There are a lot of people in this world who can call themselves marketers. Marketing has been a term that has expanded to cover many facets of any business. You can market your ideas, your business, your products, and even yourself. Yet the word marketing is still seen by many as an extension of sales, and, therefore, a label that we try to avoid because it brings to mind the old idea of the door to door or used car salesman. We, as marketers, have fought hard against that stigma, continually trying to redefine what marketing is.
As a proponent of new technologies that make it simple and convenient to find information online, I am struggling with this one. And as I question the people around me, it seems that they are struggling with it as well. Most people are a bit put off by the service, yet others think it’s an innovative step forward in connecting people.
I am talking of course about 123People.com. The two year old “person search service” has people questioning the now age old principle of identity and privacy in the digital age.
123people is basically an aggregator of sorts, which locates and collects information on people. Anything online appears to be fair game in their algorithm. It looks at everything from Google images to LinkedIn profiles, blog posts and articles to social networks, and everything that falls in between.
A simple search of my name brings up images, blog posts, an old address, and my old company and work number. And I have to say that when I first found it, I was stuck in between feelings of disgust that all that information was out there, and feelings of amazement at how easy they made the process. For those people with little to no online presence of their own, 123people has found a way to scrape together anything that exists, and land one of the top results in a Google search for their names.
Of course we all know that in this day and age, privacy is a hot button issue, and will be for some time. Our lives on the internet are public, whether we want them to be or not. But whereas without 123people, someone looking up information on me would have to put in a little extra effort, perform several search queries, look at a couple of different sites, and put it all together; 123people has put it all in one place for you. It’s more than a little scary.
If you take a look at the 123people blog, they’ll have you believe that people search is incredible, and can only mean good things for the world. I have to think that more of us believe this type of service is more trouble than they’ve let on. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter. If you haven’t done a search for yourself, check it out and then post your comments below.
I know that I don’t update this blog as often as I used to, or as often as I probably should. But upon scanning the headlines of the blogs that I follow this morning, one inspired me to get back in the game, if only for this one post.
Awhile back I posted a blog titled “When Will Google Take Over TV”. And apparently, the answer is soon.
From Mashable yesterday comes a report that Google is already a few months into a project to develop an Android based TV platform that may include both set-top boxes and internet connected TV’s. Google is partnering with Sony and Intel on this project, which is sure to shake up the media world as it gets closer.
This is a big move for Google, whose advertising possibilities will increase greatly with control over a television based platform. Obviously we’ll have to wait and see what kind of experience the Google based TV platform will give us, but this is a big step in the converging of traditional television media and the internet.
I for one am excited.
Businesses all over the world ask themselves the same questions every day. Or, if they don’t, they probably should.
“How can we make our company better? Run smoother? More efficient? Make more money?”
Often times we look outside the company for help or advice. Sometimes we think that we know all the answers and we don’t need help from anyone. And much of the time I am sure that we just expect things to get better without trying at all.
But take this new idea from the struggling publisher, Conde Nast. They are offering their employees a $10,000 prize for whoever comes up with the best idea to improve the company.
Sure this is probably a sign of desperation more than anything else, but it still makes sense. The reason companies hire people is to move forward. In essence, you want every employee to not only do the job that they were hired for, but to bring new ideas forward and shake things up. Every entrepreneur from an early point in their lives learns that you are suppose to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you to help you succeed.
Why don’t more companies look internally for help when looking to create a change? And why don’t more companies have rewards in place (maybe not $10k) for employees that take on that challenge?
I am a strong believer that innovation most often comes from within.
This piece from Wired.com is yet another describing the futile attempts by people who are uneasy about the changes brought about by digital content.
In this latest one, it appears that the French Government has decided that it might be a good idea to tax successful online companies in order to help unsuccessful companies. They think that taxing a company like Google, who has figured out what people want to do, and need to do online, is the way to help other companies who have failed to see the wave of the future and continue to lose money because of free content.
Let’s face it people, there will always be some who do not like change. But this is the way the world is moving. I have written about it on this blog. Many others have written about it on their blogs.
If a company exists that used to make money because they produced highly sought content, and is now losing money because of competition, why does the government or anybody else have any right to just give them money. Either figure out how to compete in this new market, or fail. Those are your options.
Besides the fact that what the French government is trying to do might be illegal, its just plain stupid. Competition moves us forward. Free content is working. Don’t punish the people that have seen the future and moved us there for the sake of saving the near-sighted companies that thought the world would never change.
Do it in style!
Happy New Year to all.
There is a local brewery near my home town in New Jersey that continues to email me. Here is the story behind that email.
I went with a friend to the brewery, which offers a small casual style bar where you can come in and try to featured beers. There were a few small groups of people there, the servers were friendly, and they love to talk about beer.
As we were leaving, we were offered the chance to join a mailing list by simply our email address on the bottom of our check. I was happy to do so.
Now, whenever they plan a new event, or come out with a new brew, I get an email from them telling me all about it. It is a short email, usually one paragraph in length, that gets directly to the point. And they don’t email me when they have nothing to say. It’s perfect. And even though I no longer live in the area, I continue to stay on the email list because I visit from time to time.
It’s that simple. If you are a restaurant, a bar, a retail store…anything where people might visit you again and again, why not have a mailing list like this. The cost to do so is minimal, and the reward can be huge. It allows people to keep up to date with what you are doing without harassing them when they don’t care. It can increase customer loyalty, meaning that more of your customers will give you repeat business. And guess what, they will probably bring their friends in too!
Even this blog offers Email Updates to anyone that wants them.