June 26, 2006

  • Ken And Mitch’s Excellent Podcast Adventure

    Last week “One Degree contributor”, “blogger”, and “Twist Image President” Mitch Joel was nice enough to interview me for “Six Pixels of Separation”— his latest incarnation as a podcaster. The podcast covers a bunch of interesting topics including “CaseCamp” and “Second Life”. My interview is about 15 minutes long and covers some of my thinking about One Degree and Internet marketing in general.

    Mitch Joel was nice enough to invite me as a guest on his new “New Marketing” podcast, Six Pixels of Separation. Episode Six of the show features me, Joseph Jaffe, and Neville Hobson. Here’s a bit more about the podcast and a link to the podcast itself in case you’d like to learn a little more about what’s behind One Degree and my thoughts on new marketing in general…

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 26, 2006.

  • Second Toronto CaseCamp Announced

    It looks like “Eli Singer” refuses to take the summer off.

    Hot on the heels of the incredibly successful “inaugural CaseCamp” Eli is in pulling together “CaseCamp Toronto 2”.

    Over 70 marketers came out to that first event and I think, if you are in the Toronto area, you really owe it to yourself to block off the evening of Friday, July 7th to make the scene and see what all the fuss is about.

    *Update:* The date has changed to accommodate two special Case Presenters and to take advantage of a great new venue. Here’s the scope from the organizer of this event, Eli Singer:

    Two outstanding presenters have signed on for the next event. They are Andrew Michael Baron, co-founder of Rocketboom (the immensely popular video podcast from New York) and Matt Blackett, editor of the Spacing Wire blog (arguably the most influential blog in Toronto). To accommodate the busy schedules of these gentlemen, we’ve moved the event to Friday, July 7th. It will be at the Jamie Kennedy Kitchen at the brand new Gardiner Museum. The space is stunning and so is the patio. We were missing out on some good food at the last event, so many thanks in advance to Aldo Cundari who is sponsoring hors d’oeurves for all. We are using the wiki to write a community press release which will go out to media mid next week. Please visit site and contribute. Lastly, and importantly, we need two more presenters. If you’re on the fence, please call me to discuss what’s involved. Don’t be shy, step up and share.

    While I won’t be there (because I’m supposed to be “fishin”) I’m hoping we get LOTS of One Degree readers representing for us at CaseCamp 2.


    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 26, 2006.

June 22, 2006

  • High Road’s Social Media Division Misfires At Launch

    “Marketing Magazine” reported today that “High Road Communications” is “opening a digital communications division.”

    Here’s how High Road explained the new division in their press release:

    High Road Communications has synthesized agency talent, experience and passion in VOX, a new social media and digital marketing division. The firm’s VOX team consists of seasoned communicators who specialize in the online and social media spaces. They provide a potent mix of traditional media relations skills and forward-looking technological knowledge to deliver effective, relevant and results-driven campaigns to the audiences that matter.

    Kudos to High Road for doing this, it is indeed a much needed service and I’m sure they’ll do fine with it.

    The High Road VOX team creates and delivers services including:

    • Blog/ chat/ forum relations — targeting online journalists, enthusiast and special interest sites
    • Online community relations — engaging online enthusiasts, brand Ambassadors, and promoting positive community partnerships
    • Experiential marketing — creating innovative programs that deliver direct-to-consumer, grassroots and hands-on experiences

    There’s one big problem with this that puts their “seasoned communicators who specialize in social media” in question. The problem? “vox.com”.

    Vox is the upcoming social media site from industry leader “Six Apart”. Company founder “Mena Trott” talked about the roots of Vox “on Vox back on June 1st”. Of course, this begs the question — how could a group of social media experts go with a name that is being used by one of the top companies in the space as their “MySpace Killer”? Oops.

    Should High Road do a quick about-face and rename now, or do they run the risk of having to say things like “Vox believes that Vox will have a major impact on the industry. No, not our Vox, Six Apart’s Vox.”


    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 22, 2006.

June 20, 2006

  • iCoke Coins As Currency

    Michael Garrity’s Brand Nirvana post talks about how some brands have so much equity in the market that they become a currency onto themselves.

    This got me to thinking about a recent iCoke e-mail I received:

    As you can see the iCoke promotion (codes on Coke products could be used to enter contests at iCoke) has morphed into co-promotions in which the promotional points can be cashed in for Cineplex tickets or DVDs at Zip.ca.

    When this promotion started I would never have guessed that Coke was looking to set up a tiny Air Miles but that seems to be the case!

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 20, 2006.

  • Who’s Using Big-time Analytics and How?

    Recently I received a thought-provoking e-mail from Jeff Ginsberg at “The E-mail Company” asking why we didn’t talk more about analytics here at One Degree.

    Long time reader, big time fan. How come there is not much at One Degree about analytics? Am I not looking in the right place or has it been overlooked? After getting my free “Google Analytics” trial and setting it up in a matter of minutes I have to tell you the reports rival the big boys. It would be nice to hear from readers who have used “Omniture”, “Coremetrics”, or “Web Side Story” to see what they think of Google Analytics.

    I’d also like to hear from people using the top tier products on e-commerce sites. Have they gone to the effort to do advanced tagging for the complex sales calculations the above-mentioned products can give?

    By the way, “Hotwire” and some of the other travel sites use their analytics to send triggered email message to customers based on what they searched for on their site. For example, if you sign up for Hotwire’s deals and search for Los Angeles you will start to get e-mail about deals to LA like this:

    Dear Jeff, Looking for great deals in Los Angeles, California? Hotwire finds great deals on unsold hotel rooms. You save big. Travelers like you found these great deals on Hotwire: …

    Very cool.

    Regards, Jeff Ginsberg, Chief Email Officer

    Cool indeed.

    I’m a big fan of measuring what you do and I just love the data that these big apps throw off. We haven’t done much on this at One Degree because no one has stepped up to cover “the analytics beat” and I don’t feel I know enough to add that much to the conversation. I’m therefore posting Jeff’s request a) to get a bit of discussion going around his specific questions and b) to hopefully flush out a few Canucks looking to write about their experiences with web analytics. Feel free to comment below and if you are interested in contributing posts about analytics, “drop me a line.”

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 20, 2006.

June 18, 2006

  • DMA Jury Announced

    Summer means that it is time to start thinking about the “Digital Marketing Awards.” Now in its seventh year, the DMAs have expanded once again. Six new categories bring the total to twenty. Also expanding is is the jury.

    Here’s the official jury as selected by Thane Calder, President, CloudRaker and Jeff Smith, Senior Manager, Interactive Marketing & eBusiness, hbc.com:

    • Mario Alfano, SVP, Marketing and Strategy, CanWest Interactive
    • Fady Atallah, President, BlueSponge
    • Cam Bedford, VP, General Manager, Fjord Interactive Marketing and Technology
    • Kyler Bell, Director, eCommerce and Online Marketing, Loblaw Companies Limited
    • Paul Bichler, BBH * Mike De Luca, Directeur, Publicis Dialog
    • Joanne de Visser, Senior Manager Interactive, Coca-Cola Limited
    • Will Eagle, Manager, Online and Creative Services, Virgin Mobile
    • Larry Futers, National Marketing Manager, Mitsubishi
    • Jean-Philippe Gauthier, GM, Sympatico/MSN
    • Dawna Henderson, President and Managing Partner, Henderson Bas
    • Darrell MacMullin, iMerchant Services, Paypal Inc.
    • Jennifer Maks, eCommerce Marketing Manager, The ALDO Group
    • Joe Mosher, Director, Aliant ISP, Aliant
    • John Rocco, Director, Lifestyle & Kiosk, Indigo Books & Music Inc.
    • Rosie Riolino-Serpa, Director, Usability and Customer Experience, e-Business, Rogers Communications Inc.
    • Dave Smith, Art Director, Juxt Interactive
    • Dave Stubbs, Creative Director, Organic
    • Dominique Trudeau, Creative Director, Design and Interactive, Taxi Montreal
    • Jean-Christophe Yacono, Freelancer

    DMA judging will take place this summer, and the winners will be announced Nov. 2 in Toronto. The deadline for entries is June 23, giving the judges the summer to review entries and have everything ready to announce the winners in early November.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 18, 2006.

  • 30 Quick Wins For Any Site That Sells

    Last week I presented at “Visa’s Big Thinking Conference” (Thanks to “Rick Spence” for the opportunity). My presentation was called “30 Quick Wins for Any Site That Sells”.

    One of my basic premises is that most every site should “sell” — in the sense that it should be built to help people take an action — and because of that the presentation is fairly different from the typical “a bunch of stuff to think about for your e-commerce site”. In the spirit of sharing, I’ve decided to post all 100 slides along with my speaker’s notes here at One Degree for the benefit of those who were unable to attend. You can download 30 Quick Wins For Any Site That Sells as a 100 page, 7MB PDF file here.

    <download lost to link decay>

    In case you’re curious, here are the 30 quick wins (although I don’t think they make too much sense without the rest of the stuff in the PDF):

    1. Build the right tools for the right people.
    2. Say “no” by default.
    3. Don’t use apples to make orange juice.
    4. Don’t make me think.
    5. Tell them to “Start Here”.
    6. Be memorable.
    7. Add spell-check to your domains.
    8. No dub-dub-dub? No problem.
    9. Have a list, a blog, and a feed.
    10. Build for all three browsers.
    11. Don’t make a splash, make a gateway.
    12. Think “Landing Page”, not home page.
    13. “What’s the next action?”
    14. Link on verbs not nouns.
    15. Design from the bottom up.
    16. Tell them “You are here”.
    17. Put search everywhere.
    18. Simple.
    19. Use a high-contrast palette.
    20. Never make people do what computers can do.
    21. Don’t be so nosey.
    22. Optimize for speed, but support broadband.
    23. No ads.
    24. Design for disaster.
    25. Cancel the cancel.
    26. Put your site on Atkins.
    27. Write like your audience thinks.
    28. “Lady, that is one ugly baby.”
    29. Track from day one.
    30. Build tweakable sites.

    Enjoy the download and feel free to pass it around.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 18, 2006.

June 15, 2006

  • Tucows To Acquire NetIdentity

    Disclosure: In real-life I “work” for “Tucows Inc.” 

    I feel this is big news for the Canadian Internet industry because Tucows is one of Canada’s largest Internet pure-plays, but I’m involved, so rather than provide opinion one way or the other, I point you to the “press release” and the “FAQ and Podcast” Tucows has prepared to provide further background.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 15, 2006.

June 13, 2006

  • HSBC.ca Red Tag Sale Leaves Us Cold

    I got a tip from someone at one of the big banks who swears they’re not submitting this to bad-mouth one of their competitors, merely to point out a particularly bad online customer experience.

    We’ll take them at their word because looking at hsbc.ca right now does bring some questions to mind…

    I just went to HSBC.ca after having attended a luncheon that they sponsored and I was interested in getting more information on the luncheon series. I was shocked to see that currently when you plug their URL into your browser, you are re-directed to a page dominated by a special offer. You then have to click on a link to access their real web page.

    Things then go from bad to worse when I try to find some information about the luncheon series. Their homepage is now filled with red tags with specials all over them. Isn’t it Toyota who holds the brand for a “Red Tag event”? From here, I have to click on “sponsorships”, then “Community Sponsorships”, then scroll down the page to “Women of Influence Luncheon series”, then click on the link for the HSBC branded website (hsbcwomenofinfluence.ca — terrible name), you get a pop-up that you are leaving the HSBC.ca site and have to agree before getting to where you wanted to go in the first place! Has their marketing department taken control of their publishing?

    Please, please write about this. This is the worst customer experience I’ve encountered on a large corporate site in a very long time.

    This is a classic case study in what happens when a marketing department takes control of a website. To make matters worse, they don’t use a cookie, so you have to see that damn offer message every time you go to their site.

    I’d rather you didn’t use my name but you can say I’m a competitor in the financial services industry who doesn’t plan on showing this to their own marketing department for fear they will fall in love with the idea. “Hey — I didn’t know you could do that? Can we do that?”

    I see a few issues here:

    • How promotional and a banks home page be?
    • How do you integrate special sites (for community events or promotional microsites) into the overall flow of your site? People will assume they can get to everything you do from your home page, but how do you support that?
    • How much control should marketing have over very functional sites like banking?

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on this. Add your comments below…

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 13, 2006.

June 12, 2006

  • Fuel Industries’ Deadwood Game

    I’m a big fan of HBO’s “Deadwood”.

    The first episode of Season Three is premiering as I write this — here’s to whoever invented the PVR (Personal Video Recorder).

    Needless to say, I was thrilled when Ryan Anderson from Ottawa’s own “Fuel Industries” let me know that they were the ones behind the new promotional game based on the series called “Dead Man’s Hand”

    We just launched a new project for HBO that I thought you might be interested in. As part of the promotion for the third season of Deadwood, we developed a 3D Texas hold’em game where you play against the characters from the show — Al Swearengen, E.B. Farnum, and Trixie. The additional cool factor is that while you play, you’ve got a gun that you can pull and start shooting the place up — it’s actually integral to winning the game. The game requires the download of a plugin called Virtools, which works with every browser and is about the same size as Shockwave. Basically, it allows game developers to deliver console-quality 3D within a browser. We’re still limited by bandwidth, of course, but what you can do with it is pretty amazing. I’m a little biased of course, but this is the most graphically intense promotional game I’ve seen.

    Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get the plug-in working on my Mac — despite assurances Virtools supports OS X.

    Let me know how you like it.

    Bonus Trivia — The origin of the phrase Dead Man’s Hand was explained in an earlier Deadwood episode.


    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 12, 2006.

  • CaseCamp Hits Critical Mass In One Week

    You all know that I’m a major believer that the Internet is changing just about everything around us. But even I’ve been blown away by the success of CaseCamp in going from idea to national movement in about two weeks.

    As we “mentioned last week” Eli Singer’s new event is kind of like “BarCamp” for marketers (or more accurately “DemoCamp” for marketers I guess). When I wrote that first article, Eli had 10 people signed-up at the wiki saying they’d be attending. Now, just five days later, this inaugural event has 47 signed up! I’m sure we’ll see another burst of registrations in the next 24 hours as well. This is faster growth than the first Toronto BarCamp.

    Not only that, but “One Degree Contributor Mitch Joel” has jumped in and organized “CaseCamp Montreal” for July 4th and as of this writing they have 18 people signed up — amazing. Back when I helped start “AIMS” in 1996 it took us about four months of meetings to figure out what we wanted to do and probably six months before we hit 50 people in the room.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 12, 2006.

June 6, 2006

  • CaseCamp — BarCamp For Marketers?

    I just got a note from “Eli Singer” of “CundariSFP” letting me know about a very interesting project he’s started called “CaseCamp”. It’s a new marketing community here in Toronto modeled after the “incredibly successful BarCamp” style unconference movement.

    Whereas BarCamp is geek/tech-oriented, I think that CaseCamp is looking to forge new ground in helping Internet marketers connect, converse, commiserate, and… something else starting with a “c”. Hopefully, geeks will feel as welcome to crash the CaseCamp party as suits have felt at BarCamp (i.e. very welcome).

    The “inaugural CaseCamp” is happening Tuesday evening, June 13th and features (as of now):

    1. Petro-Canada’s 2006 Online Olympic Promotion — One Degree’s own Kate Trgovac
    2. ‘Getting Started Segment’ — Personalized Microsites — Nicole Mondville, RBC Direct Marketing
    3. Starchitect Landing — Blogging at the AGO — Susan Bloch-Nevitte, Executive Director Public Affairs, AGO and organizer Eli Singer, Marketing Communications Strategist, Cundari SFP
    4. ????

    Eli wanted me to point out that the last slot is still open and he’s hoping that some brave soul will be willing to step up and add their case study to the evening.

    I’ll be there and I hope to meet many One Degree readers at the first CaseCamp. You should “add yourself to the attendee list on the CaseCamp wiki”.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 6, 2006.

June 4, 2006

  • Harry Rosen’s Evolving E-mail Strategy

    As Internet marketers, we live either in the now or slightly in the future (ever ask your neighbour about feeds, podcasts or YouTube?). With that in mind, I thought it might be nice to look at the progress on online retailer — “Harry Rosen” has made in e-mailing their customer list.

    Here we see an e-mail sent from my wonderfully named salesperson Barby Ginsberg back in September 2002:

    <image lost to link decay>

    Besides being text only and using non-trackable links, the message has a lot of quirks that caused me to use it as an example of what not to do when teaching e-marketing courses.

    But Harry (and Barby I guess) have been learning more about the Net in the last four years and I was quite impressed with this recent e-mail promoting an in-store event:

    <image lost to link decay>

    Maybe it’s the fact that the e-mail is almost a clone of One Degree’s stark black and white look, but I found this very compelling. The message is now made up of a bunch of images (and pretty much nothing else) which isn’t the best but I found the visual design appealing, very on-brand, and effective. Any thoughts on either this particular campaign on the progress Harry’s has made in the last few years?

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on June 4, 2006.

May 30, 2006

  • shaveeverywhere.com

    Have you heard about “shaveeverywhere.com” yet?

    If not you really need to “visit the site” now. I’d love to get some feedback from you my ever-faithful One Degree reader — yes I know who you are. My gut says this is one of the most effective microsites ever, but I’d love to hear pros and cons on the site and the overall marketing strategy at play here.

    Key questions for discussion are, how would Philips ever market an electric “everywhere” groomer without this site? Where would you find the target market if not online? How would you get their attention without the tongue-in-cheek style and edgy humor? How would you get them to buy such an embarrassing product without offering an online purchase option?

    Side topic: How do we feel about a world where male body hair is considered as unsightly as female body hair (in North America at least)? I used to joke with my kids that people would swear they had “ear odor” if P&G started marketing ear deodorant.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on May 30, 2006.

May 24, 2006

  • Dotcom Baseball Tournament In Toronto

    “Tucows” “uber-blogger” “Joey deVilla” just let me know about some semi-competitive dotcom softball fun happening Sunday, June 25th, 2006 at Riverdale Park West here in Toronto, starting at 9:00 a.m.

    14 local Internet companies will be fielding teams:

    • Borderfree.com
    • Canada.com
    • CBC.ca
    • Chum Interactive
    • CTV / Discovery / TSN
    • eBay.ca
    • Google.ca
    • Indigo.ca
    • Kaboose.ca
    • MSN.Ca
    • Puretracks.com/Standard Radio Inc.
    • Teletoon / Family / TMN
    • Tucows.com
    • Yahoo.ca

    Festivities start with a pre-tournament social/team placement event on Thursday, June 22nd.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on May 24, 2006.

May 23, 2006

  • MobileMonday Toronto Launches

    Last week I failed to mention that “Alex Bosika and Jim Brown’s” “MobileMondayToronto” had its official launch last week.

    Here’s the announcement:

    MobileMonday, the global organization for mobile professionals, has announced the launch of its Toronto chapter. Based on the successful expansion to over 20 locations globally, Toronto was targeted due to the large concentration of mobile technology players in the area.

    MobileMonday Toronto will provide on a monthly basis a casual venue for mobile professionals to get together and network, share ideas and grow the mobile industry in the Toronto region. It will also provide an outlet for Toronto area companies to showcase products or services to other global partners. Co-founders Alex Bosika and Jim Brown believe the timing is right, “The whole objective of setting up this chapter is to help local companies bridge opportunities on a larger stage. With a high concentration of Mobile Carriers, venture capital investors, marketing firms, universities and technology companies, it’s a natural extension of the community. The Toronto region is a hotbed for talented individuals and companies; we are hopeful MobileMonday Toronto will have a positive impact and foster greater cooperation among industry players.

    “We’re excited to be a part of this global movement.” Jari Tammisto, CEO of MobileMonday in Helsinki, Finland, is leading the global development of MobileMonday and is very pleased that the Toronto chapter is being launched. “Toronto is an important hotspot for mobile technology and business innovation in North America, so we were naturally extremely happy when Alex and Jim decided to put forth the effort to set-up MobileMonday’s second Canadian chapter. We will support the Toronto chapter as best we can and we look forward to welcoming its members into our global network of mobile professionals.” MobileMonday Toronto will work closely with the Vancouver chapter in the sharing of knowledge and information regarding the Canadian market. For details about the initial meeting for MobileMonday Toronto, go to “www.mobilemondaytoronto.com”.

    One Degree wishes MoMoTo much success!

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on May 23, 2006.

May 16, 2006

  • Update on td.com

    Back in January, I pointed out that “some people think td.com is always offline”.

    For some odd reason TD had overlooked the need to redirect td.com to the official www.td.com and an error message ensued if you didn’t bother with the www.

    About a month later I met one of the top guys at TD.com at an industry event and he told me they were working on a fix after someone tipped them to the problem, after reading about it at One Degree. If you go to “td.com” today you’ll find that you’ll be automatically redirected to “www.td.com”.

    I’m happy for TD and their customers but I’m a little sad because now I need to find another example of a big brand missing this basic best practice. Anyone else have a major site that doesn’t load without the dub-dub-dub?

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on May 16, 2006.

  • Sig Files In Action

    A few weeks ago “I asked you to show us your sig files” and while my inbox isn’t exactly overflowing with examples, I did get a few interesting specimens I wanted to pass along.

    Chris Adams of “Hot Banana”:http uses a very simple animated .gif after his contact information. Beside the .gif (shown here) Hot Banana also highlights any recent awards they’ve won via a second smaller .gif (not shown).

    <image lost to link decay>

    As Chris explains:

    “This is dynamically programmed via Hot Banana so that, instantly, if our VP Marketing wants it changed — it is done — without having to install a new sig file for each Outlook user.”

    Jeff Ginsberg of “The Email Company”: offered to share 1 of 3 signature files his company sends depending on the type of contact the message is going to. Here it is:

    <image lost to link decay>

    As an aside — what is wrong with you people? I ask for sig files and say I’ll post good ones and you don’t send me anything? This is free advertising people! Take every opportunity that presents itself! Stop being so humble Canada!

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on May 16, 2006.

May 9, 2006

  • Using The Internet To Get McFly

    “Internationally famous sneakerographer” “Al Cabino” is fighting for your right to wear sneakers inspired by the film “Back to the Future Part II.”

    Cabino launched a petition requesting that Nike release a shoe modeled after the grey moon-boots worn by Michael J. Fox in the 1989 movie. Nike originally created the sneakers for the film, but they were never made available to the public, something Cabino is hoping to change.

    One Degree: “Al, why do you want to own Marty McFly’s sneakers from Back To The Future II and how is the Internet helping you achieve your dream?”

    Al Cabino: That’s an excellent question. Everyone dreams of walking in a movie star’s shoes. The McFlys are the Holy Grail of movie sneakers. The McFlys were created just for the film, never worn beyond the silver screen, and I’ve always been fascinated by them. There is a sneaker legend that says that in 2015, Nike will come out with them. But I’m not going to wait 9 years. There are a *lot* of people who don’t want to wait 9 years.

    The Internet is definitely helping me to achieve my dream to get the McFlys. This is now the world’s first and only international sneaker petition. So far, “there are more than 15,000 signatures from over 50 countries.” I receive hundreds and hundreds of letters from fans around the world every day, from Tokyo to Los Angeles, from Paris to New York, from Madrid to Montreal. It is surreal.

    Sneakers are universal, and the Internet has helped me to turn this into an international sneaker campaign. There’s still a possibility that I will travel around the world to collect signatures but the power of the Internet has kickstarted this sneaker movement. Without the Internet, I would just be one guy from Montreal who wants the McFlys, but with the power of the Internet, I am getting closer to achieving my dream and the dream of thousands of sneaker fans to get those sneakers.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on May 9, 2006.

May 8, 2006

  • It’s Mom Week At One Degree

    Mother’s Day is only a few days away (ahh!) and we’ve decided to talk a bit about our Moms. Our Moms and the Internet that is (this is One Degree after all). I got the idea for this feature when “Kate Baggott” of “globeandmail.com” contacted me about my mom. She’d read my blog post from last year about “my Mother’s poem on using the Internet” and was (justifiably I must say) impressed by her attitude.

    Last week Kate published her column called “You’ve come a long way, mommy” that included this ode to my mom:

    Ilse Schafer, mother of Tucows marketing vice-president Ken Schafer, was determined to prove herself as an adaptable career woman. More than 20 years ago, Ilse delayed her retirement so that she could undergo training on the new computer system being installed at the University library where she worked. “She wanted to show that she could do it and as soon as she’d finished training and could do it — she retired, triumphant,” Ken Schafer remembers. Upon retirement though, technical innovations were the last thing on Ilse’s mind. Ken doubts that his mother even understood what he has done for a living for the past 12 years. Her former triumph was to return, though. Ilse conquered her fears of unknown technology when she realized it was the only way to remain connected to her children and 10 and 12-year-old grandchildren. For Christmas 2004 the Schafer family set Ilse up with a hand-me-down computer and high-speed access. She’s been online several times a day ever since. Not bad for an 84-year-old.

    So now my (now) 85-year-old mom is using Gmail, checking photos on Flickr and using Gtalk and MSN to chat we me and the kids. (Wanna talk about your mom and the Net? Drop me a note if you’d like to do a full post or add your story to the comments below.)

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on May 8, 2006.

May 7, 2006

  • Making “Get A Mac” Viral

    I get the whole “new marketing” thing that “Joseph Jaffe” talks about in his “Life After The 30-Second Spot”. TV just isn’t what it used to be. But that doesn’t mean that all TV ads are a waste of money.

    If you are “Apple” and you want to take another shot at convincing people to Get A Mac then TV might be the right place to do it. Tell me the ads in the “Get A Mac” campaign aren’t brilliant and compelling. Still, Apple could have done a much better job of making the online part of Get A Mac more viral.

    Here are seven things I would have done to make this spread faster:

    1. Add them to “YouTube”:http://www.youtube.com and “Google Video”:http://video.google.com/. Who cares where people see the ads. Getting them on these highly viral networks in “official versions” (not the fan-uploaded ones you find now) would be a great step forward.
    2. Make each video linkable. Right now while there is a unique URL for each video at each resolution these don’t seem to be visible to the user. All the ads regardless of content or size seem to come from the same URL. This makes it hard to naturally link to something or to bookmark favorites.
    3. Make them easy to download. Yes, you can download the .mov files if you know what you are doing, but adding a “download this ad” link wouldn’t hurt.
    4. Copy YouTube and GoogleVideo and make it *very* easy to share the video online by including a “Share this Ad” to e-mail a link, a “Link to this Ad” with a short URL to get to the specific ad, and an “Add this Ad to your Site” link to an embedded player (like the one I used above from YouTube).
    5. Create a feed people can subscribe to if they want to get new Apple ads sent directly to them via iTunes or a Feedreader. Apple’s ads are so entertaining that I’m sure many people — even non-Mac users would sign-up for amusement sake.
    6. Archive older ads so that people can always look back at how far we’ve come.
    7. Bribe people with “link love” by cribbing YouTube’s pseudo trackback for video plays. Called “links to this video”, the feature shows how many people have clicked through to the page from other sites (with live links to the URLs).

    I’m kind of surprised that Apple isn’t paying more attention to these techniques to spread the word. Every Mac Fanatic (I now count myself as one) wants nothing better than to tell on their Windows-using friends about these ads and anything Apple can do to make that easier is an easy win for everyone involved.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on May 7, 2006.

May 3, 2006

April 25, 2006

  • Even Amazon Can’t Sweat ALL The Details

    While I think of “Amazon” as a company that really gets what it takes to do business online, even they can make the occasional mistake. Those nice folks in the e-mail marketing group at amazon.com just sent me one of those “because you bought… we thought you’d like to know about…” messages pointing out that “The Criterion Edition of Late Spring” is about to be released.

    <image lost to link decay>

    Can you spot the problem? On the site, the price is $39.99 while in the e-mail it says “$39.95+$0.04 sourcing fee”. Oops. I’m really not picking on Amazon here, just giving you something to point to the next time you send an “oops” to your list. Just show this to your boss and let her know that even Amazon can’t sweat all the details!

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on April 25, 2006.

  • What’s Interesting In Canada?

    This evening at “DemoCamp 5” I will be announcing a new feature here at One Degree called “Interesting”.

    For too long Canadian companies — whether start-ups or established firms, boys in the basement or girls in the garage — have had very low visibility in the market. Could you name ten interesting Internet ideas coming out of Canada right now if someone asked you to? I’m not sure I could and I’m supposed to be on top of all this stuff!

    At least that was the case before BarCamp (and its little brother DemoCamp) started doing an amazing job of highlighting bright ideas. The industry is now coming together as it hasn’t in a long time. With that in mind, I wanted to figure out a way to help those DemoCampers take their message even further while also spotlighting interesting companies that don’t necessarily fit into the DemoCamp format.

    To that end, ”Interesting” will be a place for us to showcase Canadian companies and individuals doing particularly interesting things on and with the Internet. Because One Degree is all about marketing we’ll give special preference to ideas with commercial value and/or a real business model in place, but we want to tell you about anything that might stimulate your thinking about how to the Internet is changing your business and culture in general. If you have suggestions of “Interesting” companies, just “contact me” with details and we’ll add them to the list of companies we’ll be considering for Interesting.

    (And yes, we’re serious about these being interesting Canadian ideas — “Techcrunch” has the Valley covered pretty well already!)

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on April 25, 2006.

April 20, 2006

  • BarCamp Hits Ottawa This Weekend

    The organizers of “BarCamp Ottawa” have done an outstanding job of organizing this “unevent”. A bunch of “BarCamp Toronto” veterans are making the trip up the 401 to join in what looks like it could be one of the highlights of the years for the online community in the capital.

    I particularly like that they’ve set up a “Spread BarCamp Ottawa” page a la “Spread Firefox”.

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    (That’s where the banner above is from)

    Well done! Sorry I won’t be able to make it (this time).

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on April 20, 2006.

April 19, 2006

  • Should You Ask People To Unsubscribe?

    As part of the enhancements we’ve been doing to One Degree to celebrate our first anniversary we’ve moved to a new outbound e-mail system. Our intention from Day One was to provide daily e-mail alerts but we never had a nicely automated (and cost-effective) way to do this. We added “Feedblitz” to the site a few weeks ago and the uptake and feedback from new subscribers has been great. But we still have a load of subscribers from the past year who came to expect a weekly e-mail digest rather than an overnight push of links to all posts from the previous day. What to do, what to do. Well,

    • * We could just move people over to daily, but that didn’t seem right.
    • * We could tell them to sign-up for the new list and kill the old one (not good from a retention and customer service standpoint), or,
    • * We could let them know about the change and give them a chance to get out before we made the switch.

    We chose the last option and sent this message to our weekly digest e-mail subscribers on Monday afternoon:

    Important Changes To Your One Degree Subscription On Friday, April 21st One Degree will be consolidating this WEEKLY E-mail Digest with our new and very popular DAILY E-mail Alert featuring links to the prior day’s articles. Since you may have assumed you’d only hear from us once a week we wanted to give you a few days to unsubscribe from this list before moving your subscription to Daily Alerts. You can follow the link at the bottom of this message to unsubscribe. Please do so BEFORE end-of-day Wednesday if you DO NOT wish to get One Degree Daily Alerts starting Friday. To ensure that you continue receiving messages from us, you may also want to take a moment to add one (at) onedegree.ca to your white-list and address book. Another option you may wish to consider is subscribing to the One Degree Feed via your favorite feed-reader so that you can get real-time updates on what we’re adding to the site. Visit http://www.onedegree.ca/ to get the feed. Thanks for your attention and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

    I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about telling our gentle subscribers that they might want to unsubscribe. But my fear was unfounded.

    The fall-out 30 hours later:

    1. 14 people, representing 3% of the total list (430 subscribers), unsubscribed.
    2. Of those, 4, representing about 1%, turned around and signed-up for the Daily Alert immediately (i.e. it seems they couldn’t wait until we switched over on Friday and wanted to get the daily alerts right away).
    3. One comment (“kewl! — A Daily Dose”) for the change, zero against.

    We’ll see what happens on Friday when the new system kicks in. Hopefully, everyone will have updated their whitelists and we’ll get to their inboxes every day without incident.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on April 19, 2006.

April 18, 2006

  • The Web As Lobbying Tool

    While checking the weather the other day I noticed that “the Weather Network” is running in-house banner ads pointing to “allchannelalert”.

    The site is a public awareness/lobbying site to support The Weather Network’s “CRTC filing” to run a service to provide severe weather warnings across all channels (hence the name of the site). I thought this was a smart move and particularly liked the “madlib” “letter writing campaign” page that offers to mail your letter of support to the CRTC for you.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on April 18, 2006.

  • Tag Cloud As Heatmap

    Jonathan Snook (“snook.ca”) noted a bright idea a few weeks ago that I’ve been meaning to post. Snook pointed out that “The Guardian” in the UK has adopted a rather unique “heatmap” approach to organizing popular tags in their “Comment is free…” area.

    If you know a bit about CSS(Cascading Style Sheets) you’ll see that this isn’t that hard to execute and the visual effect is very impressive. I’d like to see more of this sort of innovative visual styling driven by real navigational needs instead of simply decorating the page.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on April 18, 2006.

April 17, 2006

  • Don’t Tell Me There’s Nothing New

    Let me share a current pet peeve with you in the hopes that you can avoid doing the same to your gentle readers (and maybe we can get the Globe & Mail to fix this for me). I like getting the “Daily Tech Alert” e-mail update that the “Globe and Mail” sends out each weekday.

    At left you see a bit of a recent issue of the newsletter.

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    Good content. Well laid out. So what’s the problem? Well, this is the April 11th edition of the daily tech alert. Why on earth are they pointing me to articles that are almost a month old? My guess is the criteria for what to post is something like “give me the four most recent Tech Reviews and place them here.” But obviously they’re posting less than they expected and now we end up the same links literally every day for weeks. I’m losing interest in the Daily Tech Alert because I keep seeing the same stuff. Moral of the story — don’t tell me that you don’t have anything new. Either get something new, or don’t send anything.comments by some of the top thought leaders in Canada.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on April 17, 2006.

  • No Syndicate Canada This Year

    We just got word from the organizers of “Syndicate Canada” (originally mentioned “in this One Degree article”) that they will not be holding the event this year despite a significant amount of planning that has already gone into it. The official statement is:

    We’ve recently made a decision not to hold the Syndicate Canada Conference at this point in time. This decision is based upon the realization that Syndicated technology is new and emerging into the commercial marketplace and many companies are still establishing themselves and are not quite ready to move forward in Canada. We will continue to monitor and assess the Canadian market to determine the best timing for an event.

    Given the (I believe) overwhelmingly positive response to the “Mesh Conference” and “BarCamp Toronto” it’s hard not to read this as cold feet about the ability of the market to support three major events in such close proximity. Too bad, I was looking forward to it.

    (Disclosure: I was asked by Jai Cole to be on the Advisory Board for this event and had given them my $0.02 worth the agenda for the conference. Note also that “Tucows” (my day job) is sponsoring lunch on the first day of Mesh).

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on April 17, 2006.