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Microsoft and free laptops…Ohhh the drama

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So Just before Christmas Microsoft sent out emails to several influential techy bloggers and offered them a free new laptop loaded with Windows new operating system Vista. Then a few other bloggers who didn’t get one complained it was unethical. Now Microsoft wants their laptops back.

Now how do I as a non techy let alone techy blogger react to this bit of blogodrama? /yawn.

I am no huge fan of Microsoft. They are a big company so it’s cool not to like them, but in their defense, I along with most computer users in the world have never used anything other than some form of Windows. Sometimes it crashes, sometimes it gives me problems but all in all Microsoft and Windows have made my real job, and my internet surfing, and play time a lot easier and more enjoyable that it was before they came along.

When it comes to techy bloggers most use Macs. It is very cool for them to hate Microsoft but for some reason love Apple (another very big company) who I have been predicting will go BK for the last 15 years. (If you read this blog for any length of time you will find out I am often wrong.)

Getting back to the topic at hand; something struck me while attending the recent Blog Business Summit. Nearly everyone in the room was using a Mac. Nearly every speaker was using a Mac. These are the “influential techy bloggers” that Microsoft is trying to get to review their new Vista software.

Now if you are a PC user and you have ever met a user you know it’s like a cult. (Trust me I have been to Macworld it is weird). How does Microsoft get any kind of fair shot being reviewed by an army of Mac users?

Well a really nice gift that even the most devoted Microsoft hater would find hard to turn down is a damn good start. This give away was a damn good idea if you ask me.

I agree with Robert Scoble as long as the bloggers disclose they received the gifts, the ethical hurdle has been crossed and readers can keep that in mind when reading the review. Is it going to buy Microsoft great reviews from devoted acolytes of Apple?

I doubt it. I would guess at best it would tip the scales back to almost dead even with a little bias still weighing against the mighty Microsoft. Need proof?

How about Marshal Kirkpatrick’s post when Microsoft asked for their laptop back?

Microsoft and AMD sent out a pile of very expensive (yet trashy looking) laptops to a number of bloggers over the past week. We were told we could keep them – now after a day of minor outrage by some people they are emailing us back with the following request that we not keep them after all! And to think, I almost smashed mine in the middle of the street 10 minutes into trying to use it! I did figure out some of the basics after awhile, but it’s still nothing life changing.

Does that sound like a guy who just got bought off by the man for a good review?

Like I said I am often wrong but I think I am right on this one. Here is another snippet from Marshall’s post:

Ha ha ha – the snazzy laptop I got in the mail from Microsoft yesterday was the only way I was ever going to use Vista anyway.

Case closed.

Is Podcasting doomed?

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So says John Gartner of Marketing Shift:

Podcasting technology has been around for a decade, and just because the “Pod” name was put on it a few years ago doesn’t mean it will be any more successful.

The multitude of independent podcasters will scratch and claw for the occasional hour when people want to hear about a niche of their interest, but podcasting will have about the same long term business impact as e-books.

It’s way to early to be making predictions like this. As of today podcasting is growing by leaps and bounds, when it starts to sink, or at least stops growing then he might have a point.

Can lightning strike twice?

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Nateli Del Conte doesn’t think so.

I will gladly eat my words if Tew can pull this off but I just don’t think that lightning strikes twice. It was a good idea…once! Second time around, it’s not, as Michael Arrington calls it, “another stupid, brilliant idea.” It’s just a stupid idea.

Alex Tew, the college student who created the million dollar web page where he sold one million pixels for a dollar each has a new idea. This time he is going to sell them for two dollars each and give one million away to one lucky winner who clicks on the right pixel.

Well one of the rules in business is if you are sold out raise your prices. Tew did sell out his first site, so I would have to give this at least a 50/50 chance.

Ryan at Cybernet is optimistic.

Isn’t this insane! The creativity of Alex Tew is amazing and there are many people saying that he won’t succeed in doing this. Honestly, I hope he does because so many people try to copy off of his marketing ideas that I think he deserves to be successful. Not only that but he has found a way to make people want to click on the ads…and who wouldn’t want to be a millionaire? What a genius!


mathew Ingram

In the end, of course, Alex laughed all the way to the bank — and likely will again. Anyone who comes up with a new definition of the “tax on the stupid” (as I like to call lotteries) deserves everything he gets.

I don’t know about the tax on the stupid thing but it seems like a good idea to me. He could prolly sell those pixels for $3 a piece and keep two mil.

Another day another conference

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But this isn’t just any conference or any tradeshow this is the place to be if you are in the tradeshow business. IAEM‘s (The International Association of Exhibition Managers) Expo Expo is the tradeshow and conference for tradeshow people. For a tradeshow geek like me; yes I love tradeshows this is a great 3 day event where I get to network with peers and usually gain an idea or two.

I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the sessions for today was “Social Media Bootcamp” So here I am live blogging from the session where Jeff De Cagna from Principledinnovation is doing a great job explaining what the heck all this social media stuff is to a group of newbie (to social media) tradeshow producers.

It’s always entertaining to me to see people who hear the term Wiki or RSS for the first time start shaking their heads in amazement when they have it explained to them. You can almost see the wheels turning inside the heads of the people suddenly get it.

Done right blogging is powerful, new media is powerful.

Jeff’s company specializes in helping associations navigate and implement new media into their communications program. If you work for an association or run a tradeshow or conference, based on todays session, I would recomend contacting his company.

Web advertising increases by double digits for 10th straight quarter

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Advertising dollars continue to pour into the intraweb. Still nowhere close to print, but phrases like “$638 million dollars in one quarter” and “23 percent increase over same period last year” gets peoples attention:

Advertising expenditures for newspaper Web sites increased by 23 percent to $638 million in the third quarter versus the same period a year ago, according to preliminary estimates from the Newspaper Association of America. The increase reflects the tenth consecutive quarter of double digit increases for online newspaper advertising since NAA started reporting online ad spending in 2004. Across the first nine months of the year, newspaper Web sites experienced a 30 percent increase in online advertising spending versus the same period last year.

Print and online expenditures together totaled nearly $11.8 billion for the third quarter of 2006, a 1.5 percent decline from the same quarter a year ago. Spending for print ads in newspapers totaled more than $11.1 billion, down 2.6 percent from the same period a year ago.

The latest blogging for dollars story

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is titled Going pro and it apeared yesterday at Economist.com.

Until recently, there were two main kinds of blogs. Most of the 57m blogs in existence are personal diaries that happen to be online. These blogs have tiny audiences and make no effort to sell advertising.

But according to Pew, an American research organisation, only 7% of bloggers say their main motivation is to make money.

The second main kind of blogs are, in effect, niche magazines that choose to publish in a blog format. These blogs are explicitly run as businesses, with paid staff doing the writing and sales departments selling advertising.

Now, however, a third category is emerging: the mom-and-pop blog.

One big reason why his blog works as a small business, says Mr Malik, is that an ecosystem of support is appearing. Like Ms Armstrong, he farms out advertising sales and administration to a firm called FM, launched last year by John Battelle, who once ran magazines such as Wired and the Industry Standard.

There is a new media industry emerging here and blogging is just the tip of the iceberg. In the next five years thousands if not tens of thousands of new media content creators, online journalists, internet magazine publishers and radio broadcasters are going to start making a living, or at least a part time income on their efforts.

At BlogWorld & New Media Expo bloggers who want to try and join this emgerging industry are going to be able to learn from their successful peers, and exhibitors representing the support network referred to in the Economist article.

Steve Rubel offers some well considered caution.

Can you make a good side living? Heck yea. But the folks who make six figs from blogging as their sole source of income will be few and far between. This will especially become apparent when there is an advertising slowdown – and there will be.


Jason Calacanis is optimistic about the future of online advertising
and has stats to back it up.

Is the spike over the past year another bubble? I don’t think so, I think the curve is getting more steep due to the following facts:

a) there are more advertisers online today.
b) it’s getting easier to spend money online
c) Google Adsense/Adwords (a huge part of part B above)
d) Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and Google reaching scale, which in turn allows major advertisers to reach comparable audience sizes to TV
e) audiences shifting from TV, radio, and magazines to the Internet.

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