Google search wiki is an open invitation to spammers

So... let's say you're a spammer, blackhat, greyhat or whatever they're calling you these days. You're doing a search on Google and you see that if you have an account with them, you can actually promote a search result so it gets ranked higher. Of course, this only works when you are logged in and searching. But what would happen if many people did the same, huh?

Okay, you're starting to get the picture now, yes? Imagine the effect of many people promoting your site and moving you up. As a marketer it wouldn't be a bad idea to ask your friends, family, customers, etc. to promote you and I can think of many great ways to motivate people to not only do this, but to ask their friends and family to do the same but as a blackhat, you're probably thinking, "hey, I can just build an app that'll bypass Google's roadblocks to create accounts, search for my site and promote me" or maybe you're thinking about something along the lines of self-installing an app that'll do this for them in the background.

Bottom line, this is a great tool that I've only now cared to notice (thanks to way too much work; not that I'm complaining, though). Google will implement more safeguards to make sure this isn't being abused but by then it'll be too late because everyone will be doing it. Think Adsense arbitrage.

Anyway, it's exactly the type of social interaction that Google needs to do to stay relevent and they'll keep on doing it. After all, search engines were the first social web sites to be commercialized. Our job, as marketers (regardless of the color hat we wear), is to stay current and harness the power of these tools. I could kick myself for not noticing this sooner but I think there's still time to go out there and get people to interact with our brand. Something as simple as a request to promote you is a reason to reach out to your customers and remind them you exist and adding a little note letting them know you appreciate their help by giving them an exclusive coupon code for use during their next purchase would not be frowned upon either ;]

Cliff Freeman CEO Asked to Leave

UPDATE: Jeff McLelland Held Post for Three Years; Clayton F. Ruebensaal Named New Chief
posted by Rupal Parekh on 11.19.08 @ 02:03 PM

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Cliff Freeman & Partners CEO Jeff McLelland was asked to leave the agency, he confirmed today.

"I'm proud of my three years at CFP and the work we did to reposition the agency as an integrated idea agency," Mr. McLelland said in an e-mail. "The clients gained and the changes made have hopefully positioned the agency for the future. I regret I won't be there to finish the task at hand."

He added: "I learned a great deal, and while disappointed, it's Cliff's agency and decision. I wish him and the agency well." Mr. Freeman is chairman and chief creative officer of the eponymous agency.

Mr. McLelland joined the MDC Partners agency in 2005 after stints at a range of creative shops from Cliff Freeman sibling Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners to Havas' Euro RSGG and WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, where he served as a senior partner and managing director.

He was the first CEO appointed at New York-based Cliff Freeman, which is agency of record for Quiznos and Baskin-Robbins. Last month, it lost its key Snapple account to Deutsch, Los Angeles, part of Interpublic Group of Cos.

UPDATE: After this story was posted, the agency issued a statement announcing Clayton F. Ruebensaal III as its new CEO, starting Dec. 1.

Mr. Ruebensaal is exec VP-senior account director at Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, leading the Sony and The Economist accounts.

"Clayton's unique background in strategy and management will impact our client's business immediately," Mr. Freeman said in the statement. "That's what we looked for and that's what we got."

Our friend, The Economy

Our Friend the Economy
from 100khouse.com by Nic Darling

Okay, nobody likes the economy right now. The economy is like the kid in the 2nd grade who ate a lot of paste and bit people. It is like Rudolph, excluded from the reindeer games because of an excess of red. I hear people curse it everyday and, honestly, I can understand the feeling. Things look bad . . . really bad. But is there a bright side to this thing? Is there a silver lining in the huge, black, tornado-producing cloud? I think so. I think that while this economic train wreck has us shopping at the dollar store and canceling our HBO subscriptions, it will also be driving positive change.

Nothing props up tradition like prosperity. When things are going well there is little reason to change, little cause to adjust. Even if there are better methodologies, more effective processes or more progressive ideas, people will generally cling to what they know. Significant change usually has its impetus in some sort of crisis or, in the case of our current socio-political situation, many crises. Change (as overused as the term might be right now) is a reaction, of sorts, to a problem big enough to jolt us out of our rut.

Now, if I might be allowed to hit you over the head with a metaphor: “Stuck in a rut” is a term that comes originally from old wagons or carriages. The wagons, passing down the same path over and over on thin hard wheels, would dig deep ruts until, at some point, they were committed to their path nearly as completely as trains to their tracks. It took a large jolt or a concerted effort to remove the wagons from their determined course. Even when there was plenty of cause to change course it could be difficult.

Ruts are formed by repetition. This repetition occurs because the repeated action “works”. The path those embedded wagons took was a successful one, a good way from Point A to Point B. Sure, a better way might exist, but why take the risks involved in finding it if your ends can be accomplished via the proven route? The building industry is “stuck in a rut” for this same reason. Builders have developed techniques, sourced materials and used plans that “work”. They generally take on projects in the path of their rut and avoid those outside of it because they are averse to the risk involved. Can you blame them?

Our project, for many reasons, is definitely not a path many builders take with any sort of regularity. We are a rut free zone in many ways. The margins are small. The materials are strange, and the techniques are virtually untried (in their opinion). In a boom time, when business is up, they would not even glance casually at the plans for a project like ours before telling us to roll those plans up and insert them in an uncomfortable anatomical location. Even Brian, our current builder, who is now as on board as they come, admitted that he would have passed had our project arrived a year earlier when the living was easy.

We have been helped by this economic downturn that many are lamenting. Sure, it has made other things more difficult. The banks are in full on turtle mode, terrified of sticking their necks out for anything. Home buyers, even those that know this is a good time to buy, are having trouble getting mortgages, but the economic dip (or whatever you want to call it) has brought willing participants to the project. They have had to lift their wagons out of some deep ruts, but our framers are learning to put SIPs together, our HVAC guys are figuring out solar thermal and our builder is following (and growing to appreciate) an involved LEED certification process. Would any of that have happened last year? And, if so, would it have happened within the tight budget constraints we set for ourselves?

We are in the midst of change because we are in the midst of crises. The economy is hurting, our reliance of fossil fuels is politically problematic and environmentally irresponsible and war has its dangerous, unpredictable grip on our country. While these are certainly unfortunate events and issues, they are the types of problems from which change arises. I have given you my individual, selfish reason for appreciating (in a way) this climate of crisis, but what could your reason(s) be? What kind of change can we expect in the coming years? How will these and other crises open up new directions and possibilities for you, for our country and for the world?

Let’s talk crisis driven change in the comments.

Experiential Media No. 1 Way to Influence Latinos

Word-of-Mouth, TV Much More Effective Than Print, Survey Finds

By Laurel Wentz

Published: November 03, 2008
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Experiential marketing is the medium most likely to persuade Hispanic consumers to buy a product, according to a recent survey commissioned by experiential-marketing company Jack Morton Latino, but respondents had strong opinions about how events should be organized.

Respondents said they shun a hard sell, with people representing the sponsor brand and expect a live event to be complemented by social networking, blogs and mobile-phone activities.

The online survey of 500 respondents focused on acculturated Hispanics, typically U.S.-born and bilingual. Of those surveyed, 39% said they had participated in a live brand experience in the last year. Asked which medium would be mostly likely to drive their purchase of a product, respondents ranked experiential media first (30%); followed by word-of-mouth (24%); TV (23%); and the internet (14%). Print media, direct mail and radio all got responses of 4% or less.

Word-of-mouth is especially important in the Hispanic market; 68% of survey respondents said they interact with between three and 10 family members weekly.

Just 2% of respondents said they preferred hard-sell "active interaction" with people representing the brand; most preferred a softer sell and a more passive message at an event, conveyed through signage or video presentations. The main technologies respondents expected live events to be linked to were social-networking sites and blogs (25%) and mobile phones (18%).

Isabel Villegas, senior Latino-market specialist at Jack Morton Latino, said the live-concert series the agency created for client Alltel in key Hispanic markets in the Southwest also involves Facebook and MySpace pages, as well as pictures taken of attendees at the concerts to be put on "find yourself" screens during the events and posted later.


Source: Survey of 500 Latinos commissioned by Jack Morton Latino

Google's G1 | not an iPhone killer... my thoughts on it anyway

Nice phone but definitely lacks in style. A quick fix would be to make the black hi-gloss. Matte black is not a good look for a gadget. It makes the phone look cheap unless you're Zune (they did a great job making matte look luxurious).

Regarding the 1G versus 8G, do we really need that much space on a phone? Probably not. The cameras suck , relatively speaking, and even 8G is way too little to use the devise as a music player / storage. Realistically, 1G isn't so bad.

The plans on T-Mobile appear to be slightly better than AT&T so all in all, the Google G1 seems to be a better value, albeit far less sexy, than it's Apple counterpart, the iPhone.

Prosumer prosumption; Alvin Toffler [briefly] speaks on the future of digital media

The future of media :]

If you vote, Starbucks buys your coffee