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August 21, 2006

Weekend Round-Up – Shape Up, Ask

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What have you yodel’d or yahoo’d?

Yahoo! has sparked up an interesting advertising campaign asking users to submit their own “Yahoo! has changed” video. Unlike Google, they’re encouraging users to use the Yahoo! brand name as a verb. While the still-cluttered Yahoo! homepage doesn’t impress me much, these videos are great and will hopefully become a great viral marketing tool for Yahoo.

More on this later, I’m sure.

Ask – All fluff, not enough substance

Jennifer Laycock finished her weeklong Ask.com experiment and found what I feared she would:

“But the reality was, that most of what I liked about Ask was the “fluff.” It was the special features and they way they were presented, it wasn’t the quality of their organic index…and when you really boil it down, that’s the space that matters.”

Be thankful you can’t see my pouty face from where you are. Time to focus on that index, guys.

The Google Effect

Last week, the remains of Kiko Calendar – the start-up who was squashed by Google – were spotted on eBay, causing some to ask if this was the end of Web 2.0. However, an insightful post by Paul Graham proposes a different meaning to the start-up’s undoing. He asks:

“How can Yahoo or MSN or AOL launch some cool new thing when the people who care about cool new things never visit their sites?”

John Battelle refers to this as The Google Effect and asks if Google is today’s Microsoft, using their tight product integration to destroy the competition. It’s a fair question. AOL, MSN or Yahoo! could have released a calendar system that far trumps Google Calendar and I never would have tried it out. Nor would I have forced strongly encouraged my fiancĂ© and select family members (the ones I like) to sign up so we can keep track of each other. A calendar released under any other brand would have been grossly ignored by most.

If auctioning off the start-up you poured your heart and soul into doesn’t appeal to you, I advise you get out of Google-infested waters, which today involves almost anything.

Kiko was just the first example of Google benefiting from its ability to integrate office products, but it won’t be the last.

So you think you can market a Web site?

Joel Comm created a Flash AdSense game where wannabe advertisers can create, market and optimize their pretend Web site. As Nathan accurately noted, it’s kind of like that Lemonade Tycoon game you used to play during your grade school computer lab. Or did I just date myself? [Hmm, or maybe that was just an East Coast thing as Susan, a California native, has no idea what I'm talking about.]

I would apparently make a really crummy advertiser, as I can’t rev up more than 50 or so clicks per day. I’m also confused as to the marketing pricing options. SEO is priced at $100, while online marketing (banner ads, mailers, etc.) is priced at $200 and offline marketing (newspapers, TV, posters) is priced at $300. What world do they live in?

Repeatability

You know its Monday when correctly spelling “repeatability” requires me to say it aloud veeery slowly as I type.

Nathan points us to an interesting post by Niniane Wang where she proposes a theoretic challenge to all billionaire investors:

“You know, every billionaire should have to undergo a test where we strip them of their money, connections, and fame, and they have to start from nothing and prove that they can become a billionaire again. Until they’ve done this two or three times, they shouldn’t get our respect.”

I can think of a billionaire or two who I’d like to see have their money stripped away. What a great way to separate the truly-talented from the merely-lucky. Which investors do you think could pull off a repeat? Bill Gates? Sergey and Larry? Warren Buffett? Mark Cuban? Admit it; you want to see Mark Cuban broke again.

Monday Morning Caffeine

Phil helped me find my new theme song. If I had my way, every time you visited the BC blog this song would play in the background. Lucky for you, I don’t have nearly that much power.

And how about a meme to start out the week? Find out what your browser type says about you. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you still use AOL Explorer.

(Happy Fourth Anniversary to Kim and the rest of the Cre8asite Forum gang! It goes without saying that we’re big fans. Congrats.)





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