December 2, 2007

  • Dear Podcasters — I’m Not Listening

    I have a very long commute to Tucows every weekday. I generally spend two and a half to three hours in the car each day. Crazy, I know. But my family loves our little village (as do I) and the commute is just a fact of life.

    Rather than resign myself to losing 10 to 15 hours every week to mindless FM radio, I decided I’d use the time a little more constructively. For the first year and a half of commuting I listened pretty much exclusively to podcasts in the car. This was great. I listened to Across The Sound, For Immediate Release, Daily Searchcast, Six Pixels of Separation, Marketing Martini and several podcasts each from CBC, New York Times, and Slate. I highly recommend all of them.

    But after a while I realized the the signal to noise ratio on podcasts was leaving me frustrated. To much “welcome from…” and “here’s how you can subscribe…” and “to recap last week…”, and “here’s what I’m doing/did/won’t do…”. It was information for sure, but not information that was useful or enriching — and that was kind of the whole point.

    I also found that most podcasts suffer from diminishing returns. Once I’m inside the head of a podcaster and understand their world-view I get less and less from each new podcast. But finding new podcasts is a daunting task that can’t be done in the car, so I kept listening to the same podcasts despite the decline in useful insights per hour in the car.

    Then a few months ago I basically flipped a switch and decided my commute would be filled with audiobooks and it has been a wonderful, revelatory experience. I’m now consuming one or two books a week. I’m tackling business, science, modern fiction, and classics.

    Essentially audiobooks act are incredibly high signal-to-noise podcasts. Or maybe more accurately, books are like really poorly written and produced audiobooks.

    So sorry podcasters, until you figure out how to compete with Harper Lee, Walter Isaacson, Cormac McCarthy, Haruki Murakami, Bill Bryson, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and Chip & Dan Heath I don’t think I’ll be listening anymore.

May 29, 2007

  • Why I Sold One Degree

    833 days ago I did a “first post” to One Degree — a classic Hello World. 1430 posts, 1351 comments, and 40 plus contributors later it’s time to say goodbye — or maybe more accurately, “see you later” — to One Degree and the community that has grown up around it.

    Today I’m announcing that I’ve sold One Degree to my good friend and long-time One Degree Contributor Kate Trgovac.

    Since taking the role of VP Product Management and Marketing at Tucows about a year ago I’ve found that my ability to give One Degree the attention it needs to keep it alive and vibrant is increasingly limited.

    My goal with One Degree has always been to foster a stronger Internet marketing community in Canada. That’s really the goal I had as a co-founder of AIMS and as a volunteer and teacher for the CMA. To me, it’s always been important that we had a place to share ideas and raise the profile of local success stories. It’s too easy to get caught up in the hype about what’s happening in “The Valley” or New York without realizing all the great successes springing up all around us.

    I hope that One Degree had — and will continue to have — a small role in helping Canadians understand the transformational power of the Internet for both business and culture. This is an exciting day for me as I know that Kate is the perfect person to take over the community we’ve created and carry on that mission.

    I’ll leave it to Kate and Co. to talk about what may change here at One Degree but I know that this story is just beginning. I’m writing the final sentences of Chapter 1 here but I know we have many chapters to go.

    And I plan to drop in occasionally to add my two cents worth so this is by no means a “Goodbye World” post!

    Or possibly more accurately titled, “Why I lead the charge on buying One Degree and dragged three other investors kicking and screaming along with me.” (But that’s a pretty long title).

    I have been posting on One Degree since the early days and have watched as Ken’s vision for the site took hold and a community began to grow around it. Canadian marketers posted, read, shared their unique POVs and created a body of work that is a valuable resource for new and veteran marketers alike.

    When Ken mentioned that he was thinking about selling One Degree, I immediately put up my hand and said, “Me, me, pick me!” I’m a huge fan of what he has built and hated to think that it might disappear from our toolkits, or worse, pass to someone who didn’t have the passion and vision for it.

    Over a couple of martinis, I managed to convince a few other folks, who also hold One Degree in high regard, to come along with me for the ride. They are:

    1. SpinGlobe headed by Sean Howard of fame — SpinGlobe is our design and technical team plus Sean will continue to write articles for us.
    2. Daniel Ponech, User Experience Architect extraordinaire — Daniel is heading up our business development including site sponsorships, event & job listings and other partnership opportunities.
    3. Rosemary Rowe, Copywriter and Content Maven — Rosemary will be point on content and contributor wrangling, ensuring we’re readable, coherent, and well-indexed as well as creating some of our new features.

    It’s kind of a different mix, but we’re hoping to shake things up a bit. Ken will continue to contribute his wisdom and insight to One Degree. Arieh, who has been for many of you the day-to-day voice and contact of One Degree leaves us as Associate Editor but will continue to offer his valued perspective as a contributor as well. Ken and Arieh — thank you so much for all that you have done for One Degree!

    So today, officially, One Degree becomes a reinvent! Communications publication. Look for some tweaks, enhancements, changes, and hiccoughs over the next few months as we wrap our heads around what we’ve taken on and start to get a better understanding of what the community wants and needs.

    I would be thrilled to receive any feedback you have; we will be conducting a survey in the next few weeks, but personal notes are always welcome. You can reach me via the contact page or at kate[at]onedegree[dot]ca.

    Originally published at on May 29, 2007.

April 22, 2007

  • Bell Takes Bat and Runs Home — says “Na-na-na-na-boo-boo”

    Seems like there’s a battle royale brewing between Bell Canada and Digital Home Canada — one of (if not the) online resource for those interested in digital entertainment in Canada.

    A few weeks ago Digital Home ran a post called New ExpressVu HD Receivers Expected By July that was a bit of a scoop for them. It included detailed information from internal Bell communications.

    In a March bulletin, Bell informed its dealers that it would be introducing brand new ‘MPEG4’ receivers in July 2007. Dish Network currently has several HD receivers that can decode MPEG4 for sale in the U.S. including the VIP 211 and the VIP611. It is our belief the new ExpressVu receivers will be re-branded DISH VIP211 and VIP611 receivers. Digital Home will post further details and pricing information when ExpressVu formally announces the new receivers. In the interim here is a brief overview of the Echostar receivers.

    Bell threatened to pull all advertising from the site if owner Hugh Thompson did not remove the article. Thompson refused saying it was accurate reportage and the next day Bell pulled their ads.

    Yesterday, I was contacted by a press relations representative from Bell Canada and was informed that Bell Canada “might” pull its advertising from Digital Home Canada if the article was not removed from the Digital Home site. The PR representative explained the request came from Pat Button, the Vice President of Marketing at ExpressVu. The representative said Mr. Button had seen the article and demanded it be taken down from the site because it was having a negative impact on dealer sales. The representative also said that it was impossible for Bell to be releasing new HD receivers this year because a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the receivers had not even been issued by ExpressVu. These comments were in direct contrast with information that I had received from multiple ExpressVu dealers which I shared with Bell and asked them comment on.

    What makes this more than another marketing exec getting his hair mussed up by a leaked announcement is the fact that the site in question is an online forum that is primarily driven by reader-generated content. Repeat after me folks — online communities are NOT a good bunch to pick a fight with.

    Digital Home responded with Readers Lambaste Bell Over Decision To Pull Ads which pulls together some of the scathing comments readers have been submitting to the site. Things like:

    “It is also a sad commentary on Bell management that they would so ‘attack’ what should be seen as a key demographic for them — the expert users, first adopters, and ‘informed’ customers that frequent forums like this…. Yet another case of a large corporation that can’t even get the basics of PR 101 right. And thanks Hugh for making a disciplined and informed stand.”

    “Uhm, that reprint of the bulletin basically calls BEV’s bull about no new receivers and invalidates the reason for their ad pullout. They seriously need to stop lying to their customer base and stop treating people like they are. I can easily switch to local cable and their HD PVR offering. They are getting better and have been providing better support and channel options as of late and I am willing to sacrifice things in favour of a company that doesn’t treat me/us like ****”

    “Whoever this Mr.Button is, he should be relieved of his duties at Bell. It only takes one ignoramus in a higher management position to bring down heavy unwanted bad PR for Bell Canada. This will spread like wildfire, and watch Bell taking a bigger hit due to their ignorant stance. Kudos to Digital Home — don’t get bullied.”

    “I for one will be canceling my ExpressVu non-contract account, my home phone and business phone service if they do issue new receivers in 2007. I will sell my 9200 and my other receivers. I refuse to do business with BLATANT LIARS.”

    Ouch. These “I’ll pull my ads if you don’t do what I say” things always seemed to show a lack of good sportsmanship to me but in this age of social media and user generated content it strikes me more like having a death wish. Can anyone get away with this in 2007? Besides, what would Frank And Gordon say?

    Originally published at on April 22, 2007.

  • Help Me Make Marketing Matter For Little Guys

    I got an Ask A Marketer request last week that really struck a chord with me. Rick Couture of Go-Mango Fitness sent in this question:

    OK, I’m still fairly new to the world of online marketing, and I rely on the many wonderful marketing e-newsletters I get to help with my education. What I have not seen is info on how to get started with online advertising. I keep getting calls from my newspaper sales reps to try advertising on their websites. Problem is I have nothing to compare their rates to elsewhere online. Can you provide any resources to see CPM ad rates for banner ads? I can’t help but wonder if $30 per thousand for an “in story” ad that is only mildly targeted (Health section editorial, our business is fitness equipment) is asking too much. Has anyone done a real comparison of newspaper online ads vs other websites rates and effectiveness? Are there places I can compare prices for similar levels of targeting? Is that what DoubleClick does?

    I see this kind of confusion and concern in small business owners ALL the time. They can find lots of pundits punditing (guilty) but where do they turn for the basics? How do they know they’re not being ripped off? How do they determine value? I’d love to see some feedback from you folks on what you tell small businesses and those new to the business in terms of this kind of stuff.

    Originally published at on April 22, 2007.

April 14, 2007

  • BREAKING NEWS: Twitter Hacked

    Something VERY odd is going on at Twitter right now. A user called JehovahOne created an account about two hours ago. Nothing strange there, BUT in those two hours JehovahOne has added over 2,550 friends! That number appears to be increasing by about 20 per minute. If a two-hour old account with one tweet and no picture adding 20 friends a minute isn’t a hack, I don’t know what is! (Apparently, I don’t know what is — see updates below) Worse still, many people seem to be on auto-pilot and are following JehovahOne simply because they’re returning the favor — friending a new friend back. 200+ followers as I post this! I’ll do updates if/as I learn more. Add a comment letting me know if you received the friend message.

    Update 1: An hour later we have 3,242 friends and 242 followers.

    Update 2: A few people have commented here and at Digg that this is a ‘bot rather than a hack. I guess that’s correct but I meant it in a broader sense as in someone’s found a way to use Twitter that will be perceived as a hack by many. By this I mean 3200 people now have a friend message in their inbox. Not bad on it’s own but if this becomes rampant a big mess for Twitter.

    Update 3: Looks like this is being driven by a script that’s taking names from the Public Timeline at Twitter. I checked about a hundred of JehovahOne’s “Friends” and all of them have posted in the last five hours (i.e. one hour before the user account was created). The Timeline updates every four minutes with the 20 most recent posts. Looks like anyone whose posts get there will get an invite.

    Update 4: Now that it’s been four hours since the account was set up the number of friends went DOWN from where it was after 3 hours. Not sure how friends would go down other than the user starting to remove people. I don’t think you can shake someone who’s following you on Twitter — or can you? I’m about to call it quits. Interesting watching this happen in real time.

    Originally published at on April 14, 2007.

April 12, 2007

April 10, 2007

  • Embedding Functionality = Viral Business Models

    Here is a simple but critically important thought for anyone thinking about building web-based services: Websites aren’t nearly as important as they used to be. Some of the most interesting services online these days have learned to move beyond the web by making easily embeddable code. This allows site functionality to spread well beyond the boundaries of the site itself and makes every user a potential distributor. For example, here’s a widget that tells you all about my Twittering:

    This one offers you the top artists I’ve played on my Mac as tracked by

    <app lost due to link decay>

    And maybe most interestingly, here is a 45 song set of stuff I used to play when I was a club DJ in the early 80s courtesy of Finetune:

    Widgets, feeds, embeddable code, badges — all of these trends make it far easier for sites to extend their reach. If you’re not thinking about this, how will you compete with sites that do?

    Originally published at on April 10, 2007.

April 3, 2007

  • MarketingProfs Says Sorry

    James Carroll at “Ceridian” sent us a quick note today:

    Don’t know if you’ve seen the e-mail blast(s) from I liked their apology, plus it makes me feel good that not everyone’s perfect! It appears that most (all?) of “MarketingProfs” subscribers received numerous messages, all with slightly different offers or messaging. Here’s what my inbox looked like earlier today:

    James is right, the apology they sent out as soon as they realized what had happened was a good one.

    It probably wasn’t the nicest message to have to write, but Sharon Hudson did the write thing and handled it professionally and in a warm, personal manner. I think Sharon might have to add a comment to our “Question of the Day — Your Biggest E-marketing doh?”

    Originally published at on September 7, 2006.

March 30, 2007

March 27, 2007

March 20, 2007

  • Has Web Dev Changed In 10 Years?

    Alex Pejcic is President & Co-Founder of “Sonic Boom”, an interactive agency in Toronto, Canada. We’ll be following up this question with five more for Alex later this week.

    One Degree: Has the business changed since you started “Sonic Boom”10 years ago and if so, how?

    Alex Pejcic: Yes it has changed! Here are 10 profound changes that I have experienced over the last decade:

    1. Clients are much wiser and therefore better understand the value of interactive media in their marketing or IT mix.
    2. The increasing importance of brand, user experience and psychographics in the strategic makeup of interactive campaigns.
    3. The unquestionable need to qualify and quantify the success of interactive campaigns to prove ROI on client spends.
    4. With respect to Sonic Boom, large-build projects are less in demand, and smaller (but very significant) “campaign-focused” assignments are more requested.
    5. The paramount role of customer service in retaining clients. Since interactive media is a living, breathing organism, our company required being modular and responsive in order to manage such business. This was the formula Sonic Boom used to secure the agency’s survival and ironically stimulate growth.
    6. Online audiences are becoming much more demanding and therefore the “big idea” is king. Creativity in content and technology is a must in order to demonstrate prominence over our clients’ competitors.
    7. The emergence of online guerilla marketing tactics such as viral messaging, blogging and opinion polling. Who would have thought that clients would be comfortable in allowing consumers to provide insight to other consumers on their behalf in such a transparent manner?
    8. Broadband connectivity, digital display mechanisms, and mobile communication are becoming the norm in Canada and likewise gaining wide acceptance across the world. This will continue to open many doors for our industry.
    9. When we started Sonic Boom in 1996 we were all part of a pending gold rush, then the bubble burst around 2001. Now here we are in a professed “renaissance” all in the period of 10 years. Are we on the verge of another revolution?
    10. Words that had never existed before like searchability, usability, blogging, podcasting, texting, spamming and actionability have become an everyday part of my life.

    Originally published at on March 20, 2006.

March 15, 2007

  • Google Plusbox Makes Life Harder For Marketers

    Google loves to experiment with features and UI (User Interface) by providing different features to a limited sub-sets of users. Recently you may have heard that Google is starting to integrate alternate content into search results using something called a plusbox. For example, they’re testing adding Google Finance information inline with some results.

    I happened to find one of these in action (for my employer Tucows no less) when searching for software on Google. Here’s what a Plusbox looks like closed:

    And here’s what it looks like open (i.e. after clicking on the ”+”):

    This raises an interesting challenge for marketers in publicly traded companies like Tucows. Now you have to worry about the impact of your stock performance on the perception of searchers. You also have to pay extra attention to those normally bland and generic descriptions of our company because it may just end up (like ours did) representing your company in Google!

    I’d be interested in feedback from others who might be starting to think about this kind of stuff. And may I also say publicly — Damn you Wikipedia! Tucows has been the number one result for “software” longer than Google has existed. Now we’ve been bumped by the collective hive intelligence! 🙂

    Originally published at on March 15, 2007.

February 28, 2007

  • Can You Imagine The Internet In 2020?

    Leona “Flackadelic” Hobbs posted this must-see CBC news segment about “Internet (no “the” in sight) from way back in October 1993:

    Now that you’ve had a good laugh at what we thought about the Net 13 years ago, watch this must-see video from 2007:

    Can you imagine how laughable our view of the Net in 2007 will look in 2020? My guess is it will look even sillier than that CBC piece!

    Originally published at on February 28, 2007.

February 26, 2007

  • Can You Really Make A Viral Campaign?

    At the Consumer 2.0 Conference last week I had the pleasure of spending some time with Steve Wax from Campfire. The firm was the subject of a really interesting Fast Company article in November 2006 and I found Steve’s ideas very refreshing.

    Campfire — founded by Steve and a few of the guys behind the Blair Witch Project — does these really complex online events/games/virals like Art Of the Heist: Steve made me stop dead in my tracks when he said (roughly) “people have to stop saying they’re going to ‘make a viral video’ because you can’t decide whether it’s going to be viral or not. It’s the same as saying ‘I’m going to write a hit song’ or ‘produce a hit TV show’ — it just doesn’t make sense”.

    I’ve always said that viral marketing was the conscious use of word-of-mouth as a marketing tool but I really see Steve’s point. You can try to be viral, but can you really say something “is viral” before it has in fact “gone viral”?

    Originally published at on February 26, 2007.

February 18, 2007

  • Where Marketers Are Spending Their Online Dollars

    Those nice folks over at eMarketer published an article (summarizing MarketingSherpa research) a few weeks back that I meant to let you know about. What Works, and What Doesn’t, in Online Marketing gives us the 411 on how US marketers felt about their online buys for 2006:

    Even more interesting from my perspective are those same marketers’ projections of how they’ll spend money this year when it comes to “emerging” tactics such as blogs, feeds, video, podcasts and the like:

    Personally, I’m happy to see ads for mobile devices and feeds already on the decline as I think they are (still and maybe always) problematic channels. Do you see anything that surprises you?

    Originally published at on February 18, 2007.

  • Great Sign-up Forms Are Hard To Find

    I recently signed up for a very interesting new online photo service called Picnik. The site is definitely worth a look — particularly if you are a Flickr fan like I am — but even if you don’t want to explore, take a gander at this lovely sign-up page:

    I love the simplicity of it and the way they’ve kept the voice of the site consistent and appealing.

    Originally published at on February 18, 2007.

February 15, 2007

  • Web Pioneer Christian Gerard Dead At 36


    I’m so sorry that we have to announce another death in the community. Christian Gerard, Founder and CEO of Webfeat — one of Toronto’s oldest web shops — died last month at 36 years old. Leigh Himel waited until the family made it official to pay tribute to Christian and it was through her lovely post that I learned that Christian had died. Others who knew him have been adding their comments there as well.

    We wish Andrea Gerard and all of Christian’s friends and family much love as we celebrate Christian’s life with them.

    Originally published at on February 15, 2007.

February 14, 2007

February 11, 2007

  • Introducing The Big Assed Ad Unit

    I’ve long been a proponent of a “go big or go home” approach to display advertising. Last week I realized we weren’t practicing what I preached here at One Degree. When we announced our Whole Site Sponsorship package a while ago we offered leaderboards at the top and bottom of all pages and a “big box” ad mid-page on longer posts. That “big box” is 336×280 pixels — i.e. the standard IAB Large Rectangle. Now my goal in offering sponsorships on One Degree was for sponsors to “own the site” for the month they sponsor. In hindsight, I think going with the biggest IAB size was overly limiting. Therefore, I’ve created a new Ad Unit I’m calling the Big Assed Ad Unit — 500X500 pixels and up to 100K in file size. Big Assed Ads! Woot! I asked this month’s sponsor Cornerstone if they’d like to give it a try and they jumped at the chance. Here’s what it looks like:

    I’m not suggesting others take on this size (although it wouldn’t bother me) but I think it makes sense given the way One Degree is built and the goals of our sponsors.

    Originally published at on February 11, 2007.

February 6, 2007

  • A Personal Apology To Albert Lai

    At Democamp 12 tonight Albert Lai gave the gathered crowd an update on what’s been happening with Bubbleshare since he organized and presented at the very first Democamp over a year ago. At the end of his update, Albert offered a free steak dinner to anyone who could say who tipped One Degree to a possible Bubbleshare sale to News Corp.

    I was surprised that Albert seemed to be upset about our publication of the rumor before getting confirmation from him. In hindsight, this was indeed a silly thing to do. I got the tip from a good source who was not a competitor or in any way related to the business Albert and Bubbleshare is in and I just accepted it at face value that I had a scoop. I did ask Albert for confirmation or denial — after posting the rumour — and didn’t hear back. When we finally got official word of a deal it was with a different acquirer we posted about it immediately. Albert, I apologize if this caused you or Bubbleshare any hardship or frustration. No harm was intended. It was just a case of an amateur journalist getting caught up in the thrill of it all.

    Originally published at on February 6, 2007.

  • Your Moment of Inspiration

    Looking for something to get your mental juices flowing about new ways of presenting information? Then you owe it to yourself to check out this video by Michael Wesch right now:

    Tip of the hat to Joe MacDonald at Vpop for the tip!

    Originally published at on February 6, 2007.

February 5, 2007

  • Why Watch The Super Bowl If The Ads Are Online?

    OK, I’ll admit it, I’m not a big football fan. Not at all. But, I AM a marketer, so I tended to watch the Super Bowl just for the ads. Problem is, in Canada Global has the nasty habit of inserting Canadian ads in place of the US ones. But now we can watch all the Super Bowl ads pretty much as the game is happening, so I ask you… Why watch the game if the ads are online?

    (Bonus Question: Did anyone calculate what percentage of the Super Bowl ads prominently featured a URL to drive traffic to a microsite to support the ad?)

    Originally published at on February 5, 2007.

February 1, 2007

  • Hey, Get Your Own Blog Name!


    Congrats to for setting up a site and blog about global climate change. But did you have to call it ONE DEGREE of all things? I’m not really angry but I have to say I’m a little nervous. Their site hasn’t been around that long and it jumped to the number two result on Google for the term “One Degree” really quickly.

    I really don’t want to lose my spot at the top of the search for my own marketing blog’s name! How embarrassing would that be! Link love to the (ahem) “real” One Degree is of course always appreciated. 🙂

    Originally published at on February 1, 2007.

January 31, 2007

  • Stupidest. Blog Article. Evar.

    I get that not everybody loves blogs. Really. But to say that blogs are isolating and bloggers lonely sorts living in a fantasy world shows that Calgary professor Michael Keren is seriously out of touch with reality himself. Read this Globe And Mail article called Author laments lonely life of bloggers then come back here, scroll down and share your thoughts on whether blogging has made your social life stronger or weaker.

    Originally published at on January 31, 2007.

January 30, 2007

  • Cornerstone Lands Rogers Publishing Business

    We don’t normally report on business wins here at One Degree but I thought this press release from Cornerstone was interesting as it shows a big company realizing that a) SEO was important and b) that they might benefit from outside help.

    Cornerstone SVP Don Lange remarked that “The Rogers multi-magazine site was beautifully designed and written. What we brought to the table was a series of guidelines and reports that provided both content writers and developers with a series of blueprints and best practices to ensure that when search engines visit, the site clearly identifies the most relevant content. Our ongoing monthly service monitors where the site ranks with the most important keywords, tweaking the site when required.”

    Good to see.

    Update: Cornerstone is a sponsor of One Degree. They didn’t pay or ask for this coverage but in the interest of transparency, we note that they do help support One Degree financially through their sponsorship.

    Originally published at on January 30, 2007.

January 24, 2007

  • Epicurious Doesn’t Want To Hear From ME

    A regular reader writes:

    I love Epicurious — I go there daily. A few days ago I got an email from them asking me to participate in a survey. I don’t usually do surveys, but since Epicurious is a site I use and the idea of maybe getting money from a credible source like AMEX sounded good so I decided I had a moment to spare (ha) and started the survey. After the third page is was clear to me that this wasn’t about improving their site or my needs to cook — it was about credit cards! I think less of Epicurious now. In my mind and probably that of many others, this diminishes their reputation and my trust in them. If One Degree is looking for examples of what not to do to your regular readers, this is a great one!

    Interesting. Look at the survey message our reader forwarded:

    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Wants to Hear from You sponsored e-mail Dear member, We need your help! We’re always looking for ways to provide you with content that you care about. Please help us out by answering a few questions in our brief survey. As a thank-you for your participation, you will be automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of three American Express Gift Cheques valued at $3,000, $1,000 or $750! Access the survey at:

    Thank you, The Team

    Not too bad, although I can see at least three things that could be immediately improved. Can you spot them? Add your suggestions in the comments below. Still, no matter how well-crafted the email is, the experience of completing the survey clearly left this faithful site visitor discouraged and upset. Upset enough to take those feelings of being tricked public.

    Originally published at on January 24, 2007.

  • Internet Marketer Tamara Bonar Dead at 39

    Yesterday Marketing Magazine reported that one of the industry’s most active members took her own life earlier this month:

    Tamara Bonar, the finance director at the Advertising Club of Toronto and longtime ad industry denizen, died Jan. 10. She was 39. The cause of death was suicide, said her sister, Lyn Bonar. She was discovered at her home in Toronto by her boyfriend, Thomas Hepditch. In a career that spanned two decades, Bonar’s experience included work for marketers big and small. She broke into the business as a research assistant at Chatelaine magazine in 1987, moving on to work at places like Young and Rubicam as an account executive in 1991. In 1994, she became a marketing manager at Avis Canada, before moving on to jobs at Sony Music Canada and CanWest Interactive. Most recently, she was president of Torq Brand Fuel, a marketing services consultancy in Toronto she helped start last November.

    I knew Tamara from her time at Sony Music and CanWest but mainly from my course for the CMA where she was at the top of the class and a wonderful contributor. AIMS’ Kathryn Lagden posted a tribute today on the AIMS blog that highlighted some of her volunteer work:

    Tamara Bonar brought much energy and passion to her volunteer role on our event and registration committee. Considering how full of life her outward persona was, it saddened and sobered me to realize the inner conflicts and despondency Tamara must have suffered, when hearing that she chose to take her own life. Information received yesterday from the Advertising Club of Toronto (where she also volunteered as its director of finance) and from Marketing Daily, spoke of her vast experience and acumen as a marketer, and her commitment and passion to her colleagues and workplaces, most recently as president of Torq Brand Fuel, a marketing services consultancy in Toronto she helped start last November. That sounds like the Tamara we knew here at AIMS; that is the Tamara we will very much miss. Our thoughts and condolences are extended to her family and friends, and work and volunteer colleagues.

    I would like to second Kathryn’s sentiment. We’ll miss you Tamara.

    The photo was originally posted by The Advertising Club of Toronto a few days ago.

    Originally published at on January 24, 2007.

January 22, 2007

  • Marketer’s Toolkit — SearchStatus

    One tool I use every day that most marketers I talk to have no clue about is SearchStatus a simple but powerful Firefox extension that you should install right now if you aren’t already using it.

    In a nutshell, SearchStatus adds useful information about the page you are on to the status bar at the bottom of Firefox. Here’s what the bottom of my browser looks like when I’m on the One Degree homepage:

    How cool is that? A quick visual representation of PageRank and Alexa Rank for every page you go to. Mouse over the bar graph and you’ll see the exact numbers. Better yet, right-click on the “Q” and you get a contextual menu with a ton of juicy details:

    How useful is that? So if you haven’t already stopped reading and done so, head over the and download SearchStatus

    Originally published at on January 22, 2007.

January 12, 2007

  • Fertility, Fellatio, and an Amazon Database Foul-up

    Amazon does tons of stuff right — they’re one of the best sources of best practices you can find on the web. But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. For example, this page has some rather odd information on it:

    So next time you find a typo or a missing link on your site, just be thankful you weren’t responsible for that page!

    BTW, the promiscuous text “MY MOTHER IS STANDING IN FRONT OF THE BATHROOM MIRror smelling polished and ready; like Jean Nate, Dippity Do and the waxy sweetness of lipstick…” is the opening chapter of Running With Scissors the first book on the page in question. Seems like a useful insight for debugging this…

    Originally published at on January 12, 2007.