Houston Interactive Marketing Group Kickoff Event

HimaeventHouston has launched the Houston Interactive Marketing Group.  The organization has been primarily coordinated by Steve Latham of Spur Digital.  The HiMA kickoff event is coming up this Thursday the 26th and we will have several people attending from our team.

<snip from the site>Please join us for our New Year Kick-Off event, January 26, from 7:30 to 9:30 am at the Houston Technology Center. Geoffrey Ramsey, founder and CEO of eMarketer will be the keynote speaker.</snip>

The following are the founding members of the Houston Interactive Marketing Association (HiMA). BMC Software Fogarty Klein Monroe Gulf Publishing Halliburton Houston Chronicle Houston Technology Center Human Kind Inc.

Idea Integration InfoVine Interactive Lopez Negrete Money Management International One Real World PennWell Publishing Pierpont Communications Questia Media, Inc. Schipul – The Web Marketing Company Sam Houston Area Council Six Foot Studios Spur Digital Texas Children’s Hospital Zephyr Salvo Studios

Via Dina – Google – Countries are known for

DinacountrysociologygooglemapPR is mostly about opportunities, but some PR opportunities are created.  It is a well known technique to create a survey that might be controversial, or at least "interesting" and use that as fuel for a press release perhaps even annually.

This enterprising individual generated great blogosphere coverage by graphing an interesting google query.  Via Dina, the graph (to the left) is generated from a google query with alternating countries.  I doubt a scientific method of sociology was applied, but it passes the "I find it interesting" test.  Great job Radio Blogs.

Just to repeat, literally, this press was generated from a map with labels and 50 to 100 searches in google.  That simple.  Strategy is more important than press releases when it comes to public relations.

Security, and Therefore Privacy, Remain Social Software Job 1!

John Battelle has an interesting post that emphasizes Security in Social Software 101.

BattellesearchbookFrom Battelle’s Search Book:

That bargain is this: we trust you to not do evil things with our information. We trust that you will keep it secure, free from unlawful government or private search and seizure, and under our control at all times. We understand that you might use our data in aggregate to provide us better and more useful services, but we trust that you will not identify individuals personally through our data, nor use our personal data in a manner that would violate our own sense of privacy and freedom.

That’s a pretty large helping of trust we’re asking companies to ladle onto their corporate plate.

Privacy and security is a complex subject.  I would venture, as someone who has gone through a bunch of software license negotiations, that most of the evil comes from clients.  Yes seriously. The vast majority of clients are ethical, but I have heard every request from prospects including "can you automatically make a copy of every inbound and outbound email of xyz person without their knowing" to "I want to install a keystroke logger on the IT managers PC. Can you help me?" and the old standby of "Y’all are great at SEO!  Do you do porn sites? (NO!)"

PiranahsMore recently we sent a fair license agreement to a prospect and they had it reviewed by some piranah lawyer who sent it back with carefully articulate points that basically suggested we just sign over rights to our own heartbeat to them now.  We refused to do business with them.

There are, perhaps, legitimate national security reasons to request data.  Yet Battelle’s point is "we trust you to not do evil things with our information." Evil is of course difficult to define, particularly when it comes to social software which is itself difficult to define.  Interestingly I find myself saying "you can’t define evil when it comes to social software but I know it when I see it."  Go figure.

Google Analytics – FREE analytics software based on urchin

Google is giving away Urchin implementations to measure visits and site paths.

Free Web site therapy–Google gives away analytics
Mon Nov 14, 2005 03:05 AM ET
By Eric Auchard

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) plans to give away a set of analytic tools allowing Web developers, administrators and advertisers to fine-tune their sites including advertising, the Web search leader said on Sunday.

and …..

"Any time we add more measurability and more control, advertisers understand more of what they are doing and they end up spending more," said Paul Muret, the Google engineering director who co-founded its analytics service.

Google’s offering is based on Urchin Web Analytics, which it acquired in March for undisclosed terms and then cut the price to $199 a month for the service from $400 previously.

and …..

"Google is giving away free software to improve Web sites. I fail to see how some of these Web analyst vendors could not be hurt by this," Jupiter Research analyst Eric Peterson said of the impact on the estimated $450 million-a-year industry.

Pay Per Call Model – maybe for small businesses in some situations

I was linked an article on pay per call pricing model for web sites.  This means the web site works to generate leads and only charges if it results in a phone call to the client company. 

At a technical level this means that the pay-per-call provider does not want the prospect to call the company directly, but rather through a tracking telephone number so they can fairly measure the number of calls generated.  This will work.  It will result in calls.  But it seems a short sighted overall strategy because;

1) It omits the value of branding. The company is paying for the leads alone, nothing more.
2) Contacts will continue to call the tracking number in the future reporting false positive matches on inbound calls. 
3) You are going to market as someone else’s brand, so not only are you not getting the branding value but you are also paying to build someone else brand!
4) If you end your contract that pay-per-call company can, and will, redirect the campaign to a competitor.  Given the importance of tenure on the Internet this could be a real problem effectively locking you into the pp-call program.

All of that said, yes there are times when this model will work for some businesses.  But it is definitely not as Earth shattering as Pay-per-click advertising has been with the low cost of entry, performance based pricing and free branding side affects.

B2B Marketing Trends running my article on SEO and qualified marketing leads

*self plug warning* – B2B Marketing Trends is running an article from our team:

How Much Is a Qualified, Interested Lead Worth to You?
Ed Schipul

Many organizations grow frustrated that their Web site never seems to be included among the top listings on Google or Yahoo. To help organizations move up the search engine listings, an entire industry has emerged, full of specialists who stay on top of changes made to the arcane inner workings of search engine algorithms. However, this takes time, and they may be tempted to use some of the trickery that is tainting the search engine marketing field.

    One alternative that can immediately show results is search engine advertising. (more)