If the future of viral marketing takes the form of a widget I was recently informed about titled, Gary Busey on Business, then please take me back to the days when print, radio and TV ads were king. The widget, part of a viral marketing campaign for VOIP small business provider GotVMail, points to a larger trend in online celebrity endorsements, while leveraging SplashCast’s widget platform.
With a half-nod to the Chuck Norrisisms that spread faster across the net than a jar of Skippy, the former Buddy Holly impersonator seems to be getting the first and last laugh, which seems to elude his audience. Designed by social media agency StepChange Group, with the exception of a GotVMail song, Gary Busy doesn’t overtly promote the sponsor, as try to create a viral sensation. The affect, however, is that of a forced, poorly delivered diatribe on all things Busey. All that’s needed is a laugh track, because no one is dumb enough to actually laugh at Busey’s monologues.
For all Busey fans in Web 2.0 land, and I’m not sure if anyone fits within this category, after seeing this material, then the widget is a perfect way to get a daily dose of the big toothed man himself. And, if by chance, GotVMail were to get some additional phone business as a result, then who can argue with the new face of interactive marketing. But, if a Busey makes a noise in the forrest and no one installs it, then is it a successful social media campaign, or just another asshole sounding off in the digital ether.
If rumors are true, and they so often are, Twitter will finally get the brain power it needs to keep its 1.5-million active users happily tweeting. Summize is not just a better Twitter search, it’s an experienced development and management team waiting in the wings.
I’ve known Summize CEO, Ajaipal “Jay” Virdy, for nearly 15 years, having worked with him at his previous startup, LocalEyes, the first geo-specific search engine acquired by AOL, where he remained in management hell for the previous 8 years. Jay is a true visionary. As such, he is able to identify a deficiency in the way people search for information and provide a solution that is both simple and breathtaking. Those aren’t words easily associated with software development, but in his case, it’s true. I’ve slept at his house, drunken his scotch, talked about everything from Web 2.0 to music to parenting. And, provided my two-cents on his ideas, of which, he has about five good ones a day. It is a friendship formed during the early days of the Web and he has been a constant in my life and career development.
CTO and Co-founder Greg Pass was also from a prior search startup, ToFish. They got gobbled up by AOL before they ever launched a product, but it had something to do with image search. I have always found Greg to have an acute business mind, even though he is a Cornell graduate (author’s note: my brother and sister both attended the great Ithaca, NY-based Ivy institution). And, if the name Abdur Chowhury sounds familiar, you may remember him as the fall-guy at AOL research who released user data before it was scrubbed. Don’t let that blunder define Abdur’s contributions to search. He is a giant in the field – the real deal. And, a very nice, down-to-earth guy if you can get past his intimidating intellect.
If rumors are true, Twitter will be getting a great conversational search platform. But, I suspect this acquisition is about much more than Twitter search. These guys have the chops to turn Twitter into the great communications platform it was intended to be. And for that, we’ll all be better off.
As a New Yorker, I feel entitled to be a pizza snob. After all, outside of Naples, NYC lays claim to being home to the best pizza. Now, I’m not going to argue with you as to which is the best, Brooklyn’s Di Farra’s, Harlem’s Patsy’s (Frank Sinatra’s Favorite, just don’t tell the Patsy’s in mid-town, who’s in litigation over which restaurant can lay claim to that), downtown’s John’s Pizza, or the Bronx’s Baby Moon. In my opinion, all can go head-to-head against the town favorite in any town USA and win hands down.
Now, you may be thinking what does pizza have to do with social media marketing, which is, after all the focus of this blog. Or, did I go to the Slice section of the Serious Eats blog instead?
Well, the good people at Pappa John’s has combined two of my favorite things, pizza delivery and widgets, to bring America’s most consumed take-out food to a social networking profile near you. It offers a store locator and links you thru to the site where you can order. Special discounts provide an additional incentive. A good first-step in widgetizing commerce. This is the first pizza delivery widget I’ve seen. It’s not the most visually-appealing widget, but it does its job. Take that Domino’s.
You could say I’m old school. I’ll shun Halo for a game of Air Hockey, Frogger or Space Invaders anytime. I prefer drinking Stoli to any of the new-fangled vodkas – give me the taste of mother Russia over triple purified distillation any day. And, I still enjoy listening to my mixed cassette tapes, some of which date back to the 70’s.
Now, for those of you who don’t know what a mixed tape looks or sounds like, you are definitely too young to understand the connection it conjures up. From the sketchy hand-written labels to the cracked case, my brain’s memory goes into overdrive as faces, places and emotions are instantly retrieved from some long-ago, distant time. Nothing brings the past alive more than hearing a song from my youth.
And, just when you thought mixed tapes were a thing of the past, comes MixWit. A melding of my analog past and digital present, MixWit brings all the excitement of making a tape for that special somebody to a shareable widget format. And, with plenty of cassette casing, hardware and label customization to choose from, MixWit is much more fun that my old double Aiwa cassette deck ever was.
The free service allows you to choose between Seeqpod and Skreemr to search and add songs, or upload from your hard drive. You can then customize the cassette and cover art. Here are some examples:
You get the idea. The playback controls are simple and straight forward. The case displays the title of each song as it’s played. This is a great concept in widgets and executed brilliantly. Everyone I’ve sent a tape mix to has signed-up and made their own mixes.
So, if you thought the cassette tape had seen its last days, think again. Everything old is new again, and MixWit makes retro relevant.