these questions I come back to the goals of Wireless Toronto ‘a not-for-profit group dedicated to bringing no-fee wireless Internet access to Toronto. Our aim is to encourage the growth of wireless networking and to build community in interesting and innovative ways’. From that point of view, I think there’s much to be positive about in Toronto Hydro’s announcement. Although we got some more details from Toronto Hydro today there are still a lot of unanswered questions. But right now, here’s what I feel: Availability of competitively priced WiFi Internet access in 100% of the downtown core, which Toronto Hydro’s plan calls for, is a great move forward for Toronto residents, businesses and visitors.

    But more than that, blanketing the downtown core with seamless, and lower-cost network access opens the door to multiple opportunities for innovation in access to information and communication for residents, community groups, underserved communities and small businesses. I strongly hope that those broader opportunities are seized. In terms of what the announcement means for Wireless Toronto as a group, again it’s good news. This will give Torontonians a huge boost in terms of awareness and accessibility to WiFi. That will increase the number of people who use the free Wireless Toronto hotspots (which range from Oakville to Scarborough, Woodbridge to St. Lawrence Market). This increase in WiFi awareness can only help in Wireless Toronto’s goals of working with volunteers and partners to explore the opportunities for communication and community offered by WiFi. I’d encourage One Degree readers to visit the Wireless Toronto blog. We hope to help people keep on top of the deluge of news and opinion around the topic of WiFi in Toronto, this is just beginning.

    Originally published at on March 8, 2006.

  • Hand-written Notes In A Digital World

    I got a pleasant surprise in my mailbox the other day — a hand-written thank-you note from “fellow blogger” and CMA course instructor Mitch Joel:

    <image lost to link decay>

    The note was short, essentially thanking me for help on a few things that I was happy to collaborate on. He’d already sent quick e-mail thank-yous but this added touch really jumped out at me.

    By breaking free of “business as usual” he got my attention. It was even better that it was done by hand and that his script looks a bit like “hugh macleod’s gaping void style”.

    My guess is that the more we move business and personal lives online the more “old-fashioned” modes of communication will become valued. When was the last time you received or sent a hand-written note? What was the reaction?

    Bonus question: Do you even have the physical addresses of those that you count as friends and colleagues so that you could do this?

    Originally published at on March 8, 2006.

March 6, 2006

  • Half of Oscar Night Ads Have No URLs

    How are big advertisers doing at moving people from TV to the web? What better way than to use a global “must see” event like the “Academy Awards” to take a look at who’s pointing people to the web and who’s missing their big opportunity. Of the 69 spots shown during 12 breaks (some shown multiple times), 36 had URLs. That means that almost 50% of the spots didn’t even try to move people to the web to continue talking to them. Seems like a real waste.

    Here is a full list of all the ads and links to all the sites that were mentioned. I think if you review this you’ll find a few very interesting things — eBay doesn’t put URLs on TV ads? WTF?

    I’d be interested in some comments from you the esteemed One Degree reader on the strategies shown here. Click through on some of these URLs and see what the companies are up to. Some were clearly thinking about the value of the web and for others, it seems an afterthought. And some seem to have good intentions but poor execution — personally I’d have spent a few bucks and registered something a little more memorable than “”.

    (This analysis is based on the HD version of the CTV broadcast in Ontario)

    First Break

    • Toyota Camry “”
    • Stayfree Drymax
    • Acuvue — “”

    Second Break

    • Neutrogena — “”
    • Rogers On Demand
    • Ontario Government — “”
    • Coffeemate (Zoot) — “”
    • Stella Artois — “”

    Third Break

    • McDonald’s
    • Lady & Tramp — “”
    • Nissan — X-trail — “”
    • Staples

    Fourth Break

    • Acuvue — “”
    • A&W
    • Mazda — “”
    • CIBC
    • Rona — “”

    Fifth Break

    • Mission Impossible “”
    • Ford Fusion — “” (mouse type)
    • Scotiabank — “”
    • Neutrogena — “”
    • Rogers On Demand
    • Ontario Government — “”
    • Canada Post
    • Saturn — “”

    Sixth Break

    • “Inside Man”
    • Kia
    • Lipton’s Soupworks
    • Visa — “”
    • Gilette Fusion
    • Walmart
    • Pantene
    • Slimdown — “”

    Seventh Break

    • Subaru — “”
    • Mastercard — “”
    • Rogers On Demand
    • Ministry of Health — “”
    • Fancy Feast
    • Best Buy — “”
    • L’Oreal Preference

    Eighth Break

    • L’oreal
    • Da Vinci’s Code — “”
    • Tostitos
    • Cadillac Escalade — “”
    • Scotiabank — “”
    • L’oreal — Natural Match — “”

    Ninth Break

    • Ford Escape — “”
    • Kraft — Philadelphia Cream Cheese
    • Aveeno — Active Naturals
    • Aveeno — Daily Moisturizing
    • “I Walked The Line”
    • Ontario Government — “”
    • eBay

    Tenth Break

    • Nissan — X-Trail — “”
    • Neutrogena — Deep Cleaning — “”
    • CHFI
    • “Special 8” Lottery — “”
    • Stella Artois
    • Revlon — Remmel
    • Lean Cuisine — “”
    • Ministry of Health — “”

    Eleventh Break

    • Blockbuster
    • Colgate Total
    • Aero Chocolate Bar
    • Scotiabank — “”
    • Wendy’s

    Twelfth Break

    • Jeep — “”
    • Canadian Forces — “”

    Originally published at on March 6, 2006.

  • Net Marketers Can Learn From Direct Marketers

    As President of Wiest & Associates Inc. — “The Customer Acquisition and Retention Company — Daniel G. Wiest has long been considered one of Canada’s leading direct marketers, and now one of Internet marketing’s innovators.

    One Degree: “What skills or techniques from the direct marketing world do you think are most lacking in Internet marketing and what do we lose by not having them in our online toolkits?”

    Dan Wiest: I apologize in advance if this response rubs a few readers the wrong way, but please scan my entire answer before deciding how loudly to cheer or jeer. In return, I promise not to sound too much like my grandfather’s “when I was your age…” ramblings in the process. One big shortcoming I see too frequently is the absence of leveraging that core knowledge we’ve already gained from offline testing. I’m not saying that pure Internet marketers don’t generate rich information and insights. Quite the opposite. In fact, I think we’re kicking the pants off of the traditional media holdouts with the wealth of actionable data we’re able to produce. And we’ve become the masters (sometimes…) at turning that information around to produce even more relevant communications and offerings. But the preceding decades have rewarded us with vast resources of test results, analytics and careful study of the factors that motivate people. Somehow these historical treasures seem to have gotten pushed aside in the excitement surrounding all of the new tools and techniques. Forget about the new tools for a moment, and consider this: I don’t imagine for one second that human needs and wants were somehow genetically altered by the arrival of the Internet. Yes, the techniques and media options for matching and delivering solutions those human needs may have changed dramatically. But human behavior itself hasn’t. So why not begin with the knowledge of what consumers have already been proven to respond to?

    In defense of the pure online guys, they’re masters at testing things like e-mail subject lines, clickthrough stats on content and time spent navigating specific pages. And this stuff is absolutely wondrous and critical to advancing direct marketing. But do they truly understand why some of that stuff is working? And could they have started with a stronger proposition in the first place if they were working from a strategic approach that was grounded in offline learning? Allow me to roll back the clock for a moment. I suspect many online newbies may never have read John Caples’ “Tested Advertising Methods.” Perhaps you are even saying who the heck is John Caples? Caples was BBDO’s creative director for years. He also happened to start his career in the 1920’s and published this book in 1932. It may calm your ancient fears to know that this book’s been in print almost continuously since that time, and Caples was even elected to the Copywriter’s Hall of Fame in 1973, and the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1977. Why bother reading a book from 1932? Because Caples was not only a brilliant writer, but he also happened to invent many of the techniques that we use today for split creative testing. This book is still holding up as a direct marketing copywriter’s bible of testing wisdom. Caples doesn’t just analyze what works, but he always matches those quantitative results up with why it works. Are the examples used in the book outdated? They’re painfully outdated. But the analysis of those examples is more astute than most direct marketing copy tutorials I’ve seen published since. If you’re still hanging in there, now I’ll raise another toast to the strictly-online guys. I never wish to discount the experience of those who only have the benefit of learning from digital executions — they have absolutely moved direct marketing forward by leaps and bounds. All I’d like to do is save them from having to re-discover what’s been fine-tuned for them already. What are we losing by sometimes lacking this historical knowledge in our toolkit? Lots. Pure online folks might be able to start their construction of campaigns at a strategic level of understanding what is likely to generate a response, as well as why it’s likely to motivate. This understanding obviously helps improve initial response metrics. But I think it also makes you lots smarter about your post-campaign analysis of why particular elements of a campaign worked; and how to take advantage of those findings. I also think that online marketers might be a lot tougher on themselves if they had the benefit of direct marketing media training and analysis. Parting shots: I’m excited about the possibility of Internet marketers taking greater advantage of this knowledgebase from the offline world. The Internet marketers can leverage that learning far more than the traditional marketers were ever able to. That’s going to make our business more enriching for marketers. And more enriching for our prospects and customers.

    Originally published at on March 6, 2006.

  • Scoble Brightlines Memeorandum

    Recent One Degree interviewee, Robert Scoble is often seen as an edge case (although he “hates being called that). I think Robert sees himself more as “canary in a coalmine” — out ahead of us but doing what will one day become common practice. The term edge case implies a way of using things that will never be seen as normal. In any case, whether Robert is an edge case or not, I’m starting to think that he is a “bright-liner”. You might not know that word, so let me digress for a moment to explain what it is before saying why Scoble might be one and why it might impact your brand.

    The term bright-line rule is gaining common use but still doesn’t show up in most dictionaries. I fell in love with the concept after reading Virginia Postrel’s New York Time’s article on resolutions. In it she deconstructs Professor Thomas C. Schelling saying in part:

    Another approach is to use bright-line rules, which make it harder to cheat through clever reinterpretation. That may explain why many people find it easier to eliminate whole categories of food, like carbohydrates, rather than simply to cut back on calories. “Just as it may be easier to ban nuclear weapons from the battlefield in toto than through carefully graduated specifications on their use, zero is a more enforceable limit on cigarettes or chewing gum than some flexible quantitative ration,” Professor Schelling wrote. He once resolved to smoke “only after the evening meal.” That rule “led to tortured reasoning Thanksgiving afternoon, or flying west across the Atlantic with perpetual afternoon, and it stimulated lots of token sandwiches on leaving the ski slopes to drive home.”

    Yesterday Scoble decided to stop reading Memeorandum. No “I’ll only check it at the end of the day” or “just when I have a few minutes between meetings” kind of stuff. This is a clear brightline. Scoble’s approach to Memeorandum is similar to his stance on full vs. partial feeds — Scoble won’t subscribe to partial feeds. Full stop. Why does this matter? Besides showing us a bit more about Scoble as a person, it also points to the increasing stress we all have in keeping up with an overly complex world. My guess is we’ll see more arbitrary brightlining (like “I don’t watch anything with Ryan Seacrest in it”) in the future. What happens when your brand becomes “dead to me?

    How will you ever get me back?

    Originally published at on March 6, 2006.