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April 3, 2007

Microsoft’s Oops, Google’s TV Ads and Alanis’ Humps

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All’s Well that Ends Well

Last week we told you about that ridiculous, pointless and annoying "test" Microsoft was conducting, pre-populating user’s search box with a query they never asked for, didn’t want, and were likely to be offended by. Well, it turns out we were right (huzzah!). Microsoft admitted the bad move, has removed the annoying new ads, and promised never to make our heads spin like that again. Thank you, Microsoft!

Seriously though, kudos to Microsoft for asking for user feedback and then actually listening to it when it came in and was less than positive. It’s not easy to own up to mistakes, but Microsoft did and came out looking a champ. That makes me very happy. I won’t fault them for trying something new, especially since they took it away before my eyes had a chance to fully bleed out of my body. Nice.

Google Officially Testing TV Ads

Google formally announced what had been rumored for awhile now: They’re pairing up with satellite provided EchoStar’s Dish Network and cable company Astound to run a limited AdWords TV ads trial program. Look surprised!

Search Engine Watch reports the ads will be targeted by network, daypart, region, or network demographic. They will not be targeted by individuals or households (yet), so we can all put our tinfoil hats aside (for now). Advertisers can track the ads via set-top boxes, which will report back aggregate impressions and length of time the ad was viewed.

Exciting? Not really, but at least it’s official. With reports that online ad spend will soon overtake print and radio, can TV really be that far behind? Does Google even need to worry about this?

Be Memorable

Today the gang behind my favorite new blog, 901am, writes How To Make a Ho-Hum Blog More Memorable and uses Alanis Morissette’s viral rendition of that annoying "My Humps" song to illustrate their point. I’m not sure who I was cheering for harder, Alanis or 901am. I just love them both so much. [I can't look away. I...this is a real song? Really? (Mom? Grandma? Don't watch this.)--Susan] Any other shoutouts you’d like to make, Susan? How about your brother? Hi, Robert!

Lots of people talk about the importance of "being different" and making your blog "stand out" but 901am does a great job at showing this in action. The reason Alanis’s new viral video is so great is because covering a cheesy, borderline tasteless, Black Eyed Peas song was something we wouldn’t associate a performer as intelligent as Alanis (neither was her video for "Thank U"). She gave us something unexpected, which is what you need to give your readers.

Now, no one is suggesting that you dumb yourself down to make an impression, but be conscious of continually shaking things up for users. Don’t follow the same formula every day. Don’t repeat the news from the same viewpoint everyone else is. Don’t stand on the same side of the fence as the rest of the industry.

Or, if you have to be on the same side of the fence, at least be different about it. As 901am says, execution is everything. The same exact words, sung in a different way can produce a song with a completely different meaning.

Fun Finds

Jennifer Slegg has a new blog where she can discuss things not affiliate marketing related. Very cool. I must say, if Bruce followed her 20 Best Practices for Launching a Corporate Blog I never would have been hired. Find someone who is comfortable dealing with the public and can "meet and greet" at events? *smiles uncomfortably* Um, hi?

Josh Bernoff reinforces what your mommy always told you: Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. See, Susan, quiet. Shh.

For those who were losing precious sleep, you can rest easy now. The python that had gotten loose at Google was found today by Google’s housekeeping staff. Who says slow news days aren’t fun?





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