Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Considered Not Spamming You But Decided That Would Be Too Time Consuming

Got this e-mail from the Washington DC Online Marketing (SEO/SEM/Social Media) Group mailing list, which I apparently joined last year. I've never been to an event, and the listserv is mostly inactive, except for one bright light: a domain name broker of some sort who insists that his informative e-mails telling people which domains he's got available aren't spam.

Actually, that's what he used to claim. Now, he just says he can't be bothered to clean his lists, and you should just drive on if you're not interested. Here's the e-mail, redacted (against my better vengeance):
Hello Everyone,

I considered going through my emails one by one but decided that would be too time consuming [Emphasis added. He actually wrote this. And sent it. My interpretation: "Here's how much I care about my client communications: Fuck you."], so if after going through all my family ["Who I also used to annoy with my MLM knife sales pitches."] and vendors this email still finds you and domains do not concern you please feel free to delete or ignore this. ["I say again: Fuck you."]

Those of you who ARE in the domain industry ["Though I clearly have no idea who you are."], I will be sending out periodic lists of domains from here on out. ["I couldn't get anyone to subscribe to my ConstantContact trial account newsletter."] This will be a little unlike the other lists you receive where I will include generic domains at reasonable prices that I find but also traffic domains and websites I think are viable. ["I have no idea what I'm saying."]

Those of you who know me are familiar with my hard work and some sales such as R*******s.com, O*****g.com, F****R******.com, B****M***.com, V*****.com, F***S******.com and many more..

If you would like to be on this list please respond to this and I will add you ["Though, obviously, I won't keep track, as that would be too time consuming."], if this does not concern you or you do not care to see the domains I come across a few times a week than simply do not respond. ["In closing: Fuck you."]

Thanks for your two minutes and I hope to hear from you!


[name similar to a famous golfer]

It should be noted that I do contribute to the Network Solutions blog, and they sell domains, so this is kind of a full disclosure, but seriously, this guy is just an unrepentant douchebag.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Advertising on Internet Video: I Don't Get Not Getting It

I didn't watch last night's Saturday Night Live featuring Steve Martin's umpteen-gillionth hosting appearance. However, I did see that BoingBoing's Xeni Jardin recognized Laser Cats #4 as a Wonderful Thing, complete with the embedded video from Hulu:

It's funny because it's ironic. And meta. And DIGITAL.

The video is a bit of amusing fluff, no big deal. But I'm kind of baffled by this part of Jardin's nota bene (not the Latin abbreviation part -- I looked that up):
"...(nb: I hate that I can't find a version of this short without 30 SECONDS OF ADS preceding the content. NBC still doesn't get it.)"
I don't think a 30-second pre-roll on a 4min 27sec video is particularly onerous (granted, I also don't think pre-rolls are particularly effective, either -- I tend to mute and go to another tab for the duration) but I'm really curious as to what "getting it" would entail. Because, you know, advertisers tend not to care much for the ignorable, non-intrusive, dismissable types of ads that we users like so much.

So, pre-rolls are out. Post-rolls? Overlays? Persistant graphic bug in the corner? Interstitials? Premium accounts? Paid product placement? Throw everything out there without ads and hope to make it up on the back-end through increased DVD sales?

I like free and ad-free stuff, too, but somebody has to pay, somewhere, and there ain't no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. I don't have the access, acumen, or arrogance to presume what's going on with the Hulu balance sheets, but I do know that what may work for BoingBoing or South Park Studios might not work for Hulu.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dick's, Deer Nuts, and Deez Nutz

After work on Friday, I stopped by the mall to get my quarterly, whether-I-need-it-or-not haircut. Not much to tell there, but afterwards, I stopped by the local Dick's Sporting Goods to browse.

(I still resent Dick's a little bit, since I thought Galyan's was better -- they were absorbed a few years back.)

While passing through the hunting supplies section, something caught my eye. Specifically, the deer attractants (bait, essentially) they had out.

Now, this isn't a screed against hunting or (sober, responsible) hunting culture. As a city slicker, I don't hunt, but I don't have a problem with those who do. It's more of a marketing screed, because the packaging is a pretty ridiculous.

Take, for example, Acorn RAGE, the angriest real-acorn animal attractant allowed by law:

Closely related is Acorn Frenzy, which is Acorn Rage's wacky, nutrageous brother:

I particularly liked the nutritional information: "High in protein (22%) and fat (15%)." I expected to see an FDA daily recommended allowances label on the back.

Then, there was the Block Topper, the "Candy Coating for Deer Salt." Which makes it the kettle corn, only for deer:

The pi├Ęce de la creme, though, had to be Deer Cane, which evidently used to be spelled "Deer Cain," but I guess they decided to go for, um, subtlety:

You can't see in my crappy cameraphone pic, but the graphic bug in the upper left says "Habit Forming."

And no, you don't lay it down in lines on the ground.

So, that's the Deer Nuts.

As to the Deez Nutz, here's a pic taken on the way home:

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Evidently, I'm Stuck on Any Pop Song With a "Hey, Mickey" Cheerleader Beat

Here are some of my recent CD purchases, paired with the cross-promotional and marketing opportunities that influenced me into buying them:

The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy. Sure, I knew them from that one song on The Crow soundtrack, and was overexposed to Just Like Honey thanks to Lost in Translation. But despite prodding, I never really twigged to how much bands I like (or should like) were influenced by them.

Anyway, I finally decided to go to the source (well, I also have Stoned & Dethroned, but that doesn't really count), thinking all the while of that scene from High Fidelity:

In an older entry about Pulp, commenter Sylvia pointed me to UsedCDSearch, which worked out pretty well.

The next two were recent $7.99 loss leaders at Best Buy:

MGMT, Oracular Spectacular. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I was first exposed to this song in a Wonkette item about a supposed (and obviously fake) 'DC Prep' TV series trailer. But it's a catchy tune.

The Ting Tings, We Started Nothing. Again, already aware of them, thanks to the iPod commercial with Shut Up and Let Me Go (which I don't particularly like -- it's kind of annoying), but the Great DJ video interested me greatly when I saw it at DC9 a couple of weeks ago, so I took a flyer on the buzz.

My ears are currently bleeding because I've been listening to That's Not My Name on infinite repeat.

Apparently, all it takes for me to get irrevocably stuck on a pop song is for it to use a "Hey, Mickey" cheerleader beat. (With handclaps. Handclaps are very important.)

It's happened before with Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend (yeah, I've contributed more than a few views to the YouTube video's 100 million views. Hey. Hey. You. You.), although That's Not My Name is a lot more layered.

Though I have drawn the line at the Lil Mama Lip Gloss song, which is saddled by a concept and lyrics too stupid for words.

I guess it's a good thing that there just aren't that many pop songs that rely on the cheerleader beat.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Followup: Washington Post LiveWire Spam -- Oopsie

Here's a followup to my impotent fist-shaking about the unsolicited, opt-out Washington Post LiveWire DNC coverage e-mail from yesterday -- after a serendipitous encounter with a Postie (and former AOLer) familiar with the situation, we can safely invoke Hanlon's Razor:
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
As I suspected, the opt-out e-mail blast was a mistake, accidentally sent to the wider audience instead of the smaller one. It seems that there was a bad call by an inexperienced staffer, combined with a lack of process and control.

Admittedly, it was something of a tempest in a teapot; part of the reason why this perceived violation was so noticeable is that, to date, WashingtonPost.com has been a trusted source (at least, when it comes to self-marketing). For such a rookie mistake to appear was... jarring.

Additionally, as I had surmised, my blog entry is currently the #1 search result for the term post livewire. So I got that going for me.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Washington Post LiveWire: All the convention news you need -- whether you want it or not

As I Twittered a few hours ago, I got a "Convention Update from Post LiveWire" e-mail, and I'm pretty damn sure I didn't do anything close to subscribing to anything remotely like it.

Checking my Washington Post e-mail preferences, as well as a reply from another Twitterer, confirmed this.

Looking at the mail header, it comes from bigfootinteractive.com; Bigfoot Interactive is an e-mail marketing firm that's now part of a larger marketing company, Epsilon.

I bounced it over to my Gmail account (it went into the spam folder, shockingly), which revealed an Unsubscribe link that didn't show up in PINE (yes, I still use PINE, which is still not ELM). I clicked the link, and all was revealed:

Washington Post LiveWire e-mail optout
Washington Post LiveWire e-mail optout screen.

Note the page title in the browser: "Optout."

Optout. Now, I don't care if it was a mistake, a one-time thing, or a rogue marketer -- there's nothing that will set bloggers to wiggling their tiny, Cheeto-stained typing fingers in impotent blogging rage than an e-mail marketing opt-out.

It could be an urgent evacuation notice giving the best route to high ground to avoid the oncoming asteroid-induced tidal wave -- if I didn't subscribe to it, I don't want to see it.

I find it somewhat ironic that this would happen on the very same day that the Post featured a story about companies using blogs and other social media to reach out to customers ("Marketing Moves to the Blogosphere" -- it got more than a little blog traction here because it name-checked some of the usual area and marketing bloggers.)

Especially since bloggers and blog readers -- the very users who companies try to engage using social media -- are the most enraged by things like opt-out marketing e-mails.

Anyway, as I'm in this annoyingly-vocal, self-important and overinflated minority, as I finish this little impotent screed, I can only take solace in imagining that, thanks to the voodoo that is SEO, this entry will show up somewhere in the future on the first page of results for "Washington Post LiveWire."

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

NYC as a Stand-In for DC (or, Is AT&T Even TRYING Anymore?)

There's a full-page ad AT&T Wireless ad in Sunday's Washington Post (page A7) -- the tag line says "D.C., we've got you covered. We've added 112 new cell cites in the D.C./Baltimore metro area over the past two years and it shows."

So AT&T, what you're saying is that you had two years to think about this ad, and yet you couldn't come up with a better photo for the DC market than a clearly-identifiable midtown-Manhattan street scene?


How do we know it's NYC and not DC? After a careful, pixel-by-pixel forensic image analysis:

1. You can see a 7th Avenue street sign in the background.

2. There's a great big fucking iconic New York City yellow cab in the midground, complete with rooftop advertising hump and the meter rate on the door panel.

Okay, fine, DC has some yellow taxis. And maybe that's just a cab company logo, not a rate panel. But here's the clincher...

3. DC does not have NYC-style streetside newsstands.


Now, I don't care about the whole "pandering to the D.C. inferiority complex"-thing -- I live in the Virginia suburbs, what do I know? But New York images are so pervasive (thanks to the efforts of New Yorkers trying to convince the world that it revolves around NYC), trying to pass them off as generic cityscapes is just stupid. Not to mention lazy.

Now, who can tell us the cross-street in the photo?

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Scabs and The Family Sack

Two items from today's Washington Post:

* A newspaper ad from Safeway -- "Now accepting applications for temporary employees in preparation for a possible labor dispute":

Legal workers only. That's a relief.

Note that I have no knowledge of this particular labor dispute, so I make no judgments as to the nature of greedy, soulless corporations vs. greedy, corrupt unions -- I just hadn't seen an ad for strikebreakers/temporary workers before.

Also, note that I am not considering applying at this juncture, as I am currently consulting right now. For realz.

* An ad insert for the Frito-Lay Family Sack:


I can't be the only person to think that "family sack" invokes a completely meaning. (And I'm not.) Nards.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blogging My Way to Shamrockfest

I'd slept on getting tickets to this year's Shamrockfest, which is this Saturday. I had a line on some passes, though that fell through (procrastination on my part). So I was preparing to buy them online, either by going to the site and eating the Ticketbastard fees, or by trolling through DC Craigslist (neither of which I was looking forward to).

Then I got an e-mail. It was from the local PR agency that's doing publicity for the 'fest, offering media credentials to various DC bloggers and media types to cover the event.

At first, I was annoyed --when you do PR outreach e-mails, you're not supposed to blast out uncustomized boilerplate (especially if you're trying to reach bloggers, who are a notoriously touchy bunch), and you're especially not supposed to forget to use BCC (though it was somewhat gratifying to see my name on a list that included the City Desk, DCist, MetBlogs, and a bunch of individual blogs with a far greater readership than my own).

Presumably, someone had done a Technorati or other blog search and saw my Shamrockfest blog entry from last year (though I note that I know of several other DC bloggers who also blogged it last year but didn't make the cut, at least in this e-mail).

Anyway, I admit it -- I'm a cheap date. It's not a SXSW junket or anything, but I was going to go and most likely do a recap entry, anyway, so what the heck. You got me -- call this a full disclosure. Media creds, here I come.

Now, I'm probably not going to try to finagle backstage access to interview talent -- it's not my beat (kids today with their crazy music). I haven't yet seen anyone blogging about going on a media pass (or maybe I'm the only person gauche enough to mention it), but if you're a blogger interested in getting media creds of your own, you'll probably want to check out this entry: Shamrockfest -- Calling All Bloggers.

Maybe there is something to this blogging thing, after all.

Unfortunately, the weather for Saturday is looking a little dodgy -- cold, dreary, and at the very least, moist.

What's more, most of the authentic Irish-from-Ireland crowd are probably going to be occupied with the rugby triple-header (including the England vs. Ireland match -- always a crowd-pleaser).

But then, what do the real Irish know about St. Patrick's Day in America, anyway?

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Your Hair-Covered, Meat-Powered Mansuit

I found this soap marked "Discontinued -- 50% off" at the supermarket today. It's Dial for Men, which is evidently a very manly soap -- so much so that it states: "Your hair-covered, meat-powered mansuit will be clean, smooth, and fresh all day."

Manly micro-scrubbers consist of ground glass and broken dreams.

Naturally, I had to buy it.

I vaguely recall they used the same stupid line in a TV ad campaign. People: It's soap -- rendered animal fat, lye, and perfume.

If they want to do a truly manly soap, they should probably just sell sodium hydroxide for application directly to the skin.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl XLII: Great Game, Lousy Commercials

At the Super Bowl viewing party I was at, pro-underdog and anti-Boston sentiment was in full effect. Outside of a smattering of Patriot fans (and not counting those with a strictly financial stake in the matter), most of us were pulling for the Giants.

It was probably the best game I can recall in recent memory -- looking at previous Super Bowls, I see that New England has had more than its fair share of 3-point margin games, though they've usually been on the other side of things.

As to the commercials (for which MySpace was the official online partner, though AOL's page is still good) -- the best were okay -- mostly for fizzy, sweetened, or alcoholic drinks -- the worst were horrible, and the rest were bleh:

* Sales Leads Are for Closers!
They could be peddling the Glengarry leads for all I know, but those horrible, horrible animated Sales Genie "100 free sales leads" commercials inexplicably employed unfunny, edge-of-racist ethnic stereotypes for no apparent reason.

And the fact that there were two of them gave me a horrifying flashback to the worst of the dotcom bubble 1.0's burn rate excesses.

* For Your Next Supercar Purchase: The Godfather parody ad for the Audi R8 was okay (though they might as well have gone the whole way and done a shot-for-shot remake) -- but it was for a US$100,000+ supercar. Yes, yes: Halo effect and all that. But come on.

* Women Loved Temple of Doom, Right? Careerbuilder chose poorly with the gruesome images of the heart jumping out, Alien-like, from the woman's chest. I felt like shouting, "Indy, cover your heart!"

* Guilty Pleasures: With shame, I have to say that I liked the Tide talking stain (the nonsense syllables put it over the edge for me), and people (I'm not saying I was one of them) did laugh at the commercial for the Adam Sandler movie. Though it's still not enough to make me want to go see an Adam Sandler movie.

* Last Words:
Overheard outside a Harris Teeter after the game: "There's no difference between a foreigner and someone who just doesn't watch football."

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Monday, January 28, 2008

You, With the Blog: You Are Irrelevant. Also, Mahalo Multiprofiles and More

Surefire way to get buckets of virtual ink -- tell bloggers that they aren't worth the bother, just like Target did, following that silly little dust-up about the ad photo with the broad's crotch in the bulls-eye. (Oh, noes! The center of a splayed human figure is the naval/crotchal area! Why didn't someone tell us this before?! )

Of course, this is not to say that Target isn't being stupid and shortsighted here in its broad-brushed dismissal (almost typed "dismal," heh) of blogs. They are, and I sense a upcoming press release with a new social engagement strategy. But I always get amused at the self-interested, self-important, navel-gazing, breast-beating of the PR-o-sphere when someone does not chug the entire tub of social media kool aid. (Note: Other than a quick peek at TechMeme, I am just making assumptions based on past behaviors. Actual breast-beating content may vary.)

Can we fast-forward to social media as a mature technology already, so people can focus on doing stuff, instead of hearing people talk about it?

Actually, most people are already focusing on doing stuff, even if it's just adding annoying blinky sparkly things to their MySpace pages, so I wonder just who it is that the influencers are influencing.

Mahalo Social Multiprofiles: Possibly Un-useless?

Spiritually related to my previous post seeking a social profile status aggregator (at Greggie's suggestion, I'm trying TwitterSync, which addresses two of the bigger parts of the problem -- Facebook and Twitter), Jason Calacanis posts today about multiprofiles in Mahalo Social, which tries to aggregate the viewing and management of your many and evermultiplying social profiles and pages using proven Web 2.0 HTML 3.x technology: Frames.

Now, there are already profile mashup services out there -- I have a profile on Profilactic that pulls from my blog RSS, Flickr, and a few other sources. But this is a technology I can really understand. None of this mashed-up, APIed, Open this or that. Just... Frames. It's simple enough that it may actually work (barring any frame-breakout stuff, but what I've seen seems to work) -- I will have to give it a try.

(Also, I see that the blog's comments, which require an e-mail validation, appear to publish a placeholder comment ["An e-mail has been sent to confirm your e-mail address. Click on the link within the e-mail to activate your comment!"] to the comment thread, instead of just relying on a confirmation message. That's actually pretty clever, as a very visible way to get people to realize that they need to do one more thing -- it was a problem I saw in the AIM Social Media Blog, which was also powered by Blogsmith, but didn't have that feature at that time. Edit: Hrm, it may be an artifact created by wiseacre or idiot commenters -- I can't tell. It would still be a useful prompt if you require e-mail validation.)

Another Bloggy Bit

Brief blog bit in passing -- I cruise by the About.com DC page as part of my local links, mostly out of habit. I can't remember the last time I heard anyone talk about them, but their continued existence speaks to... continued existence.

Anyway, the DC page seems to be bloggier than it was before. I'm not sure if it's a recently updated design or something that's been around for a while that I never noticed. I didn't see any notes of it in the sparse comments or forum posts, so I will ping the maintainer, just to see if I am losing what remains of my mind.

Enough of all that Cal

Anyway, now, I should go deposit my final severance check (which is probably the most fruitful thing I will do all day), buy a vernier caliper, and get a cup of coffee. Then, bowling, which means I will miss Social Matchbox, though bowling in this league is another form of networking (no shit).

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Have Boring Teeth and Gums

At least, that's what my dentist and dental hygienist both said at my checkup today.

Other notes from in and around the dentist's chair:

* Things Are Looking Up: Some thoughtful pharmaceutical reps had apparently positioned an ad for antibiotics on the ceiling:


The ad is for minocycline, which is also used in treating anthrax, cholera, bubonic plague, gonhorrea, and syphillis. So it took them a while to get to periodontal infection.

The drug ad is addition to the normal, placid scenic vistas (mountain lakes and such), though I prefer watching in the laminated reflection as the hygienist works.

* Speaking of Vistas: The office features shiny new Dell laptops in each of the work spaces, replacing the desktop machines that they'd previously used to chart notes and enter charges and such in their dental practice management software.

Apparently, the system had hosed itself yesterday and they were just getting it back up -- they couldn't schedule new appointments and were also going to have to re-enter a lot of data.

The operating system? Vista.

Not knowing the intricacies of their system, I will just point out the obvious scapegoat.

* Your Groove, I Do Deeply Dig: Since they were a little stacked up, I had to wait longer than normal, so I got to hear more of WASH FM than I usually do. Groove Is in the Heart was playing when I was in the waiting room, and while I was in the chair, there was Sweet Caroline (oh oh oh).

* Swish and Spit, or Suction? Lastly, when it comes to rinsing, I still prefer the "swish and spit" setup, with the swirly bowl drain next to the chair, instead of the suction tube that everyone uses today. I guess I'm a traditionalist, but it was a cleaner rinse, and you didn't have a suction tube sticking to your tongue or threatening to suck your breath out.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nuke the Whopper Freakouts -- It's the Only Way to Be Sure

Consider this an early New Year's Resolution -- after extensive thought and through analysis, I have come to the conclusion that every "actual customer" who was upset by the purported discontinuation of the Whopper sandwich needs to be beaten thoroughly about the head and neck. And I'm volunteering.

Furthermore, anyone who was stupid and/or fame-seeking enough to actually sign the release to appear in the Burger King Whopper Freakout commercial needs to be stopped. By any means necessary.

Stop the Whopper Freakout.

Sure, we all have our tastes and preferences, but if a fast-food chain hamburger means that much to you, you need to be put down with extreme prejudice.

While this may be a master stroke in quasi-viral marketing, I can't watch, or even listen to the commercial, lest I get overwhelmed with rage and disgust.

On a side note, I see that the fake manager of the store is Regan Burns, formerly the host of the game show Oblivious ("The game show you don't even know you're on!"). Guess he doesn't mind getting typecast in hidden camera shows.

I actually kind of liked Oblivious, not least of all because their gimmick allowed them to pay out what was probably the smallest cash prizes out of any game show, ever.

Looking at Mr. Burns' IMDB entry, I see he was also involved in Fox News' alleged news-comedy show, The 1/2 Hour News Hour, so he must be used to projects that aren't funny and inspire loathing. Though I understand that an acting gig is an acting gig.

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