Sunday, January 21, 2007

There's No Business Quite Like Bebo Business

If television commercials are a part of your company’s advertising program, have you been thinking bebo?

There is a reason that “bebo” was the most Googled word in 2006. It stands for, a video-packed web site that competes with the now-famous YouTube .com for the attention of millions of young consumers around the world.

Take a brief visit to and dozens of brands will flash before your eyes within a few moments: Disney, Houston Oilers, Accord, Hitachi, Red Bull, Chicago Bulls, Universal Studios, Bellagio Hotel, USC football highlights, all manner of musical groups and a company that gives away incentives.

As with YouTube, bebo is overrun with adolescent humor, amateur videos that push (or cross) the limits of decent language, sexual innuendo, and plenty of stupid stuff. BUT, it captures an enormous number of eyeballs and the smarter brands are posting their own clips there to make nice with an audience with plenty of disposable income.

It’s a bebo new world out there, friends. Better figure it out.

See the ABC report on bebo topping Google's zeitgeist list of most-searched terms.

And here is the list:

1. bebo
2. myspace

3. world cup

4. metacafe

5. radioblog

6. wikipedia

7. video

8. rebelde

9. mininova

10. wiki

Monday, January 15, 2007

IBM Blogging Chief: Join Web 2.0 or Become Lunch

Chuck Garber, a Ph.D. who runs a microscopy supply company in West Chester PA, leaned over to me in the front row of the Kanbar Center at Philadelphia University, nodded to the speaker at the podium a few feet away and whispered:

"This guy is amazing."

Indeed, Christopher Barger, tieless in jeans and a jacket, was memsmerizing the audience of Web 2.0-hungry communications executives from corporations, health organizations, universities, ad agencies and public relations firms.

Barger is IBM's Blogger-in-Chief and he was explaining why IBM has been a leader in corporate blogging, with hundreds of employees writing external blogs and thousands blogging on the company's private web.

"We're not doing this to be cool," said Barger, whose last name is a scrambled version of Dr. Garber's. For the Ph.D., who took copious notes, IBM's Barger was unscrambling the mystery of blogs, podcasts and the second-generaton Internet.

"This isn't just about seizing communications opportunities," Barger said. "It's about remaining relevant in a changing organizational dynamic."

In short, said the IBM expert, blogging is about survival.

Barger spoke for more than an hour and the questions kept coming right into the lunch hour and beyond.

Barger was among numerous speakers at last week's "Using the New Web 2.0 for Corporate Communications" Seminar that provoked plenty of discussion and questions from an audience that in some cases needed ammunition to persuade their bosses to use the new web tools. "My CEO doesn't get it," said one participant privately.

(For another view from a seminar paricipant and speaker, see this post by Carol Lynn Daly, marketing director for the Lourdes Health System.)

By day's end, Barger and the other speakers seemed to have persuaded the room that Web 2.0 tools are not only helpful but just about mandatory for those who want to communicate effectively.

(For more information on the seminar content and speakers, see column on the right. True, the seminar is over, but more help will be on the way in the future, so wach this space.)

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Wake-Up Web 2.0 Call for Your Business

That's a blowfish next door, which is a clue as to the nature of this post. Great puffers are blowfish, turning into amazing balloons to thwart predators who need a flat surface to bite.

Herewith, the PRWebfire authors puff themselves into a commercial. The subject is a seminar next week at Philadelphia University, entitled: "Using the New Web 2.0 for Corporate Communications."

In a nutshell, the experts at this seminar will tell business communicators to get off their duffs and use blogs, social media such as YouTube and newer web tools such as wikis and RSS feeds to reach the public. Among the experts will be Christopher Barger, IBM's blogger-in-chief, whose message (a company web site is not enough) is outlined here.

The Lourdes Health System in South Jersey will explain its journey into blogging. A Philadelphia attorney who has studied the field will discuss the legal ramifications of corporate blogs and Web 2.0 activity. Other experts will explain how to start a blog, how to do research on competitors using new web tools, how to drive traffic to a blog and how to reach bloggers with press releases.

We would not tout this production if we didn't believe it was worthwhile. And since we are producing it, we would have pulled the plug if it had shaped up rotten. Honest.

See details on the January 10 seminar here.

To sign up, call 215-951-2900.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Is Microsoft Marketing to Bloggers or Bribing?

Does your company take the power of bloggers seriously? Apparently Microsoft does, given its reported move in sending free laptops to some 90 bloggers.

The reason: to let the bloggers try out (and review) the new Vista operating system. The blogosphere was not amused. Within hours many bloggers cried "bribery."

Check it out here and form your own opinion regarding the bribery slander. We're not focusing on charges and counter charges. The key fact is that Microsoft understands there is a massive army of bloggers out there who can influence product sales.

Is that fact part of your marketing and product communication plans?

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Journal Offers a Hand Up to Startups

The Wall Street Journal offers to small business startups a very helpful online site -- StartupJournal -- where entrepreneurs can drill down for good tips, podcasts and other useful information.

Businesses interesting in podcasting should pay attention to the podcasts on this site. They are short, six minutes or so, clearly presented, and full of how-to information. The StartupJournal also offers a discussion section where business owners can talk about their hits and misses.

The price is right -- FREE.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Long Live the News Release (Software)

If you think the last post was way too cheerleaderish about this web hype, check out the recent announcement by Edelman, the huge worldwide PR firm.

Edelman, recognizing that companies now need to get out there to the blogs, YouTubes, MySpaces and Facebooks of the world, has put together some software to help PR types create "social media news releases."

A social media news release is written differently and presented differently for today's fragmented, multitasking audience that can't deal with the old puff stuff.

Here is the announcement about the fill-in-the-blanks software, and here is another PR firm's examples of social media news releases.

News releases in the web world will be part of our January 10 seminar in Philadelphia, which is explained in the column to the right of this post.

Remember 8-Tracks, Slides Rules and Press Releases?

Is the old fashioned press release on its last legs in this Web New World?

Not yet, but Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz, a corporate blogging star, calls press releases "anachronistic," especially as a vehicle for disclosing important corporate announcements,

For months now, Schwartz has been bugging the SEC to recognize Web sites and blogs as the legitimate means for disseminating important corporate information. Web sites and blogs, he says, should satisfy the SEC's tough "Regulation FD" rules for releasing data.

Schwartz made his case in a letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, which is here.

Cox has responded with a positive letter that seems to agree with Schwartz without proclaiming web sites and blogs as sufficient vehicles to satisfy regulation FD. See the letter here.

Worth watching.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Adland is Getting "Crowded"

Who in your company comes up with advertising, promotion or PR ideas? No one, you say, because you outsource it to an ad agency or PR firm?

Well, how would you feel about letting your customer public create your outreach to the public? It's a variation of what is called "crowdsourcing," whereby web users of all kinds contribute to a product.

If you think it sounds goofy, take a look at the National Football League's latest innovation at this site. (Aside: don't you wish Microsoft was half as innovative as the NFL?)

Letting customers pitch their television ad ideas is a major shift in corporate thinking, but the internet has demanded it. Now companies such as Dove, Southwest Arlines and others are doing the same thing.

It's cheap. The NFL ad winner will get a free trip to the Super Bowl. Chicken feed compared to ad agency concept fees.

This idea may be coming your way, whether you like it or not.